Monday, March 1, 2010

What Does It Mean To Be A Christian?

Last night at youth group we ended our series on "What It Means to be a Christian". We went through five passages from God's word that teach what a Christian is.

1. Romans 3:23 : For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Christians realize that they are sinners just like everyone else. Some Christians forget that they are sinners but those who truly follow after Jesus know they they are the worst sinners who have been set free by Jesus! There's no difference, EVERYONE who was born on this earth is a sinner. We are born into the sinful nature of man. Therefore we are condemned to Hell because of sin...but wait there is HOPE!

2. Ephesians 2:8-9: 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–9 not by works, so that no one can boast. Because of sin we are condemned but God, because of his love for us, sent Jesus to bear our sin on the cross. There is nothing we can do. We can't earn our way into heaven. Only God can make us right with Him through Jesus. God came and gave us an undeserved gift-Salvation through Jesus. That's called GRACE!

3. John 14:6: Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. Jesus is the ONLY WAY to be made right with God. There is no other way. The world teaches that there are many ways to connect to "god". But the Bible teaches us that Jesus is the only way to be connected to the ONE TRUE GOD, our Creator! Jesus Himself, fully God and fully man, said that HE was the ONLY WAY! You can't earn your salvation. You can't be accepted because your mom was "religious". You can't get in because you are "good person". JESUS IS THE ONLY WAY!

4. Luke 13:3: I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Unless we first agree with God and admit that we are sinners we can't be accepted into God's family. We must first agree with God that we are a sinful. Did anyone ever have to teach you how to lie? No it is our sinful nature that teaches us to live in sin. Then we must repent of that sin and turn away from it. We must turn 180 degrees away from our sin and ask Jesus to forgive us for it. He will forgive us. 1 John 1:9 says If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. So even when we fall back into sin, we can still repent and God will be faithful to forgive us if we truly repent. We must not live in sin even though God will forgive us. We must strive to be like Jesus who was perfect. That is why we need him. He lived a perfect sinless life and He imparts that life to us when we simply, BELIEVE!

5. John 1:12: Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. When we simply believe in Jesus, that God sent Him to the earth to live a perfect life, go to the cross and bear our sin and shame through his death, and then be raised from the dead demonstrating the power of God to break the bondage of sin and death and offer new life to anyone who will believe, God credits that "faith" as righteousness and we are accepted into His family! When we put our faith in Jesus God doesn't see our sin anymore, He sees His son and credits Jesus' righteousness to US! Praise God!

That's what it means to be a Christian. A Christian is a person who puts Jesus Christ first in their life by admitting they are a sinner, putting their faith in Jesus Christ through the grace of God, realizing Jesus is the ONLY way to be connected to God, and repenting of their sin turning 180 degrees away from it turning to Jesus for direction. That person is then given the righteousness of Jesus through their faith and they become a Child of God.

If you want to become a Christian you simply need to do four things. I call this the ABC's of being made right with God and becoming a follower of Jesus!
1. Admit and Agree with God that you are a sinner.
2. Believe that Jesus came to this earth both fully man and fully God, went to the cross and took your sin and shame upon Himself and forgave that sin through he shedding of his innocent, sinless blood and was raised on the third day overcoming the power of sin, death. When you believe this you become a child of God and have an inheritance as that child of God-Eternity in heaven with God!
3. Confess your sins to God and turn 180 degrees away from it. Walk in the light of Jesus. When you fall down and sin again, repent and and move on. God will forgive you every time.
4 Commit to following God. Read His word, pray, spend time with God. He made you to know Him so spend time with Him. Commit to following after Him and do what His word says...if you do, you will know what it means to live your life in true freedom. You will also experience God's blessing that follows all those who obey Him!

I'm looking forward to our next series called "Hope, When Life Hurts Most."

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