Then Agrippa said to Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): What is a Christian? This is an important question, is it not? There are so many false notions current today as to what a Christian is…This idea that because people are members of the church and attend regularly that they must be Christian is one of the most fatal assumptions, and I suggest that it mainly accounts for the state of the Church today.
J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): Would you know, in the next place, what is the grand defect of the Christianity of our times? Listen to me, and I will tell you. The grand defect I speak of is simply this—that the Christianity of many people is not real Christianity at all. I know that such an opinion sounds hard and shockingly uncharitable. I cannot help that: I am satisfied that it is sadly true. I only want people’s Christianity to be that of the Bible; but I doubt exceedingly, in many cases, whether it is so. There are multitudes of people, I believe, who go to church or chapel every Sunday merely as a form. Their fathers or mothers went, and so they go; it is the fashion of the country to go, and so they go; it is the custom to attend a religious service and hear a sermon, and so they go. But as to real, vital, saving religion, they neither know nor care anything about it. They can give no account of the distinctive doctrines of the Gospel. Justification, and regeneration, and sanctification, are “words and names” which they cannot explain.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: There are some who actually assume that all is well with them for the simple and only reason that they belong to a so-called ‘Christian country.’ This is so ridiculous that it need not be considered any further. To begin with, there is really and in actuality no such thing as a Christian country.
JOHN WESLEY (1703-1791): Let us confess we have never yet seen a Christian country upon the earth.
GEORGE WHITEFIELD (1714-1770): This is a thing little though of by most who call themselves believers. They dream they are Christian because they live in a Christian country; if they were born Turks, they would believe on Mahomet; for what is that which men commonly call faith, but an outward consent to the established religion? But do not you thus deceive your own selves; true faith is quite another thing.
JEROME (340-420): To be a Christian is the great thing, not to seem one.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: What is it, then, that makes a man a Christian? Well, surely it is the realization of the fact that God has given a revelation of His own glory in the face of Jesus Christ…A Christian is a man who believes that. A Christian is a man who has experienced that in a measure, or to a certain extent. This is the thing that constitutes the Christian. Not a change of life, or habits, or of behaviour. Not merely being religious, not merely attempting to worship God. No, it is the realization that God has done this, has given this manifestation of His glory in the face of Jesus Christ.
GEORGE WHITEFIELD: When I was reading a book, entitled The Life of God in the Soul of Man, by Henry Scougal, and reading that a man may read, pray, and go to church, and be constant in the duties of the Sabbath, and yet not be a Christian, I wondered what the man would be at; I was ready to throw it from me, till at last he told me, that religion was an union of the soul with God—the image of God wrought upon the heart, or Christ Jesus formed in us. Then God was pleased with these words to cast a ray of light into my soul; with light there came a power, and from that moment I knew I must be a new creature. This perhaps may be your case, my dear hearers. Perchance many of you may be loving, good natured people, and attend the duties of religion; but take care, for Christ sake, that you do not rest on these things.
ANDREW FULLER (1754-1815): The Scripture gives four names to Christians―saints, for their holiness; believers, for their faith; brethren, for their love, disciples, for their knowledge.
WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): Religion is indeed a practical thing; but it is also experimental. It does include doctrinal truths, but, in the Christian, these become principles. They descend from the head into the heart; and there grace reigns through righteousness unto everlasting life by Jesus Christ our Lord… It is the renewing of the Holy Ghost. It is a new birth, a new creation.
WILLIAM ROMAINE (1714-1795): And it highly concerns all formal nominal Christians, and I call on them to observe this. And I would enquire of them, how they know that they have been redeemed, if they have had no experience of redemption? Will they pretend that they were born in a Christian country, and were baptized, and have lived in the communion of some reformed church? Be it so. But all this entitles them no more to redemption than if they had been born among the heathens or Mohammedans: for a man born in England wants conversion as much as one born in Turkey. The same change of heart is necessary for both; and it is certain being baptized does not change the heart.
ROWLAND HILL (1744-1833): There is a mine of truth in that text, “In Him we live, and move, and have our being,” (Acts 17:28) and [we also] have the image of God divinely formed in our minds. Don’t think you are Christians because you come here or go elsewhere, or because you are so called by your neighbours.
DAVID CLARKSON (1622-1686): A disciple of Christ is one that gives up himself to be wholly at Christ’s disposing; to learn what He teaches, to believe what He reveals, to do what He commands, to avoid what He forbids, to suffer what is inflicted by Him or for Him, in expectation of that reward which He hath promised. Such a one is a disciple of Christ, and he, and none else, is a Christian.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: What determines whether a man is a Christian or not? It’s not what he does, but why he does it…“For Christ’s sake,” is the motive, the great controlling motive the life of the Christian. Here is something that differentiates us from everybody else and provides a thorough test of our profession of the Christian faith. If we are truly Christian, our desire must be, however much we may fail in practice, to live for Christ, to glory in His name and to live to glorify Him.
C. H. MACKINTOSH (1820-1896): Reader, let us remember that love to Jesus is the spring of true Christianity. Love to Jesus makes us strip ourselves, and, we may say, that to strip self to honour Jesus is the fairest fruit of the work of God in the soul.
THOMAS BROOKS (1608-1680): A Christian’s life should be nothing but a visible representation of Christ.
MAXINE COLLINS (1920-1984): I have but today, may I make it tell
Not in history books, but that I used it well
Just today, yesterday is gone
Tomorrow yet to come;
And between them hung
Is that space, of time and place
That is this day, this hour, this minute;
This one breath is all that I can claim
May its aim, be to proclaim: