Today we begin a series called Basics. We want to have a strong foundation for our life as people of God. Today’s questions is: What does it mean to be a Christian? This is probably the first question that comes to mind when we think of basics. But this betrays our modern mindset of thinking of the individual as an independent being, that actually we can only find our identity through our independence. But Scripture tells us another story.
The first followers of Christ did not first think of themselves as Christians but as people of God.
They being to call themselves Church before they are called by others as Christians.
Thinking of ourselves as Christians emphasizes the individual decision to follow Christ. This is why people think they can be a Christian first then find a church to goto.
Thinking of ourselves as the people of God focuses on the calling of God. God has called us. Our faith is the acceptance of that identity.
This group identity gives us a strong identity that gives us freedom to accept our individuality.
Thinking of ourselves as the people of God changes how we think about churches today and how we relate to other Christians.
We start with trust. People don’t prove themselves Christians, we accept their baptism.
We should change the way we talk about church. “We goto the church meeting as New Life” and not “We go to New Life Church”
Our purpose as New Life then is to empower The Church by being faithful to our specific mission, the way a “special force” is faithful to its task only as it is faithful the mission of the whole military.