Genuine Love

In a world of “fake nice” people, show genuine love and concern for others.
In Romans 12, we see that in order to be genuine in our love of others, we must:

  • Abhor/shun what is evil
  • Hold fast/tight to what is good
  • Show brotherly affection
  • Outdo others in honoring them
  • Be diligent in your zeal/passion
  • Be fervent/steadfast in spirit/soul
  • Serve the Lord
  • Rejoice in hope
  • Be patient in trials/hardship
  • Pray continually
  • Help others who have needs
  • Show hospitality

Romans 12:9-13

“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.”

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Personal Liberty

Luke 11:39-41

“‘Now then,’ said the Lord, ‘you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You fools! Did not the One who made the outside make the inside as well? But give as alms the things that are within you, and you will see that everything is clean for you.'”

  • True allegiance to Christ brings freedom, not bondage.
  • Sacrificing yourself (the attitudes of the heart and more!) brings liberty.
  • The Lord created both the mind and heart in addition to the body, so He desires His followers’ true commitment to serving Him, not just the physical actions of worship and service.
  • When the mind and heart are given over to Christ as Lord, the body’s actions will naturally follow.

Arm Yourself!

Luke 11:21-22

“When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are safe; but when one stronger than he attacks him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his spoil.”

As followers of Jesus Christ, we must take care to guard our heart with the full armor of God, that we may be prepared to fight against heresy and even the subtle ideologies that go against what Jesus had said in His Word. We must be well-acquainted with what the Bible actually says in order to take a stand against the lies that Satan throws our way.

Ephesians 6:10-17

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can make your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this world’s darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore take up the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you will be able to stand your ground, and having done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth fastened around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness arrayed, and with your feet fitted with the readiness of the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

Even Jesus had to use correct Scriptural context in order to shut down Satan’s misquotes of Scripture.

Matthew 4:1-11

“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, He was hungry. The tempter came to Him and said, “If You are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” But Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Then the devil took Him to the holy city and set Him on the pinnacle of the temple. “If You are the Son of God,” he said, “throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He will command His angels concerning You, and they will lift You up in their hands, so that You will not strike Your foot against a stone.’” Jesus replied, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. “All this I will give You,” he said, “if You will fall down and worship me.” “Away from me, Satan!” Jesus declared. “For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.’” Then the devil left Him, and angels came and ministered to Him.”

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” – Proverbs 4:23

Faithful & Fruitful

  • The faithful live in the flesh fruitfully.

Phillipians 1:21-22 “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me.”

John 15:14-17 “You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.”

  • The Lord is faithful to refresh those who are faithful and fruitful.

Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”

Psalm 23:2 “He takes me to lush pastures, He leads me to refreshing water.”

Comfort & Gratitude

Luke 10:16,19-20 “The one who heard you hears Me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me, and the one who rejects Me rejects Him Who sent Me. Behold, I have given you authority to treat on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

We can find comfort in the realization that when we share the truths of God’s Word, the response we receive is for or against God Himself, not for or against us. I know from personal experience that the truth of God’s Word and the commands therein are not particularly popular in this world. I’ve personally receive some very negative feedback and even insults for sharing truth publicly. I must remember that these responses are against God Himself – I’m just one of His mouthpieces here on earth. I should not take these insults personally, but rather stay focused on the truth of the Lord. It’s up to Him to change hearts – it’s not up to me.

We should be more thankful for our salvation than focused on our power over evil. Rather than gloat that we aren’t any longer prey to evil, we must humble ourselves in gratitude to Jesus for His sacrifice that allows us to be freed from the bondage of sin and evil. We should focus on what Christ has done, not so much on what He enables us to do, for without Him, we are powerless against the world, the flesh, and the devil. Let’s thank the Lord for His new mercies to us each and every day.

Fully Awake

Full text – Luke 9:28-36

“28Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. 29And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white. 30And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah, 31who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. 32Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, but when they became fully awake they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. 33And as the men were parting from him, Peter said to Jesus, ‘Master, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah’—not knowing what he said. 34As he was saying these things, a cloud came and overshadowed them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. 35And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, ‘This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!’ 36And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and told no one in those days anything of what they had seen.”

As I read this passage today and heard it read during the morning sermon at church, one concept really stood out to me. Like the disciples, during Jesus’ prayer time, we often are exhausted, “heavy with sleep,” weigh down mentally, emotionally, and physically with all our cares. 

Of course, some physical rest is important for our well-being. Even God rested on the 7th day of Creation, in order to set an example for us. If we allow rest to take the priority in our lives, however, we will miss out on some of the most amazing things God has for us to witness. 

For these disciples, it was only when they were fully awake that they saw the glory of God and the amazing event that He wanted them to witness. Enjoy the rest God wants you to have in order to refresh your body, mind, and soul, but be diligent also – be fully awake, ready to see all that the Lord wishes to show you!

Jesus, the church, and leadership

  • Jesus is the head of the church.

Colossians 1:18 “Christ is also the head of the church, which is His body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So He is first in everything.”

  • The body (of Christ – the church) is made up of many parts.

1 Corinthians 12:12-14 “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all of its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body – whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free – and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but many.”

  • Leaders are to equip God’s people for service to build up one another in unity, knowledge, and maturity.

Ephesians 4:11-13 “So Christ Himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip His people for works of service, do that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”