Christian: It’s Not What You Think
What does it mean to be a Christian? Ask 100 people that question today and you are likely to get 100 different answers. The word Christian has come to mean so many things that it really has very little meaning in our world today. Yet, Jesus never used that word. We will look at the word Jesus used most to describe those who did follow Him. It’s not the word that we use. In this series, Christian, we will explore some of the things that Jesus taught about what it meant to follow Him.
Sept. 3: What’s in a Name?
Names matter… new parents wrestle with what to name their kids. Businesses hire marketing agents to help them name what they do. The word Christian has been used so many times for so many things that most people have no idea what the word really means. Jesus never used it, the Bible never defines it. In fact the word is only used 3 times. The first time was by those outside the church probably as a derogatory or sarcastic term more than anything else. Jesus used a different word to describe those follow Him.
Sept. 10: Follow Me
Jesus’ call to the first disciples was to simply follow Him. They did. Following Him meant that they got to see firsthand who he was and the things that He did. They listened to what he taught and it radically changed their lives. They went out and did the same thing. We are all here today because they simply followed and watched and He changed their lives. We are to simply follow and watch Him change our lives and others as well.
Sept. 17: Good Isn’t Good Enough
This message will emphasize that our relationship with God is not based upon our good works and religious activity. Nicodemus had all of the religious credentials that you could have and he had no idea of what a relationship with God looked like. Many people are confused about what salvation is all about and how we can know that we have a relationship with God. People believe it is based on church attendance, being better than others and being “good enough”. We will address what Jesus means when He says we must be born again. Because this is a term that a lot of people don’t understand or associate with “religious fanatics” and they don’t want that for their lives, we need to understand what Jesus meant when he talked about this with Nicodemus.
Sept. 24: It’s the Sick, Not the Healthy
The religious establishment had hard and fast rule about those who deserved their time and attention. Jesus came and broke all of them and they could not understand why He would do what He did. Jesus made it clear that He came for those who needed Him the most and were willing to admit it. It’s often those who have the greatest needs are the ones that the religious establishment still avoids-Jesus makes it clear that those are the ones He came to call.
Oct. 1: Forgiven People Forgive
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28–30)
Oct. 8: Now, Not Later
There are lots of excuses that people can give for not following Jesus. We all deal with life and we’ll get around to it when it’s more convenient or more comfortable. When Jesus calls a person to follow Him, He is telling that person that he is to be the priority in life. A disciple is someone who is willing to surrenders all of his/her life to follow the teacher, now-not later. Jesus calls us to follow Him and to make God’s kingdom the priority and the focus of our lives.
Oct. 15: He Asks for All of You
This man was obviously interested in spiritual things and had worked hard to be right with God. Yet, there was still something within that told him there must be more. He wanted to know how he could know that he had eternal life. The answer he received was not the one he, nor the disciples, anticipated. Jesus answers by saying that he must surrender his life. It’s not about what actions he needed to take but about where his affections were placed. Jesus made it clear that it was hard, but not impossible, to enter the kingdom.
Oct. 22: What You Get in Return
Following Jesus does come at a cost. He requires that we give him our all. There are things that we will give and give up in order to follow Him. We may choose to walk away like the rich young ruler did thinking the price is too high. Or we may be like the disciples who left it all to follow Him. Jesus makes the promise that God will give back even more to us than we give to Him. Life comes to us when we give it away.