Why Do I Think I'm a Christian?
Christopher B. Harbin & Karen E. G. Harbin
Joel 2:23-32; Luke 18:9-14; 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18
(This sermon is written in two voices)
Chris: What does it mean to be a Christian? Originally "Christian" was a derogatory term for those who following Jesus as the Christ, God's anointed. It mocked believers trying to emulate Christ. "There go the 'little Christs!'" Believers, on the other hand, began wearing the moniker with pride. It addressed the heart of their identity--their commitment to become ever more like Christ Jesus. How committed are we to that principle today? Does the call to be like Christ resonate in the comings and goings of our lives? Do our lives have the authentic look and feel of Jesus' presence?
Karen: This past Monday, I was eating by myself at an outdoor café in Charlottesville. The place was packed so it was no surprise when I felt the presence of someone standing at the empty chair of my table. The man asked if he could sit at the table with me. Because of his accent and skin color, I asked where he was from. He was from Ethiopia. After he'd talked a little bit about his country, he bowed his head to pray. Surprised, I asked him if he were a Christian. "Do you not know the Bible story of the Ethiopian with whom Phillip shared his faith and then baptized? Ethiopia was the first Christian nation in Africa and is about 80% Christian." I felt a little ignorant that he had to remind me of the Bible story and then asked, also ignorantly, about Muslims in his country. It seems that Mohammed was given refuge in Ethiopia at one point and he admired the strength of the Ethiopians Christian faith. He told his followers not to touch Ethiopia. Coptic Christianity in Ethiopia has had its problems, but has held up through the centuries with the organized face of official worship of God in Christ Jesus. Not all is as meets the eye, however. It is all too easy to claim a faith that belies a false reali ...
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