The first thing we need to do when answering someone's question about 'Why Be A Christian?' is to know why we are one. In my case, I was sick of my life. I didn't like me. I know now that it was conviction. My heart was filled with many questions only the Bible could answer. I know now it was Father God drawing me.
Delbert Young (Sermon notes) (Listen sermon audio mp3)
Scriptures: John 6:44, Acts 11:26, Acts 26:28, 1 Peter 4:16, Luke 9:23, 1 Corinthians 15:3, John 10:9-10, John 14:6, Deuteronomy 33:29, 2 Corinthians 3:8-9, John 3:3, John 3:5, Mark 10:29-30
Let's talk about a TOUGH QUESTION today: WHY BE A CHRISTIAN? Don't all religions take you to the same God? What is so special about being a boring Christian?
Let's begin by asking why are you a Christian, if you are? What are you really after by being a Christian? What brought you into Christianity? About half of us became Christians as children. Some people became Christians because of excessive guilt instilled by preachers. Some people became Christians because of peer pressure. Some people became Christians because they were hoping that God would get them out of a bad time. Some people became Christians because they were sick of their own self and wanted to change. Why are you a Christian? The first thing we need to do when answering someone's question about "WHY BE A CHRISTIAN?", is to know why we are one. In my case, I was sick of my life. I didn't like me. I know now that it was conviction. Something began drawing me. My heart was filled with many questions that only the Bible could answer. I know now it was Father God.
John 6:44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.
What about you? What is your story? Are you prepared to quickly share your story with anyone that asks you WHY BE A CHRISTIAN? Are you prepared to say "BECAUSE IT CHANGED MY LIFE AND I WILL BE MORE THAN HAPPY TO TELL YOU ALL ABOUT IT."
As I prepared for this lesson and pondered the question, I thought back and remembered few times when someone asked me specifically WHY BE A CHRISTIAN? Maybe I just do not get out much, but most people who live in our region of the world think they already are a Christian. From time to time, I do meet someone who knows they are not a Christian, but usually knows they should be. I am sure it is that way with you and I want to make this relevant for us, so let's amplify the question just a little by wording it this way: WHY BE A DEVOTED CHRISTIAN? Why go to church? Why pray? Why do what the Bible says a Christian does? What is a Christian anyway?
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.
The terms Christian and Christians are only found in the Bible 3 times. Each time we learn something specific about the makeup of a Christian. Here, we learn they are disciples – Strong's #3101 mathetes; a learner, i.e. pupil. Next, we find the word Christian in Acts 26:28 where Paul was talking to king Agrippa.
Acts 26:28 Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou PERSUADEST me to be a Christian.
Becoming a Christian requires some persuasion – thought, time. It is not something done lightly. The word is used once more in 1 Peter 4:16.
(NLT) 1 Peter 4:16 But it is no shame TO SUFFER FOR BEING A CHRISTIAN. Praise God for the privilege of being called by his wonderful name!
Being a Christian will require some suffering. That is attractive, isn't it?
Luke 9:23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
A Christian is not someone who casually prays a "sinner's prayer," or goes to church on Easter and Christmas – (by the way, we will be having service on Christmas Day which is a Sunday). Christians learn about Christ and his teaching. They are persuaded in their body, soul, mind, and spirit that Jesus is the Son of God and for that, they are willing to deny their own self. Being a Christian is serious.
C.S. Lewis said, "Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important." Either being a Christian is infinitely important and something to which I should devote myself, or of no importance and simply a false religion. Here is what I would tell someone who asked me "WHY BE A DEVOTED CHRISTIAN?" If Christianity is true, they best decide now what they will do concerning it. If Jesus Christ is whom he says he is, i.e. the Son of God, then Christianity is INFINITELY IMPORTANT. The QUALITY OF THEIR LIFE TODAY AND THEIR ETERNITY IS IN JEOPARDY.They need to do some research, study, and soul-searching and find out for sure.
1 Corinthians 15:3 For what I received I passed on to you AS OF FIRST IMPORTANCE: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures
WHY BE A CHRISTIAN? Because being a Christian is OF FIRST IMPORTANCE. Nothing is more important! I am a disciple and have studied Jesus. Ask me a question and I will tell you the answer. I have been and am persuaded that Jesus is the Son of God. I am willing to spend every day of the rest of my life denying myself and taking up my cross to follow him. That's what a Christian is.
Someone would now ask, "Did you say that I have to suffer to be a Christian?" Yes, but I do not think that any of us will be martyrs. However, all believers must deny their personal desires and put Christ first. Realize that the benefits far outweigh any self-denial or "cross carrying" we do. The self-denial is for our own good and self-help anyway. My wife, Judy, commented on that thought concerning this study. "Also, the bible is the best self help book on the market. If you follow the Christian lifestyle, you will have a better life. You won't steal or kill or commit adultery. You will love your husband and wife. You will love your parents and your children. You will be honest and have a life to be proud of. You will not gossip. You will be an encourager and comforter to hurting people. You will help the needy. You will take care of your body and health because you believe that Jesus lives there. You will watch what you say and what you do. You will pay your bills and be careful with your wealth. You will have hope. You will know that there is always a higher power watching and working on your behalf."
Being a devoted Christian will correct a messed up life. When Jesus gets through with us, we can say of ourselves: "I am a loving person. I am a joyful person. I am a peace-filled person. I am a patient person. I am a kind person. I am a good person. I am a faithful person. I am a gentle person. I am a self-controlled person." We could ask, "WHY NOT BE A CHRISTIAN?" Can you give me one good reason why any person would not want to be a Christian? WHY BE A CHRISTIAN? Another reason is that THE LIFE CHANGING BENEFITS AND BLESSINGS ARE TREMENDOUS BEYOND DESCRIPTION.
Some people say (actually they use this as an excuse) they do not want to be a devoted Christian because of all the hypocrites who call themselves Christians. Let me tell you that you do not have to be a hypocrite. Jesus recognized that there were hypocrites masking as if they were godly and he challenged them. Jesus said repeatedly, "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!" However, he never said that the presence of hypocrites was a reason for us not to be devoted Christians. I refuse to allow any hypocrite to stop me from experiencing the wonderful life that a Christian can experience. WHY BE A CHRISTIAN? SO I CAN CHALLENGE HYPOCRITES JUST AS JESUS DID. And, I have challenged many.
An issue today is not that Christianity is truth and a way to find God, but rather, that it is "a truth" and not "the truth." In other words, with all the "religions" in the world today, i.e. Judaism, modern Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Unitarianism, Confucianism, Modernism, Satanism, etc – WHY BE A CHRISTIAN? The thought is that all religions are the same in that they end up taking us to the same God – "different strokes for different folks." This is a huge issue today with young people. They will say, "If that is the way that he or she wants to believe then it's ok." No, it is not ok. Without challenging that, you are allowing them to be deceived and possibly spend eternity in hell.
John 10:9-10 I am THE DOOR: BY ME if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
Jesus is not talking about the devil here as much as he is talking about false religion. Judaism became a religion deceiving people and sending people to hell (Mat 23:15, 33). Any way to God other than Jesus is a thief, stealing souls, destroying lives and taking people to hell. It is only through a person's receiving the blood of the cross – THE DOOR – that anyone shall be saved.
John 14:6 Jesus answered, "I am THE way and THE truth and THE life. NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER EXCEPT THROUGH ME.
There is no other way to God. Jesus is THE only way. No matter what you believe, no one impacts the world like Jesus. It is because he is the Son of God. WHY BE A CHRISTIAN?BECAUSE JESUS CHRIST IS THE ONLY WAY TO GOD THE FATHER.
How about boredom? Have you ever heard someone say something like, "Being a Christian is boring"? They say, "You can't have any fun if you are a Christian." Let's think about that. Do you think the disciples were ever bored around Jesus? Was anyone ever bored around Jesus? Religion will make you bored, but being a devoted Christian is never boring. I have been a Christian for about 30 years now and I have never been bored! The opposite is true. I have more to do than I can accomplish. I am constantly baffled, amazed, filled with laughter, or filled with tears. But, bored? Never! WHY BE A CHRISTIAN? IT IS THE MOST FULFILLING, EXCITING LIFE IMAGINABLE.
We could go on and on discussing WHY BE A CHRISTIAN? I can tell you how it is the way to find truth, which makes every area of life work. I can tell you that there is a peace in dark times that I cannot explain. I can tell you about getting to pray (talk to God!). I could tell you about the Spirit of God that only Christians receive and the power that he, the Spirit of God, brings. I can tell you that Christians are influential – salt and light. We flavor everything. We bring the light of understanding to every situation. I can tell you that I am a smart and wise man because I am a Christian. I can tell you about the wonderful sweet friendships that come from other Christians – "brothers" and "sisters" in Christ. There are no people like us.
Deuteronomy 33:29 Blessed are you, O Israel! WHO IS LIKE YOU, A PEOPLE SAVED BY THE LORD? He is your shield and helper and your glorious sword. Your enemies will cower before you, and you will trample down their high places.
Think about that. There were no people like the people the Lord saved in the Old Testament. Jesus fulfilled the Old. If God's people were wonderful and glorious then, how much more are we Christians today?
(NLT) 2 Corinthians 3:8-9 Shouldn't we expect far greater glory when the Holy Spirit is giving life? If the old covenant, which brings condemnation, was glorious, HOW MUCH MORE GLORIOUS IS THE NEW COVENANT, which makes US RIGHT WITH GOD!
WHY BE A CHRISTIAN? BECAUSE I AM A PART OF A SPECIAL PEOPLE WHO ARE "RIGHT WITH GOD."I am a part of the people that the Lord saved. Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord?
I will close with one last thought. People who are not Christians can experience much of what we talked. People do not have to be Christians to feel special, experience a degree of peace, have a good life, be influential, be smart, or wise. A person does not have to be a Christian to experience a "bore-less" life. Many people whom are not Christians have good lives. The sun shines and the rains fall on the just and the unjust (Mat 5:45). So, what is the bottom line of WHY BE A CHRISTIAN? Jesus told us. There is one special thing reserved for Christians only. It is the Kingdom of God. To see it and to experience it, you must be born again of water and spirit.
John 3:3 In reply Jesus declared, I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God UNLESS he is born again.
John 3:5 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.
The kingdom of God is reserved for Christ followers only. The kingdom is now and it is eternal. A Christian's life is 100 times better than any other life. We have blessings now, and eternal life in the time to come.
Mark 10:29-30 I tell you the truth, Jesus replied, no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a HUNDRED TIMES as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields - and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, ETERNAL LIFE.
Our lives are 100 times better now and we are promised eternal life in the life to come. Jesus came to give us the abundant life. He did not mean abundant life for now only. The Christian will have abundant life now and in the life to come. WHY BE A CHRISTIAN? BECAUSE I WILL LIVE ABUNDANTLY, FOREVER.
WHY BE A CHRISTIAN? Being a Christian changed my life and I will be more than happy to tell you all about it. Because, being a Christian is OF FIRST IMPORTANCE. Nothing is more important! Because, the life changing benefits and blessings are tremendous beyond description. Because, I love to challenge hypocrites just as Jesus did. Because, Jesus Christ is the only way to God the Father. It is the most fulfilling life imaginable. Because, I am a part of a special people who are "right with God." Because, I will live abundantly, now and forever, in the kingdom of God. WHY NOT BE A CHRISTIAN