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What Does It Mean to be Christian?



Instead of getting caught up in the exclusivity of the claims of Christ, why don’t we just live out the beauty of Christ?

Louie Giglio launches into this collection with a powerful message about what it means to be Christian. Believing in Christ is inclusive to everyone, though he identifies how our lives should identify Christ when we choose to follow Him. As followers of the Way, we entrust Jesus to lead us, and people who don’t know Him will follow close behind.

Key Takeaway

People are going to think what they think about Christ because of what they think about Christians, so it matters who and what a Christian is and how a Christian lives.

Polls show that 65% of adults identify as Christian. What do they mean when they say that? A religious preference? A geographical or cultural identity? A moral affiliation?

Jesus centered the word "Christian" around the word "believe".

Christianity is exclusive inclusivity. Our society shuns anything exclusive in an effort to be inclusive about everything, but it doesn't work. We are well acquainted with this oxymoron.

For example, we live this all the time in the state of Georgia:

Inclusive: Anyone can own a car in Georgia. Anyone.

Exclusive: In order to drive the car you have to register the car with the state, get a license plate, put it on the back of the car, renew the plate every year, pass an emissions test, get a valid decal, be 16 yrs or older with a drivers license, and follow the traffic laws.

In John 3, we find Nicodemis, a religious leader, having a conversation with Jesus. In John 3:10-15, Jesus is offering exclusive inclusivity. He understands the things of Heaven because He comes from Heaven- He's the only one in that category. He opens it up to everyone (inclusive) to believe that He is the One (exclusive).

In John 3:16-18, the exclusive inclusivity is held in both harmony and tension. The inclusive nature of God, open to whoever, and the exclusive claims of Christ, He is the one and only. Our society hates exclusivity, but Jesus said He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. So, ironically, Jesus gets excluded from society's inclusive view that all roads lead to Heaven.

Inclusive: The whole world is invited to believe

Exclusive: Jesus is the one and only.

For God so loved THE WORLD that He gave His ONE AND ONLY Son, that WHOEVER believes IN HIM shall not perish, but have eternal life.

Believe, pisteuo in Greek, means to entrust. Entrust what? To entrust your present, your future, your physical, your spiritual, your time, and your eternity with Jesus.

2 Timothy 1:12 says that I have put my hope and my eternity in the work and person of Jesus.

In Acts 4:32, the believers are starting to come together. In Acts 9:1-2, Saul is threatening the disciples. Disciples are people who have the proper teaching, but the teaching has moved them to proper living. They live out the things that they are learning. It's knowing and living. Saul wanted to take out those that are following the Way. These believers who were disciples are known as followers of The Way, not a way.

Saul gets saved on his way to murder the people of The Way. The gospel started to spread outside of Jerusalem to the Jews after Stephen was martyred for his faith. In Acts 11, we see that the Greeks are now hearing the gospel, believing and turning to the Lord. Barnabas and Saul stayed for a year to disciple. The gospel continues to spread and the disciples are birth called "Christians" at Antioch.

Believers -> Disciple-> Follower of The Way-> Christians

What was going on in Antioch? was pandemonium. It was a pagan city in modern Turkey, which was northern Syria at the time. But in this city that was completely against the things of God were Christians everywhere. Christian means "little Christ". Christ means "anointed", so there were "little anointed ones" living a different life that invited conversation.

They took on the name and identity of Jesus. They didn't check a preference box. Everyone is invited on the grace way, but it requires being on the narrow road. A Christian is a person who identifies with a person. They are not looking into the options of systems, they are looking into the eyes of a Savior

What does it mean to be a Christian?

To wholeheartedly and exclusively trust in the person and claims of Jesus Christ, activating a new birth that results in a lifestyle that mirrors His values, teaching, and ways so that others can see and know Him.

Can't I just say I believe in God? No! A Christian is so much more than that. It's showing the people a different way. Everyone believes what they want to believe, they don't need permission to do that. The real question is are we willing to let people know what we believe? To show them life in action and then let them think about it? People are going to think what they think about Christ because of what they think about Christians, so it matters who and what a Christian is and how a Christian lives.


"Instead of getting caught up in the exclusivity of the claims of Christ, why don't we just live out the beauty of Christ?"

Louie Giglio

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Scripture References

  • Acts 11:18-26
  • John 3:10-18
  • 2 Timothy 1:12
  • Acts 4:32
  • Acts 9:1-2
Louie Giglio

Global Pastor

Louie Giglio Louie Giglio is the Visionary Architect and Director of the Passion Movement, comprised of Passion Conferences, Passion City Church, Passion Publishing and sixstepsrecords, and the founder of Passion Institute.