What is a Christian? part 2

What is a Christian? part 2

Since one of the purposes for which God gave the Bible was to tell us the way of salvation, let us test the six common opinions which were stated previously against the standard of the Bible. What do the Scriptures say about the six common answers given to the question, “What is a Christian?”

Common answer number one—Salvation is by good works. Scripture—“For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8, 9). From a positive point of view these verses state that salvation is by grace. The word “grace” means unmerited favor. Positively speaking, salvation is the free gift of God. From a negative point of view these verses teach that salvation is not of works lest any man should boast. Again the Scriptures state that it is “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:5, 6). Similarly the Bible affirms that “By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight” (Romans 3:20).

Common answer number two—Salvation is by heredity. Scripture—“But as many as received him (Jesus Christ), to them God gave the authority to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12, 13). This latter verse affirms that physical heritage, blood lineage, family connections or any other such factors, do not have anything to do with whether or not a person is a Christian. Another passage of Scripture which teaches the same truth is Philippians 3:4, 5.

Common answer number three—Salvation is by religious activity. Scripture—“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have not we prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out demons? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me” (Matthew 7:22, 23). Other Scriptures which demonstrate that a Christian is not simply one who is active in religious matters are Mark 7:1-7; John 3:1-8; Luke 18: 9-14; Philippians 3:6, 7; Galatians 1:14, 15; Psalm 51:16, 17.

Common answer number four—Salvation is by profession of faith or by mere mechanical actions such as walking an aisle in an evangelistic crusade or praying a certain prayer. Scripture—“Now when he (Jesus) was in Jerusalem at the Passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not trust himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man; for he knew what was in man” (John 2:23-25). These people made a profession of faith but our Lord would not trust himself unto them because he knew that their profession of faith was not real. Other Scripture passages which teach that merely professing faith or going through certain mechanical actions does not ensure that a person is a Christian are Acts 8: 12-24; John 3:36; James 2:14-26; II Corinthians 5:17.

Common answer number five—you just can’t know whether or not you are saved. Scripture—“For I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day” (II Timothy 1: 12). “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may believe on the name of the Son of God” (I John 5: 13). Other Scriptures which teach that a person can know that he is truly a Christian are John 5:24; Romans 8:1; II Peter 1:4-11.

Common answer number six—Every human being is a Christian and will most certainly go to heaven. Scripture—“He that believeth on him (Jesus Christ) is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3: 18). “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36). “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do” (John 8:44). Other Scriptures which teach that not everyone will go to heaven are John 8:3:44 Revelation 20:11-15; Ephesians 2:2, 3; Colossians 3:6.

When tested by the standard of God’s Word these six common answers to the question, “What is a Christian?” are proved to be inadequate and false. All of them are contrary to the Word of God. According to the Bible if your answer to the question “What is a Christian?” is any one of the six opinions that we have just considered, you are wrong. According to the Bible if the basis for your hope of heaven is founded upon any one of these opinions, your hope is based upon a wrong foundation and you are not a Christian. Why? Because a Christian is not simply a person who performs good works; or a person who has been born of Godly parents; or a person who is active in religious matters; or a person who has made a profession of faith; or a person who has been baptized; or a person who has responded to an invitation.

Well, if these answers are not the correct answers to the question, “What is a Christian?” How does the Bible answer this question? Let us notice four things that the Bible says about a person who is a Christian.

Next up, part 3 of “What is a Christian?”

Find answers and truth throughout this site The Stand Project.

John Rudich

 

 

Michael’s Monday Meditations

MICHAEL’S MONDAY MEDITATIONS

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
-Isaiah 53:6

My bicycle commute between home and work is wonderful, enabling me to view farms, forests, and marshes as I pedal. One of the farms is a sheep farm, and I always enjoy watching the sheep grazing as I whiz by. Well, one day last week, I noticed one of the sheep had escaped the fenced enclosed area and was grazing between the fence and the bicycle path. I could only surmise that he saw that the grass was greener on the other side of the fence and he decided to partake. Obviously, the sheep’s owner was unaware of his wandering sheep.

This immediately set me to thinking, are WE not unlike that sheep? And it brought to mind the scripture from Isaiah. God, through His actions and through His Word, sets up a parameter for those He loves and He does so not because He wants to be a killjoy, but for our own protection. Since God created us, He knows us better than even those in our lives with whom we are intimate. Obviously, this calls to mind The Ten Commandments, but I think this thought extends even further to the desires of the flesh vs. the fruit of the Spirit as outlined in Galatians 5.

However, one thing does differentiate us from this lone sheep in relationship to his master, and that is, Jesus, The Good Shepherd, always knows where we are, unlike an earthly master. He loves us when we remain inside the fence and loves us when we are outside the fence, but He loves us too much to allow us to remain outside the fence and He reels us in. I love the story in Luke 15:3-5, “So He told them this parable, saying, “What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? “When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing….,” for have we not all, at one time or another, been that sheep that needed rescue? This parable summarizes nicely just how much God the Father loves each and every one of us and why it was that Jesus so willingly went to the cross on our behalf in order to save us. Each is precious.

Sometimes He simply retrieves us from danger and we are consumed by His loving kindness. But sometimes he disciplines us, and let us not take that lightly. Hebrews 12:6 says, “and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, “MY SON, DO NOT REGARD LIGHTLY THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD, NOR FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REPROVED BY HIM; FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES, AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.” It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?…”

Whether reproved or lavished with love, each of us needs to fall on our knees in worship and gratitude as we see just how deep the Father’s love for us is. This loving kindness, or discipline, makes me realize I am one of His and it further reduces any desire to sin I might have and induces me to live life exhibiting the fruits of the Spirit outlined in Galatians. How about you? Do you, too, experience this love from relationship with the Father? Do you know Him? If you do, REJOICE! If you do not, won’t you take a moment to come to Him today, just as you are, and lay your sin down at the foot of the cross, and let Him begin the cleansing and healing process in your life? He’s promised he’ll do it and He always keeps His promises. And He always knows where you are. What a marvelous God we have!

Michael Swanson

Stand Project

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What is a Christian? part 1

What is a Christian?

No other question is so surrounded with confusion or answered so variously. Ask ten different people this question and you will get five or six different answers. Here are six opinions which are commonly held about the essence of Christianity.

1. “Well, I certainly am a Christian; I’m doing the best I can. I try to live by the Ten Commandments, the Golden Rule and the Sermon on the Mount.”

2. “Most assuredly, I’m a Christian. If I’m not, I don’t know who is. My mother and father are very religious. I have an uncle who is a minister.”

3. “Indeed I am. I have always gone to church and Sunday School. I have been baptized and confirmed. I joined the church when I was fourteen.”

4. “I know I’m a Christian because when the evangelist gave the invitation I went to the front and made a decision for Christ. My counselor showed me that if I accepted Jesus as my personal Savior, I would never be lost again. I didn’t want to be lost—hell is a terrible place—so I accepted Jesus, and I know now that no matter what happens, God will never reject me. I know it because I went to the altar and professed faith in Jesus Christ.”

5. I don’t don’t know if I am, and I don’t see how anyone can really know for sure in this life. I guess I’ll just have to wait until I die to find out.”

6. “Sure, I’m a Christian. Isn’t everybody? Isn’t God the Father of all men? We may be going by different roads, but all of these roads lead to the same place. It doesn’t really matter what you believe, just so you are sincere—everyone who is sincere in his own religion is a Christian.”

These and many other answers have all been given to the question, “What is a Christian?” Who is right? Are any of these answers right? Can we know what it means to be a Christian, or must we be forever uncertain? Well, if we look to the human mind, to human opinion for the answer we will flounder in a sea of uncertainty. One man has as much right to his opinion as another. But, if we look to and are willing to submit to God’s Word, our confusion may be dispersed.

In the Bible you will find many statements such as these: “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119: 105). “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. . . the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes” (Psalm 19:7, 8). “The Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine (to teach us what is true), for reproof (to make us realize what is wrong in our lives), for correction (to straighten out our errors), for instruction in righteousness (to teach us and train us in what is right)” (II Timothy 3:15, 16).

These Scriptures tell us that God has given us the Bible to make us wise in spiritual matters. Therefore, it only makes sense that we should turn to the Bible to find an answer to the question “What is a Christian?” If we want to travel to a certain city, we get a map and discover the best way to go. We don’t turn to some person who has never been there for directions because he doesn’t know any more about it than we do. Nor do we turn to a philosophy or science book for directions. No, we turn to a map of the area in which that city is located because that map was made to give us directions. So it is with the Bible. It was produced by the inspiration and superintendence of Almighty God that we might be made wise concerning the way of salvation.

Look for part 2 soon! And, look through the entire site (standproject.org) for answers!

John Rudich

Stand Project

 

 

What is a Christian?

What is a Christian?

We are going to start today with a loaded question, “What is a Christian?”, or maybe I should say what is a true Christian?  Today and in the days to follow we will take a look at this and I will post this in a multi part post along with a few videos.

Well let’s get started!

Today let’s get started with a video!  Join us on the next post to continue this lesson.

Join us next time as we start the written part of our post on this subject.

John Rudich

Stand Project

 

Michael’s Monday Meditations

MICHAEL’S MONDAY MEDITATIONS
WRACKED BY SIN, REDEEMED BY THE BLOOD!
When I examine my life, I see how wracked by sin my life has been. I think if all of us take an honest inventory of our lives, we can see the effects of sin before we met Jesus, but even after. And surely, we see the detrimental effects of sin in our lost world as we look around us. Even though we are new creatures once we invite Jesus in, because we are human, we still err, and impose sin upon others as well as have sin imposed upon us. Through Jesus, we must fight that sin nature our entire lives. But, not only did Jesus set the perfect example for us as a guide to live our lives, He actually overcame sin and death by the shedding of His blood on the Cross — for He bore the punishment we deserved from a Holy God, enabling all of us who invite Him into our lives in a small step of faith, to live life in godly abundance here on earth and with the Father in eternity. Jesus said to Peter in Matthew: “Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves.…” Because we have wronged others, let us be quick to forgive those who have wronged us, for it is simply part of the human condition. Dear Lord, help us to always remember our weakness and to depend upon you each moment so that we avoid the pitfalls of sin so that we might bless others and be blessed ourselves. Help us to realize just how blessed it is to walk obediently and to trust you, Lord, for the very lives we live and to further your kingdom here on earth! Help us also to be quick to forgive others when we have been wronged, knowing that we have inflicted that same pain onto others — none of us are guiltless — so that our Father in heaven might forgive us as well for how we have wronged Him. Thank you dear Jesus for the precious blood you shed upon Calvary’s tree, that we might be redeemed unto the Father! Thank you for your sacrifice and your provision, and may each of our lives reflect the gratitude we ought to have for your love, kindness, mercy, patience and justice!


Michael Swanson

Stand Project

Key’s to the Kingdom

Key’s to the Kingdom

Let me make something very clear here, it is vitally important for the Christian to be able to look into the mirror and evaluate themselves.  This test is not just for someone who does not claim to be a Christian it is just as important for someone who does call themselves a Christian. Why is that, well it is because you as a true Christian should always be evaluating yourself to make sure you are following God’s will not your own!  And even more important to make sure you are a true Christian!

Just a few statistics here.  Some of these are going to be hard for people to hear and admit.  49 percent of people professing to be Born Again Christians believed that living with someone of the opposite sex without being married was morally okay. It is not!  49 percent were comfortable with enjoying sexual thoughts about someone.  Jesus said that whoever looks with lust has already committed adultery in their heart (Matthew 5:27-28). 33 percent thought it was okay to have an abortion (watch 180 video).    Even worse 30 percent of pastors had viewed Internet porn in the last 30 days!  41 percent believe that “the Bible, the Koran, and the Book of Mormon are all different expressions of the same spiritual truths. They are not!

So just because you call yourself a Christian, do not be fooled, make sure you are a Born Again Christian, your eternal life depends on it!

Do not fool yourself into thinking that God is so loving that He will never send anyone to Hell.  He is loving but He is also just and hates sin.  If He is good, then there must be judgment.  There is good news with this, let’s take the test:

First ask yourself if there is a Heaven would you be good enough to get there?

I know there are some of you who do not believe there is a Heaven, but for this discussion let’s just say that there is!

Let us look at the Law of God (the Ten Commandments) to see if you are?

Have you ever told a lie?  Answer truthfully, it’s just you taking the test.

Of course you have, your human right? So, what do you call someone if they tell lies?

They are a liar.

Have you ever stolen anything, no matter its value?

What do you call someone who steals?  A thief.

Have you ever used God’s name in vain?

This is very serious and most people do this without any thought. This is blasphemy.

Jesus said that if you look with lust you have already committed adultery in your heart, have you ever looked with lust?

If you have been truthful in answering then your guilty of all those and in God’s eyes you’re a lying, thieving, blasphemes adulterer at heart!

That’s just 4 of the Ten Commandments, if God uses this to judge you on judgment day will you be innocent or guilty?  Guilty of course, if you feel otherwise then you are not being truthful with yourself. I beg you please at least be truthful with yourself!

If you’re guilty then the question is

Heaven or Hell?

If you’re thinking Heaven, God will forgive me because I have done a lot of good things, think again.

Let’s look at that in a court of law.  You are guilty of severe crimes and all the evidence has shown you are guilty, the judge is going to pronounce sentence and asks you if you have anything to say; you say yes judge I know you are really a good judge and I’ve been really good since I did these things and I am really sorry and I won’t do them again, so I know you will forgive me and let me go.

If the judge is good and not corrupt, the judge will say, your right I am a good judge and you should be sorry for what you have done, I think it is good that you have done some good but it has no bearing on my sentencing.

So your answer?

Hell

Does that concern you?  I hope it does because it should, you do not want to go to Hell, and I don’t know you but I don’t want you to go there either!

Hell is not some great party where you will be with your friends and be able to do all the bad things you want, Hell is a place separate from God, where there is no friendship, no color no light, nothing that you call comforting or for that matter anything you like will not be there.

Did you know that God does not want you to go to Hell, and He provided a way so you don’t have to.  Do you know what that is?

Two thousand years ago God became a man, Jesus Christ and took your sins upon himself and died on the cross to pay for those sins.

Because He did that God can now legally dismiss your case.

God offers this to anyone as a free gift

All you have to do is accept it, do you know how to accept it?

There are a few things you must do.

  1. 1.  Repent, this is just asking God for forgiveness and turning from your sins, stop doing them, we cannot do this on our own but when you do this God will send the Holy Spirit and He will help you to do this.
  2. You must trust in Jesus Christ as your one and only savior, trust in Him with everything, just as you would trust in a parachute if you were jumping out of a plane.
  3. Turn your life over to God and serve Him not yourself.

That’s it!

Just talk to God as you would talk to a close friend.

Here are a few more test questions for those of you who feel you are a Christian:

When was the last time you read your Bible?

It should be every day without exception, no excuses!

How often do you pray?

Is it when you need something only?

You should be praying many times per day for the Glory and Worship of God!

Are you attending a good Church every week and are you involved at the church?

How is your demeanor with others?  Do you swear, do you get angry easily, you should have a strong desire to learn all you can about Jesus Christ and the entire Word of God, while having a strong passion for helping others and spreading the Word of God!

Did you pass?

Just be honest with yourself and get right with God.

Find more information at throughout the StandProject.org

John Rudich

Help Make Real Christians!

Okay, so let’s say here is a potential convert. He runs to Jesus, he kneels down, he is humble, and he asks how he can inherit eternal life? This sounds like one we would all like to have, sounds pretty easy right?

Maybe not, Notice what Jesus did with this person. Jesus didn’t speak of the love of God or a wonderful plan, or lead him in a “sinner’s prayer.”

Instead, He reproved the man’s understanding of “good.” This is because most unsaved people have an erroneous understanding of what “good” is. To see this, ask sinners if they think they are good people, and you will find that 99 percent say they are. Proverbs 20:6 tells us, “Most men will proclaim each his own goodness.” Imitate Jesus. Reveal the righteousness of God by showing sinners His standard of “goodness”—the moral Law (the Ten Commandments). It was the Law that exposed the man’s hidden sin: he was a transgressor of the First Commandment. His money was his god, and one cannot serve God and money. (Matthew 6:24).

Notice it was “love” that motivated Jesus to speak this way to this young man. Love sinners enough to do your best to make sure they don’t have a false conversion. They must have the knowledge of sin before they come to the Savior.

Find more information at StandProject.org

John Rudich

True & False Christians

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True & False Christians

Are you a true Christian?  Well first what does it mean to be a true Christian? Many people who call themselves Christian, do so simply because their family is Christian and they were raised that way, or they went forward one time and/or said a sinner’s prayer. Neither of those make you a Christian. Now why am I saying true Christian? Because as I am sure you already know there are many people who call themselves Christians that in fact are not, those are false Christians, and I am sorry to say there are many. Please I plead with you to just take this into consideration as we go on here and do as the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 13:5 “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves”.

The Bible give us many indicators of how to tell if someone is a Christian. Mainly it is the fruit of the Spirit. This is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

So do you display these?  Here are a few more things that you should be doing, do you read your Bible every day?  Do you pray and praise God for all things, are you building a personal relationship with Jesus Christ? He wants this more than anything, but you have to want this also, and you will not always agree with what God tells you but it is for the best. Are you attending a good Bible teaching church, and do you attend every week? Are you freely giving of you time to help others, either at church or away?

Now none of these will tell us for sure if you are a true Christian, only God knows this for sure, but when you accepted Jesus as your savior there should have been a dramatic change in your life and your desires should be changing to those of Jesus.  You should have a desire for all the things mentioned above. If not please just reevaluate yourself. This is not something you want to make a mistake with.

Let’s look at a few statistics from a survey in 2003 and keep in mind that things are far worse now.

49% of people claiming to be Christians believed it is ok to live with someone of the opposite sex without being married. 33% felt it was okay to kill a baby while it is still in the womb. 30% of pastors had viewed internet porn in the last 30 days. Close to half believe that Satan does not exist, one-third contend that Jesus sinned while He was on earth, two-fifths say they do not have a responsibility to share the Christian faith with others, and 25% dismiss the idea that the Bible is accurate in all of the principles it teaches.  41% believe that “the Bible, the Koran and the Book of Mormon are all different expressions of the same spiritual truths”.

There are many more disturbing statistics like this, but the bottom line is most likely these self-proclaiming Christians are false converts and not true Christians.

If you fall into any of these areas, please repent and ask God for forgiveness and begin a relationship with Him today!

For added information please visit standproject.org

John Rudich

Michael’s Monday Meditation, 7-27-15

Michael’s Monday Meditation, 7-27-15

From the Leonard Ravenhill book entitled “Meat For Men,” an excerpt very convicting to me, and remember, this book was written in 1961, which you should keep in mind when reading this:

To put it succinctly, the question plaguing me at the moment: “Are we offering too much for too little when we offer men salvation?” The way of the Cross was once a gory road; now it is offered as a glory road. Once the challenge was to take up the cross; now it is to ride a Cadillac and “rough” it smoothly. The offer to men is no longer the lordship of Christ in this life, but the promise of an all-expenses-paid, eternal honeymoon and a “mansion over the hilltop,” with angel attendants and continual hi-fi music from an impeccable, million-voiced choir, world without end. How nice, but how unbiblical!

Now, my brief commentary. Examining my own life, I see how deficient I am in actually taking the command of Jesus to heart, denying myself, and taking up the cross and following Him. Oh, we say we do, but here in 21st century affluent America, how many of us, lay-people and clergy alike, really do this? I cannot speak for others, but I know the conflict I see within myself, and how often times I do MY will rather than HIS will, and I don’t really deny myself all that much most days. I stand convicted, as I’m sure all of us do, if we are honest with ourselves. My prayer for myself and for all of us who call Jesus our Savior, is that we would, daily, learn, through the power of Holy Spirit within, begin to die to ourselves, fully admit our weakness, seek His will in earnest, and then, with strength from God, do it.

Michael S.