Conduct of a Christian- “Code of Conduct”
A Few Good Men- the two marines were discharged for conduct unbecoming of a Marine
“Any commissioned officer, cadet, or midshipman who is convicted of conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.
- The accused did or omitted to do certain acts
- That these acts or omissions constituted conduct unbecoming an officer
A gentleman (including both sexes) is understood to have a duty to avoid dishonest acts, displays of indecency, lawlessness, dealing unfairly, indecorum, injustice, or acts of cruelty.
Not everyone is or can be expected to meet unrealistically high moral standards, but there is a limit of tolerance based on customs of the service and military necessity which the personal standards of the officer, cadet, or midshipman cannot fall without seriously compromising that person’s standing as a gentleman.
Examples of offense that can end in dismissal (Punitive Articles of the UCMJ):
- making a false official statement
- dishonorable failure to pay a debt
- cheating on an exam
- opening and reading a letter without authority
- using insulting or defaming language to another officer or about another officer
- being drunk and disorderly in public
- association with prostitutes
- committing or attempting a crime involving moral turpitude (vileness, depravity towards fellow man)
- failing without good cause to support another officer’s family
There are high standards set for the officer- he holds a rank and as such commands units and represents the military.
Cornwallis: “You know this is not the conduct of a gentleman”
Benjamin Martin: “If the conduct of your officers is the measure of a gentleman, I’ll take that as a compliment”
There is a code of conduct for the Christian.
IF you are in Christ, then YOU are called to a higher standard.
Ephesians 4:1-3New King James Version (NKJV)
4 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Ephesians 5:1-11 Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.
3 But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; 4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this you know,[a] that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not be partakers with them.
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the Spirit[b] is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them
This is a high calling indeed! This is the STANDARD for those who will live in Christ and operate according to the Holy Spirit that has been given them.
Walk worthy of the calling-
This is translated as to walk in a godly manner.
Last time I preached, I talked about holiness- that we are holy because of the Holy Spirit inside of us.
It literally means, “a cut above”, separate and pure
1 Peter 1:15-16 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,
because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”
This means that we conduct ourselves in a worthy, holy manner.
We read this when we take communion:
1 Corinthians 11:17-30New King James Version (NKJV)
The Corinthian church was taking communion in an UNWORTHY manner- literally unholy and irreverent
They had lost their “awe” for a Holy God and a HOLY CHURCH so many of them were sick and some were dead
God isn’t just HOLY, His people as temples of the HS are HOLY and so how you treat them shows your reverence for a holy God
The Corinthian church’s conduct was being condemned by Paul.
This verse relates to the common meal that served as the context of the Lord’s supper- they gathered together for a fellowship meal and communion, some who brought food were eating separately. The poor who could not contribute to the meal were ignored and left hungry.
Their conduct was condemned for a few reasons here:
- they were conducting themselves divisively and in an unworthily manner. It seems that the same sort of divisions was taking place at this meal as in the first part of his letter
1 Corinthians 1:10-11 New King James Version (NKJV)
10 Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11 For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you.
- they were humiliating the members of Christ’s body who were poor, or perhaps just came from work and no opportunity to bring food
- Others were bringing wine and getting drunk
ALL of these were a complete disregard for the HOLY members of the Body.
Look at verses 18-19
For first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it. 19 For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you.
factions is translated as heresies
same word is in Galatians 5:19-21 in regards to the works of the flesh
“heresies”- division within the congregation into exclusive groups or cliques that destroy the unity of the church Body
God takes your walk SERIOUSLY. I want you to recognize that this is under NT grace.
You cannot treat anyone in the Body with contempt, or leave them out- it is heresy and it is sin.
You cannot tow the line with a holy God- when you show contempt for the Lords holy people, and His holy things, you are showing contempt for a holy God.
Acts 5:1-5New King James Version (NKJV)
5 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. 2 And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? 4 While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” 5 Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. So great fear came upon all those who heard these things.
It is a great sin before God to deceive God’s people concerning anything related to the Holy Spirit- your relationship with Jesus, your work for Him and the extent of your ministry.
Christ’s shed blood is never to be used to glorify our own self!
This disregards the very purpose for which Christ suffered and died.
It indicates an absence of the fear of the Lord and a respect and honor for the Holy Spirit
Paul tells us this walk is in all lowliness and gentleness-
Lowliness– humbleness and humility
Lord, my heart is not haughty, Nor my eyes lofty.
Neither do I concern myself with great matters, Nor with things too profound for me.
“LORD, my heart is not haughty.”
The Psalm deals with the Lord, and is a solitary prayer with him, not a discourse before men.
David begins with his heart, for that is the centre of our nature, and if pride be there it defiles everything;
We must know our own heart so as to be able to speak before the Lord about it.
It is beyond all things deceitful and desperately wicked, who can know it? Who can know it unless taught by the Spirit of God?
It is a still greater thing if, upon searching himself thoroughly, we can solemnly protest unto the Omniscient One that our heart is not haughty: that is to say, neither proud in our opinion of ourselves, contemptuous to others, nor self righteous before the Lord; neither boastful of the past, proud of the present, nor ambitious for the future.
Examine your heart and bring all your ways and thoughts before the Lord-
Pride says, “Look what I have done!” Humility says, Look what the Lord has done”
Ex: story of pride, Faith trying out for volleyball, all freshman team- 3 quit now on JV
God resists the proud!
Gentleness– a fruit of the Spirit, also kindness, not wanting to hurt anyone or cause them any unnecessary pain
With Longsuffering bear another’s burdens-
meaning that with endurance and patience, being slow to anger or despair, bear each other’s burdens.
Help out your brother in Christ! Laugh with those who laugh and cry with those who cry.
PRAY for one another!
EX: evangelist goes to heaven. mega church pastor goes to heaven. miracle worker goes to heaven.
little old lady enters heaven.
Keep Unity in the bond of peace-
I don’t know if you know this, but peace does not come easy, we are told:
1 Peter 3:10-11 For “He who would love life, And see good days, Let him refrain his tongue from evil,
And his lips from speaking deceit. 11 Let him turn away from evil and do good;
Let him seek peace and pursue it.
SEEK PEACE and PURSUE IT.
Most people don’t SEEK for peace or for a peaceful solution to keep unity- we only want to do what we FEEL is right because we believe we have been wronged.
These Christians desired selfish ambitions MORE THAN righteousness and the will of God
Thus, self-centered conflict were created in their fellowship
Therefore, God was resisting them and their selfish desires and prayers
Ex: King Arthur- you think you have a right to the kingdom, but the seed was birthed out of your own lust and desires
Some of y’all don’t have a good marriage because you have to be RIGHT.
I say WHO CARES. You put your stake in the ground over something that disrupts the unity of the relationship because you have to prove yourself to be RIGHT.
The cure is to HUMBLE yourselves to God and to each other
1 Cor 6:7 Now therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law against one another. Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated?
I hear this verse all the time in my marriage, “let yourself be cheated!” WHO CARES.
There is a deeper issue here if you find yourself always having to be right- your identity is not fully grounded in Christ alone.
If your identity as a Christian has a modifier (a modifier adds to or restricts the noun)- I am a “Blank” Christian, white, black, Hispanic, American, Jewish, etc
You can NEVER add to nor restrict JESUS.
You will NEVER have peace because you are putting another identity above being found in Christ ALONE and you will be completely rocked when your modified identity is challenged.
Lastly, let NOTHING be named among you as is fitting for saints
You are the temple of the Holy Spirit! Remember this always.
These things are not fitting for a saint- these things are conduct unbecoming:
3 But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints;
fornication- sexual sins, evil deeds and vices, including thoughts and desires of the heart
uncleanness- also lasciviousness, sensuality; following ones passions and desires to the point of having no shame or public decency
covetousness- resentful dislike of another person that has something that you desire
4 neither filthiness (shamefulness, obscenity), nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.
5 For this you know,[a] that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.
7 Therefore do not be partakers with them.