Living the Christian Life
John 3:16 tells us that a person becomes a believer by accepting the gospel
message of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us
that when we are saved, we become a new creation, and God gives us the
rest of our life to live as His sons and daughters on this
earth. Romans 15:6 tells us that it is our duty to glorify
God. But how can we best glorify God as believers?
I believe that there are ten important principals for living the
Christian life. In order to best glorify God, Christians must
understand and obey these principals, and apply them to our daily
lives. I would like to share these ten principals with you today.
The first principal is prosperity, and I would like for you to turn in your Bibles to Matthew 6:19-21.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where
moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.
But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven,
where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where
your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Verse 19 teaches us that true prosperity is measured in terms of
eternal riches, not earthly ones. Luke 6:20 says,
“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of
God." Job 22:25 says that God Almighty will be your gold, the
choicest silver for you. Genesis 49:26 says that God's
blessings are greater than the blessings of the ancient mountains and
the bounty of the age-old hills.
So what are among these blessings that God gives us? Romans
2:4 says that God gives us the eternal treasures of His kindness and
patience. Romans 9:23 says the He gives us His
glory. Romans 11:33 says that He gives us His wisdom and
knowledge. Colossians 1:27 and 2:2 even say that God gives us
the complete understanding of His mystery. Ephesians 1:18
says that He blesses us with His glorious inheritance.
Ephesians 1:7 and 2:7 say that He gives us His grace.
Ephesians 3:8 promises that there are no limits to the riches of Christ
Jesus. Proverbs 22:1 says, "A good name is more desirable
than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold."
Still, God does not ignore us in terms our earthly wealth.
Genesis 49:25 tells us that God blesses us with "blessings of the skies
above, blessings of the deep springs below, and blessings of the breast
and womb." God blesses us with nature, with the sky and the
waterways, and with children and grandchildren.
Philippians 4:19 says, "And my God will meet all your needs according
to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus." Psalm 128:2
teaches that "You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours."
God's rule for accumulating earthly wealth is found in Proverbs 13:11:
dwindles away, but whoever gathers money
little by little makes it grow." God wants the best for us, but it's
not His plan for us to become wealthy by luck, or by gambling, or by
games of chance. We are to save, and to give, little by
little, consistently over a number of years, and God will bless us.
2) The Church
The next principal that all Christians must understand is the doctrine
of the Church, so please turn in your Bibles to Ephesians
4:11-13. In this passage, God tells us the purpose of the church.
"And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets,
and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the
equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of
the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and
of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of
the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ."
Christ gave us the Church in order to give us unity, encouragement, and
maturity in the faith. We are to exercise our spiritual
gifts, and help each other to know and be sure of what we
believe. We're built up through the equipping and the
encouragement of our fellow Christians. This is why He gave
us a diversity of gifts, and this should be the goal of the Church.
Verse 14 goes on to tell us that the Church should be what promotes us
out of being infants in the faith, "tossed back and forth by the waves,
and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning
and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming." Verses
15 and 16 teach that instead, we need to "grow up" in the faith, and
"build up" each other. That's Christ's purpose for the church--to
equip us for spiritual maturity, and to encourage and edify each other in the faith.
We must also understand the doctrine of the judgment of God.
2 Corinthians 5:10 says, "For we must all appear before the judgment
seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in
the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad."
This verse reaffirms the truth that God is just. For
unbelievers, His eternal judgment will be quite fearful, but for
believers it will be a shining event of glory and justice.
Revelation 20:11 tells us that the judgment of unbelievers will occur
at the great white throne. The deeds of those unbelievers
will be examined, and all will be found lacking. Since they
had not placed their faith in Jesus Christ, their names will not be
found in the book of life, and they will suffer eternal separation from God.
However, Romans 14:10 teaches that the judgment of all believers will
occur at the Judgment Seat of Christ. The Judgment Seat
introduces what 1 Corinthians 1:8 calls "the Day of the Lord Jesus
Christ." We are charged to be prepared for it, and to remain
blameless in this life until that day.
So what will be the results of the Judgment Seat of Christ?
Please turn in your Bibles to 1 Corinthians 3:12-15.
"Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious
stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will
become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed
with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each
man’s work. If any man’s work which he
has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any
man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself
will be saved, yet so as through fire."
We see that each person's "work will be shown for what it is, because
the Day will bring it to light." Christ will test the quality
of our works with fire, which will burn up the wood, hay, and straw,
but leave the pure gold, silver, and precious stones. He will
repay us for our deeds in the body, according to what we've done,
whether good or bad. He will reveal whether our good works
were only humanly good works produced by the flesh like the wood, hay, and straw.
This is similar human good produced by good unbelievers. Even
unbelievers can do humanly good works, but they're not inspired by the
Holy Spirit. Christ will reveal which of our good works came
from the divine power of the Holy Spirit in the form of gold, silver,
and precious stones. Philippians 4:17 says that He will
credit our account for the divine good works that survive the test of fire.
For our human good works, we will suffer loss of rewards, although
we'll keep our eternal life. God will judge our service to
Him, and Colossians 3:24 says that we will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward."
We're not given many details of these rewards, but any reward from God
is wonderful and worthy of our service. Our rewards may be
personal commendations from Jesus, like that in Matthew 25:21, "Well
done, good and faithful servant." Revelation 3:11 says that
our rewards may be in the form of crowns. The epistles teach
that these may be crowns of glory, or crowns of righteousness,
or crowns of life, or crowns of authority. No matter what our
rewards are, we know that God will make all of our service to Him
worthwhile. We need to understand that after salvation
while we remain on the earth, our duty is to serve God, knowing that we will gain rewards from Jesus Christ.
However, there's a critical companion verse here, dealing with
humility. Matthew 6:1 says, "Be careful not to practice your righteousness
in front of others to be seen by them. If you
do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven."
The choice is ours: cheap, temporal rewards from men; or, eternal and priceless rewards from God.
Next, we must understand the doctrine of prayer.
Philippians 4:6 says, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by
prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God."
Just as breathing is necessary to sustain our physical lives, we must
sustain our spiritual lives by inhaling Bible doctrine and exhaling
prayers to God. Ephesians 2:18 tells us that we have access
to God through Jesus Christ. Romans 8:26 promises that the
Spirit intercedes for us. Hebrews 4:16 commands us to draw near to the throne of God.
As God sustains our spiritual lives through Bible study and prayer, we
have no reason to be anxious about anything. Paul wrote these
words while he was in prison. If Paul was able to rid himself
of anxiety while in chains, it should be much easier for us to do so.
Supplication is the part of prayer where we simply let requests be made
known unto God. James 5:13-14 says that, although he is
omniscient, we should be specific in telling God about our needs.
Thanksgiving is as essential as supplication. We need to
thank God for previous answers to prayer. We need to thank
Him for the unsolicited blessings of grace, which he showers upon us
even when we are neglectful in our prayer lives 1 Timothy 2:1-2 says,
"I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and
thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those
in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness."
Confession is another critical aspect of prayer. 1 John 1:9
says that when we pray, we should confess our sins to God.
The first thing we should do when we pray is to tell God specifically
where we have failed Him. Although we have eternal
forgiveness for all sins through the cross, God also grants us temporal forgiveness when we confess our sins.
One of the most important principals for a Christian to understand is the doctrine of humility.
Philippians 2:3 says, "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit,
but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves."
One of the most repeated themes throughout the Scriptures is that of humility.
Without humility, it is not even possible for us to admit our sins and
to be saved. Philippians 2:3 tells us that a truly humble
person actually consider others as more important than
himself. A truly humble person doesn't just say this, but his
actions bear out what's in his heart. If a driver cuts me off
in traffic, I lovingly yield to him instead of becoming angry, because he truly is more important than me.
A humble person is most often a quite person. 1 Timothy 2:2
says that we should strive to "lead a tranquil and quiet life in all
godliness and dignity." In Exodus 14:14, Israel was told, "The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still."
The humility of a humble person will be evidenced in the way he talks.
He will be quiet most of the time--more interested in hearing what the
other person has to say. Proverbs 17:27 says, "He who
restrains his words has knowledge." Proverbs 10:19 says,
"When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but he who
restrains his lips is wise." Proverbs 29:11 says, "A fool
always loses his temper, but a wise man holds it back." And,
finally, one of my favorite verses is Proverbs 17:28. It
says, "Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; When he
closes his lips, he is considered prudent."
It's easy for us to overlook the importance of learning Bible doctrine.
Romans 12:2 says, "And do not be conformed to this world, but be
transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what
the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect."
In order to avoid being conformed to this world, we have to renew our
minds, and we do this by learning God's truths through Bible
study. Then we will have the maturity to discern God's will,
and to please Him with what is good, acceptable, and perfect.
In John 14:15, Jesus said, "If you love
me, you will obey what I command."
However, how can we obey his commandments if we don't first learn what
they are? We're not born with an inherent wisdom of the
Bible, and God doesn't supernaturally fill our brains with the
information that He wants to reveal to us.
Instead, He transforms us by the renewing of our minds as we study His Word.
Romans 8:6 reminds us that we should have our minds set on the Spirit.
Ephesians 5:17 tells us that we should learn what is pleasing to the Lord.
In Colossians 1:9-10, we see that God wants us to strive for "the
knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding,"
so that we will "live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in
every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God."
2 Corinthians 10:5 says that we are to take every thought captive
because the mind is more important than the flesh. Proverbs
4:7 tells us that wisdom is the most important thing.
The doctrine of imputation
is one of the most wondrous gifts of salvation.
Romans 5:19 says, "For as through the one man's disobedience the many
were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous."
Through faith in Christ, we are blessed by the doctrine of imputation,
in two ways. First, all of our sins are imputed to Christ,
and His death on the cross covers any sin
we have ever committed, or ever will commit. Then, through His conquering of all sin
by his burial and resurrection, He imputes His perfect righteousness
to us, so that we are presentable to God. Galatians 2:20 says,
"It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which
I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me."
Imputation gives us newness of life. Romans 6:4 says,
"Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so
that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the
Father, so we too might walk in newness of life."
Furthermore, Romans 7:6 says, "But now we have been released from the
Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in
newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter."
By His grace, God indwells His believers with His Holy
Spirit. 1 Samuel 10:6 says, "Then the Spirit of the LORD will
come upon you mightily, and you shall prophesy with them and be changed
into another man." This newness of life is further revealed
in 2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new
creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come."
In this newness of life, we are no longer held eternally accountable for our sins.
Even if we wanted to, we would not be able to atone for our
sins. Romans 7:20 says, "If I am doing the very thing I do
not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin
which dwells in me." I am a new creature, and I should live my life such that others want what I have.
Next we come to the doctrine of love,
and I'd like for you to turn to 1 John 4:16. "And so we know and rely on the love
God has for us. God is love.
Whoever lives in love
lives in God, and God in them."
This passage teaches us that God is love,
and that love
comes from God.
God demonstrated His endless love
for us by sending His one and only Son into the world. Jesus Christ was the only acceptable
atoning sacrifice for our sins, so that we can now live through Him.
Just as God so loved us, we should love
Him, and love one another.
If we love
one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
Verse 21 of this passage says, "Anyone who loves God must also love
their brother and sister." If we don't love,
we don't know God, because God is love.
Verse 20 says "Whoever claims to love
God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar.
For whoever does not love
their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love
God, whom they have not seen."
Our purpose is this life is to glorify God, and to do His
will. In Luke 22:42, when Christ prayed on the Mount of
Olives, he said, "Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me;
yet not My will, but Yours be done." We must do His will, and
do things that are pleasing to Him. 1 Corinthians 13:13 says
that we please God by doing good, and an obvious beginning toward doing
good is to love
one another. Galatians 5:14 says that it
pleases God when we love
Him, and when we love
one another as ourselves. This is a godly love,
meaning that we're willing to pursue the well-being of others, to the extent that we're willing to
make sacrifices for them. We maintain an attitude that is
free of any ill will or dissent toward them. 1 Corinthians
13:8 says that this kind of love never fails.
1 Corinthians 14:1 says that we are to aggressively pursue this love.
Of course, all Christians must understand the doctrine of faith, because it is through faith that we become believers.
Please turn to Galatians 2:16.
God gave us this verse so that we would have absolutely no question as
to whether we are saved through faith or through works.
"Nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the
Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ
Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the
works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified."
There are dozens of verses that repeat these truths, such as John 3:16
and Acts 16:31. However, none do so more emphatically than Galatians 2:16.
The apostle Paul states the truth as adamantly as possible.
Over and over in this passage, he declares that man is justified
through faith in Jesus Christ, and not by works.
Faith is crucial in the Christian life, both for eternal salvation
and for our earthly stewardship. Faith constitutes our part of salvation,
but Ephesians 2:8 says that even our faith comes from
God. Our daily walk must incorporate our faith in God, as we
strive to please Him and bring glory to Him. Hebrews 11:6
says, "And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who
comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him."
Finally, I believe that the doctrine of grace is the most important doctrine for a Christian to understand.
Ephesians 2:8 says, "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God."
Grace is the tenet of Christianity that separates it from all other faiths.
It is by grace that we have eternal life. It is all God's doing, not ours.
is a gift from God, and verse 9 goes on to assert that it is
not by any works that man can do. We can only accept God's
free gift of grace, through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross.
2 Corinthians 8-9 explain that Grace is absolutely free.
Isaiah 64:4 tells us that grace is given to us freely by God, and
nothing we can do could earn what He gives us. Furthermore, 2
Peter 3:18 commands us to "continue to grow in grace." Just
as God has freely showered us with His grace, our lives should reflect His grace to others.
In summary, there are ten doctrines that all Christians must understand
if they are going to bring the maximum glory to God. The
doctrine of prosperity teaches that we seek true spiritual prosperity,
and God will provide us with material prosperity according to his
unending riches. The doctrine of the Church tells us that we
are to edify and encourage each other in the Church of Christ Jesus, by
discovering and using our spiritual gifts. The doctrine of
judgment informs us of eternal justice--the judgment of believers at
the Judgment Seat of Christ, and the judgment of unbelievers at the Great White throne.
The doctrine of prayer teaches that we must spend time in our daily
prayer lives, praising Him, thanking Him, confessing to Him, and asking for His help.
The doctrine of humility shows us that we must be humble to the extent
of actually considering others as being more important than ourselves.
The doctrine of learning tells us that we must spend time in daily
Bible study, so that, just like breathing, we can inhale God's Word, and exhale prayers to Him.
The doctrine of imputation
ensures us that just as Adam imputed sin
to us, so Christ Jesus imputed His perfect righteousness
to us, so that we are now presentable to God. The doctrine of love
teaches that God is love,
and we must love
God, and love
others as ourselves. The doctrine of faith clarifies that salvation
is by faith and not works, and we must continue to live our Christian
lives by faith. And, finally, the doctrine of grace is the
most precious doctrine of all. God's gift of grace is what
saved us, through the sacrifice of His perfect son for us. We
are saved by grace, and we are to continue to grow in grace.
Owen Weber 2011