Sometimes when we look a the religious landscape around us we may be startled by the copious number of groups claiming to be following after Christ. I have often be queried and questioned along the lines of “what denomination are you”; “What do you believe” and other similar thoughts. As I write this I have been a Christian for almost 12 years. Looking back, I should have written something like this years ago. It might have helped both myself and members of my immediate family understand some of my faith a little clearer and staved off some of the misunderstandings that arise from time to time. I hope that as you read this, you will gain insight into the truth that is God’s Word.
The word Christian is used specifically in three bible passages:
•1 Peter 4:16
•“But if a man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God in this name.”
•“The disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.”
•“You almost persuade me to become a Christian.”
In 1 Peter chapter 4, verses 15 -19, we find the following text:
As you read the text above you will note that a Christian as shown in the bible is one who:
- Wears name glorifying God
- Part of house of God
- Has obeyed the gospel
- Is “Righteous” – “Saved”
- Acts “according to the will of God”
- Involved in well-doing as defined by Creator
By way of contrast one would not be a Christian if they:
- Wear a name glorifying one other than God
- Not part of the house of God
- Have not obeyed the gospel
- “Ungodly” – “Sinner”
- Acts contrary to the will of God
- Involved in well-doing as defined by man
This simple text helps us understand that simply declaring yourself to be a Christian does not necessarily make it so. In the world about us we find many who would cling to the name Christian even though they have no part or parcel of the work of and for Christ. Dear reader ask your self the question, where do I find myself in the text of 1 Peter 4:15-19? Have I obeyed the Gospel? or am I still in rebellion to Christ?
Consider that if you were to follow after the ideal of many well intentioned folks and lean upon a creed book, or some other religious manual, they do not create Christians as shown in the bible, they create just what was indented by their authors, orthodox Baptists, Methodists, Catholics and the such-like as shown below.
The next text that we will look at is Acts chapter 11, verses 21-26
In this second text above you will note that a Christian as shown in the bible is one who:
- Is a believer who has turned to the Lord
- Is a member of the same church as in New Testament time
- Is one who is added to the Lord
- Is a disciple of Christ
Again, by way of contrast one would not be a Christian if they:
- Are an unbeliever who has not turned to the Lord
- Are a member of church not found in New Testament time
- Are one who is added to human organization
- Are a disciple of man
In Acts chapter 11 we find the import reference to the facts that disciples of Christ were first called Christians in Antioch. Note how the word was used. It describes them, the people the very ones of turned to the Lord. It was not used to denote a school, a home, or any such thing, it identifies whom they follow. To often do we find that the name of Christ has been sullied by it’s use in areas that He did not command! Dear reader, again ask your self the question, where do I find myself in the text of Acts 11:21-26? Have to the Lord? or am I running far from him?
The final primary text that we will look at is Acts chapter 26, verses 27-29
In this last text above you will note that a Christian as shown in the bible is one who:
- Believes the preaching about Jesus
- Is persuaded to become a follower of Christ
- Obeys the same gospel obeyed by Paul
In this, the last of our three texts, Acts chapter 26, the apostle Paul is preaching to King Agrippa. The King asserts in response to Paul’s preaching that he could become a Christian. Paul Replied that he could and in so doing he would become such as Paul was. Looking back in the life of Paul we can note four Bible passages.
16’And now why do you delay? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.’
Dear reader, ask your self the question, Have I been baptized like the apostle Paul? if not then how can you claim to be a Christian?
3Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection, 6knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin; 7for he who has died is freed from sin. 8Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. 10For the death that He died, He died to sin, once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Dear reader, ask your self a question, Have I been baptized into Christ so I can be baptized into His Death? if not then how can you hope in the resurrection?
1And it came about that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper country came to Ephesus, and found some disciples, 2and he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” 3And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” And they said, “Into John’s baptism.” 4And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5And when they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Dear reader, ask your self a question, Have I been baptized as Christ commanded? Even though you may have been immersed, it does not mean your sins were washed away.
1 Corinthians 12:13
13For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
Dear reader, Finally ask your self this question, to whom am I joined. If you are baptized such as Paul was then you will be baptized into one body, Christ’s body!