Do you have the Attitude of Christ! P2

What does it mean to exemplify the attitude and conduct of Christ? What would that look like in your life?

We Are To Have the Attitude of Christ! Read 1 Peter 4: 1-11

This passage also gives us comfort in suffering because Christ Himself suffered. He, who is God incarnate, who totally did not deserve to suffer, suffered on our behalf. He endured great physical, mental, and spiritual pain on our behalf, and exemplified the attitude and conduct we are to have when we go through the tough stuff of life.

Thus the call for us in church leadership is to be focused upon Christ as LORD so to be prepared and equip ourselves for what lies ahead in life. We must have our expectations based on reality and in faith, so when something comes our way-whether it is a blessing or a problem-we can take it, handle it with excellence, learn, and grow from it. Then, in turn, we can pass it on as we lead and pastor His people. In this way you can be a blessing to others because of it.

Consider these key words:

Christ suffered.” Our Lord withstood the full brunt of all human temptations needlessly, yet purposely (Mark 1:12-13, Heb. 2:12; 4:15). He was a man, subject to the power and enticement of sin. He did not need to do this, but for our sake He did. He was fully man and identified with us. He remained sinless and took our sins upon Himself. Now, sin has no power over Him or us other than what we allow on ourselves (Rom. 6:1-10; 8:3; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 5:14; 1 Pet. 2:22)!

Regard to the Spirit.” We now have spiritual renewal and assurance because Christ has obtained for us victory and triumph over death and sin (Rom. 6:5-9; 1 Cor. 15:25-26).

 This applies to leadership as we are in union with other Christians as we are all bonded to Christ and we may suffer unfairly when we do good. Suffering also bonds and helps form us deeper in Him. It is not to be seen as shame. Rather, it is an honor to serve our King (Rom. 6:1-14; Phil. 2:5-11; 1 Pet. 3:21).

The challenge of leadership from 1 Peter is sin that calls us to the world’s ways. From lust and seduction to chasing a mindless trend so the focus is on what is new and not upon Who and what Christ has done. A Good leader needs to be aware that sin is so enticing we can easily slip anyone off God’s path. Thus, we need to be willing to suffer so sin does not entice us and lead our church off God’s purpose and plan. So, as a leader, we must set the tone and become more guarded against sin because a bigger picture is in our sight-Christ, His example, and our willingness and commitment to lead so others can follow. When we see Christ as LORD and not our personal viewpoints, pride and desires, we will grow, mature, and be prepared for anything! Then our church will grow healthy and secure in Christ.

When something comes your way, whether it is a blessing or a problem, how can you take it, handle it with excellence, and learn and grow from it? What would that do for your congregation?

 How would your walk with Christ grow and in turn be a blessing to your church if you did this?

 

Do you have the Attitude of Christ! P1

Are you chasing your desires or our Lord? How can the answer to this question help determine what direction you take in life?

We Are To Have the Attitude of Christ! Read 1 Peter 4: 1-11

This is essential in church leadership to remember who we are leading and to Whom we are leading them to! So, we must ask the question earnestly and honestly: Are you chasing your desires or our Lord?

The answer to this question will determine what direction your church goes. This will actually determine what direction in life you go as well. Consider the context of the 1 Peter passage in leadership and life, sin. When we fail to lead people to Christ as LORD, we sin, this, as if, when, and how sin will entice you to fall!

Consider these key words:

“Arm yourselves” refers to as soldiers train and prepare for battle, we are to be trained and are to be prepared with Christ’s attitude, outlook, knowledge, and experience. We are to prepare for injustice and suffering!

God’s will” is the determining factor in life! It all comes down to this; will you follow His will, or yours and the world’s? Which one do you think brings the most blessings and contentment to your family and the church you lead?

Debauchery” means unrestrained indulgence, seeking sinful, physical gratification, or giving into one’s desires. This leads to being merciless and unscrupulous in one’s dealings with others! When we fight against one another, especially in the church, it is hurtful and even pathetic in God’s eyes (Gen. 4:8; Duet. 25:17-19; Joshua 7; Matt. 21: 1-17; Luke 9:54; Rom. 13:13; 2 Cor. 12:21; Eph. 4:19).

Lust” refers to sexual immorality, meaning evil desires that trap us and bring down others who are around us-the very opposite of God’s call for us.

We must be always aware that sin is coming. And our biggest problem is pride. As we lead; we can either draw near to God to stay clear, or draw near to sin and our pride and thus away from God and His best for us and the direction He wants His church to grow and go.

The great news is that Christ gives us the ability to stand firm in Him. The key is, we need to want to! Peter’s people were being slandered and taken advantage of, and they were becoming disillusioned. Peter’s call was to stand firm in faith and not worry what others do as long as we look to Christ wholeheartedly. Just as we are to do in our churches today. Thus, the best defense to sin, pride, wayward trends, past mistakes is the offense of righteousness and demonstrating the good life in Christ (1 Pet. 2:12,15, 23; 3:9, 16; 4:4,14)!

Sin has and unbelievable power to weigh us down so it defines who we are and traps us in the past. We all have past mistakes and wrong choices, but Christ freed us so we no longer need to be weighed down by them! Peter’s congregation had a pagan background that was very alluring; he is telling them (and us) not to let it draw them or become a part of their new life.

Be the leader who leads people to the Wonder of our Lord, not to sin, not to your pride and not to faulty trends (Rom. 1:12:13; 6:1-14, 19; Gal. 5:19-21)!

 

Do you have the Attitude of Christ!

Attitude of Christ

When we are leading His Church, consider that we are called to have the “Attitude of Christ!”

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death-even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:5 – 8)

However, we cannot do that if we are not following Christ and taking heed to His example, His grace, and His love so we want to respond. That means we can be living in sin, pointing to ourselves, leading by power and control or by pride. Otherwise, our desires will fill that gap and will get the best of us. The sins of others and the sins of our heart will break us down and take us over and destroy the church you serve, unless we focus on Christ, His ways, and His path.

What does it mean to wholeheartedly look to Christ?

How can you better implement this in your life? What would your church look like with this mindset at full blast?

False Prophet

False Prophet

Be aware of the False Prophets!

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them.” Matthew 7:15-16

Are you concerned about false prophets today? In what ways have you seen false prophets switch “gates” (Matthew 7:13-20) on you, claiming lies as truth? How do they make them seem attractive?

False prophets will switch the gates on you and claim lies as truth. They are denying who and what Christ has done for you and replacing the truth with lies! They seem attractive at first, until you realize you have been shamed, hopefully before it is to late.

The warning to the follower: Because even though you may have been misled, you are still responsible for your choices!

What did Jesus say about them? He called them “Wolves in Sheep’s clothing,” and where we get this phrase, as the phrase is quite true! It is saying and representing what is not really what you intend or mean to deliberately misreport truth, even though you may believe it as true.

What did the Jews feel about false prophets then? Most Jews did not accept any new prophets after the Maccabees (time after Daniel, 175-135 BC) period (Jer. 2:8; 5:30) and considered all who claimed to be a prophet as false. Josephus (first century Roman historian) lists many, during Jesus’ times, who attracted the crowds, but were soon flushed out as vicious wolves.

How do we know a False Prophet?

We can know them by their character, by how they live (Matt. 7:21-23; Luke 6:43-45), and if their words come to pass (Duet. 13; 18:21-22).

Do they live by faith, humility, Fruit of the Spirit or by pride, arrogance, extravagant living.

Do they point to themselves or to the Work of Christ?

They will have the spotlight, because humility prevents those who are godly from promoting themselves.

The only way you can tell is to know the truth from the Bible, watch them closely, and test them (Gal. 1:8-9; 1 John 4:1). In addition, know this: their lifestyle and character will soon give them away (2 Cor. 8:20-21; 2 Tim. 2:14-16; 3:13; 2 Pet. 2:1-3).

False Prophets are dangerous!

They will lead you astray and must be corrected. If they refuse to listen (Matt. 18), they must be silenced.

They are slick and tickle people’s years. False teachers will rarely come across as the evil type, with shifty eyes and whispers in the dark. They come with fancy suits, flashy cars and eloquent, emotional, and attractive speeches to captivate you. They will have large ministries because what is false is what is attractive. As people will give them money, thinking they will get a greater return which will never happen.

They will also cause divisions, strife, and lead people away from the True faith (1 Tim. 1:3; 6:3-4; 2 Tim. 2:18; 2 Pet. 2:1).

They usually will not teach, but just give off emotional rhetoric and grandstanding, pointing to themselves rather than glorifying God. Or, they will mix in truth and falsehoods to confuse you, as most Christians have not been discipled, and therefore cannot discern the difference!

Heresy is not about interruptions and opinions. It is about adding to the Bible what is not there, or taking away from what is there. This is very destructive, both personally and collectively, to a body of Believers (Rev. 22:18-19).

The only way you can expose a false prophet is to know the true Truth from the Bible, watch them closely, and test them.

Reflection
Do you believe that a lot of pastors, especially the ones on TV, need to be “set straight,” as we have so much false teaching in the church, adding what is not there and letting people far away? Concider this, when we take away essential truths of the faith, and believe what we want, how would this grow your faith and your church? Think about how does this neutralize the Majesty and holiness of Jesus, His teachings, how much we have been forgiven, and cheapen His Gospel?

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hos. 4:6)

Yes, the Way is Narrow! P3

Matthew 7:13-20

Have you ever locked yourself out of your house or car? How did it feel? How would it feel to be locked out of Heaven because you made a lot of wrong choices? Thank Christ, He gives us Grace, when we trust in Him!

The Christian life can be a difficult journey! We live in a fallen world corrupted by sin. Consequently, all we do is imperfect, and a struggle. We will make choices that affect the direction in which we proceed in life and in relationships.

In so doing, we affect others around us in both positive and negative ways. Yet, when our efforts and motivations are centered upon being righteous, we will be doing as we are called to do, and even be blessed for it.

As Christ’s disciples, we must be willing to be led by the truth of His Word and by our faith and trust in Him. Everything that is worthy and excellent requires more work, from painting a house to preaching the Word. This journey of difficulty should not discourage us because it will build us up to be much better, stronger and of better use to God as we put into practice what He puts in us (Phil. 2:12-13).

So, enjoy your Christian journey! See it as an adventure from which to learn and grow. Our character will improve and enable us to overcome all obstacles and help others through them.

Thus, we should make it a point to give Him our best for His glory because He first loved us, and we respond to His Grace with our gratitude. At the same time, we can take comfort in the fact that He will not give us anything we cannot handle (Phil 2:10-13; Heb. 2:10)! So, let us live with excellence, to our best for His glory!

For reflection and small groups:

How is the Way (Christian life) simple in concept? Why do some people feel the need to add to it?

Read Matthew 7:13-20, how is it that the illustration of trees and fruit (Fruits of the Spirit, Gal. 5:18-23) can be the quintessential proof text of who you are?

Making a public profession or testimony of faith may be good, but do you believe that until it moves your Will and feet, it is of no good to God or those around you? Now, think through what you can do to make sure your testimony stays on God’s track and the fruits you produce are from Gal 5:22-23, not from verses 18-21?

What happens to your church, neighborhood, and relationships when you produce fruit to nourish and impact others?

What happens when you give out your rotten fruit to discourage and repulse all the people whom God brings to you? Can you see this from the perspective of others, or perhaps how God might see it?

Yes, the Way is Narrow! P2

Matthew 7:13-20

What is the price for choosing the wrong, or big gate? How can you help motivate others not to make that big mistake?

The illustration of trees and fruit is the quintessential proof text of whom you are, where you came from, and what you have, or can become. You have the choice to live out Galatians 5:19-21 or Galatians 5: 22-23.

The choice is yours; the fruit is to be made by you through the Holy Spirit.

The key is to receive and work it out (Phil. 2:12-13). You can be a good tree or a bad one. You can produce fruit to nourish and impact others, or give out your rotten fruit to discourage and repulse all those who are brought to you by God. Faith that is professed may be good, but until it moves your will and feet it is no good to God or those around you!

Today, it is no different. We still need to be “set straight” because of so much false, bad, shallow and lazy teaching in the church. Churches often add in what is not there, and lead people far away from the simple, yet profound teachings of our Lord. Leaders tell us to carry what we do not need, or cut essential aspects from the Gospel, as if it were a buffet.

Added to this, we have so many false religions, cults, lifestyles, and ways of living, we can be overwhelmed and confused. The price for choosing the wrong, or big gate is the ultimate cost of eternal consequences and despair. Do not cheat yourself, and exchange what seems easy and fun for ultimate loneliness and desolation.

In what ways is the Christian life hard?

“Difficult” is the Christian way. To teach that it is easy is true on the surface; however, it minimizes who and what Christ did and the price He paid (Acts 14:21-22). It also minimizes the realization of how much you have been forgiven, and how much sin corrupts and destroys. We will go though difficulties and sufferings, but these cannot distract us; rather, we need to see the hope and glory we have to come.

“Fruits,” is an illustration of good and valuable food such as barley, figs, and pomegranates, versus what is worthless and harmful to the harvesters, such as thorns or thistles (Isa. 5:2-6; 27:6; Hos.10: 1-13; 14:7-8; Prov. 11:30-31). This, in the O.T., refers to being obedient to God in order to receive His blessings. Now, it is more of a mirror to our character, to who we are, or can be in Christ (Gal. 5:18-23).

Do not focus on your situation, but on Christ.

The Christian life requires surrender of our Will, as in self-denial and obedience to Him (Rom. 6:3-7; 17-22). Few people desire to be convicted or challenged from their thinking and comfort zones. They see this as confining, or bigoted. What needs to take place, besides the work of the Spirit, to make this happen? In so doing, will it change our behavior, which is the main theme of chapters 5, 6, and 7 (Matt. 28:19-20)?

What is the price for choosing the wrong, or big gate? How can you help motivate others not to make that big mistake?

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