2019-06-09 – Sunday AM Sermon – Eric Richardson – The Character of a Christian

In Sermons by Aaron Cozort

Good morning. It is good to see each one of you here this morning. Our topic this afternoon or this morning, not this afternoon. Get my time’s right. This morning is going to be the character of a Christian. When we think about the word character, we think about a person’s personality, nature, disposition or makeup. When we think about character,

it’s like thinking about when we see something happen, somebody does and we’re in disbelief. We may say that is not in their character to do that, meaning it’s not in something normally that we would think that they would do. It’s not normal for them to do that. When a person, we ha we know that person’s character. We expect some characteristics from that person.

I have some those characteristics. When we think about a Christian, there are things that are within the character of a person that they will do and they will not do. When I was preaching at Stanton, Tennessee is not very far from here. Several months ago when we were in the foyer of the building. There is a sheets on the wall that were painted by sister Elkins and one of them caught my eye.

One of them was titled how to spot a Christian. The picture identified eight things that would help you spot a Christian. The first one was looking out for others, a friendly smile, helping hands, concerned and caring, willing to go the extra mile shares, good news, ready to listen. And the last one was full of good thoughts. Now I like that picture because it that those are characteristics that we would think of a Christian.

They are someone that is, has good thoughts, they’re caring, they’re loving, they share the good news that those characteristics, most people would say that person’s a Christian. When we think about a Christian, it is one that has a person, has moral qualities that are distinctive to a Christian. In our text this morning. In first Timothy chapter four in verse 16 Paul told Timothy,

let no man despise I use but be down. An example of the believers in word and conversation and charity and spirit and faith and impurity. Paul was charging Timothy to be an example. Every time I read this passage I think of a billboard. We as Christians are billboards for the church. We show what a Christian is. We show what it’s like to be in the church.

Paul is telling Timothy and your day to day life you need to be an example in all of these things. What is that? What is that characteristic of a Christian that we should follow? Go with me to first. First Peter, first Peter chapter two and verse 21 first Peter two 21 four even here on to where you called because Christ also suffered for us.

Leaving us an example that you should follow in his steps. Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth. Who when he was reviled, reviled, not again. When he suffered, he threatened not but committed himself to him that judges righteously, who is the perfect example of the character that we should have. The characteristics is Jesus. He is that example.

He left us an example that we should follow being Christ like that’s what it means to be a Christian. We are Christ like when you think about the character of a Christian, the example of character is Christ. This morning we’re going to spend some time in third John and we’re going to look at three examples of characteristics that we can learn from. Two of them emulate Christ character.

One of them does not. The first one is Gaius. Go with me to third John one. Don’t ask me what chapter it’s emoji always says, don’t ask me what chapter, verse one chapter one verse one third. John. It says, the elder into the wall, beloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth, beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health even as thy soul prospereth for I rejoice greatly when the brother and came and testified of the truth that is in thee.

Even as thou walk us in the truth, I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth be loved Val dust faithfully whatsoever that dust to the brethren and to strangers which have borne witness of vie charity before the church whom if they’ll bring forward on their journey after a godly soar, thou shall do well because that for his name’s sake,

they went forth taking nothing of the Gentiles. We therefore ought to receive such that we might be fellow helpers to the truth. John writes this letter to Gaius. He writes to him, and we don’t know who this guy is, is there several mentions of the same name in the in the new Testament, but it doesn’t matter who he is. What matters is John wrote to him and calls him his beloved.

Well, beloved, this indicates he was someone that John respected and admired very much. Why? Because of his Example. It was mentioned in verse two beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health even as thy soul. Prospereth Gaius was one that had spiritual, great spiritual prosperity. When we think about prosperity, sometimes we think of of money.

We say, well, he’s a, he has a abundant amount of money, but here it’s related to the spiritual things. He was spiritually prospering. He had wisdom, he had knowledge, he had many things. I mean, you could go to the Christian graces and second Peter chapter one these things were characteristics of Gaius. Some think that he was pouring health and financially was struggling,

which would you know would not be surprising during this time with all the persecution that was going on, but yet he did not let those things get him down. He did not let those things affect his soul because he had great spiritual prosperity. How do we know that? Well. Verse three it says, for our rejoice greatly when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee,

even as our walk us in the truth, he walked in the truth. What does that mean? Well, first John chapter one in verse seven four if we walk in the light as he is in light, we have fellowship with one another in the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin by walking in the truth, by walking in truth, he was walking with Christ.

He was in the light, but not only was he in the light, the word there is mean walking presently active, but he had the truth in him. Psalm one 1911 I word have I hid in mine heart that I might not sin against thee. It’s hard to, it’s easier to get through temptations when the word of God is in our hearts And that is exactly what guys was like.

He had the word of truth in his heart and he walked it every day. He also had a character of hospitality. Look at verse five it says, beloved, thou does faithfully whatsoever without Dewesse. To the brethren and to strangers. He was one who had hospitality. He did it faithfully, which means to show or execute. Not only did he say,

if you need anything, I can, I’m there for you. But he did it. He was known to be a man that did what he said. That’s what it means to be faithful. You know, many times we tell people, if you ever need anything, I’m there for you. Just let me know, but are we really there for them?

Are we just saying that in James chapter two in verse 16 James chapter two and verse 16 it’s, here’s the picture of one when we’re talking about faith and works here, verse 16 it says in one of you saying to them, depart in peace, be warmed and fill. Not withstanding, you give them not those things which are needful to the body.

What does it prophet, he was a man that didn’t just say be warmed and filled and go on. He was a man that he said, be warmed to fill any, helped him. Verse 17 through 20 talks about faith with works. He was a man that had action. He executed what he said. He was hospitable to everyone that needed it.

First, he showed hostility to the brethren as Galatians chapter six and verse 10 tells us to do good unto men, especially those of the household of faith. He helped those on his in the congregation, his brethren, but also strangers that we talked about this morning. The idea of a stranger, someone that we don’t know, it’s someone that would stay possibly one night and go on.

He was hospitable to everyone. That’s kind of dangerous during that time to be housing people. He didn’t know. You know, during that time they did have letters of commendation that went along with them that would let people know that Paul talks about in first and second Corinthians to let them know who they were and where they were from. But during that time it was,

there was not very many places to stay and for a Christian to stay somewhere and an end, it was not a very good place to be because of the sin that was going on. And so he was one that accepted people into his home. And not only that, he was accepting those that John sent. We’re going to see later someone else did not do that,

but Gaius was, he was hospitable. He showed love and care for others. That’s exactly what we should be in our lives. Matthew chapter 25 Matthew chapter 25 and verse 34 says, then shall the King Sante them on his right hand come. He blessed them. My father inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was an hungered and you gave me meat.

I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you took me in naked and you clothed me. I was sick and you visited me. I was in prison and you came into me then shall the righteous answer him saying, Lord, when saw wee and hungered and fed thee or thirsty and gave the drink and when so we the a stranger and took the in or naked and clothed or when saw we the sick or in prison and came onto the and the King shall answer.

And say unto them, verily I say unto you, in so much as you have done it unto one of the least of these, my brethren, you have done it unto me. This district’s highest a hundred percent he was one that took care of strangers, of his brethren, And that is exactly what we should do today. This character that when we were talking about the character of a Christian,

this is the characteristic that we should have being hospitable, but also he had love. Verse six of of third John, it says, which have borne witness of thy charity before the church whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly soar, thou shall do well. The word charity, there is a GAAP to love the word of God. It means benevolence,

kindness, affection, Goodwill. This is the love that we are to have for one another that we should have for our fellow men, a God, a love. This is the love talked about in first John chapter three first John chapter three in verse 16 it says, hereby perceive we the love of God because he had laid down his life for us.

And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren, but whoso half those world’s good and see if his brother have need and shut it up. His bowels of compassion from him. How dwelleth the love of God in him. We are to have a God, a love for one another, and for those that are strangers, and that’s exactly what Gaius did.

He had a love for one another, But not only that, he had a charity before the church, before the church that showed, he had an example. He was setting forth an example to those that were around him that they also emulated. We should learn from this example of Gaius and have in our lives spiritual prosperity, hospitality, and charity for brethren and strangers alike.

What about our second example? Our second example is not so good of an example. This is Diane atrophies. Go back to chapter three or a third John and look at verse nine third John, verse nine I wrote unto the church, but Dodger fees who love to have the preeminence among them received us not. He was a man who had an he this,

this man was a Christian. We have to remember that he was a Christian and yet he was showing characteristics, not of a Christian. It says he had the pre love to have the preeminence among everyone. The word preeminence means to be fond of being first. That is ambitious of distinction. He loved to be first. He loved to be the one that was recognized for everything that was going on.

He was the, he loved to be the one that was in control. That was the atrophies. This description would be a person who is always looking to be noticed and everything. He does this description, but it would be the one that has the characteristics of selfishness, smooth, proud, and even having an intimidating attitude. The intimidating attitude of things should go my way.

You should listen to me. I know what’s going on, what we should do. That was characteristics of him. God hates this characteristic. God does not want us to have this preeminence among one another. Look at Matthew chapter 18 Matthew chapter 18 and verse four Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as a little child. The same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

James four 10 also tells us to be humble. God wants us to be humble, not proud, not arrogant, not wanting to be first all the time, not want to be recognized and everything but humble who is a perfect example of humbleness. Christ and Philippians chapter two he humbled himself to a servant. CDAI atrophies was not a servant and I can,

you can tell that in his actions, he was not a servant. He was out for people to serve him. Preeminence is not always a bad thing because, and go to code with me to cloth. In chapter one there is only one that is to have preeminence collage. In chapter one in verse 18 it says, and he is the head of the boy.

Who is it talking about Simon Christ. Go up to verse 13 it says, who had delivered us from the power of darkness? Now translate us into the kingdom of his dear son. That’s the nearest pronoun or nearest now, so that’s son is talking about Jesus. Go back to verse 18 and he the son is the head of the body, the church who is the beginning,

the firstborn form, the dead that in all things he might have the preeminence. There was only one and that’s Christ who has preeminence. Got your fees, love to be praised and loved to have control but he also did something else. Verse 10 go back to third verse 10 says, wherefore if I come, I will remember his deeds, which he does.

Think about that a second. We’ve talked about Paul in second Corinthians when he said, I’m coming and I’m going to deal with you. That’s a bad thing. John is an apostle. Paul is an apostle. Paul told the Corinthians, I’m going to come to the Judaizers. He’s telling them I’m coming with a rod of correction. That is a scary thing.

You do not want to mess with an apostle, and John here is saying the same thing. Wherefore, if I come be in John, I will remember his deeds, which he does pratting against us with malicious words and not content there. With neither death he received himself receive the brethren and for bidding them that would and cast them out of the church.

The atrophies was one who was speaking with malicious words. The word pratting here means to utter nonsense, to accuse one falsely indicating that he was speaking evil and false words against John. In the missionaries that John sent, the men that John sent to them, This was, this is the same word, similar to the same word that Paul talks about in first Timothy chapter five in verse 13 it’s the word tattlers.

It’s to gossip. It’s the talk behind talk evil of someone else. See, Dodge fees was working behind the scenes to destroy God. John’s character and the men that were there. He was talking malicious words, false things, very similar to what the Judaizers were doing and that’s what the atrophies was doing. Those that are predators. Praters are in contrast to those that have wisdom.

Go to Proverbs chapter 10 Proverbs chapter 10 in verse eight The wise and heart rule received commandments, but a prating fool shall fall. Verse 10 he that Winkle with the eye cause a sorrow but a parading fool shall fall. He may thought he had wisdom. He may thought he knew everything but he didn’t. He didn’t have wisdom. He was a fool.

We need to be careful ourselves to make sure that we do not try to have the premise to try not to, to think that we Can talk others down In James chapter one in verse 26 it’s interesting. It talks about if there are any be any, if there be any among you. Okay. That seemed to be religious and bridal with not his tongue but deceived his own heart.

His religion is vain. If a person is talking behind the scenes, gossiping, others, tearing others down, their religion is vain. That’s exactly what Diane atrophies was. It was fake. He didn’t have your religion because verse 27 says pure religion and undefiled before God and the father is this. To visit the fatherless and the widows in their affliction and to keep oneself on spotted from the world.

He did not keep himself unspotted from the world. We need to be careful the things that we say. How would it seem if we’re out into in the world, out in the community and we’re talking bad about others? Is that a characteristic that people would think of a Christian? Are they going to say, well that person’s a Christian or are they going to say,

I thought he was a Christian. I’ve heard that before about others. I thought he was a Christian. What do you say in that situation? That’s tough. The atrophies was not acting like a Christian should be. He didn’t not have the character of a Christian. Let us make sure not to have the characteristic shown by Dodger fees, not having hospitality,

wanting always to be first in can can in control and speaking evil of those doing good. Let’s not be like him. Well, let’s look at the last example. This is a good example. Demetrius, go back to third. John in verse 12 says, Demetrius have good rapport of all men and other truth itself. Yea and we also bear record and he know that our record is true.

It’s just a short verse. Most of the time we skip over Demetrius, we don’t really think about him, but he was a good example. He was a, he is an example of having a great rapport among other men. Now, interesting. It does not say among the brethren, what’s it say among all men. He was someone that was known not only in a church of having a,

having a good character, but he was known of those that around him in the community and he had a good report of that. What does it mean to have a good report? We’ll go with me to ask chapter 10 Acts chapter 10 and verse 22 the whole chapter of acts 10 is talking about Cornelius and the first in verse 22 of chapter 10 it States and they said,

Cornelius, the Centurion, a just man one that fear of God and of good report among all the nations of the Jews was warned from God by all by and Holy angel to sin for the into the on house and to hear words of thee. It is spoken about Cornelius. So he was a man of good report. Well, what were those things that showed he a good report or consistent of his good report?

Go back to verse one chapter 10 says, and there was a certain man in Cesarea called Cornelius, and since Tyrian of the band called the Italian band, a devout man and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people and prayed to God all the way. Here we have an example of a man that has a good rapport.

What did he have? He was one that fear God. People knew that they knew. He feared God. He was one, not only fear God, but showed leadership in his house. His family also feared God. He showed leadership. He was one that was benevolent by giving money to the people. Remember Cornelius, he is not a Jew. He is a part of the Roman Roman army.

He’s a Roman Centurion, but he’s giving much arms to the people. He’s benevolent, he’s caring, he’s loving. People. Know that about him. He prayed to God always, which showed people He had a love for them and that it showed and it showed though that he had a love for God. These are all characteristics of a Christian. Now,

Cornelius wasn’t a Christian at this point, was he? But by the end of the chapter was he? He was. He heard the truth and he became a Christian. Do you think these characteristics stopped after he became a Christian? I would think they would amplified. He would have continued to increase and this good report. See, these are all things that we need to have in our life as Christians,

be known of others of fearing God. Be benevolent, caring where people know that we love them and praying to God always and an ISS talked about is having a good report also in acts 22 and verse 12 but, but another thing about having a good report means we are working hard to be honest. Have an honest walk among all men. In first Timothy chapter three in verse seven it talks about how an elder is supposed to have good report of those that are out.

They’re the same thing. They have to have these characteristics. To have a good report means to work hard. Walk honestly fearing God being a leader in our home, leaving a God living a godly life and giving to others that need, that is what it means to have a good report. He was one that did not have to praise himself. It said back in verse 12 Demetrius had good half good report of all men and of the truth.

Yay. And we also bear record. We bear record and ye know that our record is true. His actions showed and people praised him for that. Did he act like Diotrephes and sit back and go, come on somebody, pray, please praise me for what I’ve done. He was looking, the atrophies was looking for praise, but Demetrius, he didn’t.

Proverbs chapter 27 Proverbs chapter 27 and verse two, let another man praise thee and not dine own mouth a stranger and not thine own lips save. When we, when we are doing good works, people will notice. But is that why we do things now? But that’s what happens and that’s what was going on with Demetrius. People praised him for his good works and I got all the way back to John.

Let us have the characteristics that Demetrius had by striving to live honestly with all men so that we also have a good report. Which characteristics do we have in our Christian walk? Are we like Gaius who is hospitable, had a great love for the brethren and strangers and one that had great spiritual prosperity? Are we like the Archer feasts and that we are selfish and proud and we want to have control over everything and recognition for everything.

Or maybe we refuse to be hospitable and maybe speak evil of others or are we like Demetrius who had a good report among all brethren? Hopefully we are like Gaius and Demetrius. When we were out doing our day to day business, can people spot us as a Christian by our characteristics? Can people look at us and go, that’s a Christian, I know he’s a Christian Or do they not know?

Unfortunately, a lot of times in the in the church, most people don’t know we need to have the characteristics of Christ As a Christian. We are a Christ like he left us the perfect example, perfect example that we should strive to emulate. We’re not perfect Romans three 23 but we can strive to be like Christ and our everyday walk. Where are you at today?

Have you not being living the life that Christ would want us to live? Today’s the day to make that change, to decide that I going to live like Christ from now on, today is the day to make that change Or maybe you might need the prayers of the congregation. Maybe you need help. We are here for you, Or maybe you haven’t even put Christ on in baptism yet to go to heaven.

We have to be in Christ. Where are you at? Today is the day of salvation. Today is the day to be in Christ. Don’t put it off. Do it now as we stand.