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The Characteristics - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
January 8, 2024 12:00 am

The Characteristics - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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January 8, 2024 12:00 am

Dr. Stanley illuminates the meaning of living an extraordinary life for God.

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Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Monday, January 8th. Have you ever been so exasperated that you wonder if you will ever arrive at spiritual maturity? Today's podcast reminds you that spiritual growth is a lifelong process.

Here's part one of Living the Extraordinary Life. If someone should ask you to describe the Christian life, how would you describe it? Would you describe it on the basis of how you live your life? Would you describe it on the basis of maybe the people you look around and see who claim to be Christians? Or maybe you would describe it on the basis of some person that you feel is living a little better Christian life than others. Maybe someone who is renowned or someone who has popularity or prestige or someone who's recognized as a very significant Christian. Or would it be that you would describe it on the basis of someone who helped you personally? You see strength in their life, and so therefore that would be your idea. Well, I think all of us would have to face the fact that according to the biblical standard of the Christian life, that over a period of time we have sort of brought the standard down.

And as a result, what we've done, we have sort of settled for a settled for Christian life. In other words, you don't have to work too hard. You don't have to try too hard. Not too much faith.

In other words, just enough to sort of get by. And many people trust the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior. And somewhere along the way, nobody has ever taught them or they never heard that once you're saved, then you begin to grow in your Christian life.

And that growth is growth into Christ-likeness. Listen to what Paul says in Romans chapter eight, verse twenty-nine. He predestined, that is, God made a decision.

He settled this once and for all. He has predetermined in His will for every single one of us that you and I, as he says, would be conformed to the likeness of Christ. Conformed to the likeness of Christ.

Somebody says, that's impossible. Wait till you hear the message. Then I want you to look in Galatians chapter two and look in verse twenty. And Paul wraps it up like this. Because in this verse is Paul's heart, soul, and mind. Listen, I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. And the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me. Paul says there was a time in my life when I walked away from my past. He says, I died to the life that I was living. He says, so therefore in this life that I'm now living, it is no longer I, Paul, but it is Christ who lives in me.

And the life which I now live, I live by faith in the Son of God. Here is the heart of everything the apostle Paul believed. Here's the underlying theology. Here's the underlying truth that governed his actions.

His speech and everything about him. And what he was simply saying is this. It used to be the apostle Paul. It used to be Saul of Tarsus.

Then it was Paul. Now it is Christ who lives in me. And the life which I am now living, not the same, I live by faith in the Son of God.

What he was saying is this. I have moved from that settled for life that I was living. I choose to live an extraordinary life. What is anything extraordinary? Whatever is extraordinary is above the norm. It's above the natural. It's not the commonplace. It's something above and beyond all that.

If you look around, most of the Christians that you know are living the sort of a normal Christian life. A little subdued. Don't get too excited.

Let's just get it down here where it's comfortable. I want to tell you, that's not what this book teaches. So this is the beginning of a series entitled, The Extraordinary Life. And some time ago, I was reading the biography of George Whitfield who lived seventeen fourteen to seventeen seventy. And he was a giant spiritually. Came from England, spread the gospel of Jesus in Scotland and across England and into America.

Had an impact on colonial America, preaching the gospel. Here's what he said. He said, I pray daily, God make me an extraordinary Christian. He didn't go on to explain it, but that was his idea.

He knew what he meant. And as I think about what the Christian life is all about, the Christian life compared to life around us is an extraordinary life. Listen to this. It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. So what I want to do is this. I want to answer the question, what does the extraordinary life look like? What does the extraordinary Christian look like? So I want to give you a definition. I want to read it to you. I can quote it to you, but I want to read it to you because I want to explain every facet of it. Because as I began to think about what the Christian life is all about, what is this extraordinary life?

Here's what I believe it is. The extraordinary life is one in whom Christ is dwelling, living on the inside of us. And in whom, listen, the very presence of Christ is seen in our actions, heard in our language and our speaking. And He's felt in our very presence. And through whom, that is through you, Christ is making a strong, godly impact upon others. Now that's a whole lot of difference in being saved, going to church, giving your money, having some prayers and just sort of maybe serving God in some fashion.

Listen to this. In whom Christ is dwelling, when you trust that Jesus Christ is your personal Savior, the Bible says, listen, that Christ came to live on the inside of you. Jesus spoke of, listen, spoke of abiding in us. And the truth is, if you look at Paul's underlying basic belief system is his most famous phrase, in Christ, or in whom, or in Him. That is, it's this intimate relationship, crucified with Christ. That is, I've walked away from the life I used to live and now it is no longer I who lives, but it is Christ living within me. And the Apostle Paul certainly was an extraordinary Christian.

He certainly left an impact on his day. And the truth is, God intends for you and me to live the kind of life that He can so live through us. Listen, through you, that people, listen, see Christ in you in such a fashion. That they watch your actions and see something of Jesus.

They listen to your speech and see, and hear something about Him. All can tell that you're a Christian. And in your very presence, they feel something on the inside of you. Something on the inside of you that indeed helps them to understand you're not just somebody. There's something special about you. And the something special about you is the very living presence of Jesus Christ. Now, with that in mind, I want to give you fifteen characteristics of the extraordinary life.

I'm going to number them all so you be sure you get them all down. And the first one is this, it is a divine life. Because remember, when you trust that Jesus Christ is your personal Savior, the Bible says you were sealed with the Holy Spirit. That is, we received Christ within us. Jesus says, I'm abiding in you and you're abiding in me. Remember what the Scripture also says, God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. So that, watch this, every single believer has the living God living inside of you.

God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. Now, you say, well, isn't God in heaven today? Yes. Jesus seated at the right hand of the Father?

Yes. Now, where's the Holy Spirit? Living on the inside of you. God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, three persons of the Trinity that make up one God.

Each having different and assuming different responsibilities. It is the primary responsibility of the Holy Spirit to live in and through each one of us the very life of Christ so that a believer is one in whom Jesus Christ is dwelling and through whom Jesus Christ is living his life. That's why when you look at the norm around us and we look at what the Bible says, there's a lot of difference. It is a divine life.

You have the living God living on the inside of you and the Bible says that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. And I want you to ask yourself through each one of these points, do people see this? In other words, do people see this in me? Paul said, no longer I who lives, but Christ lives in me.

Do my friends, does my family see, do they see this in me? So, first of all, it's a divine life. Secondly, it is a life with purpose. That is, many people live their entire lives with no purpose. The extraordinary life has a sense of purpose. That is, the purpose is to walk in the will of God, to do the things that God would have you to do, become the person that God would have you to become so that your life counts. It is a life of purpose.

Many people go to work. Their only purpose is to get it done and to get paid and to live for the next weekend. Many people will live their whole lives and if you say to them, what is your purpose? What is your primary purpose in life? They can't answer it. It's a purposeless life.

It has no sense of direction. It has no definition. It's just existence. The extraordinary Christian has a definite purpose. And that purpose is to live out the will of God, to bring Him glory and honor by the life that you and I live.

It is a definite life of purpose. Likewise, it is a life of faith. When you think about who the Christian is, we receive the Lord Jesus Christ, as the Bible says, by faith. We trust in Him for His promises. We trust in Him for every single need of our life. We trust Him, listen, when we go through the dark times of life. We trust Him when things are good.

We trust Him in every aspect of our life. The very, listen, the very idea of a Christian life is a life of faith. It begins in faith. We live it by faith.

Paul says, the just shall live by faith. Many people live by their feelings. They live by other people's opinions.

They will live to get accepted. They live with difficulty, hardship, trial. They blame God.

They turn away from God. People live with all kind of aspects of faith. You and I are to be extraordinary Christians. We're to live in such a way that no matter what we face in life, we're going to trust Him because we believe He's in absolute control of our lives. It is a life of faith. Look at the life of the Lord Jesus Christ, for example. Look at the life of the apostle Paul.

What did he teach all the way through the Scriptures? It is believe, believe, believe. Trust Him, trust Him, trust Him, trust me. And I think if you are a praying person and you come to Him oftentimes, if you know how to listen to God, which I certainly trust that you do, many times you're going to pray and here's what you're going to hear. You're going to hear God not necessarily answer your prayer at that time, not necessarily give you the clear direction that you want at that moment, but oftentimes, many times, oftentimes, many times, many times, many times, He's going to say, just trust me. You're walking in the right direction. Trust me. It's not time. Trust me.

You don't have enough now, but just trust me. When you and I live the extraordinary life, our faith level is going to keep growing. You know what happens? Finally, fear and anxiety and worry are banished.

Why? Because we come to the conclusion our God is trustworthy. He is in absolute control. He's trustworthy. And so whatever I'm facing in life, He's going to deal with it no matter what.

There's the fourth. It is a life of continuing surrender. And most people don't like the idea of surrender. Most people want to be in control of their life. They want to be in control of every facet of their life.

They want to control their children, control their finances, control the situations and circumstances. And we are responsible for every facet of our life. But under, listen, under the authority of the Son of God, when we talk about here the life of continuing surrender, here's where we run aground.

Listen carefully. The Scripture says that Jesus Christ is Lord. The two most primary themes of the New Testament preaching are these. The resurrection of Christ and the lordship of Jesus Christ. Many people want to be saved. They receive Jesus Christ as their Savior.

Either no one teaches them or they just decide, well, I'm saved so this is where I'm going to live. Do you know what the lordship of Jesus Christ means? The lordship of Jesus Christ means that I acknowledge that He has the right to control, to dictate, to guide, to lead my life in every single area with no exception. Ask yourself this question. Can I live a godly life and not recognize His lordship?

And the answer is no, you cannot. It is because of His lordship that people live a settled for life. They're willing for God to control the things they don't necessarily want to be in control of. They're willing for God to control those things in their life that are out of their control and they need His help. But when it comes to their daily living, they want to be in control. Control doesn't belong to us.

Nowhere in the Bible does it say that I'm to control someone else. I am to influence them if possible. I'm to guide them.

But God doesn't give us control over the people. We, listen, we are to stimulate them. We are to encourage them.

We are to motivate them. God is the one who is to control. And when you and I surrender our lives to Him, listen, when you surrender the lordship of Jesus Christ to that lordship, when you acknowledge that He has the right to govern and to guide and to boss your life, then here's what happens. You take this awesome leap forward in your Christian life because now He's in control. He, listen, so wisdom is in control.

Love is in control. Omnipotence is in control. That is, this God who lives on the inside of you now can take this temple of the Holy Spirit, indwelt by Himself, and now what? He can help you to become the person you ought to be, achieve the things that God wants you to achieve in life. That's who He is and this is His will and purpose for our life. The lordship of Christ. And somehow we've so separated that from being saved it's like, well, I want to be saved but don't put any stipulations in my life. I want to be saved but don't tell me, don't try to dictate to me how I'm to live.

Not somebody else's place to dictate to you, but it is the rightful position of Jesus Christ the Lord. Number five, the person who's living an extraordinary life is going to live a life of joyful obedience. The extraordinary Christian life is willing to obey God when it's easy, when it's not easy, when it's understandable, when it's not understandable, when people will agree, when they will disagree. And here's why. The extraordinary life has learned that obedience to Him, that is doing what He would have us to do, following His Word, becomes joyful because we understand that it's wise.

And not only that, it has the most reward. And so we, listen, we can become joyful in obeying Him, watch this, not because what I'm feeling at the moment. It may sting me at the moment. It may bring me pain at the moment.

It may bring me embarrassment at the moment. But you know what? Obedience to Him is joyful because you look beyond the present moment and see the end result. And listen, the end result is this, that obedience to God, listen, always brings blessing. We obey God, leave the consequences to Him, He always turns it for our good, Romans eight twenty-eight.

Almighty God in His awesome love always turns it for our good. Therefore, we can obey Him pleasantly and joyfully. Turn back, if you will, to the Psalms and I want you to jot this verse down.

I want you to read it because all of us have been here. We, God has had to get all of our attention at some time. And it may be sometimes there's been some area of disobedience in our life. And I have to acknowledge that's certainly been true in my life at times.

And you know what? God knows how to get our attention. Listen to what David said in the sixty-seventh verse of the hundred-and-nineteenth Psalm. He says, Before I was afflicted, I went astray. He says, Before I was afflicted, I went astray.

That is, he was just out there doing his own thing and living a life that was not pleasing to God. But listen to what he says. He said, Before I was afflicted, I went astray. But now, after affliction, I keep Your Word. You are good and You do good.

Listen, I love that. You, listen, You are good and You do good. He says, After my affliction, and now that I'm being obedient to You, he says, Now I see that You are a good God, and what You do is good. And so the truth is, the person who lives the extraordinary life is a person who joyfully, joyfully obeys God. Then of course, number six, it's a life of prayer and praise. Any person who lives an extraordinary life, any person who lives righteously and wholly before God, any person who walks in the will of God and walks in His ways is going to be a praying person. They're going to know how to pray and talk to God and listen to Him.

Not just because they want something from Him, but here's what happens. The more godly you and I become, the more like Christ becomes a reality in our life, the more times we're going to spend in prayer, oftentimes just listening, not asking for anything, not saying anything, and sometimes just being silent in His presence. There's something so rewarding, so infilling, and so fulfilling, and so encouraging, and so joyful, and so awesome about kneeling in the presence of the living God and saying nothing and just simply saying one thing, Lord, speak to my heart. Let me feel the joy and sense the awesome reverence of Your presence. Listen, when you and I live the life of prayer and praise, when we praise the living God, we're thanking Him, we're living in that relationship with Him, what we leave behind when we're gone is going to live on and on and on because it's going to make an eternal difference in people's lives. And what's going to happen is you're going to begin to realize, listen, that your investment in life is in things that have eternal purpose in them. Thank you for listening to today's podcast titled, The Characteristics. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries, stop by intouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-08 02:22:47 / 2024-01-08 02:31:14 / 8

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