Tag Archive | Christian Life

Session 2 – The Radically Normal Life of the Christian – Tim Challies

1 Thessalonians 4:1-12

1 Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to live and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more.
2 For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus.
3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality;
4 that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor,
5 not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God;
6 that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you.
7 For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness.
8 Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.
9 Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another,
10 for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more,
11 and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you,
12 so that you may live properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.

ESV

How do we live out the Christian life on a day-to-day basis? What does it look like in the home? What does it look like in the local home?

We are inundated with books that encourage us to live radical lives. To live crazy lives. These books are trying to meet the need to feel significant, to make a difference. The Bible tells us to be extraordinary. But is also tells us to ordinary, to be normal. What is the ordinary Christian life?

Thessalonica was a big city. It was an important city. It was an immoral city. The Christians ask Paul what it looks like to live as a Christian in such a city. What is Paul’s answer? Does he tell them to sell everything and spend all their time witnessing? Does he tell them to sell everything and live in a cloister? No.

We live with a low-grade guilt that we are not doing enough.

The summary of Paul’s teaching regarding living the Christian life:
1. Be decent
2. Be devoted
3. Be diligent

1. Be decent

a. Be sexually pure. The way we express sexuality tells whether we are following God or following along with the world

i. The culture in Paul’s day was shocking in its sexual immorality

ii. People being saved and coming into the church were bringing this baggage from their old life with them and did not know how to deal with it

b. The commands (vv. 3-5)

i. Negative – abstain from sexual immorality in order to be holy

ii. Positive – control your own body in holiness and honor

1. Self-control – Christians learn to control their desires

iii. Don’t do – Do do. Put off – Put on. Stop and Start. Run away – Run to.

c. The warnings (vv. 6-8)

i. Sexual sin defrauds another person

ii. God is the avenger

1. It cannot be hidden from God

2. God will protect the innocent from the guilty

iii. To ignore the warnings are to ignore God himself

d. What does it not say?

i. It does not say be celibate.

2. Be devoted (vv. 9-10)

a. Contrast is love versus lust.

b. Churches are warned about their lack of love and their loss of love.

c. The church in Thessalonica was exceling in love.

d. Four observations of the love of the Christian

i. Love is taught by God

1. How? By the cross. By the gospel.

ii. The primary object of the Christian’s love is for each other.

1. Love must make us uncomfortable because we must love those who are not like us.

iii. Love extends outward

1. …all the brothers throughout Macedonia.

2. Can the love of your church be gauged by what is said by other churches?

iv. Love is meant to grow.

1. It is a lifetime calling to grow.

2. …more and more.

e. What does Paul not say? Move around the world and love over there. He says love those around you right where you are.

3. Be diligent (vv. 11-12)

a. Aspire to live quietly. Be peaceful. Calm down. Be content to be unremarkable, to be unnoticed. Be normal.

b. Mind your own affairs (business). Don’t be involved in things that are not your concern.

i. Serve with others interest in mind, not your own interests.

c. Work with your own hands. Take care of yourself. Don’t be lazy. Don’t consider work as something beneath you.

This kind of life is to display the power of God to Christians and non-Christians (v.12). Your life will be God-honoring. We are not impressive to others if we are lazy, if we are busybodies, if we are unloving, if we have no self-control. The Lord expects us to live lives as ordinary Christians. Those who are going to live a “radical” life must also be ready to live an “ordinary” life. If we want to see the ultimate example of living this ordinary life, we need look no farther than the Lord Jesus Christ.


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A Quest for More by Paul David Tripp

A Quest for More: Living for Something Bigger than You by Paul David Tripp

Free Kindle book for a limited time.

Paul David Tripp expertly traverses the deepest recesses of the human heart and compassionately invites fellow Christian travelers to journey with him into God’s bigger kingdom.

The author promises readers that they will be encouraged, excited, and motivated by hope as they learn how to set aside their “little kingdom” attachments which can expertly masquerade within the church as Christian activism, legalism, emotionalism, formalism, creedalism, and externalism; in favor of God’s expansive and soul-freeing eternal quest. Tripp demonstrates through sound biblical principles how humanity is made by God to transcend far beyond the mere physical realm and is likewise created to be “glory junkies;” those whose visionary lives are governed by God’s grand purposes rather than existing only within their narrow self-interested confines.

Writes the author, “It is a fundamental denial of your humanity to narrow the size of your life to the size of your own existence, because you were created to be an ‘above and more’ being. You were made to be transcendent.” Tripp then shows Christians how to “transcend” through daily, moment-by-moment, practical methodology that transforms individuals into the image of Christ. It is within this purpose-driven framework, this “Quest for More”, that Paul Tripp compels believers to see beyond the worldly deception of personal achievement, success, materialism, in order to break free from this ungodly fulfillment that is too easily satisfied with a mediocre walk with Christ. Instead the author invites committed sojourners to a life characterized by an unyielding passion that pursues God simply for the pleasure of his glorious company and in the process, affect eternal change in a hurting, hopeless world.


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The Process is the Point; How You Run the Race Matters

Previously we looked at The Process is the Point.  (Shockingly this was started in June and now we are mid November!  Too many processes going on here! ) How just as important as achieving our goals is the process in which we strive for them. Based off of 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 and Hebrews 12:1-3, I listed 10 key points to running our race.  But didn’t really spend much time with them.

1. Run to obtain the prize (1 Corinthians 9:24)

2. Exercise Self-Control (1 Corinthians 9:25)

3. Do not run Aimlessly (1 Corinthians 9:26)

4. Discipline my body (1 Corinthians 9:27)

5. Keep my body under Control (1 Corinthians 9:27)

6. Lay aside every weight (Hebrews 12:1)

7. Lay aside sin which clings (Hebrews 12:1)

8. Run with endurance (Hebrews 12:1)

9. Look to Jesus (Hebrews 12:2)

10. Do not grow weary or fainthearted (Hebrews 12:3)

All of these come from just those two passages!!!  That is alot of guidance for running the race.

1 Corinthians 9:24–27 (ESV)

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.

25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.

27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

 

Hebrews 12:1–3 (ESV)

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.

Let’s look closer at each of these and pull in other verses from the Bible that apply.


See the The Process Is The Point Series


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What Is Real Love?

A few months ago I was asked “What is love?”  The point being what is real love beyond the emotional response.

We have a very good picture of love in the Bible in the person of Christ.

John 3:16 (ESV) “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Romans 5:7-8 (ESV)

7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—
8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

1 John 4:10 (ESV) In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Then in 1 Corinthians 13 we have a very good description of love.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (ESV)

4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant

5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;

6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.

7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never ends.

But this video is a very good example of love.

 

Imagine if all love was displayed so selflessly!

This is love.  The desire to love and serve another for 50 years or more no matter what may happen or whether they are able to return the love or benefit you in anyway.  Just because Christ loved you in such a manner.


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“Just” a Mom and The Great Commission

Ever feel like being “just” a mom and staying home caring for your family is less than the Lord has called you to?

Feel like unless you are serving overseas as a missionary you couldn’t possibly be fulfilling the Great Commission?

Feel pressured that laundry, cooking, cleaning and caring for children is less worthy than other things?

Being Christian wives and mothers is ‘Radical’ today.

This should be encouraging!

Ordinary Christians and a Great Commission by Tim Challies

For a long time now I’ve had a fascination with what we might refer to as ordinary Christianity, Christian living for the rest of us. This kind of a life stands in contrast to the demands of so many of today’s bestselling Christian books, books that tell us we ought to live extraordinary lives, crazy and above-and-beyond lives. Some of these authors tacitly (or even blatantly) suggest that ordinary must be synonymous with apathetic and that all these comparative and superlative terms–this-er, that-er–are synonymous with godly. But when I look to the Bible I just don’t see it.

The Bible gives us those well-known big-picture commands, the meta commands for the time between Christ’s resurrection and return. “Go and make disciples of all nations.” That Great Commission tells us the what but does not give us a lot of instruction on the how. How do we do that in our daily lives? How does this look in the home and in the office and in the church? Can normal people living normal lives do all of this?

Answers come all through the New Testament and I find it fascinating that concern of the biblical writers is how to be ordinary, how to be normal. In their minds being ordinary offers challenge enough and to be normal is to honor God. Ordinary Christians carry out a Great Commission in ordinary ways through their ordinary lives.

….   Be sure to read the rest

 


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The Process is the Point

Ha!  This post has been rumbling around in my head for over a week.  I just really have not had time to sit and type it out.  Why not?  Because the processes going on have kept me from getting to the point. 🙂

Anyway,  I have been reminded over and over again in the past few weeks of this concept “The Process Is the Point.”  What do I mean by that?  That we all set goals and have desires we are striving to accomplish.  However, just as important as achieving our goals is the process in which we strive for them.  The journey, and how we travel it, is as important as the destination.

Life is a race, not a sprint, but an endurance race. Lots of people start out at a sprint but quickly fall to the wayside.  It is amazing how many verses in the Bible refer to life as a race and how we run that race.

1 Corinthians 9:24–27 (ESV)

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.

25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.

27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

Hebrews 12:1–3 (ESV)

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.

Just look at how many things are given to us in how we are to run the race in these verses.

1. Run to obtain the prize (1 Corinthians 9:24)

2. Exercise Self-Control (1 Corinthians 9:25)

3. Do not run Aimlessly (1 Corinthians 9:26)

4. Discipline my body (1 Corinthians 9:27)

5. Keep my body under Control (1 Corinthians 9:27)

6. Lay aside every weight (Hebrews 12:1)

7. Lay aside sin which clings (Hebrews 12:1)

8. Run with endurance (Hebrews 12:1)

9. Look to Jesus (Hebrews 12:2)

10. Do not grow weary or fainthearted (Hebrews 12:3)

Those principles are important no matter what goals we are striving for.  I could spend quite some time looking at each concept and how we are to achieve them.  But right now just take whatever goal or accomplishment you have before you and see how these apply in that situation.

Now you might ask “Aren’t you taking that out of context?  See those verses are talking about how we run our life of faith and how we strive for Christ and the goal of eternal life.”  Yes, that is right, they are.  But then every other goal we ever have should be such to aid us along to achieving our ultimate goal.  If our personal desires and goals are not such that they will aid us in achieving our ultimate goal then maybe we should reevaluate them.

The Lord is just as concerned with how we go about accomplishing our goals as He is with whether or not we accomplish our goals.  The process does matter.  I can spend all day cleaning the house and getting it ready for showing hospitality.  Yet if in the process I allow sin to have dominion and affect the process have I actually accomplished my goal?  If I am short tempered with the kids or allow them to misbehave because I’m too busy to discipline, then sin has hindered my goal.  For some reason it seems the Lord often allows things to occur which potentially hinder us accomplishing our goals or at least give us ample opportunity to sin and get sidetracked.

We don’t just grow as we check off our checklist of goals in life.  The Lord helps us to grow by stretching us along the way.  He gives us plenty of opportunities to choose to do right even when things do not go our way.  The whole process or journey is a source for growth not just the end point.

 


See the The Process Is The Point Series


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Evaluating Your Actions

How do you go about evaluating your actions or your lack of action?  Do you have guidelines for making decisions?

Here a few of the instant guidelines I use before making decisions.  What I mean by instant is this is used for times when a relatively quick decision must be made.  Many things can wait for more lengthy prayer, Bible Study and counsel.

1) Does this bring Glory to God?

1 Corinthians 10:31 (ESV) So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Matthew 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

1 Peter 4:11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

2) Might this hinder the gospel?

2 Corinthians 6:3 (ESV) We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, …

1 Corinthians 9:12 (ESV) If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we even more? Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ.

3)  Is this a bad example to unbelievers?

1 Peter 2:12 (ESV) Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

Matthew 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

4)  Is this commanded against?

John 13: 34-35 (ESV)

34  A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.
35  By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Luke 6:46  “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?

5) Would this violate my conscience?

Romans 14:23 (ESV) But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.

6) Would this be helpful?

1 Corinthians 10:23 (ESV)  All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up.

 

How do you determine if a decision is wise?


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Too Much to Study; Not Enough Time

Ever end up with too much to study?

Bible studies that go off in a multitude of tangents, all of which you want to get down deeper into?

I’m never content with just a simple Bible study. I always want to know how each passage interrelates with everything else in the Scriptures. What principles do the OT verses have for us as NT believers? How does our church today reflect the NT church? How has our church today diverged from the NT principles?

Some of the many tangents I have been looking at over the last month include:

~ What is the Biblical difference between preaching and teaching? Is there as much difference as we give them? Is the audience and message different?

~ Authority in the church: who has it, what does it look like, what authority does the average believer have, etc. ?

~ Authority in parenting. Side study on how we who have authority should display authority.

~ Ten Commandments and the NT particularly Galatians.

~ The Law of Christ by Charles Leiter.

~ The Law and believers today. This is a review of material I studied several years ago.

~ Reading Ian Murray’s Pentecost Today?

Whew! I have a hard time wanting to go to bed at a reasonable time due to studying these subjects. Invariably I come across another topic as I am studying the first.

But isn’t it great to plumb the depths?


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Complaining

Heard recently:

Complaining – That’s just life.

Actually it should be:

Complaining – That’s just sin.

Philippians 2:14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings: 15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;


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Effects of No Margin

”The effects of no margin are familiar to us all: people who are harried, more concerned with personal sanity than with service to the needs of others; people who have no financial margin, painfully uninterested in hearing of yet another “opportunity” to give. Such people are no longer concerned with building a better world. Instead, they simply want to survive another day. Such people are no longer motivated to meet the needs of others. Instead, they simply want to escape their suffocating schedules.”

From Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives with Bonus Content by Richard A. Swenson MD


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