What is a Christian?
In Earth History, this term is not even two thousand years old, and it appears only twice in scripture. In Acts 26:28 King Agrippa tells Paul that “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” The other verse is 1 Peter 4:16 “Yet if [any man suffer] as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.” Paul in Acts 1:26 gives us this interesting fact, “And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.”
As a Christian, no matter the Denominational Name above the door, each attendee should be guilty of being “Christ Like.” That is why in Antioch they were first called Christian, possibly as a slur against them but because they incessantly talked about Jesus Christ, the importance of being committed to Jesus Christ and they were forever quoting his words, deeds acts. Just like somebody who has a new car or girlfriend/boyfriend, they just cannot keep from steering the subject right back to it again, it is almost incessantly predictable that in just a few moments time, you just know what the subject they will be back to once more.
We have covered a lot of scope over the past weeks, but are you and I still following our heritage as written in 2 Peter 3:18 “But grow in grace, and [in] the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him [be] glory both now and forever. Amen.” We all can so easily let the cares of this life squeeze you into its mould as JB Phillips put a scripture verse, or do we get squeezed closer and closer to our Saviour and moulded more and more like him. There are only two moulds, and we can choose the end results by our day by day and moment by moment recommitting ourselves to Jesus, getting deep in his word and in following his written advice, it is called “The Bible,” it is our Christian Guidebook to a closer and deeper walk with our Saviour.
We sing and talk and pray about leaving our burdens at the foot of the cross, committing our cares to The Lord, and guess how many of us get up from there, gather up our burdens and then struggle back onto the road of life ground down with our worries and cares. Are we not a wee bit foolish in this bad habit, why do we not come to the Lord, unload and walk away freed of our worries, burdens and cares? We read in 1 Peter 5:7 “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you,” so how come we Christians are worry warts, fretful and burdened, when we have a Saviour who careth for you.
In a book I read some years ago was a phrase that went something like this, If I was the only person in the universe to sin and need a Saviour, then Jesus Christ would have gone the whole road he went down just to redeem one only person, that is me. Put you name in there also, Yes, just for you alone and for only you, that is the breadth and height and depth of the love of God as found in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I do love this misquoting of Isaiah 53, but it is personal and true. Isaiah 53:3-6 “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were [our] faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne my grief’s, and carried my sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he [was] wounded for my transgressions, [he was] bruised for my iniquities: the chastisement of my peace [was] upon him; and with his stripes I am healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; I have turned to my own ways; and the LORD hath laid on him my iniquity.
I met a chap who coined a phrase that went something like this; “Do you have Churchianity or Christianity,” are we Bible believing Christians or have we let formalism squeeze us into its mould, I think it was Keith Green who said, “Going to Church no more makes you a Christian than going to McDonalds makes you a Hamburger.” A little naughty, but there is a valid point, how many parts Christian are we and how many parts formality are we? Yes we do need to be in the form of something, please let us make this in the form and likeness of our Jesus as measured by scripture, lifestyle and behaviour. Let us all commit to living and acting just like Jesus so once more so we can be called “Christian” because we live and act like him. Here is a text in that theme, 1 John 3:2 “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”
Are you? am I? a real Christian, or just a clone and a fake? Let us commit right now to getting back in line with our Saviour who loves to wow! limits, back to a vibrant real prayer life, back to a daily read of at least a chapter of scripture a day, back to deeper study of the Bible, and living, looking, acting just like real Christians once more.