Thursday, July 19, 2018

What is a Christian? Part 2

Chuckle: Kid's lyrics: "O Susanna, O don't you cry for me; for I come from Alabama with a Band-Aid on my knee!"
Quote: “Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to a garage makes you an automobile.” --William (Billy) Sunday
"If we are living now by the Holy Spirit, let us follow the Holy Spirit's leading in every part of our lives" (Galatians 5:25 NLT). "Don't be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, let the Holy Spirit fill and control you" (Ephesians 5:18 NLT).
Last time, we saw that first, a Christian is "one in whom Jesus Christ resides/dwells." Second, a Christian is "One whose life Jesus Christ Controls." The title "Christians" was given by others to the believers at Antioch (Acts 11:26) because their lives and actions showed they were Christ's followers and were controlled by His teachings. They didn't need to go around telling people they were Christians -- people knew it immediately by the way they lived.
Today, many who wear the name "Christian," and maybe even attend church, do not show in their daily lives that they are His and controlled by Him and His indwelling Spirit. A Christian should be loved and respected for whose name he or she bears -- because he or she belongs to Christ.
Let's look a little deeper into what it means to be controlled by the Spirit of Jesus Christ. It means our lives take on the characteristics of Jesus Himself. We begin to think more like Jesus each day as we are instructed in Philippians 2:5. "Let this mind be in you that is also in Christ Jesus." The Holy Spirit wants to control your temper, your tongue, your mind, and your actions. If we fully surrender our lives to the control of the Spirit, He will mold us into the representative of Christ that He desires us to be. Those controlled by the Spirit can be identified by:
Fruit of the Spirit: When we are controlled by the Spirit of Christ, we will exhibit the fruit of the Spirit recorded in Galatians 5:22 NIV: Love, Joy, Peace, patience, kindness, and self-control. These traits give ample evidence that our lives are under the control of our Lord's Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is the spontaneous work of the Holy Spirit as He produces in us the character traits found in the very nature of Christ.
Godly Decisions: When we are controlled by the Spirit, we consult with Him routinely and seek His direction before making life decisions. His control helps us avoid costly and humiliating mistakes. Our decisions reflect the guidance of God's Holy Spirit.
Heavenly Wisdom: "But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere" (James 5:17 NIV). If your life reflects this kind of wisdom, it is evidence that you are controlled by the Holy Spirit. We should not be concerned with how much of the Holy Spirit we have but with how much of us the Holy Spirit has.
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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