Guidelines for Living (Part 1)
The Word of God has given us guidelines or rules to live by and to follow. If you obey them, you will be blessed in return. Guidelines are given to us to in every aspects of our lives. There are rules in solving mathematical problems, there are road rules to follow in driving your car, motor cycle, or boat. Cooking, baking, accounting, electrical, mechanical repairs, etc., are all governed by rules. Even in photography, there are guidelines to follow so you can produce a good picture. So today, I will give you Scriptural rules to do so we can please the Lord, our fellow Christians, and people around us.
I. A Christian seeks to please his Lord in all things – Heb. 13:21
1. Pleasing the Lord is one of our duty as Christian – 1 Thess. 4:1
2. How do we please God?
a. By exalting Jesus Christ, His Son (Matt. 3:17; Col. 1:15-19)
b. By proclaiming the message of the cross (I Cor. 1:18-2:5)
c. By believing in God and his promises (Heb. 11:6)
d. By asking for wisdom (1 Kings 3:10, Col. 1:9-14; James 1:5-8)
e. By staying away from sexual sin (Eph. 5:3,4,10; 1 Thess. 4:1-8)
f. By sharing the gospel with unbelievers (I Cor. 9:14-27, 10:31-33)
g. By giving to others in time of need (Phil. 4:10-20; Heb. 13:16)
h. By submitting to authority (Rom. 8:7-8, Col. 3:20; 1 John 3:22)
i. By praising God for all things (Ps. 69:30-31; Heb. 13:15-16)
Only a believer indwelt by the Spirit can please God, for “those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom. 8:8). A further prerequisite is faith, for “without faith it is impossible to please Him (God).” (Heb. 11:6). The ambition to please God determines a person’s commitment of life (Rom. 12:1; 2 Tim. 2:4), his daily walk (Col. 1:10; 1 Thess. 4:1), his spiritual priesthood (Heb. 13:15-16), and his relationships (Col. 3:20). The believer tests everything in life, “Proving what is acceptable to the Lord” (Eph. 5:10). A man who lives to please people by making their approval of more importance than God’s stands condemned (Gal. 1:10), as does an individual determined to please only himself, regardless of the impact on others (Rom. 15:1-3)
II. We are to love our brothers 1 Jn. 3:14 –
1. Brotherly love is impartial (Deut. 10:19)
2. Brotherly love is unselfish (Mt. 22:39)
3. Brotherly love is sincere (Rom. 12:9)
4. Brotherly love is abounding (1 Thess. 3:12)
5. Brotherly love is Fervent (1 Pet. 1:22)
6. The love is Christ is the standard (Jn. 15:12)
Love reaches for the hurt and takes bold steps without self-interest. It can accomplish unbelievable things merely because it is so void of self-interest.
Some time ago, a teenager, Arthur Hinkley, lifted a 3,000-pound tractor with bare hands. He wasn’t
a weight lifter, but his friend, Lloyd Bachelder, 18, was pinned under a tractor on a farm near Rome,
Maine. Hearing Lloyd scream, Arthur somehow lifted the tractor enough for Lloyd to wriggle out.
Love was the real motivation.
III. We are to deny ourselves – Lk. 9:23
1. Jesus Christ demands self-denial, that is, self-negation (Matt. 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23), as a necessary condition of discipleship.
2. Self-denial is to submit to the authority of God as Father and of Jesus as Lord and to declare lifelong war on our fleshly sinful desires.
3. Jesus did not make us robots to obey only a specific command and instruction, but He gave us self-will wherein we are responsible to choose and do what is right and avoid sinful acts.
4. Jesus links self-denial with cross-bearing. The cross was an instrument of death.
5. Jesus represents discipleship as a matter of following him, and following him as based on taking up one’s cross in denying yourself.
6. “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die,” wrote Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Accepting death to everything that carnal self wants to possess is what Christ’s summons to self-denial was all about.
Self-denial is synonymous to self-sacrifice. A very good illustration is written below:
A woman, carrying her baby on her back, was trapped by a prairie fire. As she looked about, she
realized there was no way of escape. Hurriedly she took the baby off her back and began digging a
hole in the earth with her bare hands. She then placed her child into it and covered the child with
her body. Later the woman was found dead, but the child was saved. She denied herself of her very
life just to save her child.
There are many Bible Characters also who denied themselves. The Rechabites, in refusing to drink
Wine or strong drink, or even to plant a vineyard (Jer. 35:6-7). Peter and other apostles in
abandoning their vocations, forsaking all to follow Jesus (Mt. 4:20, 9:9, 19:27, Mk. 10:28)
We must follow rules or guidelines. Pleasing the Lord may not be that easy. It calls for self-denial or self-sacrifice. We cannot do it by our own. The Holy Spirit who is with us helps us and enables us to love and to do it. The Lord willing, we will continue this next Sunday.