River Church NOLA
August 22 What's a real Christian
  • God So Loved
  • Set A Fire
  • 10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord)
  • You Are My All In All
  • Intro
    We talk about becoming a Christian and I am afraid that we often do do the life justice. Becoming a Christian is by the Grace of God, but the bible doesn’t say there is nothing to it.
    I mentioned last week about the stripper that thinks she is a Christian. Being a Christian is more than me saying that I am on. I said this last week

    Salvation is when you give control of your life over to God.

    There is more to being a Christian than the prayer we pray to become one. Jesus told his disciples to follow him. That’s why many times Christians are referred to as followers of Christ.
    Jesus never hid the fact that there was a cost to following him. Paul said,
    Philippians 3:8 NLT
    8 Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ
    Paul is stating that everything he had… education, social standing, money, family … was nothing compared to know Jesus as his Lord.
    Many people say they are trying to find themselves, but they never do because they look in the wrong places. Since becoming a Follower of Jesus, I have spent the last 48 years trying to get over myself. I am the biggest obstacle to living for the Lord.
    It is only the transforming power of the Word of God working through us that we can be a follower of Jesus.
    Being a follower of Jesus means to act like Jesus acted.
    1 John 2:5–6 NLT
    5 But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. 6 Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.
    When we decide to be a follower of Jesus and to act like He acts, we will experience growth as a Christian.
    We do this by allowing God to transform us from where we are to where He wants to take us.

    A Follower of Jesus has a Transformed Mind

    Why do we need a transformed mind?
    Romans 8:6 NLT
    6 So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.
    Romans 12:2 NLT
    2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
    I have been a pastor or in the ministry for 30 years and one thing I know… too many people have let their minds become a garbage dump. It has become the place where they dump past failures, bad information, broken down relationship experiences, etc. It has become the place where they dump things broken, things failed, things camouflaged in their lives.
    They can’t become fully devoted disciples of Christ because they won’t allow God to clean up their dump. Yes, they are saved and loved by God, but they always seem to be experiencing spiritual defeat. They expect to live lives blessed by God yet they are allowing their minds to remain a "garbage from the past" landfill.
    The garbage they carry is like the luggage we take on a trip. Have you ever noticed how much luggage people take on a trip. It’s no wonder that people are too tired to serve and follow Jesus… too exhausted to be a fully devoted follower of Jesus. The baggage is too heavy and it wears them out. Serving Jesus is not a joy, it becomes another bad experience, another relationship that has broken-down, another failure they are trying to camouflage. The garbage that God wants to take away is unforgiveness, guilt, discontentment with life, fear of the future, and everything else that restricts them in following him wholeheartedly.
    A follower of Jesus understands how much these things can hinder them and gets into God’s Word and allows the Holy Spirit to deal with these sins in our lives. Following Jesus is not a quick fix to your problems. It has taken your whole life to get in the mess where you are. It will take time to study His Word and applying Biblical principles to fix many of your problems. It means spending quality, uninterrupted time with God through prayer. It will take time for God to deal with the baggage issues in your life.
    In one sense, you will never be fully cleansed from all the mind garbage, at least in this life. On the other hand, God will fully cleanse you and will make you "whiter than snow" in a heart sense. When God cleanses you, your mind will no longer become a garbage dump.
    A passionate disciple of Christ will no longer allow his or her mind to become a place where garbage is stored. For a follower of Christ, the mind will become the place where the Holy Spirit becomes the housekeeper.

    A Follower of Jesus receives a Transformed Heart

    In our culture today, most people have become too busy to go all in to follow Jesus. To follow Jesus you have to have the heart to follow. Most people don’t want to follow they want to become leaders, especially when it comes to being a Christian. They want to be in charge of their lives… not have Jesus in charge.
    Matthew 11:29–30 NLT
    29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
    Matthew 5:8 NLT
    8 God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.
    Luke 6:45 NLT
    45 A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.
    Dwight Pentecost writes about true follower ship. He sums following Jesus with three words.

    Curious

    Curious Convinced

    Curious Convinced Committed

    A follower of Jesus will be curious, convinced and committed to the things of Jesus. These are heart issues.

    A follower of Jesus will be curious

    A follower of Jesus will be curious so that they will listen to what Jesus speaks to them through His Word and will continue to investigate the deep truths of the Word of God and the calling and claims of god on their lives.

    A follower of Jesus will be convinced

    A follower of Jesus will be convinced (convicted) of his sin through God’s word and will make a transformational lifestyle change. He or she will begin to desire to line their life up with the standard of Biblical Christianity.

    A follower of Jesus will be committed

    A follower of Jesus will be committed to the teaching, proclamation and personal application of the Word of God.
    A study conducted several years ago concluded that only 10% of Evangelicals live lives different from non-Christians. So it was determined that Sunday School was ineffective and many churches dropped Sunday School and look for other methods to train disciples.
    Another study conducted, a few years later came to the conclusion that only 9 % of the Evangelicals live lives different to those of non-Christians. It hasn’t worked.
    The problem is not Sunday School or Small Groups. There are churches that do both of these well. The problem is a problem of the heart. Every week, we are feeding you with wonderful Bible Truths and knowledge, but many people are not receiving a transformation of the heart… a transformation of your Spirit.
    I (and other pastors) can teach Biblical truth … life changing principles from the bible, but a heart change can only come from the working of the Holy Spirit. We want to create in our church, our ministries, and our groups an atmosphere where the Holy Spirit can move and work in people’s lives. I’m not talking about crazy, but of Holy Spirit power in your lives and in our services.
    We want to see god working in people’s lives in groups and in our services. But we also want to teach you how the Holy Spirit is wants to work in all of our lives on a daily basis top bring us closer to the Lord.
    We want to see the Holy Spirit bring non-believers and non growing Christians into active, refreshing, life in Christ and in the Body of Christ.
    We need to mentor stagnant and growing believers through discipleship making principles and in the Word of God. But, we must set the example by experiencing radical heart transformation in our own lives. We must make sure stagnant and growing disciples can witness first hand a flourishing hunger for Christ in us.
    Unfortunately it’s become too easy to get caught up in the busyness of life… the worries of life… and the conflicts of the day that we neglect living the abundant, full of joy, filled with passion lives for Jesus Christ.
    I am reminded of the logger who became so busy cutting logs he failed to take time to sharpen his saw: There was once a logger who told himself repeatedly that he needed to stop and sharpen his saw, but he continued to cut anyway. Unfortunately at the end of the day, as night began to fall, he sat exhausted next to a sizable pile of uncut wood. This man wasn’t stupid. He knew that his saw desperately needed sharpening. He also knew that the more he cut, the duller the blade would become. Yet he could not bring himself to sharpen the saw. How many of us are like that man? For most of us, the pursuit of tasks drives out any thought of maintenance. We have to sharpen the saw!
    If we are going to maintain spiritual health and grow in our spiritual lives to remain faithful followers of Jesus Christ we must experience the radical transformation of the heart. A heart that has experienced radical transformation will never be satisfied when the spiritual journey begins to stagnate. They will be broken by their own sinfulness. They will realize that if anything good is to come, it is only because of God’s grace working in them and through them. They will receive no satisfaction in personal recognition when God blesses them, for they remember, they are only one beggar telling another beggar where to find the bread of life. song - I’m just somebody, trying to tell everybody about
    If you have never had a heart transformation, a heart overhaul, you probably have been extremely frustrated with spiritual things and are experiencing very little personal spiritual growth or victory in your life. But remember, you are right now exactly where you want to be spiritual because your actions prove it.
    All of us need discipleship… the process of growing more like Jesus. for us, we do it in groups and classes. We need to sit a the feet of Jesus. You need mentors to help you grow in your faith walk.

    If you have a heart transformation, you will desire to grow as a follower of Jesus.

    Warren W. Wiersbe describes discipleship as a process of self-denial:

    "To deny self does not mean to deny things. It means to give yourself wholly to Christ and share in His shame and death."

    We often tell our kids to grow up, but they can’t because they have never been there. We as parents have and we can help our kids go where they have not gone. It’s the same in growing in your relationship with the Lord. We need people who may be further down the road than we are to help us go down the road we have not been on yet… to help us to grow.
    We are all on a journey. What’s your next step on that journey? Baptism… small group… witnessing… tithing…

    A follower of Jesus will live a transformed lifestyle.

    Ephesians 4:22–24 NLT
    22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.
    Colossians 3:5 NLT
    5 So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.
    Colossians 3:7–8 NLT
    7 You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. 8 But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language.
    Colossians 3:12–14 NLT
    12 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.
    Getting over ourself is the biggest obstacle to serving Christ.
    Matthew 7:21–23 NLT
    21 “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. 22 On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’
    I find it interesting that those who cry "Lord, Lord," in this verse were obviously the ones who thought they were all right. They knew the right words to say, they knew the right "lingo." They called themselves His followers. Their speech had been transformed, but their minds, hearts, and lifestyles remained untouched by the power and cleansing of a Holy God.
    Being a disciple of Christ means having a transformed lifestyle. It’s not just talking the talk but rather walking the walk.
    Survey polls have shown that those who call themselves Christians are just as likely to have been divorced, purchased lottery tickets, watch R or X-rated movies, become addicted to pornography, or use alcohol as much as their non-Christian counterparts.
    Such lifestyles don’t seem to be fitting for the true followers of Jesus who are supposed to be willing to give their lives to following Jesus.
    We are instructed in Scripture to put-off the former lifestyle. Put to death whatever belongs to your earthly nature. You once walked in these ways, but now you are to rid yourself of such things.
    A missionary once explained difference between United States Christians and Christians in persecuted parts of the world. He said, "In our country (U.S.A.) we talk about commitment, in the persecuted countries they talk about sacrifice." It is common for Christians in the persecuted parts of the world to sacrifice their lives for Christ. Whereas, U.S. Christian only need to talk about commitment to Christ.
    For most followers of Christ, we will never be asked to die for him, but he does expect us to live for him.
    Conclusion
    Luke 14:25–35 NLT
    25 A large crowd was following Jesus. He turned around and said to them, 26 “If you want to be my disciple, you must, by comparison, hate everyone else—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. 27 And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple. 28 “But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? 29 Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. 30 They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’ 31 “Or what king would go to war against another king without first sitting down with his counselors to discuss whether his army of 10,000 could defeat the 20,000 soldiers marching against him? 32 And if he can’t, he will send a delegation to discuss terms of peace while the enemy is still far away. 33 So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own. 34 “Salt is good for seasoning. But if it loses its flavor, how do you make it salty again? 35 Flavorless salt is good neither for the soil nor for the manure pile. It is thrown away. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!”
    The cross was a cruel form of punishment used by the Romans. When a criminal was forced to "carry his cross" to the place of execution, it was commonly known that this person was saying goodbye to everything. There could be no turning or coming back. Jesus uses this illustration with the intent of demonstrating to us that following him commands that same kind of farewell to our own will and desires as we commit ourselves to Him.

    A disciple will have a transformed mind, a transformed heart, and a transformed lifestyle.

    When we live our lives our way we will fail every single time, but if we live our lives God’s way we will succeed every single time. I must warn you that to become a fully devoted follower of Christ is to set a target on your back and Satan will attack.
    The key issues of discipleship will address who you are in Christ and who God is. You are a child of the King. God is your protector and defender. Satan will attack you and he will win some battles, but God will win the ultimate victory in you and through you if you become His disciple.
    Altar
    Bow Heads…
      • Philippians 3:8TLB

      • 1 John 2:5–6TLB

      • Romans 8:6TLB

      • Romans 12:2TLB

      • Matthew 11:29–30TLB

      • Matthew 5:8TLB

      • Luke 6:45TLB

      • Ephesians 4:22–24TLB

      • Colossians 3:5TLB

      • Colossians 3:7–8TLB

      • Colossians 3:12–14TLB

      • Matthew 7:21–23TLB

      • Luke 14:25–35TLB

  • Good Good Father

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