Love is the Soul of the Christian

Love is the soul of the Christian religion,
and it is that which constitutes a real Christian.

Thomas Watson

Christian love is the greatest and yet seems to be the hardest and most elusive concept to understand many times. Have you ever felt that way to? Well, I believe the Bible gives us the greatest reason as to why that is, but sadly, many do not take the time to read or study the Bible.

Our open quote (to me anyway) is a simple, yet bold proclamation on what true Christian love should be, and the Bible agrees as well. First God has told the people of Israel in Deuteronomy 6:5, and then Jesus Himself repeats it in the Gospel of Matthew 22:37-38 as well as Mark 12:30, and Luke 10:27.

“And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment.”

My opinion is this. Since Many have Bibles and yet do not take the time to read, to study, to pray, to grow, many love God little if at all. Going to church x amount of days per week, listening to sermons, listening to Christian music, is great and all, but in those times are you hearing God speak to you, is He leading and guiding your life for His glory, or is this just our self-stamping approval that we are “in”?

This is God, and this is His commandment. You shall love the Lord your God! Not others first, not self first, not anything in this world, love the Lord your God! If we cannot get this right, then that means love for anything else with be out of alignment with our faith, and that is where many are today. So first and foremost that needs to be corrected, and that starts by giving up the things of this world to spend more time with Him. After all, if the end of the Christians life with be eternity in heaven worshiping Him, praising Him, having a relationship with Him, don’t you think it is a good idea to start now?

Now the next part gets to be a little controversial in the Christian circles,and again a reason why we need to be in God’s Word. Many people think that the 10 Commandments are not important to the Christians life, that they need to be modified, changed, antiquated, but this is God’s Word, and not only does He make the rules, but said what He meant and meant what He said, so much so in Matthew 5:18 “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”

You see, just like in Jesus’ time, people did not like to be under the law, it was a burdensome yoke, and it still is today. Many wonder why it still matters that we know and see the 10 Commandments so clearly and have them on our minds daily, and the answer is very simple, because we are; vile wretched sinful creatures who sin much each day, and the 10 Commandments (God’s laws) remind us of that all the time. Don’t believe me, let’s do a little test then, we’ll start with an easy one. Remember, this is between you and God.

  1. Have you ever told a lie?

Duh! We all have!

 2. Have you ever stole anything? (And just to clarify, stealing means ANYTHING that does not belong to you)

Ummmm. yeah, we all have!

 3. Have you EVER looked at anyone with lustful intentions? (I don’t really have to explain this one I hope!)

Of course, we are human after all!

Okay, so by my own admission (I cannot and will not speak for you, but I will give you a hint, the Bible already has) I am a lying, thief, who is an adulterous person at heart! And these are only THREE of the 10 Commandments. If your flesh and pride are saying that you do not agree as of yet, and God has not convicted you guilty, then maybe refresh yourself with the other 7. If it has been awhile since you have read your Bible, they can be found in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5.

We have become so self-centered, so worried about ourselves and little if at all about others, we want all the attention and love, and many have gone so far as to make themselves (a false) god. Many of the things I have said are proof positive that we DO NOT do as God command. He is not center of their life (if at all), they spend little time with Him (again if at all), and they do not truly love Him (if they did, the first to points would not exist). I think the great Puritan writer and Pastor Matthew Henry said it best in his commentary on Genesis (the fall of man that got us all into sin in the first place.)

“If sinners will but consider where they are, they will not rest till they return to God.”

Many of us give little to no thought where we are with God, and that my friends is a VERY dangerous place to be! Not only that, like Adam and Eve, that is EXACTLY where Satan wants you to be, separated from God! For if you do not belong to God, you belong to Satan, and He does NOT give up people from their bondage to sin that they may be God’s easily. That is why we need God all the more daily!

Many people might now be saying “yeah, well I…” and that proves right away where their focus and attention lies at, their focus is on what they have done, what they can do, and they want the credit (glory) for doing it, and guess what, that too is a sin! And all of these things and so much more is why Christ came to seek the lost, those who are (and still are) sick with sin, and those who have realized apart from God, there is no hope for them but eternal damnation in hell. This is why we need God’s grace and mercy!

Because we ARE so sinful! And until He gives us a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26 – And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.), You must be born again by the Holy Spirit (John 3), and the transforming of our minds and knowing God’s will (Romans 12:2) so that we are able to see with our eyes, hear with our ears and understand with our hearts, how sinful we are before a Holy (God’s first and highest attribute, without it there would be no pure law and justice), Righteous, Judging God, whose love is wrapped up in all who He is, and that He would grant us the ability to turn from our sins (repent) and put our faith in trust in Him and that we would be healed (spiritually); Mathew 13:14, Acts 28:26 both quoted from Isaiah 6:9-10. This is a brief nutshell is the Gospel.

There is so much more to say that is upon my heart, but I will leave you with this quote again from Matthew Henry

“Those who by sin have gone astray from God should seriously consider where they are; they are afar off from all good, in the midst of their enemies, in bondage to Satan, and in the high road to utter ruin.”

My prayer is that these words have not fallen upon deaf ears, have broken strongholds of Satans grips of sin on your soul, that it would give you much to think and pray about, so as the Bible commands in 2 Corinthians 13:5-6 “
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! 6 I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test.” And trust God and His Word, this is NOT one test that you want to fail! For the consequences are eternal!

#ToGodBeTheGlory

LET THE REDEEMED SAY SO

LET THE REDEEMED SAY SO

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. 18 But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for “Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.”

Romans 10:14-18

This has been upon my heart so much during these trying times of what the world is calling a pandemic and is using constantly and feeding daily reminders about what is being called the “new normal” and trying to get people conditioned and acclimated to what the world wants us to believe. If we are a logical and critical thinker, we would quickly deduce that the opposite of normal is not a “new normal”, like it is some sort of new soft drink, the opposite of normal is abnormal.

As I finished up reading the book of Revelation and know what one day (possible soon) will come, and a level of death that will be far far worse than what this pandemic has and will cause (for the death will be in the millions), the Gospel of Jesus Christ needs to be proclaimed more than ever today.

One of, if not the greatest and most important duties a Christian has, is that of proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So many new believers struggle with knowing what God’s will is for their lives, and this is the first thing we are to do is go and tell others the “Good News” which is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

So why is this duty of doing so important? Well, for one, not only as believers, but more importantly disciples of Jesus Christ, we are commanded to do so in Matthew 28:19-20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

The thing is however, we cannot do something that we ourselves do not know and understand, nor are we capable of doing something that we are not, and in doing so, could very well be in danger of hypocrisy!

How can that be, and why would I say such a thing! Let’s look at an analogy right quick. Say you had the money (represents the great gift of proclaiming the Gospel) and you used the gift to purchase a nice leer jet. Now if you have the money, they will sell you a jet even though you don’t know how to fly it. So you get your jet and then go around bragging about all of the wonderful places you will go, but you cannot fly the plane without a pilot (the Holy Spirit), and you yourself do not have a pilots license. Yet, you go around and tell people you are going to go, but never do. What good is it to have this wonderful gift and not be able to use it?

That is the same way with many so-called Christians. They do not go because of one of two reasons. 1) They are not truly saved, nor have they counted the cost of what it means to be a disciple, a follower of Jesus Christ.

2) They have not been trained! How can a person be expected to do something they themselves do not know how to do? Sadly, this is how many churches today leave their so called converts (believers in Christ) and to those churches, more numbers and more money in the offering plate is all that matters. They will one day be held accountable to what God has given them!

Now many of your might be mad by now, and that’s okay, but I am being honest. And unless you do not see the importance of people’s salvation, true repentant, faith saving, truth believing salvation of others, then I would say you are mad for the wrong reasons. I am not saying these things our of judgment and condemnation, rather out of love and great concern for those going to hell. For the confession that I too have not done as I ought to be doing all of the time, and know I WILL be held accountable just as those churches will be! Why? Because we are ONE BODY and ONE CHURCH!

Just to give you a rough idea of what we are facing in the TRUE spiritual pandemic, that of unsaved people, here are some quick eye opening statistics from last year. Now mind you, these are combined numbers, meaning what the writer is referring to as “religious” not necessarily Christian, for the grouped together Protestants, Catholics, Mormons, etc. but this is just for number effect. We are also going to use the old church saying of “20% of the people do 80% of the work.

In 2009, there were an estimated 233 MILLION “Christians” that means there should have been on average 46,600,000 Christians doing God’s will! Do you think they were? Can you imagine how the world we be today if they were! 10 years later, there is a rapid decline of those who no longer believe (and I contest that many were not truly converted to begin with) 13 million people have given up on their faith! This is 13 million more people that are potentially bound for hell, and that is not even including the millions of others who are definitely not even saved! This is why proclaiming the Gospel is so important!

Lastly, as we see in our opening scripture of how will people respond to a call they have not heard, and how can their hear without someone preaching or proclaiming? Do you remember the old movie scenes where someone (usually a child) was standing in the public square on top of something yelling “EXTRA EXTRA read all about it” followed by the latest news headlines? That is proclamation, and that is how we need to be about the Father’s Kingdom business, and is not only our duty for those who are saved, we have been elected to do so, and willingly, not reluctantly, all for the glory of God alone. This is one of the greatest signs that both shows the dying world that you are Christ’s, and are not ashamed!

#ToGodBeTheGlory

WE MUST ALL EXERCISE… BY FAITH

WE MUST ALL EXERCISE… BY FAITH

Happy Lord’s day everyone!

Daddy and I spent some our time in the Word this morning finishing up the Book of Hebrews, and spent much time in the commentary on Hebrews chapter 11. God graciously showed daddy the importance of faith; why we need it, why we must exercise it, why we must live in it, and how we can depend on it.

I am still a puppy, I love to play (exercise) and should do so in that I grow up to be strong and remain healthy. And so should you in your faith, and MANY Christians; are weak, fail, fallen, depressed, have no spiritual power or energy, and many other spiritual health issues, because of their faith!

Think of this analogy for a moment. Each new year passes and lots of people make resolutions, and one of the most popular ones is to lose weight for whatever reason. So say one day someone gives you a lifetime membership to the best health club in town, and it is all inclusive. You get all the workout equipment, you get free exercise drinks to help boost you, you get free massages to relax you or help and injuries, you get the works.

So one day you go check this place out and are absolutely amazed at this gift you have been given, and feel super blessed. In fact, you are so overwhelmed, you just stand there in awe for a long time taking it all in, and then eventually leave. Of what benefit did you receive from this gift by doing that?

So you got busy with things of the world, some time has passed by, maybe another year has rolled around to that same resolution, so you decide it’s time to go back to the club. This time however, you know what to expect, and go in with a different mindset and attitude. So you go in and just start going at what “you think” is your best way to workout, however, you have never worked out seriously in this kind of environment before, and suddenly you got hurt, so you leave and go home, probably swearing that you will never set foot in that club again. Did you still receive any benefits from your membership? No, and probably more bitterness, resentment, and lack of motivation to exercise at all.

So what does all of this have to do with faith? A LOT!

Does this analogy sound a lot like how many of us exercise our faith? C’mon, be honest with yourself, for God already knows. I know I was heavily convicted this morning as I read the 11th chapter of Hebrews and Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary along with it. This Lord’s day, if you are not going to church anywhere, or after you are done with online church, I HIGHLY encourage you to read both Hebrews chapter 11 and Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the chapter.

Remember these important things as you do. Why? Because maybe you have forgotten, maybe you never understood to begin with, maybe you truly never believed!

Matthew 27:51 – And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split.

This tearing down of the veil is both so symbolic and specific for the believer. As many of you know (but may have forgotten) the veil in the Old Testament separated not only the people from God at the ark of the covenant, but more specifically, a Great High Priest who could only enter the holy of hollies, and once a year at that. But Christ being the greater high priest, the name above ever name, fulfilled what human priests could not and were not meant to do, thereby tearing the veil in two, we now have direct access to the Great High Priest, who sits at the right hand of the Father Interceding on our behalf, by this faith given to us as a gift.

In case you don’t get to the commentary, I want to give you a few nuggets to whet your appetite and to encourage you to do so more this day, and that going forward your faith will continue to be strengthened. All of these are taken directly from Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

“Faith was the principle of their holy obedience, remarkable services, and patient sufferings.”

“We cannot come to God, unless we believe that he is what he has revealed himself to be in the Scripture. Those who would find God, must seek him with all their heart.”

“If heirs of Abraham’s faith, we shall obey and go forth, though not knowing what may befall us; and we shall be found in the way of duty, looking for the performance of God’s promises.”

“All true believers desire the heavenly inheritance; and the stronger faith is, the more fervent those desires will be.”

There is so much more that I could go into, and I will stop here for now before this turns into a mini novel. There are also two resources I found this morning that I pray you will also use in your daily devotional and prayer times (this is where many of us need to increase our time in worship, adoration, and prayer) and He will strengthen us.

Scripture promises and prayers

The Book Of Bible Promises – George Mueller

Summing this up, faith given by God is one of the greatest gifts given the Christian, and was not meant to be pushed aside or squandered, as this is the lifeline and hope to the things above in heaven. This is a part of our many duties unto Him who gave us His Son, Jesus Christ, who shed His blood for the remission of sin. This should cause us to lay aside the things of this world, and to exercise daily in faith. Many of us fear the things of this world because we do not know from day to day what may come, even death. But this faith hoped for, the things not seen, are secured in the Godhead who promised us so much (please see the PDF’s in this article for more), we can trust and count on them to do all things possible, and NEVER fail!

Let us then pray continually for the increase of our faith, that we may follow these bright examples, and be, with them, at length made perfect in holiness and happiness, and shine like the sun in the kingdom of our Father for evermore. – Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

#ToGodBeTheGlory

A NEW HEART AND A NEW SPIRIT

A NEW HEART AND A NEW SPIRIT

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A New Heart and a New Spirit

Over the years of being a Christian and realizing more and more that we have nothing to do with our salvation, I have read many such scriptures, but by far, my favorite is Ezekiel 36:26-27.

Although it was a scripture for a particular people in a particular time, it also comes with a future promise for when the Holy Spirit is poured out among believer in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. Ezekiel 36:26-27

Here is the commentary from Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on 2 Corinthians 3:1-11 – The law of Christ was written in their hearts, and the love of Christ shed abroad there. Nor was it written in tables of stone, as the law of God given to Moses, but on the fleshy (not fleshly, as fleshliness denotes sensuality) tables of the heart, Ezekiel 36:26.

Their hearts were humbled and softened to receive this impression, by the new-creating power of the Holy Spirit. He ascribes all the glory to God. And remember, as our whole dependence is upon the Lord, so the whole glory belongs to him alone. The letter killeth: the letter of the law is the ministration of death; and if we rest only in the letter of the gospel, we shall not be the better for so doing: but the Holy Spirit gives life spiritual, and life eternal.

(my observations) Notice the commentator says the law of Christ. This is the very one an same law that was given to the children of Israel through Moses. Note, it was the law of the Jew to obey, not the Gentile, for no man can truly obey nor fulfill the law, that is why God fulfilled His own law in the flesh of man through the God-man, Jesus Christ the Son. Matthew 5:17-18 – Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. However, we are still not off scott free, for we are to obey the law in love, love for God and love for our neighbor, and that is fully dependent on God the Holy Spirit that dwells and gives each true believer to be a Christ following Christian. We also see the response of Christ Himself when He responds to the question meant to trip Him up when the lawyer asks Him (Christ) both “What must I do” to inherit eternal life and who is my neighbor. Luke 10:27 – And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Especially see Paul’s references to love in Romans 8:4, 13:8, 13:10

The commentator does a wonderful job when he says their hearts were humbled and softened to receive this impression, but he also stops short of what that impression is. I can only assume since the prophet Ezekiel was preaching and admonishing a very hard-hearted, sinful, rebellious people (the children of Israel), Ezekiel is pointing out Israels sins against a Holy, Righteous, Judging God, whose wrath against sin has been storing up for many years. When we look in the context of modern day society, cannot the same be said of us who are the gentiles the Bible always speaks of? Imagine if you will if we only had half of a Bible, half a counsel of God, one where Israel had not yet rejected the Gospel of Salvation unto Christ and the law was to be kept. There would be no need of the Apostle Paul to write about the gentiles being grafted in in most of Romans the 11th chapter. Not only that, there would be no hope for you and I for eternity in heaven! Nothing but condemnation of hell for eternity! Romans 8:1-2 says “here is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” You and I would still be held accountable to the holding of the Ten Commandments each and every day. You and I would be held to obeying over 600 laws, animal sacrifices, going to the temple, etc. Christ came to fulfill all of those parts of the law, and we are set free in liberty to love Him for doing so, and to show love to our neighbors as well, by sharing the Gospel on what Christ has done for sinners. To show mercy to us who have been shown mercy, to be graceful to others as we have been shown grace.

These are the things the commentator sums up when he said And, which is conjoining the coming thought to the previous thought. This is a two part deal, one of which you cannot have part A without part B and vice versa. Our WHOLE dependence is upon the Lord. The Lord ALWAYS means a complete single in one person, yet three distinct persons each complementing one another in all things, and in all times. So it is the Holy Spirit, the person of God Himself, who is omniscient (all knowing), omnipotent (having unlimited power, able to do all things), and omnipresence (meaning God is and can be everywhere at the same time, AND is the only one who can).

This is summation and the culmination of the Gospel of Christ. The Word of God in law only is ineffective against stoney hard hearts, and is the very reason and purpose for the Gospel given, rich in grace and mercy. It is the Gospel that shows us the mirror of God’s law that we are completely and utterly incapable of keeping, and cannot save ourselves. The proud say their is no hell, no judgment, therefore I worry not and can save myself. Unfortunately, the will find out the truth and full counsel of God the hard way. It is only by the preaching of the Word of God in boldness and power that will go forth when we do so to glorify Him and whom He would save, and not anything we say or do. Even when we speak as I am now, it is in full dependence of God’s Word going forth. If it was not for me being saved, I would not care if others were, and sadly many who profess to be a Bible believing, born again, Holy Spirit filled, Christ following Christian, do exactly just that! They do not fully and completely love their neighbors as themselves. Sure, they may watch their house while the other is on vacation, borrow each others tools, stand at the fence-line talking about the recent big game or other worldly event, but they speak nothing of Christ or glorifying Him!

The Old Testament dispensation was the ministration of death, but the New Testament of life. The law made known sin, and the wrath and curse of God; it showed us a God above us, and a God against us; but the gospel makes known grace, and Emmanuel, God with us. Therein the righteousness of God by faith is revealed; and this shows us that the just shall live by his faith; this makes known the grace and mercy of God through Jesus Christ, for obtaining the forgiveness of sins and eternal life. The gospel so much exceeds the law in glory, that it eclipses the glory of the legal dispensation. But even the New Testament will be a killing letter, if shown as a mere system or form, and without dependence on God the Holy Spirit, to give it a quickening power.

#ToGodBeTheGlory

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