GLORIFY GOD IN THIS NAME
David L. Odom
WHAT NAME DO YOU WEAR RELIGIOUSLY?
I Peter 4:16
"but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed,
but is to glorify God in this name.
Thus, we have the authority to call ourselves Christians in the above passage of Scripture, but where is the authority in the New Testament to wear human names religiously such as Methodist, Baptist, Lutheran, Episcopalian, Catholic, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormon, etc.??
I had a person come to my door recently who gave me some material from the Baptist church. I gave him my material on 'The One True Church', and he told me he was in the church of Christ in the New Testament! I asked him why then was he wearing a human name religiously called 'Baptist', when Jesus Christ did not authorize such! Well, needless to say, to him that wasn't important!
But to God, it IS important!!
"You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.
"Do not add to His words Or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar."
I Peter 4:11
"whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God"
I Corinthians 4:6
"Now these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes; that in us you might learn not to go beyond the things which are written; that no one of you be puffed up for the one against the other."
We find the name 'Christian' used in two other places in the New Testament
"and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. And for an entire year they met with the church and taught considerable numbers; and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch."
"Agrippa replied to Paul, "In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian."
The term 'Christian' was ONLY used by the Holy Spirit in the New Testament for individuals who properly obeyed the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
The term 'Christian' was NEVER used by the Holy Spirit in the New Testament to refer to a nations, colleges, homes, churches, etc.,
In fact, the term 'Christian' was ONLY used by the Holy Spirit in the New Testament as a noun, NEVER as an adjective!
WHAT MAKES ONE A CHRISTIAN?
NOT MORALITY ALONE!
Cornelius was a very good man, and quite religious, BUT, he had to properly hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ and obey it in order to become a Christian!
Read Acts 10
Nicodemus was a very good man, and quite religious BUT, he had to properly hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ and obey it, which included being 'born again'!
"1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; 2 this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, 'Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.' 3 Jesus answered and said to him, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.' 4 Nicodemus said to Him, 'How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?' 5 Jesus answered, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
The inspired apostle Paul put it this way to Titus:
"4 But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, 5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life."
Paul again refers to the new birth in this way:
"25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless."
22 let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; 24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near."
1 Corinthians 6:9-11
"9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God."
The new birth is where we reach the soul saving blood of Jesus Christ!
"3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7 for he who has died is freed from sin."
What makes one a Christian?
NOT ALL RELIGIOUS PEOPLE!
There are heathen who are religious:
22 So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, 'Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. 23 For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, 'TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.' Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. 24 The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; 25 nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; 26 and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, 27 that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, 'For we also are His children'. 29 Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man. 30 Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, 31 because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”
The apostle Paul had a false religion!
9 So then, I thought to myself that I had to do many things hostile to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And this is just what I did in Jerusalem; not only did I lock up many of the saints in prisons, having received authority from the chief priests, but also when they were being put to death I cast my vote against them. 11 And as I punished them often in all the synagogues, I tried to force them to blaspheme; and being furiously enraged at them, I kept pursuing them even to foreign cities.
But remember that Paul, when he properly obeyed the Gospel of Jesus Christ, God washed his sins away through the blood of Christ!
"Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name."
What makes one a Christian?
NOT ALL CHURCH MEMBERS!
'Joining', or 'attending' church (assembly) does NOT make one a Christian!
There was no such thing as 'hyphenated Christians' in the New Testament!
I believe that 'method' and 'system' should be used in the Lord's work, but I am not a 'Methodist'.
I believe that we should have bishops; the greek word being 'epsicopos', to oversee the work in a local congregation where qualified men are found, but I am not an 'Episcopalian'.
I believe that we should have elders; the greek word being 'presbuteros', who are bishops to oversee the work in a local congregation where qualified men are found, but I am not a 'Presbyterian'.
I believe that each congregation is independent, but I am not a 'Congregationalist'.
I believe that it takes immersion to constitute the act of baptism, but I am not a 'Baptist'.
I believe that Christians should be holy, but I am not a 'Holiness'.
I believe that Christ will come again, but I am not an 'Adventist'.
I believe that the church is universal, that is, catholic, but I am not a 'Catholic'.
But according to many folks, since I believe in the aforementioned facts, I should call myself a 'Methodist-Episcopalian-Presbyterian-Congregationalist-Baptist-Holiness-Catholic-Christian'!!!!
NO, the followers of Christ were called 'Christians', and we never read of any person being called some hyphenated Christian! In fact, we find warning against such!
I Corinthians 1:12, 13
"12 Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ.” 13 Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?"
When man devises his own religious authority, he divides the principle Christ prayed for, and thus man causes division!
John 17:20, 21
“20 I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; 21 that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me."
I Corinthians 12:24, 25
"24 whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, 25 so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another."
Again, study the principle our Creator puts forth concerning tampering with His God-breathed Word!
Revelation 22:18, 19
"18 I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book."
How dangerous is it to add to, take away, or change the gospel of Christ?
"6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!"
WHO ARE CHRISTIANS?
Wearing the name 'American' involves duty of believing in the U. S. Constitution, practicing democracy, displaying good citizenship, etc.
Not flaunting law, burning the flag, etc.; we call these Un-american!
Likewise, wearing the name 'Christian' involves a life of duty to Christ!
“Even so you also, when you shall have done all the things that are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants; we have done that which it was our duty to do.’”
Illustration: If you call a cats 'tail' a 'leg', how many legs would he have? Five?, NO, it still would be four, because calling his tail a leg doesn't make it one!
Likewise, just calling a person a Christian doesn't make him one!
A Christian is something one IS, not just something he is called!
TO SEE IF YOU ARE TRULY A CHRISTIAN, ASK YOURSELF THESE QUESTIONS:
Did I obey the gospel of Jesus Christ as set forth in the New Testament, and did I obey it from conviction, or convenience? In other words, did the word of God convict you, prick your heart of your sinful, lost condition, or did you obey to please your family, or for prestige, etc.? (Acts 2:37-42)
Are you willing to suffer as a Christian? (I Peter 4:16) One who is willing to suffer for something has deep conviction, thus God is glorified.
Are you separated from the world in your daily living: recreation, habits, language, literature, apparel, etc. (2 Corinthians 6:14-18) An example is using the term [OMG]! This is actually taking the Creator's Name IN VAIN!!
Are you really devoted to the Lord as a working part of His body? Do you truly love the brethren, or is it that you have no time for them? (I Peter 1:22, 23)
Do you attend the minimum or maximum number of services? (Hebrews 10:25)
Do you give liberally, cheerfully, as you have prospered, or miserly and grudgingly? (Romans 12:8; I Corinthians 16:1,2; 2 Corinthians 9:6-11) Or, do you give God the leftovers?
Are you interested in leading others to Christ and His Gospel? Or, are you ashamed of His Gospel?
All of this is involved in Jesus' statement "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." (Matthew 6:33)
Do you appreciate strong sound Gospel preaching? Or, are you offended when the Bible condemns your sins?
What is your reaction when religious error is exposed? Is it like Galatians 4:16: "So have I become your enemy by telling you the truth?"
Are you growing in the faith? Are you deeply concerned about your spiritual growth? 2 Peter 3:18; "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen." I Timothy 1:19: holding faith and a good conscience; which some having thrust from them made shipwreck concerning the faith."
Dear truth searcher, when your spirit leaves your body, the question will not be, 'was he rich, good looking, a good athlete, a scholar, etc., but rather, was he a CHRISTIAN?
ARE WE REALLY CHRISTIANS, OR JUST WEARING THE NAME?
YOU CAN BECOME A CHRISTIAN TODAY!
OBEY JESUS CHRIST!
WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED?
Hear, learn, and come to Jesus Christ!
John 6:44, 45
"44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, 'And they shall all be taught of God.' Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me."
By believing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that He is Immanuel, the Messiah, the Word!
"Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, And they shall call His name Immanuel; which is, being interpreted, God with us."
John 4:25, 26
"25 The woman said to Him, 'I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.' 26 Jesus said to her, ' I who speak to you am He.' "
John 1:1, 14
"1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." "14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth"
"Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins."
BUT YOU DO NOT RECEIVE REMISSION OF SINS IN A MENTAL BELIEF ONLY (called Faith Only)
By repenting of our sins!
"I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish."
"Peter said to them, ' Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.' "
Acts 17:30, 31
"30 Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, 31 because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead."
BUT YOU DO NOT RECEIVE REMISSION OF SINS AT THIS POINT IN OBEDIENCE!
By confessing Christ before men!
Matthew 10:32, 33
"32 Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven."
Romans 10:9, 10
"9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, unto righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, unto salvation."
1 Timothy 6:12-16
"12 Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate, 14 that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which He will bring about at the proper time—He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen."
BUT YOU DO NOT RECEIVE REMISSION OF SINS AT THIS POINT IN OBEDIENCE!
By being baptized into Christ!
NOTE: This is immersion in water 'INTO CHRIST'
for (UNTO, IN ORDER TO) the forgiveness, the remission of your sins!
This is NOT sprinkling or pouring!
"Jesus answered, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.' "
"1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7 for he who has died is freed from sin."
"37 Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, 'Brethren, what shall we do?' 38 Peter said to them, 'Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.' 40 And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, 'Be saved from this perverse generation!' 41 So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. 42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer."
Notice in the above Scripture that only those who 'received his word' obeyed the gospel!
"But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God."
Have you yet been involved in the 'new birth' from above?
Have you yet been baptized for the correct reason?
Some are baptized today because they have been taught they have already been saved by 'faith only', and that water immersion is only an 'outward sign of an inward change'!
BUT NOTICE THAT 'PREACHING JESUS' INCLUDES WATER BAPTISM!
"35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him. 36 As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, 'Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?' 37 [And Philip said, 'If you believe with all your heart, you may.' And he answered and said, 'I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.'] 38 And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; and the eunuch no longer saw him, but went on his way rejoicing."
Acts 10:47, 48
" 'Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?' 48 And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay on for a few days."
This is where we meet His soul saving blood (figuratively of course) which washes away our sins!
Revelation 1:5, 6
"and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood" 6 and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen."
"Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name."
I Peter 3:20-22
"20 who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water. 21 Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him."
There is not any power in the water (water salvation), but it is DOING what God commands us to do, in HIS WAY , according to HIS TRUTH, which is an appeal to God for a good conscience through Christ's resurrection, by doing His will!
Also notice that is how Jesus purchased His church, with His own blood!
But why are people telling us today that the church isn't important!
"Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood."
Therefore we read:
1 Corinthians 12:13
"For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit."
Christ Jesus is the Savior of this body, the church, which is His kingdom!
"For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body."
"15 He said to them, 'But who do you say that I am?' 16 Simon Peter answered, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.' 17 And Jesus said to him, 'Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.' "
The rock upon which Christ's church was built was the Truth which Peter had just stated that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God! The Lord's church was NOT built upon Peter!
Ephesians 1:22, 23
"22 And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all."
"4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all."
Notice only one body, which is His church, His kingdom, just as there is only one baptism, which is water immersion into Christ!
This is how we put Christ on!
"26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise."
YES, YOU DO RECEIVE REMISSION (FORGIVENESS) OF SINS AT THIS POINT IN OBEDIENCE!
Notice the examples of conversion in the book of Acts:
Are you in this church you read about in the New Testament?
Have you correctly put Christ on yet?