Introduction: Living the Christian lifeIntroduction
In this study we will consider what is involved in being a friend of Jesus. We will answer the simple question, How should I live as Jesus' friend?
How to live as a Christian
1. Join a Christian group
It's true that not all people who go to church are Christians, but it is true that most Christians go to church. The reason is simple:- The Bible tells us not to forsake the meeting together of God's people, Hebrews 10:25.
Why is it so important to meet regularly with a group of Christians? Jesus has promised that when two or three are gathered together in his name he will be present (in Spirit). So we meet to come close to our Lord and Savior. In meeting with him we are bound close together as a group and grow in our understanding of his will. The end result is that we are better equipped to serve our Lord.
What church should we attend? Obviously it's best to join with a group that you can fit in with. Do they make you welcome, are you at home there? Also, make sure the Bible is important to the group. There are many churches to choose from, but remember that the things that unite us are bigger than the things that divide us.
In attending church we should be regular. We should prepare for the meeting in prayer and meditation. We must approach our time of worship in the right attitude and try to participate as much as possible.
2. Understand your faith
The Bible says "In understanding be men." To live for our Lord we must understand his will.
i] Assemble a resource file to house sermon and study notes.
ii] Take notes during sermons.
iii] Study your Bible. Scripture Union notes will aid you in this. For deeper truth build up a set of Tyndale Commentaries. You will also need some basic study aids. a) A Concordance for finding Bible verses. b) The Lion Bible Handbook for background info. c) The New Bible Dictionary and also the New Bible Commentary if you don't want to spend up on the Tyndale Commentaries.
iv] Read Christian Books.
v] Listen to Christian teaching on CDs and DVDs.
vi] Attend a Bible Study group if possible.
As to what version of the Bible we should use. The New International Version is the most popular now, but it is probably best to stick with the version used in your church.
Prayer is talking to God. Seeking his forgiveness, thanking him for the blessings he has given us, praising him for his greatness and asking him to meet our needs, these are the content of our chats with God.
Prayer is terribly important and if you don't organize time now you will find it squeezed out of your program.
A time apart with the Lord is going to be a tremendous blessing for you and an aid in your Christian life. The following is an example of how to structure a "quite time."
i] A Bible reading. A set series of readings, eg. the one year series used in the Anglican Prayer Book, or the readings used in the Scripture Union notes.
ii] Confession. Tell the Lord where you have let him down.
iii] Praise and Thanksgiving. It's important to affirm how great the Lord is and thank him for all the blessings he gives us.
iv] Requests for others and self. We do have to remember that God is a loving Father who has promised to do certain things for us. These promises are contained in the Bible and when we ask for them we can be sure we will be given what we ask for. A problem develops when we think we have the right to ask for anything and get it. If we think that way we will end up hurt when many of our prayers are left unanswered. We may then want to blame God, blame others or even blame ourselves.
4. Live out what your learn
Jesus said, "Not everyone who says Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, but only those who do the will of my Father in Heaven", Matt.7:21.
A friend of Jesus will try to live in a way that is honoring to him. God is our Lord and Creator and our happiness lies in living for him. Yet we, by nature, think our happiness lies in living for ourselves. Left to ourselves we have little hope of breaking out from this life-style, but Jesus came and died to release us from that bondage to a life of service - a life of giving instead of taking. So, our life should be dedicated to him. While on this earth we will fail to live up to our Lord, but then he forgives. Remember, in this life we will be tested and tried for an eternity of service.
Living out the Lord's teachings has nothing to do with adopting the strange habits of some Christians. Use Christian brothers or sisters you respect as role models, but do try to absorb the teaching of the Bible, particularly the sound advice Paul the apostle has for living out the Christian life.
The best rule of thumb is to "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." This is the golden rule Jesus gave us and it can't be bettered.
5. Pass it on
Your key responsibility in the Christian life is to be involved in the spread of the gospel. We do this indirectly by our new life-style - a light shining in the darkness. We do it directly by prayer, giving to missions and speaking to others about our faith.
One of the reasons for attending church is so that we may be equipped spiritually and mentally for the task of evangelism. Church is not about evangelism itself; church is a gathering of believers to meet with Jesus. Yet, the church does preserve the pure gospel and equip individual members for the work of evangelism.
In passing on the gospel, the hardest thing is to get started.
i] Learn off a gospel presentation.
ii] Select a useful printed form of the gospel message to hand to people.
iii] Develop answers to trick questions. This is known as apologetics.
iv] Pray for opportunities and use them when they come your way.
Don't force the message on people. At the right moment they will ask you the reason for your hope or you may ask them if they would like you to explain the Christian faith to them.
Don't force yourself. Only a few believers will be good at face-to-face evangelism. In truth, evangelism is not just face-to-face work, so if you are not up to speaking with people personally about Jesus, there are many other ways of making him known. The most powerful means of evangelism these days is through the media. We can be involved in the work of evangelism by supporting organizations like the Bible Society, missionary societies, ....... So, let us do our bit is seeing that the good news of the gospel is made known throughout the world.
Be Warned! One of the greatest dangers we face is to fool ourselves about our status before God. We can start to think that the way we keep on God's good side has to do with how well we live out the Christian life. If we start to think this way, we will find ourselves striving to please Jesus, but constantly failing, and so end up a slave to sin. Our standing before God is a gift of his kindness; Jesus has done everything for our salvation. All we need to do is trust him and cooperate with his work of renewal from within. So, how good or faithful we are does not affect how God sees us. If we have asked Jesus to be our friend, then we stand perfect in God's sight forever.
The Bible tells us that the gift of God's grace (his mercy and forgiveness) helps make us gracious. If being gracious doesn't earn us God's grace, why bother being gracious?