Essentials For A Christian Life – Chapter One


newgrowth_300PREFACE

Early in my life, I was raised without much instruction as to how to do things.  Living was hard and took a lot of effort on the part of my parents, to earn a living for the family.  Later, in my life, my future father-in-law provided a lot of instruction in how to do things.  I learned a great deal in his crowded garage, where we spent many hours working together on many projects.

When I became a Christian, my mentors were men that I would watch and try to learn from their behavior and lifestyle.  But there was no one to sit with me and tell me what was needed to live a life for Jesus.

es-sen-tial  (/əˈsen(t)SHəl/) noun,  plural noun: essentials ; a thing that is absolutely necessary.  “we had only the bare essentials in the way of gear” synonyms: necessity, prerequisite, requisite, requirement, need

  • the fundamental elements or characteristics of something.  “he was quick to grasp the essentials of an opponent’s argument”

synonyms: fundamentals, basics, rudiments, first principles, foundations, bedrock;

With this series, I would like to share what I have learned about the Christian life that may help you.  I was in a church service, praying, asking God what I would want new believers in Christ to know about being a disciple of Christ Jesus and these things are what I thought to be important.  I would encourage you to have a Bible (I will be using NKJV) with you and some paper for notes.  I will be giving several verses that I would like you to look up and study.  With that thought, I present to you “Essentials for a Christian Life”.

CHAPTER ONE

Building Blocks To Success (Constructing A New Life With Jesus)

1 Corinthians 3:10, 11 speaks of building upon a foundation that is already in place, Jesus Christ.  As we begin to build a new life upon this foundation, it is essential that we build properly and with the right materials.  Verse 13 of the same passage says that our works will become obvious.  The building materials we choose will determine if our tabernacle is godly or ungodly.  People can look at our lives and see the results of what we chose to use.  I believe there are four pillars needed to support our new structure.  Let’s examine each of them.

PRAYER (Luke 11:1-4)

The disciple of Jesus, asked Him to teach them how to pray.  Is it important to know how to pray?  Do you have to pray these same words every time?  Can’t you just talk to God?

Yes, it is important to learn how to pray in a manner that pleases God.  No, Jesus was showing us a pattern or outline as to how we should pray.  Yes, this is my favorite way to pray, but with some Biblical guidelines.  Let me outline it this way:

Procedure

How are we to pray?  We are to address our prayers to our heavenly Father (Luke 11:2).  I believe we should be respectful as we approach the throne room of God.  I once heard a man pray before a group of people opening his prayer with “Big Daddy in heaven”.  The balance of his prayer was a country, folksy style that I think he thought it was cute.  God is almighty and holy and should be addressed, by us, in a respectful way.  It is a privilege for us to come before Him with our prayers.

We are to pray in Jesus name (Matt. 18:20; Phil 2:2-11; Col. 3:17).  The finished work on the cross of Jesus Christ paid our sin debt and gave us access through Jesus to the Father; it is through Jesus that the Father hears our prayers.

Practice

What are we to pray about?  I say, “Everything!”, but as you pray, as a bare outline, may I suggest three areas of prayer for you: 1) Exalting the Father – Spent time speaking back the wonders of who God is and what He has done.  I believe in a Big God and a small man.  I believe God has been forever and will be forever.  He is timeless.  I believe by His spoken Word, the universe was created and everything within it.  Does it make sense to you that you should acknowledge His Supreme position?  2) Interceding for others – Seek God’s hand in the lives of other people.  An outward looking prayer is helpful to them and it is helpful for you.  The less self-centered you become, the better of a person you become.  3) Pray for yourself – there is much in my life that I visit with the Lord about: my sins, my attitude, my thoughts, etc., etc.  While I do need to pray about myself, I don’t want to make it the center of my prayer time.

Principle

Why should I pray?  Psalm 66:18 says, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear.”  Personal purity – In order for my prayers to be effective, my heart must free from un-confessed sin.

BIBLE STUDY (1 Peter 2:2; 2 Tim. 3:15-17)

The second pillar would be bible study.  If you are going to grow as a Christian, you must know what instructions God has written in His word for two reasons:

Required for Growth

1 Peter 2:2 tells us we are to desire the word of God as a newborn baby desires his mother’s milk.  As a newborn receive the nourishment of the milk, he begins to grow.  As we absorb the Word of God, we will grow in wisdom and knowledge.  We will experience God moving in our life.

Required for Wisdom

2 Timothy 3: 15-17 tells us five things that will cultivate our minds and our spirit.

First, scripture is inspired, that is God breathed, from God directly.  Second, it is profitable (valuable) for learning doctrine (concepts and principles of God).  Thirdly, it reproofs (rebukes) us.  It points out areas of our life that are displeasing to God.  Number four is for correction.  How we make things right with God.  And fifthly, for instruction in righteousness.  That is how to live a holy life.  We need these things to mature us.

TITHING AND OFFERINGS (mALACHI 3:7-11)

The third pillar may be hard for some, but in light of what the Lord has done for us, we should give cheerfully.   Read this passage and see if you find these reasons to give

A “tithe” is 10% of our income given to God as a starting point.  It is a 10% reminder that 100% belongs to God.  An “offering” is a free will gift given above the tithe.

  • give to learn the basics – it seems God test us with our attitude and use of money.  It reveals a lot about the condition of our heart.
  • give out of love – if a  father gives good gifts…do we love God, your father, fellow church members, your neighbors?  Wouldn’t you give out of love?
  • give to support “kingdom work” – its amazing what seems like a small amount of money to us, can do in God’s hands.
  • give as God has prospered you –  If you only make $10.00 a week, He only requires a dollar from you.  It’s the same for every believer.
  • give without worry, God will provide (3:10b) – God says to try Him.  Do you think He is not capable of taking care of you?  He is able.
  • give and see God’s protection (3:11) – He said, “I will…for your sake”
CHURCH ATTENDANCE (hEB. 10:24-25)

The fourth pillar is going to church and being active in church.  I see four benefits of attending church:

First, being with other believers gives us strength to grow.  Secondly, we can give and receive support from others.  Thirdly, we can be of service in the Master’s house.  Fourthly, we receive security against the enemy.  A isolated piece of coal removed from the fire, will soon grow cold.  I especially like the wording of verse 24,”let us consider one another- in order – to stir up – love and good works.”  I like the idea of God using me to make a fellow believer hotter in fervency, resulting in more love and good works being produced.

Conclusion: As you build upon the foundation laid by Jesus, using the four pillars listed above, you will be developing your building blocks to success.

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