CHRISTIAN LIVING

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[Romans:12:1-21]; [2 Peter:1:5-11].

Lesson No.: 
357
Class: 
Senior
Memory Verse: 

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service”  (Romans 12:1).

Cross References: 

  I The Christian’s Walk
1. A busy life, profitable unto God, is expected of God’s people, [Romans:12:1], [Romans:12:11-13]; [Luke:19:12-27]; [James:1:27].

2. The Christian should conform his life to Christ, and not to the customs, manners, or spirit of the world, [Romans:12:2]; [John:17:14]; [2 Corinthians:6:17-18]; [2 Corinthians:7:1]; [Revelation:18:4].

3. A humble recognition of one’s insufficiency, coupled with earnest labour in one’s individual calling, is a prime requisite in Christian living, [Romans:12:3-8]; [Proverbs:25:27]; [1 Corinthians:12:11-27]; [Ephesians:4:1-13].

4. Brotherly love, kindly affection, and charity are the all-encompassing virtues that are the very essence of the Christian life, [Romans:12:9-10], [Romans:12:14-16]; [Romans:13:9-10]; Mathew:22:37-40; [1 Corinthians:13:1-13]; [2 Peter:1:5-11].

5. The Christian must live and practice the great law of the Gospel exemplified by Jesus Christ; “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good,” [Romans:12:17-21]; [Psalms:64:1-10]; [Psalms:94:1], [Psalms:94:23]; [Matthew:5:38-48]. 

Notes: 

  The Christian Walk
What is Christian living? It is, briefly, living all of life for the glory of God, spending ourselves for the cause of Christ, and being His living epistles, known and read of all men. Christians are representatives of the Kingdom of God, ambassadors for Christ, through whom God beseeches the world to be reconciled unto Him by Christ. (Read [2 Corinthians:5:19-20].)

Christians are to be lights in the world [Philippians:2:15]), living examples of the transforming grace of God. If those who profess to follow Christ are not recognised in the world for their holy way of life, known for their separation from the world, they can hardly be Christians.

Separation from the world is a requirement of Christianity and Christian living. The Christian’s heart belongs to the Lord, and his citizenship is in the Kingdom of God. The Christian is in the world, but not part of it; he is a stranger and a pilgrim passing through it. (Read [1 Corinthians:5:9-11]; [Hebrews:11:13].)

What is the world that the Christian should be separate from it? The Word of God refers to all systems, all peoples, all spirits that are opposed to, or contradict the law of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as “the world.” To be part of the world, or in accord with its principles and movements, is to be at enmity with God. C. H. Spurgeon, an eminent minister of another day, once said of the world: “Of its maxims nine out of ten are false, and the other one selfish; and even that which is selfish has a lie at the bottom of it.” The Word of God states: “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye jot that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” [James:4:4]). That this is true is plainly seen in the Divine Record: “The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ” [Acts:4:26]). The command of God to all who would name the name of Christ is: “Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” [2 Corinthians:6:17-18]). Despite the unmistakable meaning of such portions of Scripture, there are many in the world who try to have favour with God and still have the friendship of the world. Such people desire the favour of God but cannot bear the reproach of the Gospel, nor the offence of the Cross. (Read [Galatians:5:11]; [Matthew:11:6]; [Matthew:13:21].)

A Living Sacrifice
Another most fundamental tenet of the Gospel and Christianity is that, the follower of Jesus Christ surrender his life and all to the service and call of God. Our text states that, the presentation of our lives as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, is but a reasonable service.

Christ is the paramount interest and influence in the Christian’s life. While it is granted that there are many circumstances and people that influence all men, including Christians, yet if Christ and the Kingdom of God are not the principal shaping-influence in a person’s life, he is not a Christian. As the sun is the centre around which the earth revolves in its orbit, receiving life-sustaining heart and light from its “fiery furnace,” in like manner the Christian’s life revolves around Christ, and receives spiritual strength and light from Him.

God expects His people to be busy at His business. The world is most busy seeking their own gain, building their own ends, and living for themselves and to themselves. The Christian lives for Christ. He seeks to promote the cause of Christ instead of his own cause, and is a labourer with God, building not alone for time, but for eternity! (See [1 Corinthians:3:9].) Unless a person lives for the Lord, he shall suffer eternal damnation and loss. To bury one’s talent in the earth is to do no more than the people of the world who, not wanting Heavenly things, bury their lives in earthly things. (Read [Matthew:25:14-30].)

Transformed
“Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” The mind is the door to the soul; and too much cannot be said on the importance of Christians keeping their minds upon Christ and His Kingdom, and not upon the world and the things that are in the world. The world has travelled so far from God that sin and all its enticements are brazenly advertised by every medium man can invent. Most of the entertainment that the world has devised is synthetic, unnatural, and even immoral. It is soul-destroying because it incites people to sin.

The true Christian has neither the desires nor time for these so-called pleasures. Television, one of the latest of men’s inventions, has become so corrupted by irresponsible men that it is one of the greatest determents to Christian living that youth faces today. Liquor and cigarette industries are two of the biggest sponsors of television shows, and they spend fortunes yearly advertising their wares. Need anyone ask, “Can a Christian smoke or drink?”

Humility
Pride -– self-seeking, the exaltation of self -– was the root cause of the downfall of Satan, and of countless human beings since. The opposite of such fleshly aspirations is humility. Humility cannot be separated from the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The text states: “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” And again, “In honour preferring one another.”

The Christian desires to be as his Lord. He desires that his own life might be hid behind the Cross of Christ, that, the beauties of Jesus might shine out. The Word of God says: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” [Philippians:2:5-8]). There are many who say it is impossible for men to live lives comparable to the life of Christ. Doubters and gainsayers may say what they will, but Jesus set the example for all men to follow. He became flesh and dwelt among us, and men can, by the grace of God, live pure and holy, free from sin, pleasing unto God.

Fruit Bearing
Justification nails the “old man” of sin to the cross of Christ. (See [Romans:6:1-7].) Sanctification completely kills the “old man”; the root of sin is eradicated, and holiness fills the life of the believer. (See [Luke:1:74];[Luke:1:75]; [Ephesians:5:27].) Upon receiving the baptism of the Holy Ghost and fire, the Third Person of the Trinity of God guides “into all truth”; and this guiding and directing influence in the life enables the Christian to bear much fruit. (See [John:16:13]; [John:15:8].)

Christ is the True Vine; Christians are the branches. The branches bear the same manner and kind of fruit as the vine bears. Therefore, Christians bear the same kind of fruit and good works before men that Jesus Christ did. (Read [John:14:12]; [John:15:1-8].)

A small fruit tree begins bearing fruit in small quantities. No matter how small its crop, the fruit it bears is as good as it will ever be. Through the years, as the tree reaches maturity, it bears in even greater quantities, but the fruit is the same as it was from the beginning. Only the quantity has changed -– not the kind it bears or its quality. So exactly does the Christian life begin. It begins bearing small quantities of the fruit of the Spirit, but it does bear the fruit of the Spirit. As Christians grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, they bear more profusely the fruits of the Spirit of God, but the kind of fruit is still the same; only the quantity has increased. This growing in grace is beautifully expressed in our text: “And besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For it these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

It can be said that the Christian adds continually to his life the virtues and qualities that reside in the Lord Jesus Christ. The Christian, being a branch of the True Vine, receives the sap, which is holiness, and life-sustaining for the soul, and adds to his life the graces of Christ. 

Questions: 

 1. What is the main business of a Christian?
2. Why should a Christian have no fellowship with the world?
3. Define what the Bible means by the term, “the world.”
4. How can one distinguish Christians from people of the world?
5. Why is it not proper for Christians to partake of most of the recreational activities of the world?
6. Name some of the qualities that are in Christian lives.
7. What is meant by the Scripture passage that Christ is the Vine, and believers are the branches?
8. Describe how Christians should bear more fruit in their lives.