We’re in the second part of a series called Brand, and we’ve been talking specifically about how people perceive Christians. We said last week that you can basically make this word mean anything you want it to mean.
That’s why there are Christians on every side of every issue. There have been Christians on both sides of just about every war; there are Christians on both sides of every political argument and legal argument. As Christians, you can believe all the same stuff, but for some reason it just doesn’t seem to make any difference. The reason why is because the word Christian was actually a term that is never defined in the New Testament, and was always used by outsiders describing those who followed Jesus. It was sort of a derogatory term they called these people.
Jesus never called anyone to be a Christian. The word Christian only occurs 3 times in the Bible, and it’s not defined. The word that people who followed Jesus in the 1st century used to describe themselves was—what was the word—anybody know? Disciples. Jesus uses the word disciple 233 times, and the word disciple is found 258 times in the New Testament.
The word disciple is a terrifying term because it is so clearly defined. The difference between Christian and disciple is simply this: Christian oftentimes is all about what a person believes. To be a Christian you just need to believe. “For God so loved the world that He gave his only Son that if you believe…” But a disciple? A disciple is all about what a person actually does.
Big Idea: Whenever the church leverages anything other than love, we go backward, not forward, in our influence.
The word Christian only occurs 3 times in the Bible.
The word Disciple is found 258 times in the New Testament.
Jesus uses the word disciple 233 times.
Video: Anne Rice Leaves Christianity
My commitment to Christ remains at the heart and center of my life. But following Christ does not mean following His followers. Christ is infinitely more important than Christianity and always will be, no matter what Christianity is, has been, or might become.
– Anne Rice Facebook 2010
Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 28:19 (NLT)
Therefore go and impose my teachings, values and worldview on all nations, threatening them with judgment and destruction if they don’t do everything I have commanded you.
Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone to win as many as possible.
1 Corinthians 9:19 (NIV)
Whenever the church leverages anything other than love,
we go backward, not forward, in our influence.
I can hardly believe the report about the sexual immorality going on among you—something that even pagans don’t do.
1 Corinthians 5:1 (NLT)
I am told that a man in your church is living in sin with his stepmother. You are so proud of yourselves…
1 Corinthians 5:1–2 (NLT)
You are so proud of yourselves, but you should be mourning in sorrow and shame. And you should remove this man from your fellowship.
1 Corinthians 5:2 (NLT)
Even though I am not with you in person, I am with you in the Spirit. And as though I were there, I have already passed judgment on this man.
1 Corinthians 5:3 (NLT)
When I wrote to you before, I told you not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin. But I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that.
1 Corinthians 5:9-10 (NLT)
I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people.
1 Corinthians 5:11 (NLT)
What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? 1 Corinthians 5:12 (NIV)
Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. 1 Corinthians 5:12–13 (NIV)
Sin pays off with death. But God’s gift is eternal life given by Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 6:23 (CEV)