Many claim to be Christians - but what does that really mean?
In a world of instant access to information all around the world through our phones – there is growing number of individuals questioning whether Christianity is in fact - true - or maybe it is just one of many ways to “Heaven” or some sort of after - life -
if there even is an afterlife – maybe we just die and cease to exist?
Many would say that Christianity is just a claim about an event and person from long ago - which there is little or no (forensic) evidence for. With all the information out there, how does one really know what to believe?
What is truth?
2. Is there absolute truth?
3. Can anyone trust those who say they are experts when there has been corruption, deception,
abuse, scandals, varying arguments for everyone’s “Own Truth?”
God doesn’t ask us to follow Him blindly –
In the Bible we are told in the book of 1 Thessalonians 5:21 “to test everything; hold fast what is good.”
And in the book of Acts 17:11, we are told that when we hear and "receive the word with eagerness, we need to always be examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things are so.”
As humans we view life through our own human lens - so when dealing with questions about spiritual issues, we need to try to remove our human lenses slightly and put on spiritual lens and be open to hear and see life from a different set of lenses - (Not that we stop thinking and processing information) - but in order to begin a spiritual journey - we have realize it's not our domain and that we need to seek to find the Creator of that domain - and that Creator is God.
So as we begin, I would encourage you to:
Ask - Seek - and Knock - because God promises to reveal Himself to a heart that truly seeks Him.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. - Matthew 7:7-8
1. How do you define “Faith?” –
Hebrews 11:1 “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the confidence in what we do not see.”
Example- When you go to sit on a chair- is your first thought - Will it hold you? Most likely not, you just sit on it. (Unless it is a very small child's chair, then maybe not.)
How do you know that you can sit on that chair?
-Past experiences, chairs are made to hold people (to a certain weight), you have seen others sit on chairs and chairs don't often times break, you have been taught how they have been made and what materials they were made with that are sturdy. Most often, we don’t even question it or think about it because it’s just what we have always done - we have faith it will hold us based on the previous reasons.
2. Is putting your Trust in Jesus easy?
John 6:47 “He who believes in Me has everlasting life.”
People all over the world have heard stories about Jesus. Many have have been taught about Jesus, raised in Christian homes, or have experienced some good things because of Jesus and Christianity, or have seen how Jesus has had a positive and healing impact in other’s lives.
Maybe you agree with a lot of what Christianity stands for and defends and fights on the behalf of - or maybe you have never questioned it and just simply believed it to be true because you were just raised in it. But for many, you just don’t know what to believe and don’t know what to even think about it.
3. Is just believing enough?
1 Corinthians 15:1-7 “Let me now remind you, dear brothers and sisters, of the Good News I preached to you before. You welcomed it then, and you still stand firm in it. 2 It is this Good News that saves you if you continue to believe the message I told you—unless, of course, you believed in vain.”
Example - Just because you believe the chair will hold you – doesn’t actually make you true believer in the chair until you put your belief into action and go - and actually sit on the chair that you have placed your “faith and trust in” – then and only then – are you a true believer in the chair and all that comes with that chair.
- What does “Believed in Vain” mean? It means that we can believe in something but it is an empty faith – a meaningless faith- like you saying you believe the chair will hold you – but never actually going and sitting on it – therefore you will continue to stand and your feet and body will not find relief from putting your trust in that chair.
Empty faith in God will not accomplish anything in your life and will leave you empty as well – tired from never going to Jesus and surrendering in faith that He will take you and receive you and give you rest. “Faith” means more than just believing some facts - It means you are depending, trusting, and relying on Jesus.
Putting our faith in something and someone - especially in God - can be for many incredibly difficult and even scary because of past hurt, disappointments, abuse and false teachings that have caused you pain.
Here are a few things to leave you with for this post:
It is possible for Christians and non-Christians to believe the first 3 of the following statements –
1. Jesus died on the cross and was buried
2. Jesus’s tomb was empty and no none ever produced His body
3. Jesus’s disciples believed that they saw Jesus resurrected from the dead
**But - only the 4th one is the game changer**
4. Jesus’s disciple’s lives were transformed due to the resurrection of Jesus – and so was culture following the resurrection
Many can believe certain truths about Jesus – but that doesn’t make them true followers
Just like with the 4th statement –
“Jesus’s disciple’s lives were transformed due to the resurrection of Jesus – and so was culture following the resurrection”
Some things to ponder over after Christ rose from the dead:
1. He appeared to more than 500 at the same time, most of whom are still living” I Corinthians 15: 3-6 tells us this.
2. The explosive growth of the Christian movement.Within a few weeks after Jesus was crucified, a movement arose which, by the later admission of its enemies, “upset the world.”
What happened to ignite this movement shortly after its leader had been executed?
3. The disciples’ changed lives.After Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion, most of the disciples fled in fear. Peter denied three times that he was a follower of Jesus. (The women were braver and stayed to the end.) Yet 10 out of the 11 Disciples (Judas committed suicide) were martyred for their faith. According to traditions, Peter was crucified upside down; Thomas was skewered; John was boiled in oil but survived. What turned these cowards into heroes? Each believed he had seen Jesus alive again.
The disciples didn’t just believe in Jesus because they saw cool things with Him, or heard Him preach and felt inspired by feel good messages. So, what made them true believers in Him?
I would encourage you to find a bible online or buy one in a store and begin reading about what Jesus's disciples did with Jesus in their own personal lives and how they lived out their lives to the best of their ability with the God’s help – living obediently for Him and putting their trust in Him – even for many throughout all history – to their awful deaths.