Are You A Christian?

Some people are told that you are a Christian if you prayed a little prayer.In fact, they get you disturbed emotionally by telling you how painfully it will be if you do not “accept Jesus”.The message delivered is often times misbalanced in that it provides all the “goodies” of being a Christian, but never talks about what a Christian really is, or any of the “downfalls”.It is clear that when we give the Gospel message to people, we balance it.Jesus said in Luke 14:25-33:

Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, 'This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.' "Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.

It is clear that we need to examine what a Christian is, and how you become one.

The Book of 1 John – What was Happening at the Time?

Imagine this scene: You are in the church at Ephesus.Paul has already written letters, but Paul has been martyred, that is, killed for his faith in Jesus.In fact, all of the apostles have been martyred except for one: John.John by this time is elderly, and most likely the only person left in the world who actually knew Jesus as a human friend.Imagine that people are starting to teach things in the church that are not true.People are teaching you things like ‘Jesus is not really a man’, or that you need a special type of knowledge to get to heaven’.This is exactly what was happening in the time that this book was written.John wanted to clear up these false teachings by telling us what a Christian really is. John tells us that there are three aspects to the life of a Christian:

  • Joy or happiness (1:4): We write this to make our joy complete.
  • Holiness or freedom from sin (2:1): My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.
  • Security or eternal salvation (that means you can not ever lose your salvation) (5:13): I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

John will also teach us that these three aspects of our life only come about when we follow three more principles in our life:

  • Sound Faith
  • Obedience to His commands
  • Love for God and others

The Principles

These three principles are woven together like yarn in blanket.It is hard to take them apart from each other.

1 John 1:1-4 – Jesus was a real man, he taught the way to life.He died on the cross so that we could have freedom from death that results from our sins.

1 John 1:5-2:2 – If we are living a life of habitual sin, we are not a follower of Jesus Christ.We will still sin in all this, and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ covers this.If you think that you do not sin, you make God a liar.

1 John 2:3-6 – If we claim that we are a Christian, our life should look like Jesus Christ.Jesus ministered to people, he loved all people.He also gave us many commandments and explained that the Christian life is not about rules, the having the heart to love those rules.

1 John 2:7-11 – True love of God is someone who obeys the commands of God and lovers all other people if they are friends, people you do not know, and even enemies.

1 John 2:15-17 – John tells us not to love the things of the world because those things are sinful.He is talking about loving things like drugs, late night parties where people like to sin (called orgies in the Bible), gossip (that is talking badly about people you do not like), lying to get things you want, stealing to get things, and other things like that.

1 John 2:18-25 – John tells us that there will be an Antichrist, but there already were some (and there are even today!)You can tell them because their faith does not look like true faith that John is talking about here.They either reject Jesus Christ, or they make Him into something He is not.

1 John 2:26-27 – The antichrists will try to deceive you, but if you are well studied in the Bible and know what God commands of us, you will not be taken in by their lies.WARNING: These people are all over in America.They are on TV, selling books, even making promises for people that are false.

1 John 2:28-3:3 – Once again, we are called to obey His word!Everyone that is in Christ will try to make himself as pure as he can by trying to avoid all sin.

1 John 3:4-10 – A Christian will be free from the desire to habitually sin, but a non-Christian (no matter what he thinks he is) will habitually sin and try to convince himself and others that what he does is not a sin.

1 John 3:11-24 – The world will not often like us because we have the types of things that they are looking for in their sin (Joy). They will see our deeds because they are real, true, and often.Our love for others will be in deed and truth, that is, we give people money if we have money, we give time if we have time, we give our skills, we give our ear if they need to talk.

1 John 4:1-3 – Test the spirits.That means that we need to closely examine new teachings to see how they line up with the word of God.As we already said, there will be false teachers, we need to be able to recognize them.

1 John 4:4-6 – We will overcome the teachers if we listen to the Holy Spirit who is inside of every true Christian.The truth of the Bible will be known by both study (knowledge of the Bible) and testimony of the Spirit.

1 John 4:7-11 – Real love comes from knowing God and knowing that while we hated Him, abused Him, and wanted nothing to do with Him, He came and died for us anyway.If He has this kind of love for us, we need to have this kind of love for other people.

1 John 4:12-21 – True love of God is demonstrated in loving other people, too.If we love, we will gently guide people down a path of righteousness.We will love them enough to correct them if they are in error, and we do so for them, not to show how good we are.

1 John 5:1-5 – When we love God and keep His commands we are children of God and heirs of the promise of eternal life!It is by faith in God for that promise that overcomes the world (that is, the sinful desires of the world).

1 John 5:6-12 – God is the witness that Jesus Christ is the son of God.To fail to believe the signs and wonders Jesus did, to fail to believe the sacrifice, to fail to believe the resurrection, is to call God a liar.

1 John 5:13 – The promise of eternal life is to follow the above message from John.

1 John 5:14-15 – The promise of prayers answered if asked inside the name and will of God.

1 John 5:16-17 – Prayer for those people in sin.

1 John 5:18-21 – The final victory for the Christian and the final admonishment not to put your trust in anything other than God.

In these words of John, we can see how the theme of sound faith, obedience to God’s Word, and love are intertwined together and that these three things create the aspects of the life of a Christian: Joy, holiness, and security.

If you are not a Christian already, let us detail the Gospel and include the price tag:

Now, examine a little bit about what Jesus Promised.Here are some of the good:

  • Freedom from sin
  • Universal love for others
  • Answered prayer (asked in His will, not your own)
  • Joy
  • All needs met
  • Holiness
  • Eternal security

Here are the bad:

  • The world will not like you if you stand for Jesus
  • Trials of faith
  • Commanded to obey His commands

There are many more in all these, but Jesus does command us to count the cost.The best thing to do is to read the Gospels.Start with either Mark or John.Ask questions of your parents, Sunday school teachers, or pastor.

The four points of salvation:

  1. Know you are a sinner
  2. Know you are unable to save yourself
  3. Know that Christ has already accomplished the necessary salvation
  4. Call on the name of Jesus Christ