Who is a Christian?

Believers were first called Christians at Antioch. The secular Greek speaking communities identified followers of Jesus Christ as Christians. It was much the same way they would have identified the followers of Aristotle as Aristotelians or of Epicurus as Epicureans. The church at Antioch must have distinguished themselves as followers of Jesus Christ above all other names. They were not called by the name of any common man. They were called Christians.Jesus

Who is a Christian? The simple answer is one who follows Jesus Christ. How does one follow Jesus Christ? Our Lord answered the question himself, “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.”(Matthew16:24) A Christian is one who denies himself. He does not live to protect his own rights, even if that leads to his own cross.

A Christian is one who will not seek his own welfare but that of others. “Open thy mouth for the mute in the cause of all who are appointed unto death.”(Proverbs 31:8) “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”(James 1:27) One very clear example of following the Lord in this way is to decry abortion. To speak and to act in defense of the defenseless is to follow Jesus Christ and his teachings.

A Christian is one who seeks to conform his words and his actions to the words and actions of Jesus Christ. A Christian may fall, but he will “seek to be justified by Christ.”(Galatians 2:17) As the Apostle John said, “If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”(I John 1:9)

A Christian is one who lives by faith in the forgiveness of God our Father. Therefore the Christian will forgive others who do him harm. “If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: but if you forgive men not their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”(Matthew 6:14-15)

One who is a Christian will live in such a way before both God and men as to move the secular community to say, “That man follows Jesus Christ.” A Christian should be called a Christian in his own Antioch.

How does one become a Christian?

On the day of Pentecost Peter told the people, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins…”(Acts:2:38) To become a Christian one must repent of his sins, be baptized in open confession of his change, and follow Jesus Christ.

Advertisements

Sarah’s Song – a Poem

Hollow skeleton, empty arms,
Cold pillow by my head;
Hot my face, – wet my tears, speak
Groanings deep from love-wrenched soul;
Pounding heart and anguished grimace;
Hope abandoned leaves love’s torture.

Fourteen years my soul has wrestled,
Watched another take my place,
Give him what my soul does long to,
Fill his comfort, soothe his needs,
Even given what I cannot;
His son suckled at her breast.

What was that? Someone believes it?
He said I would have my joy?
Can I hope when hope has faltered;
Can I give what died in me?
Furrowed brow and trembling torso;
Can I offer heart and soul?

Faith takes over where hope faltered.
I believe, now let it be.
Once again I’ll hold him to me.
Each our wells pour passion’s torrent
Flowing deep until, all given,
Lie we one, both soul and body.

From this spring comes laughter reigning.
Life from death brings life again.
Warmth and softness snuggle to me,
Fingers warm his tiny grip.
Here I hold what could not happen,
Son of Laughter at my breast.

PEACE

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace…
Galations 5:22

A majestic mountain view,
a flower strewn meadow and lazy cows grazing in the sun,
an eastern beach at dawn…

All peaceful scenes.

The soft rhythmic breathing of the sleeping baby on your chest,
a singing violin and a weeping cello,
tinkling wind chimes in a sleepy summer breeze…

All peaceful sounds.

From where does our peace come?  Natural experiences afford us a natural sense of peace.  These natural sensations are good; they are gifts from our Creator.

But…

when the storms of life crack lightening streaks across your majestic mountain view,
or hurricanes blast your beach at dawn,
or the baby on your chest is screaming and kicking in colic pain…

where can you find peace?

The fruit of God’s Spirit is peace.  This is not the natural peace as described above. This world shows us only a facsimile of that peace from above, but it cannot give us that peace.

We find the peace from above in those times of storm,
when we must search outside ourselves for that which we do not have.

Jesus told us that our Father gives good gifts to His children who ask Him.
In faith we cry to our Heavenly Father, who hears and answers our cry.

Hold on.
Your joy comes in the morning.
That peace has no bounds.

 Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.
Psalm 30:5  

Authority – Who Has It? – and What’s it For?

There is a wealthy household on a sprawling estate which employs many servants. Among them is a girl who works as a maid.  She hears a knock at the door and opens to greet an important-looking man on the front step.  The little maid has the authority to let the man in or to turn him away according to the will of the householder.  Whatever this girl tells the man, he must do.  She bears the full authority of the head of that wealthy household, because she is under authority and in her rightful place.

Every man, woman, and child has the same authority that belongs to the maid.  Each in his rightful place carries the full authority of the Creator within his own domain.

Another term for this authority of which we speak is dominion.  God has put Man, male and female, in the earth to have dominion in it. If we are in our proper place in God’s order, even demons must obey us.  Our actions are not our own, but his that sent us.  Under God we have authority over all things, and as the psalmist, we are inspired to cry out, “What is man, that thou art mindful of him?![1]

Our own lives and our families, our communities, and our nation are in serious trouble.  Yet we are not without a lifeline.  The Great Creator has offered us hope from the beginning.  The hope starts in our own hearts as we learn to love and obey God and to love our fellowman.  Only unselfish love can fulfill God’s dominion mandate.

In repentance let us all send up this cry to heaven, “Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them.”  God will hear.  The Logos-Word by which he created all things shall one day fill all the earth.   The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.[2]  God desires his kingdom to fill the earth.  It is not his will that men be persecuted and oppressed by antichrist powers.  Yes, we are warned that the spirit of antichrist will wear out the saints,[3] but the very next verses promise that the saints will take away antichrist’s dominion.  Then, the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.[4]

Our outlook is not one of defeat.  Our motivating hope is that God will empower a holy people by his Spirit to overcome the spirit of antichrist.  They will overcome him personally by fully yielding to the dominion of the Creator.  They will overcome antichrist oppression in the lives of others by compassionate deeds laying down their own lives in following their Savior.  They will overcome antichrist nationally by restoring true justice.  These are a people living in dominion covenant with God.

Each one of us can affect this world for God.  Our sphere of influence grows as we are found faithful in each domain that God has given us.  We must give ourselves fully to the work, realizing that the work is only ours as God’s ambassadors.  The goal toward which we aim is that God’s kingdom will fully come in our own hearts and lives and that his kingdom will spread to include our families, our communities, our nation and finally fill the whole earth.

And the LORD said …As truly as I live,

all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD.[5]


[1] Psalm 8:4

[2] Revelation 11:15  This prophecy shows God’s plan for the kingdoms of this world.

[3] Daniel 7:25

[4] Daniel 7:26-27

[5] Numbers 14:20-21

The preceding post is the final chapter of my publication Womanhood and God’s Dominion Call which is now available on this site as a free e-booklet download.
-EW

A Hole for Heaven’s Light – Poem

A Hole for Heaven's Light

copyright Ector Ward, 2003, permission to use only if this URL is attached

A blackened web,
A close-knit shroud,
Encompasses the Earth
Of many words,
Ideas of men,
Enwoven tight and thick.
Though Heaven’s light
Does brightly burn
Still Earth in shadow lies.
A life laid down
A seed to die
Is planted in the crust
To grow on high
And burrow through
The shroud both tight and thick.
As leaves unfold
In warmth and light
The blackened web melts back.
-EW


The view in the painting is that of a sprout breaking through from under the soil to the sunlight.  It also depicts the resurrected life, from a life willingly laid down, burrowing through the “blackened web.”

Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us:
and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

1 John 3:16 

The Great Today – A Poem

I grasp for tomorrow,

Away, it whisks through my hands,

Slips through my fingers,

Dissipates in a breeze.

Yet I reach.

I nervously strain.

I gaze.

I peer.

Grabbing binoculars,

I look,

But it’s never there.

It’s with me.

I feel it.

I grasp.

Again, it’s not there.

Oh, it is, and I see it.

Gone again, into the air.

Tomorrow –

So big I can’t see Today.

And just yesterday I reached

For what now is today.

It is here

And I hold it,

But tomorrow is bigger

And I push this away.

What if this Today is the great Tomorrow I seek?

Today was tomorrow only yesterday.

Tomorrow will be Today tomorrow.

Won’t it?

Today I have Today

Held in my hand.

I can’t blow it away.

It is here.

Tomorrow again

Will be only Today,

And I’ll hold it.

It’s real.

Tomorrow never is.

What we hold is the Great Today.