Christ our Life (Part 5)

Christ our Life (Part 5)

Christ our Life

(Part 5)

How Can We Not Love and Serve Such a Savior!

If you have followed our line of thought in this article, hopefully you have been able to see that Christ has every reason to be our very life. He created us (John 1:3) and sustains us (Col. 1:16-17). He has redeemed us (1 Peter 1:18-19), saved us (Heb. 7:25), and reconciled us to the Father (Col. 1:22). He presently gives us eternal life (John 10:28), protects us from the evil one (1 John 5:18), intercedes for us (Rom. 8:34), and is our Advocate with the Father (1 John 2:1-2). He will return to take us to Himself (John 14:1-3) and be our eternal joy in the City of God (Rev. 21:1-7). Such love–such amazing, indescribable, and fathomless love! How can we not gratefully love such a Savior and pour out our lives in sacrifice for Him!

In light of this, we can understand how tragic it is when someone who has known the love of Christ chooses to turn away from Him and go back to his or her old ways of sin. Sadly, some Christians do allow their love to “grow cold” (Matt. 24:12) and leave their “first love” (Rev. 2:4). They no longer have a fervent love for a Savior who first loved them. It is spiritual insanity to reject such overwhelming love! It is utterly irrational to depart from the One who has loved us so deeply and go back to the spiritual darkness and alienation from God that we once knew! It amounts to spiritual suicide!

Although there are false teachers today who would say that one may come to know Jesus and then depart from Him, living a life of deliberate sin and continual unbelief, and still go to heaven, the Scriptures do not support this view. The Scriptures warn, “The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23), and, “If you are living according to the flesh, you must die” (8:13). Since turning away from the Lord Jesus and the holy life He demands is such heinous sin, the Bible reveals that all who renounce Him will be eternally separated from Him! Furthermore, since we are more accountable if we have been given more light, there will be an even greater punishment reserved for those who deliberately return to darkness (Luke 12:47-48). Notice several warnings:

Those who deny the Master (Christ) who bought them, “after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” and “they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first” (2 Peter 2:2, 20).

One who has been joined to Christ the Vine and becomes a “branch” in Him but does not bear fruit, God will “take away,” and “if anyone does not abide in” Christ, he will be “thrown away,” cast into the fire and will be burned (John 15:1-2, 6).

Those who turn away after having come to Christ, “crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame” (Hebrews 6:4-6).

Those who “go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,” but they will receive a “much severer punishment.” Such a person “has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace” (Hebrews 10:26-31).

One who falls into sexual immorality or other known, deliberate sins and remains in them, must be removed from the holy community of Christians and “will not inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 5:1-13; 6:9-10; cf. Gal. 5:19-21; Eph. 5:3-7).

Passages such as these show the dreadful state of those who no longer “hold fast” to the Head, Christ Jesus (Col. 2:19), but who pursue the deeds of the flesh and depart from saving faith. They have “suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith” (1 Tim. 1:19-20) and no longer exercise a living, saving, obedient faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and in God the Father. We must keep from falling into “an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God” (Heb. 3:12). In light of this danger, the Hebrew writer warns, “Encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called ‘Today,’ so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (v. 13).

It is possible for one to live in Christ and enjoy His presence, to find that He fills each spiritual need, and then for that person to “fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons” (1 Tim. 4:1). Let us even now determine to maintain a loving and living relationship with the Lord Jesus and refuse to compromise with sin and false teaching! Paul encourages us: “As you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him” (Col. 2:6). Let us continue to “walk” or live in a deep and personal relationship with Christ Jesus our Lord! Let us be passionately devoted to Him and renounce every temptation to compromise the truth of God! Let us live consistently in absolute holiness and refuse to partake of any sin and immorality! In short, let us determine to “continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel” (Col. 1:23; John 8:32).

Furthermore, if we find the opportunity, let us have the love to reach out to that brother or sister who is compromising with the world, with sin, and with false teaching. Let us “have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh” (Jude 22-23). In love, let us seek to rescue those who have fallen into sin or are being led away from purity, from sound teaching, and from the faith (cf. Gal. 6:1-2; James 5:19-20; Matt. 18:15-17; 2 Thess. 3:6-15; 2 Tim. 2:24-26; 2 Peter 3:16-17). In the words of the song:

Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,

Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;

Weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen,

Tell them of Jesus the Mighty to save.

Perhaps, through our love, tears, and untiring efforts, and the convicting power of the Spirit and the Word of the Lord, some of those who have known our precious Savior will return to Him in deep contrition, full repentance, and deepened love!

A Final Word

We have noticed a variety of ways in which our life is to be Christ-centered. This is not optional; it is our very reason for living! The Lord Jesus is to be the focus of our thoughts, our conversation, our plans, our activities, our relationships, our future, our hopes and dreams. He is the center and heart of our very existence!

What does the centrality of Christ mean in a practical way as it relates to your lifestyle? It means that Jesus is to be in control of your:

  • Activities
  • Interests
  • Possessions
  • Thoughts
  • Habits
  • Time
  • Family relationships
  • Friendships
  • Recreation
  • Travel
  • Schedule
  • Reading
  • Clothes
  • Eating
  • Finances
  • Music
  • Employment
  • Education
  • Business
  • Shopping
  • Speech
  • Plans
  • Goals

Christ called you through the gospel to a radical, transformed lifestyle with Christ as its center! The commitment demanded of us by Christ was so absolute, so uncompromising, that it would be blasphemy for anyone of lesser stature than Jesus to make such demands. He could say what He said and claim what He claimed because of the glory of who He is. He called for our absolute loyalty, our unqualified commitment, our unreserved devotion. He is the exclusive way to God the Father and His heavenly home. Thus, it is altogether reasonable that we give to Him our heart, mind, and body. It is only appropriate that self be denied and Christ be followed. Can we do anything less than gratefully fall at His feet and embrace the Savior who gave Himself that we might live eternally with Him? Every aspect of our life is to be yielded to Christ’s Lordship and control:

Take my life and let it be,Consecrated, Lord, to Thee;

Take my moments and my days,Let them flow in ceaseless praise.

  Take my hands and let them moveAt the impulse of Thy love;

 Take my feet, and let them beSwift and beautiful for Thee.

Take my voice, and let me singAlways, only, for my King.

Take my lips, and let them beFilled with messages from Thee.

Take my silver and my gold:Not a mite would I withhold;

Take my intellect, and useEvery power as Thou shalt choose.

Take my will, and make it Thine:It shall be no longer mine;

Take my heart–it is Thine own:It shall be Thy royal throne.

Take my love, my Lord, I pourAt Thy feet its treasure store;

Take myself and I will beEver, only, all for Thee!

(Frances Havergal)

“Ever, only, all for Thee!” This is the attitude of heart that we must have! Let these few words be an encouragement to us as believers to daily live for Jesus, to acknowledge Him as our Lord, and to allow Him to be our very life. And may this be an invitation to those of you who are out of Christ to repentantly come to the only One who truthfully said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.”

Questions for Study and Discussion

  1. Has your view of living for Jesus changed in any way since you have read this treatise? If so, discuss the change.

  2. Does focusing on the Lord Jesus Christ, as we have done in this booklet, in any way detract from our commitment to God the Father? Consider passages such as John 5:22-23; 16:13-14; Matthew 17:5; Romans 1:7; Ephesians 1:3.

  3. Discuss the statement: “The significance of all that Jesus said and did is determined by who He is.” What bearing does this have on our careful and prayerful consideration of the Lord Jesus Himself?

  4. What commitments can you make at this time to increase the depth of your relationship with the Lord Jesus?

  5. How do various spiritual disciplines help to cultivate your relationship with Christ? Consider: Bible reading, Bible study, Bible memorization, meditation, prayer, fasting, singing, fellowship, reading spiritual books, sharing Jesus with others, etc.

  6. How can the “world” be an enemy of your devotion to the Lord Jesus? (Colossians 3:1-4; Romans 12:1-2; 1 John 2:15-17; James 4:4)

  7. Why must we guard against the deceitfulness of sin in our life if we wish to maintain an uninterrupted and intense relationship with our holy Savior? (1 John 1:7-10; 2:1-6; 3:4-10; Hebrews 3:12-13; Isaiah 59:2)

  8. Discuss how salvation from sin itself (in the new birth) involves more than just spiritual information from God but includes a personal “coming” to Jesus or “turning” to the Lord Himself.

  9. Why is it so difficult to acknowledge all that Scripture says about “leaving” everything and everyone that stands in our way from following the Lord Jesus and living for Him? What does this requirement mean to you, personally?

  10. Jesus said that we must “lose” our life for Jesus’ sake (Mark 8:35-38; Luke 9:24-26). What does this mean in your own life?

  11. If Jesus owns your physical body (1 Corinthians 6:14-20; 10:26), what should this mean in your own life? How does this transform the way you view your body?

  12. Why are people willing to speak of believing in Jesus and loving Jesus but are reluctant to emphasize obeying Jesus in practical ways? Can you think of any truths you were willing to obey because you loved and feared the Lord Jesus? What were they?

  13. Scripture says that you are a “servant” of Jesus (cf. Colossians 4:7,12), but it also says that you are His “friend” (John 15:13-15). What does this mean to you? Is this “friendship” conditional (John 15:14)? How is it possible to balance this intimacy of relationship with a proper fear and respect?

  14. If we are to love Jesus more than any other human being on earth, what will this mean to your relationships? What effect will this have in your own marriage, family, extended family, and friendships?

  15. It is easy to sing about our love for the Lord Jesus, but what can we do to cultivate a depth of genuine love for Him?

  16. Discuss how it can be said that Christ Jesus is the “mediator” of all of God’s blessings to us (cf. 2 Timothy 2:10; Ephesians 1:3).

  17. There are many different areas of truth we can share with those who are out of Christ–and all of them may be important. Why is it vital to always keep Jesus Himself foremost in our teaching and preaching to outsiders?

  18. Discuss several examples of how you were required to suffer for the sake of Christ on your job, in your neighborhood, in your family, among your relatives, or with former friends.

  19. Sometimes we are so occupied in our daily life and so content with our circumstances that we really don’t think about Christ’s glorious second coming. What can we do to awaken an intense desire to see Jesus returning in the clouds to take us to Himself for all eternity?

  20. Many people seem to make a commitment to Christ and we assume that they have been saved, but later they turn away and fall into sin or false teachings and compromised churches (cf. Heb. 2:1-3; 3:12-4:10). Discuss how it might be possible for this to occur in light of the wondrous salvation we have and the blessed relationship that we may enjoy with Jesus Christ.

  21. Do you think that our love for Christ may be intensified as we meditate on all that Christ has saved us from (cf. Luke 7:47; 1 Timothy 1:12-17)? Consider some of these: death, lostness, hopelessness, separation from God, the wrath of God, the lake of fire, etc. Can you think of others?

  22. What songs may you sing that will help you to cultivate a personal, intense, intimate, and blessed relationship with Christ? (Leaf through a hymn book and choose some of these songs, then actually sing some of them–either alone or with others.)

  23. Many have found that having a personal “quite time” of prayer, Bible reading, and writing each day helps to cultivate one’s spiritual life and deepen his or her relationship with the Lord. Discuss the benefits of this practice and how your own experience verifies this value. What problems have you encountered?

Make a list of two dozen Bible passages that emphasize our personal relationship with Jesus. Plan to memorize and meditate on a dozen of these verses that are meaningful to you. From time to time quote one of these passages to another person you are seeking to encourage in the Lord or seeking to share about His salvation.

Richard Hollerman

(Conclusion)

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