Who is a Christian?

As you read and study what has been written here, do not just blindly accept it.  Please check the Scriptures and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you His truth.  The Scriptures quoted are from the King James version with the words of Jesus in red.

Do you consider yourself to be a Christian?

The answer many people would give in answer to this question is A yes, I do consider myself a Christian. Most of them would be very sincere in believing they were a Christian because they were born and living in a A Christian Nation or they were raised by parents in a Christian home. Before we can really answer this question truthfully, we must define the term Christian.

There are, however, many different definitions for the term Christian in common use today. Unfortunately, most of these definitions do not conform to the Scriptural use of the term nor do they fit the dictionary definition either.

The College Edition of Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language defines A Christian as follows:

A disciple is defined by that same dictionary as a pupil, follower, or adherent of any teacher or school of religion, learning, art, etc. and also an early follower of Jesus, especially one of the twelve apostles.

Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary has the following comments about the term A Christian.

There are only three Scriptures that use the term Christian. They are all in the New Testament; Acts 11:26, Acts 26:28, and 1 Peter 4:16. In each of these cases, those to whom the term is applied are followers or disciples of Jesus.

During the nearly 2,000 years since Jesus walked the earth as a man the term Christian has taken on a much different meaning for many people. The meaning of the term Christian and its application is much different depending upon whether you are inside or outside the church world. And even within the church world there is not uniformity of application of the term. There are many today who identify them selves as Christians but are not followers or disciples of Jesus. This practice is in keeping with today's common application of the term to any who are not of the Jewish faith or heritage. Many others have identified themselves as Christians because they are either members, or regular attendees, of some church organization. They honestly believe that automatically makes them A a Christian ; meaning they are a follower or disciple of Jesus.

In a report issued June 25, 2001 by Barna Research entitled Religious Beliefs Vary Widely By Denomination they cite some shocking statistics about the born again constituency. Barna Research Group of Ventura, California is an organization that surveys and reports bi-weekly on American culture and faith. Their above cited report states in part:

It is interesting to note these people surveyed were church attendees, not just a cross-section of the American public. In a report they issued December 17, 2001 where they identified the years most intriguing findings from their studies they said the following:

The common practice of using the term Christian to identify anyone who attends church makes it easy to believe these groups consider themselves to be A Christians even though these Barna reports did not actually say that. When there are so many different meanings applied to a single word it becomes difficult to communicate without honest mis-understandings.

As a follower or disciple of Jesus, who is The Christ or The Anointed One , it is perfectly normal and proper to call yourself a Christian. This would be in perfect agreement with the primary definition according to Webster's dictionary. It also would be in perfect harmony with the Scriptures.

Scripture uses other terms for those who were followers of Jesus. They were identified as those of the way , disciple or Jesus' disciple , and the sect of the Nazarenes. However, hardly anyone today would understand what you were talking about if you were to use any of these terms to describe those who are followers or disciples of Jesus.

What is involved in being a A Christian ?

The short answer to this question of being a Christian is to be a follower or disciple of Jesus. It would, among other things, mean you are a student of the teachings of Jesus. This would include learning what those teachings are and becoming an adherent of them by incorporating those principles into your way of life. Becoming a member of, or regularly attending a church, will not in itself, make you a Christian or disciple. It may provide information, instruction, and encouragement to help you become a follower or disciple of Jesus. Only you, through the urging and power of the Holy Spirit, can make that continuing effort necessary to become a disciple.

Once the Holy Spirit has put the desire in your heart to follow Jesus you must be born again. You have been born of the flesh from your mother's womb but you must be born again of the Spirit. This is done by believing on the Name of Jesus while repenting of, and confessing, your sins and asking Him to take control of your life.

Jesus explained to Nicodemus, one of the ruling Pharisees, how you become a Christian by being born again. He said you have been born a natural man but you must also be born of the Spirit to enter the kingdom of God. This idea of being born again was a great mystery to Nicodemus and also to many today.

Now that you have made the determination that you really do want to follow Jesus and become a disciple, you must answer the question of how committed you are to that decision. You have been granted eternal life with Jesus by being born again but becoming a disciple requires more than just attaining future residence in heaven. Becoming a disciple will require you to study the Bible to learn about Jesus and the way of life He expects you to live.

Your teacher should be the Holy Spirit. Ask God, in prayer, for the Holy Spirit to reveal His truth as you read and study Scripture. Most often this is the method by which you will gain understanding but it is not the only way. God, through the Holy Spirit, may speak to you in prayer, by another person or in some other way. It is imperative, when you receive from these other means, that it witnesses with your spirit AND is in agreement with Scripture.

It also would require you to pray for the Holy Spirit to help you have a better understanding of the Scriptures.

You who have been born again of the Spirit are now a child of God. Becoming a child of God affords you both rewards and responsibilities. God has covenanted to provide for and protect those who live according to His Word. A partial list of those provisions and protections include salvation, forgiveness, peace, mercy, grace, strength, guidance, faithfulness, and healing. One of the Scriptures which promise salvation (Romans 10:9-10) has already been discussed. There are many Scriptures which could be quoted for each of the other provisions and protections listed above but only one of each will be listed here. I encourage you to search out not only these Scripture references, but also the many additional ones related to them.

Salvation (also Saved):

Mark 16:16, Luke 19:9-10, John 3:16-17, Acts 2:21, Acts 4:11-12, Romans 1:16, Romans 10:13, and Ephesians 2:4-10.


Acts 13:37-38, Acts 26:18, Ephesians 1:8, and Colossians 1:14.


John16:33, Romans 5:1, Romans 8:6, Romans 14:17, Galatians 5:22, Ephesians 2:14, Phillipians 4:7 & 9, Colossians 3:15, and 2 Thesalonians 3:16.


Ephesians 2:4, Titus 3:5, Hebrews 4:16, and 1 Peter 1:3.


Strength: Hebrews 11:11


Faithfulness:  Psalm 40:10, Psalm 89:1-8, Psalm 143:1, Isaiah 25:1, and Lamentations 3:21-23.

Healing: Matthew 9:35, Luke 9:6 & 11, Acts 4:22, Acts 10:38, 1 Corinthians 12:9,

When you become born again you have entered into a covenant relationship with God. The enjoyment of God's provision and protection are His part of the covenant He has with the born again believer. Our part of that covenant is obedience to His Word. We are told in 2 timothy 2:15 to "study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." The study of God's Word is necessary for us to know how we are to live our lives. The Bible contains directions for what our thoughts and actions should be. As we learn these we are expected to follow them to honor, or fulfill, our part of the covenant between God and ourselves.

There is a cost to become a disciple of Christ. When you choose to walk with Him, you will be out of step with the world. The closer you walk with the Lord, the more pressure you will feel from those of the world. You are apt to lose your friends because they will want you to do things which you no longer want to. They will probably tease or ridicule you. You may find the environment when you go to school or work suddenly becomes difficult for you to endure.

The more serious you become about following the Lord Jesus the more you are apt to encounter persecution. Jesus tells 3s in Matthew 5, verse 11, that we should expect persecution because of Him.

Scripture tells us to expect it. Jesus himself, in the parable of the sower, tells us tribulation and persecution will arise because of His Word.

Don't be surprised when some, if not most, of the persecution you experience comes from within the Christian community. We are given a description of the persecution inflicted on the followers of Christ by Saul, who was at that time part of the recognized formal religious community.

Saul, who became known as Paul, after his encounter with the Lord suffered persecution often from the religious community.

Scripture tells us these who were persecuted, suffered because the Jewish religious community would not accept the reign of Jesus as the Mesiah. A look at the history of the church reveals a re-occurring picture of persecution of the followers of Jesus. Almost all of this persecution directed against those who were serious followers of Jesus has come from the established religious organizations because their traditions of man have been ignored. During the past 2,000years, Christians that have stood outside the Protestant-Catholic tradition have had to endure persecution. John Wycliffe, William Tyndale, Martin Luther, George Fox, John Bunyan, George Whitefield, and John Wesley are only a few of those Christians who were persecuted by the established religious order as they brought back some of the truth known and practiced by the early church.

About the third century Constantine combined the church and the State into one. Becoming a A Christian was politically proper because by so doing one had the protection of the State against those who would try to persecute you. Many became Christians, in name only, to escape the persecution but did not develop into believers. This practice has continued even until today. The reason for doing this is different today but the A churched ones are still populated by large numbers who are Christians primarily to be accepted rather than a belief that a relationship with Jesus will change you. These are the ones who willingly give an hour of their time on Sunday morning if it doesn't conflict with something else they consider more important.

Surveys tell us that large numbers of main line denomination members, including clergy, don't believe the Bible is God's Word to us describing how we are to live. Many of these same people have never read the Bible or even have a clue about its contents. It is interesting, however, that within these same denominational churches there are also many who have a rich everyday relationship with the Lord Jesus. Jesus tells us in the book of Matthew this would occur when He was speaking about the one who sowed seed.

Jesus explains to His disciples what the meaning of the parable is. Verses 22 and 23 describe the two types of believers so prevalent in the church today.

Many in the Christian community today are sensing a mighty move of God is about to occur. There have been numerous prophecies uttered which have proclaimed this as eminent. Only time will reveal whether or not this is a A word from God or just too much pizza talking. Everyone agrees we are nearing the day of Christ's triumphant return. Scripture tells us Jesus will return for His Church which will be without spot or wrinkle.

There have also been many prophecies about the condition of the church and the need to become holy again. Many of these have spoken about fire, earthquake, wind and rain destroying what is not of God, but that which remains would be the purified righteous and holy Church. Many of these prophecies have declared that those ministries and organizations raised through man's work will be destroyed while that which was built by the Holy Spirit will remain standing. God is displeased with those institutions and ministries raised up in His name but not by Him, according to these prophecies.

Contained within these prophecies have also been messages of a remnant, or seed group who have walked in righteousness that will spring forth and flourish to bring quick growth to the Church without spot or wrinkle. May we who read this, and many others, diligently seek the face of God to become part of that preserved seed group.

As we follow hard after our Lord Jesus and experience the persecution we must keep in mind what we are told in Hebrews 13:5-6, "Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me."

We also need to keep in mind the fact our Lord knows the temptations we face and will provide a way for us to be able to bear it.

In the 8th chapter of Romans we are told the sufferings of this present time, or world, are not worthy to be compared to the glory which we shall yet see.

Whatever persecution we face, whether merely ridicule, or the surrender of your life for the cause of Christ, spending eternity with the Lord Jesus is more than worth it.

 Bill Liddle
January 27, 2002

 If you desire additional information you may contact me:  Bill


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