I Know Him

1 John 2:3-6

We are sure that we know Christ if we obey his commandments. The person who says, “I know him,” but doesn’t obey his commandments is a liar. The truth isn’t in that person. But whoever obeys what Christ says is the kind of person in whom God’s love is perfected. That’s how we know we are in Christ. Those who say that they live in him must live the same way he lived.

I Know Him

I’m sometimes amazed that I see people who claim the salvation that Christ offers but do not seem to accept the duty to change, to live the life that he lived, to love the way he loved. Friends, I have to tell you this, you cannot live with one foot on the path of righteousness and the other foot on that worldly path that leads to destruction. I know. I tried. If you take the name of Christ upon you (Christian), you must also take his lifestyle upon you. “If you love me, you will obey my commandments.” 

(John 14:15)

Prayer:

Jesus, teach us to study as you studied, to speak as you spoke, to live as you lived and to love as you love, to forgive as you forgive and to grow ever closer to being Christ-like.

Amen.

Priestly Duties

Malachi 2:1-9
“And now, you priests, this warning is for you. If you won’t listen and if you won’t consider giving honor to my name,” says the LORD of Armies, “then I’ll send a curse on you, and I’ll curse the blessings you give. Yes, I’ve already cursed them because you don’t carefully consider this. “I’m going to punish your descendants. I’m going to spread excrement on your faces, the excrement from your festival sacrifices. You will be discarded with it. Then you will know that I sent you this warning so that my promise to Levi will continue,” says the LORD of Armies. “I promised Levi life and peace. I gave them to him so that he would respect me. He respected me and stood in awe of my name. The teaching that came from his mouth was true. Nothing unjust was found on his lips. He lived with me in peace and honesty and turned many people away from sin. “A priest’s lips should preserve knowledge. Then, because he is the messenger for the LORD of Armies, people will seek instruction from his mouth. “But you have turned from the correct path and caused many to stumble over my teachings. You have corrupted the promise made to Levi,” says the LORD of Armies. “So I have made you disgusting, and I have humiliated you in front of all the people, because you have not followed my ways. You have been unfair when applying my teachings.”

Priestly Duties

The prophet Malachi lived about 400 years before Christ was born. He was the last prophet before John the Baptist. The warning that he gave was to the priests, not the people, nor the king as other prophets had been.  

The condition for escaping the wrath of God was simple, listen and consider giving honor to His name. God certainly wasn’t asking a hard thing of them. He only asked that they, as His messangers, preserve knowledge and give good instruction to His people. 

And what were the consequences of disobedience? They were harsh, very harsh

  • their blessings become cursed
  •  excrement from there sacrifices smeared on their faces
  • Discarded with the excrement.
  • punispunish even to descendants

Why was the punishment so harsh that even their descendents were punishment? These priests had not only turned away from God’s path but they had also lead others astray by giving false teaching.

As a preacher I am very aware of my duty and responsibility to God and my listeners and readers. I would never intentionally lead others astray and I pray that, no matter what words I speak, that the people hear the message that God has for them. I also stress that it is each persons responsibility to do their own study of the scriptures and to pray for and listen for the Holy Spirit’s leading. It is their eternal soul at stake.

Now hear this, being a child of God and a follower of Christ cuts two ways. We are responsible to God for ourselves continuing on the right path AND we are responsible for not misleading others.

Prayer:

Father, forgive me for the times I’ve wandered from your path. Lord also forgive me for anytime that by my action or inaction others may have between lead astray. Also, Lord, don’t hold them accountable for my error. And more importantly, set their lives back on the path you have laid out for them.

Amen.

Through These Promises

2 Peter 1:4-9

Through his glory and integrity he has given us his promises that are of the highest value. Through these promises you will share in the divine nature because you have escaped the corruption that sinful desires cause in the world. Because of this, make every effort to add integrity to your faith; and to integrity add knowledge; to knowledge add self-control; to self-control add endurance; to endurance add godliness; to godliness add Christian affection; and to Christian affection add love. If you have these qualities and they are increasing, it demonstrates that your knowledge about our Lord Jesus Christ is living and productive. If these qualities aren’t present in your life, you’re shortsighted and have forgotten that you were cleansed from your past sins.

Through These Promises

Through the promises of Jesus, the Christ, we will share in his divine nature because we have escaped the corruption that sinful desires cause in our world. That is his promise to us.

We also have made a promise to him. We have accepted him as savior. We have promised to be called but his name, Christian. We have promised to be lead by his Spirit and his goodwill. These are the outward signs of the inward change in our lives:

  • integrity
  • faith
  • knowledge
  • self-control
  • endurance
  • godliness
  • Christian affection
  • love. 

These traits demonstrates that our knowledge about our Lord Jesus Christ is living and productive.

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, give us your strength and your guidance to do your goodwill in our world today. Help us, we pray, to fulfill our promises to you.

Amen.

My Father’s Business

Luke 20:1-8 (NIV)
One day as Jesus was teaching the people in the temple courts and proclaiming the good news, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, together with the elders, came up to him. “Tell us by what authority you are doing these things,” they said. “Who gave you this authority?”

He replied, “I will also ask you a question. Tell me: John’s baptism—was it from heaven, or of human origin?”

They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Why didn’t you believe him?’ But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ all the people will stone us, because they are persuaded that John was a prophet.”

So they answered, “We don’t know where it was from.”

Jesus said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.”


My Father’s Business

Jesus could have replied to the chief priests and the teachers of the law the same way he had responded to his parents back at age twelve, when they had lost him and then found him in that very same temple. He was asking and answering the questions at that time also. When his mother asked him why he was in the temple, he answered, “I must be about my Father’s business.”

This time, however, he knew the evil in the hearts of these men who asked, who gave him the authority to teach like he was. He didn’t answer them but ask then a question that he knew they dared not answer. They refused to answer, so he refused to answer.

Jesus was constantly tested as these supposed religious men tried to trip him up. 

You may also find, as you are sharing your faith and the good news of Christ Jesus, that supposedly righteous people will try to entangle you in discussions of philosophy or doctrines. Pray for guidance and wisdom of the Holy Spirit so that you may not be deceived. Speak the truth that you know and don’t be mislead.

Prayer:

Jesus, you are the Truth and the Way, watch over us as we too are about the Father’s business.

Amen.

Disciples and Others

Luke 6:13&17

When it was day, he called his disciples. He chose twelve of them and called them apostles. 

Jesus came down from the mountain with them and stood on a level place. A large crowd of his disciples and many other people were there. They had come from all over Judea, Jerusalem, and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon.

Disciples and Others

So often when we think of Jesus and the disciples, we think of the 12 apostles who are namef in Luke 6:14-16. We tend to forget that there were large crowds that followed him. (John 6:2, Matthew 4:25 and over 30 other scriptures) 

Just to clarify the meanings: a disciple is a student while apostles are sent to teach. 

However, today I want to focus on “the others” in our scripture reading. The others were followers who were neither student nor apostle. What were they then? They may have followed Jesus in hope of a healing. Possibly, they came for the spectacle, the “show”. They may have come because they were curious why there was a crowd gathered. Nothing draws a crowd like a crowd.

In our day we still have disciples (students) and apostles (teachers) and great crowds of others. Our duty as Christians is to change the others into students and then teachers. (Mark 16:15 and Matthew 28:19-20)

Now understand that, though not everyone’s spiritual gift it’s to be a preacher or a teacher, all of us who call ourselves Christian we commanded to reach others for Christ. I can almost hear some of you readers saying, “I’m not a teacher!” Yes. Yes you (we) are by words and actions. If you claim the name “Christian”, you must also accept the duty of the Great Commission. So, Christian, ask yourself, “Are my words and actions Christ-like?”

Prayer:

Master, Teacher, help me to become a better student so that  by my actions and by my words, the ,”others” will be lead to become your disciples also.

Amen.

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©2019 Thomas E Williams