Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Christianity is …

Our scripture Sunday morning was Paul writing to the Philippians:

That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; (Philippians 3:10 KJV)

I enjoy hearing sermons. I always learn something. This past Sunday, I enjoyed the verses pastor shared with us, but enjoyed even more his statement:

Christianity is a personal relationship with Christ.

That’s right – Christianity is not achieved by attending church regularly, though we should. Christianity is not giving any specified amount to the church. Christianity is not challenging people to become Christians. Christianity isn’t a set of rules and regulations that must be maintained without error.

Christianity is a personal relationship with Christ, and I am a Christian.

Now, I’m a member of a Baptist congregation for a wide variety of reasons. Most of them are outlined in the “What I Believe” tab at the top of my blog. Those beliefs are very close to the doctrines of Baptist churches I’ve attended. They are very close to some other Christian denominations, too. The Rochester’s “Brighter Day” album has a song “I’ll be there” where they sing “It’s not where I go to church, but I’ve been to Calvary,” that’s what being a Christian is – a personal relationship with the Lord who died on Calvary.

Skip down in Philippians chapter three to verse 20:

For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: (Philippians 3:20 KJV)

See that word translated “conversations”? That’s πολίτευμα in Greek (politeuma), which means “a community” or “citizenship”. It makes me think of “birds of a feather flock together.” We converse with the people who make up our community.

Perhaps our world community does not hold relationships as important. Switching spouses, breaking up families, raising children separately from their parents – all of this is acceptable as citizens today. Greater importance is placed on doing what is personally pleasing rather than a relationship with God. If current laws don’t fit, change them to match what the majority has in mind.

Paul was familiar with that, too, addressing it in this same chapter:

Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) (Philippians 3:17-19 KJV)

What was he asking his readers to do to follow his example? Go back to the first of this chapter and read his resume – a Hebrew of Hebrews, he was the top of his class in this world, yet he wrote:

But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. (Philippians 3:7 KJV)

Verses 8 and 9 explain that a bit more, then bring us back to verse 10, knowing Jesus. That’s being Christian. Got it?

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Thank you for taking time to read and comment on the blog. Comments should take into consideration this verse: Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8 KJV)