What Does It Mean to Be a Christian?


Text: I Peter 1:13-25

I.         Over 75% of Americans claim to be Christians, a percentage that has been steadily declining while the non-religious rises.

            A.        Still, it is a high number, but it appears to be in conflict with Jesus’ warning - Matthew 7:13-14

            B.        What actually makes a person a Christian?

II.        For some it is a feeling of love

            A.        Thoughts about God and Christ makes the person feel good, therefore they conclude they are Christians

            B.        Yet, feelings are deceptive - Provers 28:26

                        1.         It is walking wisely, according to God’s word that saves - Proverbs 3:3-7

III.       Is a claim enough?

            A.        Let’s be clear that claiming to be Christian is important - Matthew 10:32-33. But is it sufficient?

            B.        Words alone are not enough - Luke 6:46-49

                        1.         Without action, words alone are like a house without a foundation

                        2.         It looks good until trouble arises

            C.        This is why you know people by looking at what they produce - Luke 6:43-45

            D.        You know when you do - I John 2:3-6

IV.      Is a claim of faith enough?

            A.        John 12:42 - Many believed but would not confess

                        1.         We already saw that without confession you cannot be saved.

            B.        James 2:17-24 - It again comes down to the fact that without action, words are nothing more than words.

V.        Is doing good for Jesus enough?

            A.        Others will point out that they are nice people who help others or are active in various religious events

            B.        Matthew 7:21-23 - Jesus rejects people who do not do the Father’s will

                        1.         It isn’t enough to pick a few things that you think will please God. God tells us what pleases him.

                        2.         Christianity is not a build your own religion

            C.        In the same way, doing some things right, while doing others wrong isn’t good enough - James 2:11

VI.      A Christian is not a title but a description of a person who has given up everything to follow Christ’s teaching - Galatians 2:20

            A.        Everything done is with Christ’s authority - Colossians 3:17

            B.        It comes from deep within, driven by love - I Peter 1:22

            C.        Transformed from the world - Romans 12:1-2


Sources:

          http://www.gallup.com/poll/187955/percentage-christians-drifting-down-high.aspx