Summary: Seven principles for living a dynamic Christian life.
THESE MEN HAD BEEN WITH JESUS!
A couple of questions. Firstly: Why are so many churches nearly empty?!
Secondly: Why do so few Christians make an impact?(ALLOW RESPONSES)
Someone read 1 Cor 3:1-4
What does this passage say about the questions we have just posed?
We are told one reason we’re not making an impact, one reason the church is not growing, is because we’re too worldly! Our sights are set too low. We don’t live differently to those without Christ. We need to ask ourselves this question, ‘What is the most important thing in my life?’ ‘What is or are my primary goal/s?’ Am I too worldly to make a difference for Christ?
Someone read Matt 26:57-58
What reason does Matthew give for our ineffectiveness for Christ?
He says, ‘You’re half-hearted! You stand back and only associate with Christ when it’s comfortable.’ Do we, like Peter, ‘sit with the guards’ - sit with the enemy to see if it’s going to be safe to stand up and be counted. Ask yourself, ‘Am I full-on when I’m with those of like mind but strangely silent in the presence of those who may not hold to what I believe? Am I willing to be ridiculed, rejected, misrepresented and if need be, am I willing to die for Jesus?’ or ‘Do I only fly my colours when it’s safe?’
Someone read Rev 3:14-17
What is the Lord telling this group of believers? (ALLOW RESPONSE)
They are lukewarm – ‘couldn’t care less’ type believers. ‘Ah, look if I can find the time to build my relationship with God that’s great, but it’s no big deal if it does or doesn’t happen!’ Ask yourself, ‘Am I really concerned about my relationship with Christ, do I long for others to come to know Him? Or am I a ‘take it or leave it’ Christian – if it happens that’s great but if not, well no big deal?!’ Does your enthusiasm or lack thereof show for Christ?
Please turn with me to Acts chapter 4.
Laura will read vss 1-12 and Tim vss 13-22.
Listen very carefully and see if you can discover some principles for living a dynamic, vital and disturbing Christian life. A life that would impact our society, point people to Christ and build our churches.
(PLEASE READ TO US – ACTS 4:1-12 FOLLOWED BY VS. 13-22)
It is quite evident that Peter and John lived by the principles which we want to discover. Their experience of Christ was vital, disturbing and productive, in fact so much so that even their accusers were deeply impressed – see verse 13. 13 ’When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.’
How remarkable! – these ordinary followers of Jesus impressed the rulers and authorities of the day so much that they were ‘astonished’ – flabbergasted, knocked off their feet, speechless, bewildered. And in their minds there was no question that Peter and John had absorbed much from Jesus! ’…they took note that these men had been with Jesus.’
Oh if only people would say the same about you and me!
What was their secret? – Will you, Peter and John, let us in on your secret? You see, at rock bottom their foundation was Jesus Christ. They knew and trusted the source and sustainer of all life. They were in relationship with Him. They had turned from trying to run their own lives to giving over to their beloved Jesus. Having Him as their bedrock, what principles came into play to enable them to live such dynamic Christian lives.
I have noted seven principles in this passage, four of which are contained in verse 13 alone.
The first is the principle of,
1. NAILING YOUR COLOURS TO THE MAST FAST
Notice the word ‘saw’ in verse 13, When they ‘saw’ … .
Some years back I got a job working for Viscount, building mobile homes. In my initial interview I explained that my time with them would be limited due to the fact that I’d be going back to complete theological studies – I let them know that I was a Christian. Well they called the other 20-30 employees together to introduce me to them, and said, ‘Now you guys watch your language, your jokes and your behaviour because this guys a Christian.’ Well, talk about having my colours nailed to the mast fast. And from then on everybody at work would watch me to see if I was fair dinkum. And the Lord used that time wonderfully – and I thank Him for it! I was made to nail my colours to the mast.