Christianity vs Selfianity
Christianity vs Selfianity
William Stout / General
What is Christianity?
- The practice of the Christian Religion: based on the person and teachings of Jesus Christ
- Following article from Holman’s Bible Dictionary
CHRISTIAN The Greek suffix –ianos was originally applied to slaves. It came to denote the adherents of an individual or party. A Christian is a slave or adherent of Christ; one committed to Christ; a follower of Christ. The word is used three times in the NT. Believers “were first called Christians in Antioch” because their behavior, activity, and speech were like Christ (Acts 11:26 HCSB). Agrippa responded to Paul’s witness, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian” (Acts 26:28 NKJV). He spoke of becoming an adherent of Christ. Peter stated that believers who suffer as a Christian are to do so for the glory of God (1 Pet. 4:16). A Christian is one who becomes an adherent of Christ, whose daily life and behavior facing adversity is like Christ.
Darrell W. Robinson
- So according to this definition:
- Christians are adherents of Christ
- Christians are committed to Christ
- Christians are followers of Christ
- Christians have Behavior, activity and speech that is like Christ
- A Christian’s daily life and behavior facing adversity is like Christ
- Do you see the pattern here?
- Christianity is about Jesus Christ
- He is the central theme
- He is the beginning and the end
- He is the alpha and the Omega
- He is the root and the offspring
- In all things He must have preeminence
- We love Him, worship Him, Praise Him, and Imitate Him.
- This Word “Christian” is used only 3 times in the new testament
Acts 11:26 NKJV
And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.
Acts 26:28 NKJV
Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian.”
1 Peter 4:16 NKJV
Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.
Christianity comes with benefits and responsibilities
- So far in this series we have only skimmed the surface of the benefits and responsibilities of Christianity
- Both are extensive and immeasurable
- Biblical Prosperity
- God desires to “prosper” you
- He desires to give you good things
- One of the benefits of Christianity is that it is His good pleasure to give us the kingdom of heaven
- This includes our physical and material needs
- Biblical Faith
- We discussed biblical faith which includes more than just mental ascent or acknowledgement of a truth
- believing to the point of action
- Believing to the receiving of miracles
- Biblical faith is requires to please God
- Biblical Salvation
- The state of being in right relationship with God
- receiving forgiveness of sins and acceptance in Him – through faith
- “Sozo” includes health, healing, a change of heart and new life
- Biblical Evangelism
- A responsibility of Christianity
- Although it is a responsibility, the desire to accept it is the natural result of salvation
- Paul said he “was a debtor” concerning this
- We are all commanded to go and make disciples
- One who is not concerned about evangelism might well be advised to “examine himself”
- Biblical Repentance
- Turning from our sins
- turning toward Jesus Christ
- Must include Sorrow over sin, change of mind, and change of course or actions
- Biblical repentance must include all three
- repentance is a responsibility of Christianity – required for salvation
- repentance is a continuing obligation of all Christians
Christianity is evidenced by Love and forgiveness
- Perhaps more than any other characteristics, Biblical Christianity is evidenced by genuine love and genuine forgiveness
- If we do not forgive we cannot be Christians
- This is a theme that Jesus communicated clearly, yet the pseudo Christians of today’s culture will give you a million excused to hold on to their grudges
Mark 11:25–26 NKJV
25 “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.
26 But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”
Matthew 18:34–35 NKJV
34 And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.
35 “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”
- Likewise Love is both a benefit and responsibility of Christians
- He gives us the capacity to love – this is a wonderful benefit
- If we cannot love one another, we cannot be Christian
- this is evidenced by many scriptures including these
John 13:34–35 NKJV
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
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.
8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
1 John 4:20–21 NKJV
20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?
21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.
- This is a real problem among pseudo Christians who dominate the American Church today
- many people flock to the places of worship, sing songs and even give in the offering, but do they really love each other?
- Do you really love the people here among you?
- How much do you love each other?
- So many people here in America have reduced Christianity to a “program”, or a club
- Consider Francis Chan story
Jesus Christ is the “everything” of Christianity
- If we can keep Jesus at the center then
- we will have faith
- we will have the kingdom
- a right attitude of repentance
- desire to evangelize
- love and forgiveness
- and so much more
People have become lovers of self
2 Timothy 3:1–5 NKJV
1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:
2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good,
4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
- Paul is warning us (Christians) sternly here concerning things to come in these last days
- He is not warning about the people of the world here, not the unbelievers
- He is warning us about the church, the so called “Christians”
- These people “Have a from of Godliness” – not atheists, Hindus, and Buddhists
- These are the pseudo-Christians of today
Consider the following excerpt from “Radical, Taking back your faith from the American Dream” -By David Platt
“We live in a church culture that has a dangerous tendency to disconnect the grace of God from the glory of God. Our hearts resonate with he idea of enjoying God’s grace. We bask in sermons, conferences, and books that exalt a grace centering on us. And while the wonder of grace is worthy of our attention, if that grace is disconnected from its purpose, the result is a self centered Christianity that bypasses the heart of God.
If you were to ask the average Christian sitting in a worship service on Sunday morning to summarize the message of Christianity, you would most likely hear something along the lines of “The message of Christianity is that God loves me”. Or someone might say “The message of Christianity is that God loves me enough to send His son, Jesus, to die for me.”
As wonderful as this sentiment sounds, is it biblical? Isn’t it incomplete, based on what we’ve seen in the bible? “God love me” is not the essence of Biblical Christianity. Becasue if “God loves me” is the message of Christianity, then who is the object of Christianity?
“God loves me”
Christianity’s object is me.
Therefore, when I look for a church, I look for the music that best fits me and the programs that best cater to me and my family. When I make plans for my life and career, it is about what works best for me and my family. when I consider the house I will live in, the car I drive, the clothes I wear, the way I will live, I will choose according to what is best for me. This is the version of Christianity that largely prevails in our culture.
But it is not biblical Christianity.
The message of Christianity is not “God love me, period”, as if we were the object of our own faith. The message of biblical Christianity is “God loves me so that I might make Him – His ways, His salvation, His glory, and His greatness – known among all nations.” Now God is the object of our faith, and Christianity centers around Him. We are not the end of the gospel; God is.
- we can see the evidence of this everywhere in todays church culture
- churches compete with each other like businesses
- even if their pastors don’t the members do
- people are “proud” of their churches because of their programs, or their talents
- why some people are so proud of the size of their churches and its programs that they look down on smaller churches
- some people are even embarrassed to invite friends to their churches if it doesn’t “measure up” in status or size
- I’ve even heard people say they want to invite people, but want to wait until the church is “ready”, until the talent is better, or the programs are better, etc.
- we are even so arrogant as to think that the “spirit” being manifest has something to do with he skill of the worshippers or the eloquence of the speaker more than the faith of the people or the fervency of their prayers
- We have a calling and a purpose here – let’s fulfill it for the glory of God and the Lord Jesus Christ
- Are you being used for His glory, or being entertained for your own satisfaction
- Who is the object of your faith?
Be Christians not Selfians
- We must resist the me at the center selfianity of today
- It is the fulfillment of prophecy –
- we must make certain we are not on the wrong side of it
- The only way to keep Jesus Christ as the object of your faith is to deny your “self”
- Say no to self and yes to Him
- A right understanding of biblical Christianity can be described in Colossians 1:16-20
Colossians 1:16–20 NKJV
16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.
17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.
18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.
19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell,
20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.
- When we place Jesus Christ 1st in our lives in tis way, giving Him preeminence in every area, then:
- We have peace with God through Him, through the blood of His cross
- We partake with Him, of all this fullness of God which is in Him
- we are reconciled to God through Him
- released from the power of sin
- overcomers of strongholds, addictions, poverty, emotional distress, bitterness, sickness, wrong attitudes, anger, wrath and malice, and every other thing that exalts itself agains tGod
- Further described:
Colossians 1:21–23 NKJV
21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled
22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight—
23 if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.
- That’s right, these are benefits of true biblical Christianity
- too many pseudo Christians are claiming to have victory in their me first version of religion
- yet they are still in bondage to these wicked works
- still aliens of God in their minds –
- relapsing into sin, poverty, all the things of the world that Christ redeemed us from
- claiming freedom but still enslaved
- And so many are still in their sins – and deceived
- But when Jesus Christ is the object of your faith – and you can know this by faith
- Then you are forgiven
- you who were once alienated are reconciled
- wicked works are forgiven
- you are “Holy” , “blameless”, and “above reproach” in His sight
- “If indeed you continue in the faith”
- Continue – don’t stop