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Word Swap

This week, we will talk about what it means to be a Christian. I believe the meaning of the word Christian has changed sense it was coined back in the book of Acts. Let’s talk about it. Back in 2006 I had a once in a life time opportunity to go to Egypt on a mission trip. Here’s the scary part: it is illegal to share The Gospel with a Muslim in Egypt. They will put you in jail and from what I’ve read, that is only the beginning of the punishment for living out the Great Commission in that country. Knowing that, how did I get to go to Egypt for the express purpose of sharing Jesus? Because Christian does not mean Christian in that country. Let me explain. In that country, when you are born you are issued an ID, and in the middle of it there is a big capital M or C. The capital M stands for Muslim. If you are born into a Muslim family you get a big M. If your family is not Muslim, then you get an ID that has a C in the middle of it. The C stands for Christian, but it actually means “not Muslim”. So any baby born in Egypt that is not born into a Muslim family receives a government document telling them that they are a Christian. There are full grown adults in that country who have no idea who Jesus is, much less love Him and follow Him, but they call themselves Christian. We were part of a group that leveraged that countries laws for the expanding of the Gospel to people who were not really Christians. To the government, we were not influencing the number of “Christians” in that country; we are just throwing a party for Christians. They must not realize that a person cannot be born a Christian. We simple threw a festival for people with a C on their ID cards. Then we share Jesus with lost people and watched God do his thing as he changed hearts and lives! That begs another question: How do you know you are a Christian? It is not about what some government says. It is not about what some church says, and it’s not even about if you “prayed a prayer” when you were a kid. It’s all about Jesus. To be a Christian starts with Christ and ends with Him. A Christian is dependent on Christ for salvation. To be a Christian a person must repent and believe the Gospel. Then there is the issue of commitment. Jesus requires commitment of His followers (check out Luke 14:25-35 for that). The things we do cannot save us, but because Jesus saved us, we are committed to living like Him. That is not something that can be done for another person. A.W. Tozer said, “If we are not changed by grace, then we are not saved by it.” A Christian must progressively look more and more like Jesus. We must look like Jesus to a lost world. We must walk like Jesus in our world. We must talk like Jesus in the world. A Christian that does not have a transformed life, is just wearing a phony ID.

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