CHRISTIAN LIFESTYLE – UNCHANGED?

CHRISTIAN LIFESTYLE – UNCHANGED?

Called Out, Set Apart,

2 Corinthians 6:14-18

Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”

What’s the purpose of living a Christian lifestyle? Choosing to make Jesus Christ the Lord of our life changes our lifestyle dramatically. Friendships, activities, and even health issues receive careful evaluation. While we formulate reasons for the way we live our Christian lives, God’s purpose for our lives never changes.

Power of God?

One example of this disconnect is evident with the question of healing.

I’ve studied what the Bible says about healing for years and years, and two things remain clear to me.  One is that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Another is He said anyone with faith in Him would do the things He did (John 14:12). But the results we’re experiencing in much of the Western church today are far different from those attributed to Him in the Bible. A logical mind can only conclude that something has changed. Since it can’t be Him, that leaves only us.

I’ve concluded that many of us have formed our opinions about healing either from hearsay or personal observation rather than God’s Word, while the Bible tells us to live by faith and not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7).  To prove my point, count the number of times when you’ve personally witnessed someone being healed. Not heard about, but personally witnessed. If you’re like most people you won’t know of very many, maybe not any.

Maybe we don’t see people being healed because we no longer expect to.  Somewhere along the way there’s been a disconnect to the point where many believers are convinced that without giving us any warning God simply stopped healing people.  Some of those who promote this idea say it happened once the New Testament had been compiled. They base this on 1 Cor. 13:8-10 which says in part:

“…where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.”

The Greek word for perfection in this passage also means complete, so they interpret what Paul wrote to mean that once the New Testament was complete, the gifts of the Spirit ceased.  The problem I have with this interpretation is that it never appeared anywhere in the church record until about 1900 AD when it was used as a rebuttal against the appearance of spiritual gifts in the Pentecostal movement. Many protestant denominations (those where spiritual gifts are not in evidence) hold this view today. It should not surprise us that supernatural healing does not occur in those denominations.

Then there are believers who call themselves mid-Acts dispensationalists. They assert that healing and other spiritual gifts were signs to the Jews that Gentiles could receive the Holy Spirit, and as soon as Israel was officially set aside and the gospel went to the Gentiles these signs ceased. They say the epistle of James, which contains the most direct promise of healing through prayer anywhere in the New testament (James 5:14-16), was not intended for us today but was written only to Jewish believers in the early days of the church.  Some of these folks hedge their bets by assuring us that God can heal people and sometimes does, so we can still pray for healing. But we shouldn’t be surprised it doesn’t happen. Our healing may not come until the resurrection. At least they leave the door open for God to heal someone if He decides to.

Sin In Our Camp…

Judas departure brings about Christ’s glorification (31-32)

  1. To be glorified in this context means to make glorious, adorn with lustre, clothe with splendor; a. to impart glory to something, render it excellent:
  2. It is only after the departure of Judas that the glorification happens.
  3. Perhaps we are not receiving the blessings we are due because we have negative influences around us we are not willing to remove.
  4. Christ’s glorification – brought glorification to the Father.
  5. When we are receiving God’s blessings – these blessing shall cause Christ to be praised, and will cause the Father to be praised. God will in turn glorify Himself and His Son through your blessing.
  6. Bottom line we need to prepare our life’s situation for blessing by removing – our rebellion – our doubt – and the negative factors that prevent our blessing.

Makes me think of the “Sin of Achan”

The first verse in the passage (Joshua 7:1) sums up the whole story. The rest of the passage contains the details of the situation. It is interesting that all of Israel is held accountable for one man’s sin. In modern society we often value individuality to the point that we do not feel responsible, in any way, for our fellow man. God looks at His people individually but also as a group. This becomes very clear in 1 Corinthians 12:12 and following in reference to the Church.

  • To remain connected to God through Jesus Christ (John 15:4–8). A life that’s cut off from God withers and dies — physically as well as spiritually. God desires to reproduce His Son’s life through our fruitfulness.
  • To remain faithful through persecution and to resist false doctrine (2 Timothy 3:12–17). The apostle Paul expected situations to become worse as worldly pressures increased. Our testimony and knowledge of the Scriptures arm us against any deceivers or deceptive ideals.
  • To present the Good News to a lost world (Mark 16:15-16; 1 Timothy 6:12) Like an athlete or soldier, we present our best efforts to further the faith. Our transformed lives compel us to share the Gospel’s impact not just for our “today,” but for our eternity.

Christian Lifestyle – Rules

Are there specific guidelines that constitute a Christian lifestyle? From theologian to theologian, any “lifestyle” list would differ. Drinking, movies, music, dancing, politics, fashion, education . . . to what degree do we shape our choices so we maintain a Christian lifestyle? “Do not copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do…” (Romans 12:2). For one year A.J. Jacobs attempted to obey more than 700 rules and prohibitions found in the Bible. At the end of one year he confessed, “I started the year as an agnostic, and now I am a reverent agnostic.” A Christian lifestyle should never become a list of rules. We must take our attention off mandates and focus on the Man.

To paraphrase, “What did Jesus do?”

  • Communicated continually with God (Matthew 11:25-26; Mark 6:46; 14:32)
  • Acknowledged the significance of the Holy Spirit (John 14:16-17, 26)
  • Obeyed the will of His Heavenly Father (Luke 22:42; John 6:38-39)
  • Resisted temptation by steadfastness to the Word of God (Luke 4:1-13)
  • Reached out to those considered hopeless and sinners (Mark 2:15-16; Luke 19:5-9)
  • Served others, humbling Himself before His Heavenly Father (John 13:3-5, 12-15)
  • Persevered in faith and love (John 4:34, John 9:4; John 17:23)

Christian Lifestyle – Inside Out
What are the outward and inward evidence of a Christian lifestyle? You can present an outward appearance of holiness daily and still serve as a poor Christian witness (Matthew 23:27-28). To live as a Christian requires having the character of Christ. A transformation must occur, as a result of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling (Galatians 5:24-25).

When we truly practice a Christian lifestyle, the inward evidence becomes obvious. God’s glory and power pours out upon all those around us. Our faith in the midst of turmoil flows from a heart given to a loving Father. Every breath carries words of compassion and affirmation to a hurting world. Those who live the Christian lifestyle live a confident life on the inside and outside.

“This High Priest [Jesus Christ] of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same temptations we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it” (Hebrews 4:15-16)

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