WHAT IS A CHRISTIAN? BY TIMOTHY P.HADLEY

To some people the term “christian” simply means ‘i’m not a muslim.” Using the term may reflect one’s religion,culture,traditions or even politics.But what does it really mean to a christian?. The word “christian” is only found three times in the bible:Act 11:26,26:28,and 1peter 4:16.Each time it appears it seems to have a negative connotation.Act 11:26,for example,tells us that the followers of the crucified christ were first called christians at antioch and it seems that it was a term given to them by the world around them.The word actually means ‘little christ”or christ-like.” To the jew the idea of a crucified christ was a stumbling block and to the greek it was foolishness(1cor 1:23).To be a christian is to be a whole-hearted follower of christ.As the Lord Himself said in john 10:27,”My sheep hear My voice,and i know them,and they follow Me”,(nkjv).it demands allegiance to christ as we read in the following verses:@ You are My friends if you do whatever i command you”(jn.15:14). @ “Then jesus said to those jews who believed Him, if you abide in my word,you are my disciples indeed” (jn.8:31). @ “Then He said to them all,if anyone desires to come after Me,let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me” (lk.9:23). @ if anyone serves Me ,let him follow Me,and where i am,there My servant will be also.if anyone serve me,him My Father will honor” (jn.12:26). @when we call ourselves christians we are declaring that we are followers of jesus christ and we are proclaiming that for me to live is christ,and to die is gain”(phil.1:21).But what is a christian? The bible uses many other terms to describe believers: aliens,strangers on the earth,citizens of heaven and lights of the world.We are heirs of God,joint heirs with christ,members of His body,sheep in His flock and ambassadors. We are compared to athletes,soldiers,branches and so much more. But there is one word that the bible uses that we may not like to use to discribe ourselves-it is the word “slave”. Yet this is the term that many of the early Christians used to describe themselves(Rom.1:1;1cor.7:22,gal.1:10,eph. 6:6,phil.1:1,col.4:12,tit.1:1,james 1:1,1pet.2:16,2pet.1:1,jude.1,Rev.1:1).today we don’t hear much about this concept but in the early church history they equated being a slave of christ, and according to 1cor.6:19-20.this would be precisely correct.There Paul reminded us, “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the holy spirit who is in you,whom you have from God,and you are not your own? for you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” in our society the word “slave” is not politically correct.and in many of our translation the word has been translated as “servant” or bond servant” instead.i suppose that takes the sting out of the word.but the actual word for slave(Greek:doulos) appear 124 times in the new testament and about 10 more time in a compound form.There is a major distinction between a servant and a slave.servants are hired and have an element of freedom.A slave is owned,he is not his own and he has no rights nor independence.This term slave is not for some kind of “lower level christian.”it is a term that is synonymous(means the same) with being a christian.Along with paul and james,peter,john and jude all called themselve slave.A slave’s life is one of complete surrender,submission and service to the Master.Listen to what the Master the Lord Jesus,requires of those who follow Him:

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