God hates sin, all sins, but He loved sinners enough to send His Son to die for us. And not just die, but to be crucified cruelly and mocked publicly. This is His example to us of how much we should love others, not just family and friends, but also strangers and enemies. The people that Paul was writing to at this time were those who gave of their resources to others who had needs and also gave to support Paul in his missionary work so that he could meet the spiritual needs of others and spread the gospel. How do we show our love for Jesus? By being obedient and helping those in need. Not just physical needs by giving of our resources, which we should do, but also giving of our time in caring for those with spiritual and emotional needs. A smile, a handshake, a hug, a word in season, a minute listening are all gifts that we can give each other and they are often much more appreciated than any monetary gift that we could give. These gifts we can give over and over since they don’t affect our budgets. So, we can do more and more. We need to be very careful of how we spend the time God has given us. The majority of our time should be spent in doing those things that will win the respect of outsiders and build up the Kingdom of God. By making it a habit to do these things, we will soon find that it is our heart’s desire to do them more and more. Not only will we receive a great blessing here and now, but we will also be laying up treasures in heaven.
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. — Matt. 6:19-21 NIV
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Hebrews, Chapter 11, is known as the great faith chapter. It lists those that are in God’s Hall of Fame for the Faithful. We must stay grounded in the Word and continue to ask God to make us more faithful. Our prayer should be like the cry of the Father of the boy possessed by a demon. He said, “I do believe, but help me over come my unbelief” (Mark 9:24). Unbelief or no faith is the sin that caused Jesus to die on the cross for us. All of our sins are just outward expressions of our unbelief. We fear because we do not believe that God can and will take care of us. Over and over in the Bible, God tells us “do not fear”, yet, we fear anyway. He tells us “do not worry” about physical needs, yet we spend a lot of time stressing out over whether we will have enough of this or that. Think about this: “If we can’t trust God to provide the little things, how can we possibly believe that He can save our soul”? What part of “do not” do we not understand? When Jesus, while on the cross, said “It is finished”, He was serious. Our part is to “seek you first the Kingdom of God and all its righteousness”….. The rest of that verse (Matt. 6:33) is God’s business and He is always faithful to take care of His business.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Jesus seems to be saying to Peter, mind your own business. Your duty is to follow me, not to be overly concerned about what others are doing. That is good advice for us in today’s world as well. We need to stay focused on Jesus and not those around us. Yes, we need to respect those that are in spiritual authority over us, but we are not to make them idols. Sooner or later, the flesh will fail, but Jesus never has failed and He never will fail. What we need to do is accept Jesus as Lord of our life, obey His commands, follow His example and do what He has called and gifted us to do in His Kingdom. If we stay faithful in doing that, we will have little, if any, time to criticize and judge our brothers and sisters. Doing this means we cannot and do not accept blindly the words of others. We must make sure they are aligned with the Holy Scriptures. 20 Do not scoff at prophecies, 21 but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. 22 Stay away from every kind of evil.–1 Thess. 5:20-22 (NLT)
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. — James 1:19-21 NIV
Do works save us? Certainly not!
8 For it is by grace you have been saved,through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. — Eph. 2:8, 9
Then why are works important? If we look back at the Great Commission that Jesus gave us in Matt. 28:18-20, we find that He tells us to do more than just get people to confess their sins. Jesus commands us to “go and make disciples.” What is a disciple? Webster defines “disciple” in this way:
someone who accepts and helps to spread the teachings of a famous person
One can be a Christian without actually being a disciple. You can accept Jesus as your Savior and go on with your lifestyle pretty much unchanged (I don’t know how that is possible, but some claim to be able to do so). But a true disciple follows after his chosen leader, uses His life as an example to follow, spreads His doctrines and teachings and encourages others to do the same. Those who are disciples of sect leaders and worldly religions take the idea of being a disciple much more serious than a lot of us Christians. Some of them take it so far as to be considered “militant” in their actions. Their actions are governed by anger and hate and wrong teachings. Our actions are governed by love, but that just means that we have to be kinder in spreading the Gospel of Jesus, not less active or effective. We have a message of perfect love and freedom, which is what the world really desires. We have the Holy Spirit inside us and working with us using the same resurrection power that raised Jesus from the dead. If we are obedient to Jesus’s words that we should “make disciples” then we will “be about our Father’s business”. That requires us to do the same works that Jesus did when He was here on earth. As Christians, we are not called to be spectators but, rather to be participators, in the work. Why did God give us the gift of being saved by grace through faith?
8 For it is by grace you have been saved,through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – Eph. 2:10 (emphasis mine)
I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world.11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolateror slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people. 12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”—1 Cor. 5:9-13 NIV
Paul is not suggesting that we never associate with worldly people whose lives are controlled by their fleshly desires. Just as Jesus said, we “are in the world but not of the world”. We hold ourselves to different standards. We are not to think of ourselves as “better than” nor are we to think of ourselves as “holier than” anyone. What we are to do is to separate ourselves from our Christian brothers and sisters who have chosen to live unholy lifestyles. We are as Paul puts it to “expel the wicked person from among you.” This seems harsh to us. We had rather hide behind verses such as “judge not lest you be judged” and “pull the plank out of your own eye before you point out the toothpick in your brother’s eye”. (my paraphrase) We must keep the Temple of Christ clean and holy. 1 Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.—2 Cor. 7:1 NIV