Excuses, We All Have Them

In Lev. 16:5-10, we see where Israel of old had their scapegoat on whom the sins of the people were placed. In like manner, we have our scapegoats. We just rename them and call them excuses. They are easy and readily available. So, if we want to extricate ourselves from any course of action or fault, we just come up with a good excuse. However, there may be some things about excuses we have not thought much about.

In Lev. 16:5-10, we see where Israel of old had their scapegoat on whom the sins of the people were placed. In like manner, we have our scapegoats. We just rename them and call them excuses. They are easy and readily available. So, if we want to extricate ourselves from any course of action or fault, we just come up with a good excuse. However, there may be some things about excuses we have not thought much about.

Excuses anger God

First, we need to remember excuses anger the Lord. Remember when God called Moses to deliver the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage? Moses made several. He said, “I can’t do it” (Ex. 3:10-12). Further, Moses said, “They will ask who sent me” (Ex. 3:13-14). He also said, “They will not believe me” (Ex. 4:1). Then came, “I can’t talk well” (Ex. 4:10-11). Usually we read this account and are not impressed by Moses’ excuses. But, our own excuses always sound good to us. We think when we make our excuses God will accept it. However, excuses don’t alleviate the anger of the Lord. The point is not how good or poor the excuses are – but the Lord’s reaction. God was angry with Moses because he was not going to do what God told him to do.

The consequences remain

Second, excuses don’t change the consequences. In the parable of Luke 14:15-24, our Lord told us of three excuses. We might have thought they were good reasons, but the Lord said differently. One man had bought a piece of ground, another a yoke of oxen, and another married a wife. We smile at the shallowness of these, yet the same principle is stated. The excuses did not appease the master (Lk. 14:21). The Lord’s point is that because of the excuse making those who made excuses missed something. No matter how good the excuse, when it is given, it prevents us from partaking of the blessings of the feast. Therefore, the master sent his servants out into the highway and hedges to invite the outcast of society to the feast so that the house was filled.

Responsibility is not removed

Third on the list; excuses don’t eliminate the responsibility even though we like to think they do. Generally, excuses are an attempt to do away with responsibility. “I never was responsible.” Adam and Eve used this. Adam was called by God, “What have you done? Have you eaten what I told you not to eat?” While Adam must finally admit he ate the fruit of the forbidden tree, before he does, he tries to excuse his responsibility. “The woman gave it to me. It is her fault. And, You gave me the woman, so the fault lies somewhere between You and Eve, but not me” (Genesis 3:9-11). Eventually, Adam had to admit he had eaten. Eve had to bear her share of the burden for encouraging Adam. But Adam was still guilty. In the final analysis the responsibility is mine. Crying about it won’t change a thing.

Most are not truth

Consider, what is the true nature of excuses? Most of the time they are not the truth. Excuses have been defined as “the skin of a reason stuffed with a lie.”  They do not really tell why we do or don’t do a thing. So, we manufacture an excuse; take something that is part of the truth and blow it up to make another thing more important. Most of the time we make excuses because we do not want to do or say something. We don’t say, “I didn’t want….” so we make excuses.

Finally, since most people easily see through our flimsy layer of excuses, how much more does our Father see right through them to our heart? Our great danger is in deceiving ourselves. We lie to ourselves and cut ourselves off from ever solving the problem from which we are excusing ourselves. The remedy is to get our “want to” right. Face the truth about our excuses and rid ourselves of them.

Ask Your Preacher

From time to time I will publish these sermons entitled “Ask Your Preacher” by the late W. Curtis Porter. There are in total 5 lessons.

Introduction

This series of fifteen minute sermons has been preached over a number of radio stations. Without manuscript they were preached over Station KOCA, Kilgore,  Texas, and over Station KLCN, Blytheville, Arkansas. In manuscript form they have been delivered over Station KTUL, Tulsa, Oklahoma, and over Station WMBH, Joplin, Missouri. Portions of them have been proclaimed over other stations.  They have always created much interest, elicited many commendations, and resulted in many requests for them to be published in booklet form. In response to such requests they are now being offered to the reading public with a prayer that they may serve the cause of truth and enlighten the souls of men who have been blinded by the doctrines of men. — W. CURTIS PORTER    1947

God’s Plan not Man’s

Preachers have an important place to fill with respect to lost souls.  God saw fit to use them in making his gospel known, which is the power of God to save men.  Hence, Paul said in I Cor. 1:21: “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.”  Thus we are told that it is God’s plan to save men by preaching.

This plan may seem foolish; so it is called “the foolishness of preaching.”   But it is God’s plan. Remember, however, that is “the foolishness of preaching” that God chose, and not the preaching of foolishness. We might conclude that some have misunderstood God’s plan and have used the preaching of foolishness instead of “the foolishness of preaching.” But in order for God’s plan to be carried out preaching must be done, and preaching is done by preachers. So preachers have an important place to fill. In harmony with this idea Paul said in Rom. 10:14: “How shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” In view of such statements we should not minimize the work of the gospel preacher.

However, we must not lose sight of the fact that preachers are required to preach the gospel. Since the gospel is God’s power to save men, the gospel must be preached by the preacher. If he preaches something else, he is going contrary to the will of God, and what he preaches will not result in the salvation of the hearers.  In fact, God pronounces condemnation of the preacher who preaches that which is  contrary  to  divine  truth  revealed through the apostles. In Gal. 1:8 we read this statement from the pen of Paul: “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” This places a great responsibility upon a preacher and condemns him if he preaches the theories and doctrines of men instead of the gospel of Christ as delivered by the apostles.

Preachers are looked upon as leaders of men; and that they should be.  As preachers are  spiritual leaders of men, they are expected to know more about the Bible than any other class of men. This is but the natural thing to expect, for preachers should study the Bible that they may be qualified to preach the gospel to others.  When you have some question that troubles your soul, something about the Bible that you wish to know, you often turn to the preacher for help.  And if it is something that is found in the Bible, he should be willing to give his assistance; or if it is not found in the Bible, he should be able to tell you so.  This is the reason I have selected the title  for  this  sermon  that  I  have — ASK YOUR PREACHER.  I have some questions that I want to present to you that you may present them to your preacher to find out just what the Bible says.  These questions which I shall present are important questions; they are questions that you have often thought about; and your preacher should be willing to help you find an answer to them. Take your pencil and write them down as we go along.  Are you  ready?

Well, here is the first:

1. Ask your preacher where you can find the name of your church in the Bible.  I do not know the name of the church to which you belong, for I do not know who you are that are listening to me at this time. Doubtless many churches are represented among my listeners today. But you know what church You are a member of, if any, and you know the name of the church.  So just go to your preacher and ask him to give you the book, chapter and verse in the Bible that mentions it.  If it is there, he will certainly know where to find it; if it is not there, you have a right to know it. So ask him to help you.

I have read the language of Paul in I Cor. 1:2 in which he addressed  “the church of God which is at. Corinth.” And when he made his farewell address to the elders at Ephesus he said: “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, Over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” Acts 20:28.  In these two passages we have reference to “the church of God.”  Then Paul wrote Timothy after this fashion: “But if I tarry long, that you mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” I Tim. 3:15.

And here reference is made to “the church of the living God.”  When Paul wrote the church in Rome he said: “The churches of Christ salute you.” Rom. 16:16.  In the section from which Paul was writing there were a number of congregations, and they were sending their greetings to the church in Rome. Hence, Paul said: “The churches of Christ salute you. ” It is an evident fact, of course, if a number of congregations were called “churches of Christ,” one of them would be a “church of Christ.”  Taking all of these Scriptures together, we read of the church of the living God, and the church of Christ. These were not different religious organizations but were simply different designations for the same body of people.  But is it possible to read anywhere in the Bible of any mention of the name of the church to which you belong?  This is an important matter, for the Bible is our guide book from earth to glory, and we should not want to belong to something the Bible says absolutely nothing about.  So ask your preacher to help you find the name of your church in the Bible. He should not become offended if you ask this favor of him.

And Again

2. Ask your preacher where the  Bible says the church is not necessary to salvation. So many times the statement is made that the church does not save you.  Of course, we know that the church is not the Savior. Jesus is our Savior. But the statement as used simply means the church is not necessary to your salvation; that you can be saved on the outside of it as well as on the inside.  Now, you have likely heard your preacher make that very statement many times; and as he is your teacher in spiritual things, he should be glad for you to want to know where to find any such statement in the Bible. Do You not look upon him as a Bible teacher? Certainly you do. Then, if there is any such statement in the Bible, he should know where it is; or if he does not, it should not take him but a little while to find it for you.

I have often read the statement of Paul in Eph. 5:23 which says: “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body.” If You will read the verses that follow in this chapter, you will readily see that the term “body” refers to the church. So Christ is the savior of the church. This statement could not be true if he saves men out of the church and before they enter the church. In that case he would be the savior of men out of the church but not the Savior of the church. Yet Paul says he is the Savior of the church. If the Lord saves one man out of the church, he evidently saves all who are saved out of the church. Hence, every person who goes into the church is saved before he enters. Then how could Jesus be “the Savior of the church?” It just wouldn’t be possible. So the statement shows us that the Lord saves men who enter the church, not those on the outside. And while the church is not the savior, it is the institution in which the Savior saves men.  We, therefore, read in Acts 2:47: “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”  Every saved person in the city of Jerusalem was added to the church. There was not a saved person in all that city that had not been added to the church. And what was true of the city of Jerusalem has, throughout the ages, been true of every other place. The Lord has added to the church everywhere such as should be saved. And if any one from that time to this has been saved out of the church, he was saved when he should not have been. But in spite of all these statements, you will hear preachers constantly say that you can be saved out of the church. If you have heard your preacher say this, please ask him to tell you where it is found in the Bible.

More to ponder

3.  Ask your preacher where the Bible says one church is as good as another. Perhaps no statement has been made by religious people more often than this. On every hand, from the pulpit and in the pew, you will hear the statement: “One church is as good as another; so it makes no difference which one you belong to.”  Maybe you have said this over and over; and you have heard your preacher preach it all of your life. Then it must be something that both you and he are interested in, and you should want to know just where the Bible makes the statement. I am not asking too much when I ask you to ask your preacher about it, am I? That is what your preacher is for – to tell you where you can find in the Bible the things he preaches. So why not use him? I expect my brethren to use me in this way. And they feel free to make such demands of me.

In Eph. 4:4 I find recorded this statement: “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as we are called in one hope of your calling.” This passage plainly says: “There is one body.” Yet in the face of it we have hundreds  of  conflicting  religious  bodies in the world. Well, one body can’t mean two hundred bodies.  But what does Paul mean by the one body? In Eph. 1:22, 23 he said: “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the church, which is his body.” So the body is the church. But Paul says there is “one body.” Furthermore, when Jesus promised to build the church, he said: “Upon this rock I will build my church.” Matt. 16:18. He did not say: “upon this rock I will build my churches.” He mentioned only one -“my church” not churches, If the Lord built but one, and he certainly did for that is all he promised to build, then somebody else must have built all the others. And are we ready to say that any church that man built is as good as the one the Lord built? This is what we will have to say if we contend that one church is as good as another. In Col. 1:18 Paul also declared: “He is the head of the body, the church.” Look at this passage in your Bible – Col. 1:18 – and see just what it says.  I don’t want you to take my word for it, but it will certainly be alright for you to read it yourself and take just what it says. Now, does it say, “He is the head of the BODIES the CHURCHES?”  It does not read that way in your book, does it? But it says: “He is the head of the body, the church.” There is the same number of bodies there is of  heads. How many heads ? He is THE HEAD.  That means just one head, doesn’t it?  All  right.  “He is the head of the body, the church.”  So there is one head, one body, one church.  And since Jesus is the head of only one. somebody else must be the head of every other. Do you believe that a church of which man is the head is as good as the church of which Jesus is the head? You must believe this if you believe that one church is as good as another.

I do not believe that I could found a church that would be as good as the one founded by Jesus, but I believe I could come as near doing that as any other uninspired man. But no uninspired man, or even inspired man, could do that. Jesus died that he might establish his church – he purchased it with his own blood. If man could establish one just as good, without even dying for it, as the one Jesus purchased with his blood, then Jesus died in vain. This would give man more power than the Lord had.  So if your preacher has been telling you that one church is as good as another, just ask him for the scripture that says so. And while he is finding that for you, you might ask him how many churches are mentioned in the New Testament, anyway.

Where can these be found?

  4. Ask your preacher where the Bible says to “join the church of your choice.” In view of what has just been said regarding point No. 3, it is not necessary to say much about this point. But does the Lord allow men to have their choice in matters of this kind? If man is allowed to choose the church that suits him best, then the Lord has no choice in the matter. But since Jesus built but one church, do you think he will allow you to choose one that some uninspired man built in preference to the one he built? The Lord gives you the choice of accepting him or rejecting him, but if you reject him, he will see that you do not go unpunished.  Why not let the Lord have his choice instead of choosing our own way ? But if your preacher has been telling you to join the church of you’ choice, he ought to be able to give you the passage of scripture that says so. So go to him and ask him for it.

Simplicity In Christ

Paul, in 2 Corinthians 11:3, states, “I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.” God, in revealing His plan and purpose for man’s life, was not trying to confuse man. He wanted (and still wants today) man to hear, understand and obey. Therefore, the gospel was couched in terms that were simple and clear. Satan will always try to confuse us, so in various ways he tries to complicate the massage. That is why Paul wrote, “that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes” but “whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Cor 2:11; 4:4). Where God wants us to hear and learn, and come to Him (Jn. 6:45), Satan tries to confuse and bewilder all those who would listen to God.

Free from sin

God has clearly revealed how men are to be made free from sin. To this end, God gave His only begotten Son and approved Him with these words; “…This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him” (Matt. 17:5)! God spoke under the Old Covenant through the prophets, but now speaks His will for our lives through His Son, Jesus Christ (Heb. 1:1-2). Surely no one would contend that He is unable to speak clearly what He wants us to understand, or that Christ is unable to convey the Father’s message. God made man (Gen. 1:26-27), surely, He knows our intelligence and ability to comprehend. Why, then, are there those who affirm that we cannot be sure we know the will of God?

Instructions to disciples

Before Jesus left this earth, He gave instructed His disciples to evangelize the world. At the same time, He gave the means by which men would be saved from sin, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned” (Mk. 16:15-16). That bit of information is so simple and plain that a person must have a lot of help to misunderstand it. If this passage is not clear to you, ask a ten-year-old school child to explain what it means. Jesus was not trying to confuse the apostles, nor you and me. He gave simple terms for salvation which they understood and preached, and which we can understand and obey.

When the apostles went forth in compliance with the instructions of Jesus, they preached the gospel in simple words. The people who heard them had no difficulty in understanding what to believe and what to do. Many found it hard to accept, but none found it hard to understand. When Peter preached the first gospel sermon (Acts 2:14-36), people believed and asked, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” The Lord’s reply, through Peter, was simple, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins…” (Acts 2:38). There was no question about their ability to understand because, “those who had received his word were baptized; and that day…” (Acts 2:41). They understood what to do and did it – 3000 of them. What could be simpler or plainer?

Why were 3000 baptized that day? The Bible says, they “received his word.” The converse could be stated, as those who did not receive his word were not baptized. That is still true today. Those who gladly receive the word of the Lord will do what the word says3/4 no excuses, no arguments.

Responsibilities

In Jn. 8:24, Jesus said, “you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” The reason for His many miracles is clearly revealed: “Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:30-31). Later, Paul would write of the gospel, “it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Rom. 1:16). He further explained in Rom. 5:1, “having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Without faith we cannot be pleasing to God (Heb. 11:6), but it must be a “faith working through love” (Gal. 5:6). Faith without works is no faith at all (Jas. 2:20).

Faith must lead us to turn from our former way of living. Jesus said, “unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Lk. 13:3). Jesus did not come to earth and die on the cross that we might continue to live according to our own will. 2 Cor 5:15 states it this way, “He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.” Jesus came to save people from their sins, not to save people in their sins. If we would be saved, we must be willing to turn from our sins to live as He directs us. If we are determined to live for ourselves, to live in sin, we cannot be saved. The requirement is simple: we must repent

Many heard and believed

On the day of Pentecost in Jerusalem, 3000 people believed (v. 37), repented (v. 38) and were baptized (v. 41). A pattern of conversion was set that was repeated over and over. Philip went to the city of Samaria and “preached Christ to them” (Acts 8:5). “But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike” (Acts 8:12).

Notice, when they believed, they were baptized. Just like the people on Pentecost. Just as Jesus had said in Mark 16. Philip was directed by an angel of the Lord to go to the road that led to Gaza where he met an Ethiopian and “preached Jesus to him” (Acts 8:26-35). “As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, ‘Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized’” (v. 36)? Told he must believe, he stated, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God,” (v. 37), and “they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him” (v. 38). Wasn’t that simple? Why complicate it? Just do what Jesus said. That is what the Samaritans did, that is what the eunuch did. Why confuse the matter?

When the gospel began to be preached to the Gentile world, we see the exact same pattern emerge. The apostle Paul preached in Philippi, was arrested and thrown into prison. As he and Silas sang praises to God, an earthquake freed all the prisoners. The jailer brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30). He was told, “’Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.’ And they spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all who were in his house. And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household” (Acts 16:31-33).

Just as with the other examples, this man trusted Jesus, repented of his sins, and was immediately baptized. When Paul preached in Corinth, “…many of the Corinthians when they heard were believing and being baptized” (Acts 18:8). God’s message was simple enough that people who heard it for the first time could respond to it. That means, they understood it. However, they might not have known what was expected of them after that. However, they knew what God said for them to do. Why shouldn’t it be that simple today?

WHO IS A CHRISTIAN?

by Jerry Henderson

Who is a Christian

The word “Christian” is used 3 times in the New Testament (Acts 11:26; Acts 26:28 and 1 Peter 4:16). It is both noble and honorable to wear the name of Christ (James 2:5-7). The “name” the rich were blaspheming in James 2:5-7 was without a doubt the name of Christ. The name by which they were called was “Christian” which is a combination of “Christ” and the suffix “ian” and when put together means a follower of Christ. A Christian is more than just a baptized person; church member; weekly worshiper or just a good person. There are many counterfeits, but few that are real or genuine (John 8:31).

Some considerations about the name Christian

First, we want to consider the origin of the name “Christian”. God promised to give a “new name” (Isaiah 62:1-2). It would not be an old name with new significance, it would be a new name. It would be given when the “Gentiles would see the righteousness of Zion. It would be given by the mouth of Lord not by the enemies of the Christians. Isaiah 56:5 says it was to be “within my house.” God’s house is the church according to 1 Timothy 3:15. Therefore it is unscriptural to call one a Christian who is not in the Lord’s church. This name was to be an “everlasting name” (Isaiah 56:5). That means it is to last forever.

Now consider the meaning and use of the name “Christian”. As noted above, the name means: a “Follower of Christ” (Thayer’s Greek English Lexicon); or an “Adherent of Christ” (Vine’s Expository Dictionary). It is not used in Scripture in a hyphenated way as it is used today: such as, “Baptist-Christian; Methodist-Christian or some other man-made name attached to the name “Christian”. There are no “conservative Christians” or “liberal Christians.” The Lord never prefixed or suffixed the name Christian. “Christian” is a noun, not an adjective! Yet the word “Christian” is tacked on too many things – homes, schools, colleges, Sabbath, etc. The term “Christian Atheist.” is even used. It is thought if a person was a good moral Atheist, he or she was a Christian Atheist. People even talk about Jewish Christians, but a person can’t be both a Jew and a Christian. One can be of Jewish descent but not a Jew from the religious standpoint.

Let’s answer the question, who are not Christians

Just who are not Christians? Certainly, those not in God’s family, the church, can call themselves a Christian. Obviously, someone can appropriate a name and wear it even though they are not entitled to. One could call themselves “Jones” when not in the “Jones” family. They have “assumed” a name rather than it being “assigned” to them because they are a part of the family. Identity theft or the stealing of a name and or the identity of another is a major problem in our society today. Abraham Lincoln is said to have asked: “If you call a cow’s tail a leg, how many legs does she have?” Most answered five, but he replied: “No, four, calling a tail a leg does not make it one!” So, neither does calling someone a Christian make them one! Not all “good” people are Christians. Yes, one must be good, but that in and of itself does not make one a Christian. Nicodemus was a good man but had to be born again to be a part of the Kingdom (the church or family) of God and thereby be called a Christian (John 3:1-5). Cornelius was a very devout man, but he had to hear words to be saved (which made him a part of God’s family and a Christian) (Acts 11:14). Not all “religious” people are Christians. Even those who are heathens are religious (Acts 17:22). The apostle Paul, before his conversion, was very religious, but he was holding on to what was false (Acts 26:5, 9). He even persecuted Christians. So, even though he was very religious he was not a Christian before his conversion. There are, in fact, two kinds of religion, “pure” and “defiled” (James 1:26-27). Not even all church members are Christians. Just joining or attending a church does not make one a Christian. There are even some who call themselves members of the “church of Christ” who are not Christians (John 8:31).

Then who are Christians?

Then just who are Christians? Wearing the name “American” involves duty: such as upholding the constitution, obeying laws, good citizenship, etc. Those who do not obey laws, burn flag, and try to destroy this country we call “un-American” because they are not demonstrating the characteristics of an “American”. Wearing the name “Christian” involves a life of duty to Christ. A Christian is something a person IS, not just something they are called. A Christian is a person who has obeyed the gospel – been baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38) and is therefore “in Christ” (Galatians 3:26, 27)

Questions to ask yourself

The following are some questions a person can ask themselves in their effort to determine if they are, in fact, a Christian. Have I obeyed the gospel (2 Thessalonians 1:8; 1 Peter 4:17)? One is not a Christian if they have not put on Christ by obeying the commands He has set forth in His Will, the Gospel. Did I obey the gospel out of conviction or convenience (Romans 6:17)? If a person did what they did just for family, prestige, or for any reason other than their desire to submit to the Lord and His will, they are not a Christian. Am I willing to suffer as a Christian (1 Peter 4:16; Hebrews 10:32-34)? A person willing to suffer for something has conviction. A person unwilling to suffer for Christ is not a Christian. Am I separated from the world in recreation, language, conduct, apparel, etc. (Romans 12:2; 1 John 2:15-17)? A person cannot serve God and mammon (material things) (Matthew 6:24). Am I truly devoted to Christ? Do I love the brethren, or do I have no time for my brethren or others (John 13:34-35)? Do I attend services as much as I can or as little as I think I can get by with (Hebrews 10:25)? Do I give liberally or miserly or do I give the leftovers to God (2 Corinthians 9:6, 7)? Am I truly interested in leading others to Christ? Jesus came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10) and if we are Christians, we are followers of Him (1 Peter 2:21). Do I appreciate strong preaching or am I offended when the Bible condemns my sins? What is my reaction when error is exposed (Galatians 4:16; John 6:66)? Am I growing in the faith (2 Peter 1:5-8)? Am I concerned about my spiritual development and that of my family? We are taught that we must “glorify God in this name” (1 Peter 4:10-11). Therefore, everything we do must be such as would bring glory to God or I am not a Christian even though I might call myself such.

What’s Important

When our spirit leaves our body, the important question will not be “was he or she rich, a great athlete or a scholar, etc. etc…” But rather the important question will be “was he or she a faithful Christian?” So, are we really Christians, or are we just wearing the name? If you are not a Christian, you can become one by obeying the gospel of Jesus Christ. That means you must hear the Word (Romans 10:17); believe in Jesus Christ (John 8:24); repent of your sins (Luke 13:3); confess your faith publicly (Matthew 10:32, 33); and be baptized for the remission of your sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16). You will then be added by the Lord to the church, the family of God (Acts 2:47) and you will be a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ. There is an old spiritual song that says “ev’rybody talkin’ bout heav’n ain’t goin’ there.” There are also a lot of people calling themselves Christians who are not. ARE YOU A “CHRISTIAN”?