What Makes a Christian?
This is something that you should be thinking long and hard over because, as you
well know, only Christians go to heaven.
"When he found him, he brought him to Antioch. They were there
for a whole year, meeting with the church and teaching large numbers of
people. It was in Antioch where the disciples were first labeled
'Christians,'" (Acts 11:26 Common English Bible).
Peter first confessed the Jesus is Lord back in the gospels, maybe as spokesman
for the twelve or maybe for himself (Matthew 16:16); God's Son is Lord. According to
Jesus, His Word, Peter was born again right then and there.
"Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I
confess also before my Father which is in heaven," (Matthew 10:32 King
In John 3:3 and John 3:16 Jesus speaks about being born again and confirms that
Peter and all others who wholeheartedly did confess there faith that Jesus is Lord are born
again at the moment of confession. But, did that really make Peter a Christian? It did
meant something, it meant that he was starting to grow spiritually.
Peter was a disciple. This is what Jesus said to all those who said that they
believed in Him, whether pretending or not.
"So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed Him, "If you continue
in My word, you really are My disciples," (John 8:31 Holman Christian
What is a disciple? A disciple is one who takes the word of God that he or she
hears and grows with it and puts it into practice if possible. By putting the word into
practice he or she will learn whether it is truth or not. So, by putting Jesus' words into
practice--Jesus is the One Who will never lie--the disciple will know, by experience, the
truth, and the truth that he has now experienced will set him free. The Message Bible
really brings this out (John 8:31-32)
Then, as part of Jesus' teaching, since He had already told us what the work that
God requires is (to believe in Jesus), He defined what it means to believe in Him.
"Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I
have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I
am going to the Father," (John 14:12 New International Version).
Now, some people who consider themselves Christians figure, "Well, I'm doing
the greater works. There were no hospitals in Jesus' day and I visit those in the hospital."
That's fine, but are you doing the works that Jesus did? So, what did Jesus do? Some
might think that he came, as God, and healed folks because he was God, and drove out
demons because He was God. Peter, Paul, John and all those who lived in ancient Bible
times must not have gotten the memo. Philippians 2:7 says that Jesus came as a man,
Acts 10:38 says that this man was anointed with God (the Holy Spirit). If God would
anoint one Son with the Holy Spirit (that's the baptism)--and God is no respecter of
persons (Acts 10:34)--then He will anoint all His children who will ask and are seriously
committed with the same Holy Spirit. So, anyway, here are 3 things that Jesus was
doing, 1) preaching, 2) teaching, and 3) healing.
I put it succinctly when I say that Jesus came to right wrongs. Sickness is a
wrong, God didn't order it and He didn't ordain it, so Jesus came to bring healing and get
rid of it. Demon possession, suppression, and oppression are wrongs, they are not in
God's plan. Jesus came to drive demons out. Bad teaching is a wrong, so Jesus came to
bring the truth and right the wrong. In essence, Jesus came to clean house, His Father's
house. He told those who were serious about doing God's will to represent Him in
cleaning house, continue what He started (Acts 1:1). But, He said we would need help
"To this He answered, "No worries. That time is not now and you
don't need to know when it will be. Just know this, you shall be
enveloped in power once you are baptized in the Holy Spirit. This must
be by your acceptance because the Father will never force anything upon
anyone. But when you have this power you will witness--represent and
spread the good news--of me, starting at home then spreading out," (Acts
1:7-8 Steadfast in Honor).
These are things that depict a Christian, but these are not all there is to a Christian.
God measures the heart of the person. What I have just written about are expressions of
love that other people see. But you cannot show those expressions until you first have
the inpressions. In other words, a Christian is not a Christian if he is only a Christian on
Jesus talked about being born again in the book of John; the term born again says
that there must be a growth pattern. When a baby is born he or she must grow, learn,
then express. Well, it's the same with being born again, spiritually born; the baby must
grow, learn and express. How or what is the main thing, or one of the main things, that a
Christian needs to do to be a Christian. Speak his faith. Yes, you believe that Jesus is
Lord and you spoke it out loud, but don't stop there.
Jesus spoke things that were not apparent as though they already were and He
wants you to do the same. He also said that doing just the external things of a Christian
was not all that He wanted,
"Many will say to me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not
prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your
name perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, `I never
knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'" (Matthew 7:22-23 New
So, why did Jesus tell them they were evildoers and that He never knew them?
Well, the word knew in Bible context, as in Sarah knew her husband, means to have
intimacy. So, although they did the outward expressions of being Christians, there was
no intimacy, Jesus never knew them. Some people who say that they are Christians take
the thought and promote it, that these things "prophesy in your name and in your name
drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles" are wrong and all we really
need to do is pray and believe.
Have you got love in your heart? Love has got to be expressed, figure out why.
You're right, prayer is necessary; it's is necessary for praise and worship, for acquiring
things and help for yourself and others, for whatever you want, and for getting direction
on how to do the the outward expressions of love. Start by speaking words,
"I tell you that people will have to answer on Judgment Day for
every useless word they speak. By your words you will be either judged
innocent or condemned as guilty," (Matthew 12:36-37 Common English
Do yourself a mighty, mighty favor; read the verse before those 2. Now, these
things are not all that may determine if you are a Christian, but these are part of them.