Following Jesus, True Christianity PDF Print E-mail

                       

 

I would like in this study to go through some scriptures that I think really define what a Christian is. My opinion has little value unless I can base it on the word of God. The scriptures that I’m about to share are not deep. They’re very simple and to the point. I think that each one leaves you at a point of self examination. You’re either doing what the word says or you’re not. Jesus says it very plainly in our first scripture so we’ll get started.

Luke 6: 46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

 47 Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like:

 48 He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.

 49 But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.

It feels silly to expound on a scripture that is stated so plainly. Either He’s Lord or He’s not. The evidence is in our obedience to His word. The foundation is Jesus Christ, and we build upon that foundation with faith, hope, love, obedience. With those in place we can stand in the time of trial..

James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

 23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:

 24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.

 25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

James, the half brother of Jesus is saying the exact same thing. Only he adds this twist. The person that isn’t a doer of the word doesn’t even know who he is. He’s living in denial and is lost. This is why there are so many sitting in the church today who are flagrantly sinning with out any remorse what so ever. Thinking that they’re fine, going to heaven, not a care in the world.

Ephesians 4: 17 ¶ This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,

 18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:

 19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

(That was a side note)

John 14: 21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

John 14: 24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word, which ye hear, is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.

With words like these it’s pretty obvious that Jesus thought that actions were the proof of our love, of our relationship with Him. If we have no relationship with Him, then how can we claim salvation through His name? Is that too hard of a line, too black and white?

Again James has a word to say on this subject.

James2: 14 ¶ What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?

 15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,

 16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?

 17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

I can say that I am Christian, but the words are empty with out the actions. I can say that I love you, but my actions will tell you how I really feel. 

Now we know that Jesus says that obedience is the evidence of our relationship with him. So knowing that, lets go over some of the words of Jesus and see how we fare.

Matthew 4: 17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Except for the debate Jesus had with the devil, these are the first recorded words of Jesus in the New Testament. Repentance being, with out a doubt, the first step towards salvation. Repentance is not just a turning away from sin, but a turning towards God.

2 Corinthians 7:10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.. NKJ

The question at this time is; have you repented? Are you walking in an attitude of repentance? Is sin a thing of the past? Are you following Jesus? Do you folow his example and preach repentance?

Matthew 4:19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

I’m going to borrow a statement from a pastor the I really respect, Tommy Barrnet. “Therefore, if you’re not a fisher of men then you’re not following Jesus” Is that too direct? The flesh might argue the point, but the spirit will definitely agree. Are you following Jesus???

Matthew 5: 13  Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

 14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Our walk, our example, our witness. Not just the words that come out of our mouths, but the lives we live. People will listen with half an ear of what  we say, but they’ll pay attention to everything that we do. They want us to be salt, they want the hope that is within us. They look for our faults, but hope there are none. They want us to be real, they want to know that Christ is real. They’ve seen to many false Christians, too many have given the Christian faith a bad name. Are you following Jesus?

Matthew 12: 30 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.                                                                                                                        This is a big one. If you’re not working for God, then you’re complacency is you’re witness to the world. You’re setting an example and somebody is watching. Some young Christian is out there trying to figure out how to act and you’re leading them down the path to destruction. The unsaved are seeing a Christianity that is no different than the world, with no power and no appeal. It would be better to not name the name of Christ at all, than to live a luke warm, complacent life style.

Revelation 3: 15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.

 16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

Jesus spoke these words to the church at Laodicea. But they were spoken to the body of Christ everywhere. 7 churches, 7 different conditions, all examples to us, the modern day believers. I take these scriptures very personal. I don’t want to be spued from the Lords mouth.

I was very tempted to let these scriptures stand on their own, with out any explanations or commentaries. I believe the word speaks very plainly, and if you read the scriptures the message is loud and clear, if you have ears to hear. He’s speaking to you, right now. Are you following Jesus.

2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

So what is a Christian? Can you state without a doubt that you are a Christian? If you examine your self with the word of God, then where do you stand? If a Christian is a follower of Christ, can you still claim Christianity? Or are you one of those that said “the magic prayer” some time in the past and base you’re salvation on that?

Matthew 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

That narrow gate that Jesus mentions is through faith and obedience. Faith in Him, obedience to His word. These lead to good works, which bring Glory to God. Why does he say that few there be that find it? Because this is no easy path. Being a Christian is not the casual thing that so many have made it out to be. That magic prayer that lets you get into heaven no matter how you live is a lie from the pit of hell.   

Lu 9:23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

Matthew 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

I ask a man once if Jesus could be you’re savior with out being you’re Lord. He said yes, but that was because he was a habitual backslider. If Jesus is not Lord in you’re heart, then you’re not saved. It’s the surrendering control of you’re heart to the Lordship of Jesus that brings about conversion and salvation. If you’re not surrendering and submitting then you’re probably not saved, or you’re very backslidden.

God is the one that knows if you’re saved or not, but a little self-examination should give you an idea of where you stand. I’m not trying to take away anyone’s assurance of their  salvation. But at the same time I don’t want any one going to hell thinking that they’re saved because they’ve never heard the truth about real salvation.

2 Corinthians 15:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

 To begin with, if you’re in Christ then you’re life has changed. There’s going to be evidence. There’s a transformation that takes place that’s obvious to see. You won’t want to do the same things, go to the same places. You’re conversations will be different, you’re desires will change. All things will become new…Praise God! If this isn’t so then it’s examination time again.

Verse 18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

We have been reconciled to God through Christ Jesus and have been given the ministry of reconciliation. I consider this to be our job description. We are saved for a purpose, His purpose. It’s all part of being a new creature in Christ. New thoughts, new actions, new motives.

Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Jesus taught in parables. He gave word pictures that described situations and how people reacted in those situations. He also related the consequences to the actions. The vine and the branches is a prime example. Now, if I were to take this scripture literally, and I cant see why I wouldn’t, then I should be abiding in the vine and bearing much fruit. And if I’m not???????

John 15: 1 ¶ I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.

 2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

 3 Now ye are clean through the word, which I have spoken unto you.

 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

 6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

Matthew 25:14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man traveling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.

 15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.

 16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.

 17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.

 18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money.

 19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.

 20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.

 21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

 22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.

 23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

 24 Then he, which had received the one talent, came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:

 25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.

 26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:

 27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.

 28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.

 29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.

30 and cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

What have you done with the pearl of your salvation

Another question. These parables of Jesus, were they not for our learning? Was he not instructing his disciples, (us), in the way we should live, in what he required of us as believers? Do you think that he was just speaking into the wind to hear the sound of His own voice? He gave instructions to those who chose to be His followers. Are you following Jesus?

Mark 16: 15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

 17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

 18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

A disciple is a student. If Jesus is Lord then you would be His disciple. If you’re a disciple then everything He spoke applies to you. If you’re not, then how can you claim the relationship, or the salvation He has offered?

James 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God? Thou doest well. The devils also believe and tremble. (side note)

Matthew 28: 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

I think it goes back to that straight gate stuff. I think that Jesus defined salvation very plainly in the gospels. What we’ve done is that we’ve taken a few verses out of the epistles, brushed over them very quickly, said the words with out really understanding the meanings, and called that salvation. “The Magic prayer” It’s just like our modern day marriages. We make vows that are only binding till the first disagreement. We promise till death do us part, with no intention of really sticking it out. We say words that have no meaning. We’ve been serving the father of lies for so long that we believe our own lies. We lie to the face of God with out fear.

It’s time to recognize the truth. To fall down on your knees in repentance, to cry out to God and ask Him for forgiveness. To make a commitment to serve Him. To recognize your complete inability to do this on your own, and to ask Him to empower you, to transform you. Get off that throne in your heart and allow Jesus His proper place. Make Him Lord and Master.

A disciple is a student. Are you being discipled? Do you know enough of the word to be discipling someone else? Jesus has already commanded you to go. The only thing that’s stopping you is laziness or indifference. Are you following Jesus? If this message seemed too harsh, if it made you feel uncomfortable or maybe a little angry, then maybe some of the truths here hit home. This isn’t a message of condemnation. It’s truth spoken in love. If things are lacking in your walk then it’s time to make some changes. You have free will. It’s time to choose. Who’s sitting on the throne in your heart?

Father I pray that the words spoken here will find their way into the hearts of the readers. I pray that the blinders would be lifted, that we would all truly be converted and live the lives that Jesus intended that we should live. Let the true gospel take root in our hearts, and let us bear much fruit for Your Kingdom.  In the Name of Jesus Christ    Amen
 
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