14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, [d]why do you compel Gentiles to live as [e]Jews? – Gal. 2:14 NKJV
Paul continues his crusade to help people to understand the freedom they now have since Jesus fulfilled the law. New converts then and now are not compelled to travel to Jerusalem and make sacrifices each year nor are we expected to meet any requirements of the law. We are required to love the Lord, our God, with all our heart, strength, mind and body. If we do this, we will see changes in our lifestyle. Not because of some written laws but because the love of God constrains us. We respond to the love of God. It is His love for us that keeps us.
2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.–Hebrews 12:2 (NASB)
6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.—Philippians 1:6 (NASB)
Our focus is not to be on requiring others to take communion as often as we do or if they worship more reverently or loudly than we do (I could go on but you get the picture). We should be focused on making disciples that obey Jesus because they love Him, not in making clones that worship and/or serve like we do.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
27 For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory. — Colossians 1:27 NLT
Just as Jesus suffered, we, His followers must also suffer. All the disciples and early followers of Jesus were persecuted. Christ is still suffering through His body, the church. Just as Paul was given special work to do in revealing the message of God to the Gentiles, God has given each of us a work to do in revealing His plan to those that are placed in our paths each day. The secret is not that Jesus would come as the Messiah; it wasn’t that Jesus would die on the cross, be buried and be resurrected after 3 days. Then He would ascend into heaven to remain in God’s presence interceding for us. All these things were prophesied and well-known. The secret was that He would abide in those who believed on Him. His Holy Spirit would dwell in us all the time. He ascended, yet He is here living in each of us, giving all believers that hope of eternal glory. This is what we are to teach in order to bring each Christian into maturity in Christ Jesus. Just as the Creator suffered, so will we suffer as we are faithful to spread the Good News. We will struggle, but we have access to the strength and power that resurrected Jesus from the dead. We are never alone.
11 In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us. — Col. 3:11 NLT
God’s Holy Spirit abides in us and we abide in Christ. We are now filled with and fully clothed by God Himself. Therefore, we have access to the same attributes as Christ Jesus Himself. Just as we accepted God’s Gift of salvation, we can accept (access) His attributes or we can use our own vain imaginations. The question is this: What thoughts are we going to allow to control our words and actions? “Wrong” or “right” thinking, that is the question. Will we continue to let our old fleshly nature control our thoughts and actions or will we allow the Holy Spirit to do His work in us? Will we allow Him to teach us and guide us into all truth? Will we allow Him to sanctify us on a daily basis? The flesh says “no” so we must put to death the flesh and follow after the Spirit. Jesus wants to be Lord over every area of our lives, not just part. The journey begins when we accept Jesus as our Savior and continues until we meet our Savior. It is onward and upward and it gets sweeter every day.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Just as God had set Paul apart to be the apostle to the Gentiles, He has a plan for each of us. That plan has been in place since before the earth was created. Besides Ananias, Paul did not consult with other Christians until he had spent time in the Arabian desert. How long he stayed in the desert is unknown, but he returned to Damascus and preached there for three years. Then he went to Jerusalem to spend time with Peter (Cephas). Besides what God had imparted to Paul through the Holy Spirit, he was able to talk about Jesus with Peter. That would be a conversation worth listening to. It is also a good example for us to follow. We need to spend time alone with God and then we need a mature Christian to mentor us. We need both to become what God wants us to be. We need to choose carefully and not let just anyone speak into our spiritual lives. After making a careful choice of who that person or persons will be, we still need to verify every word by the WORD.
1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.–1 John 4:1 (NASB)
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
“There is only one God”, the great “I AM that I AM”, Yahweh. Yahweh is the third person form of the Hebrew root word, haya. It actually could be translated as “I am present with you”. God has been with us in one way or another ever since He created us. No religion can make that claim about the god they serve regardless of what name they call their deity. We come to know our God through Jesus Christ. We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus said there is only one way to the Father and that was through Him. Jesus also said that to know Him was to know the Father as well. John 14:6, 7 NLT The Holy Spirit calls all of us regardless of what we may call ourselves here on earth. He calls us to come to Jesus, accept Jesus and become one of the family of God. Once we have done this, the Holy Spirit abides within us. Though we sometimes may feel lonely because of a lack of being with those we love, we can never truly be alone again. We are a new creation, we have a new family and we have a new friend who is with us constantly. This new friend is unique in many ways. He is really three friends in one. He is our Father, our Brother and our constant Companion. If we allow Him to do so, He can fill every void in our heart.
10 “Once you had no identity as a people;
now you are God’s people.
Once you received no mercy;
now you have received God’s mercy.”
11 Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. 12 Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.—1 Peter 2:10-12 (NLT)
Before we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we were just one in a mass of people. Now that we have accepted Him and because of God’s great mercy, we have been adopted into a family, the family of God. We now bear the name of Christ and our conduct should reflect our new identity. Just as a newborn baby is automatically a citizen of the country into which they are born, so are we citizens of heaven the very moment we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior. The baby has all the rights and privileges afforded by that citizenship even though he/she is unable to take advantage of them at that moment. The same is true of a newborn babe in Christ Jesus. We have all the rights and privileges afforded the citizens of heaven. We are “citizens with the saints” . 19 So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family.–Eph. 2:19 (NLT)
There is no waiting! We have all the rights of a citizen of heaven now! We need to walk carefully and be alert at all times because we do not want to embarrass our new family. We must be careful of the things we do and say so that outsiders will have no reason to speak negatively about our Lord and Savior. Our honorable behavior brings glory to God and his body, the Church.