Jesus is inviting you, today, to come follow Him…
You may ask how do I do that and what does it mean to be a Christian?
The word Christian comes from the Greek word christianos which is derived from the word christos or Christ, which means “anointed one,” (Heb: Messiah).
The first use of the word “Christian” in the Bible is found in Acts 11:26,
“And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.”
It is found only twice more in Acts 26:28 and 1 Pet. 4:16.
A Christian, then, is someone who is a follower of Christ.
Many people think they must behave a certain way to become a Christian. The Bible explains that becoming a Christian is not about behavior, but about responding to Jesus’ offer of forgiveness.
“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it”
(Ephesians 2:8,9, NLT).
However, people behave differently after becoming a Christian because their relationship with God changes them. People do good things for many reasons, but a Christian is motivated to do good things because they love God.
A Christian is a man, woman, or child who has experienced a spiritual new birth through the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit.
That new birth is a gift of God, through Jesus Christ, given by the grace He freely offers to all.
Some believe you can be born into a faith.
For example, a child born to Muslim parents is considered a Muslim by many people.
A son or daughter born to a Jewish mother is typically considered to be Jewish, and someone born into a Christian family is often assumed to be a Christian.
No one, however, is ever automatically a Christian by birth.
To be a Christian, you must make a conscious choice to turn from your sins–that’s repentance–and by faith believe that Jesus is the Son of God, who loved us, paid the price of our sins on Calvary’s cross, shed His blood and died, was buried, and was raised to life on the third day.
The Bible says, “This is how God showed His love among us:
“He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him” (1 John 4:9).
The Bible also says that “if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).
The moment we do so, the Holy Spirit makes us alive in Christ, imparting the gift of eternal life, and making us entirely new creatures in Christ (see 2 Corinthians 5:17).
How do we tell if it’s real in our lives?
The Bible says, “We know that we have come to know Him if we obey His commands.
“The man who says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands, … the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:3–4).
A Christian, then, is a person who is born again by the Spirit of God as he or she wholeheartedly trusts in Jesus Christ and seeks to follow Him in obedience.
There is no other way to the Father, no other way to be a Christian, than through personal faith in the Son of God.
“I am the way and the truth and the life,” Jesus said. “No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
Christianity teaches that there is ONLY one God in all existence, that God is a Trinity, that Jesus Christ is God in flesh, that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone, that Jesus died on the cross, and that Jesus rose from the dead in a glorified, physical body.
Being a Christian does not mean merely believing in our head that Christ died for us.
It means “being constrained” by that reality.
The truth presses in on us; it grips and holds; it impels and controls.
It surrounds us and won’t let us run from it. It cages us into joy.
But how does it do that?
Paul says that the love of Christ for him constrains him because of a judgment that he formed about that death. “. . . having made this judgment, that one died for all therefore all died.”
Paul became a Christian not when he decided that Christ died for sinners, but when he made the sober judgment that the death of Christ was also the death of all for whom He died.
In other words, becoming a Christian is coming to believe not only that Christ died for all His people, but that all His people died when He died.
Becoming a Christian is, first, asking the question:
Am I ready to be persuaded that Christ died for me and I died in him?
Am I ready to die that I might live?
Then, secondly, becoming a Christian means answering, Yes, from the heart.
The love of Christ constrains us to answer, Yes.
We feel so much love flowing to us from Christ’s death that we discover in His death our death — our death to all other competing allegiances.
We are so overwhelmed (“constrained”) by the love of Christ that the world fades, as before dying eyes.
A Christian is a person living under the constraint of Christ’s love.
Christianity is not merely believing a set of ideas about Christ’s love.
It is an experience of being constrained by that love.
Paul put it this way,
19-21 What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work.
So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man.
Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it.
I identified myself completely with him.
Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ.
My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God.
Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.
21 Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God?
I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace.
If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.
The point is, none of us were made to live this life apart from God.
The Bible says that we were made for God’s pleasure, and to have 24/7 communion and fellowship with Him.
We each need Him and without that vertical connection with Him, we all are like fish flopping around on the shores of life, looking for our way back home.
God has given to each of us the free will to choose how we will spend our life?
He desires that we spend it on Him, but that’s entirely our choice.
So how about it, do you want to have your sins forgiven and be reconciled back into God’s family?
Selah (let us pause and calmly think about these things)
Wednesday, Nov 9
The Winning Walk
by Dr Ed Young
THE HYPOCRITE OBJECTION
“Christians are not perfect,” a popular bumper sticker reads, “just forgiven.”
Christians are also the excuse many non-Christians give for not following Christ.
The unbeliever’s standard of performance for those who profess Christ is often nothing short of perfection.
You’ve heard the charge when a Christian misses the mark: “What a hypocrite! If that’s what it means to believe… count me out!”
But that is unfair on two fronts.
First, it represents an inaccurate understanding of what it means to enter into the Christian life.
Authentic Christians have made the decision to follow Christ, to turn away from their willful disobedience and rebellion against God, and to accept Jesus’ death on the cross as payment for their sins.
They have accepted God’s leadership in their lives and begun the journey of walking under His management.
But they have not arrived at a sinless state- nor will they in this life.
Second, the true hypocrite is not someone who falls short of his or others’ expectations, but one who consciously and knowingly wears a mask.
Follow me for a day, and I will disappoint you.
Although I love my wife deeply, I fail daily in being the husband I’m supposed to be.
I love my children, too, but I have made mistakes in parenting.
I love God and urge others to do the same, but I remain a sinner who struggles with sin and sometimes loses.
The good news is that authentic Christianity does not demand perfection-it depends on grace.
I am thankful that Jesus is the real issue, not the imperfections of those who love and follow Him.
Come join the Adventure!