Introduction: Mk. 10:29-30 (Christ speaks here of the rewards of being a Christian. From the perspective of the sacrifices we make to serve him, he explains we gain more in return in this life, and in the life to come. This study is about those advantages of being a Christian.)
1. In This Life: Mt. 10:34-36 (Christ warns us that following him creates controversy with those who will not follow. We must expect to make enemies out of those who count themselves an enemy of God when we devote ourselves to Christ. But Christ teaches there is great return in this life for this sacrifice.)
1. Property: Acts 4:34-35 (Though these Christians acted voluntarily in selling all their land, their act shows the character of REAL Christianity. To be a Christian is to share what you have to help other Christians. There is no circle of associates that so freely make their possessions available to their fellows as REAL Christians.)
2. Siblings: Mk. 3:31-35 (Christ spoke of the sibling relationship that exists between fellow disciples. When we are down and out, there is nothing like having a good brother or sister we can talk to, lean on, depend on for relief in our dark hour. Such is the relationship that exists between REAL Christians.)
3. Parents: 1 Tim. 5:1-2, Acts 9:36 (Paul spoke of the respect we should have for others, that we regard our elder brothers and sisters like parents. This is such a unique blessing of being a Christian. Where else can you find such a supply of godly mothers and fathers? Think of the advantage of having women like Tabitha to be like a mother to you. This is what it is like among REAL Christians.)
2. With Persecutions: (Christ acknowledges that among all these great advantages is the inevitable sacrifice of serving him. It will always involve the suffering of the flesh being repressed. It can sometimes also bring persecution in varying degrees.) Phil. 3:8 (Paul says the losses we suffer in this life due to serving Christ are negligible when compared with the promised blessing.) 2 Cor. 4:17 (Again, Paul spoke of the afflictions related to serving Christ. Though this affliction is there, to be sure, it brings a greater magnitude of reward. So the Christian life does have its difficult side, but it s well worth the trouble.)
3. In The World To Come: (Christ adds to the package the reward we will receive after this life.) Jn. 4:36 (The best harvest for all your labors comes in eternity. Though there are these advantages in this life, the real reward comes later.) 2 Cor. 5:1 (Paul speaks of our earthly house [body] being replaced with a much better dwelling [immortal body] in heaven.)
1. Eternal: (This term emphasizes our reward is perpetual, throughout ceaseless eternal ages.)
2. Life: Lk. 16:25 (The same term is here translated "lifetime". Note how it points to the rich man s quality of life. The term carries this idea above the ordinary idea of existence.)
Conclusion: (The things we have studied about the advantages of being a Christian bring the following thoughts to mind.)
1. Is your service like that of a REAL Christian?
2. It is to your advantage to become one.
3. It is to your advantage to remain faithful as one.
Whatever your station in life, there is something in this study that speaks to you. The advantages of being a Christian should motivate you to serve him in the manner described in this study.)