Tag Archives: Christian life

Don’t Be A Sloth

Hebrews 6:10-12

10 For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

11 And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:

12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Christianity is not for the lazy. Once we accept the sacrifice that Jesus Gave to us, we have work to do.  It is not a time to just sit back and enjoy His salvation until He returns.  An easy chair is no way to heaven.  Rather, it is more like a treadmill that we are on, always working to bring others to Christ. Our work done unto the Lord, but it affects the lives of the saints and the unsaved as we are showing the hope that is within us every day.  I mean every minute of every day.  What are people seeing in you?

How do we do this work and labor of love that Paul talks about here? In many ways, it is very simple, but in other ways it is very difficult.  Here are so many scriptures that point us in the direction God wants us to travel that I cannot possibly cover them all here in this short space, and I won’t even try.  But I am led to highlight some of them, by no means in any order of importance, except maybe in my own mind as they are brought back by the Holy Spirit.  I ask you to examine your own lives as I examine mine to see if you are doing this work that Christ has asked us to do for Him.

To me, the very best place to start is the Sermon on the Mount.  His masterpiece of a speech lays out the attitude and actions it takes much better than I could ever hope to write.  First of all   there are what I like the “Be A Christian Attitudes”, which we commonly call the beatitudes.  He attributes listed here seem to have gotten lost on the church in general, and taken too far by others.  There is no middle ground it seems.  Yet to follow Christ is to follow all of them and have all of these attitudes daily: poor in spirit, mourners, meek, hungry and thirsty for righteousness, poor in heart, peacemakers, persecuted for Christ’ sake.  I wish I had time to discuss all of these attitudes we should have with you today, but I do not.  Hey are in order of preference to the Lord in my opinion – one need to be put on top of the other and cannot stand without the others in place. In other words, if we are trying to be peacemakers, but have not first become poor in spirit, we will fail.  Humility comes first in everything we do as Christians, We should never, absolutely never be high-minded, proud, boastful or full of ourselves.  The quest is to be full of Christ!  As John the Baptists so rightfully out it “I must decrease, He must increase.”  There is no way to live a truly Christian life without humility.

We next read we should be the salt of the earth and the light of the words, We should have a righteousness that exceeds the pharisees (religious leaders of the day), we should make things right with our brother before we offer our offerings to the Lord, agree with our adversary (don’t hold a grudge), don’t lust after women (or men), we should not divorce except for adultery, we should not promise anything we cannot keep, turn the other cheek, love your enemy.  All this in just the first 1/3 of the speech (Matthew Chapter 5).  Can any of us say that we accomplish all these things on a regular basis?  Because Jesus says if we do these things, we will be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect!  And notice particularly that all of these things have to do with our relationship [ with others, only a few deal with our relationship with God!  He puts our relationship with our fellow human beings in the forefront here, and He has only started.

Chapter 6 tells us to pray quietly and not boastful, and he teaches us a pattern of prayer, and a prayer, that we should utilize when praying.  He tells us we must forgive others or we will not be forgiven.  He tells us we should fast, that we should not lay up treasures on this earth, but treasures in heaven.  He tells us that God will take care of us if we will just put His kingdom first in our daily search through life, and He says we should not worry about tomorrow.  Chapter 7 goes on to say we should not judge one another, that we should Ask, Seek and Knock and that our heavenly Father will give us what we need.  He tells us to stay on the straight path and enter the narrow gate and that we should bring forth good fruit (Fruit of the Spirit).  He tells us that not all who say Lord, lord will enter heaven, but only those who do the will of the Father.  And finally, He tells us to build our house on the rock!

The Sermon on the mount is probably the most profound speech ever given and bears our study over and over again.  I did a study of this section of this speech between June 22, 2018 and January 19, 2019 right here in this blog.  I wish I could link you to it, but that would be way too many links.  If you feel so inclined, you might want to go back and read through some of it.  I know it opened my eyes to what God is asking here, and it can change your whole perspective if you will take the time to really study His words, not the words of someone else.  Not even mine!  It is moist important for our Christian walk that we understand the concepts in the Sermon on the mount above all else.

Here are some other verses that come to mind when talking about the way we should be witnesses to others.  Ephesians 4:29 – speak grace at all times.  Philippians 2:14 – don’t grumble or dispute.  1 Thess 5:18-22 – Rejoice evermore, pray without ceasing, give thanks in everything, don’t quench the spirit, don’t despise prophesy, prove all things, hold fast to good thing, abstain from all appearance of evil.  Philippians 4:6 – Be anxious for nothing.  Philippians 4:11 – Be content in every situation.  James 1:2 – Rejoice in your trials. Philippians 2:3 – esteem others better than yourself.  The list goes on and on! Are there any of us that can say we fulfill all these decrees?  I certainly don’t.  I have a lot to learn.  I strive to do these things at every opportunity, and that is my ministry, my work, my labor of love to the Lord. All of these character traits and attitudes speak much more volume than our words do, and are essential in our witness, especially if we are to carry out the Golden Rule.  After all, who would not want these things not displayed to them?

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On To Perfection

Hebrews 6:1-3

 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,

Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.

And this will we do, if God permit.

These three verses are very intriguing to me.  They remind me of building a house in a way.  First, a solid foundation, then a perfect structure to live in, all if we can just get the building permit.  There is a lesson here that many Christians don’t embrace too frequently, or at least I don’t.  You see, in this life we have to put verse 3 at the beginning of this group of verses, in my opinion.  “If God permits.”  God will permit us to do all kinds of thigs.  The word permit means to allow to do, or entrust.  Does God allow us to do the wrong thing sometimes?  Sure, He does.  Does he allow calamity to come into our lives?  Sure, He does.  Does He allow cancer or death or heart problems to creep into our lives?  Sure, He does.  If you do not believe this, you do not think God is in control.  God allows things in our lives that don’t necessarily seem to lead us to that perfection that He calls us to.  But each thing He allows into our lives is a building block to the next stage of our lives.

The other definition of permit is to entrust.  What has God entrusted to you?  To some He has entrusted riches and material possessions.  So far, He has not entrusted these things to me.  To some, He has given a stage on which to preach the gospel, either in this nation or around the world.  He has not entrusted this to me at this stage of my life.  To others He gives the ability to be great leaders and motivators, but not to me.  Should I feel slighted by God because He has not entrusted me with these things?  Heaven forbid!  I should rejoice with those that rejoice and be thrilled and grateful for what He has entrusted to me.  A wonderful family, plenty of work to do with my hands and my mind, the gift of being a Psalmist for Him, write His songs.  He has given me the ability to sing, to speak coherently, to lead in some places and to be a devoted worker.

God has allowed some things and entrusted others in my life.  That is the beauty of our individuality!  We all have a different calling, different circles of influence, different abilities and different gifts.  What a boring world this would be if we were all the same.  In each of these cases, we have the ability to show Christ to others, which should be the main emphasis of our lives.  We have not been put on this earth to exalt ourselves, but to exalt Him!  Every gift and talent He has given us is designed to do just that – exalt Him.  And we all do that in different ways, and that’s OK.  Don’t worry and complain about what He has entrusted or allowed in someone else’s life!  Be the best you can be, and do the best you can do with what He has allowed and entrusted into your life.  We are all ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and are command to preach the word! (2 Timothy 4:2).

You might say “Well, I am no preacher.”  Yes, you are, and yes, you have that ability.  To preach is to publicly proclaim or teach, or to earnestly advocate.  Each one of us, in our own unique way, have the ability to do this and the audience to share the message with.  Some might do it with words, others with actions, but we are all called to preach, teach, instruct, exhort, rebuke and exhort others (2 Timothy 3:16-17).  We all have a different role to fill, and God has chosen each one of us because of the people we are surrounded with.  He knows our circles of influence, and He has put us there to make a difference. Everything in our lives up to this very minute has put us in a position to share His grace and mercy with others.   The good things, the bad things, the wonderful things, the awful things.  These are the things that make us unique, and give us the awesome job of sharing those things with others in order to point them to Christ.

There is only one way to get to this place where we understand that even the bad things that come our way are parts of the structure God is building us into.  When Paul says move on from these basic core doctrines of the Gospel, he is not telling them to ignore them all together.  Rather, he is telling us to utilize the preaching of the Gospel to show people how Christ wants them to live life!  We can stand here and talk about these six things all we want (foundation of repentance from dead works, faith toward God, the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment), but if it does not lead us to a closer walk with Him, or lead others to a walk that is worthy of Him (Roman 12:1), then our talk is in vain.  Leading people in a way that helps them understand that their life is in His hands is most important.  All of us have to come to the understanding that each tiny event, and every big event in our lives, is orchestrated by God to bring us closer to Him.  Nothing is by chance, or just because of circumstances.  God is in control all the time, every time.

THis is how we come to perfection in God.  It is not necessarily that we are perfect, but we understand that God is perfect and He is working perfection into our lives.  I could spend a long time on this, but all we have to do is read James 1:2-4 to hear the explanation of this truth. In essence, it says that we should be glad when trials come our way because then our faith is tested. When our faith is tested, we gain patience, and patience will lead us to perfection.  In short, our trials and troubles are God’s perfecting agents!  Perfection in God is coming to that place where, no matter what the circumstance, we have full confidence that God is in the middle of it, walking with us.  Perfection is knowing everything we go through and have in life is there to make us better witnesses for Him.  Perfection is not memorizing the scriptures and addresses, it is not having a vast amount of knowledge, it is not found in all that we have.  Perfection is found in how much we are settled in Christ, how content we are, where we are.

Have you moved on to perfection?  Have you come to the place where nothing seems to bother you in this life?  Are you walking with Him, and witnessing His grace to others, in the middle of your storm?  If so, Praise the Lord!  Give Him glory!  If not, it’s time to move on from the place where you are to the place where He wants you to be.  Move on to this perfection that can be found only in Him.  Not the perfection the world says we need to have, but the perfection that God has ordained for us.

A perfection that has troubles, tests, faults and discouragements, yet still trusts in His grace and mercy. A perfection that does not grumble, complain, boast, become jealous or greedy, or expect too much of others.  A perfection that is content to live with what God has allowed and entrusted in our live.  This is God’s perfection!