A - ATTRIBUTES OF A CHRISTIAN 1
First, what is a Christian? This name is used three times in the N.T.—Acts 11:26; Acts 26:28; 1 Pet.4:16. A Christian is a follower, a servant, a slave of Jesus Christ. The slaves of Caesar were called Caesarians so the term “Christian” follows the pattern. Chafer in his book, Systematic Theology, defines a Christian in the following way: “Is not one who does certain things for God but…one for whom God has done certain things; he is not so much one who conforms to a certain manner of life as he is one who has received the gift of eternal life, he is not one who depends upon a hopelessly imperfect state but rather one who has reached a perfect standing before God as being in Christ”. We do not do for God as much as He does for us.
So what does an attribute mean? An attribute is a characteristic quality of a person. In this case—a Christian. It would be a characteristic that is appropriate for a Christian. It might even be a characteristic that would designate a person as a Christian to the public and cause them to be a testimony for their Lord.
We realize that we must obey God and follow in Christ’s footsteps in the kind of life we live; however, God does so much more for us than what we do for Him. God loves us with immeasurable love. Rom.8:37-39 Our love of God cannot be stressed too much or too often. Nothing else will matter if we don’t truly love God with our all. Lk.10:27 Not only do we love God, but we love His Son—Jesus Christ. 1 Jhn.5:1 whoever loves the Father loves the child born of him. God , Himself, gave His own testimony that Jesus was His Son . Matt.3:17; Matt.17:5
Just talking about our love of the Lord is not sufficient; although we are to confess His name and He will confess us to the Father. Matt.10:32 Occasionally there will be those that talk on and on with the idea that they are being a testimony when in reality, they love to hear themselves and are not accomplishing anything but taking up precious worship or study time. A time of testimony is a blessing but not out of order or inappropriately. Eccl.5:7; Eccl.6:11 After a time, people quit listening. May we be profitable in our speech that we can be a glory to God and not a detriment. Col.3:17 We must follow through with our life. “Walk the talk”.
Our love of God is more than just an acknowledgment that He exists. A person may know of someone by name but not really know them, have fellowship with them, become acquainted with their goals in life and know their struggles. We have a God that really knows us. In fact He knows everything about us. To love God we must know Him—not just be acquainted or know that He exists. Job 19:25; 2 Tim.1:12
What better way to know the Lord than to study His Word. 2 Tim.2:15; Heb.4:12 Sometimes there is a lonesomeness for family far away and we will read and reread their communication. The Word is so important to us. If we are honest as we study it, our soul will be laid bare with our attitudes and thoughts exposed. God can see. Heb.4:13 Can we? Our longing for God’s Word should be so strong that our soul pants for it as a deer that has been running longs for a drink. Ps.42:1
We need to read and study God’s Word so much that it is in our minds (Ps.119:11) and ready to answer in temptation as Jesus did (Matt.4:4,6,10) or be ready to answer someone who asks us why we are a Christian. 1 Pet.3:15
The very first Christians continually devoted themselves to the apostles teaching. Acts 2:42 This was so important to them. Today we are blessed to have the Bible available to us in many versions and languages. Parts of the world cannot freely have Bibles and are even persecuted if found with a Bible. We have that freedom. Is it so common that we forget to be thankful? Do we even take the great advantage that we have, or are our Bibles picked up only when we go to church—if then. If your Bible could write, what would be the diary of your Bible?
Have you ever attempted to become a friend of someone who would not talk to you? It is discouraging and unsuccessful to say the least. God speaks to us through the Scriptures; yet do we talk to God? He wants our communication with Him. How? Prayer! We thank Him. We praise Him. We confess and repent before Him. We ask for guidance from Him. We pray for others. Eph.6:18 We can open our hearts before our Father. Phil.4:6 We pray through His Son, Jesus. Sometimes we are so overcome with needs that we can’t put them into words and the Holy Spirit helps us. Rom.8:26
If God is on my mind, then praying without ceasing will come naturally. 1 Thess.5:17 This doesn’t mean we will have formal prayers going constantly. Think of a couple in love. The loved one is constantly on their mind when absent. We love our Lord so He is on our mind constantly. We want to please Him. Col.1:10 We want to obey Him because we love Him. 1 Jhn.5:3 We want to serve Him. 1 Thess.1:9 We want to be a glory to His name. 1 Cor.10:31 This will cause us to talk to our Lord. This is prayer.
A true Christian will have a time of private prayer. This will include adoration of how great God is to you. Thanksgiving will be an important part. God has given us so much. We will need to humbly ask forgiveness specifically as we realize what we have done to displease our Lord. Yes, we can even ask God for blessings and definite needs with guidance from Him and making sure that what we ask is within His will. 1 Jhn.5:14 Intercessory prayer is important as we pray for others—maybe healing, conversion, guidance, comfort. Whatever we pray, we pray in Jesus’ name.
Prayer is something so necessary for victory in our lives and victory for the church. Prayer is something everyone can and should do. Even those homebound can become prayer warriors. When we tell someone we will pray for them, DO IT! Don’t just say the words. Maybe it needs to be done right them. Make a list to be sure you do pray for them.
As Christians, we need to be devoted to prayer. Col.4:2; Rom.12:12 Jesus was perfect and the Son of God and yet He spent much time in prayer. Much more could be said of prayer. Let your prayer life grow. Jesus taught us to not give up in prayer. Lk.18:1