We have been looking at the identity crisis we are facing in the Church around the world today. We are trying to be so many different things to so many different people and cultures that we have lost the essence of who we are as the Body of Christ and what we are called to accomplish in His Name. As we have been briefly examining this we have looked at two thing – the Christian faith and the Christian Church. Let’s review my definitions…
The Christian faith is a daily, ever-deepening, very dynamic, personal, inique, intimate LOVE RELATIONSHIP with God the Father and Jesus Christ whom He sent, empowered and enabled by the Holy Spirit and lived out in long-term committed relationships with others who follow Jesus in a local family known as the church.
The Christian Church is a family and community of those who have chosen to follow Jesus Christ, known as the body of Christ, the Church. The Church has Jesus as it’s Leader and, as a healthy organism, with members walking in power towards wholeness, we invite all others to share in His love and life.
Let’s complete this brief look at a major issue we are now facing by examining briefly at what a Christian is.
A Christian is a disciple (apprentice) of the Lord Jesus Christ and thus an ambassador of the Kingdom reaching out to the lost’ proclaiming the night-and-day difference that Jesus has and is making in his or her life on a daily basis.
A Christian is someone who sees the Bible as a book that will enable them to become more and more like Jesus and that will equip them to do what Jesus did (the words ‘complete’ means to be like Jesus – 2 Corinthians 3:16-17). So, they are daily in God’s Word so that they can mature and become like Him whom they follow (character and nature) and then do what Jesus did (John 14:12). This means that they will be reaching out to “seek and save the lost” as Jesus did (Luke 19:10). This was His mission as He went about the Father’s business. When He ascended into Heaven before the Church was birthed on the Day of Pentecost He told His disciples that now they were to be working in His father’s business. So, we are called to “go into al the world and make disciples (Matthew 28:19). This is what disciples – every person who is a true follower and apprentice – do as they live their daily lives in their world.
We are ambassadors of the Kingdom (2 Corinthians 5:20) delivering the now Word of the Lord to those to whom we are sent. Our message is the Gospel of the Kingdom because we are sent as ministers of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18-20) to declare and demonstrate that Jesus is alive and the only way into Heaven. We do this by sharing the difference that Jesus has and is making (1 Peter 2:9 The Message Version) … the night-and-day difference. Of course, everyone who is truly converted and a disciple of Jesus will experience Jesus regularly and thus see the consistent involvement of Jesus in their daily lives as He brings about radical and permanent change. This testimony along with the Gospel of the Kingdom and the demonstration that the Gospel is true (1 Corinthians 2:4-5; Romans 15:18-19) will bring many into His Kingdom on a regular basis.
All of this is basic to who a Christian is… and I believe we have a long way to go to see this reality achieved in the life of believers. Of course, I am hopeful it will happen in my life time and accept the challenge to be one of those who disciples, trains, equips, and mentors people into the fullness of their unique and individual calling.