“Your Loving Friendship”

6 They have told the church here of your loving friendship. Please continue providing for such teachers in a manner that pleases God. – 3 John 6 NLT

3 John 2-8 NLT

Because we have been commanded to love each other, we should always show concern and compassion for others. We are instructed in Paul’s letters to support those who minister to us. This includes our local pastor as well as other ministries where God directs us to help. But we should never just give randomly, but pray about it and ask for discernment. Giving money to unfruitful ministries would not show good stewardship with the finances God has entrusted to us. Remember that Jesus was supported by others and sent his disciples out without even a change of clothes. A good Pastor is worth all that we can afford to pay him.. He is God’s anointed and has been appointed to shepherd us. We should show our love for God and for our pastors by supporting them, not just with money, but with prayers, encouragement and helping out wherever we can physically.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

“This Is Not A New Commandment”

5 I am writing to remind you, dear friends,[c] that we should love one another. This is not a new commandment, but one we have had from the beginning. – 2 John 1:5 NLT

2 John 1:5-9 NLT

From the beginning, God based His plan on showing us love and teaching us how to love. We are commanded to love each other. Then God showed us the greatest example of love by giving His only Son to redeem us from sin. Jesus said that all of the law and the prophets were hinged on two commandments–“Love the Lord your God…. and love your neighbor as yourself”. Then over and over throughout the Scriptures we are reminded to love each other. We are also told that perfect love keeps us from fearing others and other things. The kind of love that God wants us to learn is love that expects nothing in return. God wants us to be like Him and love like He loves. If we follow the love chain throughout the scriptures, we can only come to one conclusion, “God is Love”. Christians should be like good hash browns, served smothered and covered with love and scattered among the people.​

John 15:9-13 NLT

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

“This Is Real Love.”

10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. – 1 John 4:10 NLT

Real Love

​As long as we live in the flesh, we will not have the capability to love like God loves us. But, over and over, in the Scriptures, God instructs us to love Him first and most of all and then to love our neighbors as ourselves. God gave up His only Son to redeem us. Jesus gave up all His glory in heaven, came to earth to walk among us in the flesh and submitted Himself to death on a cross to demonstrate His love for us. This was while we were still sinners and separated from Him. Not many of us will be asked to give up our physical life for Christ, so how do we demonstrate our love for Jesus? We do that by giving up our rights, putting Jesus first, others second, and ourselves last. This is the example that Jesus set for His disciples then and for us now.

29 And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then—Matt. 19:29-30 (NLT)

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

“…Our Love Grows More Perfect.”

17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. – 1 John 4:17a NLT

Perfect Love

Perfect Love!! That is our goal, this is what the Holy Spirit is wanting to teach us each day. If we could achieve perfect love, we would have no fear. Instead of looking forward to tomorrow with fears and worries, we would rest in Jesus, knowing that He is in control and everything is going to be okay. Over 365 times in the Scriptures, in one form or the other, we are told not to fear. Yet, we fear so many things in our lives and the sad part is that very few of those things are under our control anyway. There is no way we can change another person, so we fear their rejection. We worry about our health, our finances, our families, etc. All these worries and fears are from satan. Fear is the opposite of faith and is therefore sin. If we spent more of our time loving and thanking God, we would find our worries and fears disappearing. “God inhabits the praises of His people”. If we want to feel God close to us, then let’s spend time praising Him.

The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

“…The Sins of All the World.”

 2 He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.-1 John 2:2 NLT

1 John 2:1-2 NLT

The plan of salvation and redemption was laid out before the foundations of the world were laid.

19 Rather, the payment that freed you was the precious blood of Christ, the lamb with no defects or imperfections. 20 He is the lamb who was known long ago before the world existed, but for your good he became publicly known in the last period of time. 21 Through him you believe in God who brought Christ back to life and gave him glory. So your faith and confidence are in God.–1 Peter 1:19-21 (GW)

Jesus having fulfilled His mission here on earth now stands at the right hand of the Father interceding for us. We are hidden in Christ and He abides in us. No amount of service or money could ever pay this debt. No amount of worship or adoration by mankind can ever match the marvelous love, mercy and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Humbly bow before Him now and thank Him! Praise Him and give Him glory forever!

23 My lips will sing with joy when I make music to praise you. My soul, which you have rescued, also will sing joyfully.—Psalm 71:23 (GW)

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

“Respect Everyone…”

17 Respect everyone, and love the family of believers. Fear God, and respect the king.– 1 Peter 2:17 NLT

1 Peter 2:13 -17 NLT

As Christians, we are to follow all the laws of our land as long as they are not immoral or cause us to deny our faith. When we are speeding down the expressway and we see a cop, we get a little nervous, and we should. The law enforcement officers are agents of the government to punish us when we do wrong. But that same action should cause us, as Christians, to be ashamed because we have dishonored our Father. We should live the kind of lifestyle that pleases our Father and then we won’t need to be fearful or ashamed. Outsiders will not be able to speak evil of our Lord because of what we have done. The world watches us closely to see if our walk is up to our talk. If it isn’t, we cause others to shy away from Christianity instead of wanting to be a part of God’s family. We should never use our liberty and freedom in Christ to hurt others. We must respect and love others. If we fear God, we will respect all those He has raised up in authority over us. For us, as Christians, it is completely possible to value all human beings without embracing their values.

The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

“You Must Show Sincere Love…”

22 You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart.​ – 1 Peter 1:22 NLT

1 Peter 1:22-25 NLT

The only way we can show our love for Jesus is by showing that love to others. Before we were cleansed from our sins, we only knew how to love the way the world loves. When we showed our love we expected love in return, it was a conditional love. I will love you if you love me. I will do things for you if you will do things for me in return. That is not the way Jesus loves us. His love is unconditional. He always loves us regardless of what we do or whether we ever return that love to Him. That is deep, heartfelt love. It is an eternal love that cannot be destroyed because its foundation is the love of Jesus Christ. Physically, we will all pass away unless the Lord comes back before that happens. Just as we see plants wither away every year, so will our physical bodies, but the love of Jesus and His Word are eternal. We have received and believed that Word, so we will be raised again to enjoy eternal life and love with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. While we wait, let us show sincere love for each other, not only in our words, but in our actions​.

Mark 12:29-31 NLT

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

“What Good Does That Do?”

16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?– James 2:16 NLT

James 2:14-17 NLT

We know that we are saved “by grace through faith, not by works, lest any man should boast”. We also know that everything we receive while we are here on earth is a free gift from God. So, what is the purpose of “good works” and why are they important? Well, there are at least two good reasons and probably more if you want to break them down. The first is this; now, that we are Christians, Jesus is our example and He went about doing good works.

38 And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.–Acts 10:38 (NLT)

The second reason is this; doing good works here on earth is how we store our rewards or treasures in heaven.

20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.–Matt 6:20-21 (NLT)

If we do good works for these two reasons, it will keep our hearts and minds focused on Jesus and our final reward of living an eternity with Him. If we focus on that, it will make the burdens lighter and we can walk the path with joy and thanksgiving in our hearts and a song of praise on our lips!

The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

“Obey the Royal Law…”

8 Yes indeed, it is good when you obey the royal law as found in the Scriptures: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” – James 2:8 NLT

James 2:5-9 NLT

We are all familiar with the commandment that Jesus called the second most important commandment. We believe it, but how do we walk that out in our everyday lives? How do we show the world around us that we love Jesus and that we love them? Of course, we can see those in need physically, financially and materially. We should always fulfill those needs as much as we possibly can. But what about those with spiritual needs? If our neighbor had a deadly disease and we had the cure, would we withhold it? Yet, there are those in our families, our circle of friends, and in our neighborhood, who have a deadly disease called sin.

15 Your desire grows inside you until it results in sin. Then the sin grows bigger and bigger and finally ends in death–James 1:15 (ERV) 

We have the cure for that disease, why don’t we share it with everyone who has not accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior? Remember, we were once infected with that disease and someone shared the cure with us. “Go and do likewise”.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

“An Attitude of Personal Favoritism…”

1 My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism. – James 2:1 NASB 

James 2:1-4 NLT

We must be careful not to make quick judgments and choices based on how someone looks or the price of the clothes they wear. God created each of us in His image and has a plan and a purpose for each of us. We must learn to look at people as God sees them.

7 But the Lord told Samuel, “Don’t look at his appearance or how tall he is, because I have rejected him. God does not see as humans see​.​ Humans look at outward appearances, but the Lord looks into the heart.”  –1 Samuel 16:7 (GW)

Of course, we can’t actually see into their hearts. So, what we must learn to do is withhold our opinions of them until we get to know them. Until then, we should not show favoritism to one person over another. We must also remember that whatever standards we use to judge and form our opinions of others are the same standards that will be used to judge us.​

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous