What God Has Been Teaching Me Lately XLIX (49)…
Greetings My Friends~
As a simple pilgrim following Jesus through the rainforests and deserts of this earthly life, I would like to humbly share some of what God has been bubbling up in my mind/heart lately.
I pray that these thoughts are cushions in your shoes, balm to your burns, umbrellas for the rain, and shade to the scorching heat as you too follow the Lord Jesus each day.
(February 16th–29th, 2016)
(please click on the Bible books/chapters/verses below to read the actual Scripture passages)
One of the great blessings of preaching from God’s Word
is to see so many faces looking down & reading the Bible during the sermon.
True Obedience To God
A. We’re to strive to obey God
not to earn His calling
but in response to His calling,
not to earn His love
but to thank Him for it.
B. We obey God
not to earn the job
but to do it well (hired by grace!);
not to earn the diploma
but to make the most of His free scholarship.
C. Obeying Jesus is loving Him (John 14:23).
Disobeying Jesus is more than not loving Him;
it’s loving someone/something else. Sin = spiritual adultery (Jeremiah 3:6-9).
D. Holy Spirit, please help us to walk on slippery slopes with Christ’s crampons:
help us love others without being universalists
& help us to be obedient without being legalists.
Thoughts & Actions
What we think is just as important as what we say & do—
indeed they’re connected!
Ephesians 5 has many external commands for Christians,
and the passage ends with an internal command in verse 19:
“Sing & make music in your heart to the Lord.”
The Purpose of Good Deeds
A. Jesus reveals the first purpose of our good works:
the worship of the Father & the spread of His fame;
Not others’ earthly benefit.
B. Even Jesus’ miracles,
which helped others’ earthly needs,
first had an eternal priority—
pointing others to saving faith in Him
(John 10:31-39, esp. verses 37-38).
C. It’s possible to honor others & dishonor God,
to love God & not make others happy.
Our danger is making the second greatest commandment the first.
D. First purpose of Jesus’ miracles—
not earthly help but eternal hope,
not to delay earthly death but deliver eternal life in Christ!
E. We’re in danger of missing our mission
when we only tell others about Jesus with our actions.
The NT Christians in Acts didnt do this—
they boldly proclaimed Christ with words!
(Please click HERE for these passages)
F. The woman was content
to have Jesus meet her earthly needs;
Jesus first desired to meet her eternal needs.
We must do the same.
We require grace from God & faith in God
to see ourselves soberly—
not too high or too low (Romans 12:3).
Seeing ourselves not thru a mirror or our feelings or our past
but thru Bible!
The Whole Truth
A. Doctors would lose their license
if they didn’t tell patients they have stage four cancer
because they didn’t want to hurt their feelings.
Same for pastors. Same for all Christians.
B. Christians must proclaim
the vileness of sin & the wrath of God
before the grace of Christ seems necessary/appealing.
Veggies always come before dessert,
sweat always comes before Gatorade.
(Please notice what Peter does in verse 36—boldly points out the people’s responsibility for Jesus’ death; notice then the people’s response in verse 37—realizing/agreeing with their guilt and asking what can be done about it, what can possibly save them now!; then notice Peter proclaiming God’s solution in verse 38—repent & be baptized into Christ by faith. YES!)
C. If we dont talk about sin & God’s wrath,
people will go to church just for some cosmetic surgery,
when what they (we all!) need is a total a heart transplant—
or theyll die forever.
(Please notice above that the Holy Spirit brought the Good News to sinners
through great power and deep conviction of sin)
D. Like stars at midnight,
the love & grace of Jesus are best seen
against the darkness of our sin.
But we want it to be noon & sunny always!
We want to put a positive spin on our negative sin!
E. God has VERY strong words & judgment
for those saying “peace” when there isnt peace,
for those saying “dont worry” when we should!
We must not give people false assurance by telling them that there is no hell…
F. If we don’t let Jesus lead us into the thorns of the terribleness of our sin
we won’t discover the roses of His amazing grace, love & Truth.
G. What a terrible temptation to “upgrade” Jesus & the Bible
to agree with us,
to only follow Him when He matches our opinions,
to make God in our image.
H. Holy Spirit–please give us grace to teach what is encouraging from the Bible
& give us guts to teach what may be excruciating from the Bible.
Do You Love Other Christians? ALL Of Them?
Some say, “I love Jesus, but not the Church.”
If we don’t learn to love the Church, we don’t love Jesus.
Do You Have Soul-Ray Vision?
Let’s be careful when we assume to know the heart-motive behind a person’s actions,
especially if we’re angry at the person.
please help me to read Your Word to know You,
not just to “get You off my back.”
Help me love You & others in order to honor You,
not just to calm my conscience.
David was clear that the LORD (not David!) would defeat Goliath,
yet the people sang David’s praises after the battle.
How quickly we worship anything but God.