Christian Life

Living the Christian Life

For Believers

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.

1) Prosperity

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:
"Dishonest money 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.

3) Judgment

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.

4) Prayer

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.

5) Humility

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."

6) Learning

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.

7) Imputation

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.

8) Love

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.

9) Faith

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."

10) Grace

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.

Salvation 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.

27 min.

Owen Weber 2011