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The Simplicity That Is In Christ - Pastor Stacey Shiflett



The Simplicity That Is in Christ

2 Corinthians 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

 

Intro: One thing I am sure of after 30 years of ministry – Satan has succeeded in making the Christian life so complicated to some people that many simply throw their hands up and say “What’s the use!”

God never intended the Christian life to be perceived as complicated. In fact, He desires the opposite.

Before we get into the thought, I want to notice a few things that were on Paul’s heart and mind as he wrote this.

In this passage, Paul is defending his apostleship and reminding the church of his God-given role.

This whole chapter is Paul making his case for being an apostle and proving it to them.

·        In verse 1, we see Paul’s Folly – no doubt Paul felt foolish having to state the obvious. He was God’s man.

·        In verse 2, we see Paul’s Focus – “…that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.”

·        In verse 3, we see Paul’s Fear “But I fear…”

We get a glimpse into the heart of the Apostle Paul and his concern for the church.

The man that had preached that God hath not given us the spirit of fear, was fearful.

FEAR: to fear, be afraid, to be struck with fear, to be seized with alarm; of those startled by strange sights or occurrences; of those struck with amazement

 

Paul was greatly concerned; alarmed; struck with amazement at the agenda of Satan.

Paul was aware of Satan’s tactics. He was aware of the “by any means.”

He is concerned about the church of Corinth’s tendency to complicate things.

Make no mistake – Satan will complicate the Christian life “by any means” necessary.

Satan successfully corrupts the simplicity that is in Christ by a variety of ways.

               A. He uses False Information – vs. 3 “as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty…”

               B. He uses Filthy Ideas – vs. 3 “…your minds should be corrupted from…”

               C. He uses Fake Imposters – vs. 4 “another Jesus…another spirit…another gospel…”

SEE verse 13-15 - “…another apostle…another angel…another minister…”

You may ask – is this possible? Does this really work?

Another Jesus – one that came to “get us” instead of coming for us to get Him; a social worker; a social justice warrior.

Another Gospel – a gospel without repentance; without change; without transformation; without evidence.

Another Spirit – why would John exhort the believer to “believe not every spirit but try the spirits” 1 John 4:1

Another Apostle and another minister – one that never has godly jealousy; one that doesn’t strive to present the child of God as a chaste virgin to God.

 

Make no mistake: Paul’s fears were not unfounded.

Satan is not above preaching “another gospel” to corrupt the simplicity that is in Christ.

He wants to make the Christian life as complex and difficult as he can.

The Christian life is not complicated.

 

I. An Approach of Faith in Christ

The key factor that separates Christians from non-Christians is the simple fact that we are “believers”.

We approach God with an attitude of faith, rather than an attitude of skepticism or criticism.

Notice what Jesus said about this “approach of faith”.

·        Luke 18:16 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.

 

·        James 2:23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

 

The baseline requirement for every Christian is to simply believe God.

·        Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

 

That’s where it starts, and that’s where it is maintained.

We simply believe God.

We believe His Word over everyone else’s.

We believe His Way is better than anybody else.

We believe His Will is better than ours.

We believe He has authority over us.

We believe in our complete incapability to function apart from Him.

 

·        John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

 

We accept that fact as a reality, and we choose to put our faith and trust in One that is greater than us.

We choose to put our faith in One that is more powerful than us.

We choose to put our faith in One that knows more than us.

We approach this whole subject of God and Jesus and the Bible with an approach of faith.

That’s where it starts.

 

It is not complicated in and of itself. It only becomes complicated when we allow Satan to insert DOUBT.

·        Illustrate: Telling a child that there is candy in a box. As he starts to open it, someone tells him there is a snake inside that will bite him. Watch him hesitate, maybe even walk away from the box. What happened? His faith in the reward was replaced with doubt and fear. 

 

Satan does that very thing to God’s children all day long, every single day.

Believing God is not difficult or complicated until Satan lies and deceives and inserts doubt.

So – what is the solution? Stop listening to Satan and go back to listening to God!

The Christian life gets complicated very quickly when we stop believing God.


II. An Aspiration to Follow Christ

One thing is certain. No one can walk the Christian walk without some help.

God has provided that help.

He’s actually made it so simple, that even a child can do it.

·        1 Peter 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

 

Just like a child following in his father’s footsteps in the snow, we are to follow Christ’s steps.

No doubt He set the bar pretty high. He lived a perfect life, never sinned, he never stumbled.

But if our Christian life is all about following His steps, then the least we could do is aspire to follow Him!

Notice what Job said about this:

·        Job 23:11 My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined.

 

The mark of a disciple of Christ – following!

·        Matthew 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

 

Complicated? No. At least not until Satan shows up and offers another path.

When Satan offers another course, or another direction that appeals to the natural man, then it becomes complicated.

Then obedience is not so easy. Living according to His Word is not as appealing.

Solution: Stop entertaining Satan’s path and go back to following Jesus.


Quote: Complexity is in the conflict; not the compliance.

 

III. An Appreciation of Fellowship with Christ

 

Once we begin to value His presence and His power in our life, we will find it easier and easier to life a life that will insure His sweet fellowship.

·        1 John 1:3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

 

The Christian life is very simple when you understand that how we live our life affects our fellowship with the Lord.

Not our relationship – that is unchanging.

But our fellowship is contingent upon our obedience and submission to Him.

Communion; intimacy; the sweet fellowship with the Lord is a huge motivation for the believer.

 

Once believers realize that it is not their relationship, but their fellowship that is in jeopardy by their haphazard life, then they begin to find that maintaining sweet fellowship with Christ is not complicated.

 

Make no mistake: God cannot and will not commune with a person that walks in darkness.

·        1 John 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:

 

Who would you rather have fellowship with: your family or with Jesus Christ?

Here’s a powerful truth: Jesus would much rather fellowship with you than with His own blood family.

Matthew 12

·        46 While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him.

·        47 Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee.

·        48 But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?

·        49 And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!

·        50 For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.

You want to complicate the Christian life? You want to lose the simplicity that is in Christ?

Live for yourself. Seek your own. Allow unconfessed sin to pile up in your life. Walk in darkness.

Lose that communion; that sweet fellowship with the Lord, and it will get complicated very quickly.

 

Conclusion: Living the Christian life is not complicated.  It is actually very simple.

What makes it complicated is when we allow Satan to tempt us to do something that we know will hinder our joy, our peace, our fellowship, and we actually entertain those thoughts and listen to him.

Then he messes up everything.

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