Are You Serious About Being A Christian?Written by Stephen Kingery
Are you serious about BEING a Christian? Sometimes I see people who profess to being Christian but I don't see Christian fruit developing in their lives. I know that Bible teaches us that we are not to judge others, and I certainly don't mean it in that respect. However, Bible also teaches us that if we are a Christian, if we have indwelling of Holy Spirit within us, then specific fruits (fruits of Spirit) will be evident in our lives. (See Galatians 5:22 and Ephesians 5:9) If we don't see evidence of these fruits, then we wonder if person is serious about his/her Christian walk.
I would like to share with you four Scriptures which I feel will help you and I to be more serious about being a Christian. There are many lessons which can be drawn from these four Scriptures. It is my prayer that this lesson will give you strength to carry on in your daily Christian walk.
"And if it seems evil to you to serve Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether gods which your fathers served that were on other side of River, or gods of Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve Lord." (Joshua 24:15) This is one of my favorite verses because I feel that Christians have to choose daily whom they will serve. The real meat of verse is, "choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve. . . But as for me and my house, we will serve Lord." The society in which we live has so many areas that try to keep us from serving Lord. For Christian today, all too often it is a daily choice as to whom we will serve.
I am not speaking of salvation here. Hopefully for you that has already been taken care of. I am speaking of serving God. So what does that mean? It means giving 100% of your life to Christ and let Him control it. It means not letting your job, money, friends, family, pleasure seeking, social status, etc. get in way of your serving God. It means forsaking any and all of those things mentioned above if it interferes with your relationship with God. It means letting Christian ideals guide your relationships with your boss, family, friends, business dealings, etc. And it means that when we are confronted with a decision, our first reaction is asking ourselves (or fellow Christians) "What would Jesus have me do in this situation?"
Serving God is really having Him in forefront of our minds at all times. Always being conscience of our thoughts, words and actions to make certain that they are consistent with teachings of Christ and New Testament writers. It is doing Christian thing, even if it hurts! It is striving to be like Christ in every aspect of our lives.
After we have committed our lives to Christ and strive to really serve Him, what next. Jesus tells us in book of Matthew, "But seek first kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." (Matthew 6:33)
How can we serve God without seeking Him? It is really impossible to serve Him without seeking Him. So, if you are trying to "serve" Him and not "seek" Him you will fail. The very act of serving Him means you must seek Him.
How do we seek God? First, we must throw off phoniness of playing Christian. Making an appearance at church once a week is not seeking God. It is much, much more than that. Seeking God means that we have a very active Bible Study program. Not just attending Sunday School and going through lesson. Having a plan to studying Bible. Seeking out good quality Bible study aids and literature to help us in our study. Develop a plan to read through Bible in a year. But even then you are not through. Study various topics, events, eras, books, miracles, prophecies, etc. No matter how old one gets, they should never stop studying Bible.
We must also seek God through a daily prayer time. Pick a particular time of day in which you can be alone with God. Tell Him in an honest straightforward manner your prayer concerns, what your worried about, troubles you may be having, people you want to pray for, and so forth. And don't forget to praise God in your prayers. Tell Him how much you love Him. Thank Him for all blessings you have received and for answered prayers. Praise Him and glorify Him in your prayers.
We need to be faithful to worship services. Not just when you feel like attending. We should have an attitude that we will be in worship service unless it is practically impossible to be there. Unless you have a serious illness that should be about 95% of time. And in conjunction with that we should be faithful to Lord's Supper each Lord's Day.
Don't Quench The SpiritWritten by Stephen Kingery
I started this ministry because I see something happening in our churches that is a deep concern to me. There are far too many of our members who attend worship services who are not, and are not becoming, grounded in word of God. I also see many members who are drifting away from fellowship of church. If their faith was strong and their love for God mature, I don't think this would happen.
Also, reasons people give for staying away from fellowship is puzzling to me. It seems that when slightest occurrence of some out-of-the-way comment that tends to hurt someone's feelings is made, people simply "quit church." Does this mean that they no longer want to be a Christian? That is certainly what term "quit church" implies. I've often said that I can't imagine what any person could do to make me want to end my relationship with my Heavenly Father.
The Holy Spirit is a real and vibrant part of every true Christian. In order for a true Christian to "quit church," there must be a tremendous quenching of Spirit. Let's take a look at Holy Spirit specifically as He relates to life of a Christian. In this study I hope that we can learn more about what Holy Spirit does, or at least should be allowed to do, in our daily Christian lives.
"And I will pray Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever, even Spirit of truth, whom world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you." (John 14:16,17) Jesus told us that we would have indwelling of Holy Spirit, that He would be in us, actually living in us. This is an awesome thought indeed, Holy Spirit being in us and a part of us. However, He does not impose His will on us. We are not robots occupied by a "spirit" going about doing what "spirit" wants us to do. Quite contrary is true. We still have a free will, fully able to exercise it at our discretion.
The Holy Spirit is living with us to be a "Helper," someone to guide and direct us as we strive to live a Christian life. If we allow Spirit to serve as our guide, He will give us those answers to questions that sometimes we seek. On other hand, we can quench Spirit and not allow Him to help us in this manner. The Apostle Paul says in Romans, "For those who live according to flesh set their minds on things of flesh, but those who live according to Spirit, things of Spirit." (Romans 8:5) What we allow to occupy our minds determines extent to which Spirit can serve as our Helper.
If we dwell on negative, always looking for a fault in someone or in body as a whole, we are not thinking of things of Spirit. If we dwell on soap operas, secular music, movies, our jobs, money, and a host of other worldly things, we are quenching Spirit. As we allow these worldly concerns, activities, and things to take up all of our waking time, we have no time for things of Spirit. Our minds and daily schedules are full of worldly activities and these things shove thoughts of Spirit out. If, on other hand, we dwell on fruits of Spirit, Bible study, prayer, helping needy, visiting sick, serving church, and like, we are allowing Spirit to work in our lives. The fruits of Spirit become more noticeable in our lives.
What are fruits of Spirit? "But fruit of Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." (Galatians 5:22,23)
We really only have two choices; to set our minds on things of Spirit, or things of world. Paul puts it this way, "For he who sows in his flesh will of flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to Spirit will of Spirit reap everlasting life." (Galatians 6:8) As we allow our lives to be corrupted by things of world, we quench Spirit. Eventually, when we have quenched Spirit so long, getting back into a right relationship with God is all but impossible.
There is another aspect of allowing Spirit to work in our lives that is equally important. We must individually work for unity of church. We say that we believe that church was instituted by Christ, and that we strive for restoration of church both in unity and practice on a New Testament basis. But how often do we practice this belief on an individual basis? Paul exhorts church in his letter to Ephesians, "I, therefore, prisoner of Lord, beseech you to have a walk worthy of calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep unity of Spirit in bond of peace." (Ephesians 4:1-3) How does this tell us that we should behave as a member of a local congregation? We should love each other in Spirit. That means that we should be very careful not to say things to each other that are hurtful. It also mean that if someone does say something that hurts us - even if they do it on purpose - we should forgive them and continue to love them! And I realize that each of us may on occasion accidently make a comment that hurts others. When we know that we have done this, we should show our love for brother or sister and apologize. I truly wish that all our members would live by these principles.
The above principle is further emphasized in Philippians, "Only let your conduct be worthy of gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for faith of gospel,..." (Philippians 1:27) I sometimes wonder what we could accomplish if we would do as Paul tells us here, to be "with one mind striving together for faith of gospel." Those things which so many of our people do which I am talking against here serve to destroy body. Remember that we are speaking of church which is "the bride of Christ." Jesus will be coming after His church. Will He accept a divided church? I would not think so.