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Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
May 3, 2020
I spent quite a bit of time on Monday thinking about the remaining topics I have been asked to address plus a couple of more than I need to address in view of the continuing panic and over-reaction of government to SARS-CoV-2. As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, while government reaction is irritating here, it is deadly in other countries that are more authoritarian in which people are now starving because they are not allowed to work, and without work, they have no money by which to get food, and that is in nations that have very few cases of COVID-19. As of April 29, there have been no deaths in Uganda, but police have killed people for violating the rules such as having two people on a motorcycle instead of one. Chad Dexter told me of a man in the Philippines who was shot while buying bread because he did not have on a mask and his quarantine pass visible and was killed when he reached into his bag to get it. The government is more dangerous and to be feared much more than the virus.
I have posted the tentative schedule on the website. Next week I will preach on a Mother’s Day topic, and the following week on Authority and Submission and seek to address the tension that is felt between the commands of conflicting authorities. The week after that I want to address Body Life in the church since I am concerned that the inability to meet physically is having a very detrimental effect on what we understand church to be. It will be easy for some to fall into the trap that staying home and watching a video of a church service or a preacher, whether live or recorded, is an acceptable substitute for actually going and being physically present with other believers. It is not, but the convenience will cause some to stumble into the sin of making worship about being comfortable and self-centered entertainment instead of giving honor and glory to God. Even now, you should get dressed for the worship service. Stand for the Scripture reading. Sing the hymns and songs even if you the only one. We do those things in honor of God, not to impress others.
This morning I want to address a topic that underlies all three of those future sermons and the ones that will follow that too. I want to address the issue of your identity as a Christian. This should be simple, yet it becomes difficult because everyone has many different identities in terms of the positions they hold, the relationships they have with others, and the responsibilities that arise from those.
For example. In terms of human relationships, I am a son to my parents, a nephew to their siblings, a brother to my siblings, an uncle to my sibling’s children, a husband to my wife, an in-law to all her family members, a father to my children, a friend to some, an enemy to others, and an acquaintance to many. Each of those comes with varying levels of responsibility.
In terms of position, I am a pastor to those in this church, a preacher or teacher to many more through our website, a counselor to some, a leader in a couple of organizations while a follower in others, a customer to businesses, an owner of my own businesses, a trustee in others, and a citizen of this nation, state, county and town. Each of those positions has a multitude of different responsibilities.
All the responsibilities arising from relationships and positions compete for my time, attention and resources. That is why I must set priorities to insure the most important responsibilities are fulfilled since I as a finite create cannot do everything. How do I decide what are the most important responsibilities? A lot of that depends on what I believe are the priorities in the different identity roles I possess. In other words, what I believe are my primary identities will determine how I will respond to those roles and responsibilities that are secondary or less.
Let me add a quick aside here that what is referred to as mid-life crises is a blessing in this area if you will be wise. When you come to grips with your mortality and recognize that you will not accomplish all the dreams of your youth or even the current things you would like to do, the wise pick the priorities to achieve the most important things in life before God. The foolish become either despondent or frantic in the effort to recapture their youth and become more selfish in the process.
How you view yourself, the priority you give to your identity roles, will determine what is important to you and what you will accomplish. For example, Paul points out in 2 Timothy 2:4 that a soldier does not entangle himself in the affairs of everyday life because he has a priority on pleasing the one that enlisted him as a soldier. In 1 Corinthians 9:25 he points out that athletes exert self-control in diet and exercise in order to compete for the prize. I am sure you can think of a lot other examples in your own life. If you are a student, a priority is given to your studies. If you are a teacher, priority is given to lesson preparation and delivery. If you are a medical professional, priority is given to the care of your patients. If you are a businessman, priority is given to keeping your business operating. Those are simple examples.
What happens when there is conflict or competition between more than one identity? You are a business man, but you are also a father and your kids need direction. What do you do? If your priority is being a father, you will put time and energy into your children even if that causes your business to suffer some. If your priority is your business, you will hand off the responsibility of your children to someone else – teacher, coach, peers – and hope it comes out alright. You are a student and you are studying for a test, but your parents also need you. What then? You are a new husband or wife and you have made plans to spend time with your spouse on your next day off, but your parents call and need help with a project on that same day. What will you do? You are a soldier and have sworn allegiance to the Constitution of your nation, but your commanding officer has just given an order that you believe violates that Constitution? Now what?
Trying to figure out priorities can be difficult, and it can be even more difficult with there are conflicting lines of authority, but even then, your view of yourself, how you identity yourself, will be primary. How you describe yourself to others is probably fairly accurate about what you think are priorities in your life, and the order in which self descriptions occur will figure into that as well. Do you identify your occupation first or family relationships? Does ethnic heritage show up early in the list or is that even important? What about country of citizenship? And what about your religious beliefs?
My challenge to you this morning concerns that last issue. Where does being a Christian show up in your self identification list? You see, there is a huge difference between identifying yourself as Christian who is whatever else and identifying yourself as a whatever else who is a Christian. A Christian business man is not the same as a business man, medical professional, politician, student, parent or anything else that identifies as a Christian secondarily or less. Even worse are those that will claim to be a Christian when it is to their advantage, but when that is a disadvantage, they will remain silent or even deny Christ. This is a more serious issue than most people would like to think for Jesus said in Matthew 10:32-33, “Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. 33 “But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.”
We will spend the rest of this morning looking at what the Scriptures say about Christian identity. What does it mean to call yourself a Christian? What does it mean to actually be one?
They Were Called Christians – Acts 11:26
Acts 11 explains the expansion of the Church among the Gentiles with Acts 11:25 recounting the story of Barnabas going to Tarsus to look for Saul (Paul) to help with the work at a Gentile church in Antioch. Verse 26 continues, “And for an entire year they met with the church and taught considerable numbers; and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.”
Two important words are used here that help us understand the identity believers have in Christ. The first is the word “Christian” itself which is transliterated from the Greek meaning, “Christ one” or “little Christ.” It was not a term originally used by those who believed in Jesus for themselves and it only appears in the New Testament two other times. In Acts 26:28 King Agrippa uses it with some contempt responding to Paul’s presentation of the gospel saying, “In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian.” Tacitus, the first century historian, remarked that “The vulgar (the common people) call them Christians.” It appears it was a term used in derision or ridicule for the followers of Jesus. In 1 Peter 4:16 the apostle Peter encouraged followers of Jesus who were being persecuted writing, “if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not feel ashamed, but in that name let him glorify God.” By the second century, Christians were using the term for themselves as a label of honor in keeping with its meaning of being like Christ – a Christ one.
The second term used here, disciple, is the most frequent term in the New Testament to refer to those now commonly called “Christians.” A disciple by definition is someone who follows the teachings of someone else in order to become like them. Luke 6:40 states this plainly – “A pupil (disciple – maqhthV) is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher.” As used in the New Testament, unless context specifies otherwise, it usually refers to those who had heard the gospel and believed and were now followers of the teachings of Jesus Christ. Christians are disciples of Jesus Christ. A Christian believes certain facts about Jesus and in response becomes a follower of the teachings of Jesus Christ with a desire to be like Him in character.
As a follower of Jesus, a Christian will believe the things Jesus believes and taught about Himself. Essential beliefs would include: *God’s word is true. *God is the creator of all things. *Jesus is God incarnate (in human flesh). * Jesus is the Son of God born of the virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit. *Jesus lived a sinless life and then voluntarily died on the cross as the substitute payment for man’s sins. *Jesus rose from the dead on the third day and has ascended into heaven where He is preparing a place for His followers. * God grants forgiveness of sin by His grace to those that repent to place their faith in the person and work of Jesus. *Jesus is Lord. *There will be future resurrection of the righteous and the wicked. *Jesus will return one day to take His disciples to be with Him forever. A Christian will develop many more beliefs as he learns what Jesus taught and his faith grows.
Many people will identify themselves as Christians, but that does not mean they meet the Biblical definition of being one. A true Christian is a disciple of Jesus Christ. If you are not a believer in Jesus Christ and a follower of His teachings, you may have Christian influence in your life and be a cultural Christian, but you do not meet the Biblical requirements for being an actual Christian.
True Christian identity begins by becoming a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Children of God – John 1:12
The apostle John begins his gospel account with a clear identification of Jesus Christ and His purpose in coming. Jesus is the Word who from the beginning was with God and was God and creator of all things who became flesh to reveal God to man as the light of the world and giver of life. John 1:11-13 states, “He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”
Jesus came to be the light revealing God to man and bring about a transformation that would enable sinful people to become children of God. That transformation would take place by God’s grace in receiving Christ through faith. God is Creator of all mankind, but He is only Father to those who have become His children. This new birth does not come by family heritage (not by blood), by your own will and effort or the will of other people. It only comes by God’s grace as a gift to those that will believe and receive Jesus Christ.
The phrase “children of God” referring to Christians occurs at least ten more times in the New Testament. The apostle John especially liked the phrase using it four times in 1 John. He marveled over the Father’s great love bestowed upon us that we should be children of God (1 John 3:1). One of the confirmations that you belong to God’s family is the inner witness of the Spirit to your spirit (Romans 8:16). This arises from being born again by the Spirit which Jesus discussed with Nicodemus in John 3. You must be born again to spiritual life in order to enter the kingdom of God. 1 Peter 1:3 uses this same phrase blessing God “who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” Peter adds in verse 23, “for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.”
1 John speaks to this same reality using the phrase “born of God” seven times while describing the means and characteristics of those who are born of God. The means is believing that Jesus is the Christ (5:1) and the characteristics include loving other Christians (4:7; 5:1), avoidance of sin (3:9; 5:18), overcoming the world (5:4) and being kept by God (5:18). In addition John also points out that “children of God” practice righteousness (3:10), love God and observe His commandments (5:2).
Paul uses the term “adoption” to describe this same truth. Paul was usually writing to churches that were mixtures of Jews and Gentiles, and this use of adoption was powerful to those in a Roman culture for an adopted child had equal and sometime superior rights to a naturally born child. Ephesians 1:4-5 explains the means and purpose of this adoption by God, “4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will.” Again we find that becoming a child of God is according to God’s grace and its purpose is God’s glory as we are changed into people who are holy and blameless before Him. Paul explains in both Romans 8:15-17 and Galatians 4:5-6 both the intimacy and benefit gained by being adopted. Those adopted by God can cry out to Him, “Abba! Father!” An equivalent in English would be “daddy.” That intimacy with God belongs to all true Christians now. There is also a future benefit in becoming heirs as sons and daughters of God and fellow heirs with Christ. Part of the future benefit as adopted children of God will be redemption of our bodies and being part of a restored world (Romans 8:18-26). While we do not know yet what we will be, we know that we will be like Jesus when He appears (1 John 3:2).
What a wonderful aspect of our identity as Christians! By God’s grace we are radically changed from being “by nature children of wrath” (Eph. 2:3) and “children of the devil” (1 John 3:10) to become children of God. As sons and daughters of the Almighty, we can come before Him in the intimacy of that kind of relationship, and as heirs with Christ, we have an eternal future that is both wonderful and secure.
True Christian identity includes being a child of God.
The Household of God: The Church – 1 Timothy 3:15
Related to this idea of being children of God is that all true Christians are part of the household of God, the church. The specific reference that ties the two together is 1 Timothy 3:15 in which Paul encourages Timothy on how to properly conduct himself “in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.” I have spoken on the nature of the church many times in the past, so I will only be brief here. https://gracebibleny.org/category/sermons/the-church
The church is the body of Christ (Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12) made up of all who have been baptized by the Holy Spirit into one body (1 Cor. 12:13) which is manifested by any gift of the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:7). The Pentecostal / Charismatic doctrine of being baptized by the Spirit sometime after salvation and manifested by speaking in tongues is wrong for it is contrary to the Scriptures themselves. Those who are part of God’s household are brothers and sisters in Christ and are to love, care and minister to one another with whatever gifts, ministry and empowerment God grants them for the good of the whole body (1 Cor. 12-14; Gal. 6:10). All true Christians are family to one another, and the members of that family are characterized by doing the will of the Father (Matthew 12:50).
True Christian identity includes being a member of God’s household, the Church, the body of Christ.
Another aspect of a true Christian’s identity is being a citizen of heaven. Ephesians 2:19 explains that in becoming a Christian, “you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household.” Paul encourages believers in Philippians 3:17-21 to be different from those in the world because “our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.”
Citizenship is an important concept because it speaks of both rights and privileges of the citizens of a nation as well the responsibilities and loyalty of citizens to the nation. All true Christians have dual citizenship with the primary loyalty given to heaven and secondary loyalty given to the national citizenship on earth. That causes conflict for Christians who are citizens in authoritarian nations that demand first loyalty to the government. That is simply something a true Christian cannot do. Like the apostles in Acts 5:29, “We must obey God rather than men.” That conflict will not exist in a good government that is carrying out God’s design for government in promoting what is good and bringing wrath on those who do evil. Christians are experiencing more conflict with various levels of government in this nation because many of them are doing the opposite of God’s design and becoming more authoritarian, as has been exposed in so much of the over reaction to COVID-19.
Those who become true Christians have a transfer of citizenship and become aliens and strangers in the world into which they were born. They have a transfer of loyalty to a new king and long to be home in a place they have never been. True Christian identity includes becoming a citizen of heaven.
Slaves of Christ
The last identity characteristic of true Christians I want to cover today is being a slave of Christ. The English term slave has such a negative connotation that translators are hesitant to use it often substituting the word servant instead. In our politically correct times this avoidance of using the word slave has become even worse. Frankly, I don’t care about political correctness. I care about Biblical correctness because my ultimate judge is God and not a society that is merrily whistling down the path leading to destruction.
There are several Greek words translated as servant or slave. Let me quickly define each of them for you.
The first is the pai:V / pais word group variously translated as boy, child, servant, and slave. Its root has a meaning of small, so the word group was used to refer to a child, a son or a daughter (Luke 2:43) and then later took on the meaning of even an adult son, daughter or child as an equivalent of offspring (Matt. 12:18). Young children would serve as personal servants (Matthew 8:6), and so the word group took on that meaning as well (Matt. 14:2), and such servants were often slaves, so that meaning was also added (Gal. 4:22). Context determines the meaning in its usage.
A second word group to be noted is uJphrevthV / hupēretēs. It is a person or service attached to and rendered to a particular person, an adjunct. John Mark was such an assistant to Barnabas and Paul in Acts 13:5. The disciples were servants in this sense to Jesus (John 18:36). Paul used this word in 1 Corinthians 4:1 to describe himself and Apollos as servants of Christ. In Acts 26:16 Paul uses this term to describe the position of service to which Jesus had appointed him. Luke uses this term in Luke1:2 stating that his gospel account came from what was given to him by those who were eyewitnesses and servants of the word which emphasizes these were people who had given themselves and their work to proclaiming the teachings of Jesus and not their own thoughts and views.
The third word group is diavkonoV / diakonos. Its root meaning was to “wait at table” such as what Peter’s mother-in-law did in Matthew 8:15 or Martha in John 12:2. The word group took on a more general meaning of personal service such as what Jesus said of Himself in Matthew 20:28, “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” It then became a common word for ministry in the early church such as in Acts 6:4 of the Apostles devoting themselves “to prayer and to the ministry of the word,” or Paul in Acts 20:24 telling the Ephesian elders of his desire to “finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus.” It became the title for a church office which we transliterate as Deacon (1 Timothy 3:8).
The last word group, dou:loV / doulos, is the most important. It occurs 180 times in the New Testament and it means to be completely controlled by somebody or something else. Whenever it is translated as servant in some form, it takes away from the actual meaning and impact that was meant. Servant implies there is still some sort of autonomy even with the made up term, bondservant, but a slave has no autonomy except what might be extended to him by his master or by law. My brother used to joke about a job he had that he could not be fired because a slave had to be sold. It was meant as sarcastic humor, but it had a very poignant point. Slaves are owned.
In our politically correct society, slavery is considered to be one of the greatest evils of all time and especially American slavery of the 17th to 19th centuries. Those who make such claims are both historically and morally ignorant. While freedom is preferable to slavery as Paul points out in 1 Corinthians 7:21, slavery itself is not the worst condition possible. Sin and Hell are far worse. Whether slavery was good, bad or something in between depended on the laws of the nation and character of the master.
For example, the Mosaic law put many restrictions on slavery of even enemies captured in war. Women slaves could become wives and assimilated into the nation. Slavery was also part of the ancient Jewish welfare system. You could sell yourself into slavery to pay off your debts. You would then work for your master and your master would take care of you until you were either redeemed or freed in the year of jubilee (Leviticus 25).
Chattel slavery in America was not good, but those who ended up in a nation influenced by Biblical thought that tempered it were much better off than those who went to the Caribbean or Central & South America, the vast majority of which died. Slavery in the ancient world could be as bad or worse. Slaves in ancient Rome could be sent to their deaths in gladiator games to entertain the masses. Ancient graveyards in Egypt show constructions projects that were done by overworked and malnourished slaves that died young. American slavery was also far more humane than Islamic slavery in which the men would be castrated and children of female slaves would either be killed or taken away. There are plenty of descendants of slaves in America. Where are the descendants of slaves in the Islamic counties? And Islam continues to enslave to this very day, yet there is no outcry by the politically correct about that.
I make these points so that you will not read into the Scriptures the false values of political correctness. Throughout the Scriptures slavery is presented to be what it was at that time and in that place. There were good masters and evil masters. There were slaves who were treated well, and those that were treated terribly. But everyone understood the difference between various types of slaves, servants, personal assistants and hired help. Everyone also understood the difference between a master and an employer.
In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Paul states in no uncertain terms that every Christian has been bought with a price so that you are not your own. The price was the precious blood of Christ (1 Pet. 1:19). What is purchased is owned by the one who bought it. Jesus is the owner / master of every true Christian. One of His titles is Lord and confessing that fact is one of the requirements for salvation in Romans 10:9-10. Those who argue that Lord in that passage means God paint themselves into a corner for God as creator owns everything. He is the master.
Consider that Paul refers to himself as the slave of Christ at least six times. James, Peter and Jude also referred to themselves as slaves of Christ. Moses, Epaphras, Tychicus and Timothy are all referred to as slaves of Christ. In Revelation 1:1, the apostle John is called a slave of Christ and the book is written to those who are slaves of Christ. Paul commended the Thessalonians for receiving the gospel and turning “to God from idols to serve (be a slave to) a living and true God” (1 Thess. 1:9).
The many commands in the Scriptures are based on the fact that Jesus is Lord and those that belong to Him are His slaves. For example, 2 Timothy 2:24-26, “The Lord’s slave must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged 25 with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.”
Paul’s argument in Romans 6:12-23 about the necessity of turning from sin to righteousness is based on this same truth. You were enslaved to sin for it was your master, but when you become a Christian, you get a new master, the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore you are to stop yielding yourself to obey your old master and must instead obey your new master of righteousness. Christ freed you from slavery to sin so that you could be slaves of righteousness, but you will be a slave to the master you obey, so to what are you enslaved? Sin or righteousness?
A very important aspect of a true Christian’s identity is being a servant and a slave of Christ. Jesus is the master to whom you are personally attached and you are to be ready and willing to carry out any ministry to which He calls you.
My identity is wrapped up in being a Christian. I am a Christian man. I am a Christian husband. I am a Christian father. I am a Christian son. I am a Christian brother. I am a Christian pastor. I am a Christian friend. I am a Christian American. I am a Christian consumer. I am a Christian business owner. I am a Christian first and foremost in every aspect of life for I am a disciple of Jesus, a child of God, a member of the household of faith, the church, the body of Christ, and a citizen of heaven. I am a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ for I am His slave. What is your identity?
Sermon Notes – May 3, 2020
Christian Identity – Selected Scriptures
Government over-reaction to SARS-CoV-2 is killing people___________ – actively participate even if home
Identity becomes difficult because everyone has ___________ positions, relationships and responsibilities
__________must be set for every position, relationship & responsibility competes for your time & resources
There is big difference between being a _______________XXXX and being a XXXX Christian
Denial of Jesus is very ______________ – Matthew 10:32-33
They Were Called Christians – Acts 11:26
Christian = “Christ one” – negatively used by non-Christians for believers, but it became a label of ________
Disciple = someone who _____________the teachings of another to become like him – Luke 6:40
Christians are disciples of Jesus Christ believing what He ___________ and taught
Essential Beliefs include: *God’s word is true.*God is the creator of all things. *Jesus is God incarnate (in human flesh). * Jesus is the Son of God born of the virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit. *Jesus lived a sinless life and then voluntarily died on the cross as the substitute payment for man’s sins. *Jesus rose from the dead on the third day and has ascended into heaven where He is preparing a place for His followers. * God grants forgiveness of sin by His grace to that repent to place their faith in the person and work of Jesus. *Jesus is Lord. *There will be future resurrection of the righteous and the wicked. *Jesus will return one day to take His disciples to be with Him forever
Claiming to be a Christian does not make you one – a true Christian is a ____________ of Jesus Christ
Children of God – John 1:12
New (spiritual) birth does not come by heritage (blood), your own will or of other people – only God’s ____
“Children of God,” “born of God” & “born again” occur many times in the NT – an action of the Holy _____
Those in God’s family love Him & other believers, avoid sin, overcome the world, practice _____________,
Paul’s use of “________” is a powerful metaphor to those in Roman culture – signifying legality & intimacy
True Christians forsake being children of the devil to become ____________ sons & daughters of God
The Household of God: The Church
The church is the body of Christ made up of all baptized by the __________(1 Cor. 12:13) – true Christians
Those in the church are brothers & sisters in Christ who love, care & _______to each other as gifted by God
Citizenship signifies both rights & privileges of the citizens of a nation and responsibilities & ________to it
A citizen of heaven’s first loyalty is to ____which creates conflict with authoritarian & wicked governments
True Christians have a transfer of citizenship to _________which leaves them as aliens & strangers on earth
Slaves of Christ
“Slave” has negative connotations, so translators often (incorrectly) substitute the word “___________”
pai:V / pais word group = boy, child, servant, slave – the additional meanings were added over _________
uJphrevthV / hupēretēs = a person or service attached to and rendered to a particular person, an ___________
diavkonoV / diakonos word group = table _________; General personal service; Ministry; office of Deacon
dou:loV / doulos word group = to be completely ______________ by somebody or something else
“Servant” is not an adequate translation- slaves are _________
Mosaic law ______________slavery, provided means of redemption, and was part of their welfare system
Slavery was far _____in the Carribean, Central & South American, ancient Rome & Egypt, & Islamic lands
Do not read the ___________ values of political correctness into the Bible
______________that Jesus is Lord- Master – is necessary for salvation (Rom. 10:9-10) (God is master)
Paul, James, Peter, & Jude call themselves ________of Christ; Moses Epaphras, Tychicus, Timothy & John
The _____________ of Scripture are based on the fact that Jesus is Lord
Romans 6:12-23 – Christians have a change of __________ & so slaves of righteousness & no longer sin
A true Christian is a servant and __________ of Jesus Christ
True Christians are Christians __________ in every aspect of life.
True Christians: disciples of Christ, children of God, part of the church, citizens of heaven, _______of Jesus
Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children
– draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – Do one or more of the following: 1) Write down all the verses mentioned in the sermon and look them up. 2) Count how many times the word “Christian” is mentioned. Talk with your parents what it means to be a Christian – what do Christians believe? How do they identify themselves?
THINK ABOUT IT!
Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. What effect is government action having on the lives of people in other countries such as those in Africa? What is the danger of staying home to watch church services on TV or on the computer? What is identity? What different positions, relationships and responsibilities do you possess? How would you describe yourself to someone else? Is the order of the identities you used to describe yourself important? Why or why not? What is the relationship between how you view yourself and the priorities you set and keep? When / where was the term “Christian” first used of believers in Jesus Christ? What is the significance of the term “Christian”? What is a disciple? What are some of the essential beliefs of a disciple of Jesus? What is the basis of those beliefs? What is the significance of the phrases “children of God,” “born of God” and “born again”? Is God Father to everyone? Why or why not? How do you become a child of God? What is the significance of Paul’s use of adoption? The household of God is the church, the body of Christ – how do you become part of the church? What are the benefits & responsibilities of being part of the church? What are the blessings of being a citizen of heaven? How can that create conflict with governments on earth? What is the meaning of each of these Greek words are translated as servant: pai:V / pais (Matt. 4:12), uJphrevthV / hupēretēs (Acts 13:5), diavkonoV / diakonos (John 12:2; Matt. 20:28; Acts 6:4; 20:24; 1 Tim. 3:8). What is the meaning of dou:loV / doulos? Why is “servant” and inadequate translation of it? What does the Bible teach about slavery – purpose, restrictions, attitude toward, as a welfare system? To whom / what are non-Christians a slave to? Why is it critical that a Christian understand that he is a slave of Jesus? What is your identity in Christ? How did American slavery differ from slavery in the Caribbean, Central & South America, ancient Rome and Egypt, in Islamic countries?
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