Will the Real Christian Please Stand Up? (3 of 4) by James Merritt

This content is part of a series.
Will the Real Christian Please Stand Up? (3 of 4)
James Merritt
Acts 11:26
08-24-03


[Video]

Introduction

1. Looking at that video reminds me of the story of a local businessman who was a fourth grade Sunday school teacher. He was really trying to impress the class because his son was a member of the class. So he asked the class this question, "Why do you suppose that people call me a Christian?"

2. Well, there was dead silence. Nobody spoke up. He asked the question again: "Now kids, why do you suppose that people call me a Christian?" Still no response. Finally, the man with an exasperated look said, "Now come on, think about it, surely somebody can give me a reason why people call me a Christian?" His own son broke the silence and said, "Dad maybe it's because they don't know you!"

3. The term "Christian" is used more today than any other term to describe a believer, a follower of Jesus Christ. People talk about the Christian church and the Christian faith. There is a debate raging right now involving the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama as to whether or not we are a Christian Nation.

4. Yet, I want to let you in on a little secret. I believe the average person on the street has no real clue what a real Christian really is. Many who profess to be Christians really are not Christians at all and many who use the term don't even really understand what they mean by it.

5. Has it ever occurred to you that you can be born and raised in a Christian home, attend a Christian school, join a Christian church, live by Christian principles, read a Christian Bible, and even have a Christian worldview and still not be a Christian. Now these things may mark a Christian, but they do not make a Christian. There is a difference between being a Christian in name and being a Christian in nature.

6. Now, it is not for me to tell you what a Christian is. It is not for you to tell me what a Christian is. What we need to do is learn what the Bible says a Christian is. I was fascinated when I did a study of the word Christian as it is found in the Bible. I was amazed to learn that even though the term "believers" is used 80 times to describe Christians, the word "saint" is used 60 times and the word "disciple" is used 30 times, the word "Christian" is used only 3 times. Yet, I believe these three occurrences are crucial because they tell us what a real Christian is.

7. Something else may surprise you because it did me. Christians did not think up this name for themselves. It was a name that was given to them by unbelievers. In A.D. 116 the Roman Historian, Tacitus wrote about the persecution by Nero of those whom "The common people were calling ‘Christians' ". Two thousand years ago the word "Christian" was a term of abuse, derision and shame, but Christians took that name of shame and turned it into a badge of honor. Hopefully, as we study how the word was used in the Bible, you will ...


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