Recently a news report caught my attention. It was about the ex-wife of Joe Bob Briggs, small time actor turned late night movie host. It seems that the former Mrs Briggs had decided to pose nude for a pornographic magazine. What was unusual about this is the unashamed attitude she took. “I’m a good mother and a good Christian” declared Mrs. Briggs. She said that she showed her children “Christian” videos and that God had made her with a good looking body and it was perfectly right to display it.
Does this “lady” know what it even means to be a Christian? Unfortunately, while many of God’s people will not go so far, they seem to be oblivious to what it really means to be a child of God. Just what does it mean to be a Christian?
I. IT MEANS THAT WE HAVE HAD ALL OUR PAST SINS CLEANSED.
A. We were without hope before becoming Christians.1. Colossians 1:21 – And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled2. We deserve to be separated from God, simply on the basis of our unforgiven sins.
a. Romans 6:23
B. Look at what happens at the point of our baptism into Christ.1. We have our sins washed away – Acts 22:162. We have the remission (forgiveness) of our sins – Acts 2:38
3. We are saved from our sins – 1 Peter 3:21
4. We have been redeemed from our sins – Ephesians 1:7; Romans 6:3-4
II. IT MEANS THAT WE BEGIN A NEW LIFE.
A. We have put off the old person.1. Romans 6:6 – knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.2. Ephesians 4:22 – that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts,
3. Colossians 3:9 – Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds,
B. We start a new life “In Christ Jesus”1. 2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all
things have become new. 2. Romans 6:4 – Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
3. Colossians 3:10 – and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him,
4. We are not “babes in Christ.”
a. 1 Corinthians 3:1b. 1 Peter 2:2 – as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.
III. IT MEANS THAT JESUS IS NOW OUR LORD AND MASTER.
A. He is our Lord.1. Acts 2:36 – “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”2. Matthew 28:18
3. Revelation 17:14 – “These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.”
B. This means that we belong to our Lord – He has control over our lives.1. Romans 14:8 – For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.2. 1 Corinthians 6:15 – Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not!
3. We are to give ourselves over to the Lord – 2 Corinthians 8:5
4. Colossians 1:10 – that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;
5. Galatians 2:20
6. 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20 – Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 – For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
IV. IT MEANS THAT WE MUST BE ACTIVE AS CHRISTIANS
A. Christians are not “new creatures” so they can lazily ease their way to Heaven without any labor.1. Ephesians 2:10 – For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.2. 1 Corinthians 15:58
B. Look at all the times when the New Testament tells us to be active in good works.1. Matthew 5:16 – “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.2. 1 Timothy 2:10 – but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.
3. 1 Timothy 5:10 – well reported for good works: if she has brought up children, if she has lodged strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has relieved the afflicted, if she has diligently followed every good work.
4. 1 Timothy 5:25 – Likewise, the good works of some are clearly evident, and those that are otherwise cannot be hidden.
5. 1 Timothy 6:18 – Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share,
6. Titus 2:7 – in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence,
7. Titus 2:14 – who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.
8. Titus 3:8 – This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.
9. Titus 3:14 – And let our people also learn to maintain good works, to meet urgent needs, that they may not be unfruitful.
10. Hebrews 10:24 – And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,
11. 1 Peter 2:12 – having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.
12. All these passages, even if there were not any more in the Bible, should convince us that we should be active in doing the Lord’s will and that he wants us to be zealous after good works.
C. Our work for the Lord will be a standard by which Christians are judged.
1. Revelation 20:12 – And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.2. Jesus condemned lazy disciples as being wicked.
a. Matthew 25:25, 26 – “‘And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’ 26- But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed.”
3. If the Lord placed a divine standard that those who refuse to work should not eat concerning physical things which God has promised us (2 Thessalonians 3:10), why do we think that spiritual matters should be different? He has blessed us bountifully, but will not allow us to ride home to Heaven of the coattails of others.
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