S.R. 1 Peter 4:12-19


  1. Next Sunday our special studies reaching out to “unbelievers” is set to begin.
    1. Perhaps it would be helpful to identify believers and those who are not.
    2. The term “Christian” is loosely used for organizations and individuals.
  2. What terms are used in Scripture to distinguish between believers and unbelievers? Let’s investigate
    1. Believers are called disciples, brethren, saints, and Christians among others.
    2. Process of coming to a fuller understanding:
      1. Proselytes (Acts 6:7) “Nicolas, a proselyte (convert) from Antioch,
      2. God-fearers:
        1. Acts 10:22 – “And they said, "Cornelius, a centurion, a righteous and God-fearing man” [phobeo, theos] (NASB)
        2. Acts 13:43 – “many of the Jews and of the God-fearing proselytes” (Gk. sebomai – worshippers converts to Judaism)
        3. Acts 17:4, 17 – 4along with a great multitude of the God-fearing Greeks and a number of the leading women… “17synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Greeks, (Gk. sebomai, devout, religious, worshippers) as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there.”
    3. Unbelievers are distinguished as:
      1. False brethren
        1. Galatians 2:4-5; “But it was because of the false brethren secretly brought in, who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus,”
        2. 1 John 2:19 “They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.”
      2. Reject the good news (Acts 13:46) “judge themselves unworthy”
      3. Some believe and some do not (Acts 28:24) “Some were being persuaded by the things spoken, but others would not believe.”
  3. Ryan will present evidence regarding:
    • November 1, 2015 – “Does God Exist?”
    • November 8, 2015 – “How Does God Communicate?”
    • November 15, 2015 – “Does God Care?”


  1. Bible Use of the term Christian
    1. Why do we use the phrase “Simply Christians”?
    2. Old Testament prophecies regarding a new name.
      1. Isaiah 56:4-5 – 4For thus says the LORD, "To the eunuchs who keep My sabbaths, And choose what pleases Me, And hold fast My covenant, 5To them I will give in My house and within My walls a memorial, And a name better than that of sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name which will not be cut off.”
      2. Isaiah 62:2-4 – 2The nations will see your righteousness, And all kings your glory; And you will be called by a new name Which the mouth of the LORD will designate. 3You will also be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, And a royal diadem in the hand of your God. 4It will no longer be said to you, "Forsaken," Nor to your land will it any longer be said, "Desolate"; But you will be called, "My delight is in her, (Hephzibah)" And your land, "Married (Beulah)"; For the LORD delights in you, And to Him your land will be married.”
      3. Isaiah 65:13-16 – “13Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, My servants will eat, but you will be hungry. Behold, My servants will drink, but you will be thirsty. Behold, My servants will rejoice, but you will be put to shame. "14Behold, My servants will shout joyfully with a glad heart, But you will cry out with a heavy heart, And you will wail with a broken spirit. "15You will leave your name for a curse to My chosen ones, And the Lord GOD will slay you. But My servants will be called by another name. "16Because he who is blessed in the earth will be blessed by the God of truth; And he who swears in the earth will swear by the God of truth; Because the former troubles are forgotten, And because they are hidden from My sight!”
      4. Eventually there would be a new name by which the people of God would be known.
        1. Not identified by nationality but by whether or not they would wear the everlasting name.
    3. New Testament Usage: only three occasions are cited
      1. Acts 11:26 – “And for an entire year they met with the church and taught considerable numbers; and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.”
        1. Disciples began to be called Christians first in Antioch
        2. Uniquely identified them
        3. Earlier had been called the “sect of the Nazarenes” “everywhere spoken against”
        4. God had predetermined a name that He would choose to identify his people.
        5. They would be known by the name of the Messiah (Christ).
        6. I want to bear the name of the one anointed by God as Savior and Lord
        7. It was not a philosophy, religion, or system of teaching that saved my soul.
      2. Acts 26:28 – “Agrippa replied to Paul, "In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian."
        1. Agrippa – almost persuaded to become a Christian
        2. Agrippa – was an Idumean (Herod) king
        3. Yet he was almost persuaded to be “Christian.”
        4. Followers of Jesus were already being known as “Christians.”
        5. Agrippa realized that if he accepted and submitted to the truths regarding Jesus as taught by Paul he would become a “Christian.”
        6. We do not become a “Christian” because we were born into a “Christian” country, family or culture.
        7. Becoming a Christian is a personal choice based upon an intellectual and emotional commitment to the Christ.
        8. Isaiah 56:5 – born a Jew, and or a eunuch, but all will be identified by the same name.
      3. 1 Peter 4:12-16 – 12Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; 13but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. 14If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; 16but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name.”
        1. Vs. 16 Reason for their suffering – they chose to bear the name “Christian.”
        2. If suffering is going to come let it be the result of serving Christ.
        3. Don’t be ashamed to suffer the same reproaches of Christ.
        4. In the first and 21st century all that live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution (2 Timothy 3:12).
        5. The time has come in this country that the name Christian is no longer revered, but rather reviled.
    4. Every time the term Christian is used in Scripture it is a proper noun and a reference to people, believing people who have submitted to King - Christ.
  2. What does it mean to be a Christian?
    1. Believing in God and Christ as His resurrected son is absolutely imperative
      1. John 8:24 – "Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins." (8:28,58)
      2. John 20:31 – “these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.”
      3. If we don’t believe – then let us not wear or apply His name to ourselves.
      4. John 8:31 – "who are the disciples? "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine”
        1.  Disciples are learners, imitators, followers. “You shall know the truth”
        2.  Not enough to wear a label – I abide in Jesus teachings.
    2. Legitimate Christians are those who have not only believed that Jesus is God’s Son, but also abide in His teaching and practice His instructions
      1. Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.”
      2. Luke 6:46-47 – "46Why do you call Me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say? 47Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like:”
        1. “who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock;” (Luke 6:48)
        2. You can’t be a Christian and refuse to do what He instructs and demands.
      3. Christ holds all accountable – criteria
        1. We cannot have the privilege but want exemptions from the requirements.
        2. We don’t want a doctor that just wanted to be known as a doctor Sign, but no instruction, testing and criteria to be qualified.
        3. You don’t want me to call myself a mechanic – not trained or qualified.
        4. I can call myself something and some may think I am, but do I meet the standard given by the King?
        5. “Whoever does not bear his cross and come after me cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:27)
      4. Acts 8:4-5 – 4Therefore, those who had been scattered went about preaching the word. 5Philip went down to the city of Samaria and began proclaiming Christ to them.”
        1. a. Disciples speak to others regarding Jesus in a winsome way.
      5. Some claiming the name of Christ will boast that they do not speak of Christ to others.
        1. They claim that they do not want to “push” Christ on others.
        2. Consider how the unbeliever views the person claiming Christ as Lord of Heaven and creator of Hell.
    3. Followers of Christ are not wishing that any should perish.
      1. An infidel (unbeliever) once met a Christian, and said, “I know you do not believe your religion.” “Why?” asked the Christian. Because, said the other, “for years you have passed me on my way to my house of business. You believe, do you not, there is a hell, into which men’s spirits are cast?” “Yes, I do,” said the Christian. “And you believe that unless I believe in Christ I must be sent there?” “Yes.” “You do not, I am sure, because if you did, you must be a most inhuman wretch to pass me, day by day, and never tell me about it or warn me of it.” p. 105 C. H. Spurgeon’s Illustrative Anecdotes
      2. 2 Peter 3:9-12 – 9The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. 10But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. 11Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!”
    4. Disciples of Jesus plead with the lost to Obey Jesus
      1. Acts 24:225 – Felix was frightened when Paul spoke about righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come.
        1. a. He waited for a more convenient time – no indication that it ever came.
      2. Acts 26:26-29 – “26"For the king knows about these matters, and I speak to him also with confidence, since I am persuaded that none of these things escape his notice; for this has not been done in a corner. 27"King Agrippa, do you believe the Prophets? I know that you do." 28Agrippa replied to Paul, "In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian." 29And Paul said, "I would wish to God, that whether in a short or long time, not only you, but also all who hear me this day, might become such as I am, except for these chains."
        1. Agrippa recognized the truth but was unwilling to submit
        2. Paul wished for Agrippa and all who heard to believe and obey.
        3. Do you wish other to “become such as I am?”
        4. Many, including demons, believe in Jesus, but refuse to obey. (James 2:19)
      3. Christians are those who believe and obey.
        1. “He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation,” (Hebrews 5:9).
  3. Christians Believe:
    1. Christ is the I Am (John 8:24, 28, 58)
    2. Christ is the One to whom we must turn in repentance (Acts 3:19)
    3. Christ is the one whom we confess (Romans 10:9) – “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;”
    4. Christ is the one into whom we are baptized (Romans 6:4) – “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”
    5. Christians are those disciples who remain true to the Lord to the point of death (Acts 11:21; Revelation 2:10)
    6. Are you a Christian?