Summary: Christians can strengthen their walk with God by adopting these habits.
Six Habits For Highly Effective Christians
(Based upon concepts from John Calvin’s Institutes)
September 5, 2004 Chester FBC, Chester, Illinois Mike Fogerson
A school teacher who was bypassed for a promotion went to her administrator and complained, "I have twenty years of experience, and you promoted someone who had only been teaching five years." The administrator replied, "No, you don’t have twenty years of experience. You have one year of experience twenty times. You’re still teaching the same things and in the same way you did your first year. You haven’t grown in your profession." Christ wants us to grow, to develop, to become effective representatives of Himself.
We can expect growth but should never expect perfection.
During the reign of Oliver Cromwell, there was a shortage of currency in the British Empire. Representatives carefully searched the nation in hopes of finding silver to meet the emergency. After one month, the committee returned with its report. "We have searched the empire in vain seeking to find silver. To our dismay, we found none anywhere except in the cathedrals where the statures of the saints are made of choice silver.’
To this, Oliver Cromwell eloquently answered, "Let’s melt down the saints and put them into circulation."
That reply carries a deeper meaning than Cromwell ever intended. It contains the secret of effective witnessing.
Prayer: Lord, forgive us for being ‘silver saints’, church. Give us a new appreciation of your love for us and for a lost world. Melt us down, Lord, and keep us in circulation with the warmth of your constraining love.
I Habit One: Depend on the Holy Spirit
The secret of holiness in the inner working of the effective Christian is the Holy Spirit.
A Jesus promised the Holy Spirit would come to comfort and guide His disciples.
11 Whenever they bring you before synagogues and rulers and authorities, don’t worry about how you should defend yourselves or what you should say. 12 For the Holy Spirit will teach you at that very hour what must be said." Luke 12:11-12 (HCSB)
a 38 Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38
*When conversion occurred, the Holy Spirt came.
b The Holy Spirit brought people/ drew people into a union with Jesus Christ. (The Holy Spirit’s job is to bring you and I to a faith/closeness/union with Jesus!!!)
B The Holy Spirit causes two internal actions.
a Mortification (Killing off of the old life)
b Vivification (Creating new life)
These are the major components of REPENTANCE
The Holy Spirit does to the sin our lives what Jesus did to sin on the cross - - - removes the curse.
C Our sin is forgiven in an instant, but sanctification takes a lifetime.
a We’ll fight with/ struggle with/ occasionally lose to sin our whole lives.
b When we depend on the Holy Spirit, He takes us to Jesus and union occurs. (No longer "got" religion, we’ve got a relationship with Jesus!)
TS: The effective Christian depends first on the Holy Spirit, and then depend less on themselves.
II Habit Two: Practice Self-Denial
Matthew 16.24a If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself, . . .
Self-denial is not giving up sweets for lent or punishing your body.
A At the heart of the issue of self-denial is a question of ownership: Who is really in charge of my life – God or me?
You already know that the hardest person in the world to deny is yourself. To deny myself dessert is hard enough, but to deny myself is difficult indeed. To deny myself is to put self out of the picture and to put Christ in the place of self. —J. Vernon McGee’s Thru The Bible
a 1 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life— your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life— and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. 2 Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. Romans 12:1-2 (MSG)
We are not our own
We Belong to God
b My will/wishes/ways are no longer my own. OWNERSHIP!
B What does self-denial look like?
a Detachment & Contentment