Are You A Christian?
by Bernie Parsons
You A Christian?
Presented to the Westwood church of Christ on 08/15/02
Acts 11:26: "And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch."
For all the talk we hear about Christians, and Christianity, there seem to be widely held views as to what it means to be a Christian. We see from our opening verse, that the disciplesthat is, studentsof Jesus were called Christians. They were identified by the designation of the man whom they followed, Jesus, the Christ. They were known as Christians because others identified them by their beliefs, their talk, and their actions.
"Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and
elders of Israel,
Those who study and adopt the ways of Jesus are recognizable. Others take note that they have been with Jesus. Christians are not merely people who claim that title. A Christian is a disciplea student, a followerof Christ.
Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then
are ye my disciples indeed;
When one becomes a disciple of Christa Christianhe or she continues in the word of Jesus. This is important, because Jesus did not think up His own words, but rather obtained them from His heavenly Father.
John 8:26: I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him.
John 8:40: But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.
John 15:15: Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.
And Jesus had this to say about those words that came from His heavenly Father:
Matthew 4:4: But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
It is behooves us, as the Hebrew writer says, to listen to Jesus, because God has in our times spoken through Him.
God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers
by the prophets,
This same writer told us to seek God with diligenceand diligence means steady, careful work. Therefore, we are to seek God constantly, and carefully.
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.
That, my friends, is what it means to be a Christian! One who listens to every word that God speaks, one who carefully and unceasingly seeks Godone who listens to His son, Jesus, whom He sent to speak for Him. There is careful and tireless work to perform in this study of Christ, our Savior.
2 Timothy 2:15: Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Friends, there is work to be done if we are to call ourselves Christian. Christian means to be like Christ, and if we are to be like Christ, we must learn of Him. Jesus said:
11:28: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you
Jesus has asked that we learn of Him. A disciple is a student. What do students do? They study that they might learn. How are we to be Christians? By studying the life of Christ, so that we may be as He was. Let me tell you about two sisters, Mary and Martha.
10:38: Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village:
and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
Like many of us, Martha was concerned about her busy life, the things that she considered important. But Mary sat at the feet of Jesus, listening to His every word. She was interested in what He had to say. She wanted to learn of Him, and from Him.
When you learn the Lord, your life will change. Let me tell you of a man, one Saul of the city of Tarsus, and how his life changed when he learned of our Lord.
"And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the
Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.
People were astonished at the change wrought in Saul, later known by the title and name of the Apostle Paul, once that he had encountered Jesus. The Bible teaches that when we study Jesus, our life is changed.
3:12:"Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech:
You can see that when we look into the scripture, it is like looking in a mirror that shows a reflection of the face of Jesus. We see two imagesours, and His. But as we grow in the Lord, our image changes until the images in the mirror match. We no longer see Jesus and ourselves, but begin to see only Jesus.
So, when we say that we are Christians, we are saying that we are disciples of Christ, students of His. We are saying that we study the Lord, learning of His holy ways, and that we are adopting those same characteristics into our own lives.
"Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know
that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak
If we learn of Jesus, we can be free from sin, and free from fear of eternal death. If we are blinded to the truth of Gods teaching, it is because we dont want the truth. Jesus said, The truth shall make you free.
Are you free from sin? Are you free from the fear of dying? Are you free from fear of eternal damnation? You can be, in Christ Jesus. You can be a Christian.
"And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto
them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and
There is a cost to following Jesus. We must give up our old ways, and learn the new. We might even be required to give up our lives, as our Lords remark about taking up our crosses indicates. What we have to weigh is this: What if we lose our souls, and torment eternally in that place prepared for the Devil and his angels? What then? What would you give in exchange for your soul?
If we are ashamed to own Jesus as our Savior and guide, He will be ashamed to acknowledge us before His heavenly father.
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every
Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God? If you do, come repenting of your sinful life, a life that is not centered around and built upon Christ. Give your heart to God, and let Him be your guide. Confess your faith before men so that Christ will confess you before the Father.
Be buried in the waters of baptism, wherein the old sinner is buried, and a new child of God arises, born of water and Spirit. Be a newborn Christian, and learn of Jesusand you will be a Christian.