1-OUTSIDE LOOKING IN —Without a personal conversion called “Born Again” (see John chapter 3), you can be assured that Christianity (those who follow Jesus as obedient disciples) will make no sense whatsoever. “The message about the cross doesn’t make any sense to lost people. (non-Christians) But for those of us who are being saved, it is God’s power at work.” I Corinthians 1:18
Being a “member of the church” may look good on paper, but it is not what one does to become a Christian. We do this AFTER we are saved, not to be saved. We attend church worship services to honor God and to grow as believers. Non-Christians have no more interest in church attendance than a Non-Rotary Club member would want to attend the Rotary meetings. For curiosity, perhaps.
Each week, both Christians and non-Christians (“lost people”, or “people of the world”) sit through services of worship. The wheat mixes with the tares, the sheep with the goats. Only God knows which is which. The best man can do is surmise or guess based upon outward appearances and behaviors. This is where the judgmental Pharisee comes from. Christians must never judge the outsider for this is Gods work, but the Christian must always judge the insider. (professing Christian-Church member)
We hold one another accountable to the Word of God and the fellowship of the believer.
I Corinthians 5:9-13
“9 In my other letter I told you not to have anything to do with immoral people. 10 But I wasn’t talking about the people of this world. You would have to leave this world to get away from everyone who is immoral or greedy or who cheats or worships idols. 11 I was talking about your own people who are immoral or greedy or worship idols or curse others or get drunk or cheat. Don’t even eat with them! 12 Why should I judge outsiders? Aren’t we supposed to judge only church members? 13 God judges everyone else. The Scriptures say, “Chase away any of your own people who are evil.”
Christians are baptized, not to become a Christian, rather because they received Christ, becoming a Christian.
“We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” –Romans 6:4
As an act of obedience to his command, we are baptized. Baptism is an outward expression of what had happened on the inside. The death, burial and resurrection are pictured. Just as a drivers license has a picture of a person and this is not that actual person, so baptism is a picture of salvation–NOT SALVATION. Baptism is a post-salvation expression–a testimony to God and others.
2-“GOD HAS NO GRANDCHILDREN” –In religions, people can be born into the “family faith”. In Christianity, there is both a physical and a spiritual birth of necessity for each individual. God only has children, no adults or grandparents, no matter ones physical or spiritual age. (see John chapter 3) I make choices for myself only. No one can be saved or baptized for me on my behalf.
“Think how much the Father loves us. He loves us so much that he lets us be called his children, as we truly are. But since the people of this world (non-Christians) did not know who Christ is, they don’t know who we are.” I John3:1
3-SIN IS REAL AND NO ONE IMMUNE—FORGIVENESS AVAILABLE –
“All of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. (See Romans chapter 5) But God treats us much better than we deserve, and because of Christ Jesus, he freely accepts us and sets us free from our sins. God sent Christ Jesus to be our sacrifice. Christ offered his life’s blood, so that by faith in him we could come to God. And God did this to show that in the past he was right to be patient and forgive sinners. This also shows that God is right when he accepts people who have faith in Jesus.” Romans 3:23-26
4-FORGET THE GOOD DEEDS ROUTINE –If you and I could become morally upright, goody-goody two-shoes and God would smile and say, “Hey, pretty good, you made it”, then what becomes of Jesus and his sacrificial death for you and me? Yes, all the world religions offer this feature of trying real hard and hoping you can become good enough—that your good deeds will somehow be more than your bad, and that when you die, all hope for an eternity in heaven lies on your shoulders—your history of behavior. No, the bible cannot be clearer. God does not love you and me because we are good or because we promise to do better.
“Christ died for us at a time when we were helpless and sinful. No one is really willing to die for an honest person, though someone might be willing to die for a truly good person. But God showed us how much he loved us by having Christ die for us, even though we were sinful.” Romans 5:6-8
5-A GIFT CAN BE RECEIVED OR REJECTED –Martha sat at the table surrounded by gifts. She was graduating from college and all her friends wanted to show their love for her. All went well until she picked up the gift from Tara. She did not like Tara and she refused to open that gift. Christians are those who have received, opened and accepted Gods loving gift. Many people will not. It is our choice, everyone individually. No one can receive or reject this gift for us.
16 God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die. 17 God did not send his Son into the world to condemn its people. He sent him to save them!” –John 3:16-17
Imagine rejecting this gift of God’s Son, then being forced to go to heaven and live with him for eternity. God’s love extends to those who deny Jesus in this life. Love is choice and choice is love. There is a place of eternal separation provided for those who make this choice. God does not make this decision for us, we do when we reject the gift God offers us freely.
6-CHRISTIANS STINK AND SMELL GOOD–Yes, we have an odor. If someone is wanting to be popular in and with this worlds system, then becoming a Christ-follower is not for you. Christians, like the Christ they now love, enter int the realm of rejection, suffering and unpopularity.
“I am grateful that God always makes it possible for Christ to lead us to victory. God also helps us spread the knowledge about Christ everywhere, and this knowledge is like the smell of perfume. In fact, God thinks of us as a perfume that brings Christ to everyone. For people who are being saved, this perfume has a sweet smell and leads them to a better life. But for people who are lost, it has a bad smell and leads them to a horrible death.” II Corinthians 2:14-16
7-DON’T TRY TO HIDE –Christians did not become Christian because they were “good people who promise to do better”. That is Religion. Not everyone who claims to be a Christian really is. Only God knows for sure. You will undoubtedly see professing Christians acting unbecoming to their profession—unlike the Christ they claim to know.
A-Real Christians are called “babes in Christ” at first. Just like children in an earthly family, we grow—some more slowly than others. We mature, some more obviously than others.
“Dear brothers and sisters, when I was with you I couldn’t talk to you as I would to spiritual people. I had to talk as though you belonged to this world or as though you were infants in Christ.” I Corinthians 3:1
B-If you and I try to hide behind the not-so-good behaviors of those claiming to be a follower of Jesus Christ, then we must be smaller than them if it should work as intended.
C-Since people do not become Christians by their own good behaviors, neither will they remain one by their good behaviors. God has his work in play.
“For it is God Himself whose power creates within you the desire to do His gracious will and also brings about the accomplishment of the desire.” Philippians 2:13
8-YOUR GOAL IS NOT THEIR GOAL. THEIRS IS TO RUN FOR THE PERFECT PRIZE WHILE YET IMPERFECT – They need and want to obey God rather than man. They need not perform for you. The bible, God’s word of love and instruction, not your opinions or their emotions, matter most. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” John 14:15 Christians are not better than anyone else. They simply are better off by allowing God to make them over from the inside out into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.
“ I have not yet reached my goal, and I am not perfect. But Christ has taken hold of me. So I keep on running and struggling to take hold of the prize. My friends, I don’t feel that I have already arrived. But I forget what is behind, and I struggle for what is ahead. I run toward the goal, so that I can win the prize of being called to heaven. This is the prize that God offers because of what Christ Jesus has done.” Philippians 3:12-14
9- CHRISTIANS ARE COMMANDED TO TELL YOU JUST AS SOMEONE TOLD THEM –They hold within themselves “THE GOOD NEWS”.
They want to tell you for that very good reason. All Christians have this testimony inside, just waiting to get out. “Money paid to workers isn’t a gift. It is something they earn by working. But you cannot make God accept you because of something you do. God accepts sinners only because they have faith in him.” Romans 4:4-5
They have what is called THE GREAT COMISSION. It is not optional. “But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful. And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:16-20
10- CHRISTIANS ARE ‘ONE BEGGAR SHARING BREAD WITH ANOTHER’ –they are not moralists who look down upon non-Christians with disdain and scorn. This is impossible. Yet, Christians have their own set of commands and new lifestyle based upon the Word of God and empowered by the Word of God. Do not try to live the Christian life as a set of rules and regulations. It will not work. That is religion.
Christians still sin, but they are no longer OBLIGATED to sin. Christians hurt, cry and grieve, but not as those who have no hope within themselves. Christians simply received a love-gift they did not deserve while avoiding an eternity separated from God that they did deserve. When a Christian stands before you as one who would stand waving their arms that the bridge is out ahead, go ahead and resent them. This is to be expected, but perhaps you will believe them and be saved by listening. You are not lost because you sin and are sinful. You sin and are sinful because you are lost.
“For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.” I Corinthians 1:21
A CHRISTIAN IS SOMEONE WHO HAS THE SON –THE NON-CHRISTIAN DOES NOT –“God has also said that he gave us eternal life and that this life comes to us from his Son. And so, if we have God’s Son, we have this life. But if we don’t have the Son, we don’t have this life.” I John 5:11-12
HOW TO RECEIVE CHRIST
8 All who are acceptable because of their faith simply say, “The message is as near as your mouth or your heart.” And this is the same message we preach about faith. 9 So you will be saved, if you honestly say, “Jesus is Lord,” and if you believe with all your heart that God raised him from death. 10 God will accept you and save you, if you truly believe this and tell it to others.
11 The Scriptures say that no one who has faith will be disappointed, 12 no matter if that person is a Jew or a Gentile. There is only one Lord, and he is generous to everyone who asks for his help. 13 All who call out to the Lord will be saved.
14 How can people have faith in the Lord and ask him to save them, if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear, unless someone tells them? 15 And how can anyone tell them without being sent by the Lord? The Scriptures say it is a beautiful sight to see even the feet of someone coming to preach the good news. 16 Yet not everyone has believed the message. For example, the prophet Isaiah asked, “Lord, has anyone believed what we said?”
17 No one can have faith without hearing the message about Christ.” Romans 10:8-17
“For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.” II Corinthians 7:10
COME ON IN—THE WATER IS FINE
25 At that moment Jesus said:
My Father, Lord of heaven and earth, I am grateful that you hid all this from wise and educated people and showed it to ordinary people. 26 Yes, Father, that is what pleased you.
27 My Father has given me everything, and he is the only one who knows the Son. The only one who truly knows the Father is the Son. But the Son wants to tell others about the Father, so that they can know him too.
28 If you are tired from carrying heavy burdens, come to me and I will give you rest. 29 Take the yoke I give you. Put it on your shoulders and learn from me. I am gentle and humble, and you will find rest. 30 This yoke is easy to bear, and this burden is light.” Matthew 11:25-30