Saturday, August 06, 2005

'Christian' - Label or Life?

'Christ-ones': nameless, faceless...

The following was written by a believer named Tripp at

Since the Church was birthed on Pentecost, many have only embraced a historical Jesus versus The Indwelling presence of the "Anointed One." In-"Christ" (Christos-Anointed One)Interestingly enough, The Disciples were first called "Christians" in Antioch....Why?It is well known that Saul, who was later to be called Paul, spent thirteen years in Tarsus developing his trade as a tentmaker. Moreover, as Saul was growing in a practical sense, he also was being given/ministered to, by the Holy Spirit a far deeper revelation, which would ultimately change the world.You may ask, well, what was this great "revelation"? Listen to Paul's own words inspired by God in His Epistle to the Church of Ephesus.

“For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles-- if indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace which was given to me for you; that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief. By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel, of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of God's grace which was given to me according to the working of His power. To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things; so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places. This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him.” (Eph. 3:1-12) nasb

Again, what is this mystery?

“I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in me/you, the hope of glory.”(Col.1:25-27)nasb

Now, Saul/Paul, after thirteen years was hunted by Barnabas and brought from Tarsus to Antioch. And it was here, that a large number of people assembled over the course of a year, and Paul ministered this new-found mystery, which had now been revealed, which is Christ In Me, the hope of Glory...and in Antioch the Disciples were first called "Christians" (Christ- In- Ones).

(It is my prayer, that all will begin to embrace, the Reality of "Christ-In" me, versus the Historical Jesus of the past, and the word "Christian" will be known, as it was known in Antioch... Amen)

The following is from Connie, another believer:

Hey Tripp,
Thanks for a wonderful message of truth.

This very concept seemed to seep through my noggin the other day after I'd visited a "christian" website. I used those quote marks around the word so as to make a point. They were promoting services and workshops and such for people to get involved with. Like arty things,,,,dance, theater, etc. Anyway this idea just occured to me: They promoted "christian" art and "christian" theater and I knew that there really was just art and theater, but performed by christians. The art exists without a "christian" adjective, you know. Like you pointed out, the word is used as an adjective, when in reality it is a noun. A Christian is a person who can do anything: art, business, family, learning, etc. and those things don't have to be "christian" to be acceptable. The things done are acceptable if the Person doing them deems them so. It might seem nitpicking, but to me, it seems a matter of true vs. false.

Your teaching helped to confirm that to me, thanks.

Wouldn't it be so nice and cool and peaceful if christians would just do their thing without telling anyone it was a christian thing they were doing. Let the life speak for itself. Let the light shine for itself. Maybe a whole lot more people would pay attention to christians if they (christians) weren't so enamored with their own selves and the things they were doing.


Rich speaking: this is what I gleaned from what Tripp wrote:

Since coming to know Jesus as my life, I found it exceedingly interesting to learn that believers were first called Christians at Antioch. Why? It’s because Antioch was FAR AWAY from JERUSALEM! Jerusalem was the ‘happenin’ city. All the religious big shots hung out there. You would expect that something as dramatic and explosive, in terms of God revealing the mystery He had kept hidden through the ages (that being ‘Christ in you, the hope of glory’) would have been proclaimed with much fanfare in Jerusalem. But, no – God had a different idea. The ‘Christ-ones’ became known as such in Antioch…little-known, far-away Antioch. The religious leaders, the ones who had been entrusted with conveying God’s truths to the masses, weren’t privy to God’s astounding revelation! This isn’t the only time this happened. He was Lord at His birth, but no one knew this except the God the Father. Jesus said, ‘no one knows the Father, except the Son makes this known, and no one knows the Son, except that Father makes it known’.

Re: Connie’s reply to Tripp: as she wrote, the term ‘Christian’ is a noun, not an adjective. Christ is neither a prefix nor a suffix! It is either Life we are seeking, or it is religious superstition or religious trappings. I, too, cringe when I hear the word ‘Christian’ being placed in front of words such as festival, business, radio, music, novel, art, etc. I particularly wince at the term ‘Christian Ministry’. Now, the person at the helm of it may think s/he has a ministry, but it’s not necessarily of God. What’s more difficult - for the Lord to work through General Motors or the institutional church? Can He work through IBM as well as through a 2000 member congregation? Yes! There is no sacred or secular as far as God is concerned.

Most Christians seem to relate more to applying Christ as a label, a tag-on to their lives instead of as their VERY life. As a good friend put it, he used to plan aspects of his daily life something like this: “Well, the person who runs this business is a Christian therefore it's best to go to him, or this lady on the radio is a Christian psychologist... got to listen to her”. Nonsense!

From what is becoming most clear to me (in light of Connie's words) being a Christ-one means something far different from what we have traditionally believed. Jesus’ desire is that we not be seen at all, as far as what most would understand a Christian to be. We are to be nameless and faceless. We have nothing about which to boast or flaunt - our race, gender, ‘stock’, ancestry, etc. died at the cross. We are becoming more and more unobtrusive, to be of no reputation, living supernaturally in the natural world. The more we need to be ‘seen’, the less He is seen. We will eventually not be seen at all, meaning, what people will see is Christ, not us. And as Christ is being fleshed out in whomever, it is going to cause great consternation; even amongst those we would call brothers. There will be no room for the independent self. The independent self knows nothing of grace, nor does s/he want it. God will severely deal with this.

When we prefix the name of Christ to anything, it becomes a mockery (I would even go so far as to say it is anti-Christ). He is NOT in buildings, programs clubs or anything of the kind. He dwells in folks He has sired. These people may have never been part of the institutional church, but they know to Whom they belong. Anyone who has partaken of His grace is among the re-birthed, and the Father knows the ones who are His. Jesus said, “No one knows the Father, except the Son makes this known, and no one knows the Son, except that the Father makes it known”.

According to biblical accounts, a man named Phillip was sent to speak to a high-ranking eunuch about Jesus. The eunuch asked, “Is this about one that is to come, or one that has already come?” Phillip began to preach Christ to him. Phillip wouldn't have even been there except the Lord dialed him into what was happening! And that is why God says we are in this world, but not of it. His life in us has free access to reach out and touch those with whom we come in contact daily. The focus is not upon what we do, but knowing He is there in me in spite of whatever is going down around me. IT'S NOT ABOUT "OUR" MINISTRY! It’s purely about His ministry operating in us.

It amazes me every time I think about how that for most of Jesus' earthly life, no one knew He was God in the flesh, and I see that being equally true of the Living Word being fleshed out in us.

Are we willing to forego the limelight? Are we willing to be made of no reputation? Are we willing to have no identity? Are we willing to be, as it were, planted in the ground, unseen, unheard, so that His life can be formed in us? THAT is what it means to be a Christ-one.


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