First Edition Christianity Series
Acts 11:26 And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.
Intro: For centuries, there have been many false ideas concerning what it means to be a Christian. From the earliest days of Christianity, the church of the living God has been attacked, diluted and infiltrated with imposters. As a matter of fact, the core nucleus of Christianity was none other than the 12 Apostles. Even Jesus acknowledged in John 6 that his inner circle was not free of the false pretenders.
- John 6:67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.
Peter, speaking for the others, made several interesting statements; key beliefs of Christians everywhere.
- He called Jesus “Lord”
- He acknowledged the supremacy of God’s Word.
- He admitted that eternal life came only from Christ.
- He very clearly said “WE BELIEVE”
- He reiterated that by adding “WE ARE SURE”
- He acknowledged that Jesus was “that Christ” – meaning the Sent One – the Messiah
- He confirmed that Jesus was the SON OF GOD.
Yet – Jesus answered with “…and one of you is a devil”
Many of the writers of the New Testament alluded to the fact that not all professing Christians were TRUE CHRISTIANS.
From the writings of the Apostle Paul, the early church was harassed by men pretending to be a Christian, but wasn’t.
- II Corinthians 11:13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
- 2 Corinthians 11:26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;
- Galatians 2:4 And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:
The Apostle Peter:
- 2 Peter 2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
The Apostle John:
- 1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
Bottom Line: Not everyone that says they are a Christian really is.
Not everything that has the “Christian” label on it really is.
You have Christian rock music, Christian rap, Christian country, Christian homosexuals, Christian radio, Christian TV, Christian dating sites, Christian dancing, Christian night clubs – all trying to portray their own brand of “Christianity”.
Included in the list of Christian churches world-wide are:
- 3 billion Catholics
- 75 million Lutherans
- 75 million Methodist
- 75 million Reformed
- 279 million Pentecostals
- 17 million Seventh Day Adventist
- 225-300 million Eastern Orthodox
- 86 million Oriental Orthodox
- 80 million Anglican
- 15 million Mormons
- 8 million Jehovah’s Witnesses
- Last but not least are over 100 million Baptist
Are all these people really Christians?
- Matthew 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
In multiple parables, Jesus pointed out that not everything that says it’s a Christian really is a Christian.
In Matthew 13:25 Jesus gave a parable of a man sowing tares in the wheat field.
The tares and the wheat are so similar that the master of the field forbad his servants to cut out the tares.
The distinction between the two is evident only at the harvest time.
Our churches are full of tares – copycats – false brethren – hypocrites and fakes.
Only at the Rapture will these be revealed.
In Hebrews 12, Paul the Apostle taught that there are those that are true sons of God, and some that are bastards.
They are illegitimate. They are NOT sons.
They’ve deceived themselves and they’ve deceived others into thinking they are Christians.
But they have not deceived God!!!
A Christian is:
I. Initiated by their Faith – Acts 11:21 “…a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord.”
1. Their Faith Resulted in a Conviction – “…a great number believed…”
BELIEVED: to think to be true, to be persuaded of, to credit, place confidence in; the conviction and trust to which a man is impelled by a certain inner and higher prerogative and law of soul
Here’s the thing: Everybody believes in something.
- The Evolutionist believes in the Big Bang.
- The Humanist believe in the value of humanity.
- The Atheist believes in himself.
Christians on the other hand believe the Biblical account of the gospel.
Unlike other people – we do not believe in the Bible because we reject all other beliefs.
We reject all other beliefs because we’ve accepted the Biblical account as truth.
Faith cometh by hearing. When we heard the truth, it produced faith, and we were able to believe.
NOTE: In Acts 11:19, their faith was a product of the “preaching of the word” and vs. 20 “preaching the Lord Jesus”.
With that preaching came a DIVINE ASSISTANCE to believe – the hand of the Lord was with them
2. Their Faith Resulted in a Conversion – “…and turned unto the Lord…”
The word: TURNED – means to turn about; to turn from and to turn to
Notice what Jesus said: Matthew 18:3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
For years I’ve heard people criticize the word “converted” to sound like a weak, neo-evangelical term for salvation.
The Psalmist David used the word:
- Psalms 51:13 Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.
Jesus used the word.
Peter used the word in Acts 3:19 when he said,
- Repent ye therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out…
Paul used the word in Acts 28:27:
- 23 ¶ And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening.
- 24 And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not.
- 25 And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers,
- 26 Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive:
- 27 For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
New Christians are called “converts”.
They turned from sin and from self and from Satan and turned unto the Savior!
When did you turn?
When did you turn from death unto life?
When did you turn from darkness unto light?
When were you converted?
When did you repent from a life of sin to embrace the life of the Savior??