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Sermon #2129 Miscellaneous Sermons
Title: What is a Christian?
Text: Matthew 6:9-13
Date: Sunday Morning — December 29, 2013
Subject: Identifying True Christianity
Reading: Philippians 3:1-21
What is a Christian? That is the title of my message. — What is a Christian? Should you ask the first twenty people you see tomorrow, “What is a Christian?” you would probably get at least twenty different answers. The word “Christian” is used very commonly today. Today we have Christian Churches, Christian Schools, Christian Athletic Teams, Christian Art, Christian Bookstores, Christian Movies, Christian Television, and even have ChristianMingles.com. If you want to convince someone that you’re dating a fine lady you might say, “She’s a good Christian woman.” If you want to convince someone that your daughter is dating the right sort of fellow, you might say, “He’s a good Christian boy.”
But what is a Christian? Is a Christian someone…
· Born in a Christian country?
· Baptized as a baby?
· Who goes to church, or goes to church regularly?
· Who believes in Jesus?
Bill O’Reilly says he is a Christian and that he believes in Jesus; and he is a papists. Larry Flynt, the publisher of Hustler magazine, says that he is a born again Christian and that he believes in Jesus; and he is a peddler of the most vile filth imaginable. Most of our politicians (when it serves them to do so) say they are Christians and that they believe in Jesus; and they are politicians. Last week, I heard a Sodomite, professing loudly on national television that he is as good a Christian as anyone. He said, “I believe the Bible; and I believe in Jesus.” And he is a Sodomite.
So what is a Christian? We apply the word “Christian” to so many things and to so many people that the word really has no meaning to most people. We use the word all the time and apply it to almost anything and to almost everyone, except those people we don’t like. But, did you know that the word “Christian is used only three times in the entire Bible? —— That’s right just three times (Acts 11:26; 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16).
Acts 11:26 And when he (Barnabas) had found him (Paul), 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.
Acts 26:28 Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.
1 Peter 4:16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
But what is a Christian? Doe the Word of God clearly identify what a Christian is? It does, indeed. In fact, the Scriptures tell us what a Christian is in such plain terms and in so many places that any ignorance concerning this is wilful ignorance. If you are not a Christian, you are lost, under the wrath of God, living upon the brink of hell. The wrath of God is upon you. If you die as you now are you will spend eternity in hell, suffering the wrath and vengeance of God forever! If you are not a Christian, I want you to know your lost estate. I want to persuade you to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
If you are a Christian, if you trust my dear Savior, if you are born of God, I want you to walk with God in the joy of faith as long as you live in this world. Whether you are saved or lost, a believer or an unbeliever, whether you are or are not a Christian, I believe God has given me a message for you.
Open your Bible to Matthew 6. My text is Matthew 6:9-13. This passage is right in the middle of our Savior’s Sermon on the Mount. These five verses are commonly referred to as “The Lord’s Prayer;” but that really is not the case. You will find the Lord’s prayer in John 17.
Proposition: In these five verses our Lord Jesus taught his disciples to pray; and teaching us to pray as he did, our Savior here shows us several things by which every true Christian may be identified.
Hold your Bibles open on your laps, and listen to the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Matthew 6:9-13 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. (10) Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. (11) Give us this day our daily bread. (12) And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. (13) And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
I see in these five verses of Holy Scripture nine distinct things by which every Christian, every follower of Christ, may be identified, nine things that are true of every heaven born soul.
1. A Prayer
“After this manner therefore pray ye.” — A Christian is a prayer, a person who prays. Sometimes we hear someone spoken of as a “praying Christian.” The fact is all Christians are praying people. Look back to verse 5. Our Savior, teaching us how to pray, says, “when thou prayest.” All who are born of God pray. A Christian is a prayer. This is how the Lord identified Saul of Tarsus as a converted man, a Christian. — “Behold he prayeth” (Acts 9:11).
Acts 9:10-11 And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. (11) And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth.
Believers are people who pray. Knowing our need of God and his grace, knowing our need of Christ and his righteousness, knowing our need of God the Holy Spirit, knowing our need of God’s salvation, we pray.
· Prayer is the breathing of the heaven born soul.
· We do not say our prayers. We pray.
· We do not recite prayers. We pray.
Prayer is almost synonymous with faith. I do not minimize the importance of the act of prayer. Spend as much time in your closet alone with God as possible; but prayer is not limited to or measured by “prayer time.” Prayer is the communion of the heart with God in heaven.
2. A Child
“Our Father which art in heaven.” — A Christian is a child of God. God is our Father. We are the sons and daughters of the Almighty (Galatians 4:4-6; 1 John 3:1-3).
Galatians 4:4-6 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, (5) To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. (6) And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
1 John 3:1-3 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. (2) Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. (3) And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
· Chosen Sons!
· Adopted Sons!
· Firstborn Sons!
Illustration: Johnny’s #60
Sons we are, through God’s election,
Who in Jesus Christ believe;
By eternal destination,
Saving grace we here receive;
Our Redeemer, our Redeemer
Does both grace and glory give.
Every soul of man, by sinning,
Merits everlasting pain;
But God’s love, without beginning,
Formed and fixed salvation’s plan,
Countless millions, countless millions
Shall in life through Jesus reign!
Pause, my soul! Adore and wonder!
Ask, “O why such love to me?”
Grace has put me in the number
Of the Savior’s family;
Thanks, Eternal Love, to Thee! ]
These are springs of consolation,
To converted sons of grace;
Finished, free, and full salvation
Shining in the Savior’s face!
Free grace only, free grace only
Suits this wretched sinner’s case.
When in that blest habitation,
Which my God for me ordained;
When in glory’s full possession,
I with saints and angels stand;
Free grace only, free grace only
Shall resound through Canaan’s land!
A Christian is a child of God; but he is a child away from home. We are children, but children away from home. We are away from home; but, blessed be our God, we are on our way home; and soon we shall be there! Here we are strangers and pilgrims in hostile, foreign territory.
3. A Worshipper
“Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.” — A Christian is a worshipper, a worshipper of God, the one true and living God. We worship God on his throne in heaven and pray that his name will be sanctified upon the earth. — “Father, Glorify thy name” is the heart desire of every heaven born soul.
· We worship God alone as God (Psalm 115:3; 135:6).
· We worship God, the triune Jehovah, as he is revealed in Christ (John 17:3).
· We worship God, the triune God, our Savior (Ephesians 1:3-14; Jonah 2:9).
· Christians worship God as God (Isaiah 40:9-31; 46:9-11).
Isaiah 40:9-31 O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!
(10) Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. (11) He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.
(12) Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?
(13) Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counsellor hath taught him?
(14) With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding?
(15) Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing. (16) And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt offering. (17) All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity.
(18) To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him? (19) The workman melteth a graven image, and the goldsmith spreadeth it over with gold, and casteth silver chains. (20) He that is so impoverished that he hath no oblation chooseth a tree that will not rot; he seeketh unto him a cunning workman to prepare a graven image, that shall not be moved.
(21) Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth? (22) It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in: (23) That bringeth the princes to nothing; he maketh the judges of the earth as vanity. (24) Yea, they shall not be planted; yea, they shall not be sown: yea, their stock shall not take root in the earth: and he shall also blow upon them, and they shall wither, and the whirlwind shall take them away as stubble.
(25) To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. (26) Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.
(27) Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the LORD, and my judgment is passed over from my God? (28) Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. (29) He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. (30) Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: (31) But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
Isaiah 46:9-11 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, (10) Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: (11) Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.
“Keep silence all created things,
And wait your Maker’s nod;
My soul stands trembling while she sings
The honors of her God.
Life, death, and hell, and worlds unknown;
Hang on His firm decree;
He sits on no precarious throne,
Nor borrows leave to be.
Chained to His throne a volume lies
With all the fates of men,
With every angel’s form and size
Drawn by th’ eternal pen.
His providence unfolds the book,
And makes His counsels shine;
Each opening leaf, and every stroke
Fulfills some bright design.
Here He exalts neglected worms
To scepters and a crown;
Anon the following page He turns,
And treads the monarch down.
Not Gabriel asks the reason why,
Nor God the reason gives;
Nor dares the favorite angel pry
Between the folded leaves.
My God, I would not long to see
My fate with curious eyes,
What gloomy lines are writ for me,
Or what bright scenes may rise.
In Thy fair book of life and grace
May I but find my name,
Recorded in some humble place
Beneath my Lord the Lamb!”
4. A Subject
“Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. (10) Thy kingdom come.” — Every Christian is a subject under the rule of Christ, the great King. Christians are people who bow to the rule of Christ as their only and rightful Lord and King (Luke 14:25-33).
Luke 14:25-33 And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, (26) If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. (27) And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. (28) For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? (29) Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, (30) Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. (31) Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? (32) Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. (33) So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
We gladly bow to Christ as our King; and we want him to build his kingdom. — “Thy kingdom come!”
5. A Servant
“Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. (10) Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” — Fifth, every Christian is a voluntary, submissive servant of God, seeking his will in all things. Grace teaches us to cry, “Thy will be done,” and teaches us to bow to our Father’s will. — Believers are people who take upon themselves the yoke of Christ (Matthew 11:28-30).
Matthew 11:28-30 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (29) Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. (30) For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
· We want God’s will on earth.
· We want God’s will in heaven.
· We want God’s will in all things.
6. A Beggar
“Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. (10) Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. (10) Give us this day our daily bread.” — A Christian is a beggar. If you would be a Christian, you’ve got to be reduced to begging; you’ve got to become a beggar. What beggar is poorer than the beggar who is compelled every day to go begging for his bread? That is exactly what every Christian is, a poor beggar at the throne of grace.
· We trust God for our daily bread physically, knowing that he alone supplies us with food; but we are not compelled to beg him for such bread. In this very chapter, our Savior tells us not to take thought about what we will eat (vv. 25-34).
· Christ is the Bread we seek, the Bread of Life that we must have, the Bread upon which we feed day by day. — “He that eateth of this bread shall live forever!”
· Christ, the Bread of Life, is the Gift of God; and hungry souls cry before his Father’s throne, “Evermore give us this bread!”
7. A Sinner
“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. (10) Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. (11) Give us this day our daily bread. (12) And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” — A Christian is a sinner, a sinner head over heels in debt to God, a sinner who constantly acknowledges and confesses his sins, a sinner ever seeking forgiveness through the precious blood of Christ.
Show me a person who seeks to cover his sin, excuse his sin, lessen his sin, and does not frankly confess his sin, and I will show you a person who does not know God, a person who is not a Christian (1 John 1:7-2:2).
1 John 1:7-2:2 If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (8) If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (9) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (10) If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1) My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: (2) And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
The pardon of sins the renewed soul needs daily and hourly, as he needs the Bread of Life. Therefore the Christian is a person ever praying for the forgiveness of sin. — “Pardon mine iniquity, O Lord, for it is great!” — How we rejoice to know, “There is forgiveness with thee that thou mayest be feared!”
8. A Dependent
“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. (10) Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. (11) Give us this day our daily bread. (12) And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. (13) And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” — Eighth, a Christian is a dependent, a weak, needy, helpless dependent, a person utterly and completely dependent upon the free grace of God to keep him.
The sense of this petition is this: “Lord God, do not let us fall and be overcome by our many temptations, but deliver us from the evil one who as a roaring lion seeketh whom he may devour.”
9. A Disclaimer
A Christian is…
And ninth, a Christian is a disclaimer. He is a person who disclaims all merit, refusing to take credit for anything, one who gives all praise to God alone for everything. — “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. (10) Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. (11) Give us this day our daily bread. (12) And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. (13) And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.”
Psalm 115:1 Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth's sake.
Romans 11:33-36 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! (34) For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? (35) Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? (36) For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.”