Basic Christian Life
Secrets of successful living. Just finished reading a history of the Jesus movement of the late 60’s and early 70’s. There was a melancholy moment of reading the ending chapter on the long term effects of the movement. It talked of the creation of a Christian music industry as its fruit. Our fellowship is a fruit of that movement of God, but the one the book highlighted was Chuck Smith and Calvary Chapel along with its splitting cousin the Vineyard. There was a sadness of church as usual, teaching us how to live in a blessed way, without the excitement of daily miracle walking with Jesus. What changed it all? Marriage, tough to do communal living when you are married, even tougher when the kids come along. The final nail in the coffin was the destructive shepherding movement that tried to lock everyone into doing what was right from leadership’s viewpoint. I missed the “Jesus Movement” but I experienced some Jesus communal living as a new convert and counted it a blessing when I married Joan and started a life of our own in the church. This sermon is what I have seen to bring successful Christian living into families, it is not a definition of salvation. Thank God our salvation is not based on how successfully we take the teachings that God has given us through His word and church and translate them into how we live.
Text: John 10:10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
- The Family: through the spiritual lenses of my life.
A. Husband as Spiritual Leader
23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. …25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,
B. Entire Family is Growing Spiritually
Ps 128:1-4 Blessed is every one who fears the Lord, Who walks in His ways. 2 When you eat the labor of your hands, You shall be happy, and it shall be well with you. 3 Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine In the very heart of your house, Your children like olive plants All around your table. 4 Behold, thus shall the man be blessed Who fears the Lord.
C. Bible is Standard by which they Conduct themselves
Ps 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.
D. Integrity of the Tithe
“Will a man rob God?”
E. Everyone Understands God’s Will is something each of them should pursue.
One of Joan’s and mine favorite questions for our children is: “What does God want you to do?”
II. The Spirit of Anti-Christ
1 John 4:3-6 and this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. 4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 5 They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. 6 We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
A. Jezebel Spirit
Looking at the bible verses on Jezbel: She takes aim at spiritual leaders. Willing to break the rules to get ahead. Thinks, by her charms, she can overcome any obstacle, teaches and seduces the people of God to turn from God to sexual immorality and the pursuit of mammon.
B. Improper Discipline: Children “provoked” and resent Parents and God
Modern children are confused because they do not have consistent, fair discipline from parents. Eph 6:4 And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. Col 3:21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.
C. The World Outweighs the Bible in setting Family Standards
Rom 12:1-3 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
D. Tithe: An Issue of Convenience
“Will a man rob God?” If you have studied out tithing it is impossible to not see it as a measure of giving that has stretched from Abraham to today. Ignorance is bliss, but most of us are not ignorant.
E. The “I Wills” of Lucifer become the mantras for each member of the family.
The four “I wills” of Lucifer in Is. 12.
III. The Spiritual War is Constant and it is being fought by all of us.
The path to victory lies in partnering the mechanics of Christianity with the life of Christianity – Jesus Christ. Jesus can change the dynamics in a family in a moment of time.
John 15:1-8 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you…5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
Pruning – as a gardener there is an internal difficulty when it comes to pruning. How will cutting away good branches be beneficial for the tree? The issue is not the tree but fruitfulness.
Heb 12:5-11 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; 6 For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.” 7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? 8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. 11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Fertilizing – Nitrates for plant growth, phosphates for fruitfulness. The word is our fertilizer.
1 Peter 2:2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,
Fruitfulness – Is the evidence of a well ordered life in Christ.
Ps 1:3 He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.
All the pruning, fertilizing and fruitfulness is useless without a surrender to Christ. Pruning becomes God is taking something from me. Fertilizing becomes God is suffocating me in church. Fruitfulness becomes the fruit of the spirit stored in a bin but not distributed to those around you and it rots.
For any of this to make sense to a person there must precede in that person a surrender in trust to the grace and love of God. The answer has been and always will be “not my will, but your”.