Where have all the Christians gone? Believe it or not, they are quickly disappearing from the face of God’s green earth! I say that, and yet, many claim to be a Christian but they fall short of what the bible defines a Christian to be. One third of the world’s population make the claim to be a Christian, but they don’t possess the characteristics of a Christian. So, what are the characteristics of a Christian?
Before anyone can claim to be a Christian they first must have obeyed the gospel of Christ. What is the gospel. The apostle Paul defined the gospel as the death, burial, an resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Cor 15:1-4). Every New Testament christian heard and understood the gospel of Christ (Rom 10:17 f; Mt 15:10). They all believed and confessed Jesus to be the Christ the son of God (Rom 10:8-10). They all repented and were baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). Jesus and his apostles commanded obedience to the gospel in order to be saved (Mk 16:15,16 f; Mt 28:19,20). All who obeyed not the gospel were promised eternal destruction from the presence of the Lord (2 Thess 1:7-9).
Added To the Church
No Christian ever joined the church of their choice. No! All Christians are added to the Lord’s church by Jesus Christ (Acts 2:47). Jesus died for his church and paid for it with his own blood (Acts 20:28). He built his church and he is its sole head (Mt 16:18 f; Col 1:18). This church is the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Tim 3:15). This church is the church of Christ (Rom 16:16).
The Doctrine of Christ
Not all local churches of Christ obey the doctrine of Christ. Some have instrumental music, where the bible commanded vocal singing (Eph 5:19). Some have women preachers and teachers, where the bible commanded silence for women in the churches (1 Cor 14:33-40 f; 1 Tim 2:11,12). Some use man made institutions to do the work of the church, where the bible described the church the sole promoter of the manifold wisdom of God (Eph 3:10). Some are lead by a band of unqualified men when they have in their midst men qualified to be elders and deacons (1 Tim 3:1-13). Some misappropriate the Lord’s money for entertainment in order to appease loop-legged members, whereas the Lord’s church is for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ (Eph 4:12).
The Suffering Saints
All Christians must suffer for the cause of Christ and be persecuted (1 Pet 4:16 f; 2 Tim 3:12). Christians must take up their cross and follow in the same suffering steps of the Savior (Mt 16:24f; 1 Pet 2:10,21). When Christians go astray, the suffering stops (Gal 5:11). If Christians endure trials and persecutions they will receive a crown of life (Jam 1:12).
Conclusion: Yes, I know a saint when I see one, but the facts are, the saints of God are very rare. Is it any wonder where have all the saints gone? You won’t find the saints among idol worshipers. You won’t find the saints among those who deny God, Christ and the Holy Spirit’s existence. You won’t find the saints among denominations. You won’t find the saints among ultra liberals. You won’t find the saints among those who are insulted by the suffering they must do for the cause of Christ.
The saints of God have obeyed the gospel and continue in the doctrine of Christ. The saints of God endure trials and temptations and persecutions. The saints of God speak where the bible speaks and remain silent where the bible is silent (1 Pet 4:11 f; 1 Cor 4:6). If you want to find the saints of God, it’s simple:They are the ones who go explicitly by the book of God and live and abide by the doctrine of God!