Explore new horizons of a living faith
These pages are designed to aid study or investigation for Christian discipleship through individual Bible study, Cell groups, Home groups, or meeting one to one. The questions could be used alone allowing each person to use their own Bible.
If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 2 Cor 5:17
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How are Christians supposed to live? What are we supposed to do? What are the principles that underlie the Christian lifestyle? The lifestyle of the Christian faith is fundamentally concerned with relationships for they are the outworking of the great commandment to love one another.
Our lifestyle and our choices, especially when under pressure, show what we actually believe about life. The life of Christ in us is seen through a lifestyle that demonstrates God’s values.
The Bible has much to say about our lifestyle. This page focuses on one passage which highlights a number of issues, but more importantly draws out the principles behind the lifestyle that is presented.
Issues of lifestyle can easily descend into lists of things we should or should not do. Whereas there are some clear cut activities that we should not engage it, when we speak along these lines we become focused on the boundary lines. Is this breaking the law or not. This thinking also tends to develop judgementalism in us. Before entering into a list of how we should or should not behave, the Bible brings us to the underlying principles.
Ephesians 4: 17 With the Lord's authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused.18 Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him.19 They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.
20 But that isn't what you learned about Christ.21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him,22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception.23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.
Ephesians 4:30 And do not bring sorrow to God's Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own,* guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.
Paul finishes the first passage talking about putting on the new nature, created to be like God. The next sections explore what he meant by that by looking at the verses that follow. I have grouped the verses by subject, so it appears to jump around a little.
The starting point of exploring the new nature is with truth. We cannot explore how we ought to live if we are lying to ourselves or to others. Relationships are built on trust, and trust requires the truth.
Ephesians 4: 25 So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body.
A next step is dealing with anger.
Ephesians 4: 26 And "don't sin by letting anger control you."* Don't let the sun go down while you are still angry,27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil.
Ephesians 4: 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
Failing to understand other people’s boundaries is the next step. This can be seen in its most obvious terms as taking other people’s property.
Ephesians 4: 28 If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need.
The way we should live contrasts strongly with the ways we should not live. The key characteristic is to live as God lives in love.
Ephesians 5: 1 Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children.2 Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us* and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.
One of the greatest distortions of love is in the realm of sexual immorality. Sex is substituted for love, but in no ways achieves the standard of relationship that love is aiming for.
Ephesians 5: 3 Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God's people.4 Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God.5 You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.
Our motivation in living God’s way is that we focus our life on God himself.
Ephesians 5: 6 Don't be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him.7 Don't participate in the things these people do.8 For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light!9 For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.
10 Carefully determine what pleases the Lord.11 Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them.12 It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret.13 But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them,14 for the light makes everything visible.
Overcome through a spiritual life
We are not left on our own to fight the very real temptations of our world. God has provided us with an inner strength that comes from Himself.
Ephesians 5: 13 But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them,14 for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said,
"Awake, O sleeper,
rise up from the dead,
and Christ will give you light."
15 So be careful how you live. Don't live like fools, but like those who are wise.16 Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.17 Don't act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.18 Don't be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit,19 singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts.20 And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.