What Does it Mean to be a Christian?

The title of this post raises an interesting question. What does it mean to be a Christian?

Does it mean that you walked down an aisle at a church service, or prayed a prayer, or were baptized? Does it mean that you go to church, at least on most Sundays? Does it meant that you profess belief in God? Those are all things that are familiar to church-going people and many Christians have done one or more of them.

But is that all there is to the Christian life?

Change is a key element of the Christian life.

Where no change has taken place there is no new life.

Is there more? The answer is Yes, there’s more!

Being a Christian can be looked at from two perspectives: the theological and the practical. The theological is what we believe, the practical is what we do.

From a theological standpoint, being a Christian means confessing Jesus as your Lord and Savior. It’s putting your faith and trust in the redemptive work of Jesus Christ through His death on the cross, His burial, and His resurrection (1 Corinthians 15: 3-4).

But there’s more.

From a practical, day-by-day standpoint, being a Christians means that a perceptible change has taken place in your life and is still taking place. It begins with faith when you consider yourself dead to the rule of sin in your life and alive to the rule of Christ (Romans 6:11). But the change doesn’t stop there.

It continues throughout your life as you grow spiritually and are transformed into the image of Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:18). Just as we grow physically, so we are to grow spiritually.

Change is a key element of the Christian life. Where no change has taken place there is no new life. If anyone is in Christ they have changed, the old has gone and the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17). Old ways of thinking; old ways of acting; old ways of responding; old ways of talking; old ways of ordering your life; old ways of living your life have all given way to new ways – ways that reflect the One we profess to love and follow.

As one writer put it, a Christian is someone whose behavior and heart reflects Jesus Christ. And that is an on-going process.

Followers of Jesus were first called by the name “Christian” in Antioch because their speech and behavior were like Christ (Acts 11).

The theological is to be demonstrated by the practical. Faith is to be demonstrated by action. Or, to put it another way, the practical is the outcome of the theological. What you do will be a testimony of your faith (James 1:22).

What does it mean to be a Christian?

It means that a real, observable, spiritual, practical, and on-going change is evident in your life.

Stay in the Word

Pastor Steve

Living in Unknown Times

We are living in uncertain and chaotic times. Which has led many Christians to the conclusion that this is the beginning of The End. Jesus talked about the beginning of The End in Matthew 24:4-8. He described it as the beginning of sorrows and said that it would be a time of war, rumors of wars, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes. Perhaps not in every place, but in various places. The preposition, translated as various, means in place after place. Not just in one place but in many places.

Just listen to the news tonight and you’ll see why it is easy for people to come to the conclusion that we are in the time before the End time.

While it’s interesting to try and figure out God’s schedule,

a more important question for us is: What should we be doing?

While it’s interesting to try and figure out God’s schedule, a more important question for us is: What should we be doing? If we are approaching The End, what affect should that have on the way we live?

For arguments sake, let’s assume that we are at the Beginning of the End. To borrow from Francis Schaeffer, How should we then live? How should we as Christians face the End time? How should we spend our time and our lives?

Let me give you three things that should characterize our lives, not just at The End of history, but throughout history.

1. Don’t Get Uptight

As Jesus prepared His disciples for His death & resurrection, one area that He touched on was their fear of the future without Him. He knew that one danger they would face would be a lack of peace in the plan of God. That’s when He said those familiar words, Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid (John 14:27).

Whether it’s the End, the Beginning of the End, or just another year in the history of the world, God does not want you to be uptight. Live in His Peace, not in the anxiety of the world.

2. Take Care of God’s Business

In Luke 19, Jesus gave a parable to His disciples about the Kingdom of God. The essence of the parable is that a man who was going on a trip, gave each of his servants a sum of money and told them to take care of his business interests until he returned. When he returned they would be called to give an account of how they handled his business.

In the parable, the man/owner represents Jesus and the servants represent us. God has given each of us the responsible to take care of His business until He returns. And someday we will give an account of what we did for Him (Romans 14:12, 1 Corinthians 3:9-15).

Make sure that you are taking care of God’s business.

3. Use Your Life Wisely

The Apostle Paul tells us that we are to live carefully in this world, redeeming, or making the best use of our time (Ephesians 5:15-16). It has the idea of taking advantage of every opportunity that comes our way to serve God.

For the Christian that means using whatever time you have for God. That’s using your life wisely.

We may be approaching the beginning of The End. Only God knows. Whether it is or it isn’t we need to live in a Peace that only God can give; we need to be taking care of God’s business; and we need to use our lives wisely for Him.

Only time will tell if this is the Beginning of the End. And only time will tell how well we lived.

Stay in the Word

Pastor Steve