"If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.John 15:19(NASB)
Ministering as opportunity surrounds us does not mean selecting our surroundings, it means being very selectly God's in any haphazard surroundings which He engineers for us. The characteristics we manifest in our immediate surroundings are indications of what we will be like in other surroundings.
The things that Jesus did were of the most menial and commonplace order, and this is an indication that it takes all God's power in me to do the most commonplace things in His way. Can I use a towel as He did? Towels and dishes and sandals, all the ordinary sordid things of our lives, reveal more quickly than anything what we are made of. It takes God Almighty Incarnate in us to do the meanest duty as it ought to be done.
"I have given you an example that ye should do as I have done to you." Watch the kind of people God brings around you, and you will be humiliated to find that this is His way of revealing to you the kind of person you have been to Him. Now, He says, exhibit to that one exactly what I have shown to you.
"Oh," you say, "I will do all that when I get out into the foreign field." To talk in this way is like trying to produce the munitions of war in the trenches - you will be killed while you are doing it.
We have to go the "second mile" with God. Some of us get played out in the first ten yards, because God compels us to go where we cannot see the way, and we say - "I will wait till I get nearer the big crisis." If we do not do the running steadily in the little ways, we shall do nothing in the crisis.
Christ's love compels us. (2 Corinthians 5:14 NIV)
"The love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit" (Rom. 5:5). That was the dynamic of service. Now, that is simple and it works in two ways. All activity, work, and what is called "service" for the Lord, without that behind it, is lacking in the true power of fruitful service, but if that is there, we cannot help being the Lord servants. Nothing can make us true servants of the Lord but a personal passionate love for Himself. Nothing can substitute that. But given that, there is no need for any kind of human ordination, an ecclesiastical setting apart. You are the Lord servant right enough if you have an adequate love for Himself in your heart. It will be, it will work out. All our value to the Lord depends upon the measure of our heart-love for Himself. That is all. There is nothing profound about that, but it is testing.
We may do many things, like the church at Ephesus later on. It did many things, but the Lord said, "I have this against thee, that thou hast left thy first love" (Rev. 2:4). And in effect He said: "There is no justification in your lampstand remaining, it is merely an empty profession, an outward vessel without the inner Lord, the inner light." And unless this original first love is recovered, it is mere profession, doing many things, but the thing which justifies our existence is that love and only that. Nothing but that love will keep us going. It is the power of endurance through the years, and it is an awful thing to come to a Christian life which has got to be kept up without that love for the Lord in the heart. It is only that love that really makes the Christian life possible under all the strain of the years. I am quite sure that in the case of the apostle, with all his suffering and all he had to meet, the thing that kept him going was that flame of love in his own heart for the Lord Himself. Through the suffering, nothing but a strong love for the Lord will keep us going.
You shall not follow a crowd to do evil.
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.
What fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? § Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him … The world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
You once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience. § You have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him … as the truth is in Jesus.
In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground. § We commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. § Aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands.
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going. § The night is coming when no one can work.
Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. § Always [abound] in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
There remains … a rest for the people of God. § To us who have borne the burden and the heat of the day. § “This is the rest with which you may cause the weary to rest,” and, “This is the refreshing.”
For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works" (Heb. 4:10).
Besides the rest of reception, there is also the rest of resistance. Any time there is effort involved in the matter of resisting sin, we can be sure that we are depending to some extent upon the flesh, instead of resting in the finished work of the Cross.
"The question is How are we to meet sin?' Reckon yourselves dead unto sin.' The moment that you begin to fight with it - no matter how resolutely you may struggle against it - that moment you begin to experience sin as your master. For it is then that we forsake our true position, which is one of freedom from sin as a master.
"Let it be remembered we are to fight the good fight of faith,' which consists of resting in our position of freedom, and not in obtaining that position. We are to fight not for it, but from it. He alone has obtained it. It is our Father's free gift. Let us be fully abiding in the One who is Life, and sin when it acts, will find us dead to it." -E.H.
"Calvary is the secret of it all. It is what the Lord Jesus did there that counts, and what He did becomes a growing force in the life of the believer when it is seen, and rested in by faith. This is the starting point from which all godly living must take rise. We shall never know the fact of the Lord Jesus' victory in our lives until we are prepared to count upon His work on the Cross as the source of our personal freedom from the dominion of sin and the old man within. There is no liberty for us that was not first His. The beginning of spiritual growth is faith in that fact."
"Stand fast, therefore, in the liberty with which Christ hath made us free" (Gal. 5:1).
Then they all asked, “Are you, then, the Son of God?” He answered them, “You said it—I AM.”
The deity of Christ is an issue, upon which the entire Christian faith stands or falls. If Christ is not God, there is no Christian faith – no Salvation – no hope – no future. For no one is good enough to pay the high price of sin. God alone is good enough. If Christ is not divine, believers have been hoodwinked into believing a tissue of lies. If Christ is not deity, we have been enticed into becoming a body of lamentable idolaters.
More shockingly still, if He is not a member of the triune Godhead and equal with the Father, His life was a sham and He a blasphemer, Who could never be seen as good!! If the full deity of Jesus Christ were to be false.. humanity’s hope would be shattered. If, however, He is God – every man who questions His divinity is a gross blasphemer. All who deem Him no more than a good man or wise teacher – condemn themselves. All who reject the salvation He offers have secured the wrath of God on their heads.
The true status of Christ is perhaps the most compelling issue challenging the minds of mortal men – and probably the fundamental truth upon which Christianity rests. Either Christ is God and equal with the Father or He is not; there is no middle ground. One premise is true and the other is false. There can be no compromise on this issue.
It was the great teacher Oswald Saunders, when reflecting on the deity of Christ wrote: Reject the deity of Christ, and the Bible becomes a confused jumble of words, devoid of any unifying theme. Accept the deity of Christ, and the Bible becomes an intelligible and ordered revelation of God in the Person of Jesus Christ.
Those who believe in Christ’s equal deity with the Father declare as truth, that the virgin-bornread more
How blessed are we who know the blessings of the Lord. “Blessed are the people whose God is the Lord !” Psalm 33:12 “Blessed is the man whose trust is the Lord.” Jeremiah 17:7 “Blessed are those whose strength is in You, Psalm 84:5 “Blessed are all who take refuge in Him.” Psalm 2:12
There are many ‘Blesseds’ in the Word, that pepper the pages of Scripture:- “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked.” Psalm 1:1 “Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust” Psalm 40:4 “Blessed is the man whom You discipline, O Lord.” Psalm 33:12 “Blessed is the one who listens to Me, Hebrews 12:6 – watching daily at My gates…. – waiting beside My doors.” Proverbs 8:34 “Blessed is the one who fears the Lord always” Psalm 128:1 “Blessed is he who is generous to the poor.” Psalm 22:19
The ‘Blesseds’ from God, tumble like spangled stars, flung with generous profusion across the midnight sky. “Blessed are those who mourn…” “Blessed are the merciful…” “Blessed are the meek.” “Yes – the Bible is a blessed book of blessings, beatitudes, and benedictions:- “Blessed are the poor in spirit…” “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness..” “Blessed are the pure in heart.”
God’s ‘Blessed’s are rays of shining sun – imparting light and warmth. God’s love is a blessed fountain-spring of grace and glory. God’s mercy is poured out in blessed showers of blessings. “Blessed are the peacemakers,..” Matt.5:9. Whenever we see the lovely Lord Jesus, He’s imparting blessings to the needy. His hand reaches out to give a benediction to a sick heart or a sad soul, “Blessed are you who weep now..” Luke 6:21
Oh, the wideness is His ‘Blesseds’ are like the span of the universe’ great globe. Now on the children’s heads... now on the leper... now on the sick, now on the dead. His outstretched arms of blessing are ever open to the necessities of others. His Blood, cleansing theread more