Do you love God?

 1 John 5:2-3 “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.”

Reading this text this morning is very encouraging word for us all. A few things for us to dive into and to apply to our lives today.

1. Loving God means loving His children. Scripture makes this plainly clear. To claim to love God and to not love God’s people is an oxymoron. You cannot do it. That would be like telling someone, I like you but I can’t stand your kids… God says that part of loving Him is by taking that love and applying it to His children. This is not always an easy task, we have conflict, we are sinful, but our love for the Lord should move us to ask for forgiveness and repentance to restore relationships. We should always seek to have restored relationships.

2. Loving God means obedience. To live in blatant disregard to the scripture is to reveal your heart towards the Lord. To love the Lord means that you obey His Word. This is a fact. Our response from the grace that we’ve received from the Lord should be that of thanksgiving and love for the Father. That love should spur us to obedience to His commands. I’m always baffled how anyone could live in open rebellion to God’s Word and yet claim to love God. The truth of the matter is that if you really love God, His Word is supreme, and this means we must repent and trust and obey Him.

3. Loving God is not burdensome. Now some might look at my previous point and know that we have hard things we have to do. Repentance often means doing things that are uncomfortable. For some living in deep sin it means making drastic changes. But God’s Word says that radical obedience to the Lord is not burdensome, rather it’s quite the opposite. It’s freedom. When you finally repent and obey the Lord to do the hard thing He is calling you to, there is freedom. Right standing with God matters more than anything else.

I pray that we would be a people that take this word seriously. Let us show our love for God but how fierce we love one another. Let us show our love for the Lord by our radical obedience to Him. I’m praying for you and thankful for you.

Aaron

Greater

1 John 4:4 “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”

What a verse to take comfort in. If you are a believer in Christ, this verse should give you tremendous hope in any temptation you may come across. I want to break it down for you and give you some things to think about.

1. You are from God and have overcome them. In this statement there are two truths to understand, one is predicated on the other. First, you are from God. Earlier, John writes to test the spirit to see if they are from God. To know if they are from God is if they confess if Jesus Christ has come in the flesh. John is saying that they have proper belief in the doctrine of the Trinity as well as understanding the divinity and humanity of Christ. That Jesus was both 100% God and 100% man. This is an essential belief of our Christian faith. You believe this, therefore, you are from God. This is the understanding leading into the next part. Secondly, you have overcome them. John referring to the spirits that do not confess Jesus as God. These are the spirits that are at work in our world. They want to lead us away from the truth or distort the truth, which is not truth. As believers in Christ you have overcome them! You believe the truth!

2. He who is in you. When Jesus was speaking to His disciples He told them of the one to come. The great comforter. In the ministry of the Apostles, we see tremendous work of the Holy Spirit. Paul writes in Ephesians 1:13-14, “13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” This is the promised Comforter that comes to us. He is in us. As believers you have the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of you. This is a big deal!

3. He is greater than he in the world. Lastly, the Holy Spirit that is inside you, He is greater than he in the world. Why? Because He who is inside you is God. He is greater than the created one in the world. Satan has no power to create, but to manipulate and trick. God has the power to raise the dead to life. God has the power to make dead people born again. Take courage today when facing temptations, when facing trials, when facing uncertainty that He who is in you is working in you. What a great truth to ponder on this morning.

I pray that you are encouraged, that you are strengthened.

Aaron

Confession

1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

What a profound word. Simple, yet reveals the heart of man. I’ve said this several times before, but nothing reveals if someone is a believer more than if they are willing to confess sin and repent. If they do not and will not, that reveals quite the opposite. Let’s take a a few encouragements from this verse!

1. If, that’s how he starts this verse. This is an action required. This predicate is on you and I doing this action. So the question that we must ask ourselves, when is the last time that you did a heart check? When is the last time that you truly evaluated your life? When is the last time that you looked at your heart and questioned your motives, your thoughts, your tendencies? The statement, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks does not apply to you. You are not allowed to believe that. As believers in Christ, we are called to be repenting, to confessing, are you confessing sin?

2. He is faithful and just. When we confess our sins, He is faithful and just. When we are not faithful, He is! This is something that should be of tremendous encouragement to you and I. That the act of confession shows us the Gospel. Confession is that beautiful thing of acknowledging our sin to God, then repenting of said sin, and seeing how Jesus took care of that sin on the cross. Confession brings freedom. I’ve shared with many this statement, “A secret revealed has no power over you.” Satan loses his power over you in that secret when you confess.

3. Cleanse us from all unrighteousness. This is the most beautiful statement one could read and believe. You are cleansed in confession. When you confess God gives such beautiful grace to you and I, cleansing us from all unrighteousness. As believers in Christ this is something we long for. This is our motivation for confession.

Here is the question, are you regularly confessing your sin to others? If not, you are missing out on God’s wonderful grace for your life.

Love the Truth

John 18:38a “Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?”

This is a question that all of our society is pondering, what is truth? As believers in Christ we know that answer, we find it in John 14:6, “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”

From this understanding there are a few implications for us as believers that I want to cover.

1. We love truth. As believers in Christ our love should be for the truth. We do not love falsehood. Whether this be in our culture or in our own lives. We aim to live out the truth. This means when the light exposes falsehood in our own lives, false beliefs, false motives, false actions we are quick to repent and turn to the truth. This morning reading this I was moved and reminded at how much we love truth. Truth sets you free. As believers we do not fear revealing our sin and repenting, that fear is not of God but of Satan. Know this statement, a secret revealed has no power over you.

2. Jesus is truth. The only way to the Father is through Jesus Christ. He is the savior, He is the way, there is no other way. As believers this is our conviction. We do not believe that there is another way to the Father. Secular Humanism says, that your truth is your truth and my truth is my truth. The Gospel says, Jesus is truth. Jesus alone is truth. Do you really believe that this morning?

I pray this morning that we would be willing to live in that truth. Do not be ashamed of the truth, the truth will set you free. I had to opportunity this morning to share the truth with a man this morning that trusted in his actions, our actions do not save. Only Jesus is the truth, only Jesus is the way.

Humble before God

Daniel 10:12 “Fear not Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words.”

When you read this text in our reading plan what thoughts come to mind? For me there are a few things that I would like to share with you.

1. Humble Before God. Our posture towards the Lord must be one of humility. The Lord opposes the proud. As a believer in Christ your approach to the Lord should be that of humility. Think with me for a moment, you were an enemy of God in your sin (Romans 5:10). You lived as if you hated the things of God (Romans 3). Yet, while we were still sinners He loved us (Romans 5:8). That He saved you. That is something that should humble you before a loving and gracious God.

2. Pray with Boldness. Daniel prayed bold prayers to God. The posture of humility is a right understanding of who you are in relation to God. Boldness in prayer is understand who it is you are talking to and His capacity. Daniel knew that His God was able to interpret dreams that he hadn’t heard, shut the mouths of lions, and topple kingdoms. This God is the same God that you and I pray to. Pray with boldness that He would save your lost sheep, that He would begin revival. Pray with boldness that He would change you.

3. Read His Word. We have been given the Words of God. In His Word we find the way we are to live and act as believers in Christ. How we are to be in this world. Here are just a few that we are called to do. Be humble before God (Daniel 10:12), Love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:31), Sacrifice your wants and desires for others (Philippians 2:4), Love others as Christ has loved you (John 13:34), and share the Gospel (Matthew 28:18-20). These are commands we find in the Bible that you don’t have to pray about doing, you are commanded to do, pray for strength to do them.

When you are humble before God, when you trust in His Word, you can be bold in prayer and before men the truth of the Word. In our culture today we need more believers to be bold in the truth of the Word, not opinions, we have enough opinions. My prayer this week for me is to first, be humble before my God, trust fully in His Word, and live for His glory alone. Would you join me in praying that?

Aaron

Unity

John 17:11 “11 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.”

Did you know that Jesus prayed for unity in the church? Disunity in the church is never of the Lord, but division that is caused by Satan. The reason, a disunified church is not effective, a unified church will charge the gates of hell! This morning I want you to join me in examining this prayer of Jesus for our church.

1. We are in the world. You and I still live in this broken world. This world is marked by sin and death. We see the mark of sin all around us. We suffer because of sin. You and I still struggle to live as God would command us to live because of sin in and around us. Therefore, we must know and understand that we are still plagued by issues in this world, we will still struggle with sin of our own and others.

2. Unity reflects the Trinity. Jesus prays that we would be kept in the name of the Father, the name of “I Am”. That name and power is the same name and power that is given to Jesus that rose Him from the grave. That same name and power is what keeps us. The reflection of our unity reflects the Trinity. When we are one, we reflect the God of heaven.

3. Fight for Unity. This is the question, how do we fight for unity in church and in every aspect of life? It’s not easy. The first thing first, you must be a follower of Jesus. I know this seems basic, but it’s true. Are you a follower of Jesus? Do you display fruit of following Jesus? Are you repentant? Are you forgiving? If these are a struggle, go to the Lord in prayer right now! Secondly, unity requires sacrifice for the weaker. We can’t always have it our way, we must be sacrificial for the wants and needs of others. If it always has to be your way, you are not humble, you are proud. When is the last time that you went along with something that you don’t like? Thirdly, unity matters more than your happiness. You read that right. Unity matters more that my happiness or yours. Unity is what pushes the mission forward. Unity is what builds the body. Lastly, it only happens through prayer! Jesus is the Son of God and He prayed for this. Why would we not pray for this?

Will you join me this week in praying for unity? What would our church look like it we were all willing to be sacrificial on others behalf? How dangerous to the kingdom of darkness would we be?

Sacrificial Love

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” John 15:12

 

Sacrificial Love

 

To love each other as Christ has loved you. What a statement to behold. What a task to ponder. What a command to obey. This is the command that Christ gave His disciples after washing their feet. This is the command that He again repeats in John 15. To obey Jesus is to love each other the way that He has loved you. Of course there is no way to fully cover this subject, there are a few major implications of this command that we can take and apply. We find those by asking the question, how does Christ love you?

 

  1. Sacrificial Love- When we often think of Christ and the work on the cross. That love is a sacrificial love. A love that takes our place. A love that is displayed on the cross. “No greater love has no one that this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” V. 13. That is the love that is given to us by Jesus on the cross. That we are not only children of God, but also friends of God. We know this to be true of Christ towards us, but what of us towards others? Do you love in this manner? To love each other as Christ loved you is to love someone sacrificially. We see this lived out in Acts 2:42-47. The scriptures tell us that they were selling their possessions to provide for anyone that had need.

 

  1. Forgiving Love- Another display of Christ on the cross is the work of forgiveness. Jesus said from the cross about those who were murdering Him. “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.” This type of forgiveness was given to those who didn’t ask for it. We often reserve our forgivenesses for those who ask for it, but what about those who never ask for it? Christ showed us this type of forgiveness. That while you and I were enemies of God, He loved us, He forgave us. As believers in Christ this is the command we are to live out. We are to love others by giving them forgiveness, even when they do not ask for it.

 

  1. Rebuking Love- This is one that we often don’t consider love. Jesus displayed love to the woman caught in adultery by showing her compassion, not condemning her, but by also rebuking her lifestyle. “Go and sin no more.” Our love for each other should lead us to confront sin in each other’s lives. This love is for each other’s sanctification. If you love someone, you must be willing to guide them to repentance. On the flip side, you must be willing to take rebuke. Proverbs 9:8 “Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you.” To love is to point to truth.

 

Of course there are many other ways Christ displayed His love to us. These are just a few that we see quickly evident. But the question remains, are you willing to love as Christ loved you? Are you willing to love others the way that Christ loved you? This is how we will show that we are His disciples.