Have you heard “Do what I say, not do what I do?” But truthfully, what do most people do? They follow the example of those around that they see, not so much what other say. We follow what we see actioned, not so much what we’re told. How we live today matters. How we choose to treat others matters. When we choose life, it matters. When we choose to edify, instead of pulling down someone, this matters.
Our children watch us. Our peers watch us. Our work colleagues watch us. We watch each other in doing life together as a family of God. Other Christians watch us. Community watch us. What we do, whether or not we believe we hold influence, matters. We will influence others…maybe a few…maybe many. But we will influence. What we say, and what we do as actions in our lives influences others – for good or evil.
We may think we don’t follow others examples. I used to think this, but as I get older, I see more and more how much other people influence us. It may be our parents, if it’s not our parents so much, then we will action the example of whoever has been our influence, mentor or example.
Who is Our Example in Life as a Christian? (and this is whole of our life)
How did Jesus treat others? (Mark 10:17-22) Jesus told a rich man to sell everything he had, give to the poor and come follow Jesus. He told us not despise little ones (children and people of no influence); he told us we are salt and light. We hold influence and we are at our best when we action how Jesus lives. He spoke and he lived the actions. (John 8:1-11) He showed compassion to a woman caught in the act of adultery (expound); he cared for his mother and provided for her needs even whilst hanging on the cross; he cared for those who hold little influence in the world – the poor, orphan, outcast.
How do we treat those of little influence? Everyday I talk to and see people who hold little influence in our modern society. I hear their stories. Each day I am challenged about how I will treat them. Sometimes, I just want to walk away and have nothing more to do with their situation. Sometimes, I just want to cry and hide and sometimes I want to right the injustice of the world.
I am learning that what I must do first is pray. Pray while I am with them, pray when I thinking through the problem, pray when the leave, pray when the Lord brings them to mind. I can’t fix their issues. Sometimes, no person can. What they need is Jesus. For some people, their decisions and life choices will have a life-long consequence while they live on earth. But they need to know that their decision about Jesus Christ and the choice they make about a relationship with Him, will have an eternal consequence – life with God or separation from him.
Over the past few weeks we’ve looked at what we believe we value and some essentials that are part of this.
In our essentials we need to have unity. And all our beliefs we need to show liberty and love. Liberty in allowing others to see the world and express their relationship with Jesus, even if it’s different from how we do so. “Therefore, let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.” Romans 14:13 Love as Jesus Christ loves us – look past the non-essentials and see Jesus Christ in our fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord. “Therefore, let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one edifies another.” Romans 14:19
But having essential beliefs has little value unless we translate this into action. So, if we believe what the Bible teaches us there are some practices we need to undertake (Acts 2:42):
· Reading and studying the Bible – do we make it a daily practice to read scripture and study it? Do we spend time reflecting on the words in scripture? Do we put in practice what we learn? 2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us that, “All Scripture is God-breathed [given by divine inspiration] and is profitable for instruction, for conviction [of sin], for correction [of error and restoration to obedience], for training in righteousness [learning to live in conformity to God’s will, both publicly and privately—behaving honorably with personal integrity and moral courage]; so that the [a]man of God may be complete and proficient, outfitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Essentially, God wants us to grow up in Him and fulfill our God-given potential.
· Meeting together. Do you know that scripture tells us to “not stop meeting together” The Message says, “So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.” Our Head is Jesus Christ – it’s not the Pastor 😊 He appoints shepherds over us. Here at Tolga Community Church we value that each local church should be self-governing and independent, under the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ. We value that each group of Christians may do things differently from us, but we can still work alongside each other.
· We are all called to Ministry. We all have a place of service. Regardless of whether you have a paid job or not, you are still called to ministry. It doesn’t matter how young or old you are. You still have a ministry. We speak life or death into people. We speak encouragement or disencouragement.
1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen ·people [or generation; Is. 43:21], royal priests [L priesthood], a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession [who belong to God; Ex. 19:5–6]. You were chosen to tell about the wonderful acts of God, who [proclaim the praises/virtues of him who] called you out of darkness into his wonderful [marvelous] light.” (Expanded Bible)
· We are called to contribute to the Lord’s work – we practice contributing to the financial support of Christ’s body – the Church. Here on earth. Do we do it out of duty? I hope not. Paul wrote, “…On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income…”1 Corinthians 16:1-2 We do this as an expression of love and thanks.
· Baptism – here at TCC we practice baptism by immersion. We baptize as Jesus Christ was baptized – immersion under water. Baptism shows that we have died with Christ and now live with Him. “At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” Mark 1:9-11.
We are talking about growing up to maturity.
Romans 6:6-14 – “We know that the persons we used to be were nailed to the cross with Jesus. This was done, so that our sinful bodies would no longer be the slaves of sin. We know that sin doesn’t have power over dead people. As surely as we died with Christ, we believe we will also live with him. We know that death no longer has any power over Christ. He died and was raised to life, never again to die. When Christ died, he died for sin once and for all. But now he is alive, and he lives only for God. In the same way, you must think of yourselves as dead to the power of sin. But Christ Jesus has given life to you, and you live for God. Don’t let sin rule your body. After all, your body is bound to die, so don’t obey its desires or let any part of it become a slave of evil. Give yourselves to God, as people who have been raised from death to life. Make every part of your body a slave that pleases God. Don’t let sin keep ruling your lives. You are ruled by God’s kindness and not by the Law.”
· Spirit-led living. We cannot live the Christian life except by God’s power in us. You cannot live the Christian life by doing good works, or by trying to be a good person. It doesn’t matter how much money or things you give away. “Do not get drunk with wine, for that is wickedness (corruption, stupidity), but be filled with the [Holy] Spirit and constantly guided by Him.” Ephesians 5:18 (AMP)
Actually, if you think you can get to heaven because you a are ‘good’ person or do ‘good’ works then you are being religious. You’re trying to earn your way to heaven. And you can’t. The only way to eternal life with God is through a restored relationship. That is through Jesus Christ who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. John 14:6
· We are called to share our testimony with others. When people say they word evangelist or evangelize we get a mental picture of a big tent or building with a preacher going for it at the front talking about Jesus. To evangelize is to simply “talk about how great something is.” For a Christian, that something is a someone and his name is Jesus Christ. How do we do this? Simply talk about what Jesus has done for you in your life. 1 Peter 3:15 says, “…Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,”
If we believe what we value then it must be translated into actions, not just words. They only talk the talk, but we must walk the walk! We are to work out our faith in fear and trembling.
“…So then, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence but even more in my absence, continue working out your salvation with awe and reverence,” Philippians 12:2 (NET)
What we believe we value and if we are to show this in our lives, it’s more than words, it living out our faith in actions.