Christian Character – Introduction

Christian Character – Introduction

Series: Christian Character | Title: Christian Character – Introduction |  Sermon by: Pastor Balan Swaminathan | Location: House of Intercessory Prayer Ministries, Halifax, NS Canada | Date: Sunday Apr 30, 2017

Sermon outline

  • What is Christian Character?
  • What we need is “Change”
  • Why is the development of Christian Character important?
  • How Is Christ-like Character Developed?
  • Developing Godly Character
  • Practical challenges for Character Development
  • Practical Character Development
  • How teachable are we?

What is Christian Character?

  • “Character is what you are in the dark.” D.L. Moody
  • Character is defined as strength of moral fiber.
  • Character is aligning our lives so our behaviors are Christ-like.
  • “the excellence of moral beings.” A.W. Tozer. As the excellence of gold is its purity and the excellence of art is its beauty, so the excellence of man is his character.
  • A person’s character is the sum of his or her disposition/ personality, thoughts, intentions, desires, and actions.
  • It is the Lord’s purpose to develop character within us.
  • Remember we are not perfect, we are just forgiven. We need to work to build character.

What we need is “Change”

  • Change is really a sign of life
  • Medical definition of death – A body that does not change
  • During my sermon – about ½ million cells in your body are going to die and be replaced with 1/2 a million new cells
  • 70-80% of the dust in your house is dead skin
  • Your stomach lining undergoes a complete change every 5 days
  • Your liver every 6 weeks
  • Your skeleton every 3 months
  • Your whole body every 5 years for men & 7 years for women
  • Change is natural – Romans 8:29 God predestined us to be conformed to the image of His Son

Why is the development of Christian Character important?

  • It will determine our legacy or heritage, Psalm 112:6
  • Some one said “Sow a thought, reap an attitude; Sow an attitude, reap an action; Sow an action, reap a habit; Sow a habit, reap a character; Sow a character, reap a destiny”
  • It will determine our destiny, Galatians 6:8
  • People don’t see Christ in us, but they see our character
  • Our character has ability to influence others to follow or not follow Christ
  • Good character attracts everyone, but only Christian character attracts people to eternity

How Is Christ-like Character Developed?

  • Behavior development programs try to modify people’s behavior without making any internal change
  • They all affect the appearance of the person
  • True character starts from inside and expands outward
  • Proverbs 17:3
  • It is the purity of heart that becomes purity in action
  • Trials do not make character, it only exhibits character
  • God sometimes uses trials to strengthen character, Romans 5:3-4 3

Developing Godly Character

We can develop Godly character by

  • Controlling our thoughts, Philippians 4:8
  • Practicing Christian virtues, 2 Peter 1:5-6
  • Guarding our hearts, Proverbs 4:23;Matthew15:18-20
  • Keeping good company, 1 Corinthians 15:33
  • Setting good example – Men and women of character will set a good example for others to follow, and their godly reputation will be evident to all, Titus 2:7-8

Practical challenges for Character Development

  • The problem – “We” are the biggest problem, our selfish pride, not honoring God as God, Romans 1:21
  • The difficulty – I am the reason for all that happening to me, We are deceived thinking we can never be better than what we are. We try to save ourselves. No place for God’s truth in us.
  • The chief error – We are deceived because of our ignorance of God’s Word and Power. Matthew 22:29
  • The mistake we make is that We are not willing to learn from God’s Word and we are not willing to submit to the control of God’s Spirit.
  • The biggest hurdle – We have many ideas they don’t agree with God’s Word. We have unbiblical ideas that are erected against God’s truth, 2 Corinthians 10:5

Practical Character Development

  • Tool for character development – God uses His Word to transform our character, 2 Timothy 3:16-17
  • Transformed by the renewing of our minds-Romans 12:1-2
  • Through assimilation of God’s Word His thoughts become our thoughts
  • Transformation agent – Holy Spirit. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to bring the fruit of the spirit
  • The method – Assimilate His written Word – > Word becomes living –> Allow Christ’s Word indwell within us richly

How teachable are we?

  • Wise person – Willing to learn the easy way—from God’s Word and the mistakes of others
  • Carnal person – Insists on learning the hard way—through his/her own personal mistakes
  • Foolish person – Blinded by pride refuses to accept the truth and never does learn.

Christian Character – Pillar 1: Faith

Christian Character – Pillar 1: Faith

Series: Christian Character | Title: Christian Character – Pillar 1: Faith |  Sermon by: Pastor Balan Swaminathan | Location: House of Intercessory Prayer Ministries, Halifax, NS Canada | Date: Sunday May 07, 2017

Biblical Convictions of Christian Character

  1. The Bible is the inspired Word of God and the final authority in my life
  2. My purpose in life is to love God and to order my life around his priorities.
  3. My body is the temple of God and I must not defile it
  4. My church correctly teaches me the foundational truths of the Bible
  5. My children are gifts from God and I develop Godly character in them
  6. My actions must never weaken the Scriptural convictions of others
  7. My marriage is a life-long commitment to God and my spouse
  8. My money is given by God to manage faithfully and wisely, I don’t own it.
  9. My words must be in harmony with God’s Word. I am accountable.
  10. My affections should be set on things above, not on things of the earth

Pillar 1: Faith

  • First heart attitude we want to see is Faith, trust in God
  • All promises don’t mean anything if we don’t believe
  • You need to know Him to trust Him
  • The very basis of Christianity is faith
  • We believe in an unseen God is by faith
  • By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, Hebrews 11:3
  • By faith we receive salvation
  • By faith we hope for eternity
  • It is impossible to please God without faith – Hebrews 11:6

Faith – A Christian Character

  • The genuine character of a child of God
  • Shows the amount of trust we have in God
  • Here “Faith” is the fruit of the spirit, not the gift
  • Not the faith to move the mountain, but the faith to move towards Christlikeness
  • Faith that helps to walk over the difficulties
  • Faith that sets our eyes upon Jesus
  • Faith that makes us bold and courageous
  • Faith that helps us to respect, trust and love

Doubtful believers

  • Mark 9:21-25 “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief”.
  • We believe God is Sovereign, Jesus was born of virgin, He is the Son of God, He is going to come gain, but when it comes to our situation, we doubt
  • We believe in God for others, but we doubt when it comes to us
  • Moses doubted God, Gideon doubted God, Elijah doubted God, Jeremiah doubted God, the Apostles doubt
  • Faith – A character missing among believers

Not having Faith is life-threatening

  • Doubt is a struggle for believers, not for unbelievers. Doubt is different from disbelieve
  • Doubt is a momentary lapse of faith.
  • It is life-threatening, because we lose faith when it is most needed
  • Sometimes we doubt because we have wrong or unreal expectations of Jesus
  • Sometimes we doubt because of personal tragedy
  • Sometimes we doubt because of incomplete revelation

Develop Faith, a fruit of the Spirit

  • KJV – “Faith” – Root Greek Word is “pistis” – Conviction of the truth.
  • Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
  • Faith is not just hoping for the best to happen, Faith is the assurance, Faith is the confidence in God.
  • Having Confidence in Christ Philippians 1:6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

Develop Faith, a fruit of the Spirit

  • Knowing Satan’s craftiness – Faith is the lifeline that Satan wants to cut off, Luke 22:31-32 And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”
  • Knowing God’s Word – Rom 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Habakkuk’s Faith in God

  • Judah are unfaithful to God, they were sinful, wicked
  • First Question: (V2 onwards) Why God is not doing anything.
  • Come down and bring a spiritual revival or
  • Step down and judge
  • But it appears that God is not doing anything (His complaint)
  • Lord’s Reply (V5 onwards) – God is doing something
  • Second question: (V 12 onwards)
  • Reaffirming what he knew about His God
  • Habakkuk 2:4 (Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, Hebrews 10:38)
  • When I don’t understand the circumstances, I understand my God
  • Declaration of His faith – Habakkuk 3:17-19

 

God’s Time that Matters, not Ours

Series: General | Title: God’s Time that Matters, not Ours |  Sermon by: Pastor Balan Swaminathan | Location: House of Intercessory Prayer Ministries, Halifax, NS Canada | Date: Sunday March 11, 2018

One of the paradoxes or absurdities or inconsistencies or Uncertainties of our Christian life is that, “We know that there is a time for everything, But we don’t know when”.
We don’t know when we are going to settle down in our life, but we are sure one day.

  • We don’t know when healing is going to take place for someone for whom we have been praying, but God will heal.
  • We don’t know when someone for whom we have been praying to be saved, but he or she will be saved by God.
  • We don’t know when Christ is going to come back to this world, we know for sure Jesus is going to come back.
  • We don’t know when we will die, but we are sure one day we will die.

Bible says in Ecclesiastes 3:1   There is a time for everything.
Our problem is, not knowing the timing of GOD. Most of the time, we are either ahead or behind  God’s time. We mess up so badly because we do not know God’s timing.

  • Some of us wasted most of our lives without knowing what is God’s plan for our lives
  • Some of us were forced to make wrong choices because we were trying to do things ahead of the timing of God.
  • Some of us lost the very good opportunity as we were waiting too long & God’s time has gone.
  • Some of us took wrong decisions that we are suffering lifelong just because we did not know timing of God so we missed blessings in our lives.

Most of the time we find what God wants us to do, but we fail to know when God wants us to do.
Most of the time God gives us promises, but He didn’t tell when those promises are going to fulfilled in our lives. At times people end up in waiting, waiting, and waiting.

  • Joseph waited 13 years, Abraham waited for 25 years, Moses waited 40 years David waited 20 years, Jesus waited 30 years
  • Waiting for the timing of God. Timing of God is very important in our lives.
  • Don’t be ahead of God’s timing. God promised Abraham & he could not wait.
    He thought God has given me promise, let me go forward & took wrong decision. It was a promise of God but it was wrong timing. He tried to fulfill the promise of God in the wrong timing. He missed the mark and end up in raising a generation who is in total enmity with God’s people.
  • God doesn’t want us to wait too long or to move forward but God want us to know his perfect timing in our lives.
  • Paul says, Galatians 6:10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.
  • Don’t delay, don’t procrastinate

Many times, God gives us promise from the scripture or through a prophetic word, but we don’t know when those things are going to come true in our lives.

  • If we miss God’s timing, there is going to be a great struggle in our lives.
  • It is very vital for a child of God
  • It is pivotal as it is going to change the entire course of our life.

The question is how do I know the timing of God in my life?

  1. There is a time for everything

I want to talk a little about the cyclic nature of life around us. There is a rhythm or pattern that is already set by God in the nature. This pattern or rhythm is guiding us every day.

  • For example, our breath, our heart beat, there is a pulsing rhythm within us.
  • Everyday morning sun raises and evening sun sets. There is a pattern.
  • Day & night, change of temperature, change of seasons, there is rhythm in the nature
  • Birds migrate in a rhythm, animals get out for hunting, birds building their nest, fish lay their eggs so there is rhythm in nature by our God.
  • Our life has a rhythm of its own – There is a time of birth, babyhood, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, parenthood, aging, and death
  • Women, more than men are affected by the monthly cycles that guide their energy, moods, sleep pattern, behavior.

When our rhythm is in sync with the rhythm of nature, life is easy.  When our rhythm is not in sync or breaking or goes off beat, complexities build up.

  • In the same way God works in a rhythm.
  • If we are in sync with God’s Rhythm, our life will go very well. So it is Important to know the timing of God.

Bible says, there is a time for everything. Fourteen pairs of contradictory things statements in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8   

1 To everything there is a season,  A time for every purpose under heaven:
2 A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted; 
A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up;
A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away;
A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak;
A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace.

There is a time appointed under heaven for all these things.

  1. God does things in His time

God is not bound by time, space and matter.

Gen 1:1   In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
God was there before everything. God created time, space & matter. So, God is not bound by time, space and matter. The eternity or the timelessness of God is very difficult to understand as we are bound by time.
Psalm 90:10   The days of our lives are seventy years; And if by reason of strength they are eighty years, yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; For it is soon cut off, and we fly away.

God operates in His time:

  • Ecclesiastes 3:11  He has made everything beautiful in its time. 
  • As Jesus’ brothers told Him to go to Judea from Galilee for the feast of the Tabernacles, Jesus said John 7:6 “My time has not yet come”
  • Romans 5:6 For when we were still without strength, in due (right) time Christ died for the ungodly.
  • Galatians 4:4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son.
  • Psalm 75:2 “When I choose the proper time, I will judge uprightly.

Even our timing is in God’s hands:

David says, Psalm 31:15 My times are in Your hand; Deliver me from the hand of my enemies, And from those who persecute me.

God’s timing is different from our time:

John 2:1-5 (Read) On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.”Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.

  • Mother of Jesus told Jesus, they have no wine.
  • A natural concern of mother Mary by seeing the situation but not for Jesus.
  • Man is in a hurry to find a solution, but Jesus was not in hurry because timings are different
  • Many times, we are in a hurry to find a solution, but Jesus is not doing anything there.
  • When you are not sure you are operating in the timing of God, it’s better to wait. If you take wrong decision, your life will be in misery.

God’s timing is related to God’s purpose.
God’s timing is related to God’s will.
At times we don’t know his purpose & will. At times we fail to understand whether it’s right time or not.

  1. Aligning our timing with God’s timing

It is not easy to know God’s timing: But how to align so that we can take proper decisions, we will wait where we need to wait and we will act where we need to act.
2 Peter 3:8 But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
Acts 1:6-7   6 Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”  7 And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.
We don’t know when things are going to happen in our lives.  But we believe that God is going to do those things on specific day.
God doesn’t tell us the time.  In order to understand that we need to align our timing to God’s timing.

Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins (Mathew 25:1-13)

  • Ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom
  • Five wise took lamp and extra oil, five foolish took lamp and no extra oil
  • But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. (Bridegroom doesn’t delay, we don’t understand the perfect timing of God)
  • When bridegroom came, all trimmed their lamp, but foolish ones were running out of oil
  • When they went to buy oil, the bridegroom came, the wise virgins entered into the weeding feast and the door was shut.
  • When the foolish ones came back, they asked to open the door, request was refused.

Then Jesus said,  13 “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.

  • Both the wise and foolish virgins were not aware of the exact timing of the bridegroom.
  • But the wise virgins were well prepared for the timing of the bridegroom.
  • We have questions concerning our future, we want to take decisions regarding our future.
  • God operate in a rhythm, God does things in pattern.
  • When we align our timing with the rhythm of God, that’s where we will find the TIMING OF GOD.

     Four Aspects to find the timing of God

  1. Knowing the mind of God1 Corinthians 2:16 For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
  • When our mind is in alignment with God’s mind, we know the timing of God.
  1. Abiding in HimJohn 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
  • God wants us to abide in him, then we can align our self with the timing of God.
  • Until God pushes you in a situation, you cannot move.
  1. Having intimacy with God – For an intimate relationship both the partners to be in a closer proximity. To align with God, we need to have intimate relation with God.
    James 4:8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
  2. Led by the SpiritRomans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

Summary

  • There is a time for everything
  • God operates in his own time
  • Aligning our time with the timing of God.

When we have the above all four in our lives, God will show us/tell us.

  • We know is it time to move forward or time to stay.
  • It is important to know the timing of God.

Georgia, USA Meetings

Friday, October 12, 2018 at 7:00pm
Sis.Rebecca & Br.Johnson’s Residence
53 Winslow Cir
Savannah, GA 31407, USA
Saturday, October 13, 2018 at 7:00pm
Indian Fellowship
211 Milledge Rd, Augusta, GA 30904, USA
Sunday, October 14, 2018 at 11:00am
Lake Park Baptist Church
211 Milledge Rd, Augusta, GA 30904, USA
00:00
00:00

 

Workshop on Marriage Relationship

Register at : Marriage Relationship Workshop Registration

  • This workshop is only for couples who can participate together.
  • When you register, please discuss with your spouse. Only one registration is required for you both.
  • Register Soon.  Need to book the meeting space & lunch soon.
  • Childcare will be provided
  • You would have been just married or married for 5Y, 10Y, 20Y, 40Y, 50Y.  It doesn’t matter. It is designed for you.
  • We will tell you how to have a fulfilling, rejuvenating, stimulating marriage for the rest of your life.

Stay tuned… for more information on the workshop…