Today many wonder what exactly a Christian is. If someone wants to become a Christian he or she should know what it means to be one. If someone does not want to become a Christian it is reasonable to know exactly what he or she is rejecting. It is not reasonable to imagine what a Christian is and make a life-long decision based on that. It is also unreasonable to accept uncritically prevailing opinion, as some do.
What follows, therefore, is suitable to one and all.Only a person who does not want to make important decisions for life or who acts irrationally may accept or refuse something without understanding what is accepted or rejected. Some just drift into a life-giving or life-destroying decision without adequate or reasonable consideration.
What we are inviting you to consider is based on reason. However, the journey that we are about to undertake together goes well beyond what can be understood by human reason alone. The journey goes beyond natural reason:
for my thoughts are not your thoughts and your ways are not my ways, declares Yahweh. For the heavens are as high above earth as my ways are above your ways, my thoughts above your thoughts. (Isaiah Chapter 55: 8-9).
We shall enter into the logic of God before which the natural logic of man fades into insignificance. Our rational mind will perceive and understand the logic of God but we shall also discover that this is radically different from the life-destroying logic so prevalent in the world today.
Whatever you believe in this moment, whether you are a Christian or not, we invite you to read what follows with an open mind. We invite you to begin this journey and we also urge you to persevere to the end. "Once the hand is laid on the plough, no one who looks back is fit for the kingdom of God." (Luke Chapter 9: 62)
Here's a typically erroneous idea of what a Christian is. Is this your idea?
A Christian is essentially someone who must go to church on Sundays, a person who must meet certain moral standards, who must believe in certain doctrines, who must .... must ... must. A Christian is a person unable to enjoy life, a person who is not free.
A slogan once seen on London buses read: "there is probably no God so stop worrying and enjoy life". A great message indeed for parents with handicapped children!! A great message of hope for the homeless and jobless!!" For those immersed in suffering and despair! A great prospect for those with empty pockets! For those imprisoned in addictions of all sorts! Only healthy atheists with their pockets full can afford to accept that slogan! - But even then only for a while, we might add!
In the present economic crisis many of these so-called atheists have had their pockets emptied. Empty inside and empty outside! What is there left to enjoy? Some of these have even committed suicide and have even made the headlines. After all, life at this point has no meaning. For many it is the time to start worrying and no longer to enjoy life:
and I will say to my soul: My soul, you have plenty of good things laid by for many years to come; take things easy, eat, drink, have a good time. "But God said to him, "Fool! This very night the demand will be made for your soul; and this hoard of yours, whose will it be then?" (Luke Chapter 12: 19-20).
These have had to start worrying, without hope, imprisoned in their own emptiness. Materialism is the culture of death. We are concerned with Life, the fullness of Life.
A counter slogan, written not on London's buses but inscribed in the hearts of all men since the beginning of time and easily noticed by those who are able to distance themselves from the prison of materialism and open up to the profounder realities of life and being: "There IS a God so stop worrying and enjoy life". This is acceptable to all, far more rational, far more humane, far more engaging, far more beneficial and no one is excluded. It is a universal message, not just a message for the privileged few.
Essentially, the Christian is one who trusts and relies on Christ. Without this personal relationship everything else is meaningless. Everything else comes later. Christ is the focal point, the beginning and the end of all.
The Christian is someone who enjoys a greater freedom than anyone else on earth, free from the life-destroying prison of materialism and free from any sort of constraint, except that of Love. The Christian lives the life of Love, a Love which is unattainable for the atheist that places his trust in riches. The Love that animates the Christian is no ordinary love. It is none other than the Love of Christ "For the love of Christ overwhelms us" (2 Corinthians 5: 14). How many people today crave love, strive to find love in many misguided ways how many are unable to enjoy life because they are unable to find love! How harsh, inhuman and how unrealistic even from a purely human point of view does that slogan sound: "there is probably no God so stop worrying and enjoy life". This is the way to despair! This is the negation of life. Tragically this is often realised only when it is too late, when one has seen the monstrous illusion for what it is.
Jesus Christ said "I am the Way; I am Truth and Life". (John Chapter 14: 6) and he also said "you will come to know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John Chapter 8: 32) and then "where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." (2 Corinthians Chapter 3:17). The Life, Love and Freedom that so many so desperately seek.
The true Christian is the happiest man on earth because he has grasped what Christ offers him: freedom and life "I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full." (John Chapter 10:10). Essentially, the Christian is a person united to Jesus Christ, the source of his love, freedom and his life. We cannot understand what the Christian life is outside this human and divine relationship with Jesus Christ.
The Christian bears his name Christ-ian. The Christian lives the Life of Christ, the Love of Christ, the Freedom of Christ. He has a fullness of life that no one else will ever know. The true Christian then is essentially someone who has a living relationship with Christ.
The answer to the question: "What is a Christian?" lies in the person of Christ and the relationship you have with him. He is the foundation of our faith, "each one must be careful how he does the building. For nobody can lay down any other foundation than the one which is there already, namely Jesus Christ." (1 Corinthians Chapter 3: 10, 11).
If you are not a Christian at the moment this might not have much meaning for you. Life, freedom and love can only be known by being experienced, by being lived. It will acquire meaning and importance as we proceed. So do not give up, persevere to the end as this will change your life for the better and forever.
As the answer to the question "What is a Christian?" lies in the relationship between a Christian and Christ we must first ask ourselves who Christ is if we want to know what a Christian is. We must then understand the dynamics of that relationship, how it begins and how it develops and then we shall gradually draw closer to providing an adequate answer to our question. A relationship is something that is spoken about, something that can be examined and analysed. However, a relationship, is above all something that has to be lived in order to be understood and fully appreciated. We can talk about life, love and freedom endlessly but until we freely live and love these are just words and ideas that have meaning but which are not life-giving, love-giving, freedom-giving. We cannot do without information because if we do not know a person we cannot love him / her. However, we cannot accumulate knowledge and then live that knowledge for we shall never get down to freely living and loving. Knowledge and life go hand in hand. That is why we suggest a method of knowing and living, a method to follow as we proceed in our sessions.
Our source of knowledge: the Word of God to man
The most reliable information we have of Christ is in God's Word to man. Our sessions will be based on the Word of God because in it God speaks to man. Another term for the Word of God, with which perhaps you are more familiar, is the "Bible". Through the Word of God and the person of Jesus Christ, God communicates to us and reveals himself to us. The Word of God is like a mirror where you can look and see what your life is really like and what it can become. Are you willing to set out on this journey of discovery? At the end you are free to decide to accept it or to reject it or you may decide not to decide.
Let us now read the passage of the Gospel of Luke Chapter 1 verses 1-4:
Seeing that many others have undertaken to draw up accounts of the events that have reached their fulfillment among us, as these were handed down to us by those who from the outset were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word, I in my turn, after carefully going over the whole story from the beginning, have decided to write an ordered account for you, Theophilus, so that your Excellency may learn how well founded the teaching is that you have received.
Luke tells us why he wrote his Gospel:
Let us now read the passage of the Gospel of John Chapter 20:30, 31:
There were many other signs that Jesus worked in the sight of the disciples, but they are not recorded in this book. These are recorded so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing this you may have life through his name.
John explains why he wrote his Gospel:
If you are undertaking this journey with us please let us know and we can be with you spiritually and sustain you with our thoughts and prayers. Our email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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