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Summary: In many churches you will find unbalanced Christians: Those who are strong on holiness but weak on ministry. Those who are strong on ministry but weak on holiness. God wants those who are strong on holiness and ministry, the balanced Christian.

CHRISTIANITY: A BALANCED LIFE

(Based on the book by Mike Cope entitled: Living Between Two Worlds)

A. John 17:9-19 (READ)

COMMENT:

As you listen to Jesus’ PRAYER you since a DILEMMA in our Lord. At one time He says that His disciples are of the WORLD and then He says they’re not of the WORLD. Of course, He means that even though His disciples are I the world PHYSICALLY . . . SPIRITUALLY they have turned their lives over to God and no longer LIVE for the WORLD.

Jesus’ concern is that since His disciples are in the WORLD, that God keeps them safe from the DEVIL. He is saying, “Father, I have guarded them and kept them safe since I have been with them. But since I am leaving them, please don’t allow Satan to SNATCH them away.”

ILLUSTRATION:

As a parent you know a little of how Jesus feels when your children start to KINDERGARTEN and you realize that you are no longer the only adult SHAPING their lives. You literally put your children into the hands of STRANGERS who spend almost as much time with them as you.

Then when your children go off to COLLEGE, all you can do as a PARENT is RELEASE them and HOPE and PRAY that Satan doesn’t SNATCH them from God.

B. The concern of every Christian should be, “HOW DO I LIVE IN THE WORLD AND NOT BECOME PART OF IT?”

1. The Bible tells us that we are “STRANGERS on this EARTH”- Hebrews 11:13 and 1 Peter 2:11.

COMMENT:

“Our CITIZENSHIP is in HEAVEN”- Philippians 3:21. As AMBASSADORS for Christ, we are to live in this WORLD reconciling others to God, but we are not to become PART of this WORLD.

2. This presents the Christian with a DIFFICULT TASK: “LIVE FOR CHRIST IN THE WORLD.”

a. The Christian is literally living in TWO WORLDS: A CITIZEN of HEAVEN living in the WORLD controlled by Satan the PRINCE of the WORLD.

b. This is not a SIMPLE TASK.

ILLUSTRATION:

The tension between a Christian and SOCIETY is highlighted in the story Tony Compolo relates as a child who entered his house, not knowing the PREACHER was VISITING. Seeing his Mom, the boy came running in holding a RAT by the TAIL. With obvious EXCITEMENT he choked out: “Look, Mom! Look at this RAT I caught out behind the barn! I SMASHED its head in with a BASEBALL BAT! I threw ROCKS at it! I STOMPED on it! I SPIT on it, and I . . . I . . . I . . .”

He then looked up and saw the MINISTER. Swallowing hard he said, “And . . . and . . . and then the dear Lord called it HOME!”

3. Have you ever felt the TENSION between you and another person once it’s known that you are a

Christian?

COMMENT:

As a preacher I get this quite often. People often ACT differently when it’s known that I am a PREACHER.

ILLUSTRATION:

I can be at the coffee shop having COFFEE with someone and a friend of the person I’m sitting with will come over and JOIN us. The first thing he’ll say to his friend is, “Hey, John, you BLANKETY-BLANK. What have you been up to?” He would then describe one of the WAITRESSES in graphic and disgusting language. The guy I’m having coffee with is DYING inside out of EMBARRASSMENT for me as a PREACHER.

After awhile the man will ask, “What kind of work do you do?” I calmly reply, “I’m a PREACHER.” At first the guy thinks I’m kidding. But after getting a NOD in AGREEMENT from his friend, he quickly cleans up his act and says something like, “My great-grandmothers goes to church.”

C. It’s an awkward POSITION we Christians are in. We PARTICIPATE in TWO WORLDS. We are in Christ, but we are still in the WORLD.

COMMENT:

Is it possible for Christians to relate to those in the WORLD without COMPROMISING their RELATIONSHIP with God? Are we to be a RECLUSE and not have any kind of RELATIONSHIP with those in the WORLD? Are we, in order to RELATE with those in the WORLD, to PARTICIPATE in the things they do even if CONTRADICTORY to God’s TEACHINGS? What’s the SOLUTION? HOW DO WE RELATE TO OUR WORLD?

MESSAGE:

I. TWO KEY WORDS WE NEED TO CONSIDER

A. HOLINESS

1. As Christians we are called to be “HOLY”.

COMMENT:

We weren’t called to be HOLIER-THAN-THOU, but we are called to be SET-APART from the UNHOLINESS of the WORLD into the SERVICE of Christ. This means that we are not to PARTICIPATE in the EVILS of our SOCIETY, but to LIVE our LIVES for Jesus.

2. As HOLY PEOPLE, we are to be DIFFERENT from the REST of the WORLD.

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