IDentity 2.0 - We are Christian.

Jan 17, 2021    Pastor Cliff Purcell

We are a Christian church. While the word Christian has taken on so many layers of meaning, many of which are negative in our culture, the word itself has real and essential meaning, and it is the first thing we must look at in answering for ourselves and any who ask who we are. Christian means “little Christ” and was first ascribed to us as a slur— “These people are so convinced that Jesus is God and the Savior of the world that they actually try to live like He did!” What was the compelling belief that drove Jesus’s early followers? Was it the Apostles’ Creed? That began to take form in the first century, but there was something that preceded it: the writings of the Apostle Paul. If you’ve ever read Romans, you know that Paul could talk in great detail about Christian beliefs. But when pressed— when he absolutely needed his message to be heard and understood by a church that was losing its way, failing morally, and washing out— he said this: “For what I received (from Jesus Himself, Paul claimed), I passed on to you as of first importance.” Are there other things to believe as Christians? Yes. Are they important? Some of them. Are they on the same level as these teachings of Paul in 1 Corinthians? Not according to Paul. So what were the matters of first importance? (1)That Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; (2) that He was buried/proved he really died; (3) that He was resurrected on the third day according to the Scriptures; (4) and after that appears to many/proved He was alive again. Paul didn’t insist on things like modes of baptism or various interpretations of Scripture or the Virgin Birth. He insisted on these two things as being of first importance and therefore non-negotiable and essential to being genuinely Christian: Christ died for our sins and was resurrected from the dead. So what? What difference does that make? See Romans 6:3-4 if we were buried with Him, we’ll also experience His resurrection life.