Col 3:23 “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men”. As we begin the New Year I have three words that we should take to heart: accountable, answerable, and awardable. These three words should aid in motivating us to truly live “heartily (with all our soul) as to the Lord, and not unto men.” We each need to grasp our accountableness before God. God owns all the heavens, the earth and all that is in them (Psa. 24:1, Col 1:16-17). We are simply the stewards, and the caretaker of our lives as well as our actions. We must hold ourselves accountable to do all for God, since we each will give an answer to God for our lives. This is why “whatsoever ye do” is to be done “as to the Lord.” It will be God who gives out the eternal rewards, not man. Will you receive an award? If so, what will the award be? Will it be an award of punishment, or will be a grand award? It will depend upon how you live. “Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men” in 2018 and beyond. Have blessed New Year serving the Lord Jesus.
Pr 11:10-11, “When it goeth well with the righteous, the city rejoiceth: and when the wicked perish, there is shouting. By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted: but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked.” We can see the reality of these two principles today! First principle: The righteous build while the wicked tear down. The righteous have quality character due to because of their relationship with Christ. Although those character qualities are not always perfect. we do see the manifestation of hard work to build community with a sense of loyalty, dependability, trustworthiness, promises kept, commitment, persistence, and strong devotion to God. In contrast, the wicked reveal their character in laziness as they tear down the community with destruction speech, fake news (which are lies), rebellion, treachery, fickleness, falsehood, deception, and scamming. Second principle: the righteous rejoice while the wicked do not rejoice. As the righteous build they are content and joyful, but while the wicked rip apart community. they are not happy, nor do they have joy even when they are successful. The righteous live contently as they work hard to build the community (1Tim 6:6), while the wicked (ungodly) knows no contentment as they live in laziness service and provide lips service with destructive speech and name calling as they destroy communities (1Tim. 6:4). It is no wonder “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn” (Prov. 29:2). “The people mourn” includes both the wicked and the righteous. Therefore, never, never give up, grab God’s promises, and go forth in love to build the community well.
Heb 13:15, “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” The questions becomes what is the “sacrifice of praise?” We know the results of the sacrifice of praise which is the fruitful life living in a deep, heartfelt thanks of Christ –“the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” Yet how does one find (arrive) at such an elevated purposeful living of continual thanks in Christ? What is the cost “to offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually?” The cost is not animals nor is it things, but it is your surrendered heart in a trusting, loving fellowship with God. God knows the greatest benefits are the best. They can only be received through true heart worships of God in Christ Jesus. Only then are the great eternal benefits of life such as love, joy, peace, and fulfillment richly lived. Then you will know the benefits, for you will naturally respond with “the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name,” the name above all names, the Lord Jesus Christ. Don’t miss out on the true, blessed life in Christ.
John 11:25, “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” Jesus stated the truth, carried out the truth and lived the truth. First Jesus speak clearly and precisely the resurrection truth. When Jesus comes, we find that Martha is weeping, because her brother Lazarus died, and she goes to meet Jesus to partially blames Jesus for her brother’s death “… Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died” (John 11:21). Jesus response by telling her “…Thy brother shall rise again” (John 11:23). Martha questions Jesus truth of the resurrection, or one could say, half believes the truth. Then Jesus emphatically states “…I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.”(John 11:25). Second we notice Jesus carries out the truth for all those who believe Him After more discsuion Jesus tells them to take away the stone from the grave and says “Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.
And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me … Lazarus, come forth” (John 11:41-43). Then Lazarus came forth from the grave (John 11:44). We should also note, not only did Jesus state He is the resurrection, and carried out the resurrection, but Jesus Christ lives the resurrection. Jesus is “the resurrection and the life” as Jesus “… was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures (1Co 15:4). Anyone who “… heareth my (Christ’s) word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24). Why continue to walk among the walking dead, when you can walk with the one who is “the resurrection and life” now, and for eternity. Have a blessed Resurrection Day!
Rom. 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Receiving a gift is a privilege not a right. Likewise salvation in Christ is a privilege not a right. God has offered the privileged to us all, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men” (Titus 2:11). Yet, not all will accept the privileged gift. What is the gift? The gift is Jesus Christ. His payment for all your “wages of sins” is demanded. Unless you allow Christ to pay your “wages of sin” you will be held personally accountable to pay for your own sins in death for all eternity. How does one accept this gift? One accepts God’s gift by admitting their need of payment for sin and trusting Jesus to pay the payment of sin in full. Yet one must realize there is much more to the gift of God than redemption. There is also the removal of blindness of spiritual sight in knowing, understanding, and comprehending the Word of God to live life well (1 Cor. 2:6-14). There is also the ability to grasp emotions which spin out of control (Matt. 11:29-30). There are as well deep, dynamic relationships opened unto you which cannot be held nor enjoyed outside the gift of God (Ps. 27:19, Rom. 5:8, John 15:13, James 2:23). There is true satisfaction and fulfillment of life which cannot be had outside the Gift of God (Col. 2:10). God’s gift of Christ not only provides eternal life, but also that which is needed to overcome the struggles of life as a victor and conquer regardless of the sorrows they face (Rom 8:28-39). The gift of God through Jesus Christ is the most awesome Gift one can receive, yet one must truly humble themself to receive it, and then continue in this humility to enjoy it. This is why few have the gift, and even fewer enjoy the bountiful unlimited riches therein. Do you have this gift? Are you enjoying this eternal gift of God?
Isaiah 45:22, “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.” Let us begin with “look unto me.” Here we have an exclusive look. One cannot look anywhere else than to Jesus Christ. The Hebrew word which is translated “look” in the English literally means turn your heading unto me or change your direction unto me. It is not a mere glance, but a steady look in which your heart, mind and soul, and body have turned to step out and follow where the eyes have been fixed upon the Lord Jesus. Hebrews 9:28b tells us, “unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” Scripture is clear only Jesus Christ can provide eternal life, for Jesus is the way to heaven (John 10:9; 11:25). Look again at the first part of Isaiah 45:22, “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth.…” Not only is Jesus the way to be saved, but the way to be saved is open to any and all who will look. All are included in the phrase “all the ends of the earth.” Salvation is inclusive (available to all) those who will fix their gaze (heart, soul, mind and body) upon Christ. Notice the same truth is stated in the New Testament, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men” (Tit 2:11). Finally, look again at the last phrase of Isaiah 45:22, “and there is none else.” This phrase is repeated five times in chapter 45 of Isaiah. The Lord is telling us there is no other way to live life. There is no truth except Christ, and there is no other life worth living other than living for, with, and in Jesus Christ (John 14:6). The road of salvation is limited, yet the road of salvation is open to all who will place life’s trust in Jesus Christ’s hands. Wow! What are you waiting for? Look unto Jesus Christ, be saved, and live the life you were meant to live now and for all eternity.
Jeremiah. 9:23-24, “Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.” The summing up of these two verses may be accomplished with the phrase “unending loyalty to Christ, the Lord and Savior.” There is a difference between those who speak of loyalty and those who live with loyalty to God. Those who live loyalty boast or “glory” in Christ, not in self. Those who live the loyalty of God have incorporated three characteristics: “lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness” of God. The word “lovingkindness” is rooted in the idea of loyalty. It may be translated as “steadfast love,” which is the kind of love that will lay down one’s life for another (John 15:13). The word “judgment” is the Hebrew word for justice. “Judgment” conveys the idea of right choice making or correct decisions made regardless of consequences to self. The third characteristic is “righteousness.” Righteousness is not just right actions, but being right according to God’s holy standard and values, not man’s. None of these characteristics may be had or lived without Jesus Christ (John 3:16-18, 14:6), for they are only obtained through faith in the work of Christ. These three characteristic may only be lived by continuous, active, living faith/trust in Christ. As noted in the verse, these three characteristics are live out not by self, but by the power of Christ as one personally grows to know Him greater. Is God delighted with you and your living? If not turn to Christ and surrender to living the Word (Rom, 2:4, 11:29, 12:1-2, Gal. 2:16, Eph. 5:26, 2Cor. 7:9, Titus 3:5-6).
Heb 6:12, “That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” The beauty of God’s Word is that it is not only inspiring, but also transforming. Here God calls us to imitate or be “followers” of the Godly (“them.”) Yet we must be careful and only imitate that which is true godliness. In order to accomplish this, one cannot be “slothful,” for they will not know who or what to imitate and will end up with a heart of deficiency with a lack of receptivity to God’s truth. The Greek word “slothful” means one with deficiency of heart who is lacking the motive to learn and grow. Being slothful is being lazy towards profoundly learning God’s Word. It is the laziness of the heart which cause dullness toward the truth and receptiveness of His truth, thereby, accepting that which sounds good and feels good, rather than that which is actually righteous. Slothfulness does not look beyond the outward appearance of actions or traditions, while true imitation digs deeply and searches steadily into the depth of living “faith” and active “patience.” Living Faith is the rock-solid trust of continuing to learn, know, and grow in Jesus Christ, while active patience is the strengthening of the inner soul to deal with the overwhelming, hurtful costs and even deeper, various struggles of heart. The who and what of Living Faith and active patience are what we are to be imitators or “followers” of. In so doing we will live the inherit promises of God. So what are you watching and following? The difference will be seen in your example being set as others view you living life.
Rev. 22:21, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” Grace (a gift) is never deserved. Grace is never earned. Grace never demands or forces others to give grace. When others demand to receive grace, which is a gift, it is no longer grace. When grace becomes an obligation, it ceases to be grace and becomes slavery in which the freedom therein is lost. God gives grace, the gift of eternal life, through Jesus Christ, yet He never forces us to receive grace. Also, He in His grace (gift giving) never forces us to pass it on, for it would not be grace (a gift). So what is in your heart? Is it grace or is it the selfishness of demands? Have your freely received the grace, the gift of eternal life in Christ? If so, then “… the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” (Rom. 5:5b). The gift of eternal life cannot be demanded or earned, it can only be freely received by grace and then freely passed on, as it was given to you by grace. So I ask again what is in your heart?
Mr. 12:10, “And have ye not read this scripture; The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner:” One might ask who is the corner stone being rejected? If one does not like the question of who, one can ask the question of What? It is the same answer. Scripture tells us “Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone” (Eph. 4:20). Scripture also tells us Jesus Christ is “the truth, the way, and the life:” (John 14:6). And the Scripture tells us “truth and grace came by Christ “ (1John 1:17). Where Christ is truth can be found and where truth is rejected, twisted, even slightly changed or simply covered over, you find Jesus Christ rejected. The truth is there is no truth without Christ. Scripture tells us “God be true, but every man a liar”. Therefore, why use media sources, or some person’s article as your truth source? Why not let Christ be your corner stone, for the cornerstone you use will be what your life is built on. When storms of life come those who build upon the rock (Jesus Christ) will stand, and those who build upon the sand (the lie) will fall (Matt. 7:24-27). So the real question is are you building on a chief corner stone (Christ), or the sand (the lie)?