What Is A Christian
More About Jesus Seminar #2 – Guide
A Christian is not simply someone who does what is right, and Christianity is not based upon right and wrong.
The prevailing old concept has long been, “It always pays to do what’s right, and it never ever pays to do what’s wrong”. This emphasis on doing whats right as a basis for Christianity is a disasterous misunderstanding. Instead we need to know how to be a Christian without being religious.
In other words, true Christianity isn’t based upon going to church every week, and on doing the good deeds that are described in the “do unto others” philosophy, nor is it based upon not doing the bad deeds that the 10 commandments are describing that we must not do!
Mathew 7 describes a group of people that are supposed to have done a lot of good deeds, including casting out devils. They prophesied & did many wonderful things, but then God said, “I never knew you”.
There are three parables that Jesus told like that. A group of people were seeking entrance to the Heavenly land, and were describing all the good deeds they had done, but they were told that they didn’t get into heaven for their good deeds.
Instead they are told, “Depart from me you workers of iniquity, I never KNEW you”! So, apparently Christianity isn’t based upon what you do it’s based upon Who You Know. So… it’s who you know that really matters.
There is a parable of the man who went to heaven and met Peter at the gate, & Peter said, “We’re on the one hundred point system here, so what have you done”?
The man said, “Well, I was a good husband & father for 40 years.”
Peter said, “You get two points for that.”
Well, the man said, “I was a deacon in the church and helped out there for many years”.
Peter said, “One point for that”.
“Wow,” the man said, “well, I also went and helped the homeless, and the starving children, and visited prisoners in the county jail.”
Peter said, “You get a half point for that.”
“This is impossible!” The man exclaimed in dismay,
”The only way I could ever get in would be by the grace of God!”,
& Peter said, “Welcome in… now, are you willing to give up your points?”
So, if our good deeds have nothing to do with getting us into Heaven, then our bad deeds have nothing to do with keeping us out of Heaven, right?
A group of ‘street surveys’
using the question, “What is a Christian”, produced these results.
90% of the answers fit this sentence.
“A Christian is someone who tries to do good deeds
and stay out of trouble.”
The name of Jesus was never mentioned as a part of it at all. In other words, most people think that it’s a behavioral thing.
Most people think that “A Christian is someone who will DO unto others as you would have others DO unto you.” Since this concept is held by the vast majority of people today, it is the reason why so many also have a serious problem with The Assurance of Salvation.
This is the reason that the vast majority of Christians today have a lot of uncertainty and lack assurance, because their concept of Salvation is based upon what you do, and in their own opinion, they aren’t doing to well.
But a Christian is not what most people think.
So, what is a Christian?
Acts 11:26 (NKJV)
“And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.”
Day after day, week after week,
the people in Antioch kept hearing the disciples talk about
nothing but Christ The Savior of the world,
and so they began calling them Christians.
(They couldn’t stop talking about their friend Jesus, The Christ)
A Christian is not someone who does good works and avoids doing evil.
A Christian Is
~ ONLY ~
who have a
daily relationship with God.
That’s all of it!
It is not based on what you do,
it’s all about Who you know that matters.
It’s all about the relationship,
and that’s the exciting part.
The relationship IS all that matters.
The relationship will take care of the rest.
A surefire way to know if you are a genuine Christian
is to ask yourself two things;
of whom do I love to think about, &
of whom do I love to talk about!
It’s all about Who you know.
A Christian is one who has accepted John 3:16
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him (or Trusts in Him)
should not perish but have everlasting life. (NKJV)
Think about it… If you don’t really KNOW someone,
can you really trust them?
So a Christian is one who has an ongoing, trusting relationship with Jesus, and is planing on eternal life. Well, if you’re planning on eternal life, how do you get there?
John 17:3 (NKJV)
And this IS eternal life,
that they may know You, the only true God,
and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
[having a relationship with Him,]
we obtain eternal life.
It IS Who you know that counts.
This is a very significant question to ask about faith & eternal life.
If this isn’t understood, then you will never know the assurance of Salvation.
There are phrases we’ve heard all our lives such as,
“Give your heart,
Behold The Lamb,
Fall on The Rock,
These phrases are all a bit too ambiguous for 90% of us!
We need to be able to wrap our arms around it just as much as we do our heads! We need to be able to give it a big hug in order to be able to appreciate it. Whenever I see my brothers and sisters on this earth I can’t wait to give them a big hug, and these days it’s never often enough, and I’d love to be able to give my Big Brother Jesus a hug, but right now it just has to be a virtual hug!
“Getting to KNOW GOD”
is all that we can actually do
to realize the free gift of eternal life,”
Giving our Father GOD & Savior [Big Brother] Jesus
a virtual hug every day,
KNOWING That Together THEY planned,
and flawlessly executed that plan, for Our Salvation,
well, that is something that should be very easy
to wrap both of our arms and mind around.
Who wouldn’t get excited about that?
You cannot truly know anyone
without having an ongoing Daily relationship with them.
Every healthy relationship requires time spent in conversation.
Conversation is a two way thing,
- Prayer is you talking to God.
- Reading Gods Words is you listening to what he has to say. That’s the two way conversation. Without both there is no conversation, and a relationship that is one sided will never last. The Bible is Gods words given to man. So, reading in the gospels about Jesus helps you to get to know Him, & reading the Bible, God’s Words is “listening” to Him.
You may find at first that it is difficult to read the Bible.
I didn’t, but some do. If you start in the gospels, Mathew, Mark, Luke & John then you will be studying the life of Christ & soon you’ll discover that it has all become very interesting.
Also, there are videos of the gospels (on YouTube) that you can watch, [that are excellent] & I have included those links at the bottom of one of these sets of notes. Find a translation that works for you. The https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs has a free online Bible that includes 20 or more translations you can use to compare.
As you get into your Bible study, you’ll discover that some of the other things that used to interest you are fading away, and that your Bible study has become interesting and that you can’t wait to get back there every day.
- Sharing. Because of this relationship that is growing you are going to be sharing with others the good news of the fantastic things that God is doing for you. I’m serious when I say that you won’t be able to help it.
Knowing that if Jesus were to come back right now, right this very minute, that you will absolutely be headed to heaven with Him, This is what having that “Blessed Assurance” means.
(Let that sink in and re-read it several times if you need to.)
The moment that you experience that assurance in your life is when you will not be able to contain your excitement, and the fullness of the power of God in your life will spill over like “the Cup that Overflows”.
You, are the cup!
If you have never experienced that assurance then you need to get there as quickly as you can, because your mind cannot move forward into a more complete knowledge of GOD’S will for you until you do.
It is this sharing with, and caring for others that shows
you’ve inherited that family resemblance to God your Father.
You’ve been born again, but this time it is
into the Spirit and the Family of GOD.
You’ll never need to be be ashamed of your Family heritage! Instead, you’ll want to introduce The Family to all your closest friends. After that, you’ll want to help your new Brothers & Sisters to introduce their friends, and that big Family Circle of Love will just keep on growing until Jesus returns.
GOD is both logical and mathematical.
All things originated through Him.
So, 2 + 2 = 4 ?
- Talking 2 GOD [Prayer], +
- Listening 2 GOD [Bible study], =
- Witnessing 4 GOD [Bubbling over],
Sharing the excitement,
or Introducing Your Family to your friends,
will be ‘Au natural’
once this constant conversation
becomes an everyday part of your life.
The three items above are the 3 components of the saving relationship with God that EVERYONE is looking for, even if they don’t know it yet. This IS what every person needs.
A Christian is also one who has been “Converted”,
so we need to know what that is.
How can I know that I have been converted?
Can We Know?
We absolutely can.
- One of the indicators is that my primary focus in life is on Jesus.
- Another is that I have a daily experience with Christ. Luke 9:23
- Another is that I have a deep interest in the Bible. John 5:39-40
John 5:39-40 (NKJV)
Jesus said to the Pharisees
for in them you think you have eternal life;
v40. BUT…(a big but right here points to the problem)
you are not willing to
come to Me
that you may have life.
COMING TO JESUS,
[Having an ongoing, vibrant,
daily relationship with HIM,]
is how we may have life.
From this Morris is saying that
IF we’ve been born again,
we will be searching the scriptures, so if we are searching the scriptures that means we HAVE been born again?
How else is there to “Come To Me”?
How else is there to “Know Him”?
Keep in mind, Jesus was saying that the pharisees,
who were searching the scriptures
would NOT come to Him
so that they COULD receive life,
Now is where it gets interesting.
The Jews DIDN’T HAVE the New Testament!
Instead, they had a very dim view of God based upon the old testament,
and an apparent misunderstanding of the Promised Savior.
Jesus, the SON of GOD
didn’t fit their idea of The Messiah at all.
They feared GOD,
and knowing how to experience a friendship with GOD
was as foreign to them as it has been to the majority of mankind
all down through the ages.
There is a big difference between love & respect, and fear.
Have you ever ask yourself WHY Noah’s family was the only one saved?
What did you come up with?
How can you have a friendly relationship
with someone who scares you?
But Noah’s Great Grandpa Enoch had a great friendship with GOD!
It was a major catch 22 for the Jewish Nation since all of them knew very well what GOD had done to the Egyptians. GOD gave plenty of examples of His power.
They also knew very well how their nation had been punished in the past for deciding to live their lives apart from God (worship ‘false gods’). We can only imagine what they saw, and exactly how they reacted to it, without having been there.
I believe that the language barrier may have lessened the full impact of the descriptions they gave. Since most early Semitic alphabetic writing systems had no vowels, there have always been disagreements on what exactly the correct words are in certain places.
A good example is that the word translated serpent, in the texts describing what Aron’s rod turned into, could also be translated whale or crocodile! Now, read the account with crocodile instead of serpent and just visualize the excitement it adds to that story!
Can you see Moses reaching down to grab the crocodile’s tail? There are hundreds of other examples of words that can actually mean different things in certain places. What had to be done was, the context of the information had to be carefully weighed, relative to any word that was chosen.
Check this out for an example. This is what reading the way the ancient Jews wrote would be like in the English language. Can you read this?
Lv th Lrd yr Gd wth ll yr hrt
Fortunately, we have always had God involved with protecting what I call the ‘critical intent’ of the message he wanted to pass on to the world throughout the next several thousand years.
Does having a meaningful prayer life SHOW that we have been born again? So, what is meant by meaningful?
Luke 18:1 (KJV) …men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
I’ll guarantee you, that
if you are talking to GOD throughout the day, all day & every day,
that you are definitely in a life saving relationship with HIM,
that you can bet the devil will not like that,
he will attempt to get you to dump that relationship as quickly as he can.
I can guarantee that because I’ve experienced it.
It’s actually quite difficult
NOT to talk to GOD
ALL DAY LONG!
Once you truly become God’s friend, you’ll find it’s impossible
to leave Them out of anything that you do each day,
but then, why would we ever want to?
Does sharing the Good News mean or show that we have been born again? I can guarantee that once you’ve been born again, you won’t be able to wait to share the good news of what God has done for you.
(“The click” happens
the moment you fully understand & accept the truth,
about GOD and His plan for Your Salvation.
Then is when you experience
the Blessed Assurance of Salvation in your life.)
Once that happens,
start by sharing first with those whom you love the most,
and then move on from there.
They are the ones who trust you the most,
and they’ll also see the benefits you experience
from sharing your new friendship with GOD.
You are now a member of the family of GOD.
Why would you ever be ashamed of those family members?
Mark 8:35 (NKJV)
For whoever desires to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life,
for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.
I like that point of view.
This text is strange at first glance, and Morris gets this impression from it. “The persons who are more concerned about saving someone else than they are themselves, have the right idea.” I like that point of view.
At first glance, It appears that If I desire eternal life then I can’t have it. In reality it is talking about two lives here, the earthly and the eternal, or Heavenly. If our earthly life is threatened because of our relationship to GOD, then it is best to choose the eternal life rather than the short, painful life we have here.
So what are the simple steps to take in starting this friendship with GOD?
Admit you are a sinner:
The Apostle Paul said, “I am a chief sinner”,
even though he had been a Christian for 14 years.
1 John 1:8 (NKJV)
If we say that we have no sin,
we deceive ourselves,
and the truth is not in us.
Knowing God through a loving relationship lets us
live a life filled with love as a residual benefit!
1 John 4:7-8 (NKJV) 7
Beloved, let us love one another,
for love is of God; and
everyone who loves is born of God
and knows God.
That certainly sounds like it’s describing a ‘Born Again’ experience.
v8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
So, here we again see the logic of GOD,
since the opposite of v7 is also true.
Romans 5:1 (NKJV)
We have peace with God!
Therefore, having been justified by faith,
we have[a] peace with God
through our Lord Jesus Christ,
Another ancient reading is,
“let us have peace” with GOD.
And finally, we will no longer sin. Really?
Morris says that THIS IS A MAJOR POINT!
He says that “the problem of sin is not a problem of doing bad things.
?Sin is NOT the transgression of the law.”?WHAT?
?Really, because that is what the Bible says it is!?
What is sin?
Morris says that, “Sin, is living a life apart from God”.
Period? That’s it?
So that’s the only sin there is?
Ex 20:3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
Living life apart from God IS transgressing the first commandment of the law. It’s setting yourself up to be your own god.
Has Morris somehow failed to see this correlation?
If living life apart from God
is the chief sin
(according to Morris)
that all other sins fall under,
then it makes perfect sense for it to be described
within the very first commandment doesn’t it?
There was no need to create this difficulty!
By saying that the statement the Bible makes, “Sin IS the transgression of the law” is not true, is setting yourself up for failure.
~ A little sensationalism to wake up the people on the back row? ~
I don’t believe that Morris would ever intend to say that the Bible is wrong, but I think he was trying to say that the statement is somehow misunderstood, when in fact it seems, he somehow missed the connection, in the first commandment.
The first commandment is the one that is saying that we must not live our lives apart from God. Anytime anyone ‘has another god before God’, they are living their lives apart from God, guaranteed. You cannot serve two masters.
If you simply don’t believe in God then you are your own God.
If you have anything that you love (would rather spend time with) above God then that is your god and that is where your time will be spent.
Living your life apart from God is breaking the very first commandment! I think that we can leave the statement the way it reads in the Bible. The Law IS, that we are NOT to live our lives apart from GOD. All the other ‘guidelines’ for enjoying a fulfilling & wonderful life fall perfectly under the banner of the first commandment.
Living life apart from God
means you have made something else your god,
so you have broken the first commandment.
Sin IS the transgression of the Law.
Now, Morris is saying that…
If we are in an ongoing,
growing relationship with GOD,
then we CAN NOT SIN!
Hang in there folks because we’re getting to the good part!
So… What do we call our falling & failings while in this relationship?
If ALL sin is simply the result of living life apart from GOD, then…
If You Don’t Break The First Commandment
(Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods Before Me)
You Will Never Break Any Of The Rest, Right? Hmm…
So if you break one of the other ten commandments does that mean you’ve also broken the first one, ‘if you break one you’ve broken them all’?
So, did the WE CANNOT SIN concept come from what Paul was talking about in Romans chapter 7 where he says, “I do what I don’t want to do, and I don’t do what I want to do”?
LET’S TAKE A LOOK…
(You’ll see each verse in two translations. First the King James Version & then a paraphrased version that can help to make it easier to understand.)
~ TAKE SPECIAL NOTICE OF VERSES 17 & 20 ~
Romans 7: [KJV] & [the VOICE]
[KJV] 14 For we know that the law is spiritual:
but I am carnal, sold under sin.
[VOICE] 14 This is what we know:
the law comes from the spiritual realm.
My problem is that I am of the fallen human realm,
owned by sin, which tries to keep me in its service.
[KJV] 15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
[VOICE] 15 Listen, I can’t explain my actions. Here’s why:
I am not able to do the things I want;
and at the same time, I do the things I despise.
[KJV] 16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.
[VOICE] 16 If I am doing the things
I have already decided not to do,
I am agreeing with the law regarding what is good.
[KJV] 17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwells in me.
[VOICE] 17 But now I am no longer the one acting,
– I’ve lost control –
sin has taken up residence in me and is wreaking havoc.
[KJV] 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
[VOICE] 18 I know that in me, that is,
in my fallen human nature, there is nothing good.
I can will myself to do something good,
but that does not help me carry it out.
[KJV] 19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
[VOICE] 19 I can determine that I am going to do good,
but I don’t do it;
instead, I end up living out
the evil that I decided not to do.
[KJV] 20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwells in me.
[VOICE] 20 If I end up doing the exact thing I pledged not to do,
I am no longer doing it,
because sin has taken up residence in me.
[KJV] 21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
[VOICE] 21 Here’s an important principle I’ve discovered:
regardless of my desire to do the right thing,
it is clear that evil is never far away.
[KJV] 22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
[VOICE] 22 For deep down
I am in happy agreement
with God’s law;
[KJV] 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
[VOICE] 23 but the rest of me does not concur.
I see a very different principle at work in my bodily members,
and it is at war with my mind;
I have become a prisoner in this war
to the rule of sin in my body.
[KJV] 24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
[VOICE] 24 I am absolutely miserable!
Is there anyone who can free me from this body,
where sin and death reign so supremely?
[VOICE] 25 I am thankful to God for the freedom that comes
through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One!
[VOICE] 26 So on the one hand, I devotedly serve God’s law with my mind; but on the other hand, with my flesh, I serve the principle of sin.
So, the logic, or the practical application seems to shake out like this.
The time spent with GOD each day will increase over time
to the point that, one day,
you’ll realize you are constantly “with Him” 24 hours of every day,
until the day that Jesus comes back to take us all to Heaven.
So… in everyday modern English,
I suppose we could say GOD is telling us to,
“Come hang tight with Me,
for the rest of your days,
and you’ll live forever!
If you’ll do just that,
and nothing more,
then you’ll be amazed
at the things I’ll do through you!”
The problem of sin is NOT a problem of doing bad things.
So, should we
NOT EVEN THINK
about the bad things
on the relationship with God?
After all, Only GOD can eliminate sin,
~ so ~
quit trying to be GOD!
Could this battle of staying focused on your relationship with God,
be called “The Good fight of Faith”?
The two texts below tell the tale;
1st John 3:9 says
9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.
And then 1st Peter 1:23 says;
23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible,
by the word of God which lives and abides forever,
NOTE: (he has been born of God by God’s Word)
So… He who is ‘born again’ can’t sin because
the seed of God remains in him,
and the seed is in the Word of GOD!
Therein is described the reason for our need to
focus on time spent with the Word of God and Prayer,
constantly developing that life saving relationship with GOD!
The seed is growing within when we spend time in Gods Word!
Morris is saying that the presence of the word of God in my life through a continuing growing daily relationship with God means that I CAN NOT SIN?
Even if you are failing & falling, you still aren’t sinning? Why?
He says that if I am searching the scriptures daily & have a meaningful prayer life daily that I am converted (born again) and therefore CAN NOT sin according to 1 John 3:9 & 1 Peter 1:23!
Our OBVIOUS next question would be, “So, what is acting out these actions in my ‘body’ that do not coincide with the law. I’m still doing things that are described as being “UN-Godly”, or in opposition to the will of God for mankind.
A quick check on the “thoughts inventory” list
for any given day of my life
will most likely turn up ungodly thoughts, so… just saying…
I’m far from perfect!
The things I’m doing that I believe are/or may be against God’s law(s)…
are those no longer considered by God as ME sinning,
I’m in a relationship with GOD?
[VOICE] Romans 7:26
So on the one hand, I devotedly serve God’s law with my mind;
but on the other hand, with my flesh, I serve the principle of sin.
It seems as if Paul is saying that it’s the habitual nature of our bodies that causes us to sin against our own will. Well, I suppose that the reason we have more lessons is because there are more than likely still some doubts in our minds as to how this wonderful news can actually be for real!
So, on to lesson #3.
The link below is to the Gospel of Mathew on You tube. This is excellent!