Thursday, November 15, 2007

Deepening your spiritual walk with God (part 2)

Deepening Our Spiritual Walk with God: The 8 ‘B’ssentials (Part 2)
Text: Colossians 3:1-24

Last week, we were talking about the importance of deepening our spiritual walk with God. The Economist ran an 18 page special report on God and religions. This is particularly significant because in the early part of the 20th century there is a general consensus that with reason, socialism and science, religion is on the way out. In 1966, Time magazine even ran a cover with the question, “Is God dead?” The recent resurgence of interest in the four major religions of the world: Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism bears testimony to the fact that God is not dead but interest in him is increasing. As Christians, we know that out God lives. And because He lives, we too need to live in such a way that we please Him. Hence there is this need to deepen our walk with God: The eight ‘B’ssentials.

The first three are
(1) Be aware of your calling/vocation
(2) Be a person of integrity
(3) Be growing in Christ-likeness.

We shall continue in the other ‘B’ssentials.

(4) Be Different
COL 3:12 Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Christianity is counter-cultural. It is meant to be different. Someone once said that Christianity is not a religion, it is a relationship. This is so true. Christianity s a relationship with God. If our relationship with God is correct, it will reflect in the way we live our lives. And it will also be apparent that we are different.

-Work ethics (marketplace spirituality)
-Relationship with other workers

Eugene Peterson in his book, The Resurrected Life, comments,
“The resurrection life is a practice…we engage in a life that is permeable by the presence and companionship of the resurrected Jesus in the company of friends.”
What he meant was that we are actually living the resurrection life now as Jesus is living in us and he has been resurrected. The resurrected life will involve;

(1) Resurrection wonder as we perceive the world through our sixth sense- the spiritual sense. We can see the reality of God presence in the cosmos and in our lives.
(2) Sabbath keeping is not a concept or something we want to do but have not got around to. Living a resurrected life means keeping the Sabbath.
(3) Resurrection meals or Eucharist will be a special time of remembering and being with Christ.
(4) Resurrection Friends are being one with the cloud of witnesses- Christians from the past, present and future.

(5) Be Part of a Community of Faith
COL 3:15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

Dan Kimball (2007), They Like Jesus But Not The Church: Insights from Emerging Generations (Grand rapids, MI: Zondervan). In this book, Kimball went around the United States and interviews hundreds of young people especially those who have left the institutional church. He came up with some interesting views. One of the questions he asked them was:
What they wish the church were like
I wish the church were not just a sermon or a lecture but a discussion
I wish the church would respect my intelligence
I wish the church weren’t about the church building
I wish the church were less programmed and allowed time to think and pray
I wish the church were a loving place
I wished the church card for the poor and for the environment
I wish the church taught more about Jesus

Looking at the state of our own churches, we need to buck up too.

(6) Be Grateful
17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

We must be a grateful people. Gratefulness is a powerful battery for our spiritual energy. It is also a powerful motivator. Just imagine that out of millions of people, God chose us to be His people! That is a mind boggling thought.

(7) Be Building a Godly Marriage
COL 3:18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.21 Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.

Godly marriage starts with two people.

Trobisch, a missionary in Africa, wrote in his book, I Married You,
“It is the statement about marriage that is repeated four times in the Bible. The Bible does not speak very often about marriage. Therefore it is the more striking that this statement appears four times in very decisive places. First, it sums up the story of creation in the second chapter of Genesis. Then, Jesus quotes this statement in Matthew 19:5 and Mark 10:7, after He is asked about divorce. Finally the apostle Paul relates directly to Jesus in Ephesians 5:31”

Genesis 2:24
GE 2:24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

“This verse has three parts. It mentions three things which are essential to marriage: to leave, to cleave, and to become one flesh.”

Children are a blessings and addition to a Godly marriage but it must first starts with two persons.

(8) Be Excellent
COL 3:22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

As Christians we need to have a start of excellence in all that we do.
-Professionalism in our jobs
-Standard of excellence
-Excellence in our churches


The eight ‘B’ssentials are

(1) Be aware of your calling/vocation
(2) Be a person of integrity
(3) Be growing in Christ-likeness
(4) Be different
(5) Be part of a community of faith
(6) Be grateful
(7) Be building a Godly marriage
(8) Be excellent.

soli deo gloria

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