What Characterizes Christianity Pt.2
Christians are to be Characterized by Commitment
A.Staying Committed to the Work of the Lord
1. This Work is to be Done with Diligence
a. Serve Christ Fanatically
The word “Slothful” means to be lazy, tardy, to be inactive.
1. Paul was addressing the problem of laziness and inactivity in this church.
2. They had become inactive in the business of God, doing nothing of eternal value.
3. Paul was exhorting them to lay hold of every opportunity to serve the Lord. He was expressing a great urgency in service, whether it is encouraging the saints or evangelizing the sinners. Not sit, soak, and sour but serve!
b. Basically he said, make your life count, be about the Fathers business
c. I want to say that the same problem that existed in Paul’s day is the same problem that exists in our day. There is a problem of laziness.
d. There seems to be no interest among God’s people in the things of God
1. Christians are inactive and lazy concerning God’s business
2. We are diligent about a lot of other things in our life. (work, careers, recreation)
3. What about God’s business?
e. Make your life count. You can achieve awards, accomplish great things, and even cure cancer, but if you’ve done nothing for God, then you’ve done nothing.
f. Paul had in view here the spiritual decay of his time.
Eph 5:16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
g. When God’s people become lazy, they prevent righteousness and evil prospers.
Illustration: Someone said, “For weeds to prosper, the gardener need only to leave the garden alone.”
Application: How would you characterize your service? Are you inactive and lazy about the Lords work? If so, would you repent of that today and realize that God didn’t save you to sit, soak, and sour from a church pew?
2. This Work is to be Done with Delight
a. Serve Christ Fittingly
The word “Slothful” carries a second meaning, and it means to be burdensome, grievous, tedious, and tiresome.
1. Paul is now beginning to deal with their attitude of service.
2. He said don’t view your service for the Lord this way.
b. Christians view serving the Lord this way.
1. Service is a Burden and not a Blessing
2. Service is a Duty and not a Delight
3. Service is a Sorrowful and not Satisfying
c. Coming to church, outreach, jobs in the church, studying, prayer time, etc.
d. Paul said when you serve the Lord, serve in delight
Psalms 40:8 I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.
Application: Serving Christ should never be grievous or troublesome. What is your attitude of service? How do you see it?
3. This Work is to be Done with Desire
a. Serve Christ Fervently
1. The word “fervent” means to be enthusiastic. It means to boil in the Spirit. It means to show great eagerness for something. Its kind alike a steam engine having enough heat that will produce enough energy to get the job done.
2. Paul is saying that the believer must be fired up by the Holy Spirit.
Paul in this text is not talking about human effort. In the Greek, when speaking of spirit, if the direct article is missing it is talking about the attitude of a man. Here it is present and it references the Holy Spirit.
a. It is the Spirit that Energizes the Believer
He will give you a passion for people
b. It is the Spirit that Excites the Believer
We need to be excited about Jesus. We must present Him and what He did as the greatest event in history.
c. It is the Spirit that Enables the Believer Acts 1:8
d. It is the Spirit that Encourages the Believer
God wants you to serve Him in His strength, not yours. I believe that is why so many have lost their desire to serve, is because they have tried in their own strength and failed. Be filled with Spirit and serve God in the Spirit. A Spirit filled believer will serve God Fervently!
3. Paul said what should characterize the believer is that we should be boiling over with enthusiasm about serving the Lord.
4. The nature of the Holy Spirit desires to accomplish the work of Christ by enabling the people of God to serve Christ and speak of Christ.
5. If people have no desire to serve they are ether out of fellowship or unsaved.
6. A true mark of being filled with the Holy Spirit is a desire to serve.
Illustration: 'Every great movement in the annals of history,' said Emerson, 'is the triumph of enthusiasm.'
It is derived, that magic name, from two Greek words: ‘en’ meaning in and ‘theos’ meaning God. Enthusiasm is literally 'God in us'. The enthusiastic man is one who speaks as if he were possessed by God.
Application: How’s your spiritual thermometer? Are you boiling over and anxious to serve? Are you excited about Jesus? Do you have a passion for people? Be honest. Have you cooled down on Christ? You must come and fan the flames on your relationship once again.
4. This Work is to be Done with Devotion
a. Serve Christ Faithfully
In Romans 12 Paul used 3 Greek words to define Christian service.
1. In v.1 he used “latreia” which is translated, “service of worship.”
2. The second word is “diakonia” which pertains to practical service.
3. Here in v.11, Paul used “douleu” which refers to the service of a bond slave.
b. Paul defined the reason for the churches existence; to do their Masters will.
c. Paul had in mind here the relationship between a Hebrew Master and his slave. It was a voluntary service based on respect, gratitude, and love.
Illustration: Paul said I willingly surrender my life to your service. In Exodus 21:5, the Bible speaks of this bond slave. A person who by means of poverty, in debt and couldn’t pay, or committed a crime was sold to pay the debt. They were now property of their master, committed entirely to his will. After six years he could go free, it was his choice. He could stay and lovingly serve his master, or live by his own resources. Many, because of how their master treated them, and the great love they had for their master, would declare their allegiance for life in a labor of love.
Application: Christ found us in such a shape. We were bankrupt, depraved, and perishing. But Christ purchased us and we are His property. Serving Christ is a matter of love. It’s who you love the most. Who do you love the most? Will you leave the service of the Master?B. Staying Committed in the Woes of this Life
1. Be Continually in Praise (present active)
Paul was instructing them how to respond under the pressures of life.
a. This Praise is in the Promises of God, Our future glory.
1. Hope is an Absolute Promise
a. This Hope has Given the Believer a Standing
1. Paul talking about our perspective of this world. Looking at Earthly Problems from an Eternal Perspective
Rm.8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
2. Paul was telling them to evaluate their Present Situation in light of their Permanent Standing. They were saved! And God has promised them a glorious home.
3. The hope of the believer is Christ! And that Christ has redeemed us and delivered us out of the corruption and judgment of this world.
4. A hope that nothing will ever strip us of our standing nor ever separate us from Christ. Romans 8:35-39
5. Jesus said in Luke 10:20, Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.
6. Paul once again in 2Cor.4:17-18 said,
17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Notice the language Paul used. He said the Difficulties were light, the Duration was short, but the Dividends were glorious and eternal. In spite of all he had endured, he was able to have victory because of hope.
2. Hope is an Able Protector
a. This Hope has Given the Believer a Shield
1. This hope will keep us in temptation.
1Thess 5:8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
3. Hope is an Assurance Provided
a. This Hope has Given the Believer Stability
Heb. 6:19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;
1. In the most violent storms the anchor was the ships hope. It kept the ship both secure and stable. It is cast into the unseen depths and fastens to unmovable rocks below securing the ship.
2. In the storms of this life we have an anchor for the soul. It is an anchor of hope, hope in the Lord Jesus Christ. Our hope is cast into the unseen of heaven and is fastened to the Rock, the Lord Jesus Christ.
3. Christ keeps us stable and secure. Our hope is in the sure promises of His grace.
4. Hope is an Anticipation
a. This Hope has Given the Believer Satisfaction
b. This Hope has Given the Believer Sanctification
1John 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
We realize this world is not our home that we just don’t fit in. We have the hope of one day being in His presence delivered from the afflictions of this world.
Because of this hope believers have the responsibility to obey and submit to the Holy Spirit, and allow Him to conform them to the image of Christ.
Application: How do you respond to affliction?
2. Be Confident in Persecution
a. There is Profit in Problems
1. The word “patient” means to resume, to remain despite deep difficulty.
2. There seems to be the theme of attitude here in Paul’s statement.
3. Instead of grumbling, being down cast, and consumed with self pity, be patient
Jam.1: 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
a. In trials God teaches you about you.
1. You discover your pride and He brings about humility
2. You discover your weakness and He brings about strength
3. You discover your inability and He brings about dependency
4. You discover your sin and He brings about repentance
5. You discover your self – centeredness and He brings about surrender
b. In trials God teaches you about Him
1. He is love 3. He is dependable 5. He is interested in you
2. He is faithful 4. He is holy 6. He is working to make you like Jesus Ps119:67
c. In trials God is refining your faith (Explain context of 1Pt.)
1 Peter 1: 6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
1Pt. 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
Illustration: During a Monday night football game between the Chicago Bears and the New York Giants, one of the announcers observed that Walter Payton, the Bears' running back, had accumulated over nine miles in career rushing yardage. The other announcer remarked, "Yeah, and that's with somebody knocking him down every 4.6 yards!" Walter Payton, the most successful running back ever, knows that everyone --even the very best-- gets knocked down. The key to success is to get up and run again just as hard.
Application: Are you patient? Would you say Lord use this affliction to strengthen and change me for your glory? Would patiently allow God to work in you ?
3. Be Consistent in Prayer
a. This is the greatest of our Christian duties. We are never to neglect it
b. Butler says, “Persistent praying is a true mark of faith.”
c. If you’re praying you’re persevering. Jesus said, in Luke 18:1 that “Men ought to always pray, and not faint.”
d. One man said this, “If you want to stay on your feet in this world, you better stay on your knees.”
e. We are instructed and invited to come before the throne of grace.
Heb.4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
1. Prayer is essential.
2. It is our life line
3. You draw close to God through prayer
4. You receive strength
5. You receive instruction
6. You receive power
7. Your needs are met
8. Grace and mercy are plentiful at His throne
9. It is where we commune and fellowship with Jesus
10. Prayer will bring deliverance out of defeat
f. Don’t allow anything to drive you away.
Illustration: Early African converts to Christianity were earnest and regular in private devotions. Each one reportedly had a separate spot in the thicket where he would pour out his heart to God. Over time the paths to these places became well worn. As a result, if one of these believers began to neglect prayer, it was soon apparent to the others. They would kindly remind the negligent one, "Brother, the grass grows on your path."
Application: How is your prayer life? For most people it is an object of neglect. This is the reason that a lot of people are not close to God at all. This is why a lot of Christians are not in love with Christ and are not near to Him. Do you neglect this great privilege? Would you come today and renew your commitment to prayer?