Sunday, July 3, 2011

What Is A Christian?

To answer this question let’s take a look at the Greek definition of the word for ‘Christian’.

5546. Christianos khris-tee-an-os' from 5547; a Christian, i.e. follower of Christ:--Christian.

So a Christian is one who follows Christ.

The word ‘Disciple’ means:

3101. mathetes math-ay-tes' from 3129; a learner, i.e. pupil:--disciple.

Acts 11:25-26

“Then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to seek Saul. 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.”

A Disciple or Christian is one who is a learner and follower of Jesus Christ.

Jesus gave everyone conditions to meet in order to be His disciple. Let’s take a look at them.

Mark 8:34-38

“When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”

A condition we must meet if we desire to follow Jesus is to deny ourselves, and what does it mean to deny yourself?

It means to disown your very life and surrender it to Jesus. And taking your cross means to willingly die to self, to sacrifice and give up your life everyday to follow Jesus and do the will of God, not your own.

Luke 9:23-26

“Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels.”

To follow Jesus requires a daily sacrifice of your life, time, and resources.

Luke 14:25-33

“Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it— lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’? Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.”

Another condition that we must meet in order to be a disciple of Jesus is not to put anyone or anything above Him.

The word ‘hate’ used in the above scriptures means:

3404. miseo mis-eh'-o from a primary misos (hatred); to detest (especially to persecute); by extension, to love less:--hate(-ful).

If we do not abandon, let go of, and forsake every possession we own in this life we cannot be His disciple.

Matthew 10:34:39

“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.”

John 14:21,23

"He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me."

Jesus made it absolutely clear what a Christian is, and if we don’t meet His conditions and keep His commandments, then we cannot follow Him, we do not love Him, we will not be worthy of Him, and in the end we will lose our very souls.

Here is a link to an excellent message that goes even deeper into what it means to deny yourself and take up your cross.

http://www.buildinghishouse.org/articles/denyself.shtml

With Love,
Tyrone