Being a Biblical Christian, part 2

This is part 2 of my husband’s sermon on living biblically.

George Barna, who is well-known for his work doing surveys about the church was asked how we can know what another person truly believes?  How can asking questions open up something which can be kept hidden?  In his answer, Dr. Barna said that he does not just ask people what they believe, he also questions them about what they do.  The he said this:

“You do what you believe.  If your behavior doesn’t represent your (stated) beliefs, it’s not really a belief.”

Jesus says the same thing.  At the close of the Sermon on the Mount, he speaks of false prophets and how to tell who they are, saying:

“You will recognize them by their fruit…. every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. “

In other words, if you are believer, you will have a living faith, one which presents itself to the world through deeds.  Let’s continue with Paul’s words in the book of Romans:

For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. For just as we have many parts in one body and all the body’s parts do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually parts of one another.  However, since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to use them properly: if prophecy, in proportion to one’s faith; if service, in the act of serving; or the one who teaches, in the act of teaching; or the one who exhorts, in the work of exhortation; the one who gives, with generosity; the one who is in leadership, with diligence; the one who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.” Romans 12:3-8

Essentially what Paul does here is move everything that is spiritual out to the rest of our lives..There are people whose Christianity is limited pretty much to an hour or so on Sunday;  but our worship isn’t confined to one space, once a week.  Rather, our entire life is worship.

When someone lives a life of faith that is framed by a truly biblical worldview, they will come to understand how it is that God has blessed them in terms of the tasks prepared for them to do which build up His kingdom.  As Carl Olaf Rosenius said:

“Believers are not to use their time and gifts according to their fancy, but these are to be used for the glory of Him who paid such a tremendous price for us.”

12 Steps for Sinners

I’m not a friend of Bill’s and I’ve never been to an AA meeting.  However I have read a number of books written by members of AA and also books about AA.  I think people who practice the 12 steps are some of the most spiritual folks around and I often wonder if all us shouldn’t use them as a guide to Christian living.  After all, don’t we all suffer from addiction to sin?

Imagine what would happen if we got up in front of a group of people on some regular basis and said, “My name is (fill in the blank) and I’m a sinner.”  I know, we confess every week as part of the worship service, but that can easily become rote and meaningless.  Many of us say the words (at least some of the time) without really thinking about them.

Imagine how it would feel to regularly do a “fearless moral inventory.”  You know, actually admitting and taking responsibility for the sins we have committed, instead of sweeping them under the rug and hoping we could just “move on” by ignoring them and hoping they never come out into the light.

Imagine what the world would be like if we actually tried to make amends to people when we wronged them.  Saying “I’m sorry and I’ll try not to do that again” can mean a lot if it’s sincere.  Doing what we can to correct the situation we created means even more.

What if we tried, actually tried to be open to God’s leading and grow closer to Him?  What would happen if prayer became a priority in every Christian’s life?  Not something reserved for Sundays, but an integral part of each day.

Suppose, having worked through the steps ourselves, we committed to carrying the gospel message to others?  Not because it’s our duty as a good church member, but because we knew what relief and peace it would bring to many suffering souls?

These are some of the things AA promotes and that addicts who are “working the program” do.  It doesn’t work for everyone, because as one author says,

“Many less desperate alcoholics tried AA, but did not succeed because they could not make the admission of hopelessness.”

In other words, they have to hit bottom.  The same is true of Christians.  We know we have a problem with sin, but we have the mistaken illusion that we’ve got it under control.  We can live with it.  It causes some problems but nothing we can’t handle.  Well, read the sermon on the mount (our sermon topic last Sunday) and think again.  If you’re angry with someone, you’re on the path to murder;  if you insult your brother by calling him a fool you’ve born false witness, when you look at someone lustfully, you’re in danger of adultery;  if you divorce (no matter if it’s legal or amicable) you’ve broken a covenant relationship.  We all have done these kinds of things and more.  We can’t manage our sin on our own. We need a Savior.

Think of the church as “Sinners Anonymous.”  Take the first step and admit the hopelessness and helplessness of your life without Christ.  Then live like someone who knows things have to change.  I’m going to try to.