Rev. Dr. A. A. Obe (JP)
April 2, 2023
THE LIFE OF A CHRISTIAN
TOPIC: THE LIFE OF A CHRISTIAN
BIBLE READING: JOSHUA 22: 1-34
TEXT: MATTHEW 6:22-24; ROMANS 12:1-2; EPHESIANS 4:25; ISAIAH 11:2
Ephesians 4:25 – 25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.
Ephesians 4:25 – 25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.
Isaiah 11:2 – 2 And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;
Matthew 6:22-24 – 22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. 23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! 24 No man 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.
Romans 12:1-2 – 12 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
INTRODUCTION / DEFINITION: A Christian is someone whose behavior and heart reflects Jesus Christ.
Christians were first call CHRISTIAN in Antioch. Acts 11:26 says, “…for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the Church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.” They were called “Christians” because their speech and behavior were like Christ.
WHAT A CHRISTIAN MUST NOT DO:
1. Lying: Tell the truth, even if it is uncomfortable. The truth will set you free.
2. Cheating: Whether a school exam or on a work deadline, cheating will catch up with you.
3. Stealing: Theft is a no-no in the Bible and a prosecutable offense in society.
4. Gossiping: This is a big one. People, no matter how disciplined, gossip. Focus on positive things and talk more about ideas, less about people.
James 1:26 “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.”
5. Instigating conflict: Some of us find enjoyment and fulfillment by making people upset and putting two people against each other. It’s never right; we should promote peace and understanding.
6. Holding grudges: Holding grudges is not Christ-like and it mainly hurts the person who holds onto it.
7. Selfishness: Be helpful and selfless. Desire to see other people succeed and share in their joy.
8. Being flashy: Some of us get addicted to the attention that comes with fancy things. It’s fine to have nice things, but there is no reason to flaunt those things in front of others.
9. Bragging: If you’re doing well, help others do well also. Don’t put yourself above others by bragging – we learn this as children in school.
10. Committing adultery: Christians know they shouldn’t do this, yet it still happens all the time. Practice self discipline, and make good decisions for your family.
11. Being rude: There is never a reason to be rude. Even when people are rude to you, respond with kindness (and of course stick up for yourself).
12. Impatience: Impatience isn’t necessarily a sin, but if it results in hurting other people it is. Practice patience.
13. Holding guilt: Guilt can be very detrimental in a Christian. If we experience guilt from a previous decision or mistake, settle it with the individual and with God, and then do your best to move forward.
14. Promoting sexuality (by dress or lifestyle): These days it’s hard to avoid. It seems like less is more and pushing the envelope is rewarded. Sexuality is great, but for Christians, there it’s not meant to be promoted publicly.
15. Greediness: No one likes being around a greedy person. Share with others and give back to the community.
LIFE STYLE EXPECTED FROM A CHRISTIAN
1. Prayerful: Our prayer time is our personal time with God. This is the time when we block out the distractions of the world, and concentrate our attention strictly on our Creator. By connecting with God in this way, every day, we put ourselves in a better frame of mind to deal with everything we will face in our day-to-day lives.
This is something we should look forward to as well. After all, it is the Holy Spirit who equips us and protects us to go out to the world and live our faith. If we miss this step too frequently, our faith can quickly become superficial.
2. Studying the Bible: In order to consider ourselves to be “believers”, we have to be absolutely clear on what it is we actually believe in. We can do this through prayer, personal reflection, fellowship, attending Church, participating in faith-based activities, and even through supplemental study. But the Bible is the very Word of God – the source for everything that we all believe in.
The only way to be clear on what it is we should believe in is to spend time studying the Bible. You should be purposeful about doing this each and every day.
As believers, we have to acknowledge that there are many doctrines and beliefs that exist throughout the faith. For that reason, we need to be certain as to what the Bible says – and what it doesn’t. That’s the only way that we can know if a doctrine or belief truly comes from God.
3. Thankfulness: It’s all too easy to sink into self-pity – in fact; it’s practically the way of the world (just watch TV talk shows if you doubt that). There’s plenty happening in your life and in the world to regret or be bitter about. But it’s important that we understand that as Christians were called to come out and to be different. Rather than immersing ourselves in the negatives that are all around us, it’s far more important that we make it a practice to be thankful each and every day.
Don’t underestimate the importance of this step. A thankful heart is a changed heart. If forces you to focus your attention on the good things that God has given you in your life (starting with eternal life), rather than on the missed opportunities and unfortunate circumstances that we’ve all been exposed to. A thankful heart also makes it easier to witness to others. The answer to mankind’s problems can be found by seeking out God, that point is best expressed by someone who knows why we should.
Being thankful to God is also a form of positive thinking. It forces you to think about all that’s good in your life, rather than spending time ruminating over your problems. We need to be people of hope, and the only way to do that is by being thankful. And that’s an attitude that is developed on a day by day basis.
One other point: Being thankful is a form of worship – the kind that comes from the heart.
4. Forgiveness: In Matthew 6:14, Jesus tells us “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”
If Jesus is truly our Savior, than we must be absolutely serious on this practice. A forgiving heart is another of those qualities that doesn’t come to us naturally. It’s something that comes about through practice. And we can practice forgiving people each and every day. Once you get into the habit of doing so, it becomes second nature like any other good habit. And it’s a habit that we need to develop. In our sinful hearts, we desperately want to see the flaws in others, while expecting complete forgiveness from others for our own shortcomings. But we cannot expect forgiveness from others, until we are ready to freely give it to them. God requires this of us!
5. Reflect on your own sinfulness: In order to worship a holy God, even to consider the whole concept, we first have to realize our own inherent sinfulness. That means we need to own up to what we’ve done wrong in the past, and what we are doing right now. It is only when we realize the true depth of our sinfulness that can we truly appreciate the need for a Savior.
When doing this, don’t merely concentrate on specific past sins. Rather, focus on the overall state of your heart. That includes your evil and selfish desires, which reveal the true state of your heart. God sees what’s in your heart, no matter how righteous you or others may think you are.
Realizing our own sinful nature is probably the start of all forms of worship. It’s a form of coming to the end of yourself, and that sets the table for true worship. It also makes it considerably easier to forgive others, when you realize the depth of your own sin.
6. Be ready to help where there’s a need
While we’re busy being wrapped up in our own lives and problems, there are people with needs all around us. While it is impractical to spend all day every day helping others with their problems, you can easily choose one or two people to help out each day.
Focus on the people around you, and try to be sensitive to any issues that they may be going through. A kind word or helpful gesture from you could be all it takes to get them moving forward. It will also help them to begin seeing you as a follower of Jesus Christ, and not just another insensitive face in the crowd. Opportunities for more direct witnessing can flow from these encounters.
7. Be careful because your behavior is your most powerful witness to others
In all that you do, understand that your behavior is your most powerful witness to others. All of your best words and impressive pronouncements will become meaningless if your actions go in a different direction.
Whether we like it or not, the world will hold us to a higher standard because we are believers. They will be moved when we practice what we preach, but turned away when we do the opposite.
Each day, consider all of your behaviors, and how they might impact others for good or for evil. Put greater emphasis on your more positive behaviors, and eliminate or gradually reduce those that could be perceived as a negative witness.
While we meditate on the period we are in (Easter) and what we are experiencing in the nation now. Let us ask ourselves these basic questions:
Am I still a Christian
Am I still living a good Christian Life?
Do I still have the spirit of God in me?
If your answer is yes then:
Why the hate? Why the rebellion?
Why the hypocrisy? Why the fake life?
Why the digging of hole against you brother? Why are you doing that evil you are doing?
Remember, it is not too late to return back to God and repent. Then you will enjoy – Isaiah 11:2
Isaiah 11:2 “And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord;”
SOME BIBLE VERSES
Romans 12:2 – And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Colossians 3:5-10 – Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
Matthew 7:21-23 – 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.
James 1:26 – If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.
James 1:22-27 – But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
James 1:19-20 – Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
Ephesians 4:32 – And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Ephesians 4:1-6 – I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
James 2:14-24 – What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
Romans 12:1 – I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
Hebrews 13:5 – Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
Proverbs 28:20 – A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent.
Matthew 6:24 – No man 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.
Rev. Dr. A.A Obe