We might think it strange that the woman is concerned about where is the proper place to worship, but in her time and situation, it was a very important issue. Under the law, there were specific feasts and celebrations that could only be carried out in Jerusalem. She wanted to know how this would affect her worship. So, if we wanted to update this issue to now, we might ask Jesus, “How is this going to affect my lifestyle?” Jesus answers her question by introducing a whole new concept. The time is coming and it is actually here now that you will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. After Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension, He sent us the Holy Spirit, Now that we have the Holy Spirit abiding in us, we can worship God anywhere and anytime. This is true for individual worship. The answer for corporate worship is a little more complicated.
24 Let us think about each other and help each other to show love and do good deeds. 25 You should not stay away from the church meetings, as some are doing, but you should meet together and encourage each other. Do this even more as you see the day coming.—Hebrews 10:24-25 (NCV)
The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
When we accept Jesus, each of us receives Life and Light at that very moment. From that moment on, we have access to all of the Light. However, we need more knowledge and understanding of God’s Word to be able to access more Light. None of us mature in God’s Word at the same rate because we have different levels of learning abilities. Also, some of us spend a lot more time in God’s Word than others so, there are different levels of knowledge and faith. Those that receive more Light have a greater responsibility to encourage and teach others. No gift from God is to be used to belittle or ridicule another person’s level of understanding. God gives the gifts to be used for His glory and the edification of the Church. How each of us interprets the Scriptures depends, to a certain extent, on our upbringing and our own personal life experiences. But, all of us receive enough Light to fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ, regardless of our denominations or doctrines. We should never use our share of the Light to illuminate faults in others. This only causes confusion in the Church and allows outsiders to find fault with our Lord and Savior. Our obligation is to use the amount of Light we have to dispel darkness where God has planted us. Use your Light as a beacon to bring others to Jesus.
If we are going to encourage one another, then we need to pray for each other and also we need to pray together. We need to meet with other Christians on a regular basis. Worshiping and praising God together is a great way to encourage each other. If we fail to communicate with other Christians on a regular basis, we tend to become discouraged in our walk with God. One of satan’s tactics is to separate us from each other. He uses the same tactics as animals that are predators. They separate one of the prey from the herd and it is much easier for them to kill the one they have separated. After all, satan is a “roaring lion” seeking those he can destroy. We must work together and be accountable to God and each other so that we don’t go on sinning. It is a good idea to have someone you respect and trust to be accountable to on a weekly basis. Just knowing that you are going to have to tell someone everything you did this week will help you to overcome temptations.
The very moment that we repent and turn to Jesus for salvation, we are saved. Don’t let anyone deceive you, if you died the very moment you accepted Jesus, you would go to heaven. But for us who live, we are continually being saved as long as we walk on this earth in these tents of flesh. We are looking for the day when we will be completely saved. That is our hope and His appearance is what we are waiting for. God has given us His Spirit to train us to live godly lives so we can live self-controlled, moral lives today. Jesus died to cleanse us from all sin and make us a special people for His glory.However, you are chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, people who belong to God. You were chosen to tell about the excellent qualities of God, who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
1 Peter 2:9 (GW)This is our belief and our hope. We are called to stand firm, encourage and correct others. If they choose to ignore our words, they are ignoring God’s words and they do so at their own peril.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Paul instructs and encourages us to pray for all people continuously. We should intercede for family, friends, neighbors, and enemies that God would draw them to Himself through the Holy Spirit that they may be saved. We should especially pray for those in authority over us. Not just governmental authorities, but we should also pray for those in authority over us in our family, church, and workplace. Because it is God’s desire for everyone to be saved, it should also be our desire and our prayer. Jesus is the only Mediator between us and God because He loved us enough to be obedient, even to death on the Cross. This plan was put into place before the foundations of the world were laid. God was never surprised at the evil of humanity and knew even when He created us that He would have to give His only Son for our redemption. How magnificent and awesome is the love of God toward us! Our lips should be a source of constant praise for His goodness and mercy!
Paul warns the new converts about idle minds and idle hands. We should show others the love of Jesus Christ by being a good example to them. Paul worked as a tentmaker to buy his own food. He admonishes us to always be a help and not a burden to those around us. We should encourage each other in doing good deeds and helping unbelievers. If there are those among us who are unable to work either permanently or temporarily, we need to help provide their needs. Jesus tell us that when we do this for others here on earth, it is the same as doing it for Him. We should always be working for our Lord and Savior. James tells us:
17 Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.-James 4:17 (NKJV)
When we see a need, we need to meet that need to the best of our ability. Doing good works here on earth is how we lay up rewards in heaven.
We live in a society that could very easily be described by these verses. People follow their own desires and look for religions and worship centers that confirm their way of life. They do not want to be accountable to anyone. That is why the Name of Jesus upsets them. They don’t want to hear about relationships because having a relationship with someone requires us to know them and be accountable to them. So, the world rejects truth and chases after all the “feel good” religions that pop up. But we are to be clear about our beliefs and stand fast on the Word of God, never wavering. Yes, we will criticized and despised by the world. So was Jesus and He said we (the created) could expect the same treatment that He (the Creator) received. Nevertheless. we are to be “steadfast and immovable” in our faithfulness to Jesus Christ.
God sent John the Baptist as a forerunner of Jesus. The purpose and plan for John’s life was to tell the world about the Light that was coming. John understood and accepted his mission wholeheartedly. John spent his life in the wilderness living on locusts and honey, witnessing to those who came out to hear him. He was not the Light but was a witness that the Light was coming. John was so effective in his work that Jesus called him “the greatest man who ever lived”
Yet, Jesus said “even the least person in the Kingdom of God is greater than he is”. How can this be that we could be greater than John the Baptist who lived his life for and ultimately gave his life for Jesus? The word “greater” here is used in the same sense that the word “greater” is used when Jesus said that we would do even “greater” works than Jesus did when He walked here on the earth. It is not meant to demean or lessen the value of the work that John and Jesus did, but to emphasize the greatness of the Kingdom of God itself. It is not written to give us illusions of grandeur or self-importance, but to encourage us to work for the Kingdom of God. It is not as individual Christians that we are greater or can do greater works but it is our inclusion in the Kingdom of God that is emphasized as being of utmost importance. So, the work we do for the expansion of the Kingdom of God is greater in importance than anything that we do that the world considers great or important. If we are to be “greater” then we must finish the work that John started. John was the forerunner, Jesus was the reason and we are the witnesses for this and future generations. We are here as Light and Life to a dark and dying world. So, we should be beacons and alarms that speak the words of Life to those around us wherever we are and whenever we can. There is no “greater” work to be done.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous“
23 “As for me, I will certainly not sin against the Lord by ending my prayers for you. And I will continue to teach you what is good and right. 24 But be sure to fear the Lord and faithfully serve him. Think of all the wonderful things he has done for you. 25 But if you continue to sin, you and your king will be swept away.”
— 1 Samuel 12: 23-25 NLT
I would like to urge and encourage each of us to keep on praying for our nation. Pray that our current leaders will lead us in paths of righteousness so that we can return to being “one nation” instead of a nation divided by greed, selfishness and ethnic differences. Pray that we will stop being Americans separated by hyphens. That we will all just be Americans. A nation divided cannot stand. Pray that the voters will be led by the Holy Spirit and vote for those that will continue to lead us back to God. Pray that there will be a great renewal that starts in each of our hearts and spreads throughout our communities and our country. Let each of us remember the many great blessings that God has poured out on this country and teach those things to future generations. If we refuse to humble ourselves before God, as individuals and as a nation, we and our country will be swept away. Pray that God will be merciful to us just as He was to the Israelis.
44 You will know that I am the Lord, O people of Israel, when I have honored my name by treating you mercifully in spite of your wickedness. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!” — Ezekiel 20:44
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Oh, to be more like Moses, to come to the full realization that the only thing that makes a Christian different from the world is the presence of God in our lives. Without God, we are nothing and can accomplish nothing of eternal value, with God, we can do all things. Moses refused to rush ahead, even refused to move unless he could be sure the presence of God was with Him. A great lesson that we need to learn to survive in this hectic, chaotic society based on instant gratification. We need to learn to wait on God. Not wait as in sitting in our easy chair, but wait as a military guard waits at his post. Wait with purpose and vigilance, defending our post from intruders. A guard is well-trained to defend the home front and to protect those at his position. He has read the manual more than once, knows who and what to look for and what questions to ask. Are we prepared? Have we read our manual? Do we know the enemy? Are we prepared to defend our faith? Can we explain to others why our God is the only true and living God and why the name of Jesus is the only name in heaven and on earth by which a man can be saved? The Holy Spirit, through Paul, charges us to always be ready to give an answer.
1 I solemnly urge you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who will someday judge the living and the dead when he comes to set up his Kingdom: 2 Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching. — 2 Timothy 4:1, 2 NLT
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous