Hello everybody, and welcome in to episode 173 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading Colossians 3 today and our focus is on  The Attitude and Personality of a Real Christ Follower.  We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in   Thanks for listening!  Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast! Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\

What defines a person who is a Christian? If you had asked me when I was growing up, I probably would have said something very moralistic – something like, “A Christian doesn’t say bad words, or do bad things, and they go to church and read the Bible and obey their parents…or something like that.” It wouldn’t have been a completely inaccurate statement, but neither would it have captured the real essence of what kind of attitude and personality a genuine Christian should have. In a world where people are constantly encouraged to “be themselves,” God’s Word calls followers of Christ to a much higher standard than that – there are attitudes and behaviors and responses that we are to put on like a pair of jeans or a t-shirt, and their are attitudes and behaviors and responses that Christians must put far away from us. I once heard a wonderfully challenging message on this theme that was entitled, “Others can, you can’t.” It was based on 2nd Timothy 2:3-4

Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in the concerns of civilian life; he seeks to please the commanding officer.

We are compared to soldiers of Jesus – not because we are warlike (the very opposite, as we will see in a moment) but because we answer to a commanding officer, and we must follow His orders wholeheartedly. And that means that a Christian is called to behave in a certain way, respond to critics and criticism in a certain way, respond to persecution and unfairness in a certain way, react to trials and tragedies in a certain way, and to act in a certain way towards those who are our enemies. Paul is going to give us a clear and succinct description of those sorts of attitudes, behaviors, responses and reactions we are supposed to have, and I imagine some of them will surprise you. Let’s read our passage.

Often these days I see militant Christians online. I mean militant in the sense that they are warlike – they post and speak as if they are at war with the sinful culture around them. Using sharp words, angry phrases, sarcastic rejoinders and biting criticism, they launch into their enemies repeatedly online. Sometimes those enemies are churches that are sliding towards liberalism or progressivism, sometimes those enemies are political persons or politicians and sometimes those enemies are lost people who don’t have a transformed heart and mind and are therefore largely incapable of following God’s commands. I always cringe when I see these militant Christians and their behavior for two reasons. #1 – I know I have that in me…I could be an acerbic and biting polemicist. I could be a person who writes and records messages that seek to tear down people and attacking people that I don’t agree with. I have it in me to be sharp-tongued, critical and biting. But that is not part of the Jesus way, or the Jesus nature – I have to put off those old attitudes of the flesh – and you do too. We are not allowed to behave that way towards really anybody. Instead, as Paul says here, we must put on compassion, kindness, humility and patience. We must put on peace and forgiveness and longsuffering. And, most of all, we must put on love – love for everyone, even our enemies. Not only that, we are to kill (remove from our attitudes, responses, behaviors and reactions) certain things like anger, wrath, malice, slander and obscene talk. All of these are disallowed for those who are in Christ, in just the same way as sexual immorality, impurity, idolatry and greed are disallowed. A Christian who has been transformed by Christ must not and will not walk in a lifestyle that engages in angry and bitter feuds with people online, nor will a Christian be one who is constantly spouting criticism and condemnation. How must we deal with those who are wrong? We are told quite clearly:

24 The Lord’s servant must not quarrel, but must be gentle to everyone, able to teach, and patient, 25 instructing his opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant them repentance leading them to the knowledge of the truth. (2nd Timothy 2:24-25) 

Thus, as we have repeated time and time again – a follower of Jesus is called to speak truth boldly, but to do so gently, humbly, patiently, with kindness and surrounded with love. We never compromise truth and we never compromise our delivery of truth. Truth delivered with anger, wrath and slander is like a refreshing cup of cold water delivered with fecal matter floating around in it. Thirsty people desperately need water, but nobody wants water that has disgusting things floating in it – they will reject that water. Likewise, the world needs the truth of the Gospel, but if it is delivered with anger and slander, and delivered in a way devoid of gentleness and love, then that truth will be thoroughly rejected, even though it is desperately needed. Yes, truth will be rejected by many in the world, even if it is delivered with kindness and gentleness – many rejected Jesus – but His attitudes and behavior and reactions never got in the way of the good news, and nor must ours.

Bible Memory verses for the month of June: Daniel 6:23 The king was overjoyed and gave orders to take Daniel out of the den. When Daniel was brought up from the den, he was found to be unharmed, for he trusted in his God.

Happy by Mike Leite https://soundcloud.com/mikeleite
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