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