MESSAGE FOR THE WEEK OF 07-14-19
THERE IS ONE DEFINITION OF CHRISTIANITY: GET IT RIGHT!
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.
This passage in the book of Acts shares the account of the apostles continuing The LORD’S ministry after JESUS CHRIST was condemned to death, suffered and died on the cross, and arose from the grave on the third day. JESUS appeared to the apostles shortly after He had risen from the dead. He then ascended back into heaven to sit at GOD the FATHER’S right hand until the time appointed that He will return again!
The apostles were equipped by The HOLY SPIRIT, taught by JESUS through GOD the FATHER, and instructed to carry on the ministry that JESUS CHRIST had begun when He walked the earth as GOD made flesh.
These men spent a considerable amount of time with JESUS and witnessed countless miracles of healing and deliverance. They had a first-hand experience of the boundless love and compassion that JESUS showered on everyone, while also sharing the truth of The LORD’S Word without watering it down. The followers and disciples of JESUS were considered “The Church” which is the true BODY OF CHRIST because they provided a strong example of the character of JESUS, THE CHRIST.
In the book of Matthew 16:15-17 JESUS asks His apostles: He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
The word “Christian” is being used out of context in many instances and it is certainly confusing to many people. There are “religious leaders”, humanitarian organizations, politicians, and worldly church members that use this word incorrectly and this contributes to leading people astray. Some “religious leaders” are focused more on the tithe and attendance, some humanitarian organizations are not sharing the truth with the people they minister to, certain politicians are focused on votes, and worldly church members are sometimes focused on their good deeds alone while inside the “church building” but live a totally different life elsewhere. Countless worldly “religious” denominations are in existence, including Protestant, Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Catholic, Baptist, Anglican,etc. These worldly denominations are just that, something that was invented by a man and NOT The LORD GOD ALMIGHTY. The folks that belong to these organizations are in effect following the person or persons who started this particular “religious group” and not JESUS CHRIST!
People tend to identify with whatever “religious club” they belong to and adhere to the man-made doctrines that are associated with this particular group. Therefore it is a dead religion and has turned into a corporation instead of a ministry. Most of these groups are so overwhelmed with rules and regulations that are not even in GOD’S Word they don’t really have time to focus on the most important, in fact, the ONLY subject, which is JESUS CHRIST! Remember, just because you belong to a certain “religious” organization, attend a service every week, say a few “amens” and “praise JESUS”, and give your tithe does not necessarily make you a Christian. IT IS YOUR WALK WITH JESUS CHRIST, YOUR DESIRE TO OBEY THE LORD AND TO SHARE THE TRUTH OF THE LORD’S WORD!
If you belong to a worldly denomination that means you are professing loyalty to that particular organization and NOT to JESUS CHRIST. Yes, The LORD’S Word may be what is preached inside your church building, but it is NOT the true BODY of CHRIST! There is NO mention of these man-made “religions” within The Holy Bible. In the book of James 1:27 GOD’S Word states: Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
The disciples did not call themselves Christians, but those who witnessed the fruits of their ministry through The HOLY SPIRIT called them Christians. Their actions reflected JESUS the CHRIST because they were totally sold out for JESUS CHRIST.
I have witnessed people being turned off by the very thought of “going to church” when they have been treated disrespectfully by a person that has called themselves a Christian. I have spoken with people that attended a “church service”, eager to learn more about JESUS, only to hear a group of “Christians” gossiping among themselves. In James 1:26 GOD’S Word states: If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. If a person is truly living their lives for JESUS CHRIST, they do not need to sound a trumpet and call themselves a Christian. Folks will automatically be aware of this fact by the example they set all the time, not just during a “church service”.
Over ten years have passed since I confessed I was a sinner and accepted JESUS CHRIST as my LORD and SAVIOR. My realization that without JESUS in my life there was nothing but emptiness, despair and no chance of forgiveness and salvation was a tremendous wake-up call. My heart is filled with joy and a constant desire to draw closer to The LORD GOD and be pleasing to Him in everything I do. I consider myself to be a follower of JESUS CHRIST who is continuing to learn and grow in my relationship with The LORD.
This only comes by spending as much time with The LORD as possible in prayer and in His Holy Word. My desire is to reflect the character of JESUS CHRIST so powerfully in my daily life that people are inspired to learn more about JESUS for themselves.
Always remember to focus on your personal walk with JESUS CHRIST and to be obedient to The LORD GOD. Don’t focus on what title you call yourself. If you are living your life according to The LORD’S plan you only need to focus on JESUS! May The LORD richly bless you.