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Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Is This Person a Christian, Blue? – Checking the Clues 1 - Purity 536

 

Is This Person a Christian, Blue? – Checking the Clues 1   - Purity 536

Purity 536 09/29/2021 Purity 536 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of a view of, and from, the Adirondacks Mountains comes to us from a friend who recently has made it a goal to be ADK 46er, an individual who has climbed all 46 high peaks of the Adirondacks. With this first excursion, my friend, and future family member, conquered 2 of the Adirondack’s peaks, declaring that they have 44 to go on their quest and captioned this photo: “This is NY” to point out that the Empire State was more than just New York City.   

I share this pic not only to get “brownie points” with a future in-law, but because of its natural beauty and because it is Wednesday, and I didn’t have a better photo to represent “Hump Day” and to also highlight the fact that  sometimes we have to question and challenge our ideas and preconceived notions about what something “is”.  As my friend’s photo’s caption might challenge and expand the ideas of what some people might think of as “New York”, I have decide to begin a series where we question or challenge the ideas of what a “Christian” is and, as “Steve” from the children’s  show “Blues Clue’s” recently remade an appearance to encourage all those childhood viewers that are now adults, I have decided to have some fun with the idea of “checking for clues” by looking at different aspects of the Christian faith or religion in general to help my friends to determine if some one is a “real” or authentic Christian.

Now please understand, coming into the kingdom of God is only possible through making a profession of faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, so whatever topic I examine is not necessarily a way to determine if some one is saved or not, although the topics I discuss may indicate the fact that some don’t have a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.  No, this series will serve to be more of an indicator of the level of someone’s spiritual maturity or commitment.  The idea is that the more “clues” we find that indicate someone is a Christian, the more likely they are a Christian.  

I was motivated to make this investigation into “what a Christian is” by several friends who have the desire to find a Christian life partner.  As someone, who was convinced that they would probably spend the rest of their life alone because of the spiritual wasteland and Christian desert in Post Christian American Society, I can understand the difficulties in finding a suitable mate that actually has faith in Christ that is authentic. 

So the first “clue” that should be looked for in trying to determine if someone is a Christian is: Church membership and attendance.   

Now while we don’t know the spiritual condition of people’s hearts and it is theoretically possible (although we may have our doubts) to be a Christian and to not be a member or regular attender of church, church membership and attendance is a “clue” that you definitely would want to find in your investigation of someone you are interested in when looking for a Christian mate.  

The Bible says that we are not to forsake the assembly of the saints but should exhort one another to come together as Christians to worship the Lord and fellowship with one another as members of the body of Christ.  

So boys and girls, our first question is: if you meet someone you are interested in who says they are a “Christian”, but  they don’t belong to a church or they don’t go to church services regularly, should we turn and run for the hills?        

No, although you might want to lace up your running shoes and be ready to bid that person a fond farewell, you should ask them why they don’t attend church before you rule them out.  

Because of ignorance, corruption, and abuse many people may have some very personal reasons for not going to church.  So listen to their reasons and their story. When you do, listen to how they speak about their faith and the circumstances around why they have chosen to forsake the assembly of the saints. 

If there is no story, and they “just don’t go” or “have better things to do” or “get bored in church”,  that person, if a Christian at all, doesn’t have a mature faith and may be very ignorant of what a relationship with God is and is most likely in bondage to sin, of pride if nothing else more explicit.   

If there is a story of abuse or offense about a particular denomination or church, it would be wise ask if they tried other churches.  The idea here is we are looking for “clues” about the person in front of us and their faith and character, not the institutions or organizations they encountered.  How did they respond? Are they forgiving? Have they essentially ended their relationship with God because of what happened? Do they have or understand what a relationship with God is?   

The bottom line for people we find who don’t attend church is that we want to know what there understanding of the Christian faith is. Most likely they may intellectually have some facts about faith but generally MOST of the people in our “Christian” society are woefully ignorant of the doctrines of grace and what a relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ looks like and means experientially.   

Oh and that also applies to the MOST of the few people you find that actually do belong to or go to church. 

One saying about the authenticity of one’s faith based on church membership or attendance is that “just because someone hangs out at a garage, it doesn’t make them a car.”      

So like Jane Goodall, we should observe our subject of interest in their natural habitat to see how the person who “goes to church” behaves.  Actions and attitudes that we observe in our “church going” subject may be invaluable clues to the condition of their personality and level of maturity.  

These “clues” may lead us to the conclusion that our subject is indeed a Christian but reveal that they are not “husband or wife” material. We can meet and fellowship with all kinds of Christians with various levels of commitment, devotion, and maturity but just because they are a Christian doesn’t mean we have to be joined to them in holy matrimony.  

So kids, this “first clue” of church attendance is a big one on our quest to solve the mystery of “what is a Christian” and should be taken very seriously.  While the equation “No church attendance = no faith” isn’t a law that set is set in stone, it could be a principle that adequately describes the vast majority of people that “no church attendance” applies to.   

But as I pointed out, if we are interested in someone, we should listen to their story and try to discern level of understanding and watch how they behave.   If we are discerning we will make far less mistakes in our relationships, but we have to keep our eyes open for the “clues” that will tell us if some one is a “real Christian”

So keep walking and talking with God. He is with us always so go to Him for wisdom as you walk through this life and consider and apply what His word tells you so you can experience the fruit of the Spirit and discover His good and perfect will for your life.    


This morning’s meditation verse is:

Romans 14:9 (NKJV)
9  For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.

Today’s verse reminds us of the fact and purpose of Christ’s death and resurrection and the spiritual state of reality.  

As always context is king in understanding the Bible so when you look up a verse and it is referring to something previously stated, we should look to see what it is referring to. 

Verse 8 basically states that if we, as Christians (because Romans is a letter to the church in Rome, right?) if we live or die, we live to the Lord or die to the Lord, and we are the Lord’s.  

So “this end” mentioned in today’s verse is referring to Christians being the Lord’s possession or children”.  Christ’s death and rising again was for “this end” – that we would be the Lord’s”  

So why did Christ die and rise again? So that we would be the Lord’s.  

So Romans 14:9 can serve as a “proof verse” for not only the fact of Christ’s death and resurrection but it can also be used, along with verse 8, to express why Jesus died and was resurrected: so that people would become the Lord’s, that the people who put their faith in Jesus Christ would be His.  

The second part of this verse eposes the fact that there is a  spiritual reality beyond death.  The phrase “Lord of both the dead and the living” indicates that there is life beyond death, just in case you weren’t convinced by the fact that Jesus came back from the dead!

This verse directly contradicts the atheistic or materialistic view that all life is extinguished  when we die.  Christ’s resurrection proves there is life after death and today’s verse indicates that He is Lord over both the realm of the living and dead. 

Those who die are given their final destination based on their relationship with Christ with those who have placed their faith in Him being welcomed into “paradise” where there are “many mansions” as scripture says, and those who haven’t placed their faith in Christ, the one’s he “never knew”, being consigned to the “outer darkness” where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, in Hell.  

So rejoice over the fact that Christ died and rose again so that we could be “the Lord’s” and endeavor to represent God’s kingdom by telling people about the gospel of Jesus Christ.  The Lord doesn’t want anyone to perish so share the hope of Jesus Christ and pray that those without His saving grace will put their faith in Him and make Him the Lord of their lives.  

 

As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk. 

 

Today we continue to share from June Hunt’s Boundaries: How to Set Them, How to Keep Them.

 

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase June Hunt’s books for your own private study and to support her work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $5.00:

Frequently Asked Questions

Too Much Help

Question: "How much help is too much?"

Answer: Consider the following boundary issues:

  • —By allowing a needy person to be dependent on you, do you feel more significant?
  • —Under the guise of being a "giving person," are you being a modern-day martyr in order to attract attention?
  • —Do you ever think, How could you do this to me after all I've done for you?
  • —Examine your motives. Pray that you can discern the driving force behind your need to help.

"A person may think their own ways are right, but the Lord weighs the heart" (Proverbs 21:2).

Rejected by In-Laws

Question: "My parents have rejected my wife ever since we've been married. They don't include her in family functions. I go without her to weddings, birthdays, and graduations. How can I get my parents to accept her?"

Answer: As her husband, you are called to love your wife sacrificially as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25). A tangible way to express your love for her is through actions that convey you value and cherish her and are willing to "lay your life down" for her. Until now, you have been accepting of your parents' hurtful choice to exclude your wife from family functions.

For your parents to accept your wife, they need a motivating "reason" to accept her. Presently they have no motivation because no consequences have been attached to their failure to accept her. As long as you go alone to family affairs, you are communicating that excluding her is permissible. This is dishonoring to your wife. As a member of the extended family, it is only right that she be invited to normal family functions.

Therefore you must explain to your parents that in the future, either you and your wife will both come or you will both stay home. And you must be consistent 100% of the time, unless you or your wife literally "can't make it." Consider conveying to your parents the concepts contained in the following statements. . . .

  • "I love my family very much and always want to be at family occasions."
  • "Because I'm married, my wife is part of our family and should be included in our family functions."
  • "Since the two of us are united as one, if you don't accept my wife, then you don't accept me."
  • "When you don't respect her by ignoring her, you are also showing disrespect to me because she is my choice for a lifelong mate."
  • "Beginning today, I expect for my wife to be included in our family get-togethers and to be treated with acceptance or else we will both stay home. Ultimately, the choice is yours."
  • The Bible presents the following principle in both the Old and New Testaments, in four different books of the Bible—Genesis, Matthew, Mark, and Ephesians. . . .

"A man will leave his father and mother and he united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh."

(Ephesians 5:31)

Cyberbullying

Question: "My teens have become the targets of a cyberbully. What can I do to protect them from being bombarded with this kind of abuse?"

Answer: With the increase in use of cell phones and e-mails, cyberbullying is a serious issue. If your teen is being bullied online or through mobile or social messaging, it is critical that you take immediate action. . . .

  • Use parental controls, filtering software, and online tracking programs.
  • Talk with your teen and be sensitive to changes in mood relative to online activity.
  • Look at their communications with them and immediately address abusive messages. Don't be dismissive or flippant. These verbal attacks are hurtful and harmful, and your teen needs your protection and steadfast support.
  • Communicate all cyberbullying to the appropriate school administrator and authorities.
  • Make copies of all abusive and threatening correspondence and keep in a file as documentation if needed for further action.
  • Delete abusive messages with your teen so that they know you are there for them.
  • Talk often and pray with and for your teen.
  • As you help your teenagers take actions that will protect them, also remind them that their identity is not in what others say, but like Jesus, who was unjustly slandered, they are to entrust themselves to the ultimate Judge who judges justly. . . .

"To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.

(1 Peter 2:21-22)

Tough Love for Teens

Question: "I had my teenage son arrested and jailed after he was caught drinking with some of his friends. Did I handle this situation correctly?"

Answer: Yes, you did the right thing. Consider these reasons for letting your son spend time in jail:

  • Underage drinking is illegal.
  • When a person is in the wrong, they need to suffer the natural repercussion (pain) of their wrong behavior. The pain needs to outweigh the pleasure of the sin . . . otherwise people will keep going after the pleasure.
  • As a parent who loves your son, you have the responsibility to discipline your son and correct his behavior. Tough love . . . often is precisely what teens need.
  • Look at the heart of this insightful "'The Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.' Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? . . . No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it" (Hebrews 12:6-7, 11).

"Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins."

(James 5:20)

Because the concept of boundaries began with God, the best relationships have boundaries.
They protect both your heart and your home.


Biblical Counseling Keys: Boundaries: How to See Them - How to Keep Them.

 

---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------

 

 

 

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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

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