So You Wanna Be a Christian

by Dr. Ken Matto

One of the most misunderstood entities in the world today is Christianity. This is so because the church itself has sent mixed signals into the church. Many clergy and other church leaders have abandoned the teachings of Scripture in lieu of feeling based Christianity. The charismatic movement is welcomed in many churches and causes serious division in every church it invades. Satan has used this Trojan Horse movement to divide the church and wreck it from within. God had already seen this problem 700 years before Pentecost which is the official birth of the church even though God was saving Old Testament saints in the same manner He saves us, through Grace. He warns us in Jeremiah 23:

(Jer 23:1-2 KJV) Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD. {2} Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD.

This is the identical situation today. As the priests in ancient Israel were adapting to the ways of the nations which surrounded them, many of the clergy today are adapting the theology of false churches which surround them resulting in a compromised church. It is for this reason that the world sees Christianity as a "have it your way" religion.

Yet there is a remnant of true believers who will not stay in churches possessed by this evil movement. Many in the outside world look at these churches and even try them to see if God will do for them what they want. The name it and claim it gospel is a blight on the true church.

Not only does the true church have this movement to deal with but true Christians are also categorized as follows:

[It is interesting to note that when a sports freak paints his chest and then takes his shirt off in sub-zero temperature, he is not referred to as a fanatic but when a Christian hands out a tract to someone, they are called a fanatic. Well I call those guys who take their shirt off in sub-zero weather, idiots. They may impress the others in the crowd who possess sub-zero intellects.]

A person cannot just walk into a church building and believe they are instantly transformed into being a Christian. Christianity is not a "Reformational Religion" but it is a "Transformational Faith." If somebody wants to reform their ways then churchianity may be the answer. They may hear a couple of guilt manipulating sermons and then get the answer they need and be on their way. Meanwhile their sins have not been forgiven which means they are still dead in them.

(Luke 11:24-26 KJV) When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out. {25} And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished. {26} Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.

These verse above give the essence of reformation without transformation. A person who attempts to reform themselves runs the risk of winding up worse than their beginning. It is like a crash diet, you may initially lose 50 pounds but the reality is you may gain 75 back. This is the danger of false churches who give the impression of being Christian when they are far from it. The real horror story comes on the last day when this person who thought they were so good and who spoke in tongues as "evidence" of their salvation will be standing before the Lord in judgment because they were never saved.

(Mat 7:21-23 KJV) Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. {22} Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? {23} And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

These are probably the most ominous verses in Scripture because once you hear the above words, it is too late for salvation. That is the biggest danger of false churches, they get people comfortable in religion or signs and wonders and these people live under the umbrella of a false notion of salvation, then they find themselves under the judgment of God instead of in the grace of God.

What Christianity is not!

Let me make a quick list of what Christianity is not since many people have their introduction to it in a false church. Christianity is not:

There are many more things which the church has adopted and adapted to which has marred the true essence of Christianity. A person who thinks Christianity is just jumping up and down and clapping your hands in church to a rock band on stage are living under a false assumption. I would at this time like to look at the true sum and substance of Christianity and you will not find anywhere in the Bible where a person can command God to do anything like healing. If God is truly calling a person to salvation, they will look beyond all the fluff which the church has added and go right to the core of Christianity.

What is the essence of True Christianity?

When we speak of the essence of something we speak of the substance of something, we do not speak of the peripheral issues but get right down to the core issues upon which all the other issues emanate. This is what I want to hit on for those who think Christianity is a carnival ride consisting of WWJD jewelry and a Sony Walkman. Maybe through this article you will see if you are playing Christian or if you really are one. Playing Christian grants you no more of heaven than trying to buy your way in.


(Mat 16:24 KJV) Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

The word "deny" is a very strong word in Greek as it denotes a complete and utter denial. This denial is of self for the greater good of sending forth the gospel. It boils down to a simple question, are my "wants" more important than the need of evangelizing. I use the term wants because we all have legitimate needs which must be taken care of. For example if I have $20 and my child needs medicine, do I buy him that or do I save it and put it in the plate. The answer is obvious. The Lord Jesus is giving the Christian a command that the sending forth of the gospel must come first in priority in a Christian’s life. All one needs to do to see the pitiful condition of Christianity today is to just walk into a Christian bookstore. You will see very little on denial but you will see 90% of the books telling you to focus on you through heathen practices such as psychology mixed with a few NIV verses.

If you really want to see what denial is all about, then speak with a missionary who has dedicated themselves to sending out the gospel on mission fields, both in the USA and abroad. Denial is a lifestyle to a dedicated missionary not a theological concept being expounded from the pulpit by a $50,000 per year pastor. Denial of self is the normal way a Christian should live. This does not mean you quit your job and move to a commune, it simply means to deny yourself things this world has to offer to better equip you for sending out the gospel. Christianity is not a Sunday religion where you go to church as your holy hour of obligation and then the rest of the week is spent doing what you like. Denial is studying the Bible when you would rather be watching TV. Denial is going to church in the evening on Super Bowl Sunday unless of course you belong to a church where they obey Satan’s ideas and have a Super Bowl Party at the church instead of hearing the Word of God being expounded. Denial is staying up a little late talking to a brother or sister who needs some spiritual guidance. Denial is buying a used car and using the difference between that and a new car to send forth the gospel. In plain English, denial puts you second and the needs of the Kingdom of Christ first.


(Lev 20:7 KJV) Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God.

(1 Pet 1:15-16 KJV) But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; {16} Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

(Ezek 22:26 KJV) Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they showed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.

Another calling to Christians is that of holiness. Now there are churches which call themselves holiness churches but one must understand that one does not become holy via a denomination but one becomes holy through the grace of God alone. Holiness simply means a separation or consecration to something while simultaneously away from something. When a person becomes saved they have what is called "positional holiness" but as a person grows in the faith they begin to develop "possessional holiness" which simply means you are walking closer to the Lord and walking farther from the principles of the world system.

However, when we view the church today we hardly see any separation principles being applied. Just take the area of music, especially in the charismatic movement, where you have bands with members all pierced and tattooed and playing instruments as loud as worldly concerts. Where is the separation between the holy and the profane in such arenas. Contemporary Christian music has completely mimicked the world of Rock and Roll resulting in a sound which imitates the world. I was coming out of a Christian bookstore by my house and was parked next to a truck. The fellow sitting inside had a Christian rock tape on so loud plus he had on a bandanna on his head. He looked more like a gang member than a Christian.

Unfortunately the church has taught and endorsed the erroneous concept of carnal Christianity. If a person is walking in the spirit they are saved but if they are walking in the flesh, they are giving evidence of their unsaved state.

(Rom 7:5 KJV) For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.

(Rom 8:1, 6-9 KJV) {1} There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. {6} For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. {7} Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. {8} So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. {9} But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

We plainly see that carnality is diametrically opposed to Christianity. No one can claim to be a Christian and then walk in concert with the world.

(Amos 3:3 KJV) Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

This verse from Amos tells us that two cannot walk together unless they are in agreement. This also means that a person who walks with the world must be in agreement with it. If you agree with the world then you disagree with the gospel and the same principle goes for those who are saved. If we walk with the Lord we agree with Him and we disagree with the world. Carnality and Christianity are totally in opposition with each other. It is like Heaven and Hell, you cannot be a citizen of both places nor can you serve both.

(Luke 16:13 KJV) No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

The principle stands, you cannot be a servant of two different and opposed entities.



(Rom 6:6 KJV) Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

"Others May, You Cannot" was a title of a tract which was printed some years ago. It carried with it the principles of living a separated Christian walk. One of the main traits of the Christian walk is to be separate from the evil methods and principles of the world system. When we become Christians, we carry the name of Christ. We have new life and that new life excludes the worldly way of living and thinking which we partook in before we became Christians. Unfortunately the modern church has adopted the way of the world to try and become more closer to the people to reach them. This deplorable method of compromise has only made their congregations twice as much a son of hell.

There are many do’s and don’ts in Christianity when one is living the Christian walk. Should Christian women wear thong bikinis at the beach and then claim "well they shouldn’t be looking." Does a Christian man look godly when there is a cigarette or cigar hanging out of his mouth? What about the Christian who is addicted not to alcohol or smoking but caffeine in coffee. I was addicted to caffeine in coffee until the Lord shipped me to the Hospital with a racing heart. Why do Christians feel they need to have a beer or wine with meals? All of these things minister to the flesh. I remember years ago when I was a young Christian I attended a Bible study and one person was there who frequented the VFW so he could drink. He claimed he did it to reach his buddies at the bar. What kind of witness would you be with a shot of whiskey in one hand and a tract in the other. Believe me after a few belts you will forget about the witness and focus on your next drink.

It was told to me that Moody and Spurgeon confronted each other on their worldly habits. Moody chided Spurgeon on his cigar smoking and Spurgeon chided Moody on his being overweight. So which one was the better witness, the glutton or the smoker? As Christians we seem to forget that we need to drop all our pet sins which we held as unbelievers. There is no such thing as "eclectic" Christianity when it comes to our lifestyle. We must keep our fleshly desires at bay. Is it easy, NO! But our standard must never be other Christians, it must be the Word of God. Just because we see other Christian doing something questionable, does that automatically give us permission. The same God who destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah over sin, still has the same attitude toward sin and just because we are saved does not mean we presume upon the grace of God for a conveniently skewed definition of Christian Liberty. Christian Liberty is the believer not having to conform and do the dictates of the law of God for salvation but we conform to the law of God as our guideline for living the Christian walk. What has happened to the principle of Christian Liberty is that the Christian has widened the meaning to include their pet sins such as drinking, smoking, and whatever else they are in to which they refuse to give up. This is known as ‘eisegesis" which is putting meaning in where none exists. So to those who think Christianity is easy you better realize that there is much to give up, yet there is much to gain. God never takes away unless He puts something better in its place.



(Josh 1:8 KJV) This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

If there is one thing which characterizes the true Christian it is the fact they are strict adherents to the Bible. God gave us His word as a guidebook after salvation and a guide to salvation:

(Rom 10:17 KJV) So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

The Bible must become the written centerpiece of the life of a Christian. Too many people today are following philosophies and theories and attempting to impose those thoughts on the Bible and then preach or teach an amalgamated gospel. The Bible in the King James Version is the pure Word of God and when the Bible tells us to do something, we are to be obedient without complaining. If someone says turn left and the Bible says right, then we must obey the Bible. The apostles ran into this situation:

(Acts 5:29 KJV) Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

Here the apostles were threatened with their lives if they didn’t stop preaching the gospel of Christ but their response was they must obey God rather than men. The Bible supersedes all the writings of men because it is God’s inerrant Word and when the Bible commands us to go forth, we march courageously not caring what man may do to us. The Bible is our key to unlocking the will of God in our lives and to unlock that key we must be in it daily. The Bible is inexhaustible since no mere human being can exhaust the infinite depths of God.


These 4 points should sufficiently define the essence of living a true Christian life. These 4 points are definitely foreign to the paperback NIV crowd who view Christianity as some sort of Sunday morning hootenanny with all the trimmings of a rock concert. That is the farthest thing from true Christianity. God is to be worshipped with reverence and holiness and not 107 decibels of drums and guitars with repetitive choruses which cause people to go into a tongue speaking trance. If you want to be a Christian, then you must take into consideration what I have presented here.


PS: But first before you can be a Christian, you must be part of the Elect.