The night of Decemeber 28th I had the opportunity to preach at a lock-in for Jr. High and Sr. High students. It was the largest group I have had the chance to preach to so far in my life as a preacher, somewhere around 300 people. It was a great time and I was really pleased with how well the sermons turned out (I preached at 8:00p.m. and 1:30 a.m.).
The sermons were built around this question: What does it mean to be a Christian? This has been a question I have been pondering the last month or so. I think many people, inside and outside of the Church, have different ideas of what it means to be a Christian that it becomes hard to determine exactly what a Christian is. This confusion about what a Christian is leads to a confusion on how a Christian should live.
In order to answer that question I offered the students a simple verse: 1 John 2:6. The Apostle John writes this: Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Christ did (NLT). To be a Christian means to live the way Jesus lived and to follow in His footsteps.
The challenge I ended up giving them was: to read the Gospels. How can we know who Jesus is if we don't take time to read about His life? How can we know what Jesus would do if we don't know how He has already lived? I am afraid that many of us have an image of Jesus we have pieced together through various Scriptural stories in order to create Jesus in the image we would like Him to appear. One of the remedies for creating Jesus in our image is so read about Jesus' entire life and note the character, passion, faith, and message that He brought to us.
As we enter this new year this is my challenge to you: read through the Gospels. Get to know this Jesus we claim to love and to learn about how He lived so we can model our lives after His. Getting to know Jesus begins by reading God's Word about Jesus.