The Great Deception: Intellectual Christian
Intellectual knowledge is head knowledge
This morning I tuned in to Dr. Charles Stanley teaching on The Great Deception. The target audience for this lecture was the group of people who call themselves “Christians.” Many people call themselves Christians for various reasons: grew up attending church, parents are professed Christians, like being spiritual, baptized, had a near death experience and on and on
What does a Christian believe?
The fact that people are free to believe whatever they want and call themselves whatever they want tends to confuse the uninitiated. Because the Bible documents Messianic prophecy and fulfillment, a person who professes to be a Christian should be interested in what is in the Bible. Among the basic beliefs recorded in the Bible are:
· There is only one God (Isaiah 43:10; 44:6, 8; John 17:3; 1 Corinthians 8:5-6; Galatians 4:8-9).
· God is love (1 John 4:8).
· God is true (Romans 3:4; John 14:6).
· God is spirit (John 4:24).
More can be found at: http://christianity.about.com/od/christiandoctrines/a/basicdoctrines.htm
Intellectual Christians are generally familiar with basic Christian doctrine; many of them teach classes and many “become pastors.” However, if you have a discussion with an intellectual Christian, you will find that that person does not truly believe what is written in the Bible. As we prepared for an Easter concert, a musician asked if I really believe that Jesus rose from the dead. She was a church musician and had played piano in church for more than forty years. She was a member of one of the largest churches in the city. Going to church doesn’t make one a Christian any more than driving into the garage makes one a car.
Many professing Christians say they don’t go to church. Church attendance is not a requirement for salvation; however, the Bibles states that believers should not forsake the assembly of believers … wherever they assemble. Many say “God is Love” and He IS! However, they treat the Bible like it is a smorgasbord; they pick and choose what they want to believe. He is Love but He is also just! If you can’t believe it all, how can you decide what is true and what is not true?
I have heard many people say that they were Christians but are no longer. As we talked, I realized that what they really meant is that they attended church for a long time and then stopped. Churches open their doors to anyone who wants to attend. They invite and encourage the local community to come to church. Many churches allow people to “join” church without hearing a salvation testimony.
Head knowledge is not enough
A “heart-decided” Christian makes a conscious decision at one point in time to believe that Jesus is God and eternal life is through Him. That person asks for the Lord’s forgiveness for all past sins and invites Jesus to come into his heart.
The apostle Paul writes in Romans 10: 9-10: “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”
The heart matters
If you are an intellectual Christian and would like to become a “heart-felt Christian,” there is no special set of words to memorize. If you are searching for the right words, the Holy Spirit will help you. Here is a simple prayer that might help:
Dear Lord Jesus, I want to know You personally. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins and for rising from the dead. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. I trust You now to forgive my sins and give me eternal life. Please make me the kind of person You want me to be.
You can be sure that when you ask for forgiveness, “God is faithful and just to forgive you and cleanse you of all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9