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Who Truly Is A Christian? (5)

Over the past few weeks, we have established some parameters which would make it possible to determine who truly a Christian is, and who is not a Christian. These parameters were arrived at based on the Lord Jesus discussion with the Jews who had believed in Him because of the words He spoke, but who manifested contrary behaviour shortly afterward, as recorded in John 8:31-59. It is important to state that these parameters were never intended to disenfranchise (if we may use the word) anyone who says he believes in Jesus; rather, it is intended to make such individuals undertake a personal evaluation to check if they are still in the faith. Paul, the apostle, writing by the Holy Spirit, said, in 2 Corinthians 13:5, Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? What the bible is saying in essence is that every Christian should frequently examine himself to ascertain if he is still in the faith, because it is very easy for someone who is not established in the faith to backslide. Even those who are established in the faith occasionally wander off, hence the need for frequent personal evaluation of ones faith. The proof that one is still in the faith is to be found in weighing ones way of life against the word of God; not weighing ones way of life against how other people are living, including, men of God, for many who started well, have ended very poorly; and all because they did not subject themselves to the self-evaluation on a regular basis.

Among these parameters which we have over the weeks looked at, and which we would do well to utilize in evaluating our Christianity, are:
1. What do you believe in? Is your belief in Jesus based merely on the words He spoke, rather than on the fact that He is the Messiah (the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world), and the Son of the living God? There are many people whose belief in Jesus is because of what they can get from Him rather than for the salvation of their souls from sin! Such people are not Christians, but benefit seekers!
2. Do you practice what you believe about the word of God? Is your belief in Jesus backed by your practice of His word, or are you just one of those who like to hear the word of God, but do not do it? The Good News Translation of the bible says, in James 1:22-25, Do not deceive yourselves by just listening to his word; instead, put it into practice. If you listen to the word, but do not put it into practice you are like people who look in a mirror and see themselves as they are. They take a good look at themselves and then go away and at once forget what they look like. But if you look closely into the perfect law that sets people free, and keep on paying attention to it and do not simply listen and then forget it, but put it into practice---you will be blessed by God in what you do. If you are one of those who merely listen to the word of God, and do not do them, you are most certainly not a Christian, but at best, a listener to the word of God!
3. What is your belief on the subject of deliverance? Is your belief in deliverance based on going to a supposed man of God to pray for you, rather than believing and practicing the word of God? Indeed, the salvation which we receive through our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ includes our deliverance from sinful living! Please let us note that the Lord did not die only to give man an incomplete salvation, and then hand over the completion to a man for the purpose of deliverance. May we state clearly here that deliverance from sinful living is for the unsaved! Once you have been saved by the Lord, your deliverance from any unsavoury habits would come from the practice of the word of God. The Lord said in John 8:31-32, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. Your freedom from sinful habits and conduct comes from interaction with truth, hence once you are born again, you must continue in bible study, and practice what you have been taught.
4. How intimate are you with truth? Are you intimate with truth as contained in the word of God, or are you picking up human ideas and taking them to mean truth? Please note that it is your intimate knowledge and love of truth that marks you out as a Christian. Anyone who is ignorant of, and who hates truth cannot be a Christian!
5. What is your disposition to the word of God? Do you see the word of God as a set of suggestions or do you see it as divine instruction given to help you live right before God? You cannot be a Christian and at the same time argue, quarrel with, or debate, the word of God as though they were a set of suggestions, which can be subjected to the rigours of debate and disputes. The word of God is not for argument; it is to be obeyed. The bible says in 1 Timothy 6:1-6, 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; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. But godliness with contentment is great gain. Brethren, the word of God is not a set of suggestions which we query and vet by our own means; it is Gods standard for living for His children. If you are not His child, you may dispute His word, but a child of God simply obeys and honours Gods word!
6. Where do you put to practice the word of God? You cannot claim to be a Christian, and not put to practice the word of God in every sphere of life. Tough as it may sometimes be, anyone who truly is a Christian always seeks to practice the word of God in every circumstance. The expression, Church is church; and business is business does not, and cannot apply to a Christian. Indeed, for a Christian, his life in church and outside church must be the sameChrist-like!
7. Are you still living in sin? You cannot be a Christian and make a habit of living in sin. This is one of the cardinal aspects of the Christian walk. The bible says, in 1 Corinthians 5:9-12 (again, reading from the Easy-to-Read bible), I wrote to you in my letter that you should not associate with people who sin sexually. But I did not mean the people of this world. You would have to leave the world to get away from all the people who sin sexually, or who are greedy and cheat each other, or who worship idols. I meant you must not associate with people who claim to be believers but continue to live in sin. Don't even eat with a brother or sister who sins sexually, is greedy, worships idols, abuses others with insults, gets drunk, or cheats people. It is not my business to judge those who are not part of the group of believers. God will judge them, but you must judge those who are part of your group. The Scriptures say, "Make the evil person leave your group." It is clear that you cannot continue to live in sin and still say that you are a Christian, because you are not!
8. Does your Christianity permit romancing the devil? You cannot be a Christian and be engaged in the works of the devil, like being a member of a secret cult such as the Ogboni Fraternity, the Lodge, the Rosicrusian Order, and such conclaves. Other works of the devil, which are subtle, but nonetheless deadly include, tale-bearing, gossiping, back-biting, telling lies, hatred, prostitution, promiscuity, seductive dressing, etc.
9. What is your belief about death, resurrection, and Gods judgment? If what you believe about death, resurrection and Gods judgment is in anyway different from Gods word, then you clearly are not a Christian. For instance, if you believe that once a person dies, it is over, and that there is no resurrection, then your Christianity is suspect. Also, if you believe in re-incarnation, that is, after a person has died, he can return to remedy himself? Then, you are clearly not a Christian; for the bible says in Hebrews 9:27, it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment. And if you believe that at the end of the Age, God will grant one big pardon to all men, whether they were murderers or adulterers, idolaters or cultists, prostitutes or fornicators, liars or cheats, and so on, without them having repented while they were still alive, then you, my friend, have been grossly misled. For indeed, there is going to be a judgment, and all those who lived as they liked will be judged by God, whether they were in church or not!
10. Do you have the Holy Spirit living in you? Without mincing words, we make bold to say that if the Holy Spirit is not living in you, you are not a Christian! It does not matter that you sing in the Choir or have received an award as the best gospel artiste in the world; if the Holy Spirit is not living in you, you are not a Christian! It does not matter that you are a preacher, an evangelist, a deliverance minister, or the head of a church; if the Holy Spirit is not living in you, you are not a Christian! It does not matter that you pay tithe, give generously to the work of God, and to the poor, and, even minister of your substance to men of God; if the Holy Spirit is not living in you, you are not a Christian! The truth is, the singular indicator of who is truly a Christian, and who is not a Christian is the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit in an individual. The New Living Translation of Romans 8:5-9, states, Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. If your sinful nature controls your mind, there is death. But if the Holy Spirit controls your mind, there is life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey Gods laws, and it never will. Thats why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God. But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of God living in them are not Christians at all.) This is an emphatic statement: if the Holy Spirit, also called the Spirit of God, is not living in you, you are not a Christian at all! The obvious question then would be, How do I know if the Holy Spirit is living in me? In Galatians 5:19-23, the Easy-to-Read bible says, The wrong things the sinful self does are clear: committing sexual sin, being morally bad, doing all kinds of shameful things, worshiping false gods, taking part in witchcraft, hating people, causing trouble, being jealous, angry or selfish, causing people to argue and divide into separate groups, being filled with envy, getting drunk, having wild parties, and doing other things like this. I warn you now as I warned you before: The people who do these things will not have a part in God's kingdom. But the fruit that the Spirit produces in a person's life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. If the Holy Spirit is living inside of you, then you will not be able to intentionally commit sin, but you will be able to obey Gods word. Also, you will hate what God hates, and love what God loves, and you will be constantly growing from glory to glory unto the image of Christ. This, brethren is the ultimate in Christianity.

Just like the genes of our parents are in us from birth, the Genes of God is in us from the moment we are born again. When a person is born again, he is born of the Spirit of God, which means that the Spirit of God is in him. It is He Who begins to direct and lead such a newly born again person to do or not to do certain things. And when the Holy Spirit leads you, He cannot lead you to commit sin. For instance, the Holy Spirit cannot direct or lead you to kill someone, neither can he tell you to have sexual relationship with anyone other than your spouse, nor can he tell you to go and drink alcohol! Indeed, He will tell you what friends to avoid and what fellowship to attend. If indeed you are a Christian, you cannot on your own decide where you will worship God; the Holy Spirit will direct and lead you to the place He has for you (we shall talk more on this in the very near future). The bible says in Romans 8:14, as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

That brings us to the question, Who is leading you? Is it possible that you are born again, but have not allowed the Holy Spirit to lead you? What this means is that you will live contrary to God, and will, as a result, soon cease to be a child of God. A pastors counsel may help you, but it is not a substitute to the Holy Spirits leading. And merely saying I am led of the Spirit of God does not mean that you are indeed led by the Spirit of God, for the Holy Spirit cannot lead you to live contrary to Gods word! Today, you have the opportunity of returning to the Holy Spirit to direct and lead you in the path which you should go. What you need to do is submit yourself to Him and allow Him to direct you. And remember, God cannot lead you to commit sin! That is what the devil does! And if you are not yet born again, and desire to be led of the Holy Spirit, you need to repent of your sins, putting your trust in Jesus for your salvation, and instantly, the Holy Spirit will begin to live in you, and direct you in the way to go. He will tell you what church to go to, what friends to avoid, the way and manner to live so that you can please God, and so on.

Let us pray.