Christian Living In Light Of The Cross -With New Living Translation

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You may download a printable version of the In Light of the Cross Bible Study Guides -NLT here.

Christian Living

 

Brief overview: We are called to be a godly people who think, feel, and act in harmony with the principles of heaven. For the Spirit to recreate in us the character of our Lord we involve ourselves only in those things which will produce Christlike purity, health, and joy in our lives. This means that our amusement and entertainment should meet the highest standards of Christian taste and beauty. While recognizing cultural differences, our dress is to be simple, modest, and neat, befitting those whose true beauty does not consist of outward adornment but in the imperishable ornament of a gentle and quiet spirit. (Rom. 12:121 John 2:6Eph. 5:1-21Phil. 4:82 Cor. 10:56:14-7:11 Peter 3:1-4)

 

Why it is important to understand the truth about Christian living:

“Now then we are ambassadors for Christ…” 2 Corinthians 5:20.  We are to represent Christ to the world.

Why it is important to understand Christian living in light of the cross:

 

“But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” Galatians 6:14

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, [there] ye may be also.  John 14:1-3

Last year I went with a friend to The Tampa Bay Ray’s stadium, Tropicana Field, where we watched the first place Rays defeat the second place Red Sox 2-1.

While at the game I noticed several Red Sox fans. You could easily spot them with their Red Sox shirts, caps, and jackets. I even sat by one. He assured me that the long fly that Ortiz hit to deep right center for an out would have been a homerun at FenwayPark, where the Red Sox play their home games.

I noticed something about the Red Sox fans. They came into our home ball park but still dressed and acted like they would at Fenway. They did not buy the Tampa Bay Rays t-shirts and caps and try to blend in at all. While most of them were very polite and pleasant to be around they still made it clear that Tropicana Field was not their home and the Rays were not their team. They did not mind looking like visitors. They did not mind that they dressed and looked different. They were proud of their team and where they were from.

As Christians, let’s let the world know earth is not our home. While being as polite and pleasant to be around as possible, let’s still let it be known, our home is in heaven, not here. We do not blend in with the world because we are not a part of this world. Let’s not be afraid to look different and act different. Let’s be as proud of where we belong as the Red Sox fans were proud of where they belong.

Further Study on Christian Living

 

Christian living in the family

 

Marriage was divinely established in Eden and affirmed by Jesus to be a lifelong union between a man and a woman in loving companionship. For the Christian a marriage commitment is to God as well as to the spouse, and should be entered into only between partners who share a common faith. Mutual love, honor, respect, and responsibility are the fabric of this relationship, which is to reflect the love, sanctity, closeness, and permanence of the relationship between Christ and His church. Regarding divorce, Jesus taught that the person who divorces a spouse, except for fornication, and marries another, commits adultery. Although some family relationships may fall short of the ideal, marriage partners who fully commit themselves to each other in Christ may achieve loving unity through the guidance of the Spirit and the nurture of the church. God blesses the family and intends that its members shall assist each other toward complete maturity. Parents are to bring up their children to love and obey the Lord. By their example and their words they are to teach them that Christ is a loving disciplinarian, ever tender and caring, who wants them to become members of His body, the family of God. Increasing family closeness is one of the earmarks of the final gospel message. (Gen. 2:18-25Matt. 19:3-9;John 2:1-112 Cor. 6:14Eph. 5:21-33Matt. 5:3132Mark 10:1112Luke 16:181 Cor. 7:1011Ex. 20:12Eph. 6:1-4Deut. 6:5-9Prov. 22:6Mal. 4:5,6.)

Christian living in the church

 

The church is the community of believers who confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. In continuity with the people of God in Old Testament times, we are called out from the world; and we join together for worship, for fellowship, for instruction in the Word, for the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, for service to all mankind, and for the worldwide proclamation of the gospel. The church derives its authority from Christ, who is the incarnate Word, and from the Scriptures, which are the written Word. The church is God’s family; adopted by Him as children, its members live on the basis of the new covenant. The church is the body of Christ, a community of faith of which Christ Himself is the Head. The 18.)church is the bride for whom Christ died that He might sanctify and cleanse her. At His return in triumph, He will present her to Himself a glorious church, the faithful of all the ages, the purchase of His blood, not having spot or wrinkle, but holy and without blemish. (Gen. 12:3Acts 7:38Eph. 4:11-153:8-11Matt. 28:192016:13-2018:18Eph. 2:19-221:22235:23-27Col. 1:17,

The universal church is composed of all who truly believe in Christ, but in the last days, a time of widespread apostasy, a remnant has been called out to keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. This remnant announces the arrival of the judgment hour, proclaims salvation through Christ, and heralds the approach of His second advent. This proclamation is symbolized by the three angels of Revelation 14; it coincides with the work of judgment in heaven and results in a work of repentance and reform on earth. Every believer is called to have a personal part in this worldwide witness. (Rev. 12:1714:6-1218:1-42 Cor. 5:10Jude 3141 Peter 1:16-192 Peter 3:10-14Rev. 21:1-14.)

The church is one body with many members, called from every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. In Christ we are a new creation; distinctions of race, culture, learning, and nationality, and differences between high and low, rich and poor, male and female, must not be divisive among us. We are all equal in Christ, who by one Spirit has bonded us into one fellowship with Him and with one another; we are to serve and be served without partiality or reservation. Through the revelation of Jesus Christ in the Scriptures we share the same faith and hope, and reach out in one witness to all. This unity has its source in the oneness of the triune God, who has adopted us as His children. (Rom. 12:451 Cor. 12:12-14Matt. 28:1920Ps. 133:12 Cor. 5:1617Acts 17:2627Gal. 3:2729Col. 3:10-15Eph. 4:14-164:1-6John 17:20-23.)

The Lord’s Supper is a participation in the emblems of the body and blood of Jesus as an expression of faith in Him, our Lord and Saviour. In this experience of communion Christ is present to meet and strengthen His people. As we partake, we joyfully proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes again. Preparation for the Supper includes self-examination, repentance, and confession. The Master ordained the service of foot washing to signify renewed cleansing, to express a willingness to serve one another in Christlike humility, and to unite our hearts in love. The communion service is open to all believing Christians. (1 Cor. 10:161711:23-30Matt. 26:17-30Rev. 3:20John 6:48-6313:1-17.)

 

Christian Living and Entertainment

 

 

What should we avoid?

Stay away from every kind of evil.1 Thessalonians 5:22 NLT

What should we not fall in love with?

Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever. 1 John 2:15-17 NLT

Note: No one in this world will love and care for us the way God does. God does not want us to let the gods of this earth to come before Him. Not because He is on an ego trip or being selfish but He is jealous for our welfare. He knows He is the only one who cares for us the way He does. No Hollywood celebrity, rock star, or athlete is willing to give their life for us the way Jesus did. Let’s give our live to the One who gave His life for us.

 

 

What is Paul’s counsel?

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.  Philippians 4:8 NLT

What is David’s resolution?

I will refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar. I hate all who deal crookedly; I will have nothing to do with them. Psalm 101:3 NLT

Christian Living and Dress

 

Can we make our own rules?

I know, Lord, that our lives are not our own.  We are not able to plan our own course. Jeremiah 10:23 NLT

What happens when we make our own rules or follow our own inclinations or opinions?

There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death. Proverbs 16:25 NLT 

 

What should we set before the people?
Go out through the gates! Prepare the highway for my people to return! Smooth out the road; pull out the boulders; raise a flag for all the nations to see. Isaiah 62:10 NLT

Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people.  Isaiah 62:10 KJV

 

Note: The NLT and KJV tell us to raise a flag or a standard, and also to remove stone or boulders, which could cause others to stumble. This effects the way we dress, as the way we dress could cause others to stumble spiritually.

What are we and what are we to do?

Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.  1 Corinthians 6:19- 20 NLT

What did God tell the people to take off?

For the Lord had told Moses to tell them, “You are a stubborn and rebellious people. If I were to travel with you for even a moment, I would destroy you. Remove your jewelry and fine clothes while I decide what to do with you.” So from the time they left Mount Sinai the Israelites wore no more jewelry or fine clothes. Exodus 33:5- 6 NLT

Note: When God’s people experience revival they remove their jewelry and “flashy” or “fine” clothes. They dress modestly.

 

How does god portray apostate Israel?

I will punish her for all those times  when she burned incense to her images of Baal, when she put on her earrings and jewels  and went out to look for her lovers but forgot all about me,”  says the Lord. 

 Hosea 2:13 NLT

 

How is the corrupt church described?

So the angel took me in the Spirit into the wilderness. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that had seven heads and ten horns, and blasphemies against God were written all over it. The woman wore purple and scarlet clothing and beautiful jewelry made of gold and precious gems and pearls. In her hand she held a gold goblet full of obscenities and the impurities of her immorality. A mysterious name was written on her forehead: “Babylon the Great, Mother of All Prostitutes and Obscenities in the World.” Revelation 17:3-5 NLT

How should God’s people adorn themselves?

And I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes. For women who claim to be devoted to God should make themselves attractive by the good things they do.  1Timothy 2:9- 10 NLT

What should be the only ornament of a Christian?

 Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes.  You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.  This is how the holy women of old made themselves beautiful. They trusted God and accepted the authority of their husbands.1 Peter 3:3-5 NLT

What kind of people are we to be?

 For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people.  And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed.  He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds. Titus 2:11-14 NLT

Living Holy Single Lives

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

I don’t usually make a big deal either way about being single. I don’t think of myself as a single person, I just think of myself as a person. While I have heard other single people complain about married people treating them differently, I can only count on one hand the number of married people who have treated me differently because of my single status. 98% of the people I come in contact with treat me no differently than if I was married. I don’t believe in discriminating between marital or single statuses any more than race or anything else. I simply think of myself as a person regardless of single status or race or religion, and I simply think of other people as people regardless of their statuses.

I understand that celibacy is not the norm. I also totally agree that being single does not make you more holy. (Of course being married does not make you more holy either.) Yes, the Scriptures tell us that Peter was married. However the scriptures also tell us Paul was not married at the time of his ministry and even more so Jesus was never married. While Jesus and the scriptures never forbade marriage, Jesus and Paul both have given us enough counsel to see that celibacy has many spiritual advantages. (Matthew 19:12, 1 Corinthians 7)Satan always takes things God says to extremes. For example Satan suggested to Eve that God told her she could not eat of “any” of the trees when in reality He only told her not to eat from one. While the Bible clearly suggests that it is good for some people not to marry, the Bible never forbade marriage and even warns us in 1 Timothy 4 that the antichrist would be the one who forbids marriage. Clearly extremism is to be avoided. No one has to get married and no one has to remain single. I will gladly admit that being married can and should lead one to be a better Christian, and also admit that being single is a very convenient way to be selfish. There is no one as free as a single adult. You answer to neither spouse nor parent. You just do whatever you want whenever you want. While marriage calls for self sacrifice there are many wonderful single Christians who crucify self every day while there are many married people who never think of their spouse or children. While many people say that you have to be married to understand what it takes to make a marriage work, I somewhat disagree. I do know exactly what it takes to make a marriage work and maybe that is why I have chosen to remain single to this point in my life. On the other hand you find some married people who are married only because they did not know what it took. I know of many single people who have sacrificed to care for the needs of neglected children who are not their own, even though they never made a vow to. There are many single aunts and uncles, “big brothers” and “big sisters” out there who will never get a Father’s Day or Mother’s Day card though they are quite deserving of one. There are those who believe an elder must be married to give counsel to families. While I have never been a husband or father, I have been a son, brother, uncle, nephew and grandson. So I have been in a family and I do know how families work. Also please don’t slaughter Paul’s counsel to Timothy to mean that you have to be married to be an elder. As Bible scholars clearly understand, Paul simply meant no more than one wife. Not that you must have one wife. It’s like when your child goes to the store to buy a piece of candy, and you tell him, “get one piece of candy.” You are not demanding he get a piece of candy but only one. It’s as simple as that when Paul said “one wife.” He was not demanding elders have a wife, but no more than one wife, as polygamy was the issue.  Is one’s ability to be a spiritual leader dependant upon being married, or being anointed by the Lord? I had someone tell me once that I could not be an elder because Paul says that an elder must rule well his own home. Well I do rule my own home well, by not marrying anyone who would corrupt my home. I heard someone say once that I could not be an elder because I can’t counsel with married people because I don’t know what it is like to be married. So if married elders are the only ones who can help married people then wouldn’t single elders be the only ones who could help single people? But single people don’t need or deserve elders who understand them? Only married people deserve elders who can relate to them? See how illogical we become when we slaughter Paul’s teachings?

Okay now I am going to talk about an obvious issue here- sex. Single people long for intimacy just like everyone else. However not all sex is intimacy and not all intimacy has to be sex. As a matter of fact, I read a book once about sexual purity that stated that many people will have sex to avoid intimacy! Intimacy takes place in the mind and heart, not the sex organs. I know married people who are still very lonely, and some even celibate. In the 5th volume of the Testimonies Ellen White writes of a man who had sexual issues that not even marriage could cure. Marriage is not the sole solution for intimacy. Neither is marriage necessarily the solution for sexual desires. What I long for is a woman that I can sit and talk with for hours while it only seems like a few moments. A few years ago, I lost a friend to breast cancer, who had a double mastectomy. When I started visiting her in the hospital, we quickly became friends and could talk and laugh together easily. I really enjoyed her company and while I don’t know what was going on in her mind, the day she died, she told me that she really wished we could have known each other longer here on earth. I’m not sure, but it seemed she was implying that she may have liked me for more than just a friend. If she had lived, the fact that she didn’t have a perfect body would not have gotten in the way of our relationship. She and I could talk together forever, and I loved every moment with her. Please understand that marriage does not guarantee intimacy and being celibate does not prevent it. The Bible condones marriage or celibacy. Married people can be beautiful Christians, and their marriages can be a living example of what a true self sacrificing Christian ought to be. On the other hand single people can be very devoted to their families, church families and most of all to Jesus.

I really appreciated a recent men’s ministry convention I attended. For years our church’s preaching and teaching has centered around married people and the message to single people has been, “Listen to this message – it will help you when you get married.” But this time, while they talked about married men and their ministry to their family, instead of telling us single guys that we could apply these teachings later when we get married, they taught us how to apply them now to our church family and our friends who are all around us. They emphasized that even though we are single, we make a significant impact on the lives around us today, and not just later whenever we get married. By God’s grace, we can be living single, holy lives.

To study this week’s SS lesson on Holy Living click here.

Acts of the Apostles-The Gospel Message in Antioch

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Acts of the Apostles Chapter 16.

This chapter is based on Acts 11:19-26; 13:1-3.

  It was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians. The name was given them because Christ was the main theme of their preaching, their teaching, and their conversation. Continually they were recounting the incidents that had occurred during the days of His earthly ministry, when His disciples were blessed with His personal presence. Untiringly they dwelt upon His teachings and His miracles of healing. With quivering lips and tearful eyes they spoke of His agony in the garden, His betrayal, trial, and execution, the forbearance and humility with which He had endured the contumely and torture imposed upon Him by His enemies, and the Godlike pity with which He had prayed for those who persecuted Him. His resurrection and ascension, and His work in heaven as the Mediator for fallen man, were topics on which they rejoiced to dwell. Well might the heathen call them Christians, since they preached Christ and addressed their prayers to God through Him.  {AA 157.1} 

To me, the boldest claim anyone can make is that they are a Christian. When you call yourself an elder you are just saying that you are older. When you call yourself a preacher you are just saying that you speak in public. A theologian just claims to study the Bible, but a Christian claims to be like Christ! Wow! Christ wants to give us His name, but He does not want us to take His name in vain. In sign language the word “Christian” is made up of two signs. The “Christ” sign and the “person” sign. When you sign to a deaf person that you are a Christian what they literally see is that you are claiming to be a “Christ person” or a person like Christ. There is no higher title, label or honor that the Church can bestow than the name that Christ gave you when He calls you a Christian.

you may find more studies and devotionals at In Light of the Cross.

Christian Living in Light of the Cross

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You can download a printable copy of the complete set of In Light of the Cross Bible Study Guides for free here. You can purchase a copy for your Kindle here

Christian Living

 

Brief overview: We are called to be a godly people who think, feel, and act in harmony with the principles of heaven. For the Spirit to recreate in us the character of our Lord we involve ourselves only in those things which will produce Christlike purity, health, and joy in our lives. This means that our amusement and entertainment should meet the highest standards of Christian taste and beauty. While recognizing cultural differences, our dress is to be simple, modest, and neat, befitting those whose true beauty does not consist of outward adornment but in the imperishable ornament of a gentle and quiet spirit. (Rom. 12:1, 2; 1 John 2:6; Eph. 5:1-21; Phil. 4:8; 2 Cor. 10:5; 6:14-7:1; 1 Peter 3:1-4)

Why it is important to understand the truth about Christian living:

“Now then we are ambassadors for Christ…” 2 Corinthians 5:20. We are to represent Christ to the world.

Why it is important to understand Christian living in light of the cross:

“But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” Galatians 6:14

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am,[there ye may be also. John 14:1-3

Last year I went with a friend to The Tampa Bay Ray’s stadium, Tropicana Field, where we watched the first place Rays defeat the second place Red Sox 2-1.

While at the game I noticed several Red Sox fans. You could easily spot them with their Red Sox shirts, caps, and jackets. I even sat by one. He assured me that the long fly that Ortiz hit to deep right center for an out would have been a homerun at Fenway Park, where the Red Sox play their home games.

I noticed something about the Red Sox fans. They came into our home ball park but still dressed and acted like they would at Fenway. They did not buy the Tampa Bay Rays t-shirts and caps and try to blend in at all. While most of them were very polite and pleasant to be around they still made it clear that Tropicana Field was not their home and the Rays were not their team. They did not mind looking like visitors. They did not mind that they dressed and looked different. They were proud of their team and where they were from.

As Christians, let’s let the world know earth is not our home. While being as polite and pleasant to be around as possible, let’s still let it be known, our home is in heaven, not here. We do not blend in with the world because we are not a part of this world. Let’s not be afraid to look different and act different. Let’s be as proud of where we belong as the Red Sox fans were proud of where they belong.

For Further Bible Study on Christian Living, Click here.