Basic Principles for the Christian Life and Appropriate Verses
Introduction: The series: Basic Principles for the Christian Life gives an overview of who God is and who man is in God’s world. These principles are fundamental to pleasing God by imitating Christ and enjoying God’s world as a child of the King.
I. Start with God and then work to yourself: This simple yet profound the most fundamental for the basic principles for the Christian life. This is God’s world: He created it and He is actively and personally involved in it: Genesis 1:1-2; Psalm 24:1-2; 29; 33:6-11; 50:7-11; 89:5-18; 95:3-5; 104:1-2, 27-30; 139; Acts 17:24-28. Therefore everyone and all of life are related to God.
A. These facts indicate that everyone is theologian either a good one or a bad one.
1. Everyone is a theologian based on three areas: ontology (being), epistemology (knowledge and knowing) and ethics (morality: good and bad).
a. He is a dependent, created being.
b. He has a relationship with God, has beliefs about him, and knows God.
c. He lives and responds to God and others in God’s world.
2. Being a bad or good theologian hinges on what he knows, and how he knows what he knows.
a. These are epistemological questions and add another dimension: man is a rational being – he thinks.
b. The questions address how do you know what you know? What is your standard for knowing and believing?
B. Because God is, and He is the Creator, Controller, Owner, Ruler, Possessor and Sustainer of all of life, God is in control and He has something to say about everything you do and say.
C. God’s control means nothing is out of place or occurs by accident or chance.
1. He purposefully orchestrates all of life (God’s providence) for His glory and the good of believers. This includes so-called “big” and “little” things of life.
2. That means that you are in the place that you are because God has placed you there for your good and His glory.
3. God uses secondary causes including your sin or the sin of others.
4. He ordains the entire spectrum of human life so that the outcome is certain and He uses man’s free choices as His means for bringing things to pass.
a. You are not alone even if you “feel” alone or are unable to “see” God at work. B. Therefore, the issue of loneliness, feeling, and of seeing God at work is resolved.
b. You are not alone because of these facts:
1) God is actively involved in His world and your life;
2) Christ’s union with you
3) The indwelling HS
6. Your “seeing God at work” is not a prerequisite for believing and acting on the fact that God is Who He is and says He is.
7. You are a dependent creature and are responsible to God for your actions, thoughts, and desires no matter the circumstances. It is easy to live the lie: God is not God and you the creature can assume His role. Therefore the issue of stewardship is resolved: you are to be a good one.
8. You are not God – therefore the issue of control is to be resolved always in God’s favor.
D. God is good and is kind to all His creatures, both believers and unbelievers.
1. All mankind lives in relation to God as:
a. Creator – man is a creature,
b. Judge – man is to be judged,
c. The One to be worshipped – man is a worshipper,
d. Lawgiver – man is either a law keeper or law breaker.
e. Taskmaster- every person is slave.
f. God via common grace or kindness cares for all the creatures in His world.
2. However, He loves believers in special way. God saved them in Christ and grows them in the Holy Spirit to become more Christ-like. The believer now stands in very different relationships to God than do unbeliever. The believer lives in God’s world with:
a. God as his Father.
b. Christ as His brother and Savior.
c. Christ is Lord and sweet Master (believers are servants/slaves).
d. Christ as lawkeeper.
E. God makes no mistakes in what He does and doesn’t do, and in how He does everything.
1. Therefore the issue of being in the right place at the right time is resolved because in any situation,
2. God has you right where He wants you.
II. basic principles for the Christian life: a second principle: God is a relational God. That means that God forms relationships between Himself and His creatures.
A. He saves people individually by forming a relationship with them as He did when He put Adam in the Garden. He purposed for the believer to become like Christ and in order to be like Him, He placed believers in relation to Him – in Christ: Ephesians 1:4.
B. God first established a relationship with His enemies – all believers were at one time apart from God, hostile and His enemy (Romans 5:6-10; Colossians 1:21-22).
1. God establishes a loving, saving relationship with the individual at salvation,
2. God is at work to have the believer grow in that relationship. The believer does so by becoming more Christ.
C. Man was created to bring honor and glory to God and man does so by becoming more like Christ (BMLC).
1. It is impossible for man to live a simplified, contented, and satisfied life unless he lives by the same motivation as was Christ: Christ did.
2. Glorifying God is done by pleasing Him which is done by BMLC.
D. The way to live as Christ did is to please the Father as Jesus (John 4:31-34) and Paul did (2 Corinthians 5:9, 14-15).
1. Contentment characterized the life of Jesus and Paul.
2. For both of them, living was first vertical. It revolved around and was motivated by pleasing God.
E. Not only does living moment by moment to please and honor God bring glory and honor to Him, it is best for the believer. It was best for Jesus to endure the shame of His humiliation including the cross for after completing His work He returned to His Father: Hebrews 12:1-3; Romans 6:9-10.
III. Basic principles for the Christian life: a third principle: there is a problem. Man is a sinner and God is a righteous just Judge.
A. When Adam sinned in the Gare den so did every creature born of ordinary generation.
1. God determined that Adam would represent the human race.
2. What Adam did every creature was considered to have done.
3. Sin separates man from God (Isaiah 59:1-2),. Therefore, Adam was exiled from God’s presence and mankind with him.
4. Man is a sinner separated from God, and he is in bondage to pleasing himself in his thoughts, desires, and actions.
B. Because God is the Just Judge of all the earth He must punish sin and the sinner. Otherwise He is unjust!
1. The curse of sin makes man guilty and condemned, liable to punishment by God as well as corrupted within.
2. Man is born a sinner and he sins because he is a sinner.
C. But thanks be to God, sin didn’t change God’s original design for man determined in eternity past. .
D. God’s answer for people living out of relationship to Him as a rebel and His enemy is salvation which enables man to do what man was originally created to do: please God.
E. Only saved people (believers) are able to choose to please God. Unbelievers can only please themselves. Pleasing God is the only way to live a simplified, satisfied, and contented life.
IV. Basic principles for the Christian life: a fourth principle: Salvation is a once-for-all reality. It means that the believer has been changed from the inside out, and he now has the capacity to think like Christ, desire like Christ, and act like Christ.
A. Salvation is more than a fire escape out of hell.
B. It is a release from and a ransom out of bondage of serving self, sin, and Satan.
C. It is freedom to serve God which is complete and perfect freedom and is best for the believer because it honors God: James 1:22-25. John 13:17; Proverbs 8:32-36; 28:4,14; 29:18.
D. Life-after-salvation is marked by progressive change in which the person moves away from pleasing self to pleasing God. This change is accompanied by the hope of joyfully growing and becoming more like Christ in this present life.
E. And there is the hope of eternal life which means intimacy with God and being in the presence of God forever.
F. What is the biblical evidence that living to please God is best for you?
1. From a negative side: the way of the unfaithful is hard: Proverbs 13:15; 26:11; Ps 32:10. There are consequences of living for self. God is not pleased, others are not pleased, and at some time you won’t be pleased. There is bondage and burden to a life of self pleasing.
2. From a positive side, pleasing God is what man was designed for, is complete freedom, and is what a believer is able to do: Proverbs 1:7. There is a real hope that life means something more than getting what I want, for my pleasure, and for my glory.
V. Basic principles for the Christian life: a fifth principle: God’s word (the Bible) gives guidance and provides in principle, directly or indirectly, and by example everything one needs to respond to life in a God-pleasing manner, thereby growing and changing into Christlikeness.
A. God doesn’t leave His people or His Church alone or in the dark about how to live as a God pleaser. He has given us His word to direct out thoughts, desires, and actions.
B. And since every problem in life is a theological one, every problem has a theological solution. These facts are true because every person lives in or out of relation to God. Everyone is a theologian.
1. Everyone lives at any given moment either in relation to God or out of relation to God.
2. At any one moment in the life of the believer, both biblical principles and his relationship to God in Christ direct his thoughts, desires, and actions or they don’t.
C. A basic issue of life is which kind of theologian are you: good (using biblical principles applied by the HS to guide and direct you) or a bad one (using your own wisdom to direct you)?
VI. Basic principles for the Christian life: A sixth principle: God expects change and growth His way: 2 Peter 3:18; Titus 1:1; Ephesians 4:22-32.
A. He has more invested in each believer than the believer has invested in himself or in God: His Son and His Spirit.
B. Growth means grow in the knowledge of the truth and the application of biblical truth in all areas of life including problem solving, decision making, and responding to IDLS.
C. Growth means putting off the old way of thinking, wanting, and acting and putting on God’s way of doing so.
D. Every believer is both a changed person by virtue of salvation and a becomer by virtue of sanctification as he sets himself apart more and more for Christ.
VII. Basic principles for the Christian life: seventh principle: Why is a believer apathetic and unwilling to apply biblical principles to any or all of life?
A. In light of all that God has done for the believer what are possible reasons for not growing in Christ or growing slowly?
1. One reason is either out of ignorance or arrogance, a wrong view of God and what He has done in Christ and the Holy Spirit.
2. What has God done for you? List them.
B. The reality of Who God is and what He has done for the believer should:
1. Be the very foundation of the believer’s essence.
2. Do you believe that: God has invested Himself in you and His church by giving:
a. His Son (established a relationship with Him),
b. His Holy Spirit (He indwells the church and the believer), and
c. His Word.
C. How do you respond to God’s investment and give reasons?
VIII. Basic principles for the Christian life: An eighth principle: The believer grows his relation to Christ by making his aim/goal to please God in all of life: 2 Corinthians 5:9-15; John 4:31-34
A. Jesus and Paul call for the believer to view life through the lens of saving faith, hope, and love with a focus on one’s eternal destiny and the joy of developing Christlikeness here on the earth.
B. In contrast, too often believers live according to what they want and take in by their senses: what they see, feel, touch, smell, or taste and interpret through the grid of experience, feelings, reasoning divorced from biblical truth. The focus and orientation leads to a NOW approach to life: they live to be satisfied and comforted by the physical, personal, visible, created, and temporal.
IX. Basic principles for the Christian life: A ninth basic principle: The way the believer pleases God is to become more like Christ daily using both hard times and good times as his instrument to do so: Romans 8:28-29; Genesis 50:19-21; 2 Corinthians 3:18.
A. God is purposefully in the problem to bring about His plan of growing and changing the believer into Christlikeness. The believer is to embrace God’s purposes and does so by responding in IDLS with Christ’s motivation as recorded in the Bible.
B. God provides His Word and His Spirit to enable the believer to do so.
C. This requires effort on the part of the believer as he changes his thinking and desires about God, himself, others, and situations/life itself: Philippians 2:12-13.
D. The way one does this is to become not only a hearer of the Word but a doer in his action, thinking, and desire: Matthew 7:24-27.
E. The bottom line issue is summarized in Matthew 6:24, 33; Joshua 24:13-15; Exodus 32:26; Ps 118:24 and can be partially ascertained by answering the following questions:
1. Whom will you serve/worship: self or God?
2. What will you trust: self or God’s word?
3. Whom will you love: self or God?
F. What does developing Christlikeness mean? It means thinking, desiring, and acting as Christ did with the same motivation. Here are a few examples:
1. Love: Romans 5:6-10; 1 John 4:7-12
2. Returning good for evil: Romans 12:17-21
3. Contentment: John 4:31-34
7. Long suffering:
8. Fear of Lord: Isaiah 11:5; Luke 2:52. Jesus was wise.
G. In the midst of trouble, the believer is to act upon the truth that God is a sovereign, good God.
1. “Seeing” and “feeling” a good God is based on the subjective and are not to be trusted.
2. Thinking and acting upon the fact of His presence, goodness, and purpose is the key.
3. Fact: God gave direction for living as a God-pleaser in the Bible which gives instruction for all of life.
H. In the midst of trouble, prior to it, and when there is no trouble ask: What is God up to in all of life including mine now?
1. What is God doing by ordaining (some say allow or permit trying to protect God) this from eternity past? Whether this is a blessing or burden depends in part on your response: is it a blessing or a burden?
2. What does becoming more like Christ look life in your life right now as a result of this irritation and situation?
3. Every believer’s goal is to please God. What does it mean to please God? It means to be content and trusting boldly confident that God is in control. . Pleasing someone means softening his heart. It means to give pleasure to, to satisfy, or to give contentment to. It means to be satisfied and thankful. It means to look for delight – it means to “make God’s day.”
4. What does Christlikeness look like in your daily life? It means displaying in your life Christ-like characteristics. What is it that characterized Christ’s life? It is all of the fruits of the HS:
i. self control
I. Study these Scriptures and the aspects of fruit bearing:
1. 1 Timothy 6:11: righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness
2. 2 Timothy 2:22-25: righteousness, faith, love, peace, pure heart, kindness, teaching/ instructing, not resentful
a. Pleasing the Father
b. Content – satisfaction
f. Fear of the Lord
X: Summary: basic truths for the Christian life in any and every situation. Focus on these truths, ask and answer questions, and grow:
A. God owns everything:
B. God reigns and rules for His good pleasure and the benefit of his people;
C. God fulfills His plan/purpose:
D. He is and will be victorious and believers will be fellow victors.
E. God expects and deserved productivity and fruit bearing regularity and has equipped the believer.
F. We are His servants in His service therefore follow this hear inventory daily:
1. Where is God in your thinking when facing good or hard times?
2. How does your relationship with Christ affect your daily life and the unpleasantness of having a body that is betraying you or a spouse who isn’t doing right or any number of similar situations? .
3. How do you apply your relationship with God in your specific trouble? Be specific.
4. What biblical principles have you hidden in your heart (Psalm 119:9-11) that you use daily and regularly? What have been the results?
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