A Christian can be defined as a person who has, by faith, received and fully trusted in Jesus Christ as the only Savior from sin (John 3:16; Acts 16:31; Ephesians 2:8–9). And in the heart of the Christian resides the Spirit of Christ (Ephesians 3:17; 1 Corinthians 6:19; Romans 8:11). Now, “if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ” (Romans 8:9), and this person, then, is not a Christian. Thus, the term “fake Christian” is a misnomer. You are a Christian or you are not a Christian; one is either with God or against God (Matthew 12:30). There is no middle road, your either are or your not and peoples actions speak volumes as to whom they truly serve!
The bible is very clear that those that do not have Jesus in their heart can not even see the things of God.Second Corinthians 4:4 “In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
The spiritual blindness of those who hate Christ comes not only from a refusal to hear the Spirit’s voice but also from the blinding by Satan, “the god of this world.” He has so blinded the minds of the unbelievers that they can’t see the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ. God will move heaven and earth if a person genuinely seeks to know God but suppressing the knowledge of God, time after time, is where God finally gives them up to the lusts of their own flesh and Satan keeps them in darkness.
Also, some believe their recitation of a prayer or responding to an “altar call” alone may have turned them into a Christian. Many believe their religious traditions, such as being baptized as an infant, secured a spot in heaven for them, or that their plentiful good works alone have put them in good standing with God. And, of course, some believe church attendance alone guarantees salvation. The point is that many who profess to be Christians are not Christians at all. Yet they complacently remain convinced that all is well with their soul. Sadly, many will live their entire lives believing they were Christians only to one day hear these words from Jesus Christ: Matt 7:21-23 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
The clear teaching of the Bible is that when someone is saved his life will most definitely change as he is a “new creation, the old has gone and the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). A true, born-again Christian will strive to bring glory and honor to Christ by living a life that is pleasing to God (1 Peter 1:15–16; 4:1–4). True saving faith will indeed produce works or “fruit” in the life of the believer (James 2:17, 26). Thus, if there are no works of love in one’s life, a careful self-examination is certainly called for. The apostle Paul instructed those in Corinth to do this very thing: “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you – unless, of course, you fail the test?” (2 Corinthians 13:5). Indeed, any profession of faith that does not result in a changed life and good works is a false profession, and the professor is not a Christian. This is where people that treat others badly are going to have to face the music It is not christian behavior to treat others badly.
Now, even though the lifestyle of true Christians does reflect the presence of Christ in their hearts, we know we are not perfect. Christians do sin, and the apostle John makes it clear that we deceive ourselves if we think otherwise (1 John 1:8). And when Christians do sin, rest assured there are multitudes just lying in wait to use their “slip-up” to further denigrate the true body of believers. That is why Paul admonished the church in Thessalonica to abstain from even the appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22) and to live in such a way as to “win the respect of outsiders” (1Thessalonians 4:12).
What Christians will not do, however, is engage in repeated or habitual sin (1 John 3:6). Talking bad things about others, gossip, attempting to break up marriages, lying to the grandchildren about a parent all these things are habitual sin, One who engages in deliberate and habitual sin is simply proving that he does not know Christ and therefore cannot be abiding in Him even though he may live his life under the vast umbrella of religion and is thought, therefore, by many to be a Christian.
As believers mature in their faith, they will exhibit more and more evidence of their true Christian nature, such as their love for God, repentance from sin, separation from the world, spiritual growth, and obedient living. As Paul told the Romans, the genuine child of God has been set free from sin and has become a slave to God, and the result is eternal life (Romans 6:22).
It was the fall of 1906 when G.B. Cashwell, a holiness preacher from Dunn, North Carolina, boarded a train to make a six-day, cross-country trip to Los Angeles, California.
For months he had been reading accounts of how the baptism of the Holy Spirit was being poured out at a little mission on Azusa Street. The stories stirred a hunger in the preacher for his own personal Pentecost. He began seeking the Lord for the baptism of the spirit but could not receive. The frustrated pastor finally decided his only choice was to go to the revival itself.
Cashwell arrived in Los Angeles on a Sunday and immediately went to Azusa with great expectation. However when he entered the mission the scene was not what he expected. Being a white preacher from the south, he found the mixing of the races to be too much for his own personal prejudice. He left offended. He could not bring himself to allow a black man to lay hands on him in prayer.
Cashwell felt he had a wasted the trip. That night he wrestled with the Lord in prayer. He came to the conclusion that if he wanted to experience Pentecost, he would have to crucify his own prejudice. He went back to the mission and straight to the altar. There he prostrated himself in the dirt and sawdust and repented before the Lord. As Cashwell wept and prayed, William Seymour, the black pastor leading the revival, came and laid hands on the white preacher. Cashwell was immediately baptized in the Holy Spirit.
This man’s life was forever changed because he took down the wall that stood between him and the blessing. Cashwell spent the next six days at the mission before making his way back to the Carolinas where he would eventually rent a warehouse and begin holding his own services. These meetings became known as Azusa East.
Today hundreds of spirit-filled churches on the east coast trace their roots directly back to G.B. Cashwell and his meetings in Dunn, North Carolina. Oh, how things could have turned out differently had Cashwell not humbled himself that first night at Azusa. So many have been blessed because of the willingness of a man to surrender his own prejudice and find the reconciliation afforded by revival.
I was in Charlotte, North Carolina last week hours after the protests had turned violent. Unfortunately this has become an all too familiar scene: neighborhoods destroyed, stores looted, property burned and people terrorized, all while a militarized police force swarms the streets.
This is not the America we knew a decade ago.
I wept over the city as I prayed for the healing of our land. This is the most divided I’ve ever seen our nation and that divide widens with each passing day. We are literally tearing ourselves apart from the inside. If it is true, united we stand, divided we fall then, my friend, we are falling rapidly. The answer for America is not political, it is spiritual. No political leader has the solution for what ails us. We need divine intervention. We need revival!
Sound too simplistic?
There is something to be learned from Azusa that offers hope for us today, if we are willing to take notice. Consider for a moment just how unique this move of God truly was. This was the turn of the 20th century. Racism ruled supreme in all corners of the country. However at Azusa those lines of separation vanished. William Seymour was overseeing something that defied reason. People from all different walks of life were coming together to participate in this revival. It is one of the truly remarkable and uncelebrated phenomenons of Azusa. In many ways it could be considered the first civil rights movement of the 1900s and it started in a multi-racial prayer meeting!
It was written that, “The ‘color line’ was washed away in the blood.” Another, declared “the ‘Azusa’ work had rediscovered the blood of Christ to the church … it was a sort of ‘first love’ of the early church returned. The baptism as we received it in the beginning did not allow us to think, speak or hear evil of any man.”
How had Azusa accomplished what so few could have even imagined at that time? Simple, at the heart of revival is a message of reconciliation—first to God and, as a consequence, to one another.
Isn’t this exactly what we celebrate about the first Pentecostal revival we read about in the second chapter of Acts? They were all in one place and in one accord. Upon that unity, the blessing of the Holy Spirit was poured out. On that day, the walls of separation and hostility were forever brought down as Christ birthed one unified body out of many flawed individuals. The division between Jew and Gentile, slave and free, male and female dissolved as they entered the kingdom of God by the thousands.
This was also the case when the baptism of Pentecost was rediscovered in 1906 at Azusa. That revival produced a miraculous unity in a time of great division. Everyone regardless of race, class or gender was welcomed into the fold at Azusa. Today that fold has grown to three hundred million people world wide. It may seem too simplistic to some, but my faith is emboldened by our history. These Pentecostal moves of God changed the world. It can happen again!
Today as the divide between the races widen and the separation between political aisles grows, we stand in need of a greater latter day outpouring. The violence we see in the streets is symptomatic of a far greater illness that continues to grow within this nation like a metastasized cancer. This is the time that a spirit-filled, unified church is needed most. However she must awaken from her slumber lest our land become a casualty from our own state of compromise.
It is unfortunate that the divide we witness in our streets is also reflected within our sanctuaries. We live in a day when the sheer number of churches in a community speaks not to necessity, but disunity. We have allowed silly arguments and senseless doctrines to separate and segregate the saints. How can a divided church truly claim to be spirit-filled? This is so contrary to the Scripture that I wonder if we even notice how backslidden we truly are. A church in disunity has no authority to speak to a divided land. This has to become a major point of prayer!
We need a long night with the Lord like G.B. Cashwell had where our own prejudice and pride is crucified so that we might enter into the blessing the Lord has for us. God is not in need of another church, He is looking for one church! The moment we rediscover that unity, both heaven and hell will take notice.
Let the story of Azusa fill you with hope. The outpouring of the spirit brings about what is impossible through human effort. True revival produces a miraculous unity within the body. It fills the church and spills out into the city offering reconciliation and reform. On that day, the divisions of race, denomination, and politics disappear. What remains is a single body made up of sanctified individuals bound to one another in love. The streets in our nation need to see that church in action!
Hopefully you are part of a community that is contending for such a move of God in your city. If not, perhaps it’s time to find one.
A true son of revival, Daniel Norris is an evangelist and author who continues to walk in the footsteps of his mentor, Steve Hill, carrying the message of revival and repentance to the nations. Daniel’s latest book, Trail Of Fire, tells true stories from ten powerful moves of God. He can be reached at www.danielknorris.com or onFacebook and Twitter.
Daniel K. Norris is an evangelist who worked alongside Steve Hill bringing the message of revival and repentance to the nations. Together, they co-hosted a broadcast called “From the Frontlines.” Norris also hosts the Collision Youth Conference that is broadcast all over the world. He can be contacted atdanielknorris.com.
3 Reasons Why you should read Life in the Spirit. 1) Get to know the Holy Spirit. 2) Learn to enter God’s presence 3) Hear God’s voice clearly! Go deeper!
Has God called you to be a leader? Ministry Today magazine is the source that Christian leaders who want to serve with passion and purpose turn to. Subscribe now and receive a free leadership book.
It sounded too outlandish to be possible: a man was going to jump from an airplane at 25,000 feet without a parachute, trying to land on a net less than half the size of a football field. But that’s what Luke Aikins did last Saturday.He became the first person to skydive with neither a parachute nor a wingsuit. Aikins jumped from an altitude just 4,000 feet short of the summit of Mount Everest, landing on his back in a net suspended 200 feet above the California desert. Then he climbed out into the arms of his wife. Why did he do it? To show that “if you train right you can make anything happen.”
Here’s my question: Why do we care?
We’re fascinated by the thrill of near-death experiences. We’ll hold our breath watching an acrobat cross a canyon on a high wire. We’ll buy a ticket to see trapeze artists and lion tamers. We’ll flock to movies like Jason Bourne that feature high-speed chase scenes and death-defying stunts.
We want to escape the normalcy of our routine to feel the excitement of the extreme. Somehow we know that the world we experience is not all there is. As C. S. Lewis notes, the most spectacular sunset evokes in us a sense that there is still “something more.” When you hear a brilliant musician or hike through a scenic forest, don’t you feel it? Our world at its most beautiful is not enough.
This “something more” is a symptom of the “God-shaped emptiness” Pascal found in every human heart. As St. Augustine noted, our hearts are restless until they rest in our Lord. Until we are home, we can expect to feel homesick. This world, no matter how much we invest in it, will never feed the deepest hunger of our soul.
So here’s the balance to maintain in our fallen world. On one hand, we should hope for the best in people and circumstances. We should love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:39), offering others the grace God offers us (Ephesians 2:8–9).
On the other hand, we should not be surprised when fallen people act like fallen people. Our broken world affects every dimension of our lives (Romans 8:22). Sinners sin, and we’re all sinners (Romans 3:23). If we put our hope and trust in flawed people (including ourselves), we’ll eventually and inevitably be disappointed.
So serve those you meet today, not so they’ll serve you but because you are a servant of God and those he loves. The less you need those you know, the more unconditionally you can love them. To quote Lewis again, “Aim at Heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in’; aim at earth and you will get neither.”
Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.
Marry a man/woman you love to talk to. As you get older, their conversational
skills will be as important as any other.
Don’t believe all you hear, spend all you have or sleep all you want.
When you say, ‘I love you,’ mean it.
When you say, ‘I’m sorry,’ look the person in the eye..
Be engaged at least six months before you get married.
Believe in love at first sight.
Never laugh at anyone’s dreams.
People who don’t have dreams don’t have much.
Love deeply and passionately.
You might get hurt but it’s the only way to live life completely
In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling.
Don’t judge people by their relatives.
Talk slowly but think quickly.
When someone asks you a question you don’t want to answer,
smile and ask, ‘Why do you want to know?’
Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
Say ‘bless you’ when you hear someone sneeze.
When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.
Remember the three R’s: Respect for self; Respect for others; and Responsibility for all your actions.
Don’t let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice
Spend some time alone.
A true friend is someone who reaches for your hand and touches your heart.
Today, upon a bus, I saw a very beautiful woman
and wished I were as beautiful.
When suddenly she rose to leave,
I saw her hobble down the aisle.
She had one leg and used a crutch.
But as she passed, she passed a smile.
Oh, God, forgive me when I whine.
I have two legs; the world is mine. Read the rest of this entry »
If you’re offended, there is only one answer: get over it.
Offense is a stumbling block that Satan uses to keep many Christians from experiencing life to the fullest. You probably will not progress in your relationship with God if, every time someone hurts your feelings, you get offended. The word for offense that is used in the New Testament means “the part of the trap on which the bait lies to lure in its victim,” and offense is part of Satan’s trap to keep us from going forward in our walk with God.
The apostle Paul was offended by other brothers in Christ, but in each instance he decided to leave the person with God. For example, there was a man named Alexander, who did Paul a great deal of harm. What’s Paul’s response? The Lord will pay him back (2 Timothy 4:14). In that same passage, Paul writes about how various people have left him: At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. However, he asks God, May it not be held against them (2 Timothy 4:16).
Paul may not have had power in his ministry had he been bitter towards others. Decide to forgive others through the power of God’s grace. If you’re offended about something others did to you, ask God, May it not be held against them. Forgiveness is the solution.