The Bible tells us in the book of Acts that the disciples were first called Christians at Antioch (Acts 11:26). This title was given because they were followers of Christ. They did not choose this title for themselves, rather it was given to them by those who recognized that they were following Jesus. These same people that called them Christians were the same people seeking to persecute and kill the them. The disciples embraced that name and recognized that suffering as a Christian was nothing to be ashamed of, they praised God for it.
1 Peter 4:16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.
Things have changed over the years. While the word Christian should still represent those who follow Jesus, that is not always case. First of all, today we choose to call ourselves Christians, no one else places that title upon us. Some people claim to be Christian if they are born into a family that also claims that same title. Some choose to use it because they belong to certain churches that use it. Others embrace it for they think it makes them special or gives them certain advantages. However, while they claim and use the title of Christian they are not recognizable as such. Unless they tell you they are a christian, no one would really know that they were following Christ. With all these people calling themselves Christian we find that we have yet an even greater problem. How do you define a Christian? What is a Christian?
While there are many sincere and legitimate Christians, there are also many who simply do not know what real Christianity is. It is very difficult to find two "Christians" who agree on doctrine, however those same two people will call themselves and each other Christians. To the world, a Christian is anyone who professes to follow Jesus. Never is their doctrine taken into consideration, they are always taken at their word. This is very sad and has led to much confusion. It has also led many people away from ever wanting to find out more about Jesus. We must stop using this title so loosely. A Christian is and should only be someone who follows the teachings of Jesus Christ as they are stated in the Bible. Saying you are a Christian does not make it so.
Of course everyone who uses the title Christian will argue that they do follow Jesus. The question we must ask is how can we be sure? We must look to God's Word and see what the true Chrisians believe. We must learn who Jesus really was and what he taught. We must follow those guidelines to determine who is or is not a Christian. We should never take man at his word alone, this includes men who are leaders.
Do you call yourself a Christian? Why? How did you learn what Christianity is? So many people go to church seeking to find out about Jesus and become Christians, but those same people rarely open God's Word. They follow other "Christians" who turn out to not be Christians at all. While they use the title and say they follow Jesus, the Jesus they are teaching looks nothing like the Jesus in the Bible.
The Bible is replete with passages warning of us false teachers and false doctrines. It even warns us that people are teaching another Jesus and another gospel. The Bible is clear that we are not to embrace, allow, or follow false teachings. Today however, we are taught to embrace these differences and recognize them all as "Christians," no matter what they believe. Most people have no problem with this because they do not know enough about the Bible to recognize the truth from error anyway. Without reading, studying and meditating on God's Word we will never know the truth. If it's the truth that sets us free, how can we be free without it? Don't let other men fool you into believing their false doctrine. Read God's Word and make sure you truly are a Christian.
Gal 1:6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel- 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!
2 Cor 11: 4 For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough...13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.
2 Peter 2:1 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them-bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.