Matthew 7:21-23 and John 15:1-10
Sin is the failure to love: the failure to first love God and then those made in His image. Sin is “a willful transgression of the known will of God” (John Wesley). It is rebellion. Adam & Eve…that willful choice, their sin, separated them, and us, from God and brought death to all of mankind.
Romans 5:12 Two types of sins… ( see also 1 John 3:4, James 4:17)
Humanity deprived of a relationship with God falls one step further when we choose to sin. But God, made a way for us to be redeemed and restored: Jesus Christ (John 14:6). All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, the wages of sin is death, eternal death, separated from God because of unbelief, “Let the wicked one abandon his way and the sinful one his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, so he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will freely forgive” (Isaiah 55:7).
We must return and abide in Christ (see John 15:1-10). We cannot abide with sin and God; one has to go. There is no such thing as a saved sinner; either you were a sinner and you are now saved or you are still a sinner! God’s Word tells us, “If I regard wickedness in my heart, The Lord will not hear” (Psalm 66:18). In fact, if you pursue sin, rationalizing it in your life, then God will hand you over to that sin.
A Christian is not a person that just recognizes Jesus as the Savior of the World, but one who lives like it, who is actually following Christ’s example of obedience and love every day, one who is abiding in Christ and His love.
A Christian is a person who was convicted of the sin in their lives, and now has a desire to be saved from sin. A Christian accepts the forgiveness found in Jesus Christ and the work of the cross, repents of their sin, gets baptized, and is now abiding in and following Christ as Savior and Lord as part of the local church.
To be a Christian is to be a Christ follower. The term, ‘Christian’, actually only appears 3 times in the Bible (Acts 11:26, Acts 26:28, 1 Peter 4:16). A true Christian has changed, the old has gone, the new has come and they are walking in new life in the power of the Spirit. They are following the teachings, practices, and example of Jesus Christ. A Christian is not just someone who attends a church service. They are abiding in Christ, in the body of Christ, and fulfilling their purpose.
A Christian is a Christ follower and if you want to follow Jesus, be the one who stays when everyone else walks away. Be the one who forgives even when it is undeserved, that is what He did for you. Be the one to show and offer grace even when they spit on you. Be the one to express love to those who hurt and spitefully use or even betray you. Seek out those who do not know the saving Grace of God, those lost and perishing. Those are the things Jesus did and they are the things we are called to do as Christians.
According to the Bible, a Christian is someone who responds to God’s calling of forgiveness in Christ, repents of their sins, is baptized, receives the Holy Spirit, and lives as Jesus lived, following His example; fulfilling their purpose as part of His Church while also being salt and light to their neighbor.
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt should lose its taste, how can it be made salty? It’s no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. “You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”Matthew 5:13-16
Salt is good, but if the salt should lose its flavor, how can you season it? Have salt among yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”Mark 9:50
We, as the church, as Christians, are to Love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength and our neighbor as ourselves. Jesus said that if we loved Him we would do as He commanded. That will mean that we will put our calling as both individuals and as His Church before anything else (see Luke 14:26-35).
The devil has no hold on you If you are abiding in Christ, if you are attached to the vine, if you are producing fruit! Christians have been set free from the law of sin and death; we have eternal life, the very Spirit of God empowers and enables us to fulfill the purposes for which we were created.
Discussion Guide: (use the following questions and Scriptures to dig deeper with a few friends or family members)
- Are you a Christian?
- Are you producing fruit?
- Are you a part of His Flock?
- Are you a member of His body: the Church?
- Is there enough evidence to prove that you are?
Further Reading: John 3:16, Acts 10:34-35, 1 Timothy 2:3-4, Titus 2:11-14, John 10:21-30, John 15:1, Ezekiel 33:8-9, Hebrews 3:12-19, Hebrews 6:1-8, 2 Peter 2:20-21, Acts 2:41-42