Foundation/Taster Course

 Who is a Christian?

Truth that is not experienced is no better than error, and may be fully as dangerous. The scribes who sat in Mosses’ seat were not the victims of error; they were the victims of their failure to experience the truth they taught. The Root of the Righteous – A. W. Tozer

IntroductionIn this module we will look at the principles that govern our behaviour and conduct. We do not assume that everyone who says they are a believer knows what it means to be a believer. We are living in the last days, the days of deception when, more than ever before, people are misrepresenting the truth. Jesus predicted that there would be a great increase in the numbers of people who will lie about who they really are. Chances are that what you have seen and believed to be Christianity is really not, so let’s clear up whatever misunderstanding or misgivings you may have about our Christian identity. 
ObjectiveTo understand the difference between true and false Christianity. That you will be able to demonstrate/assess accurately the changes that must be evident in a true Christian. That your faith may be built on truth and not shaped by today’s prevailing deception and false representation of Christ.  
What is Christianity?In the general sense Christianity is a religion based and built upon the belief that Jesus Christ of Nazareth, is the Messiah.
Who is a Christian?A Christian is one who has come to have faith in Jesus and submits to Him as a disciple choosing to live according to His teachings, in a loving relationship of trustful obedience. We believe Jesus is the Son of God and that His death upon the cross and His resurrection from the dead saved us from eternal damnation and brought us back into fellowship with God. 
True Christianity vs False Religious ChristianityJesus said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven…” Matthew 7:21 
There are two types of Christians. There are false Christians and there are real Christians and the ability to tell the difference is essential to our Christian walk. 

Paul the apostle encountered many dangers as he took the gospel to the nations. As he traveled and preached he found that a major threat to his work came from ‘false brethren’. See 2 Corinthians 11:24-28 Here we are made to understand (as also shown by many other passages) that there are those among the brethren who are false. They share our religion but not our convictions.
False Religious Christianity
If our faith is only demonstrated in our religious activities but not reflected in our social interactions, we are false religious Christians. 

So what do we mean by religious activities. “Religion is a set of rules, regulations, and rituals created by humans which were supposed to help people spiritually.” (Haile Selassie 1) Religious activities does not reflect the God of heaven in our interaction with others or dealings with people. These activities can be carried out totally without regard for others and has more to do with the hope of achieving spiritual benefits through self imposed rituals and regulations. 

False Christians bear the name of Christ but deny His reality. They practice Christianity without Christ, observing religious rituals such as going to church, reading the Bible and praying etc. but demonstrating no change of lifestyle. They have the outward form of godliness but their lives deny the transforming power of a Holy God. They say they love God but this love is not reflected in a love for others or governance of their actions. There are things a person who is in love will or will not do.

False religious Christians…Know but do not believeAcknowledge Christ in word but deny Him in deedAre motivated but not convictedAre informed but not transformedRead the Bible and get education but no revelationCome to Church but not to GodWill give to God while denying others who are obviously in great needPrayers are a religious act that do not come from the heartThe above list is not exhaustive
True Christianity
True Christianity consists of more than just the religious aspects of our faith. It demonstrates the transforming power of God that is evident in a change of lifestyle especially in how we treat and interact with others.

A person who is truly saved is now a new creature in Christ who has experienced rebirth by the Spirit of God. Their old practices and attitudes have passed away and everything has become new according to the virtues and nature of Christ. 

The before and after of a true Christian is as follows
BeforeAfterProud and unteachableMeek and humbleSelfish and self centredSelfless and lovingImpatient and irritablePatient and peacefulCrass, insensitive and brutalKind and gentleHopeless and fearfulHopeful and full of faithLost and lonelyKnow who and whose they areRebellious and dishonestObedient and honestBitter, resentful and revengefulForgivingTerrified of deathHave an eternal assuranceHurtingHealedBitter and unhappyHave joy unspeakable and full of gloryGreedy and covetous ContentSpiritually dead and loving sinAlive in Christ and hate sinA Traitor LoyalFilthy in thought and speechPure In heart and righteous in deedsThe above list is not exhaustive
Proud and unteachableMeek and humble
Selfish and self centredSelfless and loving
Impatient and irritablePatient and peaceful
Crass, insensitive and brutalKind and gentle
Hopeless and fearfulHopeful and full of faith
Lost and lonelyKnow who and whose they are
Rebellious and dishonestObedient and honest
Bitter, resentful and revengefulForgiving
Terrified of deathHave an eternal assurance
Bitter and unhappyHave joy unspeakable and full of glory
Greedy and covetous Content
Spiritually dead and loving sinAlive in Christ and hate sin
A Traitor Loyal
Filthy in thought and speechPure In heart and righteous in deeds
The above list is not exhaustive

Consider the content of this module carefully before you proceed to your course of choice. We do not want our courses to be filling the heads of people who have empty hearts. A person who knows everything but feels nothing is dangerous, so too the person who honours God with their mouth while their hearts are far from Him. 

“Elisabeth Elliot, at Urbana 76, told of her brother Thomas Howard. Their mother let him play with paper bags she’d saved if he put them away afterwards. One day she walked into the kitchen to find them strewn all over the floor. Tom was out at the piano with his father singing hymns. When confronted, he protested, ‘But Mom, I want to sing.’ His father stated, ‘It’s no good singing God’s praise if you’re disobedient.’”
Jesus said, “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:23-24 In other words, before you do what is religious be sure to do what is right. 

John says, “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.” 1 John 4:20-21 The cross is both vertical and horizontal. To boast a vertical relationship that is not reflected in horizontal our relationships is a clear indication that we are false, religious liars. 
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If you are not already an OSB student and wish to study with us have a look at our list of courses and choose the one you’ll like to study. If you are already an OSB student, required to do this course as a foundation course, go to your dashboard now to continue with your main course.

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