1 Thes 4:1,2
INTRO: In books of instruction there may be solutions called tips. These are usually fairly brief statements which seem to cut through a lot of lengthy detail to a simple piece of advice. I like those tips. Frankly, I often read them before I read the lengthy detailed instructions. Well, for quite a while I have been thinking of practical ways to help us live the Christian life. And I thought of those little tips. With that in mind I began listing some simple scripture texts which give us the practical tips for Christian living.
- SOME OF MY TIPS -
1. Mt 7:12 Treat Others the way you want to be treated
a. this is a principle transcending covenants
b. it is the underpinning of the law and prophets
c. its a tip so well known - and easy to remember
d. its a tip which brings incredible results and blessings in relationships
e. its a tip which, if widely practiced, would change the world
f. and it will change your world
2. Eph 5:8 Remember Whose child you are
a. song of son leaving to go to war: fathers parting words - remember whose child your are
b. there is the family name and standard
c. these are important elements in our heritage and form our behavior ... if remembered
d. I cannot count the times I have asked myself, Would Dad do this? or How would Dad do this?
e. we are children of God - 1 Jno 3:1
f. remembering that will affect our behavior in good ways
3. Col 3:16 Learn all you can from the word
a. dwell in you richly - minimums wont do!
b. here is where the Father sets out the family standards
c. trying to live the Christian life without having the word abiding in us richly is failure waiting to happen
d. I love Jas 1:21 which follows closely v. 17!
e. the scriptures are the Fathers way of speaking to His children ... dont stick your fingers in your ears
f. who am I? I am my Fathers child and want all of the loving instruction I can have from Him
4. Phil 3:14 Set high, righteous goals
a. shiftless, aimless wandering is not useful, fulfilling
b. having goals gives us purpose and direction
c. but our goals must be consistent with Whose child we are ... and need to take others into consideration if they touch a relationship
d. goals in life can certainly be changing, growing
e. but the goal to which Paul refers does not change
f. be single minded, uncompromising about this goal
5. 1 Tim 6:10 Be careful of your life emphases
a. emphasis may well become idolatry
b. see Col 3:5
c. Lk 8:14 cares and riches and pleasures ...
d. its so easy to be caught up in the material, the sensual, the secular ... thats our world!
e. keep our balance, our spiritual focus, isnt easy
f. I think often of 1 Cor 7:31 use - dont abuse
6. Gal 6:10 Do good to all
a. our circle of friends can become so limiting, blinding
b. its so easy to do good/to one whom we love, enjoy
c. but the Christian life extends beyond those folks
d. Mt 5:44
e. as we have therefore opportunity - and we will have opportunities to pause and lift a load
f. Jesus stopped and stooped to help all sorts of folks ... and, yes, He was criticized by some
CLOSE: This is the first installment of tips. Maybe we can learn together of the simplicity of what the Lord asks of us from day to day.
Cecil A. Hutson
11 November 2001
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)