Wednesday, July 18, 2018

What is a Christian? (Part 1)

Chuckle: "Humility is like underwear -- essential, but indecent if it shows." --Helen Neilson
Quote: “Morality does not make a Christian, yet no man can be a Christian without it.” --Daniel Wilson
" . . The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch" (Acts 11:26 NIV).
The term "Christian" is sometimes used indiscriminately. We use terms like Christian nation; Christian family; Christian because we attend church; Christian by association or ancestry. Some may even use the term for selfish reasons to gain stature in the community. Let's see what God's Word says about being a Christian. The term "Christian" is used only three times in the Bible (Acts 11:26, 26:28; I Peter 4:16). Using these and other Scriptures, we will discover what or who is qualified to bear the name, “Christian.” A Christian is first: One in whom the Spirit of Christ resides:
In Acts 10:43 NIV, as he was preaching to the gentiles in the house of Cornelius, Peter proclaimed "that everyone who believes in Him (Jesus Christ) receives forgiveness of sins through His name." In verse 44, we find that "While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message." Note the Holy Spirit came without delay, mediation, or condition other than simple faith in Jesus Christ.
In John 14:16-17 NIV, Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit resides/lives/dwells in each of us as believers. "And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever -- the Spirit of Truth. The world cannot accept Him because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you." This indwelling of the Holy Spirit happens the instant we place our faith in Jesus. Unless we know Him as Savior and Lord, we cannot legitimately identify ourselves as Christians -- no matter how much we want to do so.
In 1 Corinthians 6:19 NIV, we read: "Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God." This relationship with Christ is possible only when we repent of our sins, ask His forgiveness, and accept Him as our personal Savior. In Rom. 8:9 NIV, Paul tells us: "And if anyone does not have the (Holy) Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ."
If you have the Holy Spirit of Christ within you, you have received God's gift of salvation and are assured of eternal life in heaven. Remember our initial question: "What, or who, is a Christian? Once you have received Christ, you are 100 percent "saved," but in a matter of speaking, you are one third a Christian. Hang on! Don't get too excited! Our next study will deal with the second and third criteria for a being a Christian: One Whose Life Jesus Christ Controls and One Through Whom Jesus Christ is Revealed.
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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