What is a Christian

Discipleship  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  41:58
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Today we are going to be starting a new summer series called “Discipleship” we are going to spend the next couple of months looking at the various topics that related to Christian Discipleship.
“What is a Christian?”

When you think of the word Christian what comes to mind?

Lets say you were to go down town or walk through the mall of Abilene to interview people that passed by and asked me the signal question. “What is a Christian?

What kind of answers and opinions do you think you might get?

1. I think you might have some doozies!
2. Here’s a few I think you might hear.

A Christian is someone who believes in God.

1. I believe there is a God.
2. He or she is out there somewhere watching us.
3. There’s a higher power and I believe there’s a higher power.
4. A Christian is someone who believes there’s a God.

A Christian is someone who tries to live a good life and treats other people right.

1. They do the best they can.
2. Their good parts outweigh their bad parts.
3. They try and help other people occasionally.
4. They don’t judge others.
5. A Christian is someone trying to live and let live.

A Christian is someone who has Christian parents or Christian spouses.

1. I’m a Christian by birth.
2. My parents are Christian and I’m their child.
3. I’m a Christian because my family is Christian.
4. It’s kind of like a birthright, I got it because they have it.
5. I’m a Christian because my family is Christian.

A Christian is someone who gives money to a church.

1. I like what the church does so I give them money to support them.
2. They have good causes and I’m a good person so I give my money to do good things.
3. I’m a Christian because I support the church financially.

A Christian is someone who’s been baptized.

1. I’ve been dunked or sprinkled.
2. I’ve been through catechism, I’ve been confirmed.
3. I’ve got certificates that attest to this.
4. I’m a Christian because I’ve done all the right stuff.

A Christian is someone who goes to church.

1. They may have somehow joined a church.
2. They have their names in a church record book somewhere.
3. I’m a Christian because I go to church.

Those are all opinions and answers you might get from an interview asking “What is a Christian?”

1. I’ve heard all of these answers before.
2. There are other answers you can throw in there, too.
3. What I want us to do today is consider whether these are good answers?
4. Are these really the answer to “What is a Christian?”

To find an answer to the question, “What is a Christian”, we’re going to see what the Bible says.

A. The Bible is the book for Christians and those wanting to know more about Christianity.
1. The Bible tells us about itself.
2. The Bible says it is God-inspired.
3. The Bible tells us that God speaks through its words.
4. So, if there’s a true, definitive answer to “What is a Christian?” it ought to be in the God-inspired, God-speaking Bible.
B. So let’s go to the Bible and see if we can find an answer to the question: What is a Christian?
1. Read Acts 11:19–26
Acts 11:19–26 NKJV
19 Now those who were scattered after the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but the Jews only. 20 But some of them were men from Cyprus and Cyrene, who, when they had come to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists, preaching the Lord Jesus. 21 And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord. 22 Then news of these things came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas to go as far as Antioch. 23 When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord. 24 For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. 25 Then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to seek Saul. 26 And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.

These three paragraphs tell us about Christians in the ancient town of Antioch.

Verse 26 says that people were first called “Christians” in Antioch.

1. So, if these people were Christians, maybe their story can answer our question.
2. Can we look at the experience of these people and find out what made them Christians?
3. Can what made them Christians be the same thing that can make us a Christian?
4. I believe it is.

What makes a Christian?

According to Acts 11:19-26

They heard the good news about the Lord Jesus (v. 20).

1. What is the good news about Jesus Christ?
2. Well, you have to start with some bad news.
a. The bad news is that all human beings have broken God’s holy moral law.
b. We are all dead in our unholy, unrighteous nature.
c. But we have all failed to live up to God moral standard.
d. We have all disobeyed God, rebelled against Him.
e. This is called sin.
f. The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death.”
g. The bad news is we’re sinners and under a death sentence.
3. Now, for the good news.
a. God holds us accountable for our sin.
b. But His love for provides the way of escape from the death sentence.
c. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to bear the punishment for our sin.
d. Jesus took our death sentence and gave Himself in our place.
e. The Good News is that we can be forgiven of our sins in Jesus Christ.
f. We can be made right with God through Jesus Christ.
g. We can live not only now, but forever, with God because of Jesus Christ.

They believed (v. 21).

1. What did they believe?
2. They believed the Good News about the Lord Jesus Christ.
3. They did more than give intellectual ascent to the Good News.
4. They absorbed it, they trusted in Him.
5. God’s hand was with them.
6. God was working in their hearts to see the truth, to accept the truth, to believe in the truth.
7. When we hear the Good News, we have a choice.
a. The Bible says that God draws us to Himself.
b. He works in our hearts and removes the blinders, the veil.
c. As He works, we hear the Good News and we have a choice.
d. We can choose to believe or we can choose to walk away.
e. Do you believe?
f. Is God opening your eyes to the truth of the Good News of Jesus Christ?
g. Then believe! Then trust!

They turned to the Lord (v. 21).

1. When you turn, you start heading in a different direction.
2. The Biblical word “repent” means to turn from the direction you are going and turn to God.
3. Repenting has to do with owning up to the truth of who we are and where we are headed.
4. Repenting is admitting to God that we’re going the wrong way.
5. Repenting is turning our life in the direction God wants us to go.
6. When we hear the Good News …
7. When in our hearts we believe in Jesus Christ …
8. When we come to that point, when we see the love of God for us, we will want to change the direction of our lives.
9. We will turn from a self-centered life to a God-centered life.

They experienced the grace of God (v. 23).

1. Grace is getting what you don’t deserve.
2. We’ve rightfully earned the death sentence because we lived without God and against God.
3. But God offers us grace, not getting what we deserve.
4. When we turn to Jesus, we will experience the grace of God.
5. Not only His grace delivering us from eternal death, but His grace to live right now!

They became disciples (v. 26).

1. Disciples are followers: followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.
2. When we believe, trust, and turn to Jesus, by His grace we’re to follow Him.
3. We’re to develop a personal relationship with Him.

So we’ve answered the question “What is a Christian?

A. The follow up question is this: Are you a Christian?
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