Disadvantages of being a Christian
Whenever go out into the world and begin to try and teach the non-Christian about God many times you find that people are simply not interested. One of the reason I believe that many donít want to become Christians is because they donít understand the advantages of being a Christian. Instead they would view becoming a Christian a big disadvantage. But why do they not see the advantage of being Christian? Perhaps they have been watching those that claim to be Christians and cannot tell any difference between them and their selves. As I began thinking about this concept I thought it would appropriate for us to examine several principles that the world may consider to be a disadvantage of being a Christian
The world might say, There will be things I cannot do if I become a Christian.
Of course the answer to this is yes there are things you cannot do if you become a Christian. We must understand that when you become a Christian you start looking at things from a spiritual perspective instead of from a fleshly one. Notice what Paul says about these the flesh and the spirit.
Galatians 5:17 †For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.† 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Notice Paul is makes it clear that living as non-Christians that is living in the flesh in direct contrast as living as Christian that is living in the spirit. This being the case there will be many things a Christians cannot do that a non-Christian can. Paul goes on to give us a list of those works of the flesh that Christian should not do.
†19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness,† 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies,† 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Please take note that those who engage themselves in such things will not make into the kingdom of heaven. But now notice what Paul says about the spirit.
†22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,† 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.† 24 And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.† 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.† 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
So its very true that being a Christians has its disadvantages if you consider the works of the flesh as advantage. Lets also take of what Peter says about this.
1 Peter 4:1 Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,† 2 that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.† 3 For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles -- when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries.† 4 In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you.† 5 They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.
Peter also informs us that yes Christians are limited on things they can do and he also tells how that those who around us in the world will not understand why we are no longer doing the same things that they are. Paul also speaks on the worlds ignorance of Christianity in†
Ephesians 4:17 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind,† 18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart;† 19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
You see the world is truly blind to the advantages of Christianity. Now I want you to really think about all those works of the flesh and tell me honestly that you cannot lead a joyful and fulfilled without engaging in these sinful practices. While it true that a person may gain pleasure from some of these works of the flesh we must remember that these pleasure are only temporary and will not last through eternity. With this in mind we can now turn the tables† and look at something that sinner cannot do.
First of all he cannot
have a clear conscience before God. Anyone who practices the works of the flesh
will be found guilty of sin before God. Second of all the sinner cannot enter
The next thing the world might say is there are some friends I cannot keep if I become a Christian.†††
Again, we have to answer this statement as being true because certain worldly friends that try to entice us into their lifestyle are spoken against in the Bible. Paul tells us,
1 Corinthians Do not be deceived: "Evil company corrupts good habits."
I am afraid that to many Christians today under estimate the power and influence a friend can have on you. This is why important for us to choose our friends wisely. I can remember when I was growing up that I had a friend that his mother would not let him hang around this other boy. The reason why she wouldnít allow him to do this was because she had heard of the kinds of things that† he done. He was known for doing drugs† and vandalizing peoples property. At first this made my friend mad until latter when he got older and understood why his mother had kept him from being friends with this individual. By the† way the troublemaker ended up finding himself in jail latter for his malicious behavior. Notice what Paul says about this in
2 Corinthians 6: 14
Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has
righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with
darkness?† 15 And what accord
has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?† 16 And what agreement has the
We must understand that anyone who is living in sin and we are going to places with them while they engage in these sins they can and they will cause you to get caught up in their sin as well. Anyone who does this to you is really not your friend. Now does the Bible teach that we should have no association with those in the world whatsoever? No, it doesnít. If that was the case then there would be no way that we could go out and lead people to Christ. Even Paul speaks about the believer eating with the unbeliever in
1 Corinthians 10:27 If any of those who do not believe invites you to dinner, and you desire to go, eat whatever is set before you, asking no question for conscience' sake.† 28 But if anyone says to you, "This was offered to idols," do not eat it for the sake of the one who told you, and for conscience' sake; for "the earth is the LORD's, and all its fullness."
You see there is no way around it as Christians we must associate with† those of the world if we ever expect to lead them to Christ but on the same hand we must be very careful not approve or engage in any of their sinful practices.
Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.
Here Paul is talking about a fallen brother and how we as Christian should try and restore them but notice Paul warns that we should be very careful in doing so that we are not tempted as well. This same principle applies to the non-believers.
Once again lets turn the table and make note that the sinner is limited on what friends they can have. I can tell you that a person who engages is sin would find very difficult and uncomfortable to be friends with a person who stand for righteousness. A sinful person will feel like they have act like someone else when they around a Christian and they get tired of pretending wishing they could just be themselves. When I was working on copiers many times my customers would act like themselves but when they would find out that I was a Christian they would change the way they acted around me and tell others you better watch you language or what you say around Cougan because he is good ole Christian boy. This became even more prominent at the end of my job when people found out I was leaving to preach the gospel. So, in many instance the sinner is limited to only having friends that are sinners as well.
The next thing the world might say is there are sacrifices to make and burdens to bear if I become a Christian
Once again this is correct. The word of God calls on Christians everywhere to make certain sacrifices and to bear burdens. Notice what Jesus says in
Matthew 16:24 †Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
Many people will find this very difficult to do in our day and age because we live in a society that teaches us over and over again that we must put ourselves first and everything comes in second or third place. In fact some psychologist have begin to tell their patients that they need stop putting others first and instead worry about themselves. You see we live in time were people have the mentality that it is all about me. Yet you become a Christian you must deny yourself and live your life for Christ by following his example.
Philippians 2:3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.† 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.† 5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,†
Another type of sacrifice we must do is found in
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.† 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Paul is telling us that we need to dedicate our entire being to spiritual matters and not allow ourselves to become like the worldly so that we can be examples to those around showing what true Christianity is all about. Think about some the things that the world would consider to great a sacrifice to become a Christian. Some would not like the idea of sacrifice there time to serve the Lord. Many cannot understand why anyone would rather go to a Bible study or a worship service instead of taking the kids to a ball game or doing some other fun activity. If they only understood what God has done for us through the sacrifice of his son on the cross then they would understand what a privilege it is to worship God and study his word with those who have understood what God has truly done for us.
Others in the world would find it very difficult to let go of their money and would consider this great disadvantage. But to the Christian giving is something that is done from the heart and is done our joy and love the Lord. The reason why is because we understand that the riches of the world or temporary and that we have a far greater reward waiting for us in heaven. Notice what Jesus says,
Matthew 6:19 " Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;† 20 "but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.† 21 "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
These are just a few of the sacrifices that Christians make. Now take look at some the burdens we take on as Christians.
First of all we are to help others bear there burdens. Once again we can quickly see that that this type of thinking goes against the worldly view of just taking care of your own business. Lets take a look a few scriptures that teaches this† principle.
Galatians 6:2 ††Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Romans 15:1 We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
This means that we can be selfish people only thinking of ourselves because as Christians we are to love those around us enough to help them bear their burdens. Now there is one burden that both the Christian and the non-Christian must bear. We must both bear the responsibility of how we lived our live on this earth and we must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. 11 Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.
Notice that Paul is saying that reason why they try so hard to convert people to Christianity is because as Christians we know what awaits those that are non-Christians. If only the non-Christians could understand the eternal punishment that awaits them then maybe they might take a serious look at becoming a Christian and instead of thinking there are disadvantages to Christianity they would see that there are real disadvantages to being a non Ė Christians. Lets look at one last verse.
Psalm 55:22 Cast your burden on the LORD, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved. †
You see as† Christians we cast our burdens upon God and he will be there for us and we can be comforted by him. However the non-Christian had deal with their burdens on their own or they might try and push them on loved one but in either case they cannot have the peace or the comfort that a Christian can have.
In conclusion from a worldly point of view the life of a Christian may appear to have it disadvantages but when you begin to understand that this life is temporary and that we will spend eternity in either heaven or hell based on how we followed the will of God we can quickly see that there are no real disadvantages to being a Christian just perceived ones by those of the world.
Disadvantages of being a Christian part 2
As we continue our lesson this evening we are going to look some things that the world may perceive as disadvantages of being a Christian.
The world might say, to live as a Christian requires discipline both mentally and bodily.
Once again this is true statement because living as a Christians does take great discipline.
2 Corinthians 10:4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,† 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,
Friends it takes a great deal of effort to bring every one of your thoughts into captivity to the obedience of Christ. No one should every think that a Christian can accomplish this over night. It takes a lot prayer and training for a person to do this. Every Christian should be working toward this goal in having all your thoughts centered on righteous thinking. There are many reason why it is important for us to have our thoughts to be like Christ thoughts.
Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.
If we allow ourselves to keep thinking about perverse and dark things guess what that is what we will end up being like. Donít ever try and fool yourself into thinking that you can continue having evil thoughts in your mind and that you will never act upon them because I can promise you eventually you will act out or behave in the way that you that you think.
Proverbs 4:23 †Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.
This verse perfectly well with what just said. If you donít keep your thought centered on God and righteous behavior you will become what you think in your mind. Another important reason for us to train our thought is found in what Jesus said,
Matthew 5:27 " You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not commit adultery.'† 28 "But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Jesus is letting us know that if we are thinking in our mind of committing a sin like adultery then we have already sinned in our heart. You see, once you have conceived an idea in your head and you are going over and over again then you are just one step away of literally engaging in that sin. This why it is imperative that we keep our thought pure.
Think about Paul for a minute. Even though he was a very strong Christian he still had use discipline every single of day of† his life. Notice what he says in,
1 Corinthians Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.† 25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.† 26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air.† 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
Many times Paul compares Christianity to running a race. I think we all understand that it take great discipline to train yourself as runner. You must practice everyday if you are going to have a fighting chance to beat the other racers. Paul uses this as example of how ever Christian must train their bodies and minds to be able live the Christian life. Notice Paul states that he discipline his own body in subjection. But one thing is definitely different between the foot race and the race we continually run as Christians. In the foot race on one wins and even at that the crown the win will not last forever but those of us who run the race of Christianity will all receive a crown and that crown will never fade away. †
Now the non-Christian will think that they are free and clear to do what they want to. They think they can find great satisfaction in indulging themselves in sinful practices. But the truth of the matter is that none people will ever be satisfied because they will constantly seek new ways they can top what they did before. Solomon is a man who thought he could do this as well. Look at what he had to say about his matter.
Ecclesiastes 2:3 I
searched in my heart how to gratify my flesh with wine, while guiding my
heart with wisdom, and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good
for the sons of men to do under heaven all the days of their lives.† 4 I made my works great, I built
myself houses, and planted myself vineyards.†
5 I made myself gardens and orchards, and I planted all kinds
of fruit trees in them.† 6
I made myself water pools from which to water the growing trees of the
grove.† 7 I acquired male and
female servants, and had servants born in my house. Yes, I had greater
possessions of herds and flocks than all who were in
Solomon had more than any other man probably has ever had yet he could not find satisfaction within worldly things. The only way to become content is by becoming a Christian and living disciplined lives both physical and mentally.
The world might say that that Christian life requires one to undergo shame and ridicule.
Again, this is absolutely true. Notice what Jesus says to his disciples in
John 16:1 "These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble.† 2 "They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service.† 3 "And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me.† 4 "But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them. And these things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you.
Jesus didnít want his disciples to think that living the Christian life would be easy. They would have to undergo the shame and ridicule of being kicked out the synagogues where they used to be welcomed. They would even be put to death in the name of God because those of the world did not understand the will of God. There are many examples in the Bible of where the disciples were not treated fairly by others and even some such Stephen were stoned to death. But, the example I want to look at is found in Acts 16,
Acts 16:16 Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling.† 17 This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, "These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation."† 18 And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, "I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her." And he came out that very hour.† 19 But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities.† 20 And they brought them to the magistrates, and said, "These men, being Jews, exceedingly trouble our city;† 21 "and they teach customs which are not lawful for us, being Romans, to receive or observe."† 22 Then the multitude rose up together against them; and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods.† 23 And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely.† 24 Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.
Here we have Paul and Silias minding their own business and this women who possessed with a demon keeps following them around crying out that men were proclaiming Gods word. If you really think about it you can understand how annoying that must have been. Paul does the lady a favor and cast the demon out but this did not set well with her master how had been making money from this demon effect on this women. Paul and Silais were not guilty of any crime but they were had to face great shame and ridicule as they stripped of their cloths and then proceeded to beat them with rods in front of everybody. Now this is something the world simply cannot grasp why anyone would want to have to undergo such shame and punishment and they certain cannot understand what Paul and Silas do next.
† 25 But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.
A worldly person might say why in the world would they be praying and singing to God when it was because of him and his word that they received their punishment. The reason why they did this is because they understood that they were bringing honor and glory to God. They understood that they should not fear man who can just kill the body but to fear God he can destroy both body and soul in hell. Paul put it best when he wrote to Corinthians in
2 Corinthians 4: 16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.† 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,† 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
You see a Christian fully understands that whatever happens to us on the earth either good or bad is temporary and whatever go through will by no means compare to glory we will receive in heaven. These apostles understood this concept and you can tell it by their words because after they had been beaten for speaking in the name of Jesus they said they,
Acts † counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.
Sometimes as Christians we may view suffering shame and ridicule as disadvantage and it may cause us to conform to a worldly view but its imperative that we realize that we should never be ashamed of being a Christian and following Gods Word. Jesus says,
Mark "For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels."
Let us never be ashamed of being a Christian. Notice what Paul says in,
Romans For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.† 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "The just shall live by faith."
Now sinner is not without their problems as well. Things donít run smoothly for them either. They face some the same problems that we do in life yet they only have themselves to rely upon but we as Christians can rely upon God and the hope we have been promised of home in heaven. Besides all this when the judgment day occurs all the sinners will feel the full guilt of their shame as they spent eternity where their will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
So far in this lesson we have focused in on what the world perceives as being disadvantages of being Christian and hopefully we have learned these† so called disadvantages are not really disadvantages at all. Sure the Christian may have to give up a few worldly things but it does compare to the reward that we will receive in heaven. With this in mind let us now focus on a few of the many advantages a Christian has while they live here on this earth.
Our first advantage comes from,
Colossians 3:15 †And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.
You see while we live on this earth as Christians we can be very thankful because we have a true peace that the non-Christian cannot have because we know that we are united with God of all peace and knowing that he will take care of us brings about much peace in our lives.
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.† 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.
As Christians we can know that we have someone that loves us and cares for us and will always be there for us. Many in the world can get to the point where they feel no one loves them and many times these people will commit suicide but it doesnít matter if everyone hates us as a Christian we can still happy knowing that God loves us.
We also learn from acts 2:38 that when we become Christians we are forgiven of our sins and that can give us great joy in our stay here on the earth knowing that we have become servant of righteousness instead of servant of sin. Another great advantage of being a Christians is that we will have a much happier home life than those of the world because the bible teaches us to love our spouses as we love ourselves and not to invoke wrath in our Children but to train them up in the peaceful life of a Christian. Now being Christian doesnít guarantee a happy home because there is still the human factor involved but if a Christian home followed the guidelines of what the Bible says every Christian† home would be happy one. But I can promise you that a Christians home in general is far better place than the home of the sinner. There is also a great advantage of when it comes to suffering from what this life deals out. Paul says,
Romans 8:16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,† 17 and if children, then heirs -- heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.† 18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
You see it doesnít matter what we go through on this earth we can take great comfort in knowing that we will receive the glory of heaven. But the sinner does† not have this comfort and they must really struggle when times of hardship come their way.
In conclusion we must understand as Christians that there are things that we must give up and we need to realize that those things we give up that bring about a passing pleasure will by no means compare to the reward we will receive in heaven. Notice what Jesus says about counting the cost.
Luke "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.† 27 "And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.† 28 "For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it -- ††29 "lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him,† 30 "saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.'† 31 "Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?† 32 "Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace.† 33 "So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.
I can promise that there are much greater disadvantages in being a non-Christian instead of a Christian. Now let me ask you a question have you been looking at Christianity as a disadvantage? Do being Christian put a cramp on your way of life? If you have been thinking this way its time for you to change your way of thinking because until you are willing put away your old self and separate yourself from worldly things you will not be ready to count the cost of truly serving God. †