Love And Obey

2 John 1:6
“This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.”

Scripture teaches, the most important of all graces is love. Jesus said it was the first of the commandments, the proof of our relationship with Him, and our most effective witnessing tool. Paul defined love in first Corinthians 13, and declared that love will outlast time. In our world, love is a very common subject, admittedly difficult to define. I think it is important we keep in mind, while the chief thing is love, the chief love, is love for God. John helps us to understand what love for God actually looks like.

“This is love, that we walk according to His commandments.”

Simply put, if we love God we will do what He says. This is not something John made up because it sounded good in a letter, but was a lesson he had learned from Jesus.

John 14:15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”

John 15:10 “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.”

The truest evidence of love is obedience. Sadly, we all know those who claim to have a passionate love for Christ, yet have no desire to do the things that please Him. That is the height of inconsistency. Love will always evidence itself by seeking to please the one loved. When my children were little, I would take them out to shop for birthday presents for their mother. They always ended up in the toy section and wanted to purchase her some sort of action hero. Because of their immaturity, they could only think of what would make them happy. As they have grown, I no longer make them buy gifts for mom, they choose to go out on their own, and purchase things that they know she will enjoy. In fact, it has become hard to outdo them, because they love their mom so much and want to give what will please her most.

What pleases God, is not great sacrifice, as much as simple obedience. When we read the Bible and do what it says, we are expressing a love much greater than ONLY singing praises, or declaring empty words.

1 Samuel 15:22 “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice…”

Pastor Jim

 

Give To The Lord 

Psalm 29:1-2
Give unto the Lord, O you mighty ones, Give unto the Lord glory and strength. Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name; Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.”

When Moses pleaded to see the Glory of God, the Lord responded by passing before him and revealing His nature. He declared Himself to be merciful and gracious. The word gracious speaks of the giving nature of God. It is His desire to give what is best to man. James, addressing a group of trial-ridden Christians, reminded them, since God is gracious, every good and perfect gift comes from Him (James 1:17). The message of the Bible has a whole lot more to do with what God gives us, than what we are to give to Him. Hosea reminded Israel of what God had done for them,

“I taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by their arms; but they did not know that I healed them. I drew them with gentle cords, with bands of love, and I was to them as those who take the yoke from their neck. I stooped and fed them.” Hosea 11:3-4

The message of the New Testament is no different. Jesus declared,

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

Paul commenting on the giving nature of God wrote,

“He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” Romans 8:32

When it comes to giving, God is all in. He has spared nothing. He even gave His only Son. That being said, David exhorts us to respond by giving back to the Lord. When we understand all that God has done for us, it becomes very natural for us to give back to Him. After all, what do you have that has not been given to you?

This makes me think of two questions. First, what is it that God desires from you? David reminds us, God wants glory. That is, He wants first place in your heart and life. He wants to be exalted to the highest place in your life and living. He also wants your strength. He desires your life be surrendered to Him, and your abilities given back as instruments of righteousness. One of the most amazing things about the Lord is, He can take any talent given back to Him and use it to further the Kingdom, and reserve heavenly treasures. The Bible is filled with people who took their gifts as writers, singers, musicians, cooks, doctors, hosts, artists… gave them to the Lord, and furthered the Kingdom. The second question is, what do you have to give back to the Lord today? You may have had some rough experiences in life, causing you to devalue yourself. May I remind you, that you matter to God. He loves you and wants to use you. Right now, offer your life to Him as a gift, for all He has done for you. Who knows what amazing things God has in store.

Pastor Jim

 

What’s In It For Me? 

Deuteronomy 32:9
“For the Lord’s portion is His people; 
Jacob is the place of His inheritance.”
 

I am sure we have all heard the phrase, “What’s in it for me?” In fact, in all likelihood we have probably used the phrase ourselves. We might ask this as it relates to an investment or work related opportunity. Some suggest, the most important principle in business marketing, is to be sure to let the consumer know what’s in it for them. When it comes to salvation, the answer includes, but is not limited too: forgiveness of sin, restored relationship with God, a transformed life, and the free gift of eternal life. Without doubt, we would be exercising the height of folly to fail to receive all that is offered to us through a relationship with Christ. 

 

That being said, Moses is focussing on the other side of “What’s in it for me?” He is referring to that which God gets out of the deal. Because we accepted Christ, we get Him, and in return He gets us. 

 

“For the Lord’s portion is His people;

Jacob is the place of His inheritance.”

 

God hand-selected Abraham, miraculously worked in his life by providing a son, put his protection upon the children of Israel, delivered them from Egyptian bondage, and carried them through their wilderness journey. As a result, they belonged to Him. They were His possession and His people. In the same way, Christ hung on Calvary’s cross, bore the weight of human sin, breathed His last, was laid in a cave, and rose from the dead, all to provide atonement for sin, and bring us into relationship with God. The result is, we belong to Him, we are in fact, His inheritance. The proper response is, we understand the great value He places upon each of us, and we seek to live all out for His glory and purposes. 

 

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

 

Pastor Jim