Thursday, May 8, 2008

Christian Character - 3

III. What motivation should we have to develop our character?
I skipped over the part about our motivation in Col 3:6 "Because of these, the wrath of God is coming." (NIV) This is talking about those worldly attributes. We want to skip that whole “Wrath of God” thing that is coming down. Our desire to develop Christian characteristics should be because they prove the change and repentance in our lives. Remember what the Apostle Paul told King Agrippa, Acts 26:20 "I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds." (NIV) These deeds are our actions (remember our definition of character from the other day, "our character determines our actions and reactions"), therefore, our actions and reactions prove our character. Paul said that these deeds prove our repentance, therefore, our character PROVES (or disproves) our repentance!


Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Christian Character - 2

II. What are some of the specific flaws that Christians sometimes have in their character?
Christians are like everyone else. We STILL have flaws. Find me a perfect Christian, and I will show you Jesus, because He is the only one. Even the Apostle Paul struggled with his flaws. In Romans 7, he says, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do…(21)When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.” (NIV) Christians still struggle with anger, envy, lust, impatience and all the other worldly characteristics. Just because we become Christians, doesn’t mean that it’s what we call “easy street”. Back to my favorite verses, Col 3:1-11 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above…Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry…You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. (NIV) Wouldn’t it be nice if the junk in our lives just disappeared when we believed! It doesn't, it takes effort on our part of drawing close to God and having Him draw close to us.

This passage tells us that after we believe, after we are baptized, we STILL struggle with the world and we must "put to death" that which is of the world. Being a Christian and having Christian character is about daily choices of how we are are going to live. Every choice we make reveals what our character is.


Sunday, May 4, 2008

Christian Character

2 Peter 1:5-7 ...make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love (NIV).

I. Why is the character of a Christian important?
Our character always defines us. As a Christian, our character should define us as Christians. They should prove who we are. How can we preach change to others if we haven’t changed ourselves? How can we preach love to others when we have none ourselves? Basically, how can the Spirit of God be in us if we have no characteristics of the Spirit? Jesus said it best in Luke 3:8, "Produce fruit in keeping with repentance." (NIV)

If you say you changed an apple into an orange, but it still looks like an apple, smells like an apple, tastes like an apple and has apple seeds in it, guess what? You didn't change it into an orange! It's still an apple. Same with a Christian, if you say you've changed and you still act like a sinner, talk like a sinner, hang out with sinners and still like to sin, guess what? You didn't change!

Why do people shy away from Christianity? Because too many people "talk the talk", but don't "walk the walk".

The proof is in the fruit!