Growing up in a traditional church, I looked like a Christian with the right clothes for Church on Sunday, a baptism certificate that said that I was a Christian and parents that considered me as a Christian. But however much I tried to “feel” like part of the Christian community, there was this deep emptiness in me that couldn’t be filled with anything.
So when I sat in a public meeting with some friends at Albert Park in Suva listening to a pastor from Argentina preaching, I thought that this was just another church meeting. But as he preached and I listened, the words began to stir a hunger in my heart that was strange and almost surreal. I had never experienced anything like this before in all my 19 years.
To cut a long story short, by the end of the preaching, I was filled with a love for God and a strange deep longing to know Jesus. So I responded to the preacher when he encouraged people to come up to the front for prayer. Unknown to me at that time, I had just experienced the “born again” experience as Jesus had mentioned in John Chapter 3, verse 3.
The Blindness Of Nominal Christianity
Christianity started with a bang on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2) and has not stopped ever since. The church grew rapidly and touched hearts and changed lives from Jerusalem to Rome. Disciples who once cowered in fear from the persecution of the Jewish leaders now stood up before Jewish and Roman leaders to proclaim that Jesus Christ is alive and is God’s only way to salvation. Thousands of disciples willingly died for their faith in coloseums and in other ways.
Preachers normally say that these disciples were on-fire for God. But I would rather say that this was the normal way of living for early church Christians and that they were willing to die for their faith because they were truly born-again.
Over the centuries, the church has slowly broken into two groups. One is the born-again group and the other is the nominal group. A nominal Christian is a person who is a Christian because he or she was born into the faith or converted into the faith without having a personal heart encounter with Jesus Christ. What I mean is, a nominal Christian considers themself a Christian but they have no personal experience of repentance and giving their life totally to Jesus by faith. Their family was Christian so they are considered Christian. Their community is Christian so they became Christian by water baptism.
John 3 Verse 3 says,
3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
(King James Version)
A person must repent of their sins, believe in Jesus Christ as their only way of salvation, give their lives completely to the Lordship of Jesus and invite Jesus into their hearts and lives. Once they have sincerely done this and the Holy Spirit have confirmed in their hearts that they are children of God (Romans 8:16 “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God”), then they can consider themselves as being “born-again”.
Without being truly born again, a person will never enter heaven.
So if someone is attending a church without being “born-again”, they must take urgent steps to be born-again. Some of the signs of a born-again believer are:
- Loves to serve in the church
- Worships wholeheartedly
- Has an intimate relationship with God
- Walking in holiness, integrity, submission
- Don’t have to be pushed to obey God
- Loves people
- Gives generously
- Reads the bible regularly
- Has a strong prayer life
- Tells people about Jesus
This list is not exhaustive but gives us an idea of what sincere Christianity looks like.
God bless and Maranatha.