If you don’t know anything at all about the North Crowley High School varsity football team, the main thing you need to know is that they are pretty much a joke. All the other athletic teams (tennis, golf, softball, baseball, volleyball, basketball, and marching band), do better than our VARSITY football team. In fact, we got a half-day off because the NC Varsity basketball team went to state.
Everyone can put as much effort as they can into practice. You can run as hard as you can up and down the field, but that won’t help you with passing, blocking, or tackling. So, it’s not how MUCH you practice; it must be HOW you practice. By now you’re probably thinking, “why is he going on about sports, this is church”. My lesson is about how we Christians are supposed to be better Christians, how to essentially “practice”.
One way we can practice is to simply study our Bibles. Now, you normally get your Bibles out to read along with a sermon or a class, but how often do you open it at home? How much time do you take out of your daily life to just read a couple pages from the Bible? I know that I have a hard time with this as well, but the only real excuses you have from not reading the Bible is if you’re extremely sick, can’t read or hear, or have a mental problem where the teachings of the Bible are beyond comprehension. We need to be like the Berean brethren who studied the Scripture daily to make sure that whatever was taught was true. (Acts 17:11)
Other ways to practice is how we behave. We have to show others how Christians behave. If we keep to ourselves and do not reach out to others or at least demonstrate to others how to act like a Christian, we might as well be flavorless salt. In Philippians, we are urged to do things that are praiseworthy. (Phil. 4:8-9) We also need to be ready to answer any question about our faith. We should be reason in season and out of season and be watchful for false doctrine just like Paul told Timothy. (2 Tim. 4:2-4) And we must behave as a Christian at all times. We cannot be like the evil servant who slacks while the master is gone. (Matt. 24:45-51)
Just like during any sport season, we must practice everyday to be ready, for we know not when the Lord shall come.
The Hebrew writer says that “faith is the substance of things hoped for”, but what exactly should we be hoping for as a Christian? Riches? Glory? Try something that lasts forever, like spending eternity in Heaven with God.
Most people who call themselves Christians talk of their “faith.” This phrase can be looked at a different way. The word “substance” means something that we can touch or observe. So the phrase “faith is the substance of things hoped for” can also be read as “faith is that which is observable or tangible of things hoped for.” Therefore faith is something that can be seen by an outside observer, not something you claim to have or feel. Faith in God is doing what He tells us to do, because faith without acting upon it isn’t really faith at all. (James 2:14-26) A simpler way to say the same thing is “faith is what we do because of the things we hope for.” Therefore, a Christian will follow God’s commands because of the hope of eternity in heaven.
Faith is ESSENTIAL to Christianity since we worship the true God who has not appeared to someone on Earth in nearly two thousand years, but gave us instructions to follow until His reappearance.
One of the acts of faith we must follow to obtain salvation, is to hear about it (Rom. 10:17). Then believe it (Luke 6:46-49). You must also repent, confess, and be baptized (Acts 2:38). As the lyrics of one of the hymns I sing go, “all things are ready.”
If some random person, who might be a classmate or co-worker, came up to you and asked what is a Christian, some might answer: “a follower of Christ”-that’s a given “someone who does good things”-also true “a good guy”-yeah, for the most part. Lots of people probably would not think to say that Christians are the Salt of the Earth. (Matt. 5:13) We are also the light of the world (Matt. 5:14-16) It is also our duty to not lose our salty flavouring or let our light dim.
Another question might be, what do Christians do? Some would say: we go to church every Sunday.-yeah, that’s commanded of us (1Cor. 16:1). We give praise to God-yeah, another command. We pray-again, another command. Most would probably not think to say: we partake of the Lord’s Supper every Sunday (1 Cor. 11: 26). We help our brothers and sisters (James 2:15). We are to also go out into the world, not keep to ourselves, and do what we can to spread the gospel (Matt. 28:16-28). We are to present ourselves holy and acceptable to God. It is also our duty to confront members that we know are in sin, and dismember them if need be. We are to help out in the church as well, whether it be songleading, preaching, praying, or even teaching or getting the trays ready for serving the Lord’s Supper. All Christians have a duty, and we can’t shirk it if we want to be with God in Heaven. It is expected of us to do something (James 2:14-26).
We all see “Christians” everyday. They use God’s name in vain, they use dirty jokes, and choose and pick when they go to “church”. This is not the correct behaviour of a Christian. These “Christians” corrupt the way people think about God and His followers. Then we see those that say they are Christians, yet they are greedy men and women who say they love God, put on a happy face, and talk about how good Heaven is and that to reach Heaven, you need this bottle of Holy Water for $4.95, or call the prayer hotline at 1-800-772-9370 (1-800-PRAYER-0). Believe it or not, but it is rare for a TV preacher to actually preach. We know that this is sadly true because in Matthew 7:15, Christ tells of how there will be some who bring false doctrines, but look as one who speaks truth. It is sad when we see one who is honestly devoted to God, but the way they do it is not right. Here's some of the things we should be doing as Christians. Also, these are straight from the Bible.
-We are to show others the way of Christ (Matt. 5:13-16)
-Do extra for others (Matt. 5:38-42)
-Do good for God, not to show off (Matt. 6:1-4)
-Love God more than anyone or anything else (Matt 10:34-39) Some Christians put the world before God and Christ, which is why they’re not strong Christians and often fall away.
-Make sacrifices (Matt. 16:24-27) Don’t you make sacrifices for your friends and people whom you love? If you’re not willing to make sacrifices for Christ, do you really love Him?
-Forgive others, for Christ has forgiven us (Matt. 18:21; 35, Mark 11:25-26)
-Be kind to others (Luke 6:27-35)
-Obey the commandments Christ has given us (Matt. 19:16-19)
-Follow His way to salvation (Matt. 20:20-24-baptism; John 6:45-hear the Gospel; John 8:24-believe the Gospel; Acts 2:38, Mark 16:16-baptism and repentance, Rom. 10:9-10 -Confess Christ; Heb. 10:23-26-live faithfully; Luke 13:1-5; why you have to repent)
-Teach others (Matt. 28:16-20)
-Teach the Truth (Mark 7:6-9) Please notice that we’re supposed to teach God’s word, not something man made up.
-Do not be prejudiced (Luke 6:37-42)
-A House Divided Cannot Stand (Luke 11:15-23) How can you expect the church to be a place of sound worship if the members are at war?
-Keep Order In Church (1 Cor. 14:26-40)
-Put on the Armour of God (Eph. 6:10-19)
It really saddens me when I watch Daystar or some other “gospel” channel, and no one is really preaching or spreading God’s word. It’s mostly men and women who call themselves ministers, use a couple verses in the wrong context, and try to make money. I’ve already listed something that conflicts with God’s word, women have not been given a leadership role in the church. In 1 Timothy and Titus, it lists the requirements for elders and deacons, and it always says men. Nor do you ever hear of women preachers in the early church in any of Paul’s letters. There’s a verse that (I’m paraphrasing here) says there needs to be order in the church and keep the women silent. (1 Corinthians 14:34) Now, I’m not saying the women can’t do anything at all. They can teach Bible class, they can prepare the trays, or whatever you use, to serve the Lord’s Supper. They can study with others all they want. One other thing, it’s not right when evangelists give themselves the title, “father”. God says to call no one Father (in a spiritual sense, of course) but Him. (Matthew 23:9) Do you really think that acceptable Christian behavior is to go against God?
The armor of God isn’t the same armor as a knight would put on or the high-tech Iron Man armor. It is armor that you use to guard yourself spiritually. Instead of protecting against arrows, blades, or bullets; the armor of God is used to help protect yourself against temptation and sin. We can take comfort in knowing that we do not have to fight man-to-man and sustain painful injuries like the Israelites did, but we fight against “principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness”. Medieval knights would wear and exercise in their armor until it felt like a natural part of them. A Christian should use and exercise the armor of God until it is an inseparable part of themselves. Granted, when we normally think of armor, it’s just what you wear to protect yourself, passively. But there is also an active way to defend yourself and it is listed as part of our special armor, a sword. Our sword is the Word of God, which can be used to cut to the heart of men (cross ref. Acts 2:37). Our strongest weapon is not one that can kill, but one that can pierce a soul as described in Hebrews 4:12 and show them their true condition, lost and condemned.
The Armor of God is also a mental thing. We speak of people “having their guard up” or “being caught with their guard down”. The Amour should be our spiritual “guard”. Our Christianity should reflect in both our actions and in our thoughts. (Mark 7)
Let us all “put on the whole” armor of God, and keep it on as Paul said to do with perseverance.