Free To Be – Just a Christian
All over the world today, there is a vast renewal of interest in studying the Bible.
Thousands of people are reading the Bible to find the answers as to where they
come from, why they are here on earth, and where they are going after this life is
over. Searching the Scriptures with an open and honest heart toward God will
enable you to gain knowledge of God’s total plan for all of His people.
The Bible is divided into two major parts – the Old Testament and the New
Testament. The Old Testament tells of the beginnings of the earth, of man, of sin,
and of God’s way of salvation in Christ. Abraham was selected to become the
father of the Hebrew nation and these people, when they were about seventy in
number; they went into Egypt to live. There they grew, prospered, and became
great in numbers.
The Egyptians made slaves out of them, but God led them out of Egypt through
Moses, and after a while into the land of Canaan, which we know better as
Palestine. God gave them His laws, including the “Ten Commandments”, and they
became the chosen nation through whom Jesus Christ, the Son of God was born
into human flesh, came into the world.
The Old Testament also gives us the many words of men called “prophets”, who
foretold of the coming of Christ and of His spiritual kingdom on this earth.
The New Testament tells of the birth, life, death for our sins, and the resurrection
of Jesus Christ. In the fifth book of the New Testament, we read of the beginning
of Christ’s kingdom or spiritual body. This book is called the “Acts of the Apostles
“and shows us how men and women became Christians, or members of His body.
This means that when a person becomes a Christian, God adds that person to his
“church” or assembly: thus, he does not have to look for a church to join, for the
very same gospel obedience that made him a Christian makes him a “church”
The rest of the New Testament is made up of letters written to help show people
how to live the lives that God would have them live. God would have every study
the Bible to learn of Him and His Son, Jesus Christ, and to come to know Him in a
personal way, as a friend and a savior.
Welcome to this study of the Bible. Remember that God speaks to each of us
through the Bible. This makes it possible for each of us to know Him if we will but
study and live what we learn.
My prayer for each of you is that you will be guided by the Bible and not by men.
May God bless you richly with wisdom and understanding.
Are you a Christian? Are you saved? Do you have a close relationship with God?
Are you willing to give up for Him the life of sin you now lead?
Someone is always asking us questions. The questions above are usually grouped
with others, such as:
“What church do you attend? “
“Have you been baptized? “
“What kind of baptism did you have? “
“Are you willing to join a church in order to be saved? “
It is my hope that the material presented here will take some of the pressure off
and allow you to deepen your relationship with God. Or, if you don’t know Him,
free you to begin to know Him as your Father.
At any rate. I hope you will give this information a fair hearing and if you find
yourself agreeing with it, use it to teach others and free them from bondage. You
will find these teachings quite a bit different from those you’ve seen in the past. I
pray that they help everyone to be free in Christ.
Are You Free?
This question is not asked very often, especially by church leaders. However, there
are several references to freedom in the Scriptures. Let’s look at a few of them:
(Luke 4:17-21) The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he
found the place where it is written: "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he
has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim
freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the
oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.” Then he rolled up the scroll,
gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue
were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is
fulfilled in your hearing."
(John 8:31-36) To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my
teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth
will set you free." They answered him, "We are Abraham's descendants and have
never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?" Jesus
replied, "I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no
permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets
you free, you will be free indeed.
(2 Corinthians 3:17) Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is,
there is freedom.
(Galatians 5:1) It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and
do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
Note that Jesus sets us free. Period. Sometimes real freedom is scary and men,
afraid of this freedom, tend to make limits for themselves and others in order to
regulate this freedom. God put only one limit on our freedom in Christ:
(1 Corinthians 8:9) Be careful, ho
(Galatians 5:13) You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your
freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.
(1 Peter 2:16) Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil;
live as servants of God.
See? We are not to use our freedom for evil purposes that would hurt others. In
many religions today, men tell us what to do or not to do in order to be pleasing to
God. God Himself tells us what is acceptable religion in James 1:27.
(James 1:27) Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to
look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being
polluted by the world.
It would seem that God wanted to keep the concept of religion simple so that all
people everywhere could understand it at once, without a lot of teaching.
Are you a Christian?
To be a Christian is to be “of Christ “or to be a follower of Jesus. The word
Christian is all inclusive. It needs no other word added to it for explanation or
definition. Men have created denominations (churches) in order to separate and
regulate those who profess to believe alike.
In reality, all faith is individual. No person believes exactly like another person.
We all have a unifying point of faith and brotherhood: the Lord Jesus. He calls us
to love and respect each other, but never to believe exactly alike. A person who has
accepted Jesus as his or her personal Savior has done so just like all other
Christians throughout history.
1. They have heard of Him.
2. They have come to believe He is who he says.
3. They have obeyed the condition he set down.
(Mark 16:15-16) He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news
to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does
not believe will be condemned.
(Matthew 28:19-20) Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them
in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching
them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always,
to the very end of the age."
See how simple? As you go through this world, teach others what you have been
taught. Those who believe baptize (immerse) them making them disciples. Then
help each other to live a life pleasing to God.
What Church do you attend?
Is this question important? Is there scripture that supports one church over all
others, or does Scripture only speak of one church of which all believers are part?
Is there any such thing as a “church? “ To answer the last question, it will require
a short lesson in Greek.
In the original Greek in which the New Testament was written the word ekklesia
has been translated church. However, this word never had the meaning that is
meant by the word church as used today. Note the accepted definition as laid down
by all leading Greek scholars:
EKKLESIA – A calling out, ie. a popular meeting, espec. a religious congregation
(Jewish synagogue, or Christian community of members on earth, or saints in
heaven, or both): - assembly, church
Notice that the most accurate definitions are – congregation and assembly. The
least is church. The concept of the church today is that of a power structure with
its leaders and rulers. This also means that there are those who are ruled. In the
New Testament there are 114 passages that contain the word church. They are
listed here to make it easy for you to find them. Read each one in its context then
read them again, this time using the word assembly instead of church. Decide for
yourself which you think is most accurate.
Click here for a full article with all Bible Verses Added.
There are practices which almost all churches have in common – from the largest to
the smallest. Hers is a list. Search your Bible and see if they are tradition or if
they are found in Scripture.
1. Worship Services
2. The Collection
3. Placing of Membership
5. Men only as Deacons
6. Deacon as an office
There are others to be sure, but I think this list will keep you busy for a while.
What do I do with my contribution?
I suppose that this will trouble most people at first. We are so used to placing
money in the plate that we hardly know what to do with it otherwise.
The Bible calls for us to help those in need. We are commanded to help the orphan
and the widow. (James 1:27). This can be done on an individual basis. To “ set
aside ” originally meant to “ keep by ones side. “ Usually at home. No where in
the New Testament is the concept found of Christians placing money in a church
(1 Corinthians 16:2) On the first day of every week, each one of you should set
aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come
no collections will have to be made.
Money, like all things, was given to us, as Christians, to enjoy:
(1 Timothy 6:17) Command those who are rich in this present world not to be
arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their
hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.
However, like all things, it was meant for our sole pleasure. God gives generously
and gets much pleasure from it.
(Malachi 3:10) Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in
my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw
open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have
room enough for it.
In concept and example we are taught that more pleasure is derived from giving
than from receiving.
(Acts 20:35) In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we
must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is
more blessed to give than to receive.' "
In 1 Corinthians, the collection being made was to help the poor and needy in
Jerusalem. It was not to be used for the pleasure of those saving the money. It
was also not to be used for a building or for salaries.
When you use the money you earn (by God’s grace), spend it well. Get your money’
s worth and remember that you are just God’s caretaker for all that you possess.
What works will I do?
Jesus listed one work when he was asked this question:
(John 6:29) Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has
Other “works “that we do today will not be considered work if we follow this
teaching. We will give to the poor, we will meet with other Christians often, we will
teach, we will love the brothers and sisters.
All this will be what we are – not what we do. Can you see the difference?
Salvation, God’s gift to mankind
Spiritually, to be saved is the single most important thing that a person can desire.
To be with Christ for all eternity: to be with loved ones forever: to be in a place of
never ending love; is something that we have all dreamed of.
God made this possible when he chose to live and die in the person of Jesus Christ
on a Roman cross. By being lifted up, He drew all those to Him who are willing to
surrender their lives to His direction.
Those who willingly devote their lives to Him find that they are doing more than
just following His directions; they find themselves developing a loving relationship
with Him. They call upon Him as a friend in times of need and times of joy. He is
their constant companion.
Now, if you have felt that God has abandoned you and that probably everyone else is
enjoying this relationship but not you – don’t despair. God has promised never to
(Hebrews 13:5) Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with
what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake
He is as good as his promise. We may not be aware of Him all the time, but He is
there. I hope that this lesson has helped you to grow closer to Him.
This closing section tries to simplify our understanding of faith. It is intended to
show you that you are not alone; and possibly ( hopefully) to strengthen your belief
The gift is accepted through Faith
The Bible tells us more about the gift of eternal life in Ephesians 2:8-9
“You have been saved by God’s gracious love through faith. Salvation does not
come from you: it is God’s gift. It does not come from human effort. If that were
true, someone could brag about earning it.”
Notice that this scripture does not say that we are saved by grace alone but that we
are saved by grace through faith. We must have enough faith in Jesus Christ to
obey Him or God will not save us by His grace (Unmerited favor.)
Salvation by grace does not exclude obedience.
To help us understand that being saved by God’s grace does not exclude the
necessity of obedience – the Bible declares in Hebrews 5:9 that:
“After Jesus was made perfect, he became the Source of eternal salvation for
everyone who will obey him”
What is saving faith?
Faith is your first step. If someone doesn’t believe in God, he cannot please God,
because the person who comes to God must believe that he lives. That person must
believe that God will give rewards to the people who are searching for Him.
(Hebrews 11:9) By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a
foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him
of the same promise.
Many people feel they have faith, without really knowing what faith is. It is not a
mere intellectual believing, for the devils do that. James 2:19 declares:
“You say that you believe there is one God? That’s fine. The demons also believe
this and shake with fear.”
Faith is trust and trust is faith. Webster defines faith this way:
1. Confidence or trust in another person or thing: faith in another’s ability.
2. Belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be
substantiated by fact.
3. Belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of
4. Belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.: To be of the
same faith with someone concerning honesty.
5. A system of religious belief: the Christian faith, the Jewish faith.
6. The obligation of loyalty or fidelity to a person, promise, engagement, etc.:
failure to appear would be breaking faith.
7. The observance of this obligation; fidelity to one’s promise, oath allegiance,
etc: He was the only one who proved his faith during our recent troubles.
8. Christian Theology – the trust in God and in His promises as made through
Christ and the Scriptures by which humans are justified or saved.
9. In faith, in truth; indeed: In faith, he is a fine lad.
OK, now that we have that out of the way, let’s see just how a simple definition of
faith we can come up with. The major points of Webster’s definition are:
confidence, trust, and belief.
Confidence: 1. full trust; belief in the powers, trustworthiness or reliability of a
person or thing.
Trust: 1. reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc. , of a person or
Belief: 2. confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately
susceptible to rigorous proof.
It would seem that to have faith in God would be to trust Him and believe what he
Learning to trust or have faith in something or someone always takes time. God
called you to Him and He wants you to take the time to know Him. As a friend.
Talk to Him about everything that happens to you.
You will find that He is very interested in your daily struggles and triumphs. He
gives you strength to live for Him everyday if you but ask. He delights in your
close walk with him (Psalms 149:4, Isaiah 65:19, Zephaniah 3:17.) Think about it:
don’t you enjoy the company of those who you love? Aren’t you happiest when with
To have saving faith ask God. Then believe that he is concerned enough about you
to guide you in this walk of faith. He wants you to be saved (John 3:16; 2 Peter 3:
9). He will work harder in your behalf than you can ever imagine. If you but give
Him a chance.
This does not mean that you will never have hard times. There will come the trials
that are a part of living in an imperfect world. God will teach you to act during any
crisis in a way that will bring Him the glory. Because it is from Him that your
strength comes. He will shoulder the cares of living if we will learn to have faith in
If we remember that without God, we would be nothing (Acts 17:28) then we will let
Him take the foremost place in our lives.