Why Become a Christian?

I.        Many here are Christians. You've been Christians for a number of years. Do you remember why you became a Christian?

          A.      Many people that we talk to have never became a Christian. There are some here who have yet to obey the Gospel's call.

          B.       Why do they hesitate? What is it that is holding them back?

II.       What is a Christian?

          A.      There are numerous ideas about what constitutes a Christian. We need an exact definition

                    1.       A Christian is not just someone who believes in God. - James 2:19

                    2.       A Christian is not just someone who is not a Jew or a member of some eastern religion.

          B.       The word Christian means a "follower of Christ"

          C.      Let's see how the Bible describes a Christian

                    1.       While discussing how servants ought to behave, Peter makes the following comment in I Peter 2:21 - Those called (or Christians) are to follow in Christ's footsteps.

                    2.       Luke 14:25-33 - We must carefully consider the cost of following Christ. It doesn't come for free. We must give up all this world has to offer to follow Him.

                    3.       John 8:31-32 - We must live in Christ's word.

                              a.       II Timothy 2:15 - A worker who knows how to handle God's word.

                    4.       John 15:8 - Christ's disciples are fruitful

                              a.       We produce fruit by living God's word - Galations 5:22-23

                              b.       We produce fruit by spreading God's word - I Corinthians 3:5-9

                    5.       John 14:15 - Christians obey Christ's commands

III.      Excuses people give for not being a Christian

          A.      No Time

                    1.       Too busy with life. Trying to get ahead. Trying to make enough to retire early. Or to afford the pleasurable extras.

                    2.       Are these really important?

                              a.       Matthew 6:25-34 - There is no need to worry or to try to get ahead. God will provide; if we we put him first.

                              b.       I Timothy 6:6-10 - Christians are to be content. Riches just entrap people, bringing grief.

                              c.       James 4:14 - Life is uncertain. Proverbs 23:5 - Riches are temporary

                              d.       Mark 8:36-37 - What good is wealth after we die?

                              e.       Solomon found that the pleasures of this world were useless. Ecclesiastes 2:10-11. They don't profit a person; they don't improve your situation.

          B.       Christianity is not application to today's situations

                    1.       Christ has not changed - Hebrews 13:8. God does not change - Malachi 3:6

                    2.       All good comes from God and that has not changed - James 1:16-18. This includes salvation.

                    3.       Looking through the scriptures, we find that the sins commit back then are still being comitted today.

                    4.       Therefore, the Bible is still as valuable today as it was when it was written. II Timothy 3:16-17

          C.      I'm a good person. God won't condemn me.

                    1.       What is "good"?

                              a.       Consider a respected man in his community. He was devout. Men described him as God fearing. He gave to the needy and prayed regularly.

                                        (1)      Would you consider him "good"? Was he saved?

                                        (2)      Yet, in Acts 10, Peter told Cornellious to become a Christian. After he obey, we are told that he was saved.

                              b.       Paul told us that he lived his whole life with a good conscience and yet, he needed to be baptized to be saved - Acts 22:16

                    2.       We need a standard to measure "goodness" by

                              a.       Our conscience is not a good guide as we see from Paul's life.

                                        (1)      Jerimiah 10:23 - Man cannot determine his own way

                                        (2)      The conscience is trainable; to good or evil

                              b.       Many ways seem right, but are not - Proverbs 14:12

                              c.       The Bible is the right measuring stick - II Corinthians 10:12-18.

                    3.       If you are claiming to be doing good and yet you have not obeyed the Gospel, the end is described in Matthew 7:21-23

          D.      I already have my religion

                    1.       But do you have Christ's religion?

                              a.       People who offer this excuse generally are not interested in finding out

                              b.       They don't want the boat rocked

                    2.       I John 4:1 - Don't believe everything that you hear. Prove that it is from God.

                    3.       II Corinthians 13:5 - No only other, but also test yourself for the truth.

                    4.       And what is our standard to measure against?

                              a.       Since Christians are followers of Christ and his teachings, then the proof should come from Him.

                              b.       II Timothy 3:16-17 - Profitable for reproof and correction.

          E.       I'm not good enough

                    1.       In one sense, none of us are good enough. We have all sinned - Romans 3:23.

                              a.       If we claim to be without fault, then we are deceiving ourselves - I John 1:8

                    2.       Perhaps they believe they are unable to change or that they are unwilling to change.

                    3.       We are able to overcome sin!

                              a.       Hebrews 4:15 - Jesus has shown the way. He endured temptations, just like us, but He did not circum to sin.

                              b.       I Corinthians 10:13

                                        (1)      The sins you face have been faced by others before you

                                        (2)      No temptation we face is beyond our capability

                                        (3)      There is always a way out

          F.       It's too restrictive

                    1.       Sin itself is restrictive

                              a.       People don't realize it, being caught within it - Ephesians 4:22, II Timothy 3:13. Sin deceives the sinner.

                              b.       A man, blind from birth, doesn't miss colors

                              c.       We can be enslaved by passions and pleasures - Titus 3:3

                    2.       We cannot serve two masters - Luke 16:13. If God is not our master, then we must be enslaved to Satan.

                              a.       Romans 6:16-23 - We are either slaves to sin or righteousness

                              b.       Verse 23 - The benefit of service to God is life. Sin brings death.

IV.      For those here who have yet to obey God, what excuse can you give? What more must it take for you to obey our Creator and become his willing follower?