[Lesson 91: Man's Questions; God's Answers (#2)] [Table of Contents] [Lesson 93: Review #1: Adam: the Problem of Sin]

Lesson 92

How Should

Christ's Disciples Live?

Peace be with you, listening friends. We greet you in the name of God, the Lord of peace, who wants everyone to understand and submit to the way of righteousness that He has established, and have true peace with Him forever. We are happy to be able to return today to present your program The Way of Righteousness.

As we promised in our last program, today we plan to look into how those who follow Jesus Christ should live in order to please God. The faith that a disciple of Christ has in his heart should be displayed in the way he (or she {neuter in Wolof}) thinks, in the way he talks, and in the way he acts-in his whole way of living.

Before we consider the way a disciple of Christ should live, let us review what makes a person a true disciple of Christ. As we have seen, the disciple of Christ is one who, first, admits that he is a sinner before God and that he has no hope of getting into Paradise by his own efforts. Second, he believes the plan announced by all of God's prophets-the plan by which God can forgive the sins of the children of Adam. That plan was the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. God delivered the sinless Redeemer over to death for our sins and raised Him to life so that He might judge us as righteous.

In summary, the disciple of Jesus Christ is one who believes the Good News of Jesus the Messiah with all his heart and knows for sure that all his sins have been forgiven, as God has promised in His Word. God adopts such a believer as His child. Thus it is written in the Gospel: To all who receive Jesus the Messiah and believe in His name is given "the right to become children of God-children not born of natural descent…but born of God." (John 1:12,13) Dear friend, God wants you to know that if you become a child of God through faith in Christ and His sacrifice, you will never perish, and He will give you the right to live forever in His presence in Paradise!

Perhaps some would argue with this, saying: Ah, if entering Paradise is that easy for the disciple of Christ, then he can live as he pleases and commit sin as he pleases, without any fear of judgment, because God has forgiven him of all his sins already! Friends, this thought is absurd. Those who think this way do not yet know what sin is, nor do they know God the Holy One. Sin is a bad thing. Jesus Christ came to deliver us from the dominion of sin; He did not come to encourage us to continue in sin! Whoever believes in Christ is no longer a slave of sin. Truly, only those who belong to the devil can thoroughly enjoy sin. The person whom God saves and forgives has a changed heart. God washes his heart and makes it clean. The person for whom God has done this will avoid all uncleanness. That is what the Scriptures declare, saying: "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Cor. 5:17)

Tell us, if you are wearing a clean, white garment, will you sit or go where it is dirty? No, you will avoid anything that might stain your clothes. It is like that with everyone whom God has cleansed of his sins. You will no longer want to go along with anything that is not pleasing to God. You will want to please the Lord. If someone forgives you of a great debt of money, could you intentionally hurt him? No, you will do whatever you can to please him. Similarly, if the Lord God has forgiven you your great debt of sin and saved you from eternal punishment, should you not thank him and honor Him in thought and word and deed all your life long?

Listen to what the Gospel declares concerning those who belong to the Lord Jesus. It says:

(Titus 3) 3At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. (1 Pet. 1) 14 [Therefore] As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy."

How can we summarize the way of life of a disciple of Christ? Perhaps like this: God wants His children to show forth His character in their behavior here on earth. Simply put, God wants His children to be like Him. Well then, what is God like? In our studies in the Holy Scriptures we have seen that two prominent characteristics of God are holiness and love. God is the Holy One. He is also the God of Love. So what is His will for those of us who belong to Him? He wants us to be holy as He is holy, and to love one another as He loves us.

A holy life and a loving heart are what differentiates those who belong to God from those who do not. Concerning this, God's Word says:

(1 John 3) 10This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother. (Titus 2) 11For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13while we wait for the blessed hope-the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

(Eph. 4) 25Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26"In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27and do not give the devil a foothold. 28He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. 29Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

(Eph. 5) 1Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. 3But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people. 4Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person-such a man is an idolater-has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 8For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light. (1 John 4) 7[Therefore] dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 20If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 21And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.

That is what the Scriptures say concerning the way of life for those who follow Jesus Christ. Does all this mean that the disciple of Christ can no longer sin, or that he always loves his neighbor as he loves himself? No! He still commits sin, but he no longer lingers in it. When he sins, he can put to use the promise in the Word of God that says: (1 John 1) 7…The blood of Jesus…purifies us from all sin. 8If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. Amen.

Belonging to Jesus Christ is not just a religion--it is a relationship. When a person belongs to Christ, he is brought into fellowship with the holy God of love. That close relationship with God, which Adam and Eve lost because of their sin is restored to us through the blood which Jesus shed on the cross. God will no longer remember our transgressions because Jesus paid for us our debt of sin. Through our relationship with Christ, God is our heavenly Father, and we are His children. That is what the Scriptures speak of when they say: "For through [Christ] we…have access to the Father by one Spirit. Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow-citizens with God's people and members of God's household." (Eph. 2:18,19)

Those who belong to Christ can enjoy a close relationship with God on earth and look forward to an eternal inheritance in heaven. But one might ask, how can the disciple of Christ enjoy this relationship which he has with God on earth? How can we grow in our relationship with God? Concerning this, God's Word mentions four responsibilities (disciplines) which will help us know the will of God and live a life consistent with our position as children of God so that we might please Him in all things and increase in our knowledge of God.

1.) The first responsibility of the disciple of Christ is to feed on the Word of God--meditating on it daily and receiving it into his heart with a desire to obey it. The Holy Scriptures reveal God's will. God talks to us through His Word. God's Word is the food that nourishes and strengthens our spirit. It is wonderful food. Whoever really loves God should not need to be urged to read or listen to the Word of God, because he will hunger for it like he hungers for food. The prophet Job said, "I have treasured [God's Word] more than my daily bread!" (Job 23:12)

2.) The second responsibility is to pray to God, our Father who is in heaven. Whoever wants to grow in the relationship he has with God will want to talk to Him often. For the disciple of Christ, prayer is talking to God, as you would talk to your best friend. There is no specific time that we must pray. We can talk to our heavenly Father anytime of the day or night! There should not even be a moment when our minds are not conscious of God. He wants us to praise and thank Him continually for who He is and for all that He has done for us. He also invites us to tell Him about all our concerns. The disciple of Christ knows that prayer is powerful. The Lord Jesus Himself promised His disciples: "You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it." (John 14:14) and: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God [your Father]." (Phil. 4:6)

3.) The third responsibility is to fellowship with others who believe and love the Lord Jesus Christ. As a coal stays hot longer when left in the fire with other coals, so our fellowship with other believers will help us to live for Christ and to encourage others to do the same. God's Word says:

"Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-and all the more as you see the Day [of Christ's return] approaching." (Heb. 10:24,25)

4.) The forth responsibility of Christ's disciples is to be His witnesses. Listen to what Jesus told His disciples before He ascended to heaven: "This is what [the prophets have] written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations…You are witnesses of these things." (Luke 24:46-48) Yes, Christ's disciples are to tell others about their Savior, explaining the Good News of Jesus Christ who died to give all who believe in Him a wonderful relationship with God forever. Of course, our witness should not be limited to mere words, but should be accompanied by a life of holiness and love. It is the change that Christ has made in our lives that will strengthen and confirm the message. For the Scripture says: "The kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power!" (1 Cor. 4:20)

You who are listening today, has there been a day in your life when you met the Savior, Jesus Christ, a day when He forgave your sins and renewed your heart? Is your life full of the holiness and love of God? Are you a true disciple of the Lord Jesus?

Thank you for listening.…

God bless you as you consider what the Holy Scripture declares, saying:

"God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth." (1 John 1:5,6)