Subgroups

Subgroups

“By this everyone will know you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  John 13:35

Just about every group has a subgroup.  In math, take the group of numbers {1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10}.  Within that group there is a group of primes {2, 3, 5, 7}.  Within that group there is very special number {2} which is the only number that can be classified as an even prime number.  In America, there are Americans.  Then there are the subgroups;  white Americans, African-Americans, Asian Americans, Mexican Americans…I could probably do this for quite a while.  Within those groups, there are Atheists, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus…and once again…no way I could list all the different beliefs.

Today, since I am a Christian, I want to talk about a subgroup of Christians.  “Christian” is a very useless term.  All it really means is that you in some form or another affiliate yourself with Christ.  Judas was a “Christian.”  Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5 were “Christians.”  In John 6:66 a whole bunch of “Christians” quit on Jesus.

One of the main reasons the term is useless is because it isn’t defined in the Bible.  In fact, if it is used, it is used as a derogatory term.  Acts 11:26 says “disciples were first called “Christians” at Antioch.    People just saw this subgroup of people that were willing to give all their “extra” away.  If they had 3 coats, they would find the poor and give two of them away.  In many cases, they would even go without a coat if it meant helping someone in need.  This subgroup of people was selling everything they had and giving it away.  They were taking in the lame and the blind into their own homes and getting them off the street.  They were taking “defective” babies that had been left for dead at the trash dump and bringing them into their own homes and caring for them.  The rest of the population had never seen anything like that before.  Therefore, there was no term that could be used that really described them…therefore, they came up with the derogatory term “Christian.”  It would be very much like calling a smart person a “nerd.”  Or, a computer person a “geek.”  “Geek” used to be a derogatory term…now Best Buy has made it okay.  That is kind of what happened to the word Christian, it was meant to hurt at first, but now it has become so acceptable that nearly EVERYONE puts it on the “Religious Views” of their Facebook page.

Now, within the extremely large group of people that say they are “Christians,” there are subgroups.  I know this sounds awful, but there is a subgroup of “Christians” that is going to Hell when they die.  How do I know?  Read Matthew 7:21-23.  Jesus flat out says it doesn’t matter what you call yourself, it doesn’t matter what you say…it matters what you do.  He told a group of people who would have most assuredly called themselves “Christians” that they were evildoers and it was time to depart from His presence.  Maybe this is why Ephesians 5:15 says “be very careful how you live — not as unwise but as wise.”

If you took 100 random self-professed Christians, I would guess that 90 of them would look and behave exactly like the world.  I certainly was in that group for a lot of years.  I was “saved,” and became a “Christian” at 16 years old.  Yet, I still drank alcohol underage…just like the people who didn’t claim to be a Christian.  I still had sex outside of marriage…just like the people who didn’t claim to be a Christian.  I didn’t read the Bible…just like the people who didn’t claim to be a Christian.  I cussed, I went to parties, I gossiped about other people, I was unforgiving towards others…yep…just like the people who didn’t claim to be a Christian.

I had to learn for myself that there was a subgroup of these “Christians” that really took this stuff seriously.  There was a group in which Jesus actually made a difference in their lives on Monday through Saturday.  This subgroup of Christians has a name…they are called Disciples.  The word disciple comes from the word discipline…a word which 99 percent of Americans hate.  But, it means that there exists a group of Christians that have systematically disciplined themselves with God’s help to cut out all of the “acts of the flesh” listed in Galatians 5.  They don’t have sex outside of marriage, they don’t go into fits of rage, they don’t hate, they aren’t selfish, and they don’t participate in drunkenness…just to name a few.  Just so you know, I singled those out, because they were all stuff that I did as a self-professed “Christian.”

I have seen this subgroup in action.  There are actually students, a very small subgroup, who go into the classroom for one reason…to honor the Lord.  This means they are going to follow every school rule down to the last detail.  They are going to do their work “as unto the Lord.”  Do they like the work any more than the non-Christian…NO!  But, they are doing it for a different purpose.

There are Christian couples who refuse to move in together before they get married.  They even refuse to be sexually active before they get married.  Does it mean they don’t want to?  Of course not.  They just want to SHOW honor to the Lord and His commandments.

There are Christians who ask for forgiveness when they do wrong.  There is none of this “I’m sorry for ______, BUT YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE ______________.”  They simply say they are sorry for their part and leave the rest to the Lord.  They do it right.

I don’t know where you land in all of this.  Like I’ve said many times, I’m still a work in progress. But, with all my heart, I want to love and honor my Lord and Savior.  I want people, if they had access to every bit of every minute of my life, to know…not that I’m a “Christian,” but that I’m a disciple.

All who are reading this, let’s do better than settle for being “Christian.”  Let’s not be mere hearers of the Word…

Let’s be disciples!

Later

Adam

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About wednesdaymorningdevotional

I am currently the pastor of Lifeline Community Church in Fair Play, South Carolina. I also teach mathematics to middle schoolers. I have been publishing devotionals every Wednesday morning for about 7 years now. If you would like to listen to any of my actual sermons, visit www.lifelinecc.com.
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