Summary: In our text, Paul speaks of the behavior of Christian men and women.
INTRO.- Our world is full of bad behavior. However, it’s not supposed to be in the church! Christians are supposed to be somewhat different from other people in the world.
ILL.- Geroge Gallup wrote: There’s little difference in ethical behavior between the churched and the unchurched. There’s as much pilferage and dishonesty among the churched as the unchurched. And I’m afraid that applies pretty much across the board: Religion, per se, is not really life changing.
Religion may not be life-changing but Christ is life-changing. And true conversion to Christ is life-changing. Christ does change a person’s behavior!
ILL.- I think a great example of changed behavior is that of Nicky Cruz, of the famous “Cross and the Switchblade” story and movie. Nicky was only 3-1/2 years old when his heart turned to stone. As one of 18 children born to witchcraft-practicing parents from Puerto Rico, bloodshed and mayhem were common occurrences in his life. He suffered severe physical and mental abuse at their hands, at one time being declared the "Son of Satan" by his mother while she was in a spiritual trance.
When he was 15, Nicky’s father sent him to visit an older brother in New York. Nicky didn’t stay with his brother long. Instead, full of anger and rage, he chose to make it on his own.
Tough, but lonely, by age 16 he became a member of the notorious Brooklyn street gang known as the Mau Maus (named after a bloodthirsty African tribe). Within six months he became their president. Cruz fearlessly ruled the streets as warlord of one of the gangs most dreaded by rivals and police. Lost in the cycle of drugs, alcohol, and brutal violence, his life took a tragic turn for the worse after a friend and fellow gang member was horribly stabbed and beaten and died in Nicky’s arms.
As Cruz’ reputation grew, so did his haunting nightmares. Arrested countless times, a court-ordered psychiatrist pronounced Nicky’s fate as "headed to prison, the electric chair, and hell."
No authority figure could reach Cruz - until he met a skinny street-preacher named David Wilkerson. He disarmed Nicky - showing him something he’d never known before: Relentless love. His interest in the young thug was persistent. Nicky beat him up, spit on him and, on one occasion, seriously threatened his life, yet the love of God remained - stronger than any adversary Nicky had ever encountered.
Finally, Wilkerson’s presentation of the gospel message and the love of Jesus melted the thick walls of his heart. Nicky received the forgiveness, love and new life that can only come through Jesus. Since then, he has dedicated that life to helping others find the same freedom.
Christ does change the behavior of genuine believers who surrender to Him.
PROP.- In our text, Paul speaks of the behavior of Christian men and women.
1- Behavior of men
2- Behavior of women
I. BEHAVIOR OF MEN
8I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing.
ILL.- A man and woman where on their honeymoon after a long and very happy courtship. On their honeymoon, they decide to take their horses through the beautiful mountain passes of Europe. As the horses were crossing a small stream, the woman’s horse mis-steps and jostles the man’s wife.
Once across the stream, the man dismounts, walks over to the horse, and stares into its eyes. Finally, he states, "That’s one." The man remounts his horse and they continue their ride.
A bit further down the path, the woman’s horse stumbles when stepping over a fallen tree. The man dismounts, stares the horse in the eyes, and boldly states, "That’s two!" He returns to his saddle and they move on.
As the afternoon sun began to set, the woman’s horse once again lost its footing on a mossy slope. The man dismounts, moves to the woman’s horse, and helps his wife out of the saddle the man. Moving to the front of the horse he stares it in the eyes and firmly says, "That’s three," removes a pistol from his vest, and shots the horse dead.
The woman, quite upset at seeing the beautiful horse killed, says to her husband, "That’s terrible, why would you do such a thing!" The man stares at his wife and firmly says, "That’s one!"
Now what kind of behavior is that? It’s funny, but it’s not correct behavior according to most wives and according to scripture. It’s not how a husband should treat his wife.
I Peter 3:7 “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.”
Here is God’s Word for how a husband should behave toward his wife: be considerate. Treat them with respect.