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“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
“I looked for a man to…stand in the gap before me…”
I see it more and more, we all do…
People say “I believe in Jesus Christ, but I’m not a ‘Christian.’ I don’t want to call myself THAT!”
My dear friends, I want to show you something.
The following is Google’s dictionary definition of the word “Christian.”:
Of or relating to or professing Christianity or its teachings: The Christian church.
A person who has received Christian baptism or is a believer in Jesus Christ and His teachings.
In other words, if one believes in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and Savior of mankind, guess what…that person IS a Christian…period! If one follows the teachings of Christ, that person IS a Christian as well.
In my humble opinion, I believe that people don’t object to being Christian in and of itself; I believe they object to the opinion many people have of Christians and how we “teach” the word of God to others.
There seems to be this idea that most Christians “cram the gospel” down people’s throats. And in doing so, these people are “passing judgment” on others and the way they live. And guess what: in some cases this perception of Christians is correct!
However, let me ask you a quick question. What is our primary duty as followers of Christ? Well after doing all we can do to keep ourselves living properly, God gave His disciples, (and us), instructions in what is called the “Great Commission.”
This is found in (Matthew 28:18-20). Here in no uncertain terms, Jesus instructs us:
“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
God even gave each of His followers certain “gifts” to be able to teach and promote His gospel to other people. We can find evidence of this in (Ephesians 4:11-12): where it says:
And it was He, (Jesus), who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for works of ministry, to build up the body of Christ,…
Given these two passages in context to the entire message of the New Testament, we should be able to see that we are to help spread the gospel of Christ and the good news of salvation to all people, as we have the opportunity to do so.
Now, in peeling back another layer of this “onion” concerning our Christianity, it isn’t the message that we have charge of teaching that is the problem. The law and commandments come from God. We are only His messengers.
However, the chief problem is this. If we are using an accusatory tone of voice, saying things like: “Oh you shouldn’t be doing that because it’s a sin.” Or “God hates what you are doing and people who do that are going to hell,” chances are we will be shut off by the person we are speaking to. We may even incite an argument and cause more damage than good.
Instead, we should be using a loving approach, which will usually be more effective. This is especially true if the other person invites or begins the conversation. That’s why we have verses like we find in (1 Peter 3:15), which says:
“But in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to articulate a defense to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But respond with gentleness and respect, “
Let our words be gracious, and seasoned with the salt of the word, that we may know how to answer other people, (Colossians 4:6). Or we must gently reprove others in the hope that God may gently grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, a verse which can be found in (2 Timothy 2:25).
If we are not very good with “book, chapter, and verse,” then just share the goodness we have experienced in knowing the Lord and what He has done in our lives. Really, either of these answers, given in the proper manner, is fine and will usually be more effective.
But do know and be prepared for this. Even if we use the softer and more affable approach with people, some will still refute what we share with them, and turn us away. This has always been the case with some people; they just “don’t want to hear the truth.”
Sadly for them, the Lord says in (Matthew 10:14-15): “And if anyone will not welcome you or heed your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.…“
We have to be prepared to be rejected and sometimes even maligned by others, no matter how we answer them concerning the gospel of Christ. But God “has our backs” on this point too. If we are insulted or persecuted for God’s namesake, we have received a reward in heaven, for the prophets were regarded in the same way before us, (Matthew 5:11).
So, do not be ashamed of or hesitant to be called a Christian, for that is what we all are. Live life with humility and love towards all people, and be ready to answer for our faith. Teach where we can and be sure we are “forecasting good seed” in biblical context. For this is our duty and privilege in the Lord…
citations ~biblehub.com~ Google~ biblegateway~
“…I am with you always, even to the end of the world…”
“…No one comes to the Father except through me…”
For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. ~1 Corinthians 12:13
and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, ~1 Peter 3:21
So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days. ~Acts 10:48
And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’ ~Acts 22:16
Christ commands those who believe to be baptized. Pedobaptists adopt a system which tends to preclude the baptism of believers. They baptize the involuntary infant and deprive him of the privilege of ever professing his faith in the appointed way. If this system were universally adopted, it would banish believers’ baptism out of the world. ~Adoniram Judson
All of us who desire the kingdom of God are, by the Lord’s decree, under an equal and rigorous necessity of seeking after the grace of Baptism. ~Saint Basil
In baptism, new Christians become part of a body of fellow believers who are called to spiritually encourage one another and hold one another responsible for consistent Christian living. ~Tony Campolo
The feeling of longing for home is born into us. That wonderful dream cannot become real without great faith – enough for the Holy Ghost to lead us to repentance, baptism, and the making and keeping of sacred covenants with God. This faith requires enduring bravely the trials of mortal life. ~Henry B. Eyring
Jesus said, ‘Except a man be born of water and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.’ There are no exceptions. Baptism is a necessary ordinance. ~Gordon B. Hinckley
Deep, unspeakable suffering may well be called a baptism, a regeneration, the initiation into a new state. ~Ira Gershwin
The full benefit of forgiveness of sin through the Savior’s Atonement begins with repentance and baptism and then expands upon receiving the Holy Ghost. ~James E. Faust
Please excuse me, but I don’t understand the true Christian’s reluctance to be baptized. It is obviously commanded by the Lord. People who are serious about their faith and future salvation will keep the Lord’s commands.
Further, we understand that obedience to the Lord is not like ordering food from a menu. Unlike the meal, we can’t “pick and choose” what we want to follow in the laws of God! The Lord, through James, expressly tells us this in (James 2:10-11):
” Whoever keeps the whole Law but stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery, but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.…”
What of the verses which say:“ Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. “ (Mark 16:16). This was by command of Jesus Himself in the Great Commission!
Or what about the very famous passage spoken by Peter at Pentecost in (Acts 2:38), which says “Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.“
One that day, 3,000 souls acted on this plea and were baptized.
Okay, the final question for me is almost always this: What would Jesus do? And the answer concerning baptism is that He was immersed Himself and the Lord God said “This is my Son, whom I love, with him I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:13-17).
In my opinion, it seems evident that the Lord wants us to be baptized. It is at the very least a model which Christ has both commanded of us and done Himself. My question is a simple one: Why take the chance that baptism isn’t necessary to be a fully involved follower of Christ?
Finally, make note of this verse—
“Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.” (Romans 6:3-5)
citations ~biblegateway.com~ biblehub.com~ Google~biblestudytools.com~