THE BENEFITS OF BEING A CHRISTIAN #5
A New Quality of Conduct: The Christian’s Way of Life
A. The Christian is a “new creation” for whom “all things have become new” (2 Cor. 5:17).
B. A part of what this newness means is that the Christian lives in “newness of life” (Rom. 6:4).
C. Let us look at the new and better “lifestyle” of the Christian as a positive benefit.
A. THE QUEST FOR QUALITY LIVING
1. The search for the “good life” is a universal human concern
a. Ecclesiastes 1:3; 6:12
b. “An honorable death is preferable to a degraded life” (Tacitus).
c. “Wisdom consists in the choice of the best ends, and in the use of the most appropriate means to accomplish those ends” (Charles Finney).
d. But, proper spiritual wisdom is tainted by Humanism
2. Humanism, the prevailing philosophy of our time, asserts that “the chief end of human life is to work for the happiness of man upon this earth and within the confines of the Nature that is his home” (The Philosophy of Humanism, Corliss Lamont, p.3).
a. Humanism says that life is to be considered with nothing more than mere “Nature,” however, man has always been driven to cry: “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity” (Eccl. 1:2).
b. Ecclesiastes 2:11
c. Ironically, “humanism” de-humanizes man by denying him the fulfillment of his basic nature
1) Genesis 1:27
2) Ecclesiastes 12:13-14
3) Materialism, hedonism, etc. are constricting outlooks that diminish what life is really about
4) Luke 12:23
3. Christianity, in contrast, emphasizes the need for God’s wisdom to illuminate the good life
a. Proverbs 14:12
b. Jeremiah 10:23
4. God’s revealed intention for man involves not only his eternal happiness, but also his earthly happiness
a. God wills for man to have the benefit of a quality life
1) Psalm 84:11
2) Proverbs 3:7-8
b. Even God’’ law, i.e. His restraints upon man’s conduct are for the preservation and enhancement of man’s life
1) Genesis 2:16-17
2) Deuteronomy 4:5-8
c. Christ’s death enabled man to be “redeemed” from his “vain manner of life” (1 Pt. 1:18) [“aimless conduct” NKJ, or “futile ways” RSV]
1) Acts 14:15
2) Ephesians 4:22
d. The New Testament epistles were customarily begun: “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 1:7; 1 The. 1:1; etc.).
1) “Grace” (charis) – God’s favor, gracious care.
2) “Peace” (eirene) – “peace” in the Hebrew sense of welfare, health, well-being.
5. The Christian has discovered a paradox: the ultimate in this life is enjoyed only when one ceases to make this life his ultimate concern!
a. Life is “found” in the “losing” of it
1) Matthew 16:25-26
2) Matthew 6:33
b. “Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it…Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in” (C. S. Lewis).
B. THE CHRISTIAN WAY OF LIFE: QUALITY GAINED THROUGH CHARACTER
1. Character is the key to Christian conduct.
a. Character has to do with one’s true qualities and values
b. “Character is what you are in the dark”
c. A quality life is impossible without a quality character
1) Luke 6:43-45
2) Galatians 6:7-8
3) “You make a living by what you get, and a life by what you give”
4) “Our greatest need is to BE, not simply to do or to have”
d. The Christian’s way of life is a triumph of Christ-like character over circumstance
1) Romans 12:1-2
2) 1 Peter 1:15-16
2. Christian conduct is a positive good.
a. The quality life is positively good, not merely the negative absence of sin
1) James 1:27
2) The Christian’s freedom is freedom for, as well as freedom from
3) “Freedom is the opportunity to make decisions. Character is the ability to make right decisions.”
b. The Christian “gives up” lesser things in order to “gain” greater things
1) Ephesians 4:17-24
2) “Serving God requires nothing but that which will elevate you, and forbids nothing except that which will debase you” (I. B. Grubbs).
3) The requirements of the God-pleasing life are not “burdensome” (1 Jn. 5:3).
c. The Christian deliberately adopts sound values, principles, and priorities, and fits his life to the ideal, rather than finding an “ideal” to fit his life.
3. Christian conduct is an “excellent” lifestyle… Philippians 3:8
a. “Excellent attributes” describe the Christian’s life:
1) Blessed – Psa. 1:1-6
2) Satisfying – Mt. 5:6
3) Tranquil – Phil. 4:7
4) Stable – Heb. 6:19
5) Dynamic – Phil. 2:13
6) Realistic – Lk. 12:23
7) Practical – 1 Tim. 4:8
8) These all come from choosing the Christian lifestyle
b. “Excellent responsibilities” are involved in the Christian’s life:
1) It is imperative that the Christian increase the excellence of his lifestyle
a) Ephesians 4:15
b) 2 Peter 3:18
2) The Christian must not only learn, he must live.
a) “Some people are so busy learning the tricks of the trade, they never learn the trade.”
b) Colossians 1:9-10
3) The Christian must recommend his lifestyle
a) Matthew 5:13-16 … are we setting a good example so as to draw others to Christ?
b) Acts 26:28-29 … Paul says I wish you were like me, a Christians
A. “If there is anything that will make a man great, surely it is placing himself unreservedly at the disposal of God and seeking not only to do nothing but God’s will, but to do all God’s will” (B. B. Warfield).
1. The thing that makes life good is “prosperity” of the soul – all other considerations are secondary
2. 3 John 2-4
B. Are you walking in the truth?