Sunday, August 3, 2008

Christian Conduct

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, there are many in the world that is lost and dying because they do not know our Lord and Savior. We as children of God should always lift up our Lord’s name and present to the world His great plan of salvation. Older and more mature believers should always endeavor to teach the younger Christians as well, and set an example before them of proper Christian conduct; but I have observed that many who call themselves Christians act just like the unbelievers; they do not set themselves apart from the worldly.

As a pastor and teacher of the word of God I am held responsible and accountable for the things I teach and the manner in which I conduct myself. Our Creator holds you, as a believer, responsible for how you hear the word of God and how you conduct yourself as well. It is our privilege and responsibility to rightly represent our Lord and Savior---for we are His ambassadors.

In the Epistle to the Galatians we find these words.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
(Galatians 5:22-23 NASU)

If indeed we have believed, repented and been baptized in the name of our Lord we have received the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). And if we have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us then we also have the fruit of the Spirit. These fruits are then manifested in our daily lives unless we quince the Spirit by unholy conduct. These fruits of the Spirit are evidence of God in our lives and present us in His image.

“Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
(Galatians 5:24 NASU)

According to the above Scripture we should not be able to walk in unholy conduct because these deeds of the flesh have been crucified with Christ. And if we have been crucified with Christ we are also buried with Him. And if we are buried with Him then we are also raised up with Him a new creature “the old things passed away; behold, new things have come (2nd Corinthians 5:13 NASU);” we have been “born again” to live and walk by the leadership and power of the Spirit dwelling within us.


“If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.”
(Galatians 5:25-26 NASU)

When one has been born again he has been raised from the dead and he no longer wears the cloths of the dead. He receives unto himself the robe of righteousness from his Lord Jesus; this is the robe of the living. He undergoes an inward change that is manifested outwardly by the love for His Savior that has been given to him by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). His conduct is that of a saint. He walks as a disciple in reverent awe of His Lord

Concerning conduct the Apostle Peter writes,

“If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth.”
(1st Peter 1:17 NASU)

If you have been reconciled to the Father through His Son “then conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth;” for the One you address as Father is also “the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work.” Conduct yourselves in respect and reverent awe of our all-powerful Creator, the one who is able to save your soul or destroy it in hell (Matthew 10:28).

The Apostle Paul speaks of conduct in this manner,

“So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.”
(Ephesians 4:17-19 NASU)

You are called to holiness; the unbelievers have no such calling; do not live according to their chosen lifestyle. You are to be set apart from the ungodly and live according to the righteousness you have been called into by grace through faith.

The children of the world, because of their unbelief, have been darkened in their understanding and often mock the things you should cherish as a believer. They have been “excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them.” But you are not excluded if you hold fast the things you have learned of the Lord, if indeed you have been taught of Him. But they hold fast to the sin that is in the world “because of the hardness of their heart.”

Like hands that have become callous from hard labor and no longer have a sense of feeling so are the hearts of the sinners. Their souls have labored in sin so long that they have become callous and have lost all sense of tenderness, love and mercy. But beware; if you walk as the unbelievers walk your heart can become callous also!!

“But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”
(Ephesians 4:20-24 NASU)

If we have become Disciples of Christ it means that we are being trained in the ways of righteousness and because of practice are able to discern good and evil (Hebrews 5:14). We no longer walk the paths of the sinners. We cease to indulge in sexual immorality (fornication), divorce, adultery, thief, murder and etc.

The Spirit renews the true disciples mind and the new self is put on in the likeness of Christ who is in the image of God the Father.

“Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another. BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity. He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need. Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.”
(Ephesians 4:25-29 NASU)

It is the work of the Spirit in the believers life bringing about the change, it is not just a reformation brought about by self. Such work of ones self would be the work of the flesh and would not endure, it would soon fail and pass away.

“Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
(Ephesians 4:30 NASU)

Disregarding the guidance of the Holy Spirit grieves Him; we should listen and take heed to His teachings for that is our guidance into the will of the Father.

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”
(Ephesians 4:31-32 NASU)

Love is not offended; if we have love, then bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander cannot abide in us, neither can malice. Kindness, tender-heartedness and forgiveness is the nature of love.

“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children”
(Ephesians 5:1 NASU).”

Let our conduct be like that of our Lord; by knowledge acquired of the Holy Spirit (1st Corinthians 2:10-13) and observing Him through the eyes of the same Spirit we must imitate Him in all our actions, words, spirit, and inclinations; imitate Him as children do their parents, and remember that we stand in the relation of beloved children to Him. It is natural for children to imitate their parents; it is their constant aim to learn of them, and to copy them in all things; whatever they see the parent do, whatever they hear them speak, that they endeavor to copy and imitate. If therefore we be children of God, we must, by the power of the Holy Spirit, show this love to our heavenly Father, and imitate all His moral perfections, and through the same Spirit “put on the mind” of our Lord and Savior.

“and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.”
(Ephesians 5:2 NASU)

A true disciple of Christ should let every act of life be dictated by love to God and man; laying down his/her lives for their fellow man if necessary; counting nothing too difficult to be done in order to gain their eternal salvation; this is not a suggestion or an option but a command from our Lord (John 13:34-35).

“But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.”
(Ephesians 5:4-5 NASU)

Let it be understood: Heaven will be pure!!! Thus NO impure person will dwell there.

“Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.”
(Ephesians 5:6 NASU)

Let no one by eloquent speech and artful pleas (ear tickling) persuade you that; there will be no danger from practicing worldliness. We may suppose that one would be under strong temptations to mingle in the “happy” and “festive” scenes where acts of the “sinful human nature” are not frowned upon, or where they are practiced; or that a person might be tempted to commit these acts of sin by some of the plausible arguments such as “we are only human” which are now used for their own indulgence. Many of our friends may walk in these circles; and they would endeavor to convince others that such were the customs that had been long practiced, and that there could be no harm still in their indulgence “since everybody is doing it.”

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”
(Galatians 6:7-8 NASU)
“Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.”

For this reason it says,
‘Awake, sleeper,
And arise from the dead,
And Christ will shine on you’.”

“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”

(Ephesians 5:7-17 NASU)

James C Sanford

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