What does it mean to become a Christian? Are we making disciples or simply converts? How does one understand salvation mean justification, sanctification, and glorification? Conversion is not reciting a creed, it is a conversation. It is not reaching some milestone or rite of passage but walking on a life-long journey of becoming more and more like Jesus.
What Makes Someone a Christian?
- Being born in America?
- Not being something else, like a Muslim or Hindu?
- Simply believing there is a God?
- Being a nice person or good citizen?
- Someone who prayed a prayer or walked an aisle?
Authentic Christianity: trusting in Jesus alone for save them from their sin. It is about God’s grace, our response of faith, and repenting of sin that has been forgiven.
- As Savior (Acts 2:21, 4:12, 16:31).
- As Lord (Acts 2:36-38, Romans 10:9-10).
- Proof – a transformed life (John 8:31-32, 14:15, Matthew 7:21-25) following his commands.
Are You Sure You’re a Christian? (Matthew 7:22-25, 2 Corinthians 13:5, 1 John 5:13). There are two tests to be certain.
- Belief (1 John 4:15, 5:1).
- Life (1 John 3:1-10, 11-18, 4:7-21).
- Patterns, not perfection (1 John 3:6, 1:8-10, John 14:15)
Christians Aren’t Born, They’re Made – meaning it is a process.
- By God (John 3:1-8, 1:12-13, Ephesians 2:1-3, 4-5)
- Through the gospel (1 Peter 1:23, Romans 10:9-17)
- Our response (Mark 1:15, Acts 16:13-14) repent, believe, baptism.
Evangelism 101: This is a privilege, not intended to produce guilt. Let’s define evangelism…
- Evangelism is telling non-Christians the good news about what Jesus did on the cross to bring salvation, forgiveness, and reconciliation.
- God is holy (1 John 1:5) and creator of all things (Genesis 1:1).
- All people are sinners who deserve God’s wrath (Romans 3:10-19, Mark 9:48, Revelation 14:11).
- Jesus is fully God and fully man, lived a sinless life, died on the cross to bear God’s wrath in the place of those who trust their salvation in him, who rose from the dead (John 1:1, 1 Timothy 2:5, Hebrews 7:26, Romans 3:21-26, 2 Corinthians 5:17, 21, 1 Corinthians 15:20-22).
- The only way to be saved from eternal punishment and be reconciled to God is to repent of sin and trust Jesus alone for salvation (Mark 1:15, Acts 20:21).
- Examples of evangelism (Acts 8:1-4, 26-40).
- Mandate to evangelize (Matthew 28:16-20). We preach and God works out the details. We can’t force people to respond, that is the work of the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 55:10-11).
The Church is God’s Evangelism Program: It is not up to individuals or para-church organizations, but the mandate of the church (the body of Christ). We faithfully preach the gospel, gather for worship, and grow in faith.
- City of a hill (Matthew 5:13-16).
- Displaying the gospel (John 13:34-35, 17:20-21).