Describing Christians

Pastor Matt Davis
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How would you describe a Christian

Pastor Matt – Describing A Christian – 1 Peter 4:16 Introduction Amen, I love that song. It captures the proper mood of praise, and it captures the gospel and what the gospel is. So speaking of the gospel, today we're gonna begin transitioning from the or I guess we're not so much gonna begin as we're going to just transition from the Old Testament into the New Testament, in our preaching cycle. So for the next two to three months, we're going to be in the New Testament, and while starting the New Testament, I decided to begin with a question. And that question is, how do you describe a Christian? If we're in a group of people who all claim to be Christian, or we're going out and we're looking for Christians or looking for people act as a Christian, or maybe we, we need to evaluate ourselves? Are we acting like a Christian? How do we describe a Christian? So First Peter 4:16 says, "Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf." It says if any men suffer as a Christian. So about a month and a half ago in the physical church before we merged our Bible studies, we talked in Luke about the Beatitudes, and in the Beatitudes, I'm paraphrasing here Christ talks about, if you are persecuted, if you're hated, for the sake of His name, He says, "Blessed are you." He says, "Rejoice for your blessed." But that says... that means as a Christian. So here's, here's a question: if we go to Walmart, and we were pushing our car, and there's a grouchy person, or somebody who upsets us, and we start shouting obscene words at them, and then they hate us or get on us, are we being persecuted for the sake of Christ? The answer is probably no. But if we go out, and we get persecuted, because we share our faith, because we say, Praise God, or thank God, or because we, we hold certain morals, as a Christian, than we should not be ashamed, but we should glorify God. But in order to suffer as a Christian, we need to know that we are a Christian, we need to know that that's how we are suffering. So today, I'm going to describe four brief areas that we can examine our life or examine somebody else to see if we are living as the way a Christian should. If we can be described as a Christian, and these will be brief. Today, today's a short message. But it's an important one. Someone Who Is In Christ So the first way we describe a Christian, you know, is a Christian, somebody who follows Christ? Probably, but a Christian is so much more than someone who follows Christ: a Christian is somebody who is in Christ. Second Corinthians 5:17 says, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." So if we are in Christ, the first thing that we need to see that the says is that we are a new creature. So what does that mean? On John, chapter three, verses five through six, Christ is talking to Nicodemus, about the types of birth that we must have, he says, "He must be born of water and of spirit. For that which his flesh is flesh and that which is Spirit is spirit." And what Christ is saying is that we are all born flesh, we are in the sin suit. He says, "Ye must be born of spirit, you must be born again." He says, "Verily, I say that unless a man is born again, he cannot enter into the kingdom." So if we are born again, we are born anew; that's a new start. That's a new beginning. It's a new life. Instead of living our life identified with the lust of our flesh, we live our life anew with Christ. And so if we are a new creature, Old things are passed away. Behold, all thing become new. So what does this mean? Well, what this means is if we are a new creature, a new creation, there should be something different in our life. When we get saved, we should not be the same person. So an example of this is if you have somebody who you've known your entire life, all of a sudden professed to be saved to be a Christian, and you examine their life, you examine their actions and what they're doing. And you can't find anything noticeably different about their life now versus their life before they say they got saved, they're probably not a new creature. Now, that's not always the case, they could be a brand new convert, and, and those things can be changing and, and those sort of come up, that's what we watch for. Because we're a new creation, we give way to our flesh, we kind of push our flesh aside, and we accept the spirit. So there, I'm not saying that you're going to be perfect when you get saved. I know several saved people here, I don't think any of us are perfect. If you are, please raise your hand because I need to talk to you after church about sin of lying and pride. None of us are perfect. But things will change there. There are people who have known me pre salvation and post salvation, who can point things out in my life that have changed since I've been saved. I can point one of them out myself. But some of the smaller things I don't see myself where the people who know me see, they see the difference. They see where I used to be one way and now I'm another. An example is my love of money. Before I was saved, boy did I love money, I served money. Now I don't, I really don't care about it. If I can pay my bills, I'm happy. So the Christian who is in Christ is what we call the surrendered Christian. He has surrendered 100% of his being over to God. And when he is surrendered to God, he is in the process of being cleansed and filled with God's divine love. And then Christ is in that person to lead him, to guide him, and to direct his path. Now the Bible says up the word is a lamp to our feet. Paraphrasing again, but it's a lamp to our feet. The Word of God is our guide; it directs our steps. But that's only possible if we're in Christ. When Christ is in the surrendered Christian, he will give us power for service. He'll give us the power to go out and talk about him to share him with people. He will give us the power to work miracles. He will give us the power to be bold. He will give us the power to overcome temptation. The Christian that is in Christ has his sins forgiven and as guilt is gone; he's a new creature. So quick little story about... actually I'll wait. I'll wait a minute until my next point. The Christian in Christ has nothing to worry about eternally. For when he is surrender before the foot of the cross, surrendered to Christ, Christ took his sins. So the first thing that we would do to describe a Christian is we describe them as somebody who is in Christ. Christ describes the same thing in john 15 He says, "Therefore if you abide in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit." In the actual Scripture says, "I am the vine and you're the branch whosoever abideth in I and I in him: it is he who will bear much fruit." So Christ talks of abiding in him and him abiding in us. And then he says he will bear much fruit. In other words, fruit bearing is not... bearing fruit is not a optional portion of being a Christian bearing fruit, it's a requirement because you will bear fruit if you are in Christ. Now notice that requirement comes after you're already saved. So barring fruit is not a requirement for salvation. Now they're bearing fruit as a token of salvation, bearing fruit indicates to the world that you have been saved. Someone Who Is Like Christ The second thing that we can do is be like Christ. How can you be a Christian if you're opposite of Christ? So we must be like Him. First Peter 2:21 says, "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:" The life of Christ until His death was an example unto us. The four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, they show us the way that Christ lived. So what do we know about Christ? We know that Christ was compassionate. We know that He was merciful. We know that He was filled with love. He is, not just that He was: He's alive today. He was filled with love. We know that He will not hesitate to reach out and help the person who was down. He didn't care if that person was so called "clean" or "not clean". He would reach down and He would help. Christ was a worker. Christ lived His life that He would glorify the Father. So the desire of the Christian should be to act the way that Christ would act. That means to do the things that He would do, to speak the words that He would speak. So storytime a couple weeks ago, I met a, for the fourth or fifth time, I met the the Fire Warden over here in our county and he was teaching our class. I was training to get my certification I just got. He was teaching the class but the fire chief for Orderville was down. Now Orderville is the town where my physical church resides. I've been looking to meet the fire chief for three years now. I've been trying to meet him over there. Never had the luck and he ended up being one of the instructors in my class the same night as the guy from Beaver. And when he announced himself and who he was I, during a break, I went up and introduced myself to him, "Hey, I'm Matt. I've been trying to meet you. You know, wanted introduce myself to you. Get to know you a little bit." And the fire... the guy from beaver says, "What do you do up in Orderville?" And I told him, I said, "Well I pastor a church there." And the first thing that he says is, "Well, you look like a Baptist." But this led to a conversation after the fact. Well, I found out that he was a Christian. He's a, he's Pentecostal. But he is a profesh... professing Christian, and we had to talk about this a little bit. Because his actions would never have told you he was a Christian. He's the type of person who would call people an idiot or a jerk, or stupid or cuss over the radio. His attitude is not the type of things that Christ would do and say. And so I got to talk with him. And I let him know. It's like, "Hey, I never would have known you were a Christian." And we talked about it. By the way, that's okay to talk about it. And this is why I'm not giving his name too. But we talked about that because the there's a problem if, if a another Christian cannot identify you as a Christian. What is the likelihood that an unsaved person, a non believer in Walmart, or your workplace, or wherever it is, you're hanging out... What's the likelihood that the non believer is going to figure out that you're a Christian if other Christians cannot figure it out? What type of example are we setting? And what type of light are we shining? How are we representing our Lord, if we are professing Christians, and we're representing him in a way that other people would never know it? We need to evaluate ourself. And so how can we become more like Christ? Now this, this guy I'm telling you about was telling me he doesn't know why he's in Utah. He says, most of my neighbors here, don't believe what I believe. He says, I don't like it in Utah. All I have here is my job. And I don't know why I'm here. And I asked him, "Have you ever considered that maybe you're here to be a light to other people?? And he says, "Well, no. He says, maybe that's that's the case. And where do I start?" And I told him, I said, "Well, first, you start by becoming more like Christ. So you can't represent them until then." So if we want to become more like Christ, what do we do? Well, the first thing that we can do is read our Bible daily. The Bible tells us that we need to renew our mind. And what does renewing our mind mean? Does that mean we get up in the morning and we refresh? I think it's, I do think it's refreshing to read the Bible. But that's not what it means. That means that our mind is transformed. To renew our mind is to transform it from the thoughts of the flesh to the thoughts of God. How do we know what the thoughts of God are? Because how could our mind be transformed to have God's thoughts if we're saying, "What what are they? How do I know what they are?" And the answer is: The Bible. What we read in the Bible, those are God's thoughts. That's how He thinks, how He feels, how He acts. So when we read that we transform our mind to be more like God's mind. We know what God would do, because we have His word. We've seen how He's interacted with people for the past 6000 years. We've seen how He has lived when He was in the flesh on the earth. We know how He thinks and operates. Not, not fully, not completely comprehended but we know we can transform our mind. And so we can become like Him. We can become like Him by praying, often praying for His strength, when we are weak. And I'll tell you what, I would rather be weak in my own strength and strong in God, then weak in God and strong in my own strength. We can pray for advice, counsel, guidance, solutions to our problems. We can become like Him by practicing being kind and compassionate. I know far too many Christians who aren't either. Those are things we can begin doing right now. Someone Who Is For Christ The third thing that we need to do, I told you today was going to be quick, the third thing that we need to do is we need to be for Christ. This is big to me. Because this is kind of loaded being for Christ is more than what it just sounds like. First Corinthians 6:20 says, "For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." So let me ask a question, is our salvation free? Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us that we are saved by grace through faith and it's not our cell phone. It's the free gift of God, right? Not the result of works that no man may boast. But while it's the free gift of God, was that free? There's an old saying and it's I don't know how old the saying is, but it's older than myself. And it's used a lot today. Every time I see somebody from a specific political party put out free education or free internet or free health care. What does everybody say? There is no such thing as free, right? Well, that's true. There is no such thing as free. For a while, salvation is the free gift of God to us, it was purchased at a price. It was purchased at an extreme price, even the price of God. For God had to come and take on flesh and then shed His own blood to purchase us. And there is nothing, no amount of gold, no amount of Platinum or silver or any other precious metal. There was nothing that has been created, that is more valuable than God Himself, and the life that He gave for us. So we were bought with the price therefore because of the high price, because of that sacrifice, we should glorify God in our body. That's our physical selves, we should glorify Him with our mouth, we should glorify Him with our hands, we should glorify Him with the tools that we can use, and we should glorify Him in our spirit. That can be in our thoughts; that can be in our prayer. That can be in the spiritual rehabilitation that we're going through. For they are God's. He bought them. I'm going to tell you a little secret here, whether you are saved or not. Whether you are going to heaven or eternally to hell, you are still bought by God. They're His. So we should be for Christ. It's hardly possible to be a Christian and be against Christ. So what does that mean? This means a few things. Number one, the Christian is for Christ, a good soldier, like a soldier is for his country. So that means that we're willing to endure afflictions, we're willing to be persecuted for His sake, we are willing to die for Him. He died for us, we are willing to die for Him. We are willing to stand on our belief at the cost of our life. We are willing to preach the gospel, if it means getting arrested, we are willing to be persecuted, to be afflicted to be mocked, for His cause. It means that the Christian should be ready to share Christ with other people. We should be ready to give up our time. We should be ready to use our talents, we should be ready to give up our treasures for Christ. Because we are for Him. Now I want to focus real quick on sharing Him. This is big for me right now I believe that every person who believes Christ should be sharing Him every day. There should not be a day that we wake up and go to bed without having shared Christ with somebody. We're in the End Times. Now, I'm not telling you that tomorrow or next week or next month or next year is the end of the world. I don't know when that is. It can be 20 years out, 30 years out, only God knows. But certainly all the biblical signs and prophecies of what the end is will look like are manifesting themselves. They're here. So we need to be giving of our time to build the kingdom. And a lot of people, I talked with some people who said, well, the opportunity is just never... I never see the opportunity. It doesn't present itself. So I'm going to tell you something your way and for the little red alarm lights to start twirling with a banner that drops down that says opportunity and confetti popping up alerting you that it's time that the opportunity is just right to share, you're never going to share because that doesn't happen. The closest you get to that is somebody asking you to explain to them which is rarer and rarer. So a quick story on how easy it is. I don't know if any of you have seen the starlink satellites move across the night sky. But typically two to three days after they launch them you can see a whole string you know like this just lined up satellite, satellite satellite in a line and they move across the sky. Well, about what was it two weeks ago, Shawnee, or less than that. Somewhere around two weeks ago, Shawnee and I, we went on our nightly walk, we go on a walk every evening. And as we were coming down the hill on the road, we were talking and we caught a glimpse, and then out of the corner of our eye. So we stop the conversation, we turn back, and when to get a good viewing angle of the satellites. In the meantime, there is a person in his garage, the garage doors open, and as we're walking and he can hear us talking and he overheard me say, "Hey, you see that? Let's stop and go look." He got curious what I saw. And so he came out of his garage and asked what I was looking at and I pointed to the sky, I said, "You see those lights?" He says, "Yeah, what are they?" I told him, I said, "Well those are the starlink satellites for their new internet service." And as we started talking about the satellites for a little bit, and after about 30 minutes, it hit me. It was a perfect opportunity to present the gospel. Didn't seem related. You know, we're talking about lights in the sky. But it was the perfect opportunity. So I said to him, "Hey, do you believe in the Bible?" He says, "I don't know why." Say "Well, you know, a long shot here. But I those, those lights remind me of something. And they remind me of revelation when it talks about the two witnesses." So most people here tonight, went through this Bible study with me. The two witnesses, what does the Bible say? It says, they will be killed in the street, right? And the entire world will rejoice because they watched it happen. Now 2000 years ago, and that was written, John had no idea what type of technology we had. John only knew that everybody would watch. Think of... think of that 2000 years later: here we are we got satellites that are being launched almost every week right now. They're covering the entire earth. And Elon Musk's goal is to bring internet to every square foot of this planet. Well, that means the entire world could watch. I brought that up. And that little bit of thing led us into a whole conversation that ultimately went nowhere. Just saying that conversation ultimately ended nowhere that night. But he has a seed. And so I'm sharing this because we need to be sharing Christ all the time. We need to look for the opportunity, we've got to find the opportunity, and then we've got to take it. If there's not one that seems to be present, we got to see if we can make one. Someone Who Is With Christ And number four, the Christian should be with Christ. Now, as I said this morning, if you are in Christ, it'll be hard to be separate from him. But first Thessalonians 4:17 says, "Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." I can't wait for that day. That's the day that we call the rapture of the church. When it says that we should ever be with him and that is talking in the physical sense we will be with him. But even here now, the Lord is with the Christian. The Lord promises to the believer, He says, "I will send the Spirit, the holy comforter to you, the counselor." He says, "Where two or three are gathered in my name. There I am in the midst of them." He says, "I will never leave or forsake you." Well, how could he leave or forsake us unless he is with us right now? So I'm going to tell you a secret. If you get to a point in your life, where you start looking around you and saying, you know, I feel like I haven't been with God for a while. I feel like... I don't feel like he's been around. First thing I'm going to tell you is when you feel like you're getting farther and farther away from God it is you that moved away from him. Not Him, because He will never move away from you. The second thing I'm going to tell you, if you find yourself here, if you find yourself feeling like man, God's far away, this this hand right here is you and this hand is God, okay? And as you start walking away, God will follow. So all you have to do was just turn around, just turn around and call out to Him, "Oh, God." And he's right there, he never left. He may have given you your space, but he followed right behind. You will never leave or forsake you. And so the Christian that is with Christ has no burdens. Now, that's easier said than done. Anyone who has known me in the last three years, would probably call me a liar. If I said that the Christian has no burdens. Everyone knows how burdened I've been the last three years. But should we have burdens. Christ says, "Come to me all who are weary and labor burdened." And He says, "For my yoke is easy." He says, "I'll give you rest." He says, "Cast your burdens on me. And I'll carry that load." So the Christian who is in Christ, who is like Christ, who is for Christ, therefore is with Chris, he should have no burdens, because he gives them to the Lord, he should have no trial. Again, that's loaded. That does not mean that you're not going to be persecuted. It does not mean that there's not going to be hard times, but it's certainly no trial. We've read about how great and mighty our God is. With somebody like that, who is in me, and who I am and who is with me, what trial do I really have? Therefore, the Christian is no suffering. Again, I think there are many who would call me a liar. But it's our attitude. Certainly, I think the modern Christian, when we start getting afflicted, we start tormenting or so if we start saying, "Oh, God, I'm suffering, why you allow this to happen?" But I look back to Paul, and I, again, I think most people in this room, or this call, went through the Acts study with me. When we talked about Paul, remember Paul in prison? Midnight, he stands up and he starts singing into the Lord, right. He starts glorifying Him, and he shackled up in prison. He did not have the mentality that he was suffering. He's been bitten by snakes, he's been shipwrecked. And then remember, during that shipwreck on their way to Rome, they decide they have to swim to shore, right? And right before that everybody else "We're gonna die! We're starving!" whatever. And Paul stands up, and he encourages them in the Lord. And the Christian will forever be with Christ. What a great promise. So let us reflect on ourselves. Before we can reflect on anyone else, let us reflect on ourselves these things: therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, a new creation. Behold, the old things have passed and all things have become new, right? Conclusion/Application So let us examine, has my old self passed? Or do I still cling to the lust, and the desires, and the will of the flesh? Remember that he was leaving us an example that you should follow in His steps. Do we live like Christ? Do we talk like Christ? Are we compassionate like Christ? Do we love like Him? Do we say what He would say? Are we transforming our own mind? Are we for Christ? Are we a good soldier for Him? Are we willing to give our life? Are we willing to defend Him? To defend our belief? And are we with Him? And then do we need to examine other people? Yes, because we're called to witness; we're called to serve; we're called to share. And you've got to know how you're sharing. If somebody says that they are a Christian, but you can see that they certainly do not behave like one, you probably need to give them the gospel. I'll tell you what, it's a whole lot better to treat somebody like they are condemned, like they are not saved, sharing them, sharing with them the gospel every day, and then get to heaven and find out that the whole time they were saved. They're not going to be mad at you, they're gonna thank you. Thank you for loving me, brother. Then it is to say, "Oh, he's saved. I don't need to preach to him." And on Judgement day you find out Oh, I misjudged when I thought he was saved. Examine, are they like Christ? Can you tell that they are Christ like in the way that they act and think? Are they for Christ, and this is big. Being for Christ is more than just being a good soldier for Christ, it is more than just being willing to share your time with him, to give him your talents or your treasures, but at standing for everything that he stood for. So how about abortion? When we examine people, when we examine other churches, if you ever want to go to another church, you shouldn't just examine individuals, you should examine the church and their policies, the church for Christ. Can you be a Christian and support abortion at the same time? The answer is no. It's not possible because if you are for Christ, what did Christ say about her and his little children are not suffering the little ones? Christ teaches us not to murder, he teaches us to not suffer the little children. So if we are for him, how can we be for killing his innocent children. How about same sex marriage? Christ is condemned that as well. Some people will say, well, that's the Old Testament law. We don't have to think about that anymore. Is that true? Although we are taught in the New Testament, that we are no longer under the law to be cursed by it, we are under the law of grace. Paul says, "Do we therefore abolish the law?" He says, "Nay, rather, we establish it." Because we love Christ, because we were for him, we want to keep his commandments, we want to do what he has said. A Christian will not justify, "well that's the Old Testament. I don't have to live the way that God wants me to live because I'm saved." That person's not saved. How about the roles between man and woman? God's given us different roles. People for Christ, when we're examining churches are people do they mess with those roles? Do they try and make them something they're not? So we need to be willing to examine ourself. Because you cannot properly examine someone else unless you've examined yourself. And then we need to examine other people. So we know how we ought to reach them, how we ought to share with them. So if you're listening to this message tonight, about how to be a Christian and what a Christian looks like. And if you are examining yourself and saying, I'm not this or I'm not that it's very easy to fix. You can begin... you can fix that today. Invitation If you are not in Christ. You probably weren't saved and I can help you get in Christ today. But if you're in Christ, but you're not like Him yet chances are, you're not in His Word. You're not praying. So add that. If you're not for Christ, examine what it is. Maybe you're for abortion. Maybe you're for same sex marriage, but examine why you're offended and then determine if you're going to be offended by God or offended by what man has determined should be right and wrong, and stand with that. But if you're listening to this and saying, "You know, I'm none of these at all, and I'm ready. Now I want to be like, Christ. I don't want to bear my burdens on my own. I don't want to go through trials on my own. I don't want to suffer on my own." Then right now you can be in Christ, you can be transformed to be like, and that will be a work in progress. You can be for him. And it begins with knowing who he is. Christ is the only begotten of the Father. He is God, who was in the beginning, who created the heavens and the earth, who created all that there is whether it's seen or unseen. Christ took on flesh, to pay for your sins that condemned you. This way, you did not have to pay that penalty yourself. And He did so by being nailed to a cross and buried and resurrected on the third day. That if you would believe in His name, that you would believe He is God, that if you believe He resurrected, if you would admit that you were a sinner, and that you need that. Then He says, "Whosoever would confess me before his fellow men, I will confess him before the Father." There is a catch side to that for the very next verse of that passage, it's found in Matthew 10:32-33. He says, "Whosoever will deny me before man, I will deny" meaning if you deny Christ, He will deny you. So now that you know who He is, if you can believe that, if you can truly accept and if you can want Him to be Lord over your life, then ask for it. Paul says, "If you would confess at the amount of Lord Jesus and believe in your heart, that God raised Him from the dead, you would be saved." So ask for a believer, I'm going to give you that opportunity right now, in the closing prayers. If you want to be in Christ, if you want to be saved, repeat the first portion of the closing prayer with me. And then like Christ says, confess Him before your fellow man be ready to confess them. ***Prayer***
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