Matthew 23.8-10 warns, don’t let people do that to you, put you on a pedestal like that. You all have a single Teacher, and you are all classmates. Don’t set people up as experts over your life, letting them tell you what to do. Save that authority for God; let him tell you what to do. No one else should carry the title of ‘Father’; you have only one Father, and he’s in heaven. And don’t let people maneuver you into taking charge of them. There is only one Life-Leader for you and them—Christ.
Mathew 12.30 observes, this is war, and there is no neutral ground. If you’re not on My side, you’re the enemy; if you’re not helping, you’re making things worse.
The universe is at war. We see the minor conflicts of man against man. God sees the major conflicts of devils against angels and devils against men who war against God and His servants. This war is greater because its casualties are greater.
Matthew 3.2 records, his message was simple and austere, like his desert surroundings: “Change your life. God’s kingdom is here.”
It’s a new year when we make new goals in order to be more, accomplish more or achieve more. When Jesus came, John says the Kingdom of God came, and when God came, it was time for people to change.
What is the single biggest change God was looking for? A restored relationship with Himself where people call Him Father and He calls them sons and daughters.
John 17.17 asks, set them apart in the truth; your word is truth.
The Christian is not to live, look, speak, or work like others who do not know the One true God. Christians are to live as Jesus did for they too are children of God.
Revelation 12.17 describes, so the dragon became enraged at the woman and went away to make war on the rest of her children, those who keep God’s commandments and hold to the testimony about Jesus.
Spiritual warfare is a topic usually resigned to a fringe element of the Christian spectrum. While orthodox Christianity would acknowledge it’s reality most avoid the topic, fewer describe what it is or looks like and even less actually enter into such a world as least as far as men can enter into spiritual warfare.
1 John 4.17 warns, by this love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, because just as Jesus is, so also are we in this world.
Recently an acquaintance of mine died. This man was well known in the community. Many loved him but a few didn’t. He was very wealthy and successful. Gave quite a bit of money away though not much as a percentage of his wealth. Attended church regularly. Once I asked him if he was going to heaven, he answered that he hoped so then proceeded to call a friend who was ill to encourage him. Another good deed to his credit to hopefully put him over the threshold of the amount needed for gaining heaven.
1 Peter 4.2 observes, he spends the rest of his time on earth concerned about the will of God and not human desires.
The focus of the Christian is to be the same focus as Jesus Christ the Lord. That focus is upon doing the will of God regardless of result or cost.
As humans we begin our lives self-focused. Everything is about us from infancy. The child portrays this truth early and often. We never evolve from this focus if we do not lose our lives by giving them over to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. This is why He observes that, unless we lose our lives for Him and His mission, we cannot keep them for eternal life.
Titus 1.1 records, Paul, a slave of God and apostle of Jesus Christ, to further the faith of God’s chosen ones and the knowledge of the truth that is in keeping with godliness.
In this opening sentence in Paul’s letter to his friend Titus, he gives an insight into the true meaning of godliness. When most people think of godliness they think of people like Mother Theresa or Billy Graham. They also think of character associated with godliness like goodness, honesty, kindness, love, generosity.
I suppose everyone has their own list. No doubt most of us would consider ourselves somewhat godly.
2 Thessalonians 1.8 observes, with flaming fire He will mete out punishment on those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
The next verse says that God will then send to eternal punishment all of these same people. In a word Christianity defines this place of eternal separation from God and eternal suffering as hell. Hell is no longer an accepted place among people.
Ephesians 6.4 commands fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but raise them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
While this verse is geared toward fathers and their role as spiritual leaders of their home, the commands can be applied more broadly to both our personal lives and the work all Christians are to engage of disciple making.
Specifically the disciplines and instructions we are to live and teach others. What does the discipline of the Lord even mean?