THERE ARE CHRISTIANS and THERE are christians part 1
Categories of Christians, one would assume this to be an absurd suggestion, yet realistically, additional groups of Christians exist in our present world. Could their existence nevertheless be possible? Performing a thorough inspection of the Scriptures, shall allow us to arrive at a logical explanation. Approaching this question, will involve a comprehensive Biblical examination of the subject, allowing the Lord to offer the only satisfactory reply. Initially we will examine the words of Christ, “Come follow me”, when we see Him calling His disciples.
Matthew offers us the record of Simon Peter and Andrew being the first to follow Him in Mt 4:18-20, verse 19 says, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men”, then we read in verse 20, “Straightway they left their nets, and followed Him.” Examine even more circumspectly that expression ‘straightway’; spoken in a different manner, their response to His beckon came without delay. There was no hesitation present in their reaction to the call of the Lord, instantaneously, they left everything behind and followed Him. Now allow us to consider another account:
57 On the road someone asked if he could go along. "I'll go with you, wherever," he said. 58 Jesus was curt: "Are you ready to rough it? We're not staying in the best inns, you know." 59 Jesus said to another, "Follow me." He said, "Certainly, but first excuse me for a couple of days, please. I have to make arrangements for my father's funeral." 60 Jesus refused. "First things first. Your business is life, not death. And life is urgent: Announce God's kingdom!" 61 Then another said, "I'm ready to follow you, Master, but first excuse me while I get things straightened out at home." 62 Jesus said, "No procrastination. No backward looks. You can't put God's kingdom off till tomorrow. Seize the day."
Luke 9:57-62 (MSG)
Multitudes of folks professing to be following Jesus in the present day maintain warped priorities. Claiming to be pursuing after Jesus, everything else appears to contain a winning influence resting on their attention. Schedule a Bible Study for 6:00 am on a Saturday morning and invite every one you believe may be interested. What excuses may people perhaps offer for their inability to attend? “I can’t make it, I’m going fishing. The fish are really biting at that time of the morning”, maybe, “I would be present, other than it’s my day off from work and I desire to sleep in.” Plan a Friday evening prayer meeting, who do you expect to be there? Everybody is tired, I know, they have worked all week and now they are worn out. What do you expect to happen next week though when you have a barbecue, at the same exact time, and invite the same crowd of people? It is almost guaranteed that everyone will arrive either on time or early. Why? Because to often our belly is more important to us than God! Why do I use these scenarios you may ask? Because they are both true stories of experiences I have had. Yet we claim to follow Jesus, but He is not our top priority in life. Many miss the point that all who would follow Christ must forsake and renounce all worldly cares! Jesus must become supreme in our lives.
Considering what has been said up to this point, we could begin to see the difference between being a Christian and a christian. Mainly, the question needs to be asked, “On whose terms are you following, yours or His?” “Who is sitting on the throne of your life?” Many want to follow Jesus and remain in the drivers seat. Then there are others who will move over to the passenger’s seat, only to become a navigator, telling the Lord every turn to take. No, if we want to follow on His terms, then we must get in the trunk, give him the keys, and become as the luggage, allowing Him to choose the destination. Becoming a true follower of the Lord Jesus can never be on our terms.
Similar to Jesus’ call for us to follow Him is God’s call to Abram in Gen. 12. God said to Abram, “Get thee out of thy country” Gen.12:1. That is His call to us; we must break away from our country. Following Jesus involves us leaving all we value behind to follow wherever He shall desire to direct us. Abram lacked any prior knowledge of where God would guide him. Reading the fourth verse, it could be seen that he departed, “Even as the Lord had spoken unto him.” When Jesus called Peter and Andrew to follow Him, He did not say, “Follow me, we are staying in a five star hotel and having lobster for dinner.” Nor did they ask Him their destination. They just left their nets and followed Him. Multitudes of individuals confessing a profession of faith or uttering a “sinners prayer” in our contemporary world have this attitude that first asks, “What’s in it for me.”
The question continues to remain unanswered. What does the statement, “So and so is a Christian” actually mean? Exploring the sacred text, found only in the Bible, the word Christian or Christians only appears a total of three times, therefore, allow us to examine the context in which this word is applied. The first occurrence of the word Christian appears in Ac. 11:26, here we notice that the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch. Next application of this word is Ac. 26:28 where King Agrippa tells Paul that he almost persuaded him to become a Christian. The final mention of the word Christian appearing in the Bible is 1 Pet. 4:16, where Peter tells us to not be ashamed if we suffer as a Christian. Examining the context of which the word is implemented, it would appear that being referred to, as a Christian, is an accusation from the ungodly against the Disciples of Christ. Christians then, it appears, are those whom the world recognizes as having been with Christ. This presents us with another question, in the event you were brought before a court of law, would there be sufficient evidence to convict you of being a Christian? Perchance you might be brought before an official like king Agrippa, would you possess the capability to at least almost persuade him to become a Christian?