Question: Are message believers Christians?
Answer: Some definitely aren't while other may be. You can tell which ones are Christians by one characteristic (see answer below)
What defines a Christian?
How do you tell if someone is a Christian? According to Jesus, there is a simple test:
- “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
- “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back."
But many Christians have veered from Jesus' command to love and become more focused on a set of beliefs, more concerned about themselves and their standing with God than about other people.
The church that Jesus founded was to be a movement love would replace law-keeping:
- When God speaks of a “new” covenant, it means he has made the first one obsolete. It is now out of date and will soon disappear.
How we behave became the most important thing in determining whether we were Christians:
- If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
- If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day,
- and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.
- If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere.
- So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. . Love is the only thing that matters.
So what about message followers?
Message believers generally feel more guilty about missing church than about how they treated someone at work. They are more concerned about what God would do to them because of a sin they might committ than about what they did to the person they wronged.
The problem with the Nicene Council was not the issue identified by William Branham. Rather, it was in the fact that Christianity went from being behavioral to creedal. What became important was not how you behaved but what you believed. That was the tragedy of all of the Nicene Council - love lost.
Under Constantine and the Roman church, believing the wrong thing became a crime. Suddenly in Christianity, what you believed trumped how you behaved.
Christianity became creedal. There is no mention of love in the creeds. In fact, there's no mention of behavior at all. You can subscribe to that creed and basically do anything you want. And there was a reason the creeds were that way. It's because the creeds were generally signed off on by the emperor and the emperors had bad behaviors. So the church leaders who were being funded by the emperors had to be very careful what they put into the Christian creeds.But the entire law hangs on loving God and loving your neighbor as yourself.
- The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Jn 13:34–35.
- The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Lk 6:32–35.
- Tyndale House Publishers, Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2015), Heb 8:13.
- Eugene H. Peterson, The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2005), 1 Co 13:1–3.
- The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Ga 5:6.
- Stanley, Andy - from the sermon series "Brand:New"