IT'S GREAT TO BE A CHRISTIAN!!!
1. Too many, for too long, have had the idea that Christianity is somber, morose and doleful. And that it is only for old ladies and children.
2. But this picture is just the opposite to that which is painted in the scriptures.
3. Those Christians over 1900 years ago were happy, and joyous. The early church was made up of young and old, male and female.
4. Philip preached to the Ethiopian nobleman about the Lord, Acts 8:35-39.
A. When the man had heard the preaching believed it, confessed Christ as Lord, and was baptized, we are told that "he went on his way rejoicing."
5. Paul and Silas, even in jail, were singing praises unto God, and they also preached Christ to their jailor. Acts 16:25-34; Jas. 5:13.
A. After the jailor was baptized into Christ, he "rejoiced, believing in God with all his house." v. 34.
6. Even when they were persecuted, Christians then "rejoiced, that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name." Acts 5:41.
7. Of all that live upon this earth, Christians have more and better reasons to be happy than others! Why?
I. BECAUSE GOD LOVES US AND WANTS US TO BE SAVED.
A. In spite of our mistakes, and the knowledge that we cannot save ourselves, yet God cares for us. 2 Pet. 3: 9.
1. "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." Psa. 46:1.
B. And even though we all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, Rom. 3:23, God loves us.
1. "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish; but have everlasting life." Jno. 3:16.
2. Even before His birth, it was announced: "Thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins." Mt. 1:21.
C. Why shouldn't we be happy and confident?
1. God cares for us. And, "if God be for us, who is against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not also with him freely give us all things?" Rom. 8:31,32.
II. BECAUSE CHRIST DIED UPON THE CRUEL CROSS TO SAVE US FROM OUR SINS.
A. What is the greatest degree of love a man can demonstrate?
1. Jesus answers: "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." Jno. 15:13. "Ye are my friends if you do my commandments", vs. 14.
a. And He did just that. No because we were good and righteous, but "God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Rom. 5:8.
B. Because we all have sinned, Rom. 3:23, we must die: "The wages of sin is death", Rom. 6:23.
1. But, the next phrase of that verse is: "but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
a. So, this is our cause to rejoice! Not because we are sinners, but because Christ died for us.
1) "That he, by the grace of God, should taste of death for every man." Heb. 2:14; Titus 2:11,12.
C. We often sing, "What can take away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus."
1. And this is right, for, "Without the shedding of blood there is no remission." Heb. 9:22.
a. But, while we were in bondage to sin, Heb. 2:15; Rom. 6:16, Christ paid the price of our redemption. 1 Pet. 1:18,19.
2. Yes, it is great to be a Christian!
a. For we have "boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way". Heb. 10:19 20.
III. BECAUSE JESUS CHRIST IS OUR GREAT HIGH PRIEST.
A. As a sinful creature, we cannot come before God and plead our case alone.
1. But Jesus can and does. "And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous". 1 Jno. 2: 1.
B. He is our High Priest, offering His own blood for the cleansing of our sins.
1. "It behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertainling to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people..." Heb. 2:17; 4:15.
C. His enemies thought by putting Him to death, His work would be ended.
1. But, He was raised from the dead!
a. Now, "He is able to save to the uttermost them that come to God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them". Heb. 7:25.
D. In seeking to come to God, we must know that Christ is the only way. Jno. 14:6.
E. Yes, it is great to be a Christian because Christ is our Great High Priest.
IV. BECAUSE OF THE PURPOSE AND MEANING OF LIFE.
A. Philosophers, through the ages, have sought an answer to the question: "What is the purpose of life?"
1. Man can never supply the answer in and of himself. Jer. 10;23.
a. But God can and does: "Hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments for this is the whole duty of man". Eccl. 12:13.
B. The aimlessness that is manifest in our society today is traceable to a loss of faith in God and in Christ.
1. When man turns from God, he loses his purpose for living!
a. Jesus pointed this out in His own life on the earth.
1) "My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and accomplish his work...I am come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him that sent me." Jno. 4:34; 6:38.
b. The Lord fulfilled that purpose, for in His prayer, just before His death, He said;
1) "I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do." Jno. 17:4.
C. And only when we "glorify God" in our lives upon this earth, can we say we have fulfilled His purpose in giving us life. 1 Cor. 6:19,20.
D. To sum up the meaning of man's existance upon this earth, the apostle Paul said:
1. "That they should seek after God..." Acts 17:27.
E. Yes, it is great to be a Christian, because that life is the only life that fulfills life's purpose.
V. BECAUSE OF THE FELLOWSHIP WITH OTHER CHRISTIANS.
A. Someone has said, "No man is an island." Rom. 14:7.
1. We depend on one another. And rightly so.
B. But the very heart of Christianity is that we are one in Christ. 1 Cor. 1:10; 12:25,26.
1. Christians in Jerusalem, over 1900 years ago, felt and lived that way. Acts 4:32.
C. We need one another. We need the strength, encouragement and wisdom of one another. Especially in times of sorrow and grief.
1. We are exhorted to "Stand fast in one spirit, with one mind, striving together for the faith of the gospel." Phil. 1:27.
D. The psalmist wrote: "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" Psa. 133:1.
1. And it still is. We can go to God's Book, and "Comfort one another with these words..." 1 Thes. 4:18; 5:11.
2. By myself, I might not be able to stand, but with other Christians I can. Eph. 4:16.
VI. BECAUSE OF THE PEACE IT BRINGS.
A. In this world of turmoil, anger and strife in which we live, peace is a coveted treasure.
B. But only the "Prince of Peace", Isa. 9:6, can bring true peace to our lives.
1. It is only in Christ that "we have peace with God." Rom. 5:1.
2. His sacrifice makes that peace possible: "Having made peace by the blood of His cross." Col. 1:20.
C. When Paul speaks of our being at peace with God, note what he says about Christ. Eph. 2:14-16.
1. So, in Christ, we have peace with God and with each other.
D. The Lord discusses another kind of peace that is vital in Christianity.
1. He says: "Be not anxious for the morrow". Mt. 6;34.
a. But how can we avoid worry and anxieties that plague us?
1) Mt. 6:33 says, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness..."
a) In other words, be a Christian.
b) This is the only way to true peae of mind.
E. When we put our trust in Him, live in loving obedience to His will, then we can rejoice in the Lord. Phil. 4: 4-7.
1. Then we can truthfully sing: "I have the peace that passeth understand down in my heart."
VII. BECAUSE OF THE ASSURANCE OF HEAVEN.
A. Paul wrote in 1 Cor. 15:19, "If we have only hoped in Christ in this life, we are of all men most pitiable."
1. And how right that is! Life here, with all its problems, temptations and turmoil, is tolerable because of the hope we have in the Lord Jesus.
a. He has gone to prepare us a place. Jno. 14:1-3.
B. It is great to be a Christian because our hope is not centered here, but in heaven.
1. Note what Peter said in: 1 Pet. 1:3,4.
C. As a child anticipates the joys of a birthday party, so the child of God lives with hope of eternity in heaven.
1. Jesus promised: "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." Rev 2:10.
D. But what assurance can we have that we will really go to heaven?
1. John answers this question in the following scriptures: 1 Jno. 1:7; 2:1, 3; 3:22; 5:;;11,13.
1. Yes, it is great to be a Christian.
2. The joy and happiness of serving Him in this life.
3. The help given by the Lord and our brethren.
4. The anticipation of eternity with God in heaven.
5. These all, make the toils of the road to seem nothing.
6. Paul fitly expresses it in; Rom. 8:18, "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us-ward." 2 Cor. 4:16-18.
7. It is great to be a Christian, because life without Christ would not be worth living.
8. Are you a Christian? If not, why not?
By Jim Sasser
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