What does a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ look like? How can you tell if someone is truly born again?
• Do they talk different?
• Do they handle situations and finances differently?
• Do they dress different?
• Do they respond differently?
• Do they look at this world different?
• Do they treat people different?
• Do they treat the marriage and the family different?
You could put a RESOUNDING YES to all things mentioned above!
• A Christian will talk differently.
• A Christian will deal with adversity and finances differently.
• A Christian will dress modestly so that they will not draw attention to themselves.
• A Christian will make different choices as they see according to the word of God.
• A Christian will look at this world differently because they see things as Christ sees them.
• A Christian will treat people differently [hopefully with a selfless attitude and not a selfish one].
• A Christian will preserve the beauty of marriage as a gift and not a car loan.
• A Christian will protect and raise their children differently because of His promises to the family.
This is the beauty of the Gospel! The bible say when someone is born again they are a new creation. And we know from what we looked at last week a born again person is NOT someone who practices such things found in the early part of chapter 3. Why? By what we read in the scripture “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Cor 5:17. See! The old nature is.......the unregenerate self, the former manner of existence in Adam...it’s the old wretched, depraved sinful self! But! The new nature is....... the regenerate self, it’s what believers are in Christ, it’s the new nature that walks differently from the world.....How?
• By His divine love
• In light of God’s truth
• In wisdom and knowledge
• Loving God’s word and God’s Son [Jesus Christ]
• Hating sin and preserving righteousness
The Bible declares very clearly that all men [meaning mankind] as either a child of Adam [which is a fallen race] Or a child of Christ [His redeeming love found in the Gospel]. There is no middle ground or fence to sit on! Why? Turn to Romans 5:12-21....(v12) “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man [Adam], and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned".....(v15) “But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man's trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And Paul summaries or drives the point home in (v18-v21) “Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous. Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Which brings us to the question you need to ask yourself? Am I a child of Adam who is still under the wrath of God according to what we read last week in (v6)? Because they refuse to put to death those things in (v5) and they are not willing to put off the things of the natural man and woman. (v8) Or am I child of the Living God through the precious Gospel that saves? Because they see their sin nailed to the cross and they know that all these things must be put to death! (2:v13-v15). They know they are to put away...discard those dirty old clothing (v8-v10)
Let me ask you! What does a person do when they come out of the shower after drying themselves off? They put on fresh cloths to cover their clean body! This is exactly what Paul is telling you and me a born again Christian does! When you remove something of our old nature...God knows it needs to filled with something else! So those things that we are to kill and discard are to be filled with God’s richness and goodness through the Holy Spirit.
But before we look at those things that that Paul tells us to put on...Look at the opening remarks and blessed assurance to those who have truly put their faith in trust in Jesus Christ through repentance and faith in Him. (v12)
“therefore as the elect of God, holy and beloved” I don’t know about you! But this speaks volumes to my heart right now as I read this! Election is God’s sovereign calling on your life! If you’re a person saved by His grace you were called by Him personally...He drew you to Himself so that He could save you. In John’s gospel it say “He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:10-13. Later on in Jesus’ ministry He said “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:44. He also said in the same conversation with His disciples "......Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father." John 6:65.........Have you sat back and wondered!
• God, why did you save me?
• God, why me and not my family or my friends?
• I’m amazed every day that He saved this sinner named Mike Andrews through His precious Gospel.
• He called me out of darkness into His glorious light found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
Again in John gospel Jesus said “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” John 15:16. But not only are you His elect, His chosen child...He looks at you as holy, and His beloved child. These are favoured positions the Christian have in Christ, as the nation of Israel had in the Old Testament! We are not the replacement for the nation of Israel. God’s grace has been extended to us gentle people the uncircumcision... because of their disbelief and misunderstanding of the Messiah Jesus Christ. He declares us in His written word as.....Holy means set apart, this is one of God’s defining attributes! And He sees you as He sees His Son....holy and set apart because of the Gospel. Beloved is a special expression of that personal love God has for His sanctified [born again]children, a beyond your understanding special love that He only has or reserves for His elect. And as His special chosen people who are seen as holy and beloved we are to put on the clothing that Christ purchased for us with life! Which is.....
A HEART OF COMPASSION.....heart means the inward parts of the human body and.......... compassion means pity, mercy, sympathy. Literally you could put these two words together and say “put on heartfelt compassion” or “have a deep, gut-level feeling of compassion. This was perfectly exhibited by Jesus.....”When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Matt 9:36. We must have the same compassion and concern to meet people’s needs!
KINDNESS.....refers to grace that pervades [a quality] in the whole person. It’s not harsh or hard to others. A kindness that is displayed to a person whether their good or bad. A prime example of this quality is found in Luke 10:25-37 “And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" He said to him, "What is written in the Law? How do you read it?" And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself." And he said to him, "You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live." But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" “Jesus replied, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, 'Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.' Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?" He said, "The one who showed him mercy." And Jesus said to him, "You go, and do likewise."
HUMILITY means a lowliness of mind; it’s looking upon oneself as the chief of sinners, and less than the least of all saints! It’s esteeming others better than themselves; in ascribing all they have, and are, to the grace of God; in doing works of mercy and righteousness without showiness, and boasting of them, or depending on them. This was used to describe Christ’s humility “And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Phil 2:8. Christians are called to serve God in this way “serving the Lord with all humility” Acts 20:19. Christians are called to serve one another in this way as well “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,” Eph 4:1-2
GENTLENESS is closely related to humility or meekness....it’s the kind of quality that is not a weakness or spinelessness, but rather the willingness to suffer injury instead of inflicting it. It’s a quality that seems soft, but behind the gentleness is steel like strength! Numbers 12:3 tells us that Moses was the meekest man on earth! But at the same time Moses was a man who could act decisively, be as hard as nails, and rise in anger at the proper time.
PATIENCE is a quality that does not get angry at others....patience is the opposite of resentment and revenge. This was a characteristic of Jesus! Paul wrote to Timothy “But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.” 1 Tim 1:16. Were it not for God’s patience none of us would ever be saved “And count the patience of our Lord as salvation......” 2 Pet 3:15. God is patiently waiting to judge this world because of the salvation found in His Son.
And what’s amazing is that when you put on these qualities you will be able to fulfill the next portion of Paul’s letter! (v13) “bear with one another” which means to endure, to hold out in spite of persecution, threats, injury, indifference, or complaints and not retaliate. It’s the same thing that Paul said “........When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure;” 1 Cor 4:12 “forgive one another” literally means in the Greek “to be gracious” The body of Christ is to be gracious. Why? For the simple reason! YOU HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN. When we realize that kind of grace we will be able to understand the next fundamental piece of clothing! (v14) “above all these put on love which binds everything together”
LOVE which is the Christian’s caring love, the same kind of love that God displayed by giving us His Son as our sin substitute “agape love” this the belt that holds everything together...for without this kind of love we will never be able to fulfill the above list! Remember what Paul said about the gifts! “but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Cor 13:13. Love leads the list of “the fruits of the Spirit” Gal 5:22. Paul preached to the church “that your love may abound more and more” Phil 1:9. Love dominated the writing of John’s letters. Love is the hub of the Gospel and we are to put on the same love that was demonstrated to us through His Son. Remember nothing is acceptable to God if it’s not motivated by love! Love is the underlining beauty of the believer found in the Gospel!
MY SUNDAY QUESTION IS........Are you a child of Adam? Or are you a child of the Christ? The only way you can answer those questions is by examining your own life in light of scripture! “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?--unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” 2 Cor 13:5. Here’s the test!.......Have you truly put off the old nature and put on the new nature found in the gospel of Jesus Christ?