Monday, September 24, 2018

Are you a Christian?

Many have been asking the question - “What does it really mean to be a Christian?”

The answer is as simple as the question:

“But to as many as did receive and welcome Him, He gave the right [the authority, the privilege] to become children of God, that is, to those who believe in (adhere to, trust in, and rely on) His name” (John 1:12 ).

Christians are called by His name because they have received Him as Savior and Lord. The word “Christian” means “follower of Christ.” And that then poses the questions: “Since you accepted Him into your heart, has your life changed? Do you have the marks of a Christian—a follower of Christ?

The word “Christian” is only used three times in the New Testament. Each time referred to believers of the early church:

1. “Then Barnabas went on to Tarsus to look for Saul. He found him and brought him back to Antioch. They were there a whole year, meeting with the church and teaching a lot of people. It was in Antioch that the disciples were for the first time called Christians” (Acts 11:26 ).

2. “Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” (Acts 26:28 KJV ).

3. “But if you suffer because you are a Christian, do not be ashamed. Praise God because you wear that name” (1 Peter 4:16 NCV).

The word meant “followers of Christ.” Individually and collectively, they were given this title became their actions, communication, endeavors, and thoughts were considered to be like Jesus Christ.
Partakers of Christ

According to God’s Word:

“He who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him” (1 Corinthians 6:17 NKJV ).

We are one spirit!

To become a Christian means to enter into Christ Jesus—to be partakers of His life. It means that you experience Him. He manifests Himself to you so that you will be transformed into His image. You cannot do this yourself. Only the Lord can transform you.

It means that the prayer of your heart becomes, “I want to know You, Lord Jesus.”

Jesus desires fellowship with you. He affirmed that the Father and the Son would fellowship with you. Day by day, what the Bible promises begins to transform you into His image.

Paul spoke of this transformation:

“For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face” (1 Corinthians 13:12 NKJV ).

That’s why it’s so important to ask yourself, “Am I really more like Jesus since I got saved?”

Receiving Christ as Savior and Lord is just the beginning. From that point, He wants to become real in your life.

Imagine! The Son of God desires to be more real to you than the person sitting next to you. When it happens, you will experience something far beyond words. You will be the true extension of Jesus. You enter into His life. You will partake of Him.
Jesus walking in water

The time has come for us to be partakers of His life! We will partake of all of His accomplishments. We will be His representative here. The transformation will accelerate. When you speak, He speaks. There will be deep hunger to really know Him, just as Paul wrote near the end of his life:

“That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death” (Philippians 3:12 ).

The Lord is coming for a Church without spot or wrinkle:

“That He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:27 ).

We will receive the fullness of His image when we get to heaven, but the process of transformation must begin on earth!

In the early church, the apostles were so transformed that even the Pharisees saw it:

“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13 ).

The transformation did not began during the 40 days. The transformation began when Jesus breathed upon them (John 20:22 ). By the time He ascended to heaven, they were more like Him than they had been while He was on earth, and the world recognized it. The transformation continued after the Holy Ghost came. It began to affect many in the early church like Stephen. They were transformed and lit up with God’s glory!
Christians in Name Only?

When you come into that transformation and oneness with Him, you will have all His accomplishments. All that He is, you are as well:

“And if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together” (Romans 8:17 ).

This means that you inherit the Lord Himself!

You are not only His inheritor, but also part of His remnant:

“And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, as the Lord has said, among the remnant whom the Lord calls” (Joel 2:32 ).

The name of the Lord represents who He was, who He is, and who He is to come. It refers to His accomplishments—all He is, and all He has done. We receive Him and all He has done.

Are we just Christians by name only if there is no fruit? Are we willing to carry our cross and follow Him? It is all about dedication and faithfulness and loyalty to the Master. We need to want His trust and to please Him, not merely pleasing people.

You cannot do this on your own. God alone can do it. He has to put the desire in your heart. You cannot have the desire on your own.

When we call His name, deliverance comes with Him. You immediately become His. No one can call on the name of the Lord and remain outside the Master. He called you before you called Him. He received you before you received Him. He called your name before you called Him.

You are the chosen remnant:

“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you” (John 15:16 ).

True Repentance Is Surrender
man praying

No man can come to Him on his own. It is the drawing of the Holy Spirit that makes all the difference.

Repenting has nothing to do with repentance about a certain sin. Repentance is giving of yourself—submitting yourself. Repentance is when you turn everything over to Him. You no longer belong to yourself. It is giving of yourself completely. You will no longer live for yourself, the world, and others. You completely and totally give your life to the Son of God. It is turning everything over to Jesus—submitting your life to Him. This is true Bible repentance!

We are told:

“He who believes in the Son has everlasting life, and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36 ).

The believer does not just mentally accept that Jesus is the Son of God. He believes He died for him and that He rose from the dead. This is not mental. Belief is completely yielding to the Son of God.

We were given this promise:

“But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord, I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people” (Jeremiah 31:33 ).

He gives you a new heart:

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you. I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them” (Ezekiel 36:26-27 ).

He gives you a heart to know and love Him. He gives you a new spirit. He put His Holy Spirit in you and remembers your sins no more.

He gave Himself! He did it on His own!

The Holy Spirit’s commentary on humanity is quite clear:

“And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19 ).

It was His plan, not ours.
What do you do?

You surrender. You cooperate with God. You yield to Him. You do not need to work for what He gives freely. You simply surrender—that is your work. The work is believing. Jesus never said on the Cross, “To be continued by you.”

Repentance is surrender. It is giving yourself to the Lord completely. It is coming to that place of oneness with the Messiah and being transformed.
Baptism water drop

Baptism happens right after true repentance! Circumcision was the guarantee into the Old Covenant. Baptism is the guarantee into the New Covenant. Baptism is the doorway into His death and resurrection.

True baptism is not to dip and get wet. It is literally being buried in baptism:

In Him, you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. Having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. (Colossians 2:11-12 )

The moment you are baptized you come through the door of His oath and Covenant. Your sins are forgiven to be remembered no more. You no longer sin. You are with Jesus and you have all of the blessings of the New Covenant. You receive it because you are one with Him—dynamically with Him. This is all connected to being completely yielded.
Reckon Yourself Dead to Sin

When God removes your sins, you must believe that you are forgiven. You have to accept God’s unconditional love and acceptance. Then, when the devil accuses you, throw Scripture back to him.

We have unlimited forgiveness! The word “forgive” in the Greek means to dismiss forever. You are forgiven! This doesn’t mean excusing offenses. It is the total removal of sin. Sin is a tyrant and wants to rule. Forgiveness frees us from the tyranny of sin. Sin is removed in repentance:

Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. (Romans 6:11-15 )

Yield yourselves to God and sin will not have dominion over you. God Himself has given this promise:

“But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life” (Romans 6:22 ).

Pay the Price

Christ has paid the price so you can be His follower. This was a free gift. So what do you do? You come to that place of fellowship where you spend time with Jesus. Pay the price of time to allow the Son of God to manifest Himself to you.

Daily contact means no warm-up session. Make a divine appointment with Jesus. Let no one disturb you. You must give Him your time. Choose specifically when you can spend time with Him without interruption. Never let anyone or anything prevent your time with the Master.

Then you can begin to truly know what it means to be a Christian!

It’s time to claim in faith what our Lord has promised to you and your loved ones!

Take a step of faith Now

No comments:

Post a Comment