In many respects the Church today has become liberal, producing liberal thinking, careless liberal living, and embracing many of the same things the world about them engages in and believes. The Bible warns us that this would happen if we neglected or turned from following God's Word. Many today have been convinced that doing anything is legalism. Well there is a difference in working for Salvation, working to be saved, and in following all that Christ commands His followers do. If you are not
doing then you are not a Christian according to what Christ taught. In this article we list a few of the things that define a Bible Christian.
To be known as a Christian was once a mark of esteem, respect, and trust. Today however many people regard Christians with disdain1 and contempt. Sad to say but those of us wearing the Christian title must bear some portion of the responsibility for this change. The liberal Christians so prevalent today, if indeed they be real Christians, do not think it necessary to have the same constraints in word and deed that all Christians have been known for historically. Why this change? Primarily because of Biblical ignorance not only for basic doctrines but even for the overall message of the Bible. Man-made doctrines and those peddling them have seduced the majority of churches and those attending. There is even disagreement today on what is to be the source of the doctrines and responsibilities Christians should have toward God, man, the community, and of course the Church. There can be only one source for Christian teaching and doctrine, the Bible. If the Bible is not the sole foundation for the Christian life and practice, then it is not Christianity that one has, it is simply a man-made religion which has no power or authority. Most churches in America in this, the early twenty-first century, are following doctrines of men such as Calvinism, Armenianism, Catholicism, and Mormonism, to name only the most popular out of dozens we could list.
Of the many all around us every day who profess Christianity, few to none of them are aware that theirs is a dead religion and cannot save them. Just as Jesus said over two thousand years ago we know who is and who is not a Christian by the way they behave, talk, believe, and live in general.2 Most of these people are not lawbreakers, not bad neighbors, don’t beat their dog and they contribute to good causes. Though they may or may not attend church regularly, they probably consider themselves to be Christian, even a born again Christian (which in reality is the only kind), but sadly most of them are deceived. To deceive folks and to lull them into a false security is one of the main jobs the devil does to keep us from eternity with God. Remember what Jesus said;
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. ~ Matthew 7:21-23 ~ emphasis added
Amazingly some folks think they are a Christian simply because they were born in America or were baptized as a baby, while still others think they are a Christian because they are not Muslim, atheist, or practicing witchcraft or one of the other pagan religions. In these times of liberal theology and doctrines of men, untold thousands think they are a Christian simply because they have recited a prayer in which someone coached them.
Including a new philosophy into ones life, or deciding to join the gym or start a new diet is in no way comparable to becoming a Christian. A true Christian has undergone a total and complete change of the individual in every aspect of their being. If friends and family do not see an enduring difference in our behavior, attitude, likes and views, then we have not been born again.
Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. ~ John 3:3
Friends, the beliefs and practices required to become, and to live as a Christian are not derived from or defined by what I say, what you may say, or what the neighborhood church may say. As we stated before, there is ONE authority, ONE definition, and that is found in ONE place, the Bible. Let us look at our ONE authority to see what defines a Christian and their manner of life. Our first stop is in the book of Acts.
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. ~ Acts 11:26
This verse tells us that a Christian is first of all, a disciple, which Webster's defines as;
A follower; an adherent to the doctrines of another. The American Heritage Dictionary states;
One who accepts the teachings of a master and often assists in spreading them. An active adherent.
Now the question becomes;
Whose doctrines are we following? Some are following their own doctrines, they are their own god while claiming to follow Jesus. Others are following the doctrines of their Church, blindly trusting what comes from the pulpit and other material without Bible verification on their part. Yet others are following the doctrines and teachings of the guy who wrote the notes in their favorite version of the Bible. However, the only doctrines and teachings that matter, the only doctrines that save souls are found plainly and simply in the Bible. These doctrines are most faithfully preserved for us today with no adjustments for “a different time,” no variance, and no exceptions, only in the Authorized King James Bible.
Each of us is responsible for what we believe and we will stand before the God of the Bible and give an account as to why we did not study, but instead accepted error or outright lies fathered by Satan himself. Folks many of our forebears suffered cruel deaths so that you and I might know the Bible for ourselves. That we might not be led off into Hell by a apostate church. The time will come when all churches will unite as a One World Religion and those folks who don't know the Bible but simply trust their church will be led into the arms of the Roman Catholic Church. Already it is frightening to see how much of Roman Catholicism is widely embraced and practiced in American churches and everyday people are being increasingly desensitized to their blasphemous doctrines. In the bloody Reformation when the true Church split from Rome the Pope vowed to get all churches back under his thumb one day. That day seems to be just around the corner. Don't be one of those who are duped into Hell because they were too
busy to search the Scriptures.
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. ~ 2 Timothy 2:15
Now that we know some of the common mistakes those seeking the Christian life make, let us look at some of the things we should learn and accomplish in our studies so we may better meet the definition of a true Christian follower of Christ.
Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. ~ Matthew 4:19
Not only did Jesus call to Peter and Andrew, but to us today as well, that if we follow Him and become His disciple, we will become an active participant in spreading His teachings. In other words we could say that a Christian is in the practice of casting bait, (the Word of God). Like any fishing experience, some will bite and some will not, but very few fish are caught when there are no fishermen and the proper bait is not used.
In John 10:27 Jesus made a definite distinction as to who are His disciples. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me The alternative should be clear that those who do not hear i.e. believe, the Lords Word, His voice, and who do not follow Him with their obedience, are not known by Him and cannot be His disciple or His sheep. Recall Matthew 7:21-23, where Jesus warns that there will be many who did many great and wonderful things in His name but they were not following (obedient to) Jesus, and therefore He will not know them. In teaching His Disciples Jesus said to them:
If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. ~ John 12:26.
Clearly one of the primary duties and actions of a Christian is to SERVE, as exemplified by Christ throughout His lifetime, and if we serve we will follow Christ and be available wherever He may go. Too many times Christ is doing the work of the Father but where are we? We are often consumed with self serving activities, in places Christ would not go or we are otherwise unavailable to serve the Lord. We must adhere to, and assist in spreading the teachings of Christ. We are told in 1 Thessalonians 5:22 to Abstain from all appearance of evil. So we need to think twice about where we go, and with whom, as well as what we do when we get there. Is Christ there? Would He join in on what we are doing? Is it a place or activity befitting a Christian who is an ambassador for Christ and are we available physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually to SERVE Christ at any hour?
Friends, as important and indispensable as they are, there is more to being a Christian than these few things concerning the flesh that we have so far discussed. First and foremost if we are going to be a Christian we must have an unwavering faith. Not faith in faith or faith in general as so many have today, but we must have the faith the Bible speaks of, the faith that brings one to repentance.
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. ~ Hebrews 11:6.
Without faith, that main ingredient in any Christian life, we cannot be a disciple of Jesus Christ no matter how well we adhere to everything else. We may claim to be a disciple, we may appear to be a disciple, we may even think we are a disciple, but unless we have true faith to believe that Jesus is all the things He claims to be, then we can not do any of the things that please Him.
There are those today, even mainstream pastors, that will tell us that it is not necessary to put forth the effort to please God and that there is nothing we can do that is pleasing to a Holy God. Therefore, they will say, don’t bother or concern yourself because to do anything other than believe is legalism. If we read and study the Bible we know this is not true. There is much one can do to please and to displease God whether we be a Christian already or seeking to know Him. Obedience pleases the Lord greatly and without it He will not be our Lord. Consider what Jesus said.
And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? ~ Luke 6:46
Producing fruit and being obedient to God is NOT so that He will save us. We have fruit and obey Him because we are saved and therefore want to please Him and be a light to others. It becomes a drive within us to please Him where once our drive was to please self.
In the Bible we repeatedly read that Jesus was careful to do only those things that pleased the Father, (John 8:29). Can any less be expected of us? The Bible says that we are to be found pleasing to Him in all respects. Second Timothy 2:4 even warns us about becoming too entangled in the affairs of this life, lest we fail to please our commander. The Apostle Paul and those with him were concerned about living a life that was pleasing to the Lord, in part because they knew this affected their fellowship with Christ and their prayers being answered. (Colossians 1:10; I Thessalonians 2:4; I John 3:22).
Most of the time we have served our own desires, our own vanity and purposes, we have disregarded warnings and hints from God and have spurned, and disregarded those things that please Him. Why would He suddenly throw open the gates of eternity to us when He has told us beforehand that faithfulness and obedience were mandatory? God who is infinitely loving could do that but He has told us He will not do so for those who disobey Him. Not because He is mean or unloving, but because He knows the value in humility and obedience and that it benefits us not only in spirit and character but in other ways. Plus it enables us to have an active investment in our Salvation without it being a works based Salvation. Something we put some effort into is always appreciated more than just being handed something that cost us nothing. God will not force us through those pearly gates but will instead recognize the choices we have made by our actions and the life we have lived. We must remember that the Bible tells us that Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people and part of our preparation is learning to obey.
For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. ~ Matthew 16:27
If we have true Christian faith we will act upon that faith in a way that is complimentary and glorifying to that faith and to the Lord. On the other hand if we do not act, (regardless of what our lips may say) ours is only a carnal non-saving faith. The devil and his demons have a non-saving faith. (James 2:19). They believe the truth about God and Jesus Christ, but do you think they will be in Heaven because they believe? The answer is that they do not do the works of one with faith, so therefore their faith profits them nothing and Heaven is out of their reach. Folks, not one soul will pass through those Pearly Gates on
faith alone unless that faith is a living, active, obedient faith.
Some people and churches try to work up
more of the spirit or pray louder, longer, or harder, to get their prayers answered, when all God really wants is a more obedient and pleasing life on our part, then it is His good pleasure to answer our prayers according to His will. (Luke 12:32; Luke 6:46). Of course none of this that we have discussed so far is possible before we individually go before God with a heart of confession and of repentance.
Then we have another group who appear to be living a holy Christian life, maybe they are passing out tracts, always faithful to be in Church, perhaps are even considered
prayer warriors in the local congregation, yet if these folks do not believe the truth about the Word of God, the Son Jesus Christ, and all that the Bible teaches, then they are merely going through the unprofitable motions and both groups are unsaved. They are not Christians in the Biblical sense that brings Salvation but have only adopted some Christian mannerisms and sayings. Remember James 2:20 . . .faith without works is dead ? Well, so is works without faith dead, because as we read from Hebrews 11:6 earlier ...without faith it is impossible to please him....
Either way, these folks have wasted their efforts, because only a true faith, and the resulting fruit of that faith, can benefit us. They have become
religious folks and religion has no power to save anyone.
We can therefore say; A truly converted Christian is one who is a disciple of Jesus Christ, with faith that He is all that He says He is. Further, a Christian hears and follows Christ's teachings found in His written Word the Bible. A Christian reads and studies the Word of God desiring to know Him better, and to serve Him more perfectly and we cannot leave out prayer. Without a life of daily prayer and conversing with the Lord it is difficult if not impossible to be a Christian in more than name only. A true Christian willingly submits in faithful obedience to Christ as the Lord of their life and they bear the fruit of that faith and following. Every Christian will not have the exact same fruit but we need to be aware of some basic qualities.
Every true Christian wants to glorify his Lord. He wants others to know Jesus, and he is not ashamed to be known as a Christian and all that it entails. A Christian is steadily moving away from the old things in their life, and away from their old ways. There is an ever growing gap in their present view of the world system and their former view, and less interest in the sinful things of the world as the Holy Spirit of God teaches and directs them. A Christian is increasingly aware of what is, and what is not, of God, and what is pleasing or displeasing to Him. Not only is a Christian aware, but a Christian cares about what is pleasing to the one who is most important in their life. A Christian prefers the company of Christians above those who are unsaved and they have an unfeigned love of the things their Lord loves, namely other Christians. A growing Christian delights in an opportunity to speak of their Lord and His ways because they are in love with Jesus. When you are in love with someone, they occupy a great deal of your thoughts, and your natural desire is to feel near to them.
Some of us don't know very many people like has just been described here, but this is what God expects of His followers, His Disciples - Christians. To reject any part of His Word is to reject it all, whether it be because of sloth, carelessness, shame, or unbelief, the result is the same, a rejection of Christ. He has promised:
But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. ~ Matthew 10:33.
- 1 disdain - To think unworthy; not deserving of one's notice. Regarded as beneath one. scorn.
- 2 Matthew 7:20 - Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.