"THE SIGNIFICANCE OF BEING A CHRISTIAN" Belonging To The Lord INTRODUCTION 1. In our previous lesson, we began this series... a. Asking what is the significance of being a Christian b. Starting with the idea that a Christian is "A Person Reborn" 2. We noted that a Christian is a person reborn because in Christ... a. They are a new creation - 2 Co 5:17 b. They have been born again - 1 Pe 1:22-23 c. They now have a new loyalty: to serve Jesus Christ - Ga 2:20 3. We begin this lesson by noting Paul's comments to the Corinthians... a. As recorded in 1 Co 6:19-20 b. In which he challenged their thinking by asking "Do you not know...you are not your own?" c. The Christian needs to understand that he or she has been "bought at a price" and consequently is a person "Belonging To The Lord" ["Belonging to the Lord" has many connotations attached to it. One is that a Christian is...] I. GOD'S SPECIAL PERSON A. CHRISTIANS ARE NOW GOD'S OWN SPECIAL PEOPLE... 1. Note how Peter describes them in 1 Pe 2:9-10 a. "a chosen generation" b. "a royal priesthood" c. "a holy nation" d. "His own special people" 2. These are terms that were once reserved for the physical nation of Israel a. The Lord had chosen them - Deu 10:15 b. He made them a kingdom of priests and a holy nation - Exo 19:5 c. Thus they had become a special people above all other nations - Deu 7:6 -- What had once been limited to physical Israel, is now possible to all people who are in Christ, as promised to Abraham - cf. Ga 3:8-9 ,28-29 B. A SPECIAL PEOPLE, WITH SPECIAL RESPONSIBILITIES... 1. To proclaim the praises of God - 1 Pe 2:9-10 a. Because He called us out of darkness into His marvelous light b. Because He showed mercy, and made us the people of God 2. To grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ - 2 Pe 1:8-11 a. To make our calling and election (as God's people) sure b. To have an abundance entrance into the everlasting kingdom -- From the example of physical Israel, let us beware of becoming hardened and not lose faith, or we may not enter the heavenly rest that awaits us! - He 3:12-4:2 ,11 [A Christian is truly "a special person" because he belongs to the Lord. He can rejoice in knowing that he is one of God's "beloved" (Ro 1:7 ). God's love for the Christian is made even more evident when we note that he is also...] II. GOD'S BELOVED CHILD A. CHRISTIANS ARE BLESSED TO BE CHILDREN OF GOD... 1. In one sense, all people are God's children - Ac 17:26-29 2. In another sense, many do not have God as their Father - Jn 8:42-44 3. Yet Christians are the children of God in a very special way a. Because of their faith, and having put on Christ in baptism - Ga 3:26-27 b. Redeemed and adopted by God, they have received His Spirit into their hearts - Ga 4:4-6 c. Because we do the Father's will, Jesus considers us His family - Mt 12:48-50 -- Christians should be touched by this expression of God's love - 1 Jn 3:1-2 B. AS GOD'S CHILDREN, WE HAVE BLESSINGS AND RESPONSIBILITIES... 1. We are heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ - Ga 4:7 ; Ro 8:16-17 a. For we are heirs according to the promise of God - Ga 3:29 b. It is an inheritance that is incorruptible, undefiled, that does not fade, and is reserved for us in heaven - 1 Pe 1:4 2. As heirs, we have many responsibilities, including: a. Being thankful for the inheritance we have - Co 1:12 b. Abstaining from the works of the flesh - Ga 5:19-21 c. Perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord - 2 Co 6:17-7:1 -- If we wish to receive the promised blessings, we need to patiently carry out our responsibilities with an enduring faith - He 10:35-39 [Besides being God's special person and God's child, a Christian who "belongs to the Lord" also has a special relationship to the world in which he or she lives...] III. GOD'S HEAVENLY PILGRIM A. CHRISTIANS ARE IN THE WORLD, BUT NOT OF THE WORLD... 1. As Jesus mentioned in His prayer for His disciples - Jn 17: 15-16 2. Like Abraham, a Christian is a sojourner, a pilgrim - He 11:13 ; 13:14; 1 Pe 1:1 3. We are fellow citizens with members of God's family - Ep 2:19 -- As such, our true citizenship lies in heaven, not here on earth - Ph 3:20 B. AS GOD'S PILGRIMS, WE HAVE SEVERAL OBLIGATIONS... 1. To conduct our sojourn on earth with fear - 1 Pe 1:17 2. To abstain from worldly lusts - 1 Pe 2:11 ; 1 Jn 2:15-17 3. To keep our conduct honorable, filled with good works - 1 Pe 2:12 4. To obey the laws, and respect the leaders, of the countries in which we sojourn - 1 Pe 2:13-17 CONCLUSION 1. We have seen that a Christian is a person who "belongs to the Lord", one who is... a. God's special person b. God's child c. God's pilgrim 2. The more we understand the significance of such privileges... a. We ought to be filled with gratitude and humility b. We ought to be moved to be the kind of people God intended 3. Are we living and conducting ourselves as those who "belong to the Lord"? a. Are we acting like a special people? b. Do we live like a child of God should? c. Is our life truly a sojourn, or are we living like we want to make this earth our permanent home? As we saw in our beginning text: "Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's." (1 Co 6:19-20 ) May the significance of belonging to God prompt us to always glorify God in our bodies and our spirits!