Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Three Dimensional Christianity

What is a Christian?

The ‘ian’ suffix attached to a word means that it is related to, or like, or belonging to. So a Christian would denote being related to, or like, or belonging to Christ.

In my meditations considering this, there seem to me to be three dimensions of being a Christian.

The first dimension:

1.Do you call yourself a Christian?

The first level of being a Christian is whether you believe yourself to be one. It is hard to imagine the circumstance of being a Christian without first considering yourself one.

A recent ABCNEWS beliefnet poll conducted in the summer of 2015 reported that:

Eighty-three percent of Americans identify themselves as Christians. Most of the rest, 13 percent, have no religion. That leaves just 4 percent as adherents of all non-Christian religions combined — Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and a smattering of individual mentions.

For the past 14 years, I have ministered in a local jail and I speak with easily hundreds of people each year. Men accused of the most atrocious crimes. . .before being arrested, living the most hellacious out of control lifestyles, and yet many consider themselves to be Christians, often believing that they are going to heaven.

There is a completely mistaken, non-biblical philosophy taught among many mainstream Christian churches, that all you need to do to be 100% certain of salvation is to confess Jesus Christ as your savior. From that point forward you can molest children, rape women, beat your wife, sell drugs, murder people, and it doesn’t matter. . . confessing Jesus Christ as your savior is the most powerful abracadabra magical incantation imaginable and the ultimate Get-out-of-jail-free card. . .it sends you to heaven forever and nothing can supposedly change that.

A piece of string can be looked at as a one dimensional shape. It has length, but virtually no height or width.

So the first dimension of being a Christian is internal within you. Do you think yourself a follower of Christ.

The second dimension:

2. Do others call you a Christian?

This level is more exclusive than the first, in that usually for someone else to call you a Christian, you must exhibit behavior or a lifestyle at least superficially identifiable as one who follows Christ.

This may mean, that others see you pray, or that you are known to attend church, or you may not drink/smoke/cuss for what are known to be religious reasons. For others to identify you thus, there has to be some element of spirituality, or religious practice apparent in your life.

Often at this level others around you will modify their behavior out of respect for your beliefs. People will apologize if they curse in front of you, or will abstain from telling off color jokes in your presence. They might come to you with prayer requests, etc.

This now cannot merely be an internally held belief. This is an added aspect. . . a second dimension. If the first dimension is length, such as a piece of string has. This second dimension would be width added to length, like a piece of paper. A piece of paper has length, and width, but virtually no height.

This level of Christianity has the internal profession of being a Christian, added to it a second level of being apparent on the outside for others to see.

The third dimension:

3. Does God see you as a Christian?

The first thing that must be observed, is that God said that many of those in the first two levels of Christianity, we have viewed here today, are going to be disappointed, when the day of judgment comes:

Matthew 7:21-23
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. (22) Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? (23) And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

These people had an apparent internal belief of being followers of Christ, and were ministering to others. . . Many will say that they have done many wonderful works in His name, but He did not know them. He had no relationship with them, and apparently they had no relationship with Him. . . They will be surprised, and from this verse, after judgement apparently they will even argue with Him, trying to convince Him that their good works outweighed their continued disobedience. . . their continued sinning to Him.

Verse 21 those that do the will of God will go to Heaven. . . those who continue to do bad things. . . work iniquity. . .continue to sin, will not go to Heaven. The hard truth is, that they will go to hell.

Statements of Jesus:

Matthew 19:17
And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

John 8:51
Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.

John 14:15
If ye love me, keep my commandments.

John 14:21
He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

John 14:23
Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

John 15:10
If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.

This is Jesus speaking in all the above verses. How can anyone then argue that salvation is only about belief, and not about actions?. . . only about actions, and not about living a holy and righteous life? It seems stunningly clear to me that we are not do do iniquity, but we are to follow Jesus in His words and obey His words.

The woman taken in adultery. . . sexual immorality. . . sex outside of marriage, in whatever flavor it might take:

John 8:10-12
When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? (11) She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. (12) Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

He commanded her, “Go and sin no more.” He did not say, “Go and continue to sin, and you will go to heaven.” He said, “he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness. . .” What does that mean to you? Darkness=sin. To walk in darkness, is to live a sinful life.

More statements of Jesus:

Mark 7:21-23
For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, (22) Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: (23) All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

Mark 16:16
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

John 3:3-5
Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. (4) Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? (5) Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

Revelation 21:5-8
And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. (6) And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. (7) He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. (8) But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

These are the words of Jesus. It is beyond the scope of this essay to explore all the commandments of Jesus and their implications, but my purpose is to make you aware that He does have commandments. . .and He expects us to submit to Him, and obey them.

He cannot be our Lord, if we do not obey Him. A Lord cannot be ignored. He must be obeyed.

Find out what these things mean. . .

Jeremiah 29:13
And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

Matthew 7:7-8
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: (8) For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

And while He loves us, and He was the sacrifice for our sins, He will also one day sit in judgement of us. It is not His will that any should perish, but unfortunately because of their actions many will. . .

Revelation 20:11-15
And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. (12) And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. (13) And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. (14) And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. (15) And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

You must of your mind, and in your heart decide and commit to being a disciple of Christ. You must love your fellow man, and strive to be forgiving, and loving, and Christlike in your relationships with your fellow man, and finally you must love God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. . . and as a consequence, if you love Him, you will keep His commandments.

At this, you will be a 3 dimensional Christian. . . Having spiritual breadth, and depth, and height. . . filled with love for God and for your fellow man. . .Holy. . .having no cause for shame.

I love you my God. . .
I thank you for saving me. . .