There was a time when preparing for church on Sunday would begin on Saturday.
There was much to be done – hair to be curled – shoes to be polished – clothes pressed and Sunday dinner prepared in advance.
That was then and this is now. Things have drastically changed and a lot of it is for the good. Going to church is much easier now than ever before. People are more relaxed in ways other than just their dress.
The church is not a building. And you can enjoy church in the privacy of your own home on Sunday morning with some of the most dedicated men of God who brings messages for heart, mind, and soul on television. You can listen to “church” on the radio while going down the road, pull “church” up on your IPod, or listen to a “church” tape.
However, there is one thing that does not change and that is the life of a Christian.
Many people think today if they are not of another religion that follows Judaism, Buddhist, Islam, or one of the many other hundreds of religious sects, that automatically makes them a Christian.
While there are those who read the Bible and know fully what a Christian is to be and why; so many others claim that name and don’t have a clue.
First of all you are not born a Christian – you become a Christian of your own free will. You are not bound by rules, regulations, and rituals of a written code by some organization that requires you be this or that.
The word Christian first became into being way back in the days of the New Testament in a place called Antioch. It is now called Antakya and is located in Turkey. It was a berating term given to those who had come to know Christ and who were dedicated to following His teachings. Non-believers would point a finger and say, “Look, there goes one of those Christians!”
Christians have overcome everything that has been thrown against them from the very beginning, and they will overcome until the Son of God returns to this earth. And Jesus is coming again.
Claiming to be a Christian is not like buying a fire insurance policy against hell fires. However, some seem to think that way – walk an aisle, join a church and even possibly be baptized – makes them a Christian. And whew! They are glad that is over with!
So just what is a Christian? A Christian is a person who believes that God created the world; that Jesus was born of a virgin; and that He walked the earth teaching twelve men who in turn would “turn the world upside down.” What then? So what is a church? A church is a body of called out believers who are of like mind; who love God, His Son; and live according to His principles.
How can a person claim to be a Christian when they don’t have a clue what one is? How can a person denigrate and ridicule a Christian when they don’t have a clue what one is. When a person comes to truly understand in their hearts what a Christian really is and what it means on this earth and for eternity – then they become one. There is a little primary song that goes, “If you are saved and you know it, your life will surely show it!”
Those who close their hearts and minds and only live for self and self gratification will never know the true meaning of being a Christian.
In short, a Christian is a person who realizes that they are sinful because of the nature of man and that they cannot save themselves from that sinful state, and that there is only one way to live a good and joyful life here on earth. Accepting Christ as LORD and SAVIOR will allow them to inherit eternal life in the world to come as well.
So when a person meets that realization head on and comes to understand that it is true - what is next? Do they just go on living their lives the same old way? Or do they exchange that life for a new one – a more abundant one? One that will make their former life look like a charade.
So how does this change take place? It does not come from the sky like a bolt of lightning - always. However, that is how God got the attention of Paul that day on the road to Damascus. Even today, many people do come to know Christ for the first time through adversity.
Once a person is convinced of God, that He sent His Son, Jesus, and once they have planted that knowledge in the soil of their hearts, a wonderful thing happens. This does not happen if you are just “trying it on for size.”
It happens when there is a true revelation in your life and when you fully come to understand that God created you, has a plan and purpose for your life – and He is the only answer and hope for the world.
Many are raised in church via Christian parents and gradually as they grow into the age of accountability, they come to understand and accept this for themselves but not because they inherited it from their ancestors. Christianity is the most personal relationship anyone will ever have – bar none.
Finally, the crux of the situation – Christianity is a relationship not a religion. In a relationship, there is commitment; and life’s choices are decided by that relationship. True, down through history thousands have tried to implement man-made rules, regulations, and rituals into the framework of being a Christian. History recalls such events and it did not work.
That is the work of satan (the devil) – he is the adversary of God. He walks the earth seeking who he may lead astray and devour while Christ offers freedom like no man’s army can provide. There is no freedom like freedom in Christ.
However, becoming a Christian does not give one the license to live outside the laws of God; which were given for our benefit. A true Christian will not want to; but will want to have a close relationship and walk with God through Christ forever. Being a citizen of the United States does not give people the license to break those laws; and therefore, being a citizen of the Kingdom of God does not give people the license to live outside of God's laws with a simplistic sentence like, "We all make mistakes - we are all human!"
Some people think, “Well, I am saved and now I can do and live like I want!”
As a Christian we have boundaries. Just as a farmer builds a fence to protect his animals from harm, so do Christians build boundaries around their lives and the lives of those God has entrusted to them.
What is a boundary? How is it different from a rule or regulation?
Synonyms for boundary are limits and peripheries. These have nothing to do with a Christian’s salvation – that was signed, sealed, and delivered at the Cross of Calvary. We live within boundaries everyday of our lives. We live in homes behind locked doors, we drive on the right side of the street, we take care of our health, and we don’t flirt with death.
When loving new parents welcome a child into their family, they automatically set boundaries, limits and peripheries for that child. It is for the protection of that child. It is to keep them from being harmed, injured, or even killed. They also nourish (feed) the child; clothe the child; and love the child while at the same time meeting its needs – not its wants but its needs.
That is an allegory, symbol, metaphor for a new child coming into the kingdom of God.
God is a loving Father and He sets boundaries and fences, and hedges of protection around us for our own good; not for the good of an established church, cult, or religious group. He sets boundaries so that His children can have an abundant life. Sadly, so many throw away the treasure of being a child of God for the debauchery, and wickedness of the world to live sad and defeated lives.
For further explanation on the joys and rewards of having boundaries placed in the Christian life, you will be better informed, educated and blessed to listen to this tape on YouTube. It is about building boundaries and how we ourselves build these boundaries and how we are obligated by love to build them for our children. You will be glad you watched.
What is the test of a Christian?
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are MY disciples, if you have love for one
another.” John 13:34 –35
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His One and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us; and His love is made complete in us. I John 7: 7-12.”
Why is there so little love and respect in the world? It is because we do not love others more than ourselves.
God loves us = we love others = others love others and so it is the will of God. But while we were yet sinners – God loved us first.
“For God so loved the world that He GAVE His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. “ John 3:16 ~~~~~
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