Basic Christianity 102.

Christianity is the lifestyle of a person who is knowingly alive because of a God who is GOOD and who sent his son (also God and also GOOD) to die in our place since we were all spiritually dead as a result of our sin.

Having accepted Jesus' sacrifice for our sin and put our lives into His hands, the next question is, "What Now"? How do we live this new life as a Christian. What's different?

Let's see what the Bible has to say about this. Who is our guide and what are the guidelines?

If you've read "Basic Christianity 101" you'll know that we rest in Jesus and His finished work and that it's Jesus who does all things pertaining to righteousness through us. It's not we who do it but Jesus who does it through us. His is the power that enables us to live lives pleasing to God.

Gal 2:20-21 I have been crucified with Christ, and I live; yet no longer I, but Christ lives in me. And that life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith toward the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself on my behalf.

But, "How"?

Just as the disciples of the 1st century could not do right without Jesus, so we also cannot do right of ourselves. Jesus knew this even better than we did so He provided the means for us to follow Him, in the form of the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit is key to our lives in Christ.

When Jesus knew that His time on Earth was short he gave information on what would happen when He was not here physically any more and how all His followers would be helped by His replacement here on Earth.

Joh 14:15-17 If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

Joh 14:25-26 These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

Jesus is living His life through Christians as we trust Him and this is achieved by us yielding to the promptings of Holy Spirit who is with us and IN us. He teaches us and reminds us of what we have learned from the word of God to fit the situation.

As we hear the word of God and speak the word and read the word we grow in faith and knowledge of what the Christian life and lifestyle is like and though the power of God (Holy Spirit in us) we are enabled to walk out that lifestyle.

So what are some bullet-points from God's word as to how we are to live?

1. We draw close to Father God, Jesus and Holy Spirit in prayers of thanksgiving and worship. Daniel is a good example for us as he prayed to God giving thanks three times a day, in good times or bad.

Dan 6:10 When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously.

Notice that it wasn't just a spurt of praying because of the edict. Daniel had been giving thanks to God in prayer three times per day previously. What we should also notice is that before and after, his prayers were not a shopping list of wants and wishes. His focus was in thanking God for all that He had done.

We also acknowledge God's greatness in praise.

Heb 13:15-16 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

2. Having come to God with a contrite heart knowing that as sinners we only deserved death we must live in that spirit of repentance and our lives will change to match the change of heart that we now have. Matthew for instance tells us in his gospel that starting with John the baptiser we are exhorted to bear fruit in keeping with repentance.

Mat 3:8 Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.

If we have truly changed our mindset and have put on the mind of Christ then we will have a changed lifestyle to match which reflects the leading of the Holy Spirit in us. Our lives will display the fruit of the Spirit.

Gal 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

3. In the letter to the Colossians, Chapter 1 verses 9-14 we see how we are equipped to bear 'good fruit' to glorify god as we live our lives in a newness of spirit and by His power.

Col 1:9-14 ...that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

As you see it's by being filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding that we are enabled to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord. So we study God's word first to know His will and secondly because 'faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God'!

So all our works will bear good fruit as we present our lives to be guided By God, Jesus and Holy Spirit through the rhema word (the word of the bible quickened by the Holy Spirit) and let Jesus live through us by Holy Spirit.

4. When we see how much God loves us and what as a result He did for us, we will live for Him and in turn He will live through us and the fruit of righteousness will be evident in our lives. Paul mentions this in his letter to the Philippians.

Php 1:9-11 And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

We can see how once again right knowledge of God is key. It's through knowledge of God that our love will abound and we will be enabled to live pure and blameless lives filled with the fruit of righteousness.

5. The people of God, converted, fully committed and guided by Holy Spirit will bring forth 'good fruit'.

Mat 7:16-17 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit...

The fruit of our works will be good fruit as we noticed earlier in the book to the Hebrews, and the good deeds that we do will be out of love, the love of God, and will be pleasing to Him.

Heb 13:15-16 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

The true child of Christ will bring forth much good fruit in their daily walk with God. The person who has been truly converted will also want to bring others to Jesus. Jesus told us in the parable of the sower how to recognise fertile ground in which to plant the word of God.

The parable of the sower.

Mar 4:3-4 "Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it.

The path is not prepared for growing things! What this tells us is that without a reason for interest, Satan will steal the word from people. They must know that they need a saviour for the word to find good soil and grow effectually.

Mar 4:5-6 Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away.

We see from this that quick conversion does not breed long-term followers. A conversion where the person has not counted the cost so that their roots are deep is unlikely to last.

Mar 4:7 Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain.

When you have a conversion under trial this can lead to the word of God being smothered. When people are facing hard trials, it's time to help them so that they see the love of Jesus in action. After they are rescued physically and are without heavy distractions is the time to show them their overall spiritual need for a Messiah. First remove the thorns, then preach the gospel.

Mar 4:8 And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.

When you have receptive people who readily understand their spiritual failure and sin; realise their need for a saviour; who count the cost and commit fully to following Jesus; then the gospel will bear fruit and you will have reproduced yourself. The seed that you plant will not have been sifted such that the growing kernel has been destroyed.

In this way YOU will be a letter from Jesus bringing the gospel message to the world, starting with those around you. You won't be perfect at it straight away, but as you follow the guidance of Holy Spirit in you you will travel the path to maturity in Christ.

One final thought. Some people believe that if we tell converts the truth, that ALL their sins have been forgiven; that they are new creatures in jesus; and that they should have no sin consciousness; then they will go out and commit sins and the divorce rate will go up in the church.

But consider this. If some do go out and do this it's not because their character or love for their spouses has suddenly changed! What would have happened is that the Church will have been made aware through their actions what God would have been well aware of through knowing their hearts. Trying to live righteous lives in their own strength rather than through faith in Jesus will not bring better results.

Better surely, to have God's grace to change hearts and enable church members to will and to do what God requires as we learn to live by faith. The bible tells us that the "The just shall live by faith".

By our new lives in Christ guided by Holy Spirit; our new life as partners with Jesus, preaching the gospel, helping the poor and healing the sick and broken-hearted we show the love of God is flowing through us.

And our lives are enriched by the blessing we receive from God because we have put our trust in Him.

We are truly blessed because of the love of the God that we worship!


Basic Christianity 103.Click Here.
The Parable of the Good Samaritan. Click Here.
The Parable of the Prodigal Son. Click Here.
Grace and Law in Ancient Israel. Click Here.

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