Stir Each Other to Love & Good Works

Stir Each Other to Love & Good Works

When we have fellowship with other believers, we can influence one another to perform acts of kindness out of love for the Lord Jesus and thereby bring glory to God.

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.  (Heb 10:24-25 ESV)

. . . but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.  (Heb 3:13) 

When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.  (Act 2:1)

Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.  (1 Thes 5:11)

Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless . . .   (2 Pet 3:14)

These Scripture verses shown above demonstrate a number of good examples for us believers today:

  • As we have regular fellowship, and we have the privilege of comforting and improving each other.
  • It is good to encourage one another to perform kind and loving deeds.
  • We should exhort (urge) one another to live holy lives, even as Jesus did.
  • We should live in peace, harmony, and holiness.
  • It is good to meet with other believers very frequently or to have fellowship through a phone conversation.
  • Do not allow ourselves to become hard-hearted.
  • When we do meet with fellow believers, it is important to be in one accord (unity, harmony).

As brothers and sisters in Christ, we can be an incredible blessing and encouragement to one another.

We Are His Offspring: His Children

We Are His Offspring: His Children

All who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord are children of God.  Here is what the Bible says.

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name . . .  (Joh 1:12 NKJV)

For in Him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, for we are also His offspring.  (Act 17:28 KJV)

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith . . . (Gal 3:26 NIV)

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.  (Rom 8:14 NIV)

The Father has loved us so much that we are called children of God. And we really are His children.  (1 Joh 3:1 NIV)

Characteristics of Children

  • In Christ, we are children of God through faith. As such, we are able to feel an affectionate, devoted, and respectful confidence in our Father God.
  • We know that we are greatly loved by our Father. We recognize that we are precious to Him.
  • We have a spirit of ready obedience to our Heavenly Father—because of our love for Him and His love for us. We have an earnest desire to obey Him because we trust that His plans for us are totally good and always in our best interests.

Advantages that Children Receive

  • We are in a loving relationship with our Father, and are continuously surrounded by His supernatural and miraculous favor.
  • We are forgiven, cleansed, and free from bondage.
  • We are entitled to fellowship and communion with our Father.
  • Our Father gives us wise counsel and teaching by the Holy Spirit.
  • Exceeding great and precious promises have been given to us by our Heavenly Dad. We are encouraged to “ask and receive so that our joy may be full.”

Trust God to pour out the benefits of salvation in Jesus Christ upon you.  Because we are His children, He invites us to turn to Him and ask Him for everything that we need.  Put away any timidity, and with loving trust and assurance, ask Abba Father to meet your needs right now.  God bless you.

There’s Power in the Blood, Part 3

There’s Power in the Blood, Part 3

This is the last in our series on the power of the blood of Jesus.  Did you know that the blood of Jesus has a voice?

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?”  He said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”  10 And He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground. 11 So now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. (Gen 4:9-11, emphasis added)

The blood of Abel cried out to the Lord from the ground.  Do you not believe that the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ also has a voice that God hears?

. . . to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.  (Heb 12:24, emphasis added)

God determined that the redemption of mankind required a much greater sacrifice than the blood of goats and rams.  It required the blood of His Son, Jesus.

The blood of Jesus is very powerful.  It:

  • Redeemed us, forgave us of sin (Eph 1:7; Col 1:14; Heb 9:12)
  • Set us free from the curse of the law (Gal 3:13)
  • Gave us fellowship with God (Heb 10:19)
  • Supplied us with an act of remembrance called Communion (1 Cor 11:23-26)
  • Provides healing (Isa 53:5)
  • Provides protection (Ex 12:13)
  • Obtained the Church (Acts 20:28)
  • Obtained for us the love of God (Rev 1:5; 1 Joh 5:6-8; 1 Joh 4:10; John 3:16)

As we can see from this study, the blood that Jesus shed for us is very powerful, indeed.  It is yet another benefit that is an integral part of our salvation.

The well-known, South African Dutch Reformed Church minister, theologian, evangelist, and mission organizer said:

“Of all the glorious things that the blood means, this is one of the most glorious: His blood is the sign, the measure, yes, the impartation of His love.” ~ Andrew Murray

Here’s another perspective from the great Bible teacher, M.R. DeHaan, M.D., who said:

The blood was to be sprinkled, remember, on the mercy seat right after the death of the substitutionary animal of sacrifice, Now Christ is, of course, our substitute.  He was slain for us upon the Cross, and entered into death for us, and when He arose, He immediately went to heaven, entered into the holy of holies in heaven, sprinkled His precious blood upon the mercy seat before the throne of God, and forever settled the sin questions, and delivered us from the curse of the law. This is clearly taught in the New Testament. Hebrews 9:12 is very definite on this:  But by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

Lastly, a devout minister who was called the Father of Faith said:

The power of the blood of Jesus has provided everything you need to live a life of victory, including Redemption, fellowship, healing, protection and authority over the devil.  ~ Kenneth E. Hagin

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!”  (Rev 5:12)  Hallelujah!

Guard Your Fellowship

Guard Your Fellowship

What is fellowship?  Genuine fellowship indicates a communion or spiritual union between like-minded and like-hearted people.  For a believer, our deepest fellowship can only take place with Christians who are as committed to the Lord and as mature in their walk of faith as we are.  How can light ever cooperate with darkness?

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?  (2 Cor 6:14 NIV)

Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.  (Jas 4:4)  Don’t be so committed to friendships with unbelievers that you become lukewarm in your faith. Don’t learn to love the world’s ways.

Do not gather my soul with sinners, nor my life with bloodthirsty men, 10 in whose hands is a sinister scheme, and whose right hand is full of bribes.  (Ps 26:9-10)  Unbelievers may want to engage in behavior or activities in which no Christian would take part.

But they mingled with the Gentiles [nations] and learned their works . . .  (Ps 106:35) Associating with unbelievers can teach us habits which are not pleasing to the Lord, or may even lead us into an area of temptation.

I am a companion of all who fear You, and of those who keep Your precepts.  (Ps 119:63)  Rather, it is far better for us and for our friends if we are both Christians and brothers/sisters in the Lord.  Because we believe God’s Word and we choose to obey His Word and His Spirit, we can encourage one another in faith and in good works.

This article is not teaching against evangelism by any means.  If you develop a friendship with someone in order to share your testimony with them, then you have embarked upon a holy purpose.  But if the person doesn’t accept the Lord as their Savior, then one might consider changing the status of that relationship to an acquaintance.  It would be appropriate to continue, in a spirit of love, to share unfolding testimonies with the person, or to invite them to church-related events where they would be exposed to other believers and opportunities to hear the Gospel. 

17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed. 20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned.  (Eph 4:17-20 NIV)  The fact is that unsaved people, no matter how nice they are or how much fun they may be, have no sensitivity to the spiritual realm or to the Spirit of God.  They are darkened in their understanding of spiritual things because spiritual things are spiritually discerned. (1 Cor 2:14)

True fellowship walks in the light as He is in the light.  (1 Joh 1:5-7)

Sin Hardens the Heart

Sin Hardens the Heart

Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; 13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end . . .   (Heb 3:12-14)

This passage of Scripture above, says that we can become hardened by the deceitfulness [false-heartedness; faithlessness] of sin.  I believe that is referring to developing a hard heart

The last portion of the passage in Hebrews (above) says that we have become “partakers of Christ.”  What does that phrase signify?  It means that we are members of the body of Christ, and as such, we are His accomplices or assistants.  Remember that Paul tells us that we are “workers together with God” in 2 Corinthians 6:1.

Then the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments; and Pharaoh’s heart grew hard, and he did not heed them, as the Lord had said. 23 And Pharaoh turned and went into his house. Neither was his heart moved by this.  (Ex 7:22-23, underscoring added)

Hardness of hard refers to a heart that cannot be moved, stimulated, or motivated to a different path or a better way of responding.  It’s what happened to Pharaoh.  We must guard our own hearts carefully against the formation of such a tendency in ourselves.

When we walk in the light with Jesus, we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus continually cleanses us from sin.  (1 Joh 1:7)  So be mindful of staying in the light of God’s truth by reading the Word, obeying the Word, praying, and having fellowship with other believers.

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.  (Phil 2:3-4)  Following this admonition will also keep us tender-hearted and humble before the Lord.

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.  (Rom 12:21)  We’re indwelt by the Overcomer—the Victorious One—so that we are empowered to actually overcome evil with good!  Glory to God!

God’s good plans for each one of us are that we be blessed and that each of us bring blessings to many others.  (Jer 29:11)

Looking for Blessed Hope

Looking for Blessed Hope

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ . . . (Tit 2:11-13, emphasis added)

I think it’s too easy in this age of high pressure and constant stress overlaid by tense world events for us to lose sight of our HOPE.  We need to meditate more frequently and regularly upon the truth that we are expectantly waiting and watching for our blessed hope which will be evidenced by the glorious appearing of our Savior, Jesus Christ! 

Here is what the Bible has to say about it:

Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.  (Mt 24:30-31) 

The righteous rejoice to even anticipate this event, so think of what the reality of it will be like!  In the meantime, we have many responsibilities to attend to—not only those of being responsible spouses, parents, children, or friends—but also the responsibilities that we have to Jesus, our Savior.  We have an active and eager enemy according to the Bible.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. (1 Pet 5:8) 

Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.  (1 Thes 5:6)

Do not be taken unawares.  Do not be drowsing or spiritually dull.  Keep yourself spiritually keen, effective and alert.  Read the Scriptures; praise and worship God regularly; fellowship with other believers, and be a witness of what Jesus has done for you.  This lifestyle will energize your faith and move you forward in realizing your purposes in the Kingdom.  God bless you.

We’re One with the Lord

We’re One with the Lord

But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.  (1 Cor 6:17)

. . . as He is, so are we in this world.  (1 Joh 4:17b)

When we become born again (saved), one of those mysteries occurs that the Bible mentions. “What mystery?” you ask.  The mystery of our spirit being joined to the spirit of Christ.  The mystery that the Bible reveals in 1 John 4:17 that as Jesus is—right now in heaven—so are we (believers) on earth.

How is that possible?  That is why it is called a mystery, because we will understand it fully when we are in heaven, face to face with the Lord.  Until that day, we trust in this verse by using the gift of faith that He gave to each one of us.

Because we are one spirit with the Lord, we have intimate communion with God through Christ.  Our salvation experience has baptized us into Christ.  We have “put on Christ.”  (Gal 3:27) 

Being “in Christ” allows us to experience this new life that we’ve been given in community with all those who are also in Christ.  We have fellowship as well as unity.

To my thinking, Jesus, Himself, is the robe of righteousness to which Job 29:14 and Isaiah 61:10 refer.  (Rom 8:1; Gal 2:16)

Daily Bible reading will keep us attached to the True Vine.  (Joh 15:1-11)  The more the word of Christ dwells in us richly, the more fully the joy of Christ will dwell within us.

As you ponder this mystery of being joined to the Lord, take time to thank and to praise God for it.  Allow yourself to celebrate and to enjoy the sense of awe and wonder that this living mystery deserves.