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Fellowship & Faith: What Does it Mean to be a Christian? (Ep 62)
Episode 629th May 2024 • My Ministry Mission • Jason McConnell
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Join this amazing group of Christians having an engaging and exciting conversation about what it really means to be a Christian. You don't want to miss this episode!

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References to Bible Verses:

Romans 10:9; Acts 11:26; 1 Peter 4:16; Hebrews 7:27; 1 John 3:6; 1 John 2:19; Romans 8:38-39; John 10:28-29; 1 Corinthians 12:27; Titus 3:5; Ephesians 5:26; 1 John 1:7; Hebrews 10:25

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Transcripts

Jason: Welcome back and thank you for listening. My name is Jason and I'm your host, but I'm not alone today. I am incredibly excited for this episode. This is the first time I've done anything like this today. I'm hosting several amazing Christ followers in a fellowship and faith discussion. This is basically just.

Christians talking about Christian stuff. The topic for today's episode is what does it mean to be a Christian, which I have to admit, is a topic that has been haunting me for a little while now. We believe in Christ. We go to church, we get baptized, we do the things and we call ourselves Christians or Christ followers, or even disciples of Christ.

So when does that happen? Maybe we can answer that today. I've included links in my show notes for any guests who have provided them to me. So be sure to check those out. But for now, it's time to get started with fellowship and faith.

Jason: So welcome everyone.

Austin: Hello.

Zach: Welcome.

Laura: Hi.

Jason: Well, around the room, that was perfect timing. So before we get into the nitty gritty, I just want to do kind of a quick around the room, I've put together some introduction

Zach: for you guys

Jason: and you can tell me if you like it or not. Starting with Laura, she has become a good friend of mine over the last year. And if you've listened to any of the unveiling revelations, you will recognize her voice. She is an amazing soundboard and has been a powerful resource for me to help understand the Bible better. Without Laura and her unique perspective, I may not have even attempted unveiling revelation. She truly has a heart for Christ and is a devout disciple.

So welcome Laura

Laura: Thank you, Jason.

Jason: You are welcome. Moving on to Austin he's another person I come to call a friend. We have known each other for some time through a Facebook group and a discord server where we've chatted quite a bit. He is a very talented digital artist. In fact, he created the my ministry mission logo. I gave him a very crude explanation of what I wanted and kind of nailed it on the first try. So on discord, he's a resident sage and his spiritual wisdom goes far beyond his years. So welcome Austin.

Austin: Thanks for having me. That was too generous of an introduction.

Jason: Now you got to live up to it. The last, but certainly not least is Zachary. He comes to us from the same discord server that Austin came from. And actually where I met Laura. He just wants me to say that his name is Zach and he's a Christian. But I do want to add that we've had some pretty great theological conversations.

He's got a great personality and we may not agree on everything, but I truly value his feedback and he gets me thinking about things differently. So I'm super excited that he decided to join us today. So welcome Zach.

Zach: Thank you, yeah, I'm glad to be here, it's pretty fun, it's getting to see other people's perspectives and stuff, it's pretty interesting, so.

Jason: Yeah, it is between the lot of you. We have plenty of heart, wisdom, and knowledge at our disposal. So don't screw it up guys,

Laura: try not to.

Austin: I'll, I'll do my best.

Jason: Here's the deal. I have some notes and some topic ideas to keep things moving, but I don't want this to be moderated. I want us to actually kind of get in the dirt, really dig for some answers. So the topic is "What does it mean to be a Christian?" We'll start there. What makes someone a Christian who wants to kind of jump in and.

And take the lead there.

Austin: Okay. What does it mean to be a Christian? I, I think it, it just means to put our hope in, in Christ instead of on ourselves and to let go of any, any notions of control that we may have of our own lives and place that onto the shoulders of Jesus instead by, you know, the revelation of the Gospel and his sacrifice on the cross and the new life that we have through identifying with that.

And I think it, it bears out in different ways, given where we, we are when we've encountered Jesus. But I think it starts at that heart condition. And then it, then I think it just funnels out from there.

Jason: I like that. I like the heart condition. That's such a great way of describing it.

Zach: Yeah, those little heart strings that get tugged and you're like, man, let me go pray right now. I'm going up there. Everybody move out my way. I'm getting that altar, buddy.

Jason: Yeah, for sure. So I look at it as God made it exceedingly simple to be a Christian. Now, simple doesn't mean easy, simple and easy or different. A thousand pushups, it's simple, but it's not easy. Right. But we received Jesus as savior, fully trust in him, believe in his death and resurrection. And I think that kind of frames this. Now I'm a Christian, but maybe I'm oversimplifying it. I don't know.

Zach: Yeah. I always say when it comes to, you know, following Christ. Yeah. Oh yeah, simple. You know, we basically have a, a whole entire, guide, Bible, and sometimes, you know. You, you'll hit a few gray patches, it's like, okay, well what do I do in this situation? So, you know, you always just, well, just pray to God and hope it works out.

Jason: What about you, Laura?

Laura: Yeah. Well, I was just listening. Jason, I think you did hit the nail on the head. It is simple and we humans tend to complicate it because we think, nah, that can't be all there is to it, right? So we add all these little caveats. Well, You have to do this, and you have to do that, and you have to do this.

But if you go back to the book of Romans 10:9, it says, "If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." I mean, simple.

Austin: Yeah. Yeah.

Laura: Doesn't mean that everything that comes after can't be a little but,

Jason: Yeah, that's true. I mean, it's all about Him. It's all about Christ. It's not our actions, our works. Going to church, doing the rituals, doing the things, or not doing the things depending on if they're good or bad. But it's that personal relationship, it's creating an actual real relationship with Christ. And that can only happen when you, when you accept that his death was sufficient for our sins and his resurrection was a miracle.

Austin: Yeah.

Zach: Yep. I was also going to say, yeah when you also read Matthew, you know, obviously it's, it's easy to serve the Lord or well, simple, not easy, sorry more simple, you know, it's like right there, this, this, and this, and there's a lot of people that do struggle. And then, you know, Matthew, it talks about those who say, you know, Lord, Lord you know, not get in the kingdom of heaven.

So it's one of those ones where it's like, you know, sometimes you could follow Christ, but you could also mess up at the same time. You kind of have to just kind of watch. So, you know, like we're going back, simple, not easy. But you know, everyone that does confess doesn't mean, sometimes won't mean it in their heart though. So kind of have to watch on that and watch yourself too and mean it in your heart.

Jason: Yeah. And I think, I think if we look at before Christ, it's easier. Maybe, maybe that's a good way to put it, but, but still, you know, it's hard and it's hard because we're so flawed and broken. I mean, we're just sinners and we want to do what we want to do. And I think Paul wrote, you know, I hate this things, but I do, I do it anyways.

And that's just, that's us,

Austin: Mhmm.

Zach: Oh yeah. It's. It's an everyday thing, man. It's like, I tell people, just repent daily. You know, you do something, Lord forgive me, and move on, and try not to do it again. One of my favorite things in I forget what chapter it's in but, it's where Jesus had the the woman, and she was getting ready to be stoned.

He said, those without sin cast the first stone. And you know, and then he basically told her, go and sin no more.

Jason: Yeah, and you know, and you know, she, well, I mean, we all do, but we try not to

Austin: she didn't just become perfect overnight. There's still that grace that continues. But I think with the simplicity, it, I think many times the gospel leads us to I mean, more simplified life, but also a more more humble life because Jesus said that no one can enter the kingdom unless we change and become like little children.

And that I find. One of the more intriguing aspects of, of what it means to be a Christian and how it's simple, because I guess as adults, or as just people who can be caught up in the ways of the world, we can easily try to overthink the gospel or think that there's more to it than, than than it is.

And that relationship can just be so simple as, To just remember who's in control and to and to let go of the, the things that don't matter. And that leads us to a much simpler way of looking at life than, I think, a more freeing way of looking at things.

Jason: you know, in the listeners, though, I didn't come to Christ until much later in life spent my, I tell people I spent my 40 years in the desert, but my perspective on what matters changed dramatically in that transition. Those little things, those material things that used to bug me, you know, my kid breaking a bowl or something like that are just, they're just nothing now.

And you, you know, you start to focus on what really is important in life is that relationship and, and moving towards the kingdom, moving towards Christ and everything else is just, it's all temporary anyways.

Austin: Mm hmm.

Zach: Yeah. It's one, one of the hardest lessons I've ever had to learn is, you know what, why should I worry about this? Why should I worry about that? Just move on. Cause at the end of the day, a lot of the times it's in God's hand anyway. So why even worry? You know?

Austin: hmm. Yeah.

Jason: So I have some Bible trivia.

Laura: Oh fun.

Jason: This, this just came up in my, in, you know, digging and researching, but when was the term Christian first used in the Bible and in what context? Anyone? I didn't know this before I found it, but

Zach: Huh.

Laura: to say it was somewhere in the book of Acts.

Austin: I'm going to assume it was, it was first used in a derogatory way, but I don't know when in the Bible it was used for the first time.

olutely right. It was in Acts:

And it actually hints at that in 1 Peter 4:16, but what kind of brings us back to the topic is that I think this idea still exists today. This idea of being a Christian, having two perspectives, you know, the world still hates Christians, still finds this to be a term of derision, but Christ followers take pride in this. We're like, yeah, we want to be little Jesus's. We want to be out there being just like him.

Austin: Right.

Zach: Because it's like, if you really think about it when it comes to like salvation and stuff, it's like obviously we want to try to live like Jesus, you know, a little bit, try to get into that good like mindset of trying not to sin, but obviously, you know, we have our faults and stuff. And I think as long as we don't, or as long as we own up to our mistakes and get forgiveness for them .

We'll be okay. Because, sometimes we also have to look at what we can do might cause other people to kind of turn away from Christ, and you have to be careful in that. When it comes to people who are sinners, always try to give open arms and, you know, Say, hey, you know, I'll give them the truth, but at the same time I'm gonna be like, you know, it's up to you to do what you want with it, you know, and basically just more of a, a friendly thing for Christians to kind of talk, but there's some that get kind of, kind of get a little rowdy and turn people away, so, you know, sometimes, so you have to be careful in the, what you're doing, essentially, and you know, I love to wear the term Christian, but sometimes I always say this.

Some people make me kind of like, Hmm, why would they, you know, do that type deal. It's like, you have to explain things and do this and do that. So it's always, it's a very interesting term, the word Christian. We'll just put it that way. And what it means to be a Christian.

Austin: Yeah, we may not always have the best representatives. So that can that, that can make the term in the way, in the way that it's tossed around and received by others. Be a little complicated when it really doesn't have to be.

Jason: Yeah. You said a word, Zach, that kind of spawned a question in my brain salvation, we can all agree where salvation comes from, I think. But the question is, can a Christian lose salvation?

Zach: I'm just going to go ahead and straight up and say if you backslide you can now there's some people that will say once saved always saved but You know I can get where they're coming from but I see it as this is you could be saved you go 20 Plus years. And then one moment, one bad thing happens, and it turns you down a bad road, well now you're back to doing this, you're back to doing that, you're back to doing this. Can you be saved again? Yes. It's one of those things where I think, if you're not careful, you can easily just shelf your salvation and, you know, lose it.

Jason: Interesting, Laura, thoughts?

Laura: I disagree. I mean, in the Old Testament, sure, people could And I use the term salvation loosely, but they could lose their salvation because the blood of the bulls and goats was only a temporary fix. Jesus's blood, however, is eternal, as is his payment for our sins. And I kind of have some notes here. When he died and rose again, all of our sins were future sins, as in they had not yet happened.

So once we accept him as Lord and ask for forgiveness. The sins are all forgiven. Hebrews 7:27 does say, "Unlike those other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices every day. They did this for their own sins first, and then for the sins of the people. But Jesus did this once for all when he offered himself as the sacrifice for people's sins."

Now, that does not say we have a license to go sin, because if people were to think that way, then that's basically throwing Jesus' sacrifice back into his face, saying, It doesn't matter anyway, as Christians, as believers, we do endeavor to live right. Not because we're afraid of losing salvation, not because we're afraid of punishment, but because we know how much we've been forgiven and how much Jesus loves us.

So we don't want to do those things, but we do mess up those who claim to be Christians yet still live a life of sin makes me wonder, was their conversion, was their declared belief in God, Jesus, a genuine declaration or was it simply fire insurance?

Jason: Fire insurance, I like that!

Zach: Fire insurance. That's a good one.

Jason: See, I had the same opinion as you Zach until I ran across four Bible verses. And if you want to say what you want to say, then I can share those.

Zach: I'd actually like that. While you look those up, but just from my, like, like from my experience, I felt like I've actually went through that. Like when I was a kid, obviously, you know, Hey, get close to God and, you know, try to follow him, obviously accept him in your heart and whatnot. And then as I got older, I kind of started to turn away from that life.

And though I went to church, obviously I felt like I kind of backslid myself. Just kind of from personal experience because you know it goes back to that sitting in church, and you know yep I'm here. I'm here. I'm here. You know I think you can I think you can actually send yourself to hell if you're not careful really

m the father's love. And John:

Austin: Yeah, I I was going to mention a couple of those, and those are where I, I've also landed that once, once you're saved and then you're always be saved. And that doesn't mean that we won't stumble or fall short along the way, but it does mean we don't reach the point where we completely rejected God because, and the way that I look at it is that, you know, once the Holy Spirit has, has done his work and has brought us to him.

You know, he partners with us to continue his, his saving work. And like you said, in John 10, like no one's going to be able to snatch that out of Jesus's hand as a good shepherd. I, it also reminds me of the the four soils where the word can be sowed in, in different ways. And it doesn't mean we're, we're all limited to different or to each of the soils, but it does mean that just because we, it has, as soon as we received it, doesn't mean it has taken root.

And sometimes for those who feel like they received the word or received Christ and, but it's not really taken root and has gone deep into their hearts, then they could be in many different contexts of what we would consider the Christian life. But until until it has taken root for them, then, then they have not, you know, and for all we know, they, they have not really received the Holy Spirit. Like Like I think it's mentioned in those verses.

Jason: and I can see both sides of it. Because like I said, before I, I stumbled on those, I felt the same way. I'm like, you know, we can, we can give it up. We can stray away from it far enough that we lose it. But flipping to the other side, it's like, well, if we do, did we ever really have it? And I think that's where, that's where we're at.

Austin: Right.

Jason: I have to lean towards. No, we didn't because once we have it, we have it.

Austin: Right.

Jason: I mean, both sides of these arguments are there. They're perfectly valid.

Zach: Yeah, it's one of those things where I just kind of look at it is when it comes down to it, I like to sit on more of the side of, you know, well, hey, it could be this way. It could be that way. But guess what? There's only one way, and that's through Christ. So as long as you. Don't turn your mind to the left or to the right and just keep following the path that God has you to follow in. You'll be okay.

So that's what I always tell people, you know, cause sometimes you'll make a mistake, but I tell people to like, also when it comes to true salvation. Like some people they'll backslide obviously not do things right, but you know what it's not our our judgment It's God's judgment. So we just I feel like we should just kind of you know When it comes to stuff like that, just let God decide and but for us personally We need to

basically pick ourselves up by our bootstraps and say hey, no, i'm not going to sin I'm not going to do this. I want to try my best to just keep going forward rather than turning back

Jason: I never promised God. I'm not going to sin. I'm going to promise. I'll try my hardest not to screw it up today.

Zach: Yeah, hey, that's a good one.

Jason: But, but that, that takes me to one of my favorite verses. Lamentations 3:22-23. "It is the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed because of his compassions never fail. They are new every morning. Great is his faithfulness." So it's like, I wake up and I'm like, yesterday was a rough day. Thank you, Lord, for renewing my graces today. Thank you so much.

Austin: Mm hmm. Yeah.

Jason: So I want to, I'm going to throw. A little fire out there the sinner's prayer. So I've had some interesting conversations with people who are very passionate about their perspective of the sinner's prayer. And the question is basically, is it rooted in biblical truths? Is it something that Christians should be concerned with or is it not a biblical thing?

Laura: I think it depends on how it's approached. I mean, in my mind, the sinner's prayer, although some denominations probably have certain words that people should recite, to me, it is basically an acknowledgement that we're a sinner, we need the saving grace of Christ, Jesus is Lord, he died and rose again, and I believe that.

Whatever words you choose to use to express that is your business

Austin: is the sinner's prayer based on a particular verse or is it just something that was put together by church and then it just became popular?

Jason: So I don't know the root of where it came from. I know that the sinner's prayer itself is not in the Bible, but I kind of feel like the components of the sinner's prayer is rooted in biblical truth.

Zach: It's kind of like a, like a guideline, as I like to see, because like, just for example, I work at a call center, so usually they give you a guideline depending on, you know, your situation, this, this, and this, and they say, obviously, you're not going to follow it to the T, but here's an idea of what you want to say, or here's an idea to kind of help you out. That's how I see it. It's more of a You know, it's, here's the basic guideline. You can say it if you want, but, you know, obviously, you should say it the way that comes from your heart.

Laura: It's like the Pirate Code, more guideline than actual rule.

Zach: Yep.

Jason: Are we doing Pirates of the Caribbean now?

Laura: I could not pass that one up, sorry. One thing you guys will learn is, I will throw pop culture references in, and it just happens. Sorry.

Jason: It's not even limited to that. I mean, pop culture, nerd culture, Broadway musicals, she's a, she's a encyclopedia of references.

Austin: Yeah. From what I'm from, what I'm familiar with it. It tends to be a lot of variations where. They, they want someone to recite something along the lines of like, Jesus, I know that I'm a sinner. I ask for your forgiveness. I believe You died for, for my sins, rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You into my life and trust You as my Lord and savior, that sort of thing.

And it does sound to me like a guideline. I have no problem with people reciting it or, or even as a congregation, but. I, where I take issue with the idea of the sinner's prayer is that it is in a way that is presented as if, if you recite this, you will be saved or that you're now a Christian. I think, I don't think that the prayer itself has a power to do that.

I think it's, I think what, what prayer does is allow us to focus our hearts on where it needs to go. But but it comes down to. Whether or not we, we then take that step and actually have a sincere heart towards Christ. And sometimes we can pray and not do that. And so just the simple recitation itself doesn't prove anything, but it can be a help.

But some, but there can be churches that will have a pastor on the, on the stage and have people recite it and then say, if you said this, then you are saved. And that's where I, I find that to be reckless with the, the way prayer works, because it, it, it doesn't bring any guarantee it's, it's simply something that we're, we're guided into and, but it comes down to the sincerity of our hearts and only, only God knows how, how that sincerity follows, which may not happen at that time. It may happen later. It may happen in. In other times when we pray, but it's not a guarantee at that time.

Laura: Austin, what you were just describing, my pastor does do, but he does add a caveat. If you prayed this prayer for the first time and you meant it in your heart.

Austin: Mm-Hmm.

Laura: I mean, it could work both ways.

Austin: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I, I don't really have a problem with it. Un un It just, that matters the way that it is presented,

Zach: Yeah, that's where I agree with you. It comes down to intent in my, in my perspective because it's like, you know, you could read that a hundred percent and if you don't mean it, it's not going to do you any good. That's why I say it always has to come from the heart because if it doesn't come from the heart, then what's, what's, what's the good of it? You know what I mean? It's not going to help you. Right. Unless you truly mean it in your heart.

Austin: right?

Jason: You just, you just gave me like this mind blown moment here because the word intent is so powerful here. And we circle back to what does it mean to be a Christian? That's it. It's intent. If you intend to follow Christ, if you intend to acknowledge his sacrifice and his miracles, I think that's where it's rooted.

Laura: Ding, ding, ding.

Jason: Like you just blew my mind, Zach. You didn't even know it.

Zach: Yeah, it's one of those things where it's, it's just intent because I've been, you know, I've been in places, good, bad, whatever. And I've seen some people that are Christians that are like, Oh yeah, you know, hey, it's okay. You're okay. You did this. That's fine. Just go pray and do it no more. And I have, I've seen some that's just like straight up like, Oh, you're going straight to hell. Yada, yada, yada, this, this, this, and that. You don't live this way. Live that way. And it's like, hold on, wait a minute. And I have to go back and say no, Jesus said that he forgave us of our sins and to go do them no more.

Austin: Mm hmm

Zach: it's not the way you live, it's not, not your works, it's literally your intent. Because that's why There's that verse in Matthew where they, you know, that whole bit there, I think it's Matthew 22, where they basically talk about, like, did we prophesy your name? Didn't we do this? Didn't we do that? And he said, you workers of iniquity, I knew you not,

Austin: Mm hmm.

Zach: Because they had the intent of self righteous rather than the intent to try to get someone to the kingdom of the Lord.

Austin: Yeah.

Jason: And that, that ties into another thought of this come as you are culture. Now I have nothing wrong with come as you are, in, in principle, but that doesn't mean you get to stay there,

Zach: Exactly.

Austin: Mm hmm. Come as you are doesn't mean stay as you are.

Jason: right.

Zach: This is where I kind of a little fun thing, not trying to get off topic, but when I go to a church, like if I go somewhere new, I don't try to dress up, I try to wear as casual clothes as possible, because I want to. Not necessarily want but I like to see like who's gonna come and shake your hand, you know I always like to kind of do a little small test of where I go So I always never dress up fancy or have this have that I always just kind of look casual So, you know if someone comes up to me, I'm like, oh, hey, you know, how you doing?

and then there's some people they'll just kind of look at you and like It's kind of you know walk away or turn their head. So, if you ever see a guy with a, with a t shirt and just some blue jeans on, you know, well, it's probably me.

Laura: You'd fit into my church real well.

Jason: Yeah, mine too. I mean, we have, we have people that do their Sunday best. We have people that show up like barely.

A notch above pajamas and we don't care. We really don't care. You're you're there and that's good. We got you in the door.

Zach: Yeah, that's another reason too why I kept long hair for the longest time. Because I, I want to see what people's intents are, you know? Because I could be this nice, handsome fellow, whatever. You know, but my soul could be awful. I'd rather, you know, it's one of those things I'd rather when it says come as you are.

I think it means don't be afraid to be yourself. and then come to church. Obviously, you know, if you're coming as yourself and you have a few problems, like, yeah, don't stay there, you know, cause we gotta work on ourselves. But I think the more of the come as you are is more of be who you are honestly.

Like your true self. Cause there's always, there's one saying that I like to say, not biblically, but I say there's always three faces. Your public face, the one with your friends, And who you are to yourself, your thoughts, your mind, you know,

Austin: Mm hmm.

Zach: You always have to kind of keep a, keep a heart, basically try to, try to show your true self and not be separated into three different categories. So that's what I think that means is come as you are that face, that mask that you are by yourself, bring it to church. So that way it can be cleaned.

Jason: I mean, God sees it anyways. Christ sees it. You can't hide that stuff from him.

Laura: Nope.

Austin: Right.

Jason: We found that out. Revelation,

Laura: Oh, tell me about

Jason: Eyes fire, see everything

Zach: Oh yeah, man. Sure does. And the one, the back when I, you know, was kind of rowdy. One of the scariest things that I ever asked, which I was kind of a close to near death experience, but it really made me like buckle up. And I'm like, yeah, let me go ahead and change my life real quick. When you're almost like halfway there to dying and you say, you ask God, what's my judgment? And he shows you. Oh yeah. Scary stuff. So and let me tell you in that moment you come back. You're like, oh, you know, you're you're you're basically you're buckled down You're ready to go. I'm telling

Austin: Right.

Jason: for sure. And I mean, church attendance is important. I mean, it's, it's the one place. Where you should be able to go and to, to find love, to find encouragement, to have people spur you on and help you with good works, to, to serve, to instruct, to honor, for compassion. I mean, all of those things should exist in a church, regardless of. Whether you have a tie on or shorts,

Austin: Mm hmm.

Laura: Or both..

Austin: Should feel like a second home.

Jason: exactly

Zach: so that way you walk in you had a stressful day Maybe something didn't go your way at work or something. Just kind of it was awful. That's why I think church is a safe place to just kind of relax and get your mind off the worldly things. And that's what it should, that's what it should be because your mind should be on Christ when you walk in the gates, you know. And obviously like David said, I think it was in Psalms with coming to the Lord with thanksgiving and praise in the courts, so,

Austin: Right.

Jason: Good stuff

Austin: It should feel that way. It may not always feel that way. But I think that is a blessing of the body of Christ that it's there to help us, , not just, not just for us individually to be the hands feet of Jesus, but for us to be that to each other as well.

Corinthians:

Austin: Yeah,

Jason: we don't just go to church. I mean, we, we have to be involved in the church. We have to be present using those spiritual gifts that God gave us using whatever we have to give to God.

Zach: yep.

Austin: I think that goes back to the intent from I mentioned earlier, where sometimes we can take for granted what the church is for. Because many times we can, we can just come to church because maybe it's a routine or, or it's the thing that we do on Sunday and then, and then expect the rest of our week to be something completely different.

But when we do choose to want to be involved, to want to give back to the church and to be an active member of the body of Christ, then I think that is when the intent is shown when it kicks in. But that's, that may not always be the, the reason why you may have someone attend church, but like, if, if we are, you know, if we do have that relationship with God, he'll be bringing us further into the body of Christ and we weren't just passive participants.

Jason: And then I have, I have one more curious question. Regarding baptism, because I know there's there's debate on whether baptism is necessary for salvation or just a good idea, or just a representation of what you believe. So thoughts on that.

Zach: Oh, that's a good one. So, I always, it's one of those things where I believe, as a Christian, you should do it. Like, cause it's, it's a cleansing for your soul. You go in with the intent to have your soul cleansed. But there's some people, in which I always say, hey, don't wait till your deathbed to repent. But there are some people that, Truly repent at their deathbed and I believe they, you know, go to heaven And it's like is so if you're not baptized, it's like is that going to keep you out of heaven? I I don't think so. I think like I said, it just goes back to intent on you know If you truly redeemed yourself and accepted Christ

Jason: Yeah. And I, I mean, I've seen arguments from both camps somewhere in Acts where he's talking to, oh, I can't remember where it was where he's talking to Nicodemus, which Jesus was talking to Nicodemus. But he basically, you know, talked about being cleansed by the spirit and water.

Austin: Yeah,

Jason: that is one argument for it.

And then the not people say, well, the, the thief on the cross didn't get baptized. You know, he wasn't washed by, by water. And, but what's interesting is that, because I've actually done a little research on this for an episode that I planned to, to host, but Titus 3:5 is actually used in both camps. "He saved us not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit." Which draws in this idea that he, he didn't, he saved us not by works, but by his mercy alone. And it references the, through the washing of rebirth and renewal, which also translates into through the washing of regeneration, which is what they like Catholic church calls The baptism, it's, you know, regeneration, but Paul doesn't specifically indicate whether or not this is meant through baptism.

And the word washing in that context is where it gets kind of tricky because. If you look at Strong's translation of the word, it means the act of bathing, but in Ephesians 5:26, that same word is used in the context of spiritual cleaning. So it's kind of like both camps use this one verse to say, yeah, no, you totally have to be baptized in the water. And others are like, well, no, but in Ephesians it's spiritual cleaning.

Zach: Yep, that's how I see it. I, I actually agree with you on that. It's one of those things where it goes back and forth, but I think it's just like, like I said there, just more of a spiritual cleansing, and you should want to do it. There's just some people that might not get the chance to, you know?

Jason: That's true. That's true. My take on it is it's a good idea. Let's cover all the bases, being sure we, we do the things that we can to, to put ourselves in Jesus camp, but, but I don't know that it's really necessary for salvation and that's where I get hung up.

Austin: I mean, even Jesus got baptized,

Jason: Right.

Austin: so

Laura: But he didn't need to get baptized.

Austin: he didn't need that, but he said he did it to fulfill our righteousness. And I, I, so I find with baptism. There's, I don't think it's, it's necessarily for salvation because of what was mentioned, but I do think it is a benefit for us because I don't know how else to like, I don't know how to put this in like a, a very clean or, or tidy way, but we can easily dupe ourselves as, as people, as just fallen creatures.

And when we have something like baptism, it, it helps us make a, a public expression of, of an inward change that we can easily take for granted. And when we participate in baptism, it reminds us of, of the decision that we, that we truly made. And when we don't have that, I think we're kind of left to just us. Referring to it in our minds when there, there is a, there's a tangible benefit that baptism brings to us. And also to, to the community of believers that, you know, that we're, we're saved through or not through, but who we were, who we were a part of when we were doing it when we, when we entered into a relationship with Jesus and, and I think for Jesus himself being baptized, I think he was also keeping in mind that aspect of of his mission to where he's doing what he's doing also to demonstrate the, you know, to be the forerunner, to be the example of, of who we are to be as Christians. So there, there's, I think there's a, there's an aspect of acting it out that, that it's not just for ourselves. It, there's an aspect of it for ourselves, but it also just demonstrates a reality to others as well.

Laura: Austin, as you were just talking, I mean, I'm a teacher, so my brain sometimes thinks teacher y, but, and I kind of head on here you know, outward declaration of an inward faith, yes, but it's almost like you might understand Jesus's death, burial, resurrection in your mind at some point to declare it and become a Christian. But by physically participating in baptism, it's like, okay, this is what that actually means, and that was

Austin: Hmm. Yeah.

Laura: and then Jesus being baptized himself was kind of foreshadowing what he was going to do. In, what, approximately three years from when he was baptized.

Austin: Hmm. Yeah.

Laura: so it kind of of solidifies the understanding of this is what actually happened. This is what I am identifying with. This is what I am declaring is truth.

Austin: Hmm. Yeah.

Jason: Makes sense. That makes sense. If, if, I mean, nobody's asked me should I get baptized, but if they were, I think my response would be, if you love Christ, why wouldn't you want to? Good

Zach: Yep,

Austin: right.

Zach: right. That's what I always, that's what I like to say is, it's one of those things where it's like, when you say is, is it necessary? I think it's a necessary, you should want to if you don't want to, well, you know, search yourself a little bit, you know?

Austin: And if you can, then you ought to.

Laura: Exactly that. You know, it's not like we have to go to church or we have to do the good things, but with the relationship with Christ, with the change that he's producing in our lives, It's not a have to, it's we get to.

Austin: right? Mm-Hmm,

Zach: Back to what you were saying earlier, I'm going to start using that term now, fire insurance. Some people think, oh yeah, let me walk up there, yep, fire insurance baby, but it's like, no, you're not, you're not understanding, you got to use the whole package. It's not just fire insurance.

Austin: Yeah. The fire insurance mentality is it, it takes away a lot of the things that, that we, we feel in our heart that we would want to do for Christ when we are more preoccupied with just, you know, with, with our, with our own. Salvation or our own interests, and that's what I think baptism is, is that's that's something we ought to be able to want to do to better understand the, the life that we, the new life that we have in Christ.

Jason: So there was gosh, I can't remember the verse. It, it said something about walking in the light of Christ means walking in fellowship with each other. You know, you'd, you'd mentioned Laura, that you don't have to go to church, but we should. But in some regards, if we are not. If we're not on our faith journey in communion with others and fellowship with others, then we may not be walking in the light.

Oh, here it is. It's 1 John 1:7, "But if we walk in the light as he is in light, we have fellowship with one another. And the blood of Jesus, his son, purifies us from all sin." it almost seems like, you know, maybe "going to church", is, is an oversimplification of the construct. But if we're isolated, we're vulnerable.

Laura: Yeah, strength in numbers.

Zach: there's one verse I forget what it exactly where it's at, but it's one could put 1,000 and then two can put 10,000. You know what I mean? Demons of flight. So obviously the more people you have, the you know, the more, the more powerful you're prayer together might be, or, this or this, you know what I mean?

Which are prayers, you know, obviously going to God anyways, but, just imagine, you know, every other person has more intent, and then, it just makes it more to come together, is to help, like you said, just kind of help each other out. And pray with each other because there might be one time you might be down and you might be thinking, Oh, is God going to bless me? Yada, yada, yada. And that one person just over here to say, yes, he will. Don't worry about it. You know, and that actually kind of, that person that's over here, just telling you, giving you that little bit of faith. It, it goes a long, long, long amount of journey to assist you in your faith

Austin: Mm hmm.

a: And it does say in Hebrews:

Jason: That's ominous

Laura: Little bit.

Jason: after all the reading, we've done a revelation that's, that's ominous.

Austin: Yeah, that, that's a passage that I've studied a lot. Just the different points in my just different points in different churches I've been to and I'm pulling it up because there is, there's always a side of it that I thought was really interesting, not abandoning to meet together as a habit son, but encouraging one another all the more as you see the day drawing near.

And actually there is, it wasn't this verse, but there is another passage where I think it was Paul and he was saying to encourage one another as long as it's called today. And, and I think that like, we, we don't. When we don't meet, we don't have an opportunity to do that. We don't have an opportunity to to keep ourselves from, from falling.

Cause I think there's times in which God wants to bless us through, through other people within, within his bride. And it's not always just going to be a me and him kind of solitary life, but we're, we're meant to, to grow in Christ and community.

Jason: Yeah. I mean, that personal relationship is important, but corporate worship is also important. You know, we, we need to, we need to do all of it to simplify it. We need to do both.

Austin: And, and actually I was at the, the pastor I was thinking of was in Hebrews as well. And right after it's where it says encourage one another every day, as long as it's called today. After it follows that so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. So there's, I think there's an aspect of our walk with Christ where we, we are going to need each other.

Or else we will fall into the deceitfulness of sin. So there is a, there's an aspect I think where God has designed our, our lives on, you know, this side of eternity to, to be sustained through each other as, as well as, you know, you know, the saving work comes through, through Christ himself, but he, the means of which he does it is also through others.

Jason: It's true. So well we're coming up on time. I want to give enveryone a chance to do like final words. So I'll start with Zach. Do you have any, you know, what does it mean to be a Christian? Do you have any final thoughts on it?

Zach: Yeah, , honestly, I have to say this, I love the debate, , optimized a lot of things, , you know, just glad that I was here, , good experience, but my final thoughts is, , just make sure with your intents, because if You know, if you don't intend to be a Christian, like fully salvation and try to help other people get to Christ, you know, then what are you doing?

Because God saved us from the fire, right? So shouldn't we want to have the intent to try to help someone else along the way, or those who were down, who are sick, who are out and give God the glory. And I think that's what it means to be a Christian is working for God through intent. What is your true intent? For the Lord.

Jason: Very good. Laura final thoughts.

Laura: I am blanking. Hold on.

Jason: Okay. We'll go to Austin. Austin final thoughts.

Austin: well I think Zach really, really hit a lot of areas that I wanted to mention, but yeah, like the, the Christian life is, really comes down to that. And I was saying that, that heart condition, which. I think it's another way of saying intent, but I, the way I think of it is like, who's, who's at the throne of your heart?

Is it, is it our, you know, is it our own interests? Is it the the same old things that, that we, we worry about and try to put into our own hands? Or is it the saving work of Christ who, who did a lot of the work for us? A lot of the, not, not just the redemption, but the, the meaning and the purpose that we can easily be pining after has already been found in Christ.

And do we live with, with that in mind that with that near to our hearts and do we, and because I think when we have that in our hearts, we, we then look at life completely differently and we, we, go into the world with a sense of gratitude because we've been forgiven of many things. And we've, you know, we've been called and been, been given many things.

And I think with a lot of the things that we talked about, those, those those aspects of, of what we do or the things that we walk into become a lot clearer when, when Christ is at the center of our hearts, because then we, we always go into situations. With that gratitude, with that desire to, to live for him and not for ourselves.

And then we find ourselves just walking into things, walking into to righteous acts, walking into a peace and walking into a freedom. But yeah, it, it starts with the, that sincerity of heart that, that has been changed by, by the gospel.

Jason: All right. Laura, do you have any final thoughts?

Laura: Yeah. What does it mean to be a Christian? Christian to me means Understanding and resting in the love of Christ that he has for us, and then being a conduit or a funnel or some other pathway for that love to share that with other people. Because if we are all stopped up and we don't share that, then it's almost like what's really the point anyway.

We need to show people, I can't remember which one of my pastors said it, but we need to be Jesus with skin on. Show them who Jesus is, bring them to the knowledge and the love that Jesus has for them, and bring them into the kingdom as well.

Jason: All right. I think this was a productive conversation. I want to thank Laura, Austin, and Zach for joining me for the first fellowship and faith on the My Ministry Mission podcast. I certainly took a lot away from this episode and I hopefully the listeners didn't hopefully you guys did as well. What do you think?

Was it good?

Zach: It's good. I enjoyed it. Like I said, I It opened my mind to a lot of things, because I always like to look at other people's perspectives too. And like the whole thing with once saved, always saved. You guys brought some You brought some good ideas. Perspective wise to my mind and I'm trying to open up a whole nother debate, but you know, now that I'm looking back on it, it's like, yeah even though if you were to go back and sin and you were still thinking about Jesus, you know, technically, yeah, you're saved because you know, the gospel, you know, to go back.

So

Jason: I don't know.

Zach: Really, really really good light shed. I appreciate that.

Jason: Good. I'm glad I'm glad I took a lot away from it. I hope you guys did too. Make sure to like, and follow or subscribe the podcast. So you don't miss any new episodes, get more great interviews that are coming up. I've got some, we got a few more unveiling revelation episodes planned. You can also go to the show notes, make sure you click the get podcast updates link to get episodes directly to your inbox.

If you're enjoying the podcast, want to help out, go to my minister, mission. com slash support. Get some ideas from giving a tip to just sharing it with your friends and family or a stranger on the street. I'm really not picky until next time. Remember to love each other. Remember to read your Bibles and may the Lord bless you and keep you.

God bless you to the listeners and God bless my guests today. Say goodbye everyone.

Zach: Bye. And God bless you all.

Laura: Well, I was going to go with my normal sign off for the Revelation episodes, but I'm going to go. Goodbye, everyone.

Jason: I knew that was coming. Have a great day, everyone.

Zach: God bless. Bye.

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