Sunday, April 28, 2024

Profile of a Christian


Profile of a Christian

Well, praise Jesus today everyone. Have you ever thought about what it means to be a Christian? Or maybe think of it the other way. What do people in the world perceive a Christian to be? A lot of us have put Jesus in a bad light through being a hypocrite or a bad testimony. But all of us in some way represent Jesus Christ if we call ourselves Christians. So the best profile of a Christian is actually you to someone else that you are influencing. We can say that what it means to be a Christian is a Christ follower, or someone that keeps a set of morality, or someone that goes to church or reads their Bible or just does good in their community. But at the end of the day, the light is you. Jesus said, “you are the light of the world. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” You are a light to someone and you are an example to someone. And the profile of a Christian is your channel, your Facebook, your face on the internet, your face at work, your face at home. You are the example of what a Christian is.

And if you are giving Christianity a black eye, you will be held accountable to setting up an example of a Christian in a false manner. You will be held responsible for your hypocrisy. That is why Jesus hated hypocrites more than sinners, more than people that the Pharisees thought …were sinners. Jesus was against the hypocrite. I remember when I was in high school, all four years I did track and field. And I wasn't always the best influence to my friends. However, there was a certain young man who came from a hard background, possibly gang related, that he joined our track team. And at that time, I was in a certain church and that high school student also started going to my church. And the best I could, I tried to be a good example to him. And again, I wasn't the best influence always when I was in high school, but I was trying to live my faith in a genuine way. And when that guy, his name was Daniel, saw me choose to do things that were moral, he took note of it even though he never told me. Some years later, my mom told me that she had a conversation with that guy's godfather, or the people that were taking care of him. And that kid Daniel had made a comment about me that really made me think. It was a blessing to me to encourage me in the right way. And Daniel had said something to the extent of, if you want to know what to do that's right, just look at Andy Tiner. And that meant a lot to me because it made me want to be a real profile of a Christian, someone that really stood up for Jesus. It made me want to do what was right more because I knew even though I didn't think people were watching me, people were watching me to see what a Christian was really all about. I had become the definition of what a Christian was. So if I was drinking alcohol, then it was okay for Christians to drink alcohol. If I was going to take part in theft, it was okay for Christians to sometimes steal. But if I stood against marijuana, if I stood against theft, if I stood against profanity, then that's what it meant to be a Christian to my classmates, to my peers, to those that were on the track team. And when I realized that, that made a huge difference for me.

And so what I am here to tell you today is you are that profile also of a Christian, either for good or for evil. Either you're a good example to your peers, to the people that live around you, or you're a bad example for Jesus. Because for some people, the only Christian they will see, for example they will see of Christ is you. Maybe you are the only good influence in their life. Or maybe you're the only one that claims to be a Christian in their life, but you're a poor example and you're basically making a black eye for Christianity. And if that's the case, you really need to shape up and repent so that you can start serving Jesus and being a good example. I want to read to you what Jesus said in regards to this, and what the profile of a true believer should be. And this is found in Luke chapter 6. So you can look at this with me. This is Luke chapter 6. And I'm going to start in verse 20.

20And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God. 21 Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh. 22 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. 23 Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets. 24 But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. 25 Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. 26 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets. 27 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, 28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. 29 And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also. 30 Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. 31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. 32 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. 33 And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. 34 And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. 35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. 36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. 37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: 38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

These have to be the virtues we have as a Christian. This has to be our profile, doing good to others even if they are not doing good to us. Loving others even if they don't love us. Praying for our enemies, praying for those that speak evil of us, not returning evil for evil, but returning good even when people do evil to us. So think about Jesus' words here. Are you aligning with this gospel? Are you aligning with these words? Because this is what Jesus spoke. And if we are not aligning with this, this needs to become our new attitude. It needs to become the people who we are, not the people that we just think about that we want to be. But this is the profile of a Christian, a Christ follower.

So how can we become these people? We have to receive the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Now there are some people who receive a false spirit, a false spirit of giving that comes from manipulation. Or even a spirit of feeling that we need to give because an organization asked us to. So it's giving out of this compulsion of guilt rather than giving out of love. And there are some Christians that really think that they should always be physically poor because that's how they translate Luke chapter 6. David was not poor, he had money. Solomon was not poor, he had money. And a lot of the patriarchs had a lot of money. But what separates a good man from an evil man is if they are doing the will of Jesus Christ. And someone that is poor spiritually, meaning they realize they need God, they will cry out to the Lord, they will say, Lord I need more of your virtues, I need your salvation, I need your help. And if we are poor in spirit and we are asking the Lord for his virtues, that is the kind of person we need to be. Not the kind of person that says, I'm already good enough, I'm already wealthy enough, I don't need you, Lord. So that is why Jesus here in Luke says, blessed are the poor, blessed are those who hunger now. He's not talking about just being poor, not having an American dollar, or being physically hungry, but that we hunger for righteousness. And that we are poor in the manner that we are asking the Lord for our provision, not being filled with the things of the world. See a lot of people, a lot of Christians are full on religion. And they feel like they don't need anything. They're the ones that Jesus said that he didn't need to come for because they're already healthy, they're already rich. Jesus didn't come for the rich and the healthy, but he came for those that needed a physician, those that know that they're spiritually sick and need true repentance.

 So if you are truly seeking for the Lord, you will know that you need something from God. You won't be the kind of Christian that says, I don't need you Lord, I already have enough money, I already have enough spirituality, I have all of this figured out, I don't need you. If you really are a disciple of Jesus, you know that you need the Lord, and without him you are poor. So that needs to be our heart guys. We need to daily be coming before the Lord saying, Lord I can't do it on my own, without you I have nothing, I need you to fill me up, I need you to give me the true riches from heaven, that I will be spiritually rich in you, because you have blessed me with riches, but it's not me that have filled myself up with religion of the world, or just thoughts that I have from the Bible, or from a pastor at church, or something like that. We need to be gaining our wisdom and our love from heaven, from the Holy Spirit.

Now as you read through this, you will notice some things that a lot of Christians don't have. A lot of us just want to do good to those that do good for us, or we want to give to those that we know will give back. And Jesus says when you give, make sure you are giving to people that you know are not going to give back to you. When you are inviting guests over for dinner, do things that are good for people that can't repay you. Now in the world, you never do that. If you have a business, you make sure that you do business favors to clients that you know are going to give back to you, and it's all so that you will be able to build your business and your image in the world. Now with Jesus, it's a completely different kingdom. We're not supposed to be becoming anything in the world, but we're supposed to be becoming everything in Jesus Christ. Jesus has called His disciples out of the world to be separate from the world, so that we can serve Him in His kingdom. So either we're about our Father in Heaven's business, and working on this profile for Jesus being the people He wants us to become, or we're working on our profile and our image in the world, and doing something in the world.

As for me, I want to make sure that I'm nothing in this world. I'm not built up by this world. I'm not trying to become something that people respect in this world in the worldly sense, but that really I'm getting glory from God because He is giving me riches from Heaven, and giving me what I need to promote the gospel and to be a good example of what it means to be a Christian. The second verse, or verses that I wanted to look at, was Luke chapter 6 verse 43. So Jesus says this, starting in 43,

“43 For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 44 For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes. 45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.”

You know, a lot of Christians are focused on the world, and one day of the week on Sunday or on Wednesday they get together and they try, as they might, to be Christian. They try to uphold an image of Jesus one day a week, but as soon as they're out of the context of church they slip up, they start cussing, cursing, taking the Lord's name in vain. They start gossiping, speaking evil of others, and the reason why that is, is because they are literally bringing the evil out of the evil treasure of their heart. A good tree produces good fruit, but a bad tree produces bad fruit. And you can know each Christian's fruit by what they are saying. If a Christian is cursing, using profanity, taking the Lord's name in vain, gossiping, speaking evil jokes, talking about things that are pornographic, or just speaking about things that are worldly and nothing to do with the kingdom of God, you can know that they are an evil tree that is producing evil fruit.

We need to make sure that we are a profile of a true Christian, not the false Christians that just look Christian outwardly. We have to make sure that we are different. And we need to make sure that we separate ourselves from false Christianity, the sort of Christianity that says you can be a Christian one day a week, or you can just be part of a social club and be a Christian. Rather we need to be a Christian by our deeds. We truly need to be a good tree that has good fruit. A lot of Christians will say, you can't know my heart, brother. Only God can know my heart. But that's not what Jesus said. Jesus plainly says that you will know a tree by its fruit. And it's impossible to have bad fruit but a good heart. So if you know someone is producing bad fruit, that is coming from a bad tree.

If you realize today that you have bad fruit but you are calling yourself a Christian, evaluate your heart and repent of your sins. Repent and get right with Jesus that you may actually be salt and light and be a good testimony to people. Because again, how the world perceives a Christian is not going to be out of the Webster's dictionary. They are going to perceive a Christian defined by your life. You are the definition of a Christian. And so is that definition hypocritical? Does it mean you are a liar? Does it mean you don't keep your word? Does it mean you are actually hateful or bitter or you are very, you know, you are just short with people and you don't have love in your heart? Or do you truly represent what it means to be a Christian? When people think of a Christian, would they actually say your name and go, this person is a Christian? Would they bring you up in conversation as someone that is truly living for Jesus? Because if they wouldn't, maybe you are actually a bad tree with bad fruit. Maybe you have fallen from grace. Maybe you are straight up working for the devil.

A lot of Christians are working for the devil and they are just trying to appease God by giving tithe through a church, by listening to sermons, by reading their Bible. But we actually need to uphold what it means to be a Christian. Are you right with the Lord? Are you encouraging others to really live for the Lord? Well, I want to pray for you today, if you want your life right with Jesus Christ and if you want to be right with God, so that you yourself can be saved, that you can be edified but also that you can start edifying others and bringing people into the true church.

 “Lord Jesus, I pray for my fellow brothers and sisters. I pray that someone truly repents of their sin and that they come into the light of your truth, that they stop playing the hypocrite, that they would not be a bad example of a Christian but that they could start acting in a way that the world around them knows that they are different. So I pray that people can break the chains of addiction and false religion, hypocrisy, all the sins that are in this world and that we could be severed from ungodliness, that we could cleave to you, that we could be filled by your Holy Spirit and truly be a temple of the Most High Living God. I pray that you indwell us and that we could live without the leaven of hypocrisy and that we could do good work for you Lord. I pray that you bless your children, that they could get their eyes set on you and off of other brothers and sisters and what other people are doing and what other people are saying, that they could stop seeking people for counsel and that they would start praying out of the sincerity of their heart in the quiet place and waiting on you Lord to hear from you, that they may hear your voice, that they would hear your word and then obey you. In your name I pray Lord Jesus, Amen.”

 If you're hearing this message today and you know that you're not right with God, maybe you're wondering, will God hear my prayers if I'm a sinner? The answer to that is yes. God will hear your prayers even if you're a sinner, even if you have not repented yet, if you desire repentance. God came for the sinner. He sent His Son for you. Jesus wasn't sent for the righteous but for those who are poor of heart, just like you, that know your prayers have not been answered, that know that you have made mistakes, that you have offended God, that you have offended the children of God and that you need a new life, that you need to be regenerated. Jesus is for you and He will hear your prayers and answer you if you have a contrite heart, if you have a humble heart before Him to say, “Lord please save me from my sins, please cleanse me from my unrighteousness and please come into my heart.” If you can pray this simple prayer as a child, the Spirit of God will come into you, He will cleanse your heart, He will purify you from your unrighteousness, He will give you a new mind and a new heart, He will regenerate you that then you can come alive and be a true son or daughter of the Kingdom of God. So I pray for you that you can really repent and enter into God's Kingdom. None of us know how much time we have left. We don't know when Jesus is going to return, when we're going to die and have to stand before God. And so we need to make sure that we get our lives in order today. May the grace of Jesus be with you.