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In our daily Christian lives, relationship with people from all works of life, tribes, religion and culture is necessary, natural and mandatory. We cannot live in isolation. We need to enjoy the company of both Christians and Non-Christians, we associates with people of different cultural background and believes. Christians and Non-Christians lives in the same world, do business together, work together in offices, share the same family, belongs to same organizations, clubs and associations, sells and buys from the same market, share workshop together; in the midst of all these relationships, how will Christians behave, what will be the character of the Christians to Non-Christians. This is the topic of today.
Aims of the Lesson
- This lesson will remind Christians of their true identity.
- It will guide and guard Christians on our attitudes towards Non-Christians.
- To identify the serious effects of our unrestricted company with Non-Christians.
- This will assist us to know some of the company we should not keep.
- Christians are peculiar people, we should live a life that reflect our status as Christians.
Who is a Christian?
A couple of billion of people on the planet earth, claimed to be Christians, the appellation Christian is widely use by a category of people. It is important to understand that a person is not necessarily a Christian because he or she was born into Christian home, nobody is naturally born a Christian.
Even though a person may associate with or approve Christian principles, that does not make him or her a Christian. Nobody can be a Christian by just claiming, or talents, sense of righteousness or sensitive feelings.
The name Christians was first given to disciples of Christ, in Antioch (Act 24:5), this name was given by the Greek, as a reproach to the followers of Christ, by mostly the Gentiles to distinguish them from other worshipers. The name Christian is found about three times in the New testament, Acts 11:26, Acts 26:28 and I Peter 4:16.
Christians then is the Christ-like, believers, saints, faithful, elects, people who are like Christ in all their dealings. They were seen as Christ themselves, people who preached and also observed what they were preaching. They were so united that they adopted for themselves the name Brethren.
How do we Become Christians?
Salvation, we know is free but we have to take a step to have that salvation, first hear the Gospel, belief the Gospel, repent of our former life style, confess Jesus Christ as our Lord and saviour and be baptized, this is the only way we can get that name – Christian, after that we should be seen to possess the qualities and characters of a Christian in our words and deeds.
Qualities of a Christian
A true Christian is led by the Spirit of God, he or she also grow in the Spirit of God, a Christian always adhere to Christ’ doctrine, to be Christian indeed, the following qualities must be adhered to
- Peace: Christians must be peace loving and exhibit the character of peace maker always, Col. 3:15; Philippians 4:7. The Bible says blessed are the peace maker for they shall be called children of God, Matt. 5:9.
- Love: A true Christian should be able to love God and every other person, the love should not be selective, Romans 12: 9-10. The bible says love covers multitude of sin, I Peter 4:8, Love is kind, it does not puffed up. I Corinthians 13:4; Heb. 12:1-2.
- Honesty and Integrity: Scripture charge all Christian to speak the truth always and be honest to one another, it also say we should speak the truth because the truth will set us free, as Christian in all things we must be honest, let our YES be YES and our NO be NO, 2 Corinth. 8:21; Eph. 4:25;Matt. 5:37.
- Contentment: Every time Christian should be contented with what he or she has, Bible admonishes us to be contented in what situation we find ourselves, Philippians 4:11 – 12; Matt. 6:25. Over-anxiety can cause us to much problems both physically and spiritually, Heb. 13:5; Luke 12:15.
- Patience/Long Suffering: Christians should allow patience to do perfect work in us always, when we have patience, we will definitely wait for an appointed time to have what we hope for, Romans 8: 24 – 30; James 1:3-4; I Samuel 13:8 – 14.
- Faith: (Faith is the substance of things hope for and evidence of thing not seen). Faith is one of the weapons of Christians. Without faith we cannot claim to be Christians. Every true Christian should build his or her faith in God only. Without faith no man can please God, Heb 11:6; James 1:6 says we should ask everything in faith without wavering. This is why the book of faith in the Bible (Hebrews) take time to explain what faith can do to Christians individually and collectively.
- Wisdom: Bible advises us to always walk in wisdom towards those who don’t have wisdom, Colo. 4:5-6. This shows why Christians must be as wise as serpent, Christians are advised to ask for wisdom from God, James 1:6; Eccl. 2:26; I Corinth. 1:30.In dealing with one another, we should apply wisdom.
- Humility: As Christians, (Christ-like) we are told Christ on many occasions exhibited humility, he was humble and obedient unto death, Philippians 2:7-8, Christ also showed humility when he washed the feet of his disciples, John 13; 4-5 for true Christians, humility should be their watch-word.
- Control of Tongue: This is one aspect that will take so many Christians away from Heaven, that is why James 3:5 says that tongue as a little member but boasteth great thing. Every true Christian should be able to tame the tongue otherwise our struggling here on earth in church activities is but an exercise in futility, James 1:26.
- Study the Words of God: A true Christian must continually study the words of God, so as to defend the scripture anywhere and to preach to non-Christians, the Bible says we should study to show ourselves approved unto God 2 Timothy 2;15 – 16, we must create time in our daily lives to study the scripture. We are advised not to let the book of law to depart from our mouths, we should memorize it day and night, Joshua 1:8; Prov. 3:21. There is nowhere you can preach or teach some other person (non-Christian) when you cannot study and understand the words of God, you cannot give somebody what you don’t have.
- Drunkenness: If we are Christ-like, and we want to be filled with the Holy Spirit, we should not be drunk, Luke 1:15; Eph. 5:18. The Spirit of God always leave us as soon as we take in spirit of liquor (strong wine), Eph. 2:2.
- Prayerful: A true and committed Christian should know how to pray always, Eph. 6:18. Christ says whatever things we desire we should pray and believe that we receive them, Mark 11:24; I John 5:14; I John 3: 21 – 22.We cannot overcome temptation without prayers.
- Spirit of Forgiveness: Every Christian must exhibit the spirit of forgiveness, Eph. 4:31 – 32 says we should forgive one another even as God forgives us for Christ sake Colo. 3:13 we are equally advised to forgive one another. Christians should not be given to vengeance.
- Slow to Anger: This is one aspect of human being, it is natural for Christians to be angry, but the scripture advices us to be slow to anger. Eph. 4:26 says even when you are very angry, we should not allow our anger to cause us to sin, Eph. 6:4 we should not provoke our children to anger.
IS IT GOOD TO KEEP A CLOSE COMPANY WITH NON-CHRISTIANS
- As Christians, we have to constantly face temptations and the attacks of the world around us. Everything we see, hear, read, do put in our bodies, etc, affect us somehow.
- To maintain our close relationship with God we must do away with our former life-style and put on new lives as already stated. People are divided into two main categories, those who belong to the world and its ruler, Satan and those who belong to God Acts 26:16 these group of people are described in terms of opposite all though the bible e.g those in light and those in darkness, those with eternal life and those with eternal death. Those who believe the truth and those who believe the lies, those in the pathway to salvation and those on the broad way to destruction, the Christian and the non-Christians.
- The message of scripture is that Christians and non-Christians are completely different and it is from this perspective that we must discern what kind of company we should keep with non-Christians.
- The book of Proverbs has a few wise verses on Christians in company of Non-Christians Prov. 12:26, we stay away from foolish people Prov. 13:20; Prov. 22: 24 and also from rebellious people Prov. 24:21, all these things represent those that are non-Christians. Do not be yoked together with non-Christians, for what do righteousness and wickedness have in common 2 Corinth 6: 14 and 1 Corinth. 15:33 says that bad company corrupts good characters. We should not forget that Non-Christians are servant to sin John 8:34 while Christians are servant to Christ – 1 Corinth. 7:22.
- If we are deeply involved in relationship with Non-Christians, we are setting ourselves up for turmoil, it can cause Christian to stumble in his/her walk and fall back into sinful life and may also turn others away from God.
- Another detrimental effect of deep closeness with non-Christians is the tendency to water down the truths, especially those who are not strong in faith, of the scripture so as to not offend them.
- Although the close relationship is not recommended, it does not mean we should turn completely away from the Non-Christians and ignore them 2 Timothy 2:24 – 26 says as servant of the Lord, we are to be kind to everybody, but we should bring in wisdom, we should teach them the truth gently and be patient with difficult people. Matt. 5:16 says let your good deeds shine out for all to see so that everyone will praise your heavenly father.
- There is nothing wrong with building quality friendship with non-Christians, but the primary focus of such a relationship should be to win them to Christ by sharing the gospel with them and demonstrating God’s saving power in our own lives.
SUNDAY SCHOOL FOR THE MONTH OF OCTOBER, 2017