Tag Archives: Love

Maintain Good Works

Titus 3:8

This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.

We use to sing a song that said “We’ll work ‘til Jesus comes.” The sentiment of the song was that we needed to be busy about the Father’s business right up until the time the trumpet sounded His return.  Right up until we were caught up to meet Him in the air.  It seems to me that today people want to sit back and wait until He comes.  They want to study and study and study the word, but not do the word.  They sit with their commentaries and concordances and multiple translations to pick out key verses linking Revelation, Daniel and Ezekiel all to try and figure out exactly what is going to happen and when.  They listen to teaching by David Jeremiah and get the prophecy bible of John Hagee so they can claim to have a handle on the prophetic end of the age.  They are all wrapped up in what is to come and forget about the day at hand.  All the while, what Jesus wants is for us to work until he comes.

Why is it so important to know what Heaven will be like?  Why must we know when He is going to come?  Shouldn’t our every day be lived as if it were our last?  Shouldn’t our lives reflect His love every moment of every day?  Yes, Paul told us to study to show ourselves approved unto God, but James said the faith without works is dead.  We can study and learn and quote scripture (with the address of course) all we want.  But if we are not going about doing the Father’s business, we are not doing what we are supposed to.  We are not living the word.  James told us to be doers of the word, and not hearers only.  Here, Paul tells us that we must affirm constantly that we are careful to maintain good works.  Constantly.  In the NIV, this verse says to affirm confidently.  A rarely used word, it means to be emphatic until the end, to se it all the way through.  That tells me that I must be sure I am doing good works all the way through my life.

I am not writing to condemn, but to admonish.  Isn’t it time the church start to do what the church is supposed to do?  The church was not a social experiment.  It was not designed to feed the full, but the hungry.  It was not designed to give solace to the well, but to heal the sick and broken.  It was not designed to have million-dollar budgets to operate, but to distribute the money of the rich to help the poor.  I’m not saying that we should be a socialistic nation as some are saying this would be a scriptural society. What I do believe is that the church should be socialist in a way.  The New Testament church described in the first few chapters of Acts acted as a group of people who took care of each other’s needs.  They did not give because they were promised it would be returned pressed down, shaken together and running over.  They gave to help each other by having a common pool through which to bless the members.  The apostles were charged with distributing to the necessity of the saints (Romans 12:13).  This same verse also says they were given to hospitality.  They actually had group meals and fed each other regardless of social status.

In today’s society this would be quite a church.  A mechanic who works on people’s cars in the church and does not charge.  A plumber who will help someone without fee in an emergency.  A snow remover taking care of a church member who does not have the ability or the means to get his snow removed.  Doing whatever we can to help each other.  Giving all we can to help each other and not holding back.  Look at what happened to Ananias and Saphira!  They both died because they did not give what they said they were giving.  They only gave part of what they had the ability to give.  I am guilty of that quite often.  What else can I do for God’s kingdom?  I’m not talking here about witnessing and sharing the Gospel, although that is a piece of our works. Some people are more gifted with that ability than others, and it is important that we share the word whenever we are given opportunity.  I am talking about our ministry to the needs of others.  The needs they have today, not what might come tomorrow.  Today is what counts to these people.  Right now they need a touch from God, and I believe God wants that touch to come from us.  We are His workmanship, created for good works (Ephesians 2:10).  Some translations use the word masterpiece instead of workmanship.  I love being thought of as a masterpiece, but a masterpiece that does not do what is intended to do is of no use.  It will wit collecting dust.

Jesus said that He had to be do His Fathers business (Luke 2:49).  We must do the same.  By now you are probably saying “Okay Pete.  We get the message.  Please tell us what we are supposed to do!”  I’ll be happy to.  Don’t think for a minute that I have all this down pat.  I have a long ay to go to be able to ay I am doing the Father’s business all the time.  But I always try to do my best when a situation presents itself.  And I am not going to get into a long diatribe of what each thing is, nor will I supply a comprehensive list.  But I will give you some food for thought which will lead to action, I hope.  I am just going to give a few scriptures that tell us what we should be doing.

First, Let’s look at Luke 4:18-19 (or Isaiah 61:1-2).  18The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,  19To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.  Jesus said this was His mission.  Is this not ours as well?  Jesus places the Holy Spirit within us when we are born again, soi the Spirit is upon us.  We don’t do these things, the Spirit within us does.  But we should be praying these things for others all the time, and proclaiming the year of the Lord.

Next, I take you to Matthew 6:14-15.  14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:  15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.  We are not to bear grudges or keep anger inside us.  We are to forgive and put the matter behind us.  This is a hard work but it is a very good work.  Do you have someone you need to forgive?  I suggest you do it quickly and constantly!

Now, Matthew 7:12   12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”  Jesus said it was all summed up in this verse.  Treat others like you would want to be treated.  Very simple, yet so profound.  If only we would all live like this every day.

I could actually just take the whole Sermon on the Mount.  It is full of ways we can do good work.  But I will move on to a few other places.

Ephesians 4:29 says 29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”  Do I speak grace at every occasion, or do I fall into the trap of being angry, or complaining, or grumbling?  Another verse that coincides is Philippians 2:16 “Doall things without grumbling or complaining.” Oh my!  How many of us follow this sage piece of advice?

Then there is Romans 12:6-21.  I am not about to put this whole section of scripture into this blog, but I will give you a snapshot of the good work that can come out of following these words.  Prophecy, ministry, teaching, exhortation, giving, showing mercy, show love that is pure, hate evil, not slothful in business, bless them which bless you, rejoice with them that rejoice and weep with those that weep, live in peace with all, don’t take vengeance, treat everyone equally, don’t be conceited, don’t return evil for evil but overcome evil with good,

That’s a mouthful! All of these things out to be a part of our lives.  They ought to reflect who we are as children of God.  I could use a good dose of many of these things in my life how about you?  I think a majority of the time we think of good works as doing something tangible and we stop at that.  But how many of the things on this list are intangible?  It’s the attitude of the heart that is the greatest work of all.  We can give, attend, lead, socialize and do deeds all we want, but if we don’t get these things down right, we miss the mark.  Which brings us to the greatest work we can do – Love.

1 Corinthians 13:1-8a.  “13 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Charity never faileth

Do this, and you’ve done good work!

Sound Doctrine for Men (Part 2)

Titus 2:1-2

But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:

That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience

We are in the middle of a discussion on sound doctrine and the first three pieces of advice were covered in my last post.  Being sober, grave and temperate means that we are serious about bringing mercy and grace into another person’s life.  It does not mean we can’t ever be light-hearted or make a well-placed joke or two that adds to our point.  In fact, laughter is a help in getting a point across.  But we must not get out of control with jokes, or anecdotes, or conspiracy theories, or anything that takes away from the gospel.  Unfortunately, the church is going in all different directions, and not just toward the cross any more.  These are serious times that demand serious answers.  Being sober, grave and temperate are ways to talk with sound doctrine that will help us get through these difficult times, I have heard some call for insurrection of our government for what they are doing now.  I think the Romans ere much worse in Jesus’ day, yet He never called for insurrection, but prayer and loyalty.  Walk 2 miles, give him your cloak also, pray for your enemies.  These are His commands.  We must take on the humble attitude of sobriety, be grave in our conversation and temperate in our attitude.

Sound in Faith.  What exactly does that mean?  Isn’t faith, faith?  Isn’t it the substance of things hooped for and the evidence of things not seen?  What does Paul mean when he says sound doctrine is sound in faith?  I am not sure of the exact answer, but I know what it means to me.  It means that we take the whole body of scripture as it applies to faith.  I hear these name-it, claim-it preachers all the time.  Claim it – it’s yours.  Claim your healing!  Claim your prosperity! Claim your deliverance!  Never mind that I have asthma that is acting up, that my finances are shot and that I am steeped in debt.  Claim it now!  God owes it to you because His word says if you ask you shall receive, and when two or three agree He will do it, or if you have faith as a mustard seed, you can ask anything.  He owes it to you now.

I think not.  God does not owe me anything.  Nothing.  He has given me air in my lungs, hands to type this message, eyes to see the keyboard, ears to hear the phone ring if it does, and so much more day after day after day.  He doesn’t owe me anything at all.  If I ask, He will bring it about, but in His time, and that might not be the same as my time.  And He might answer differently than what we think He will.  The answer is not always what we think it is.  Do you think Gideon wanted to fight the Midianites with only 300 men?  Do you think Samson wanted to wait until he was blind to defeat the Philistines?  Do you think Jonah wanted to be eaten by a big fish?  God answers in mysterious ways, but His answer is always the right one, and His timing is always perfect.  Be sound in your faith by trusting God to complete the work he started in you with each situation that comes into your life.  Everything has a purpose if we let Him work it out.

Sound In Charity.  We all know this word charity speaks of love. How to be sound in the doctrine of love is really simple.  Just read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a.  This little portion of pure gold by Paul tells us more about the kind of love we should have than anything else in the whole Bible.  The sound doctrine of love suffers long, is kind, does not envy, is not prideful, does not act unethically or immorally, doesn’t look out for itself before looking out for others, is not made angry easily, thinks no evil of anyone else, does not rejoice in wrong doing, but rejoices in the truth.  If that is not enough It bears all things that people may say or do because it believes all things will work out for the best and it has high hopes that all will come out well so that it endures any hardship that might come.  It never fails.  Never fails.  Never fails.

I asked someone once how I could possibly fulfill this definition of life, and he said that I could not in myself.  It is only through Christ that I can come close to fulfilling this doctrine of love.  This definition is the supreme height of love, and anything lower or lesser than this is not sound doctrine.  Every day, I must weigh my decisions out based on these principles, because I am supposed to love my neighbor as myself, and this is the kind of love I should have toward my neighbor and toward myself!  This is being sound in love.

Sound in Patience.  As I said in my last post, I love that Paul put this last, like it is the closing on a speech that wraps up the thought.  Sound doctrine must be drowned in patience.  James tells us that when patience has its prefect work in us, we will be perfect and entire, wanting nothing!  Patience perfects us through our trials, whether they be with other people with ourselves, with our government or our job or our children.  But patience is one of our biggest stumbling-locks because we don’t want to wait on God.  We want it when we think we need it.  We want that person to change their ways to suit our timetable.  We are an imperfect people, that’s for sure. Much of it is due to the fact that we lack patience.

In the list of the fruit of the Spirit, we out a lot of stock in the first three things listed – love, joy and peace.  But have you noticed that patience (long-suffering) is fourth on the list and is probably one of the ones we least want to possess?  That’s because we equate learning patience with trials, and we don’t want to go through trials.  We don’t want to see others go through trials.  We want them to find answers now.  So we will pray that a miracle will happen, or we will help them through a trial without seeking God about it.  Sometimes those trials have to be gone through to build the faith and to perfect that person.  Sound doctrine in patience helps us to see when we should help and when we should not.  It helps us to wait on God to renew our strength so we can mount up with wings like eagles.  This is being sound in patience.

This list of ways that we can speak sound doctrine is – well – sound doctrine.  These are traits all of us should strive to maintain in our own lies while speaking them into others.  Don’t get carried away by the waves of deceit and lies that are swirling around you.  Don’t take part in the dazzling array of end-time projections and doomsday reports for our country.  Simply turn to God and he will make all things right.  He will make all things new.  He will guide us through these rough and stormy times to a  much brighter day ahead.  Be sound in your doctrine, men!

Eph 6:19-24

Eph 6:19-24

19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,

20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

Paul loved to talk about Jesus.  Everywhere he went, he would find people to tell them about Jesus.  In the synagogue, in the open market place, or finding a place he could stand and preach.  It didn’t matter – Paul would preach and let people know the mystery of the gospel.  He was bold with the gospel at all times.

I want that kind of boldness.  My brother-in-law died a last week in a car accident.  He was bold for Jesus.  No matter where he was or who he was talking to, he would tell them about Jesus.  He would talk about the blessings of God.  He would ask them if they knew Christ.  There was no doubt he was a man of God, and that he loved the Lord, if you ever stopped  to talk to him.  You knew he loved the Lord.  Give me that kind of boldness – that I may always talk about Jesus!

21 But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things:

22 Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that ye might know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts.

Another messenger from Paul, Tychicus, was sent to update the people on what was going on with Paul.  They knew he was in prison, but dd not know about his health, or his mood, or what was coming to him from the Romans.  They were concerned with how Paul was doing.  The people of Ephesus really cared about him, as he had planted the church there, and he was the one who led many of them to Christ.  Paul knew this, and wanted to make sure they knew he was doing fine.

People care about you, too.  I have been out of church now for almost a year due to the chemo and cancer I have been going through.  And my church has some mold in it, so I can’t go there for risk of getting sick.   People are asking all the time how I am doing, so my wife and the pastor keep the updated.  If you are a member of a local church, and you have not been lately, I would guess there are some who wonder if you’re okay.  They may not call, but they are thinking about it.  Make sure you attend regularly if you are able so people know you’re okay!

23 Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

24 Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.

Paul leaves with comforting words.  Peace, Grace, faith and love to all.  Paul was always concerned that  the people were well grounded in the things of God.  he desires peace in the church, that there will not be arguing, disputes or disagreements among thee brethren.  He wanted them to have love with faith – I like that combination!  Have love to one another, and have faith that love will return to you.  Never worry if someone may not show you the love you need – have faith it will come.  Love with faith!

Lastly, grace to all them that love Jesus.  Grace to all of you, my friends.  This brings an end to our study in Ephesians.  I have enjoyed going through this book,and I hope you have as well.  I am not sure what book  will do next – I am open for suggestions.  I am going to take a short break from this blog, and I will let you know through my other blogs when it will start up again

Thanks for reading!

All About Love

Ephesians 3:17-19

17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,

Christ dwells in our hearts by faith. I have talked to so many people and told them how Christ changed my life. Some of them will tell me that they were glad that I found religion, but it was my decision to make these changes that made the difference. That is so untrue. They just don’t understand the difference that Christ makes when we accept him into our hearts by faith. Faith in the transforming power of Jesus Christ, and the fact that he comes and dwells within us when we ask him to, is the power behind the transformation in a Christian. And it doesn’t just last for a few days. It lasts the rest of our lives. As long as we have a desire to grow, God will continue to move in our lives and increase our faith and our knowledge of Him. By faith Christ lives in our hearts.

 We Are rooted and grounded in love. If your spiritual walk is not rooted and grounded in love then you’re going the wrong direction. Jesus and God are all about love. It was God’s love that sent Jesus to this earth. And it was Jesus love that brought Him to the cross. We need to be all about love. Everything we do for Christ needs to be about love.

18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;

Do you comprehend what is a breath, the length, the depth, and the height of that love? How far do we really need to reach in love?  God reached all the way down from heaven! Should we do any less?  Can you tell me anybody that you know that doesn’t need love?  Our mission, and God’s will, is that we spread the love of Christ to all we meet.If we don’t understand how far we need to reach out and love then we will never reach far enough. God requires us to reach out to everybody and share His love. That’s what we have to comprehend. Now I don’t know that I will ever be able to fully comprehend why he loves us so much. I mean, we are His creation but we are so undeserving of His love. I was a wretched sinner before I came to Christ. I did not deserve any bit of His love. But He loved me while I was still a sinner. How much more should I love others on this Earth with the love He has given to me.  He did not give me His love to just hold onto it.  He gave me His love to share!

19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

I need to know the love of Christ. It is much more important than knowledge. I was one who strove after knowledge when I got saved. I started reading the Bible and reading all the books. I started studying my Bible, doing word studies and history studies. I started listening to all kinds of preachers to learn more and more. I got so stoked up with knowledge that I also got full of pride. I was so concerned with gaining knowledge that I forgot to apply the love that God told me to have for those around me. See it’s much more important to know the love of Christ and to practice love with those around us then it is to have knowledge. If you are striving after knowledge I suggest you start striving after love instead.
If we know the love of Christ then we can be filled with the fullness of God.  That is because God is all about love. I want to be filled with God’s fullness. I want everything I can get from God and sometimes that will mean getting into difficult situations. Those situations are my proving ground and my training ground. That’s where God sees what I’m made, and He can see if I would treat other people with love even if they’re coming against me. Those are the times that God really knows what we’re made of.

If We Are The Body

20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,

21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:

Notice again here that it’s the Father who did the work in Christ. Christ didn’t pull this off by Himself. He had the help of the Father and the Holy Spirit when he was raised from the dead, and He was set in the highest place of authority, on the right hand of God. That places Jesus in the position of the highest authority in heaven, except for God. And we know that in heaven, Jesus is our mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5). When a prayer rises up as incense before God (Rev 8:4) Jesus takes them to the Father as a mediator, and they talk about an answer to our prayer.  I can’t imagine hearing the conversations while millions and billions of prayers are going up and they’re deciding which ones to answer now, which to delay the answer,and which to say not now! They are definitely on a different timetable than we are.

This places Jesus in a position far above anything on this earth and any name on this earth.  Nothing in this world today or in the world that is to come, which is heaven. The only one He’s not above is God. That means that eventually every knee shall bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord (Phil2:10). God The Father’s Son will be exalted, even by those He who do not exalt Him now. That is why we praise Him on this Earth. That is why we give Him glory and honor everyday of our lives, even when the bad times come.  Our circumstances should never dictate our  praise. He deserves our praise no matter what is going on in our lives. I hope you will learn that lesson and practice it well

 

22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,

23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all

God has placed all things under Jesus feet. That means you, me, all of our friends, and all of our enemies. Jesus is authority over all of them. He has the ability to stomp them out anytime He wants to. And have you noticed that usually He doesn’t? Do you ever wonder why? Could it be perhaps that He’s put them there to teach you a lesson, to change you? To bring your attitude in line with what the Father would like to accomplish in your life? And I believe that’s true. He hasn’t removed an enemy, and by enemy I mean somebody who abuses you either physically or emotionally or spiritually, then perhaps He’s using that enemy to make a change in your life. Now I’m not condoning anybody stay in a relationship that is physically abusive.  Never should you stay in that relationship. That’s the devil at his worst. But we do need to do all we can in a workplace environment or church or someplace else, if somebody is emotionally attacking us, seek the Lord to see if we should be changing. Is our attitude towards them correct?  Do we love them as we should?  Pray for them?  It is something to consider.
Jesus is also the head over the church. God is giving him that authority is well. And the church is His body. What kind of a body are we? I like the song by Casting Crowns and I’m putting the YouTube video link of that song at the end of this post.  “If we are the body why aren’t His arms reaching,  why aren’t  His hands healing, why aren’t His words teaching?” The church if His fullness.  It is what He came to do. Not only to save the world but to establish that church. The church is Jesus Legacy you might say. We need to keep it alive. The church needs to rise up and fulfill its mission. We have talked about this before in the previoes Philippians study and I’m sure we’ll talk about it more. God help us if we don’t rise up as a church and start to love the way we’re supposed to love.  Put aside our foolish pride and humble ourselves. God hates pride and He wants us to love all people. Christ loved all people and we are supposed to be an extension of Him as His church. Do you know that even if you’re not attending a church, you are still a part of the church? The church consists of all the saved, and we all need to fulfill this mission that he has given us because that is what fulfills Christ’s mission. Let’s just do it, Church!