Summary: A message on the basics of the Christian life.
BACK TO BASICS
INTRO: After a losing football season, the coach of a well-known college team said his plans for the next year were to get back to basics. He was referring to blocking, tackling, timing, and execution, which are the ingredients necessary for a winning season. These are not the exciting aspects of the game. These are not showcased on a cool, crisp Saturday in the fall. But these are the elements that are vital to a well-played game.
Many Christians are seeking the glamour and excitement of certain bizarre and flashy spiritual gifts. They are desirous of a continual spiritual high. This is as impossible and impractical as a professional football team playing a regulation game every day of the week.
The Christian life contains basics which may be seen as equivalent to blocking, tackling, and execution in football. These spiritual basics are not showy, but they are mandatory for growing Christians.
Is there a Christian among us who thinks he already has everything God wants him to have? If we admit that God has more for us than we have yet experienced, let’s go back to basics and lay a good foundation for the future. It all begins with:
Of course this involves deep sorrow for sin, but it also includes turning from sin. The result of Paul’s repentance was that old things passed away and all things became new. That which he once ran toward he now ran from.
Worship without repentance is an insult to God. Keep in mind the necessity of repentance. Our Lord said, “Unless you repent, you to will all perish” (Luke 13:3, 5). This takes repentance out of the realm of the optional and makes it an obligation.
Efforts to lead a lost world to Christ begin here. If we do not present the demand for repentance to a lost person, we may find that church membership increases but the kingdom has not been enlarged. Another basic ingredient is:
II. RECIPROCITY (Mutual or Shared).
We understand reciprocal relationships. For a Christian this means if we ask God’s forgiveness, we must extend forgiveness to others. Matthew 6:14 clearly states this basic truth.
Forgiveness never enters a dead-end street. If it can’t flow through you, it won’t come to you.
In Matthew 18:23-35 Jesus told a parable illustrating this principle of reciprocity. The servant who was forgiven a huge debt and then refused to forgive a debtor was dealt with harshly.
Forgiveness is a bedrock basic in the Christian walk. We neglect it to our own detriment and negate our witness in so doing. No one can claim likeness with Jesus and fail to forgive. In returning to the basics of the Christian faith we must include:
Remember what God has done for you and what he has done for others. Paul erred in his judgment in his early life. He sincerely thought he was right, but he was sincerely wrong. Simon Peter, with a glaring character flaw, still used street language, became the preacher and thousands were saved. The Samaritan woman, marked by moral impurity, was transformed into an evangel of grace leading a city to Jesus.
Zacchaeus was blinded by the almighty dollar, yet became so generous he gave away four times what he had taken. Remember what Christ has done for you.
CONC: These are three basics. Build on them and growth will be apparent.