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The Normal Christian Life

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Believers are called to a higher standard

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Believers are called to a higher standard ()

Explanation: Jesus has been teaching about the cost of discipleship (luke 14) and has been sharing parables about life in the kingdom ( & 16). He continues His teaching with the disciples and gives them some lessons they are not quite prepared to hear. He tells them that even as believers, they are going to sin, and that the sin will have severe consequences. They will not be exempted just because they belong to Him. Then He tells them that they are called to a lifestyle of forgiveness. Jesus declares that as long as the offending party is repentant, they are to offer true forgiveness.
Illustrate: I have lost track of how many times a church member, a professing believer, has said to me about another person (generally family). “He is dead to me!” What he or she is stating is that he has made a decision that is reserved for God.
Argument: Christ-followers are called to live separate and different from the lost world around us. We are called to be holy.
1 Peter 1:14–16 KJV 1900
As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
1 Peter 1:14-16
As long as we live sub Christian lives and blend in with the world around us, we can forget about real revival. To live for Christ is a call to die to self and our personal desires. Somewhere along the way we have forgotten that it is not about us, it is all about Jesus. We must remind ourselves that we are bought with a price and we are not our own.
Application: Christianity is not a K&W Cafeteria experience where we go down the line selecting what we want and avoiding what we don’t. Christianity is a total life experience where we are surrendered to the Savior.

Believers are not to make excuses for living below the standard ()

Explanation: The disciples responded to the words of Jesus with woe and consternation. They heard the requirements, and they understand that what He was calling them to. In their minds it must have been one of those, “that’s easy for you to say” moments. In fact, they thought that they were not able to live out His expectations. They respond by saying, “Increase our faith!” They obviously believed they needed more faith to be able to fulfill His requests
Illustrate: accretion of duties in the workplace. In addition to teaching, the teacher is required to dispense medication, document incident reports, build portfolios for at-risk students, improve test scores, prepare IEPs for those that need them, and ensure that no child is left behind. All while losing resources.
Argument: Jesus hears their request, and then responds with a teaching about faith. He tells them that the smallest amount of faith (mustard seed faith) was able to uproot and move trees. His point is that more faith is not the issue. He is telling them that they already have enough faith the live out their calling. Jesus is sufficient for all that we will encounter.
As a believer you already have the faith to deal with that lost co-worker
As a believer, you already have the faith to endure marital strife
As a believer, you already have enough faith the forgive the one who wronged you
As a believer, you already have enough faith to let go of grudges and bitterness

Believers are to serve the Master with gratitude for the privilege to serve ()

Explanation: Jesus continues the teaching moment about the Normal Christian life with a story. As He did so often, the Master reveals truth through the telling of a tale of which they are familiar. In this instance, Jesus has them consider the relationship between a master and a household servant. The servant has been out working in the fields all day and when he comes into the house the master has just arrived. Jesus points out the silliness of thinking that the Master is going to serve the household slave just because he has been doing his regular work. Instead, Jesus points to the normal expectations of the situation: The house servant is going to serve and care for the needs of the Master first, and then he will attend to his own needs.
Illustrate: Do we as parents thank our children for doing what is naturally expected of them on a regular basis? Do we thank them each time they brush their teeth or clean their room?
Argument: We are to maintain a proper understanding of the relationship between God and ourselves. He is transcendent and holy, and is the One who initiates and provides our means of salvation. Jesus Paid it All, He is the One who paid our sin debt and satisfied the wrath of a Holy God. We contribute nothing to this. We receive salvation as a gift from Him - it is all about grace ()
If it is grace, it cannot be demanded. So for those of us who are recipients of His grace, our response should be thankfulness even for the opportunity to become a member of the Kingdom. We definitely do not need to be bragging about what we have been doing for Him in such a way as we come off doing God a favor by being on His team.
Application: Of all people, Christians are to be the most grateful, and the least arrogant. God has called us to a life of service, and we are to count it a great privilege to be called worthy enough to be His servants.
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