The Jews gloried in the fact that they had God’s Word unlike the rest of the world. But they did not live according to that Word; and they finally rejected the One about Whom God’s Word had prophesied, when He came into their midst. It is possible for those of us who have understood the new covenant also to glory in a similar way and to deceive ourselves.
The following is an adaptation of Romans Chapter 2 (from the Living Bible) – adapted to the danger we face:
You may be saying, “How sad it is that so many Christians have not understood the new covenant that we have understood so clearly”.
But wait! Examine your life honestly and see if it is better than the lives of those other Christians who have notunderstood the new covenant. Are you perhaps boasting only in a theoretical knowledge of the new covenant? Or have you actually entered into the new-covenant life?
Proverbs 10:12 – “Love covers all sins.” Peter quotes this in his epistle (1 Peter 4:8). If you really love a person you will cover his weaknesses and not expose them. That is how God has dealt with us. He has not exposed our past sins to anyone. We must treat others in the same way that God has treated us. If you want to be wise, let me give you, one bit of advice in your youth. If you know a bad story about someone, let that story die with you. Don’t go around talking about it. God will honour you if you do that, especially if it is a bad story about one of His children. He will love you especially. Think of a father whose child has done something wrong and I know something about it; but I never tell anyone what his son did. Don’t you think that father will love me very much for that? It’s like that with God too, when He sees that we treat His children with love
1.FELLOWSHIP:In Song of Solomon 2:4 (TLB), the bride says, “He has brought me to his banqueting hall so that everyone can see how much he loves me. The father of the prodigal son brought his son to the table. Jesus sat with His disciples around a table. The table speaks of fellowship. At a table, we are not engaged in ministry for our Lord, but in fellowship with our Lord. We dine with Him (Revelation 3:20). Ministry should never be the primary focus of our lives. Love for the Lord must always be primary. After serving the Lord full time for more than 50 years, I want to say this, that my devotion to my Lord is the basis of all my ministry. Our ministry will have no value at all in God’s eyes, if our devotion to Christ were to decrease. A personal, loving, devoted relationship with Christ is the spring from which all true service for the Lord flows.
It is written in 1 Cor. 4:2 – TLB ” The most important thing about a servant is that he does just what his master tells him to”. That is what it means to be a faithful servant. It is not a question of how much you do, but whether you do only what the Lord tells you to do – and in the way He wants it done. For that, you have to wait on God and ask Him, “Lord, what do you want me to do? I want to do only that.” For example, if you employed a servant, you wouldn’t want him to run around doing whatever he felt he should do for you. No. You would want him to listen to you and do what you tell him to do. But most Christian workers do not listen to what God has said in His Word and follow those Divine principles. Instead they do God’s work in the way they feel is best – with their own bright ideas, which are usually worldly. They make their own programs to serve the Lord, and don’t have the patience to wait on the Lord to find out what His will for them is.
Some believers consider God’s Word as having almost only one command – to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature (Mark. 16:15). This command must certainly be obeyed by the total body of Christ worldwide – particularly by those who are given by Christ as evangelists to the body (Eph. 4:11). But the work will still be unfinished, if this command of Christ is not balanced by His other command to go and make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:19).
We thank God for all those who, at much personal cost, have gone out into all the world and preached the gospel to those who have never heard the name of Jesus. But it is a sad fact of twentieth century evangelism that the threefold command of Matthew 28:19,20– to make disciples, to immerse them in water in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and to teach them obedience to all of Jesus’ commands – is almost totally ignored. When multitudes of believers are emphasising evangelism without making disciples, it becomes our task to restore the lost emphasis – to make disciples – and to complete the unfinished task.
The root cause of all our spiritual problems lies in our not knowing God as our Almighty Loving Father.
One truth that has revolutionized my Christian life is the glorious revelation that Jesus gave us that the Father loves Jesus’ disciples just as He loved Jesus . Jesus prayed to the Father, for His disciples, saying, “…..that the world may know that Thou didst love them, even as Thou didst love Me.“(John.17:23). The world around us must know this truth. But it has to grip our hearts first, before the world can realise it.
In Deuteronomy 6:4-5, we read, “The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!” And Thou shall love the Lord thy God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all you might.
We don’t worship three Gods. God is one in three Persons. Then in Deuteronomy 6:5, the first commandment is described in another way. This is what Jesus quoted in Matthew 22:37: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. “That is the first commandment.
That means that we don’t have any place in our hearts for family, property, job, or money – because ALL of our heart is given to God. This is Instruction No.1 in the “Manufacturer’s Instruction” Manual. Don’t operate the human machine before you have obeyed this commandment.
It is written in Exodus 12:40, “The time that the sons of Israel lived in Egypt was 430 years.” However when God spoke to Abraham, He had told him that his descendants would be in another land for just 400 years (Genesis 15:13). But here we read that they were actually there for 430 years. Did God make a mistake? No. God is very exact in his timetable. God doesn’t make any mistakes. When God spoke to Abraham, His perfect will for the Israelites was that they should be in Egypt for 400 years. Why then did they stay an extra 30 years? To find the answer to that, let us consider another example. When God brought the Israelites out of Egypt His plan for them was that they should be only 2 years in the wilderness. But how many years did they actually spend in the wilderness? 40 years. (See Deuteronomy 2:14). God may plan to break you in 2 years. But it may actually take 40 years. God may want to begin to use you 2 years after you are converted. But He may not be able to use you for 40 years. It all depends on how quickly you are broken. So also, God’s plan for Israel was that they should stay 400 years in Egypt. But they had to stay for 430 years.
In 2 Corinthians 9:6, Apostle Paul talks about the subject of giving. He says that if we are miserly in our giving, we will reap proportionately too. If you sow just a little bit of seed, you will get only a small harvest. If you sow plenty of seed then you will get a big harvest. Many money-loving preachers (especially television evangelists) have used this verse to urge believers to give them money. Such preachers are hucksters who are out to deceive simple believers.
What did Jesus tell the rich young ruler who came to Him? He told him to give all his money away to the poor and to come and follow Him without his money!! Jesus did not say (as most of today’s would), “Sell what you have and give me the money, because we have many needs in our ministry. I have to support 12 disciples and their families.” Jesus wanted the man and not His money. But where can we find servants of the Lord today, who will tell a rich person, “We are not one bit interested in your money. We only want to you to grow spiritually. So give your money to whomever you like and come and hear the Word of God in our church”? We however, say exactly that to the visitors who come to our church – constantly.
2 Corinthians 3:18 is the one verse that best describes the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the entire New Testament. When the Holy Spirit becomes Lord in our lives, He brings liberty. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (verse 17). He frees us primarily from the power of sin, but also from the love of money, from the traditions of our fathers and elders that are contrary to the Word, from the opinions of people, etc. This is a great freedom indeed. Then we become free to serve God and not man.
In 2 Cor. 3:18, we are told that the Holy Spirit shows us the glory of Jesus in the Scriptures (The mirror is the Word of God – James 1:23-25). Some people read the Bible only to get sermons and check doctrines. But the Holy Spirit primarily wants to shows us the glory of Jesus in the Bible. As we see that glory, the Holy Spirit also changes us into that likeness. That likeness includes likeness to Christ in the way He ministered as well. We will begin to minister like Him. The Spirit will show us how Jesus made sacrifices in order to serve His Father – and He will make us make sacrifices also to serve the Lord. Our life and our ministry will change radically if we allow the Holy Spirit to transform us.