Monday, November 2, 2009

Grace Fellowship: What Does A Christian Look Like? Pt. 2

Part 2: Colossians 1:1-8

What is a Christian? This week I was asked by an evangelical pastor if a person’s understanding of eschatology could be an indication that they were not saved. One hundred and fifty years ago, the question often asked was, “Can a man be a Christian and own slaves?” According to the book of Philemon, the answer is yes. Twenty-five years from now, the question may be, “Can a man be a Christian and NOT drive a solar-powered vehicle?”

Culture does not determine what Christianity is. Christians do not determine what Christianity is. The Bible tells us what real Christianity is. The Apostle Paul makes it very clear in Colossians, chapter 1. Last week we saw three things that characterize true Christianity, according to Colossians 1. They are:

1. Faith in Christ Jesus (v4a)
2. Love for ALL the saints (v4b)
3. The fruit of the gospel in their lives (v6), i.e.:
a. Their understanding of the grace of God in truth
b. Their love in the Spirit (same as “love for all the saints”?)
c. All of the above: faith, love, understanding.

Full Sermon Notes
[For sermon audio click here]

Hymns: Alive in Christ

Based on Ephesians 2:1-10
James Montgomery Boice, 2000

"But ... God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ." Eph. 2:4-5

I once was rebellious, corrupted by sin,
pursuing the devil's dark path,
Oblivious, dead to the state I was in,
an object of God's dreadful wrath.

But God who is rich in compassion and love,
not leaving my soul to the grave,
Has given life, born again from above
by God's sovereign grace I've been saved.

God lifted me up to the heavenly realms
where seated with Christ I am free;
In ages to come he will show me more grace
so great is his kindness to me.

Since grace is the source of the life that is mine
and faith is a gift from on high.
I'll boast in my Savior , all merit decline
and glorify God 'til I die.

Yet now I am living with work to be done
for I am God's workmanship too,
Created in Christ with a race to be run,
which God has ordained me to do.

Grace Gems: Life's highest and best lesson

(J. R. Miller, "The Story of Joseph, Practical Lessons")

We read that Joseph bore himself so congenially, and did his work so well, and was so capable, so true, so trustworthy--that Potiphar "left all that he owned under Joseph's care; he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate." Genesis 39:6. Joseph would never have won such a success--if he had given up to discouragement, if he had brooded over his wrongs, if he had sulked and complained, if he had spent his time in vain regrets or in vindictive feelings. We should learn the lesson, and it is worth learning--for it is
life's highest and best lesson.

The problem of life, is to keep the heart warm and kindly--amid all injustice and wrong; to keep the spirit brave and cheerful--in the midst of all that is hard in life's circumstances and conditions; to be true, and right, and strong--in all moral purpose and deed, however others may act toward us.

Our inner life should not be affected by our external experiences. Right is right, no matter what others around us may do. We must be true--no matter if all the world is false--even false to us. We must be unselfish and loving--though even our nearest friends prove selfish and cruel to us. We must keep our spirit strong, cheerful and hopeful--though adversities and misfortunes seem to leave us nothing of the fruit of all our labors.

In a word, we are to live victoriously, truly, nobly, sweetly, cheerfully, joyfully--in spite of whatever may be uncongenial in our condition!

This is the lesson of all Christian life. We should not let the outside darkness into our soul. We should seek to be delivered from all morbidness and all unwholesomeness. We should not allow anything to crush us.

Remember, your task in living--is to keep sweet, to keep your heart gentle, brave, strong, loving, full of hope--under the worst that the years can bring you of injustice, hardship, suffering, and trial.

Grace Gems