Who Really Are We?

        Who Really Are We?               

Who are we? Christians, Saints, Believers, Followers of Jesus

Who Really Are We?                      

 Who are we?
What do we believe?
What are our views?
What is our lifestyle?
What motivates us?
Who or what is our passion?

Who really are we? It is common to ask a person we meet, “Who are you?  What is your name?”  We want to identify a new acquaintance and see if there is any connection to anyone else we may know or any place we have been.  This is the kind of question we read in the Bible itself.  Certain people came to John at the Jordan River and asked, “Who are you?” (John 1:19).  They wanted to know his identity and mission.  On one occasion Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do people say that I am?”

If you are like me, you also want to know who people are, where they are from, what they believe, what church membership they have, and whether they are interested in God’s word.  Just as we want to know other people, so we should not be afraid to tell other people who we are—if they ask with sincere motives.

You may be wondering about us!  You may wonder who we are, where we are from, what we believe, and how we live.  The apostle Paul said that he was “unknown yet well-known” (2 Corinthians 6:9).  In a sense, we are not really known since we are somewhat unconventional.  In another sense, it is amazing how people do know about us because we follow Jesus.  The Bible also says that there is a sense in which Jesus was not really known—deeply known by the people of His day.  He was an enigma—since He spoke and taught as no one else taught (John 7:46).  There is likewise a sense in which “the world does not know us, because it did not know Him [Jesus]” (1 John 3:1).

Over the years, people have passed along rumors about Christians that were untrue—but they had heard something from someone who had heard something from another—and confusion reigns!  I’ve been the object of such rumors, and maybe you have too.  Let’s share a few things about who we are!

If you wonder about us, we are happy to explain something of our beliefs, views, motivations, and lifestyle.  First, let me mention our faith.  We firmly believe that God created everything, the heaven and the earth (Genesis 1:1), and that He gave His dear Son to be our Savior (1 John 4:14).  We also believe that Jesus is the Son of God, the Jewish Messiah (Christ), the Savior of the world, and the Lord of heaven and earth with all authority (John 3:36; 20:30; Matthew 16:16; 28:18;  Romans 10:9-10).  We believe in the Holy Spirit who is the Spirit of truth, who indwells obedient believers, and who inspired and gave us the written Word of God (John 14:26; Acts 2:38-39; 5:32; Romans 8:9, 13).

We believe in all of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, and affirm that it was fully inspired of God (2 Timothy 3:15-17), given through apostles and prophets by the power of the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 1:1-3; 2 Peter 1:20-21), that it is fully reliable and inerrant in all of its parts (John 10:35), and that it should be read and studied in an accurate translation that is readable and understandable.

While the entire Bible is given by God, the teachings of Jesus Christ and the writings of the apostles are particularly designed for Christians, since the death and resurrection of Christ ushered in the present Christian era (1 Corinthians 14:37; Matthew 24:35; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; Hebrews 4:12-13; 8:6-13).

You may also be interested to know that we believe one must sincerely and fully repent of all known sin in order to be saved from that sin (Acts 2:38; 3:19; 17:30; 20:21; 2 Peter 3:9).  This means that he must deny himself (Mark 8:34), and die to sin (Romans 6:2), which is a spiritual “crucifixion” or death with Christ (Galatians 2:20; Colossians 2:20).  This also means that “the world has been crucified” to the repentant person and the person has been crucified to the world (Galatians 6:15).  The repentant believer actually “crucifies the flesh” or all evil aspects to his life (Galatians 5:24).

So radical is this that Paul says we must “lay aside” the old self of sin and “put on” the new self that is like God, in “righteousness and holiness of the truth” (Ephesians 4:22-24; Colossians 3:9-10).  Jesus said that this inner change and transformation is absolutely essential, for unless one is born again or spiritually born of God, he cannot enter the kingdom of God (John 3:3-7; 1 Peter 1:3, 23).

You may also want to know what motivates us in life.  What is the underlying reason for our living?  Basically, our life is focused on God, the Creator of all things, our Heavenly Father.  We seek to love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:29-30) and we want this love to be “perfected” in our own experience (1 John 2:5; 4:12).  God’s overwhelming love for us in Jesus Christ calls forth our own love for Him (1 John 4:19; 3:1-2, 16).  We also want to have a sincere love for all people, although there will be a special, intimate love for others who genuinely love and serve God (Mark 12:31; 1 John 3:14-18; 4:7-12).  So radical is the way of God that He even calls on us to love our enemies, do good to them, and pray for them (Luke 6:27-28)—something that the world considers unrealistic, impractical, and foolish.

Along with this, we passionately love Jesus with all of our heart, demonstrating this love by our obedient life of commitment to Him (John 14:15, 21-24; 1 John 5:2-3). Without this love, one cannot be saved (1 Corinthians 16:22).  To us, the Lord Jesus is utterly desirable and “precious” (1 Peter 2:4, 7).  We want to “fix our eyes on Jesus” and follow His ways (Hebrews 12:2).

Our love for God in Christ Jesus means that we are determined to “seek first” the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33).  We know that we cannot have Jesus as Savior unless we also follow Him as Lord (Romans 10:9; Luke 6:46; Matthew 7:21-23).  We want to “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).  We purpose to allow the Holy Spirit to have full influence in our life so that we may produce in abundance His gracious fruit, the expressions of His transforming work (Galatians 5:22-26).

Perhaps you have observed that we live differently from the world around us.  We don’t do this to seem unusual—but we know that radically following God as the center of our life will necessarily mean that our lifestyle will reflect God Himself, His character, and His holy standards.  You see, God says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2).  We want to be transformed into the likeness of Jesus, follow His example, and walk in His steps (2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 John 3:1-3; 1 Peter 2:21; 1 Corinthians 11:1).

This inner transformation means that we are actually “new  creatures” in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), holding to a different standard of right and wrong (the Word of God), embracing an absolute morality, and choosing to walk the narrow way that leads to eternal life rather than the broad way that leads to eternal punishment (Matthew 7:13-14).

What is the practical expression of this absolute commitment to Christ Jesus?  We want to use our time, talents, possessions, money, opportunities, and mental capacities for God, His work, and His will.  We desire to be fully committed to the Lord on our job, in our home, while eating, while driving, while shopping, when visiting others, and everywhere else we go!  To use Paul’s expression, we purpose to “keep seeking the things above” and “set [our] mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:1-2).

We want to speak differently from the world around us, think differently than others, dress in a way that pleases God rather than man, have different goals and aspirations, and use our time differently from others around us (Romans 12:1-21; Ephesians 5:1-33).  We are not out to get rich (1 Timothy 6:9-10), or pile up earthly possessions (Matthew 6:19-24), or dress luxuriously or immodestly (1 Timothy 2:9-10), or live an affluent lifestyle (Luke 16:19ff), or own an extravagant home (1 Corinthians 4:11; Luke 9:58), or selfishly spend money on ourselves (Luke 12:16-21; 16:10-15, 19-31).  Instead, we wish to invest in people rather than things, and want to lovingly bless others rather than live a selfish life of self-centeredness and self-indulgence (2 Timothy 3:1-5).

You may notice that we are earnest in our efforts to share the good news of Jesus and His offer of salvation and forgiveness with others in need.  We want to do this through our personal sharing and conversations, through a wide distribution of Christian literature and recordings, and through the truth we offer on our personal website.  Over the years, we have distributed tens of thousands of tracts and booklets and tapes, and presently we have hundreds of articles available on our website.  We wish to share the message of salvation through Christ and His saving death, and call on all to repent and believe in Christ, expressing this commitment in a baptism (immersion) into Him (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:44-47; Acts 2:22-42; Romans 6:1-11; Colossians 2:11-13).

We are not interested in being members of any sect, denomination, or religious organization (Matthew 15:13-14; 16:16-19).  We refuse to wear any human names of man—Lutheran, Calvinist, Arminian, Wesleyan, etc., or even take any Scriptural, descriptive term and use it in a denominational manner (1 Corinthians 1:10-13).  We are simply disciples of the Lord (Acts 9:1), saints (v. 13), brothers and sisters (v. 30; James 2:15), believers (Acts 5:14), children of God (1 John 3:1), or those belonging to the Way (Acts 9:2).  We only want to be part of the family of God, the body of Christ, the community or congregation of Christ (1 Timothy 3:15; Romans 12:5; 16:16).

We are tired of half-hearted living, going through the motions of religion, following empty forms of worship, and living a boring life of empty but vain profession—without life, void of reality, and separated from genuine transforming power (Ephesians 3:20).  Jesus said that cold and empty forms will not avail (Matthew 15:8-9), and He also said that He will totally reject those who are lukewarm in commitment (Revelation 3:15-20).

While we have the opportunity, we want to prepare now for Christ’s glorious return (Hebrews 9:28), for the resurrection and transformation of our body (1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 1 Corinthians 15:1-58), His Great Judgment (2 Corinthians 5:10), the destruction of the world by fire (2 Peter 3:9-14), and God’s eternal kingdom of blessing, joy, peace, and perfection (2 Peter 1:10-11; Matthew 25:31-34; cf. Revelation 21:1-7).  We want to be part of the glorious Paradise of God that will only be given to those who are holy (Revelation 2:7; Hebrews 12:14; Matthew 5:8).

Do you think you understand us somewhat better now?  We simply want to be  humble, loving, and faithful children of God, disciples of Jesus Christ, and servants of God our Heavenly Father.  We want to love God—and also love you!  If there is some way that we can share with you the joyful and fulfilling message of God’s love in Christ, we wish to do so, as God gives us opportunity.

Since we have been delivered from God’s wrath (anger) and judgment against sin, have been forgiven of all unrighteousness (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10; 5:9-10; 1 John 1:7), and have been justified (declared righteous) before God (Romans 5:1), we also want to share the truth of God with you, that you also may be rescued from certain judgment, condemnation, and eternal punishment.  We sincerely want to bless your life and ask you to allow us to share the Word of God with you at the earliest opportunity.  We also welcome any spiritual help you can offer to us in the Lord!

Richard Hollerman

 

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