Summary: Message 16 in our exposition of Nehemiah. Nehemiah describes the elements of the covenant the people signed. This message explores the commitment to be people of distinction.
Chico Alliance Church
"People of Distinction" Pt 1
We have all talked about revival. It is a word frequently used in Christian circles. We readily use the label "Revival Meeting" or a "Renewal Conference". Yet few of us have ever experienced renewal in the sense that many of us would wish. There simply are very few examples of genuine revival in the American church today. A genuine revival takes place when the Spirit of God comes upon a group of people and brings a greater understanding of the holiness of God and a keener awareness of personal sin. This in turn causes a greater sense of helplessness apart from the power of the Spirit in my life to live in greater trust and obedience to the Lord we love. Revival touches every aspect of my personal life. It is allowing Christ's life to flood areas of my life never before offered for His use. Revival effects every area of a church. There is renewed hunger to know and do the Word, to pray for one another, to gather together, to bear one another's burdens, to stimulate one another to greater love and good deeds, to care for the things of God, to serve in the family and to share the news of Christ's life to those who don't know. Simply put, revival is Christ's life so filling the heart that it flows out of the life.
2--Read and study the word together
3--Rejoice and worship together
The people resolved together to make changes in four specific areas.
FIRST--My Response to the Word
Commit to a life of discipline by the Word. (hear and obey)
SECOND--My Relationship to the World System
Commit to a life of distinctiveness in the world.
THIRD--My Relationship to God
Commit to a life of devotion to God.
FOURTH--My response to giving.
Commit to a life of dedication of all my resources to the things of God.
This message explores the commitment to be distinctive. Every family has a distinctiveness that can be observed by others. That distinction is behavioral as well as physical. Not only families, but different groups. We can group people by certain characteristics common to all of them. We call that cultural distinctives. When we are born into the family of God, there are certain distinctions that should identify us as members of His family. For most twentieth century Western Christians, that distinction has been obscured and we have become conformed to the image of this devil designed and directed world system.
It is not a new problem. Exhortations abound in the Bible concerning this problem.
Rom 12:2 1Jo 2:4-6 1Jo 2:15-17
There is a name for this special contrast from all others and comparison to the character of Christ. It is called "sanctification". Basic concept of the word means to be set apart for special use. The family of words translated from the Greek root include, saints, sanctify, holy, holiness.
There are three spheres in which this word applies to Christians:
1--Distinct People By Calling (past)
1Pe 2:9 Eph 2:10 2Co 5:17 Heb 10:10,14 Joh 17:14-17 Act 26:18
By reason of our calling, we are special people with a special mission in this world.
Have we taken for granted the blessing connected to His calling and choosing us out of this world to be a special set apart people? Paul prays for enlightenment concerning the hope of our calling. Peter urges us to be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you practice godly character, you will never fall, 2Pe 1:10
That brings us to the second sphere of sanctification a distinction by conduct in the present. Not only are we set apart and distinct by calling, we are to demonstrate that distinction by our behavior.
2--Distinct People By Conduct (present)
If we are to be light in this world, there must be a distinction between those who claim to know Jesus Christ. There must be a marked difference in behavior. Over and over in Scripture, we are called to demonstrate a behavior different than the world in which we live. Mostly what happens is that the Christian community has paralleled the world in its slide into corruption.
LOOK AT SCRIPTURE
HOW ARE WE TO BE DIFFERENT?
Autonomy-I'm my own boss Dependence-Christ is Boss
Amorality-no absolute morals Absolute standard of righteousness
Atheism-man is God Theism (Lord our God is one God)
Evolution--antisupernatural universe Creation-supernatural intervention
Sensuality-what appeals to the senses What is right--follow Christ
Materialism-love of things What is valuable--take up cross
Humanism--exaltation of self Denial of self