Sunday, January 14, 2007

What is a Real Christian?

1. How do you Really become a Christian?
2. What does a Real Christian act like?
3. How does a Real Christian stay real?

Theme: There is so much focus on phony Christians today that I wanted to turn the thing around and look at the Real Christians. I believe there are many authentic real Christians in our world today. It is these believers who are making Christ known and making God look awesome. I plan on preaching 3 messages answering this question, "What is Real Christian?" We will break the answer down by answering the three aspects of this question. 1. How do become a real Christian? 2. What does a real Christian do? 3. How does a real Christian stay real. Answering the question this way will give us the opportunity to address three different groups of people. 1. Those who admit they are not Christians. 2. Those who think they are Christians, but don't know for sure. 3. Those who know they are Christians and want to remain committed to Christ.

Sermon #1: How do you Really become a Christian?

This question has been asked for centuries. It has been asked in the Bible. It is asked in elementary school. It is asked in the retirement homes. It is asked by the homeless and by the wealthy alike. It is asked by college professors and high school dropouts.

There are many different answers and all of them cannot be right. If you went to certain churches on any given Sunday, you could be told you are a Christian by simply repeating a prayer somebody else said. Other churches would tell you the answer is a long and arduous journey and that you needed to sign up for a 6 month class to get started. Other churches might admit to having no idea as to how to become a Christian; but they would invite you to love and experience God with them as they seek the answer.

Almost all churches would say becoming a Christian is tied to your faith; what you believe. Where churches are divided is what else if anything do you have to do besides believe or how is your belief manifested or proven. Christianity after all is about faith in something or someone. I believe that is where the answer to our question lies?

Who, where, or what do I believe? When we can honestly answer that question, we will be a lot closer to knowing how we would answer the age-old question of what is a real Christian.

I. What does the word Christian mean?
A. They were first called "Christians" at Antioch. Acts 11:26
B. "Christian" means Christ-like.
1. It was attributed to those people who resembled Christ.
2. It was attributed to those people who talked like Jesus.
3. It was attributed to those people who professed faith in the risen Christ.
4. It was attributed to those people who claimed to be followers of Christ.
II. What does Jesus say about becoming a Christian?
A. To the young lawyer. Matthew 19:16-22
1. He attributes goodness only to God. vs 17
a. It is not about being good.
b. It is not about "keeping the commandments".
2. He challenges his ideal of perfection.
a. By raising the bar. Romans 3:23 Sin is missing the mark.
b. By asking him to a good deed He knew he would not do.
3. He invites the man to follow Him in faith.
a. The invitation was real.
b. The invitation was rejected.
B. To the disciples. Matthew 16:24,25
1. The Christ-life is one of self-denial.
2. The Christ-life is one of sacrifice.
3. The Christ-life is one lived for the sake of Christ.

III. What else does the Bible say about becoming a Christian?
A. What did Paul say to the Philippian jailer? Acts 16:30-33
1. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
2. The Word of the Lord was taught to him.
3. Notice the two and the Word of God.
B. What did Peter say to the centurion in Caesarea. Acts 10:36-43
1. God's Word was sent to us in the form of His Son, Jesus Christ. John 1:1,14
2. We are witnesses of what Jesus Christ did.
a. Demonstrated that God was with Him.
b. Died on the cross.
c. Was raised up again on the third day.
d. Was publicly displayed as risen again to a number of witnesses. I Corinthians 15:3-6
3. Whoever believes in Jesus Christ will receive forgiveness of their sins. Romans 10:13
C. What did Phillip say to the Ethiopian treasurer. Acts 8:32-39
1. He proclaimed Jesus from the passage in Isaiah 53.
a. Prophesied that Christ would die as a sacrificial lamb.
b. Prophesied that Christ would die unjustly.
2. He explained Baptism and it's relationship to Christ.
a. Belief preceeds baptism. Acts 2:38,41
b. Sincere faith in Christ is required.

Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

The Bible says faith is necessary for a relationship with God.

Jesus said a relationship with Him was necessary for a relationship with God.
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Becoming a Christian is this...placing your faith in Christ as the basis for your relationship with God.

Your relationship with God cannot be based upon any other criteria...In Christ Alone should we place our trust.
Romans 3:27-28 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

If you are trusting in yourself or your own goodness to establish your relationship with God, you are not a Christian. You have not become a Christian, because you have not placed your faith in Christ as the basis for your relationship with God.
Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

In conclusion, we have discovered that becoming a Christian involves 2 major things.
1. Hearing the Word of God; in particular the gospel of Jesus Christ.
2. Believing in Jesus Christ as the basis for our relationship with God.

If you have never put your faith in Christ because of what He did for you on the cross and because of Who He proved Himself to be by His life and resurrection; then you are invited today by the Word of the Lord to place your faith in Christ. And just as Paul told the Philippian jailer, you can be saved today and so can your whole family!!! What a wonderful reassurance to know that your whole family is secured by Christ in their relationship to God. Will you please trust Him today.

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