What makes a true christian?
The whole story behind naming Jesus’ followers “Christians” can be found in Acts 11: 19-26 as Acts 11:26 “The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.” NIV
In this text there is also a complete definition of what a true Christian is. But first a little background. After Stephen’s stoning, a persecution started in Jerusalem against the followers of “The Way” (this is how Jesus’ followers were first called, see Acts 9:2; 19:9, 23…) Jesus disciples were scattered as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch and continued to preach the gospel.
Here are the characteristics of those who were first called “Christians”. May we be led to follow their example.
1. They were all proclaiming the gospel about Jesus to anyone, Jews and gentiles alike. Acts 11:20-21 “Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus.” NIV
2. They were all filled with God’s Holy Spirit. Acts 11:21 “And the presence of the Lord was with them with power…” AMP Acts 11:24 …”full of the Holy Spirit and faith.” NIV
3. They all trusted and relied on the Lord, surrendering themselves to Him. They Acts 11:21 “turned and surrendered themselves to Him.” AMP Acts 11:23 “He continuously exhorted (warned, urged, and encouraged) them all to cleave unto and remain faithful to and devoted to the Lord with [resolute and steady] purpose of heart.” AMP
4. They were all full of faith in their belief that Jesus is the Messiah, through whom we obtain eternal life. Acts 11:24 “…full of faith (of his belief that Jesus is the Messiah, through Whom we obtain eternal salvation.” AMP
The result: Many came to believe in Jesus Christ. Acts 11:21 “And the presence of the Lord was with them with power, so that a great number [learned] to believe (to adhere to and trust in and rely on the Lord) and turned and surrendered themselves to Him.” AMP Acts 11:24 “And a large company was added to the Lord.” AMP
We could summarize that Christians are followers of Jesus Christ and they are partners with Jesus in their actions. What Jesus did and does, they do it as well. Jesus preached while he was on our planet. They preach too! Jesus cared for others. They care for others as well! Jesus relied on God for direction. They rely on God’s Holy Spirit, the promised helper, as well! Do you feel you are far from the Biblical description of a true Christian? Don’t despair. It isn’t too late to do something about this. Just turn yourself over to Jesus and let Him reign in your heart and watch the transformation that will happen when Jesus reigns in your heart through His Holy Spirit. Please take the first step by answering the Altar’s call at http://www.answers2prayer.org/saviours_call.html
I could supply a lot of details about how a true Christian has the Holy Spirit resident inside them as a perfect holy nature in conflict with their carnal human nature. About how one believes in salvation by faith etc. But what I think the asker of the question is really saying is how do you know one when you see one?
Mat 7:16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
Mat 7:20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
What sort of fruit do Christians produce?
Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Gal 5:23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
The foremost fruit here is ‘love’, but what kind of love?
Jhn 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
Jhn 13:35 By this shall all [men] know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
Here is the definition of how others will know that you are a Christian. You must have love one to another. The same kind of love that Jesus had. A self sacrificing love. A willingness to go out of your way, often at your own expense, even to the extent of giving your life, for others.
You will not intentionally do harm or a bad deed to any other person. You will be humble enough to apologize and make it good if you perchance do such harm, or hurt someone by something you say. You will not harbor hatred within you for anyone who has wronged you. And because you will not be able to behave like this unless you have the Spirit of love within you; you will be a Christian and others will know that you are.
If you have this kind of love then you have fulfilled all the requirements of the law of God that Jesus Christ fulfilled for you at the cross.
Gal 5:14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, [even] in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
If you are unable or unwilling to reflect this kind of love for your fellow man; you might think you are a Christian but you will be one of those to whom the Savior says on His return;
Mat 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Here is a little poem I was required to learn at school that says it all.
ABOU BEN ADHEM
Hall 1836: Original Text Reference. Composition Date: unknown. Publication Date: 1838. Ed. (text): J. D. Robins; (e-text): I. Lancashire. Rep. Poetry: 2RP.2.156.
Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!) Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace, And saw, within the moonlight in his room, Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom, An angel writing in a book of gold:– Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold, And to the presence in the room he said, “What writest thou?”–The vision raised its head, And with a look made of all sweet accord, Answered, “The names of those who love the Lord.” “And is mine one?” Said Abou. “Nay, not so,” Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low, But cheerily still; and said, “I pray thee, then, Write me as one that loves his fellow men.”
The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night It came again with a great wakening light, And showed the names whom love of God had blest, And lo! Ben Adhem’s name led all the rest.
If you do not have this kind of love within you and would like to have it, answer ‘The Savior’s Call’ in this newsletter.
When answering the question, “What makes a true Christian?” It’s possible that some might say that a true Christian is one whose life exhibits such things as love, joy and peace etc., and it’s also possible that one might say that a true Christian is one who attends a Christian church, or even one who has been baptized a Christian. While these things are true (or should be) of a true Christian, they in themselves do not make one a true Christian, or even a Christian at all. A true Christian is one who, having been born into this life spiritually dead due to inherited sin from our first parents Adam and Eve (Psalm 51:5; Romans 5:12-19), has been made spiritually alive through the Holy Spirit by truly turning to God in repentance through faith in Christ Jesus (they have been born again). As Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)
Jim Futral http://www.biblepath.com (Answers to questions from a Biblical perspective)
I am sure many books could be, and have been written on the subject of what is a true Christian. In brief, the first epistle of John discusses three simple tests for how to spot the true Christians and distinguish them from the false, possibly as a response to the beginnings of the Gnostic sects which flourished in the second century.
First, true Christians believe in the name of Jesus Christ, “No-one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also” (1 Jn 2: 23; also 3: 23; 4: 15; 5: 13).
Second, true Christians do not continue to live a sinful lifestyle, “No-one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.” (1 Jn 3: 9, also 5: 18). Because the verb “sin” is in the Greek present continuous, this refers to general lifestyle, it does not mean that no-one will ever make an occasional slip. Paul also indicates in several passages that those who live a life of habitual sin will not inherit the kingdom of God (see 1 Cor 6: 9-10; Gal 5: 19-21).
Third, true Christians love one another, “This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God, nor is anyone who does not love his brother.” (1 Jn 3: 10; also 1: 9-11; 4: 7-8). At the Last Supper, Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13: 34-35). If anyone wants a sign by which to spot the true Christians, then according to Jesus, this is it. Having listed the criteria, I should mention that the only way to fulfil them is to walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh (Gal 5: 16-18; Rom 8: 12-14).
God bless you all, Adrian Bury
Dr. Adrian Bury Peremartongyártelep Hungary Check web site: http://members.tripod.com/~Help_for_SDAs/AdrianBury.htm
God’s Word says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins.”
We must repent. That is, we need to turn away from sinful and selfish ways to follow the word of God and His ways. Jesus said, “The Kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe.”
“Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved,” declares the Word of God.
God also said, “To all who received Him [Christ], to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.”
Admitting our sinful nature, believing that Jesus died for our sins, asking Him into our lives as Lord and Savior, and accepting God’s forgiveness is what makes us real Christians. MAY ALL BE BLESSED!
A true Christian is one that allows Christ to live through him. See…11 Corinthians 13; The Love Chapter. This chapter tells what GOD is. GOD IS LOVE!!! We can’t live it, ourselves, only He can.
Ephesians 4:1,3 (GW translation) Eph 4:1 I then, the prisoner in the Lord, make this request from my heart, that you will see that your behavior is a credit to the position which God’s purpose has given you, Eph 4:2 With all gentle and quiet behavior, taking whatever comes, putting up with one another in love;
Eph 4:3 Taking care to keep the harmony of the Spirit in the yoke of peace.
Please read all of Ephesians Chapter four, I believe that we can see that those that adhere to these teachings would be one like Jesus referred to in (KJV) Matthew 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
I feel that a true Christian is one who loves God with all his mind, body, and spirit. And the person that is sitting right in front of him or her.
If the question is “What”, then the question is primarily philosophical. If we change the question slightly but significantly, from ”what” to “who” as the quoted verse, John 8:36, indicates then the answer is not hard: Christ