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A Rose (A Christian) By Any other Name

by Larry Smith

Shakespeare’s Juliet pondered the question: “What’s in a name?  That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet…”

It’s true . . . no matter what we called a rose, it would still be beautiful.

However, to call a cactus a ROSE, would not make it one!

The SAME is true of a Christian.  A majority of Americans call themselves Christians . . . but to call one’s self a Christian, doesn’t necessarily make it so.

The Gospel began to spread beyond the Jews – to the Greeks – the Gentiles — and Barnabas went to Tarsus looking for Saul:

“ . . . and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.    ACTS 11:25-26

The Lord’s disciples are those who follow after him and obey his teachings.

James said (1:22)  Be ye doers of the word and not hearers only. . .”

Jesus taught there would be counterfeit Christians among those who call on, and act in His name.

Matthew 7:21-23

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

We must make certain, then, to be true Christians, indeed, and not counterfeits:

2nd Peter 1:10

Wherefore brethren, give the more diligence to make your calling and election sure, for if ye do these things, ye shall never stumble. . . “

 2nd Peter 1:5-8

5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

HAVE YOU EVER DONE AN INVENTORY?

Businessmen/women take inventory to see where they stand.

CHRISTIANS SHOULD ALSO TAKE A SPIRITUAL INVENTORY TO SEE WHERE WE STAND IN LIGHT OF GOD’S WORD.

2nd Corinthians 13:5

Paul wrote the church at Corinth:

“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?”

Paul wanted the Corinthians to examine their own spiritual inventory.

AND IN THE AMERICAN STANDARD TRANSLATION THE SAME PASSAGE  READS:

“Try your own selves, whether ye are in the faith; prove your own selves. Or know ye not as to your own selves, that Jesus Christ is in you? unless indeed ye be reprobate.”

Bible scholar Joseph Henry Thayer defines “reprobate” as one “not standing the test, not approved.”

He makes the point in his writing that you either have Christ in you or you’re a reprobate (YOU DON’T).  You can’t have it both ways.

Paul exhorts each of us to make this SELF-EXAMINATION, to determine our true condition. 

THE STANDARD BY WHICH WE CONDUCT OUR INVENTORY:

Matthew 25:31- 40

Jesus was with the disciples on the Mt. of Olives and he told them:

31 But when the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit on the throne of his glory:  32 and before him shall be gathered all the nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; 33 and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:  35 for I was hungry, and ye gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in; 36 naked, and ye clothed me; I was sick, and ye visited me; I was in prison, and ye came unto me.  37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungry, and fed thee? or athirst, and gave thee drink?  38 And when saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39 And when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of these my brethren, even these least, ye did it unto me. 

 Romans 12  (NIV) PAUL WRITES:

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. 3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. 9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:  (And he quotes Proverbs 25:21-22)

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head  and the Lord will reward you.21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

LET’S TAKE A SPIRITUAL INVENTORY:

  1. Are you personally committed to serving Jesus Christ as Lord?
  2. Have you been baptized by immersion?
  3. Do you boldly share your testimony with others?
  4. Have you ever brought or won someone to Christ?
  5. If each member attended as many services as I do, how often would the  building be closed?
  6. If each member reached the services the same time as I do, how many would  be  late for worship?
  7. If each one attended Bible study as I do, how many would be there?
  8. If each one studied the Bible as I do, how much study would there be?
  9. If each one prayed as I do, how much praying would there be?
  10. If each member gave as I do, how much would the contribution be?
  11. If each member sacrificed just like I do, how much sacrificing would there be?
  12. If each person visited the sick as I do, how many of the sick would be visited?
  13. If each one ministered to orphans as I do, how many orphans would be cared  for?
  14. If each member invited others to the services like I do, how many guests would attend?
  15. If each person stayed at home with company like I do, how many would attend  the worship?
  16. If each member tried to lead lost souls to Christ as hard as I do, how many would be reached?
  17. If each member complained as much as I do, how much complaining would there be?
  18. If each person worked as I do, how much work would be done?
  19. If each person gave as many excuses as I do, who would do the Lord’s work?
  20. If each member put the Kingdom of God first just as I do, what would be the condition of the church?
  21. If each person loved unity as I do, how much division would there be?

How did you score? 

Can you honestly say you are putting the Kingdom of God First?

We are commanded in Matthew 6:33:  “But seek you first his Kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

WHAT ARE “THESE THINGS?” In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount he spelled it out

Matthew 6:25-34 (NIV)

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

WOULD THE CHURCH BE STRONGER, OR WEAKER IF EACH MEMBER ACTED JUST LIKE YOU OR ME? The World Is Watching!

-Larry Smith is a  member of the  Cherry Street Church of Christ, New Albany, IN




One Response to “A Rose (A Christian) By Any other Name”

  1. Jeff Adams says:

    Great article! The late contemporary Christian singer, Keith Green, once said, “Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to a McDonald’s makes you a Big Mac!”



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I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

John 16:33