04-30-12 / What Is A Christian?

04-30-12 / What Is A Christian?


Matthew 7:20 / Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.



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Lyrics to "I WANT TO BE MORE LIKE JESUS" by Keith Green

Today, I want to share the message from church we heard today at Christian Tabernacle.  The resident pastor, Gary Pearl, was teaching the message.  He is also a very powerful prophet in the LORD, blessed with seeing visions that come to pass on national and even global levels throughout the year.  He leads a small church here in Louisville, KY and he is a wonderful friend.  His message today was on signs of being a Christian.  I am going to share his message verbatim in terms of the scriptures he shared, along with some small input here and there.

#1 - A Christian is an awakened sinner.

First, we take a look at Psalm 51, the Psalm of Repentance.  This was written by King David after God exposed his sin - he had slept with Uriah the Hittite's wife, Bathsheba, and he even had Uriah killed.  God punished David by taking the life of the first child he had with Bathsheba.  I am not going to quote all of Psalm 51, but I will reference bits and pieces. 

Psalm 51:1 - Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.

Psalm 51:4 - Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.

Psalm 51:8 - Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.

The point is that King David acknowledged before God that he was not perfect - he knew that he was guilty and in need of God's love and forgiveness.

This next verse, Romans 10:9, states what it takes to become a Christian.

Romans 10:9 - That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

#2 - A Christian is a man that trusts the LORD.

Proverbs 3:5 - Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

This type of scripture could have only been written by a man of faith, a man who knew that God's ways are the correct ways, and not the ways we devise.

Matthew 11:28-30 / 28Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

This is Jesus' promise to all that decide to let Him have control in their lives. They will find a peace they have never known before, and they will begin to see wondrous things come forth in their life!

Proverbs 18:24 - A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

Who is He that sticks closer than a brother?  JESUS!

The next scripture is dedicated to those who trust in their own righteousness - Jesus is letting us know that this is unacceptable in God's eyes!

Luke 18:9-14 /  9And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
 10Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
 11The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
 12I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
 13And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
 14I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

This last scripture in this area pertains to how we can deceive ourselves when we try to create our own standards (oh, how are standards are always good for us, but bad for others!).

Jeremiah 17:5-9 /  5Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.
 6For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited.
 7Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.
 8For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.
 9The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

#3 - A Christian is the righteousness of God in Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:21 - For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

God made a switch-er-oo - Jesus took our sin upon Himself so that, by faith, we could proclaim His righteousness in our lives.  What a gift!

Psalm 103:12 - As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

This is a promise to believers that when we take God into our lives, He forgives our sins and removes them FAR from us - He took them and applied them to His son Jesus Christ!

2 Corinthians 5:17 - Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

When we give ourselves whole-heartedly to Jesus, He begins to change our nature into His nature - the nature of God!

1 John 1:9 - If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

This is a continuation of the theme of God's provision for our lives.  He washes away all sin so we can be reconciled to Him.

Isaiah 64:6 - But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

Even in our best efforts, we can never match up to God's standard of holiness - not even close.  Our best efforts will still pale in comparison to the level required by God - this is why grace is so important!

#4 - A Christian is an earnest worker!

Luke 10:30-37 / 30And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.
 31And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
 32And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.
 33But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,
 34And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
 35And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.
 36Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?
 37And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

If you say you are a Christian, yet you are not reaching out to those in need, how are you obeying the gospel of truth?

#5 - A true Christian will fellowship with other Christians.

1 John 3:14-15 / 14We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.
 15Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.

We are so quick to divide ourselves into denominations (Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal, etc.) because we feel we have the whole truth.  The whole truth is comprised in Jesus Christ, and it is through obeying His command "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" that we find ourselves in God's will.

Hebrews 10:25 - Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Some think they can be a Christian and stay away from church - why be disobedient to the command of God?  We are supposed to come together and help one another, not go off on our own. 

#6 - A Christian is a believer who is Dominated by the Word of God!

2 Timothy 3:16-17 / 16All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
 17That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

Paul did not teach that "some" scripture, or "most" scripture was appropriate.  He taught that "ALL" scripture was appropriate.  We need it all to help us grow in Christ, and not just to get head knowledge either!  The Word of God is the spiritual food that helps us grow!  Quit starving yourself!

2 Peter 1:17-21 / 17For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
 18And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.
 19We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
 20Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
 21For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

Peter heard the voice of God speak from heaven - he also knew that the written word proceeded from the same God!  It is important for us as believers to give heed to God's Word in our lives, so that we may grow!

Here, Gary input a small saying at church that relates to the Bible.  The whole Bible speaks of Jesus - however, he pointed out that the Old Testament shows the HIDDEN JESUS, while the New Testament shows the REVEALED JESUS!  Thank you God!

Hebrews 4:12 - For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

The Word of God has power to cut and heal, to destroy and recreate - it is there to help cut out the old man and make room for Christ in your heart!

#7 - A Christian is a persevering saint.

Luke 9:62 - And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

How can we follow God if we have our eye on the world?  Just as Lot's wife was turned into a pillar of salt, so will the Water of God (The Word, which is Christ) dry up in our hearts if we turn back to the elements of bondage (sin) that we came out of!

Romans 8:35-39 / 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
 36As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
 37Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
 38For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
 39Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

There is NOTHING that can seperate us from God - it can try and try, but if we refuse to give in and stand firm on God's Word, we may be shaken, but we won't be destroyed!  God is for us!

#8 - A Christian is known by his fruit.

Matthew 7:13-23 / 13Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
 14Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
 15Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
 16Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
 17Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
 18A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
 19Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
 20Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
 21Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
 22Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
 23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

How can you tell others that you are a Christian when you disobey the Word of God?  If evil fruit (sin) is growing in your life, it means that there are seeds of wickedness still in your heart that you need to let Christ dig out!  

Galatians 5:22-26 /  22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
 23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
 24And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
 25If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
 26Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

These are the fruits that God wants to grow in our hearts.  Do we see evidence of God's work in our lives?  Is love growing greater daily, or joy?  If not, it is time to spend some alone time with God!

I hope you enjoyed the message - God bless!

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