ARE YOU JUST SAVED or ARE YOU A CHRISTIAN?

Sunday November 5, 2017   Phone: 570.829.5216
Pastor David Miklas e-mail pdmikBBM@aol.com
Message: Are You Just Saved or Are You a Christian? – Text: Acts 1:20-26

ARE YOU JUST SAVED or ARE YOU A CHRISTIAN?

 

INTRODUCTION: Let me begin by saying,

 

“There is a vast difference between those in the early church and saved people today. Those in the early church not only said they believed God’s Word, but acted upon that belief.”

 

I am afraid that today, there are many who are genuinely saved, but are not real Bible believers! 

 

They may say they are saved, but when it comes to really believing God’s Word, they become skeptics at best and Bible rejecters at worst.

 

They may wave their King James Bibles and sing about loving God’s Word, but in reality they reject it as not applicable to them.

 

A preacher was talking to a young man about the Lord and asked “Are you a Christian?” He said “Yes, I am.” The preacher said: “No, you’re not!” He replied, “I’m saved!” The preacher said “I didn’t say you weren’t saved, I said you’re not a Christian. Your lifestyle doesn’t prove that you act like Christ.” So my question to you is “ARE YOU JUST SAVED or ARE YOU A CHRISTIAN?”

 

Now in Acts 11:20-16 we read,

 

 “And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus. (21) And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord. (22) Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch. (23) Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord. (24) For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord. (25) Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul: (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 believers in Antioch had a trademark. The people in the area started calling them ‘Christians.’ They were saying “These people are acting like Christ.” That’s what it means to be a Christian.

 

It is one thing to be saved, quite another to be recognized as a Christian. Unfortunately, not many believers have the experiences of those in Antioch. 

 

Has anyone ever said this to you? “I’ve been watching you, and you’re like Christ.” Could that be said of YOU?  With that thought in mind, let’s focus on SEVEN questions to help you decide.

 

FIRST: Do you really LOVE YOUR ENEMIES, LIKE CHRIST? In Luke 6:27-28 we read, “But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, (28) Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.”

 

Let me give you an example of loving your enemies as Christ loved His enemies. When Judas betrayed Jesus in the Garden Jesus called him, “Friend…” In Matthew 26:47-50 we read,

 

“And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people. (48) Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast. (49) And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him. (50) And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him.”

 

Did you notice Jesus was Judas’ friend, but Judas was not Jesus’ friend? Jesus had been a friend to Judas all during His earthly ministry, and He continued to be his friend even in the Garden.

 

Now to further illustrate this, the first and only Confederate President, Jefferson Davis, summoned Gen. Robert. E. Lee to his office. Outside, an officer heard President Davis ask Lee about another officer. Lee gave high marks about this man. 

 

The officer outside couldn’t believe what he was hearing.  As Lee left the President’s office he said: “General, wait a minute.  May I ask you something?  I am astounded at what I just heard.  Do you realize that officer you were praising is your bitterest enemy?  He wastes no opportunity to have you destroyed.” 

 

Lee looked at him and said: “Yes.”  But the President “Didn’t ask his opinion of me; he asked my opinion of him.”  Lee could have destroyed the other officer’s career before the President, but he acted like a Christian. 

 

Question: what would you have done in this situation? As you think about that question, listen to the words of Romans 12:17-21,

 

“Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. (18) If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. (19) Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. (20) Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. (21) Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”

 

Do you find yourself just reading these words or are you actually practicing these directions? Notice again verse 21, “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”

 

“ARE YOU JUST SAVED or ARE YOU A CHRISTIAN?”

 

SECOND: Do you respond to SUFFERING, LIKE CHRIST? In 1 Pet. 4:16 we read, “Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.” Again let me give an example of Christ’s suffering from Isaiah 53:3-7:

 

“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (4) Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. (5) But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. (6) All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. (7) He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.”

Jesus was despised, but not angry.

He was rejected, yet not a quitter.

He was a man of sorrows, yet not bitter.

He was afflicted, yet not complaining.

He was smitten, but did not fight back.

He was wounded, bruised and oppressed, yet He didn’t retaliate.

 

We all know someone who has become bitter because of some hard circumstances they have had to go through.  In I Peter 2:18-21 we read,

 

“Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. (19) For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. (20) For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. (21) For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:”

 

I know folks who quit going to church and quit serving God and are very angry and depressed and blame God for their troubles.

 

By the way, it may be true that the Lord did allow that problem into their life, but He did so to test them, to try their faith, to strengthen them.  But they failed!

 

They may be saved, but they are not Christians, i.e., they are not acting like Christ.

 

“ARE YOU JUST SAVED or ARE YOU A CHRISTIAN?”

 

THIRD:  Do you FORGIVE, LIKE CHRIST? In Matthew 18:21-22 we read,

 

“Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? (22) Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.”

 

Even a lost man can forgive some. But it takes a Christian to forgive again, and again, and again. Jesus said to Peter, not 7 times, but 490 times!  That’s not just a number, He’s saying, forgive over and over.

 

To be a Christian, I have to do that. The word “forgive” means to cancel out, to remit, to put aside, to do away with. It means to treat something as if it never happened! It means to put it in the file marked case closed. Here is a good definition of forgiveness:

 

"Forgiveness is a CHOICE, to reconcile with an offender by erasing their debt, and agreeing to live with the consequences of their sin." Let me repeat that. "Forgiveness is a CHOICE, to reconcile with an offender by erasing their debt, and agreeing to live with the consequences of their sin."

 

Again, let me give you an example of Jesus: Jesus had been taken to Pilate’s judgment hall, lied about, spit upon, and mocked, stripped naked and scourged.

 

Someone wrote about scourging that it was not uncommon to have a person’s intestines lying on the ground afterwards.  When they beat Him, it didn’t create just a little bruise.  His whole body was bruised. 

 

What would He do? How would He respond to this inhuman and unjust treatment?  Now they drive spikes into His hands and feet and raise Him up on a cross with a thud. The spectators mock Him, curse Him and continue to heap indignities on Him. But wait, His lips begin to move. He is about to say something. 

 

He could have wiped out His enemies with a word; He could have destroyed the entire planet with a thought!  Let’s listen to what He says in Luke 23:33-34,

 

“And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. (34) Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

 

What would you say to the men who beat you to a pulp, who spat in your face, who mocked you, who whipped you, who drove spikes into your flesh? 

 

If I had His power I would likely have said, “Father, kill them all!  Kill the wicked Pharisees, the blasphemous High Priests, the screaming Jews and the Roman executioners!  Wipe them out and get Me down from this cross!”   Instead He said:  “Father, forgive them!” Cancel it out, as though it never happened.  Do away with it. 

 

No wonder the Roman centurion said:  “Truly, this was the Son of God!”  The amazing thing is that everyone there that day didn’t say the same thing! You don’t have to ask “What Would Jesus Do?” Here, we know what He did!

 

There are husbands and wives who will not forgive each other.

There are parents who will not forgive their children for the shame they brought to their home and ytheir good name. 

There are scores of believers in our good, fundamental, soul-winning churches who sit in the same room, service after service, but refuse to forgive each other for some supposed or real hurt that happened weeks, months or years ago. 

 

No wonder we don’t have revival! If Jesus could hang on a cross and say “forgive them” how much more should we forgive?   You say “That’s hard to do.”  Yes, but if you want to be like Christ, it is the only way! In Ephesians 4:31-32 we read,

 

“Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: (32) And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.”

 

“ARE YOU JUST SAVED or ARE YOU A CHRISTIAN?”

 

FOURTH: Do you really believe in BIBLE STUDY? In II Timothy 2:15 we read, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

 

Do you just accept what others say about the Bible or do you study it for yourself?

Do you seriously study God’s Word? 

Do you have any time set aside in your schedule to study the Bible?

 

Here is a little test. Are you ready for it? Be honest in your heart as you answer each question. Remember God knows your heart.  

 

1. Which do you devote more time to…TV, newspapers, job-related activities (in your otherwise spare time) or seriously studying the Bible?

2. Which is more important to you and your family…the evening news, political activity, sports or a time in the Word of God? 

3. Do you know the names of more sports, TV or Hollywood personalities (or you favorite pastime – gardening, fishing, hunting, etc.) than the people and events in the Bible?  Have you even bothered to learn the books of the Bible?

4. Do you know the difference between Israel and the Church? 

6. Do you attend Sunday School to learn the Bible?

7. Do you know why we don’t bring animal sacrifices to church services? 

8. Do you have a private devotional time daily and a family devotional time?

9. Are there ever scriptural conversations in your home during which you apply Bible principles to every-day events? 

 

“ARE YOU JUST SAVED or ARE YOU A CHRISTIAN?”

 

FIFTH: Do you really believe in CHURCH DISCIPLINE? Do you agree that churches today ought to practice discipline? This is not talked about much, but it is certainly biblical.

 

For false doctrine – In I Timothy 6:2-5 we read, “And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort. (3) If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; (4) He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, (5) Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.”

 

For immorality – In 1 Cor. 5:1-2, 6-7 we read, “It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife. (2) And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you… (6) Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? (7) Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:”

 

For a “disorderly walk” and laziness – In 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15 we read, “Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. (7) For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; (8) Neither did we eat any man's bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: (9) Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us. (10) For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. (11) For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. (12) Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread. (13) But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing. (14) And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. (15) Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.”

 

For those who cause divisions – In Romans 16:17-18 we read, “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.  (18) For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.”

 

For offences without repentance – In Matthew 18:15-17 we read, Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. (16) But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. (17) And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

 

When the church must practice discipline for public sin, do you side with the pastor, deacons and church, or with the one being disciplined?  Is friendship or sound doctrine and a clean church more important to you? 

 

“ARE YOU JUST SAVED or ARE YOU A CHRISTIAN?”

 

SIXTH:  Do you really believe in TITHING? In 1 Corinthians 16:2 we read, “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.”

 

Tithing goes all the way back to the beginning. The “tenth” is our rent for living upon this earth and receiving all the blessing God daily gives to us. The Old Testament “storehouse” was the Temple; the New Testament storehouse is the local church.

 

“ARE YOU JUST SAVED or ARE YOU A CHRISTIAN?”

 

SEVENTH: Do you LOVE THE LOST, LIKE CHRIST? In Luke 19:10 Jesus said, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” We have been commanded by Christ:

 

In Mark 16:15, “…Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”

 

In Matthew 28:19-20, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

 

Do you actually speak to the lost about their eternal souls? You probably say “I believe soul-winning is a Bible doctrine and that the Great Commission applies to every believer.”   But the question is, DO YOU GO SOUL-WINNING? 

 

Do you monthly, weekly or daily seek to witness to the lost?

Do you pass out tracts and talk to people about eternity?

Do you seek to win the lost to Christ? 

Do the folks you work with every day know you are saved? 

Do they know how to get saved?  Did you tell them?   How about your lost relatives, friends, neighbors?

 

If not, you are not a Christian. You are not like Christ.  Jesus spent His whole life warning people about hell and spreading the good news that God loves lost sinners.  You may be saved, but you are not like Christ, you are not a Christian.

 

Now it is your time to examine your heart before God in answering our off repeated question,

 

“ARE YOU JUST SAVED or ARE YOU A CHRISTIAN?”

 

***********************************************************************

If God has spoken to your heart after reading the sermon “ARE YOU JUST SAVED or ARE YOU A CHRISTIAN?” right now talk to God about what He has spoken to you.

 

Do you have the assurance that one day you will go to heaven? If you have no assurance that you know Jesus Christ, then I trust you will decide to accept Him as your personal Savior. The Bible tells us in

 

Acts 16:31, “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…”

Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

 

This prayer is here for those who need to ask Jesus to be their personal Savior: “I do want to go to Heaven. I know I am a sinner, and I do believe Jesus Christ died for me. I realize I cannot buy this great salvation, nor can I earn it. Knowing Jesus died on the cross and arose from the grave to pay my sin debt and to purchase my salvation, I do now trust Him as my Savior, and from this moment on I am completely depending on Him for my salvation.”

If you made the decision to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, please let me know. Please send an e-mail to pdmikBBM@aol.com and I will send you some literature that will help you in your Christian life.

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In His Amazing Grace,

Pastor<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
David Miklas
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