We are saved by grace through faith, nothing else is required for salvation. That faith produces love and hope. Love because Jesus loved us enough to die for each one of us and His love shines through us to draw others to Himself. It produces hope in a world where there is no other hope. The death and resurrection of Jesus assures us that we will not have to go through the wrath that is coming. We are saved from an eternity of punishment and saved to an eternity of living together with Jesus. When we repented, we received Jesus as our Savior. He not only wants to be our Savior but, He wants to be Lord of our lives as well. This is necessary so that we allow Him to change us into His image. While salvation is instant, being changed is a lifelong process called sanctification. We are “set apart” to become holy. A part of this process is words and works that are worthy of the calling to be holy. So, as Paul says here, we should encourage and build each other up. We should also be doing the same things that Jesus did while He was here. This shows others that we believe in Jesus Christ and are committed to following His example.
12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. — John 14:12-14 NIV
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else”
11 Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. 13 All God’s people here send their greetings. 14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. — 2 Cor. 13:11-14 NIV
Rejoice! Isn’t it amazing that after all Paul has gone through and was still going through at this time, that he could say rejoice? Through all the persecutions, beatings, attempts on his life and bearing the burden of wayward people in the churches he had established, Paul was still rejoicing and encouraging others to continue in faithfulness. One of our highest priorities as Christians should be to pray for and encourage others. Compared to what Paul went through and what our brothers and sisters in other countries are going through today, anything we have to suffer through is certainly “a light affliction”. Yet, some of us are so focused on our own problems that we walk around like Eeyore in Winnie the Pooh thinking “Woe is me.”. All of us need more encouragement and more reminding of who we are in Christ Jesus. We need to “zoom out” on our lives and look at the whole panorama that God has given us. The more time we spend focused on Jesus and others, the less time we will have to focus on our own issues. When we take time to fellowship with the Holy Spirit, we find that our spirits are lifted and we can truly rejoice.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.– Phil. 4:4-7
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
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“