Experience in Faith
Experience in Prayer
Experience of Obedience Life of Resistance to Sin & the Devil Life of Worship Life of Good Work & Service
Life of Peace & Kindness
Logic, Reason and Wisdom Discernment & Understanding
Joy, Gladness & Hope
Forgiveness Non-Judgmental Attitude
Attitude of Thanksgiving Attitude of Humility & Meekness PURPOSE OF THE CHURCH ORDINANCES OF THE CHURCH DIVERSITY OF THE CHURCH CHRISTIAN RIGHTS & IDENTIY The Church is Equal and Free The Church is the Wife / Bride of Christ The Church is the Firstborn of Christ The Church is a Holy & Royal Priesthood The Church is the Temple of God Foundation Building Blocks Corner Stone REFERENCES
THE CHRISTIAN LIFESTYLE
Christian living is important. Every person is driven or motivated by something; and that drive, passion, desire, whatever you like to call it becomes the focal point, object or master of our lives, the ‘reason why’ we do what we do. For the Christian, Jesus is the focus and the foundation of our lives; the one whom our eyes are fixated on at all times
Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. – Heb 12.2
Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. – Pr 4.25
The Christian lifestyle directly correlate to the overall purpose of the church, however, the specific subject of Christian Lifestyles typically refers to the way or conduct of a believer in Christ.
The Christian life begins by experiencing God (Eph 1.13), and it should be the same everyday afterwards (even though struggles make us feel indifferent to this at times). The Christian experience is a spiritual one, literally the life a believer is a daily walk with Christ in the Spirit of God.
Experience is different from knowledge or emotions. Just because someone tells you that a flame is hot, it doesn’t mean you will know what it ‘feels’ like, or that you will experience any emotions when you get burned. However, once you experience a burn it will typically produce some kind of emotion, and you will ‘learn’ what a burn ‘feels’ like. The fruits of the spirit are described in the book of Galatians and gives an overview of what the Christian life looks like. A fruit is the product of something else, and the fruits of the spirit are the product of a spirit filled life.
But the fruit of the Spirit is
Against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5.22-23
Experience in Faith
The Christian life is experienced through faith, and trusting in God (2Corin 5.7). When you do something like give up sinful living and trust God will take care of you, then you experience His faithfulness, you will experience God working in your life, through the faith you have;
God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. – 1 Corin 1.9;
If we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself. – 2 Tim 2.13;
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. – Hebrews 11.6
It is this kind of experience Christian have on a daily bases, to experience God in their lives by trusting in Him. We experience God and all of God’s works through faith.
Experience in Prayer
As Christians we are to be in continual communication with God, and pray without ceasing, and to experience God in prayer and communion with Him. A Christian is in constant communication with God, even with they don’t realize it, because the eyes of the Lord are always on us and His ears are attentive to our prayers.
Pray without ceasing, – 1 Thess 5.17
The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good. – Proverbs 15.3
The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, but the prayer of the upright is acceptable to him. – Proverbs 15.8
For the Children of God, everything we say is interceded by the Holy Spirit to God because we do not know how to pray as we should. Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. – Romans 8.26
Experience of Obedience
Christians are to live a life committed and obedient to God, as the commandments of God are not a burden to those whom live by faith. Everything that God commands is done to protect and preserve humanity, His commandments are never meant to hurt or hinder anyone from anything good. For instance God commands us to keep intimacy for marriage because it is within the confines of marriage that a person can freely express themselves in lifelong security. For those that do not practice such damage their/others emotionally over time, and can even cause contract physical problems. For those that trust God and obey his commandments will not have to worry about such things.
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. – 1 John 5.3
All of God’s commandment come down to one point – love. When you meditate on His commandments you can easily see that each of them points us to what true love is (i.e. if you truly love some you will not steal from them or covet what they have because you will be happy for them!).
For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” – Galatians 5.14
If you love God you will keep his commandments, because you trust him and know everything He says if for your best interest as well.
Jesus said, “”If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” – John 14.15
Life of Resistance to Sin & the Devil
A part of obedience to God is the resistance to selfish desires and the influence of evil works and the Devil. Obedience to God automatically implies the resistance to such forces in the world.
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. – James 4.7
Life of Worship
Worship is the act of reverence (deep respect) or adoration toward a person’s object of affection. Praise and worship is the lifestyle of a Christian towards God. Everything we do should be done as unto the Lord, as a service to God in worship of Him. Our life is a series of actions in faith to worship our God.
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. – Romans 12.1
But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” – John 4.23-24
Life of Good Work & Service
The Christian life also produces good works, not to be saved but because we are already saved! An opportunity to do good deeds is seized that God may be glorified and so that others may get to experience something good in their life. This is accomplished in many different ways; to help to poor and needy, to love a friend or stranger in need, etc. To go on a mission trip or local community and take part in doing something to continually build up good thing in this world in the name of Christ for God’s glory.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. – Matthew 5.6
You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17. So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit – Matthew 7.16-17
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. – Eph 2.10
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. – 1 Corin 10.31
Life of Peace & Kindness
Do not fight with any person. This doesn’t mean we cannot debate or reason with others, but the Christian is not to advocate fighting or war for selfish gain. In fact a Christian should be continually working to make peace between all people, and to advocate common ground to build relationships in love so that others may come to know God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. – Matthew 5.9
Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? – Romans 2.4
Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, 33 just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved. – 1 Corin 10.32-33
With all gentle and quiet behavior, taking whatever comes, putting up with one another in love; 3. Taking care to keep the harmony of the Spirit in the yoke of peace. – Ephesians 4.2
Be kind to one another, full of pity, having forgiveness for one another, even as God in Christ had forgiveness for you. – Ephesians 4.32
A Christian devotes themselves not only to experiencing the Christian life, but studying doctrine and wisdom- to grow as a believer, for faith comes by the hearing of the Word of God.
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. – Romans 10.17
The Bible is the spiritual food of the Christian life (Ps 1.2; Matt 4.4; Matt 6.11). How many days would we go without food? Every person feeds their minds & spirit daily with something, many with the stressful intake of work; some fill their minds with the entertainments of the world. The Christian life should be one that primarily focuses and treasure God word, and let be the food that nourishes our lives and of which changes us into a person more like Jesus.
Logic, Reason and Wisdom
God has called believers to be logical and reasonable. To test the things we are told through the filter of His word. To gain understanding of different subjects not only to relate to others but understand the workings of the world that God has created for us to live in.
The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight. – Proverbs 4.7
Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD – Isaiah 1.18
The Bible is full of information on how to become a wise person, and that we should meditate on standards of logic and wisdom. The beauty of wisdom is that it doesn’t take a high intellect to obtain, however those that do obtain wisdom end up acting like a much more intelligent person. Even the most intelligent person can be a fool without wisdom. Wisdom is the ability to use the information that we understand, and us the experiences we have obtained and the experiences of others to make the best decision possible.
Wherefore be ye not foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. – Eph 5.17
Study to show yourself approved, a worker who is not ashamed – 2 Timothy 2.15
Discernment & Understanding
Christians are called not only to be emotional about their spiritual experiences, but to be a wise and understanding. To investigate subjects that they face difficulties with, as well as the things they delight in. When you are filled with knowledge and wisdom- in time it brings discernment, and you are able to know and approve of the things that are good. With discernment you are able to understand how something works, and recognize deception when it is present.
And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. – Philippians 1.9-11
The Christian attitude is the sum of the emotions and mindset that a believer should have as they walk with God. Jesus gave a perfect depiction of the Christian attitude in His life, as He always maintained a perfect conduct. In the book of Matthew chapter 5, the beatitudes, Jesus gives a description of what this attitude looks like:
- the poor in spirit
- the meek
- they that hunger and thirst after righteousness
- the merciful
- the pure in heart
- the peacemakers
- they that have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake – Matthew 5.3-10
God tells us we are to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ no matter the difficulties we are facing. In doing so we are able to be more like God our heavenly Father.
Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ: – Phil 1.27
Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus… – Phil 2.5
You therefore shall be perfect; as you’re heavenly Father is perfect. – Matthew 5.48
Joy, Gladness & Hope
God gives to his children the gifts of joy and gladness. Joy is a spiritual state that should not be confused with the emotion of happiness. Even in difficult times, nothing can take away our joy in knowing that we have an unspeakable treasure in heaven and that God is the one in control of everything.
Happiness comes and goes because emotions are always changing, but joy lasts for the one whom continues to trust in God. Even in difficult times we are to be ready to share our joy with others.
And ye therefore now have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no one takes away from you. – John 16.22
Sanctify in your hearts Christ as Lord: being ready always to give answer to every man that asks you a reason concerning the hope that is in you, yet with meekness and fear: – 1 Peter 2.15
Speaking one to another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; 20.giving thanks always for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; – Ephesians 5.19-20
A Christian knows that God has forgiven them of all of their terrible wickedness and sin, and therefore knows that they should also forgive others all their sins and evil deeds.
For if you let men have forgiveness for their sins, you will have forgiveness from your Father in heaven. – Matthew 6.14
And if he does you wrong seven times in a day, and seven times comes to you and says, I have regret for what I have done; let him have forgiveness. – Luke 17.4
Forgiveness is very powerful; it is the abolishment of a person’s wrongs, and it is to literally act as if they never did it at all. It is a spiritual and psychological deed that brings a resolution between two people. Christians are to live a life of forgiving other people regardless of what they have done against you, for God tells us that whatever measurement we use against others, the same will be used against us.
Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured unto you. – Matthew 7.1
So you have no reason, whoever you are, for judging: for in judging another you are judging yourself, for you do the same things – Romans 2.1
Attitude of Thanksgiving
A Christian is to always be thankful because they know that everything they have and every good thing comes from their heavenly Father. We are always to have a heart of thanksgiving towards the God whom has given to us all that we have.
Giving thanks always for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; – Ephesians 5.20
Every good and true thing is given to us from heaven, coming from the Father of lights, with whom there is no change or any shade made by turning. – James 1.17
Attitude of Humility & Meekness
Jesus showed us the way of humility. True humility is not to think less of yourself, but to think about others first. Humility is putting the needs of others before your own, and being others-centered rather than self-centered. Meekness is to put aside whatever worth you feel you have for yourself to allow humility to do its job, to allow yourself to put the needs of others first.
Not looking each of you to his own things, but each of you also to the things of others. 5. Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: … 7.but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant… 8… he humbled himself, becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross. – Philippians 2.4-8
PURPOSE OF THE CHURCH
The church serves multiple needs for the people of God, and provides an opportunity for God to share who He is to the rest of the world. The church helps believers continue in a relationship with God and glorifies Him continually as the central focus of their life. God is the creator not only of all humanity, but the entire body and system of the Church, and it is the churches focus, or rather, the focus of God’s people to glorify Him above all things.
So then, if it is a question of food or drink, or any other thing, whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. – 1 Corin 10.31
Second the Church is to function as a physical manifestation of Christ’s character on the earth. The Church continually strives to be a manifestation of Gods character and His attributes in the physical world to reveal who God is and His glory to all people.
How by revelation the secret was made clear to me, as I said before in a short letter, 4 By the reading of which you will be clear about my knowledge of the secret of Christ; 5 Which in other generations was not given to the sons of men, but the revelation of it has now been made to his holy Apostles and prophets in the Spirit; 6 Which is that the Gentiles have a part in the heritage, and in the same body, and in the same hope in Christ through the good news, – Eph 4.3-6
But we all, with unveiled face giving back as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord who is the Spirit. – 2 Corin 3.18
To following verses reveal the reason why Jesus came to the earth, and these are the same footprints that the Church is meant to follow in and accomplish:
- Jesus came to bear witness to the truth – John 18.37
- Jesus came to divide believers from unbelievers – Matt 10.34-39
- Jesus came to do God’s will – John 6.38
- Jesus came to judge – John 9.39
- Jesus came to destroy the works of the Devil – 1 John 3.8
- Jesus came to serve – Mark 10.45
- Jesus Came to seek and save that which was lost – Luke 19.10
- Jesus came to call sinner to repentance – Mark 2.17
- Jesus came to give life more abundantly – John 10.10
- Jesus came to proclaim the kingdom of God – Mark 1.38
- Jesus came to fulfill the law – John 12.27
The third function of the church regards the relationships of believers to one another; believers are to ‘cover’ one another and edify one another as a family does for each of its memebers.
And he gave some as Apostles, and some, prophets; and some, preachers of the good news; and some to give care and teaching; 12 For the training of the saints as servants in the church, for the building up of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come to the harmony of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to full growth, to the full measure of Christ: – Eph 4.11-13
So that we may be no longer children, sent this way and that, turned about by every wind of teaching, by the twisting and tricks of men, by the deceits of error; 15 But saying true words in love, may come to full growth in him, who is the head, even Christ; 16 Through whom all the body, being rightly formed and united together, by the full working of every part, is increased to the building up of itself in love. – Eph 4.14-16
They kept their attention fixed on the Apostles’ teaching and were united together in the taking of broken bread and in prayer. – Acts 2.42
The fourth function of the church is in relation to unbelievers, to be a witness and evangelize to the entire world. The church is to reveal who God is to all people, and help them come to know Him. The Church, in relation to unbelievers, is to show God’s love and help sustain them, and fight for them regarding the sanctity of life and of all that God made to be sacred. The church exists to benefit society to function as the moral barrier, keeping the world from corruption and destruction.
For whenever you take the bread and the cup you give witness to the Lord’s death till he comes. – 1 Corin 11.26
But if all are teaching as prophets, and a man without faith or knowledge comes in, he is tested by all, he is judged by all – 1 Corin 14.24
18 And Jesus came to them and said, All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Mat 28:19 Go then, and make disciples of all the nations, giving them baptism in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: Mat 28:20 Teaching them to keep all the rules which I have given you: and see, I am ever with you, even to the end of the world. – Matt 28.18-20
The Fifth function of the church is in regard to community and social services. The Church should be the bases and the primary function for all public activities and social exercise. They should be the relief center and care center for catastrophes, to help the weak and hurt.
ORDINANCES OF THE CHURCH
The purpose of all creation is to bring God glory, and this purpose is the primary responsibility of the Church; it is the great joy of God’s people to seek and continually bring God glory. Now there are uncountable ways in which we give God glory and fulfill the purposes that we have in our lives. This is due to the fact that God has a different plan for each of His people and ministries, however it all works together in a grand plan to build up His kingdom.
To the praise of the glory of his grace, which he freely gave to us in the Loved One:12 So that his glory might have praise through us who first had hope in Christ:21 To him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations for ever and ever. So be it. – Eph 1.6,12, 3.21,
Now to the King eternal, ever-living, unseen, the only God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. So be it. – 1 Timothy 1.17
All believers alive on earth are a part of the local body that should meet regularly
Not giving up our meetings, as is the way of some, but keeping one another strong in faith; and all the more because you see the day coming near. – Heb 10.25
For the training of the saints as servants in the church – Ephesians 4.12
Preaching the Word
Be preaching the word at all times, in every place; make protests, say sharp words, give comfort, with long waiting and teaching; – 2 Tim 4.2
God is Spirit: then let his worshipers give him worship in the true way of the spirit. – John 4.24
As the Father sent Jesus, So Jesus Sends Us
Jesus said to them again, May peace be with you! As the Father sent me, even so I now send you. – John 20.21
DIVERSITY OF THE CHURCH
The Church is very diverse; Jesus made it this way unlike ancient Israel where everything had to be performed ritualistically in a very specifically defined manner. The Church is free and open to worship God spiritually, in every good way that God has created. This means that you can worship God as a business type Church in America or a grass hut out in the middle of Africa. God sets up all these diversities not so we would only depend on Him, but also because it is necessary for all the peoples of the world whom are also so different and diverse, to be able to come to know Him.
CHRISTIAN RIGHTS & IDENTITY
The Church is Equal and Free
Jesus bought every member of the Church with His blood, and all believers are equal to one another and are free to do every good work.
Take heed unto yourselves, and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit hath made you bishops, to feed the church of the Lord which he purchased with his own blood. – Acts 20.28
If therefore the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. – John 8.36
Every member of the Church is equal and free.
There can be neither Jew nor Greek, there can be neither bond nor free, there can be no male and female; for ye all are one man in Christ Jesus. – Galatians 3.28
The Church is the Wife / Bride of Christ
As the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives also be to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself up for it; – Eph 5.24-25
For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy: for I espoused you to one husband, that I might present you as a pure virgin to Christ. – 2 Corin 11.2
The Church is the Firstborn of Christ
Being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the chief corner stone; – Eph 2.20
For you therefore that believe is the preciousness: but for such as disbelieve, The stone which the builders rejected, The same was made the head of the corner; – 1 Peter 2.7
To the great meeting and church of the first of those who are named in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of good men made complete, – Hebrews 12.23
The Church is a Holy & Royal Priesthood
The original priesthood from the age of Jewish law has been fulfilled in Christ. Christ alone is our high priest as this is the office or duty He has taken in heaven for all of us, God children. Every believer is a priest, and collectively all believers is the royal priesthood, accountable to Christ alone. Believers are able to commune with God personally without need of any mediator or of any person between them and God, it is for this purpose that Christ died. No one in God church has the right to claim priesthood ‘over’ any other believer, as they are equal in the eyes of Christ; rather it is every believers duty to be a priest and mediator to tell non-believers about God and Christ.
Be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your teacher, and all ye are brethren. 9 And call no man your father on the earth: for one is your Father, even he who is in heaven. 10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your master, even the Christ. 11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. – Matthew 23.8-11
Having then a great high priest, who hath passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. – Heb 4.14
You also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. – 1 Peter 2.5
But ye are an elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that ye may show forth the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: – 1 Peter 2.9
The Church is the Temple of God
Our physical bodies are the temple of Gods dwelling here on earth, and at the same time, the collective body of all believers is the temple of God being fit together.
In whom each several building, fitly framed together, groweth into a holy temple in the Lord; – Eph 2.21
Or know ye not that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have from God? and ye are not your own; – 1 Corinthians 6.19
You also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. – 1 Peter 2.5
The Church was built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets
So then ye are no more strangers and sojourners, but ye are fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God, 20 being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the chief corner stone; – Eph 2.19-20
Who was delivered up for our trespasses, and was raised for our justification. – Rom 4.25
All of the believers in Christ are the building blocks for the body of Christ.
Unto whom coming, a living stone, rejected indeed of men, but with God elect, precious, 5 ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 Because it is contained in scripture, Behold, I lay in Zion a chief corner stone, elect, and precious: And he that believeth on him shall not be put to shame. 7 For you therefore that believe is the preciousness: but for such as disbelieve, The stone which the builders rejected, The same was made the head of the corner; – 1 Peter 2.4-7
Jesus is the corner stone the stone that holds the entire building together and what the weight of all other stones lean against.
Therefore thus says the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner-stone of sure foundation: he that believeth shall not be in haste. – Isa 28.16
He put all things in subjection under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him that fills all in all. – Eph 1.22-23
Systematic Theology – In One Volume, Dr. Norman Geisler