“THE MEASURE OF A STRONG CHRISTIAN” INTRODUCTION(Have you ever felt like; you Just don’t measure up to do what God is calling you to do or something that seems to be out of your Capability)Lets look at – 1 Sa 16:6-7 to start with:
1. When Samuel was sent to anoint the new king of Israel, he learned that God’s measure of a person was different than man’s
2. The same is true today…God’s measure of a Christian is often Different than that applied by many people!
3. In this lesson…
a. I want to review the measure often used by the church people to evaluate one another.
b. And then consider what is God’s measure, which ought to be ours as well.
4. What does it really mean to measure up as a Christian? [We begin with…]
I. THE MEASURE OFTEN USED BY THE CHURCH BRETHREN
A. WE OFTEN MEASURE CHRISTIANS BY…
1. Their ATTENDANCE at the services of the church
a. If they attend ALL of the services, then they must be “Faithful brethren“· On the other hand…
b. If they attend SOME of the services, they must be “weak Christian’s”
2. Their PARTICIPATION in church-related activities.
a. If they participate in ALL of the activities.
1) Such as Bible classes
2) Or Evangelism classes, Visitation programs, etc.
— Then they truly must be “strong Christian’s.· But on the other hand…
b. But if for ANY reason they do not participate in all that The church offers, their “commitment” is certainly suspect!
Flip Note: Remember often times as the body of Christ we allow ourselves to believe these principles as if they are true. Even if the Pastor or Leaders are not even thinking this and by us believing this it can lead to us quitting or giving up as well as finding our own faults with the Church and its leadership… Sometimes making us jump ship or start looking for somewhere else to appease ourselves and find something easier. If we are doing all that we can possibly do in all honesty then as the word says “ there is on condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”· Let me tell ya, Christianity will always have persecution we don’t need to allow ourselves to make it any harder.
3. Their LEADERSHIP abilities
a. MEN are considered strong Christians if they…
1) Lead singing, prayers, help serve the Lord’s Supper
2) Teach classes, preach sermons
b. WOMEN are considered strong Christians if they…
1) Teach children’s classes or work in the nursery, teach women’s classes,
2) Prepare communion, clean the building
B. THE PROBLEM WITH THIS MEASURE…
1. It tends to measure the OUTSIDE of man! 1 Sam.8:3-Ex.Samuels sons
a. People can do all these things, and still be spiritually weak on the INSIDE (I have known people like this)
b. “Hypocrites” can exist very comfortably with such a measure!
c. Church brethren can remain in “spiritual immaturity” if this is the only measure given to them…
2. It tends to neglect the multi-faceted nature of the body of Christ.
a. Especially if all the emphasis is on the PUBLIC functions of the church.
b. And if emphasis is placed on one function over another (e.g., teaching over service) – cf. Ro 12:3-8 [Because of these “tendencies,” often times what happens is the potential of misjudging and condemning one another. This is Something we want to avoid at all times. (Jm 4:11-12).
Footnotes:a. James 4:11 The Greek word for brother or sister (adelphos) refers here to a believer, whether man or woman, as part of God’s family. · What then, ought to be the measure of a strong Christian?]
II. THE MEASURE OF A STRONG CHRISTIAN A. IS FOUND IN SCRIPTURES SUCH AS…
1. Ga 5:22-23
a. Here are qualities of man who is truly SPIRITUAL.
b. This is evidence that is truly led by the Spirit of God
c. Now one who is truly “spiritual” will certainly be involved in various “activities” of the church – e.g., Ga 6:1-2
d. But this measure requires that the “inner man” be changed first! 2. Col 3:12-17
a. Again, this measure begins with the “inner man”
b. But it carries over to our relationship with one another in such activities as Bible study and singing, church function
3. Consider other passages, such as those given to:
b. Bishops (elders, pastors)
1) They may be married and have children who believe – cf. Tit 1:5-6
2) But are they quick to anger, unable to teach others? – cf. Tit 1:7-9
c. Church Members, young and old
1) They may be attending the services faithfully
2) But is their conduct becoming their stage in life? – cf. Tit 2:1-8
B. THE CHALLENGES OF SUCH A MEASURE…
1. It emphasizes the REFORMATION of the INSIDE of a person first, trusting that the outside will naturally follow
a. I.e., it requires “TRANSFORMATION,” when conformation would Be a lot easier
b. Transformation takes more time than simply conforming:
1) Time, is what some Christian’s may not wish to take…
2) Either for themselves, or for those whom they want to quickly conform to their ideas and programs
3) E.g., trying to get involved in teaching before one is ready, just to make oneself look good – cf. Jm 3:1-2
2. This is a measure that often only the LORD sees.
a. We see each other only for a short time each week
1) It is easy to “put on a front”, to pretend to be something we are not.
2) But the Lord sees us as we really are!
b. On the other hand, brethren who may seem “passive” when we are together may be extremely “active” when apart.
1) Active in their warfare against personal sin.
2) Active in their daily service to others in the name of Christ. — Activity which we may never SEE, but the Lord knows!
CONCLUSION 1. The purpose in discussing the true measure of a Christian…
a. Has NOT been so we can go around and judge others
b. But to suggest caution in how we measure others!
c. And to make sure that we are properly measuring our own selves!
2. The statement of the Lord to Samuel still applies today: “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Sa 16:7) ·
Let’s be sure the “measure” by which we examine ourselves is the same one used by the Lord!