The Obedient Biblical Christian

Bible Book: 2 Corinthians  5 : 10
Subject: Christian Living; Salvation; Service

2 Corinthians 5:10

Who Am I? Why am I here?

Can a Christian ask two more important questions? The first question deals with identity; the second with mission. Notice the inescapable relationship. "Who I am" determines the answer to "Why I am here". "Why I am here" depends upon the answer to "Who am I"? Identity reveals mission; mission reveals identity. The soldier enlists as a protector of his country; protection of his country depends upon the soldier. If you identify a Hitler, you also identify a mission of ruthless domination. If you identify an obedient biblical Christian, you also identify his biblical soul-winning mission. Identify and mission cleave together. To please God and to fulfill their God-given destiny all Christians, therefore, must ask and correctly answer the questions of identity and mission.

I. Who Am I as a Christian?

Four works of God in the life of a human can be used to identify the true Christian: saving, sealing, sending, and sustaining. None of these four works of God is ever absent.

A. God Saves (John 1:12,13).

The Christian is a person whom God has saved, and saved, thank God, into the very family of God! Failure dooms the search in other places for the personal benefits of God's salvation: peace of mind, being loved, spiritual fellowship, adoption into the family of God. Only the saved know that All their sins are forgiven (1 John 1:7). Only the saved become members of the family of God (Galatians 4:5). Only the saved have the sure hope of eternal life (John 10:28). Only the saved are members of the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27).

This great salvation is a free gift of God to all who receive the Savior (Romans 6:23). The Grace and Love of God demonstrated in the atoning work of Christ provide this gift (Ephesians 2:8,9). This great salvation changes the very nature of man, not just his conduct or his human fellowship, but his very nature (John 3:7). The saved actually becomes a "new creature" (2Corinthians 5:17). God's free and available salvation becomes the essential foundation that identifies the Christian person's identity and mission (1 Corinthians 3:11).

B. God Seals (2 Corinthians 1:21,22)

The Christian is a person whom God has sealed, and sealed, thank God, as God's possession! Failure dooms the search in other places for the protective benefits received by God's sealing: escape in temptation, protection from evil, comfort in sorrow, and security for eternity. God's seal evidences God's ownership (2 Timothy 2:19,20). God's seal provides the protection of God's presence (1 Corinthians 3:16). God's seal demonstrates that God will bring to a glorious conclusion what He has graciously begun in salvation (Ephesians 1:13,14). Because the Holy Spirit Himself is the seal, the Christian has the promise that God Himself is present on His saved property (Ephesians 2:18-22). God's seal also identifies the Christian believer!

C. Sends (John 17;18)

The Christian is a person whom God sends, and sends, thank God, to fulfill the divine will! Failure dooms the search in other places for the experience in which human purpose has joined with divine purpose. Consider Paul's personal testimony about how Jesus sent him, I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things that thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee (Acts 26:16,17). God identifies every Christian as a sent  witness to Him and His salvation. Jesus sent the Twelve: Jesus sent the Seventy. God's sending is an essential part of Christian identity.

D. God Sustains (Philippians 4:11-19)

The Christian is a person whom God sustains, and sustains, thank God, by divine provision! Failure dooms the search in other places for the gracious provisions that are an essential part of the Christian's identity. Consider Jesus' promise of inward spiritual refreshment: Whosoever drinketh of the water than I shall give him shall never thirst. ( John 4:14). Or, consider Jesus promise of inward spiritual life: he that eateth of this bread shall live forever (John 6:58). Paul's experience of God's sustaining power motivated the testimony: I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. God's gracious sustaining becomes an essential element of the Christian's identity. This combination of saving, sealing, sending, and sustaining identifies the biblical Christian. No one of them is ever absent. All are present without exception. No matter how the Christian reacts, the fact remains that God gives every believer this unique identity.

II. Why Am I A Christian Here?

When you acknowledge the essential elements for identity, you also establish the nature of mission. Mission grows out of identity. Just as nothing less than the unique combination of God's four works can identify the biblical Christian, even so nothing less than obedience to God's specific mandate can fulfill the Christian's proper mission. Five clear Bible commands reveal God's mandate. Every Christian must face these specific commands, which are both duty and privilege. Love of Christ will produce obedience to Christ. Obedience to God's mandate requires this unique Christian identity; this unique Christian identity finds fulfillment only by obeying God's mandate.

A. A Unique Continuance (2 Corinthians 5:20)

The obedient biblical Christian must continue what Jesus Christ began! Luke described his gospel message as all that Jesus began both to do and to teach (Acts 1:1). What Jesus began by His sacrificial work, the Christian must continue by proclaiming the saving message. Jesus came in the flesh to do God's will (Hebrews 10:7); the obedient Christian must continue this objective. Jesus declared that the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10) and revealed in His prayer, As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world (John 17:18). Only the biblically identified Christian can continue by evangelizing or by disciplining to fulfill the mandate. And anything less than this continuance not only disobeys God but contradicts the identity God has given the believer. When Jesus ascended into heaven, having finished His work, He left His disciples to continue.

B. A Unique Commanded Continuance (Mark 16:15)

The obedient biblical Christian does what Jesus Christ commanded! What Jesus said before His ascension proves that personal soul-winning is His command to the Christian. Matthew records Christ's command as the Great Commission: Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: (Matthew 28:19,20). Mark, Luke, and John agree and Acts 1:8 makes the final command very personal: But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is  come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. This is no optional suggestion, but a specific command. No one can read the New Testament and fail to acknowledge that Jesus commanded His believers to continue to go into highways and hedges and thus continue to seek and to save that which is lost.

C. A Unique Committed Continuance (2 Corinthians 5:18,19)

The obedient biblical Christian demonstrates a personal commitment to what Jesus Christ commanded! The Apostle Paul declared that God has committed the ministry of the proclamation of the word about Jesus' redemptive work to be the exclusive mission of the Christian. Commitment means that God will not do through any other servant what he has reserved for the Christian. Angels cannot proclaim what is reserved for the believer. The story of Cornelius demonstrates that only the Christian, the human who has experienced salvation, can proclaim the gospel message.

Evangelism is still "every Christian's job." If Christians neglect or refuse, soul-winning will cease. God has no other plan! This startling truth reveals in Christian history that God provides or allows no substitutes. God waits on committed Christians to fulfill their exclusive mission to proclaim the Savior!

D. A Unique Constrained Continuance (2 Corinthians 5:14,15).

The obedient biblical Christian demonstrates the constraining power of the love of Jesus Christ! The love of Christ constrains the Christian to love the lost for whom Jesus died. Measure the power of this love by Paul's testimony, I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh. Paul loved his Jewish brethren with the love of Christ. He was willing to lose his own soul to save others from hell to heaven. Such constraining power reflects and radiates in a human the love that God has put in Christ. This constraining power must lead Christians to fulfill their mission to persuade men to receive the Savior.

E. A Unique Co-worker Continuance (2Corinthians 6:1)

Obedient biblical Christians work together with God in the service of Jesus Christ! What a glorious company: fellow Christians, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, working together with one another and with their heavenly Father. God alerts the believer that now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2). This urgency caused Paul to exhort Timothy to Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine - do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. (2 Timothy 4:2,5). This divine-human cooperative work cannot delay and still be obedient. Soul-winning is the mission for which Christ died and for which the obedient Christian must live.

III. Present Blessing/Future Glory

For obedient biblical soul-winning Christians God provides double portions of blessing! Think of the blessing Christians may share with the unsaved who receive the Savior: to be forgiven of all sins; to be made a child of God in the love and care of the heavenly Father, a member of the Body of Christ; to be free from the power of Satan, from the fear of hell; to be given the comfort of the Spirit in this life and the hope of heaven in the world to come.

How can the Christian give adequate thanks for the first blessing of being a soul-winner? The second portion of blessing is even greater than the first. The obedient biblical Christian will hear the Savior say, Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of thy Lord. As the Apostle wrote, the souls that are reached for Christ will be the soul-winner's joy and crown for all eternity.

How indeed can the Christian give adequate thanks for the two blessings of being a soul-winner? The obedient twice-blessed Christians can lift their greatest thanks to God by doing what God created them to do. As the bird sings, as the fruit grows, as the winds blow and the rain gladdens the flowers, so Christians can give praise to God by being true to their identity as soul-winners and by fulfilling their soul-winning mission.