Watch your life and your doctrine closely

When we talk about the power of the gospel, we often quote passages that show that the gospel has power to change the unbeliever. In Romans 1:16 Paul says he is not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes. In 1 Corinthians 1:18 he says the gospel is foolishness to those who are perishing but to those of us who are being saved, it is the power of God. So, the gospel of Jesus has power not only to change the unbeliever but also has enough power to change the person when he comes to the Lord. It has power to regenerate the spirit of the human being and make him resilient to stand and glorify God.

So, in Titus 2:11-14, we are told that the grace of God has appeared to all men and it teaches us to say no to all ungodliness and worldly lusts so that we should live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives. Thus, the church is not a collection of individuals who are trying to repent. It is not a social club where sinners will decide to come and see if they can try to repent. The church, which is the body of Christ, is a collection of people who have accepted the Lord Jesus as their lord and savior. We are given the power to live for God and reflect his glory. We don’t come to church to try and change. If we do that we have missed the point.

The church is supposed to be so attractive from outside that people will come and try to be like us. We are to reflect the glory of Jesus and serve as a magnet to pull people into the house of God. In Acts 5 when Sapphira died and was buried, great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about those events. The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people and the people used to meet but no one else dared join them even though they were highly regarded by the people. Though the church was attractive to people, there was an entry requirement so no one dared to join them because the Holy Spirit was at work. However, more and more people believed in the Lord and were added to their number. The church is not a collection of sinners. We work to expand the kingdom of God. I speak on the topic, “Watch your life and your doctrine closely.” Paul told Timothy this in 1 Timothy 4:15.

Read 1 John 1:5-7 and 1 John 3:4-10.

We are a body of believers who have accepted the Lordship of Jesus, surrendered our lives to him and made him the owner and ruler of our lives. So Romans 8 says there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. And the King James adds that these are those who do not live as they used to but according to the spirit. Christians must have an identity. The church must be so attractive for those outside to want to peek into it. When we walk about as little Jesuses, they would want to find out about the light in us that is so bright. You must be the talk of town. You must be the talk in your office. The born-again Christian has been created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Sin is no longer part of this new creation. The apostle Paul said if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. He also said sin shall no longer be master over our lives. So we are to put off the old man who is corrupt. When you come to Jesus you are a new man and sin shall not continue to rule in your life.

How can a Christian steal? How can two born again Christians fornicate and come to church the next day? We are supposed to be like Jesus. The name “Christian” was a nickname given to the believers then. There is too much permissiveness in the body of Christ and all kinds of doctrines are being preached. I heard a so-called man of God saying premarital sex is no longer a sin. I was wondering which Bible he was reading. We are the light of the world. The light in us must begin to shine.

Someone told me, “If this is what Christ does to people then I won’t come to church.” I thought I had a Christian brother in an organization I could recommend to him but he said, “What? If this is what Jesus does to people, then I won’t come to Jesus.” I am a testimony. The day I realized I had changed was when I stopped staking lotto. I used to be a lotto receiver. It stopped going to Sunday School when my teacher was transferred. That was in Class 6. It wasn’t until university that I came back to the Lord during Mission 1992. I was sitting at the top in the Great Hall during the meeting and had vowed not to accept Christ. But there was this lady friend of mine who kept inviting me. She came to iron my shirt and I decided to go just to make her happy. When I finally yielded to the Lord, some friends said it was only going to be a matter of days because they didn’t understand the change that had taken place. They didn’t believe I had changed on campus.

When Jesus arrests you and brings you into his church you are supposed to be different. The gospel is so powerful that it can make the fornicator stop fornicating; the liar stop lying; the one who steals to stop stealing; and the sexually immoral to stop being immoral. You may be struggling with sin though you come and pretend to be one of us. You may be watching and feeling too filthy to come to church but there is grace here this morning. The blood of Jesus is able to cleanse you form every unrighteousness and transition you from where you are to where you want to be. Your case is not hopeless. The blood of Jesus is able to save the vilest offender. The Lord told me to come and tell you to watch your life.

I am not perfect, but I know who I was and where Jesus has brought me. 1 John 3 says we will be like him when he appears. Hebrews 11:39-40 says even though the people of old were commended for their faith, they could not be made perfect without us. Some labored under no grace but they did not receive what was promised. Only together with us will they be made perfect and yet you are joking with your salvation.

Read Hebrews 12:1-2.

The fathers of our faith are watching us. In Hebrews 12:4 he says we have not resisted sin to the point of death. Somebody died for you. Look at how beautiful you are and the special name you carry. The grace is able to make you stand. Don’t run aimlessly. You’ve been a Christian for so long but your life is not shining. You have been created to be like God. Let the world know you are more than an overcomer.

Main references
Romans 1:16, 1 Corinthians 1:18, Titus 2:11-14, 1 Timothy 4:15, 1 John 1:5-7, 1 John 3:4-10, Hebrews 12:1-2

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