"So, You're a Christian...Really?"
“So, You’re a Christian….Really?”
Seventy-five percent of Americans identify themselves as Christians, but what is a Christian? Protestants, Catholics, Mormons, Baptists, and all other denominations are considered to be Christians by most people, but are they? Can you be called a Christian if the doctrine you follow is derived from man? Can you be a Christian if you are called Catholic, Baptist or Methodist or some other name not mentioned in the Bible? There are a few questions we need to answer before we determine if you are a Christian or not.
First, let’s define the term, Christian. One definition is a person who has received Christian baptism or is a believer in Christianity. Another says a Christian is a person who follows or adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Can a person be a Christian if they follow the guidance of the Pope or a counsel who tells you what to do and what is right and what is wrong?
Time and time again, I’ll be taking with someone, and in between their foul words, they tell me they were raised as a Christian in a good Christian home. This makes it hard to discuss the Bible with someone because they will wonder if I am the type of ‘Christian’ who talks the talk but doesn’t walk the walk. One should never have to tell another they are a Christian. Being a Christian should be obvious to even a casual onlooker, and your friends should be convinced beyond a doubt of your Christian lifestyle.
But what does it mean to be a Christian and who are not Christians? First, you must be Christian in name. Acts 11:26 And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch. The name ‘Christian’ is the only name those who followed Jesus were called. Yes, John was called the Baptist, but that was because of what he did, not any different from Paul, the tent maker. Jesus was called, Jesus of Nazareth, this is because of where He was born, not because of the Nazarene church. You will not find the term Catholic, Methodist, Mormon, or the name of any denomination in the New Testament to describe those who follow Jesus. One definition of a denomination is divisions between one group and another. Did you catch that? A denomination is a ‘division’. The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 1:10 Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. This tells us that those who broke away from the church have caused division and those who follow these teachings are not Christians. The New Testament teaches us how to live our lives in every chapter. We should not have to tell others we are Christians by our words, wearing a cross around our neck or by having a tattoo depicting Christian beliefs. Matthew 7:19-21 New King James Version (NKJV)19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits, you will know them. Christians are to be known for our actions, the way we dress, and the words that come forth from our mouths. Being a Christian is to be ‘Christ-like.’ The first step to being Christ-like is to believe His teachings without question. Then we are to be baptized into Christ for the remission of our sins. And lastly, to live our lives as Christ would live His life, which is much more difficult than most so-called Christians would have you believe. Being a Christian is a daily challenge, but the rewards are great and beyond even what we can imagine. God has revealed only part of His knowledge to us, but not everything. He will reveal all, in His good time and only after we who have been faithful to the end are with Him in Heaven.
The next time someone tells you they are a Christian, take a closer look and invite them to worship.