Friday, June 8, 2012

True Christianity-Defining Characteristics

You would expect those who claim to believe & promote "something" to be in full support of it. Take, for instance, chefs. They promote their culinary arts. You wouldn't expect them to say they really don't like cooking. Or, how about sports enthusiasts, especially those that follow a certain team. Here in California, those following the Raiders are fans to an extreme. You wouldn't expect those fans to say they really don't believe in sports. What about those who have a form a worship, those myriads in nominal Christianity. I am always shocked to meet these church-goers and discover that they really don't believe in the Bible, which just happens to be the very source of the original teaching of Christianity. In fact, I dare wonder: "If you don't believe in the Bible, how can you really claim to be Christian?"

When you cut through all the rhetoric, what are the foundational, rudimentary teachings that true Christians should adhere to? Here are just a few:

What should true Christians believe about God?
1. God cannot lie. In the apostle Paul's letter to Titus, chapter 1, verse 2, he said exactly that. If you claim to believe the Bible and be a Christian, you are under obligation to believe this.

2. God is love. In the apostle John's first letter (1 John), chapter 4, he states that twice. First in verse 8 and then again in verse 16. If you don't see God that way, you are not being taught nor adhering to true Christianity.

What should true Christians believe about the Bible?
2Tim. 3:16 "All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness, that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work." If you are not taught that the Bible is a book that contemporary man can guide his everyday life by, you are not associated with true Christianity.

Rom. 15:4  "For all the things that were written aforetime were written for our instruction, that through our endurance and through the comfort from the Scriptures we might have hope." While certain things can bring us pleasure and relaxation, if the Bible is not predominantly one of them, then you need to examine your religion and belief system. If you cannot quote even one verse from the Bible explaining why you belong to your religion and why you have your convictions, you need to examine if you are truly dedicated to God.

Heb 4:12  "For the word of God is alive and exerts power and is sharper than any two-edged sword and pierces even to the dividing of soul and spirit, and of joints and [their] marrow, and [is] able to discern thoughts and intentions of [the] heart." The Bible should be your main handbook. When resolving problems, it should be your reference and not some philosophical teachings of men. Do you read it daily? You should, if you claim to be Christian.

What activity, as a religious group, should Christians be involved in?
In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus himself said (chapter 7, verse 21) “Not everyone saying to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of the heavens, but the one doing the will of my Father who is in the heavens will." If you do not clearly understand what "the will" is, then your religion has failed you. It is not that hard to understand. It is not becoming rich, famous, successful in this life. It is not running orphanages, hospitals or other philanthropic works. In verses 22 & 23, Jesus states other things that do not qualify as "the will" of the Father. What is "the will"? It starts with taking in accurate knowledge (John 17:3). Then it involves our very heart--Matthew 22:37-40. Ultimately, it defines our activity--Matthew 24:14; Matthew 28:19,20

These six points barely scratch the surface of what truly defines a Christian. Indeed, if just these points were the sum total, why would Jesus state we must take in accurate knowledge? For instance, how should love of neighbor (Matthew 22:39) affect our view of ethnic, racial, social and national differences based on Colossians 3:9-11, which reads: "Strip off the old personality with its practices, and clothe yourselves with the new personality, which through accurate knowledge is being made new according to the image of the One who created it, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, ... foreigner, ... slave, freeman, but Christ is all things and in all." (See also: Acts 10:34,35; 1 John 4:20)

No comments:

Post a Comment