Would The Real Christian Stand Up?

Recently, it has become fashionable, mainly in political circles, to talk about who is a Christian. Mostly, because of the political nature of the debate, the answer is “A Christian is a person who says he is.”

While that answer makes sense from a worldly point of view, it makes no sense from the Bible. One of the strongest words that Jesus ever gave had to do with this very subject. He said: “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). Luke recorded Jesus as asking: “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord, and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46). Jesus obviously had a different standard for who could be called a follower of Christ.

Jesus demanded that those who follow Him make a total and radical commitment to His work in the world. “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Mark 8: 34).

What did Jesus mean by this?

First, this is the only way into God’s kingdom. Jesus spoke these words not to the disciples but to the crowds. This is how anyone or everyone enters the kingdom of God.

Second, Jesus expected that those who followed Him would reorient their lives. He called on the crowd to deny themselves and follow Him. The person who would follow after Christ must once and for all reject the old self and seek the new life that is in Christ. What Jesus meant is that the new follower must quit relying on self and begin relying on God.

Third, Jesus called potential disciples to make amazing decisions for Christ. Followers of Christ must take up their cross–no matter what that might cost–and follow Him.

Finally, to be a Christian means to follow and keep on following Jesus. This implies trusting Jesus, following in His footsteps, and obeying His commands.

This is Jesus’ definition of what it means to be His follower. It must become our standard for life.

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One Comment


  1. Ed Matthew
    Feb 27, 2012

    Dwight L. Moody said, “We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won’t need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don’t fire cannons to call attention to their shining – they just shine.” Dwight L. Moody was an American Evangelist 1837-1899.

    Marianne Williamson said in her 1992 book Return to Love, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness. that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
    Nelson Mandela is reported to have used this quote in his 1994 Presidential acceptance speech and is often given credit for it. I haven’t read all of Nelson Mandela’s speech. And I do not know much about Marianne Williamson but perhaps she has a point if she means: Letting Jesus Shine through you is an AWESOME thing!

    Yes context has a lot to do with interpretation. Perhaps more than a lot. Thank you Dr. Bailey for always reminding us that important point.

    Thank you for engaging and challenging us. The Jews have a tradition of making the one who wishes to become a Jew aware that it is decision not without cost in this world. I have come to the conclusion that we as “Christians” do not stress the burden of the Cross enough. There are times God has shown up when the bill is due and times when He hasn’t. Yet it is my duty is to remain the same. I think someone said similar words? LOL

    Where are all you other readers? Don’t you have a comment, a Thank You, a thought?

    Just thought I let you know that before I started making comments I enjoyed hearing your perceptions and thoughts. Lately I have missed seeing them. Hint?

    I KNOW IT CAN’T BE ME, BECAUSE I AM JUST GETTING IN TONIGHT.

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I am the senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Covington, Louisiana, a position that I have held since 1989.

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But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. — James 3:17-18 (NIV)