Guidelines for Christian behavior
Scripture: Luke 14:1-35
Aim: To give the believer some basic guidelines for unified Christian living.
Golden Text: “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33).
Why is there such diversity in the habits and practices of Christians within and without the church today? Each group seem to have devised a set of “rules of decorum” for itself. The New Testament gives basic guidelines for all who would be followers of Jesus Christ. Jesus gave the boundaries that should be the guide and practice of all who want to follow Him. I get the distinct impression from people today that many are determined to follow their own, or someone else’s, little set of rules for “Christian living.”
The truth of the matter is that Jesus Christ has already set perimeters, which should be the bounds and guidelines for Christian behavior. There is one set of principles that are binding on all who want to follow Christ. To set up different rules and regulations means one is not following Jesus Christ. He only has the authority for saying what His followers should or should not do. In Luke, Chapter 14, Jesus gave seven principles that should govern ever believer.
1. Persons are more important than the celebrating of special days (Luke 14:1-6). The Pharisees were notorious for giving folks instructions for things they could not do on the Sabbath day. To them keeping the Sabbath rules was more important that helping someone in deep need.
The Pharisees watched Jesus healing on the Sabbath, thinking that was illegal to heal on the Sabbath (vs. 1-3). Jesus answered their thoughts by using an illustration. He asked if the Pharisees would pull their animal out of a hole into which it fell on the Sabbath. Of course they would! The point was well taken. People are more important than a certain day. They could say nothing!
2. Humility of spirit is more important than position (Luke 14:7-11). The Pharisees and Scribes would go to a feast and immediately take up the most prominent places, the places of honor. They thought their position gave them prominence over others. Jesus said one should take the humble place and then be asked to move to a more honorable.
“For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted” (Luke 14:11). Humility of spirit is required for those who would follow Jesus.
3. Recompense and rewards are to be given after the resurrection (Luke 14:12-14). Serve without reward while in this life. Let God be the one Who rewards you at the proper time.
4. Obedient response is required for Jesus’ followers (Luke 14:15-20). Those invited to come to the wedding refused to come even though their master and lord ask them to come. Jesus used this to teach that those called and sent by the Lord should respond quickly and completely.
5. Servants of Christ should be persistent in carrying out His will (Luke 14:21-24). Serving Christ must be continued even in the face of hardship and inconvenience.
6. Allegiance to Christ must not be rivaled in the servant (Luke 14:25-27). “Whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:27). He is first.
7. Love for Christ and His kingdom must not be rivaled in the servant (Luke 14:28-33). To follow Christ requires that one love everything and everyone less than he does Christ. He must be loved with “all the heart, and all the soul, and all the spirit.” Love for Him will become the sentinel that will guide the servants devotion and activity.