Sunday, February 9, 2020

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Don’t Pretend

Over the past couple of Sundays, I have been examining Paul’s letter to the Romans,  more specifically, the twelfth chapter of his epistle. Paul calls on those in Rome to be a living sacrifice to God by doing things that completely and totally fulfill the teachings of Jesus and are fully aligned with God’s will. In short, everything that we do as children of God should be done in accordance with God’s will as it pertains to our relationship with Him and also to each other.

Paul, starting with verse nine of his letter, drives home a point that should resonate with all Christians. He writes, “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.

Whether it is during the time of Paul’s letter, today or somewhere in the future, Paul’s directions are always applicable to all Christians. We should not just be Christians in name only. Once we have accepted Jesus Christ as our personal Savior and Lord, we have a duty and moral obligation to fulfill daily. We should not just simply say that we have discharged our Christian duties when we accepted Jesus as Lord and Master of our lives. Becoming a child of God is more than just merely saying a few words. We have responsibilities and work to attend to as we continue to grow spiritually in God’s kingdom.

The first part of responsibility is to truly love one another. Notice what Paul writes. He not only said not to pretend but also comes back to the point by saying we should really love one another. It is so easy to pretend to love one another. We say the words to others, but do we truly mean them? 

Take this example. How many of us have said to another, “I will pray for you”, and not done it. It is easy to say, but even easier not to do. We say it and then move on. If you have time, show the other that you truly love them as brother or sister in Christ Jesus, by taking a moment to hold that person’s hands and go to the Father in prayer. Show that person that you truly love them. There isn’t a better way to show that you love someone than by taking a moment to pray with them. 

When we do these things in the moment rather than just saying the words and moving on, we show that person the love of Jesus and the Father as it radiates from our hearts and lives.

Jesus gave his disciples one last command before leaving. In the thirteenth chapter of John’s gospel, Jesus says, “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.

By truly loving one another, the world does see us as his disciples. We are more than just people who read a book and walk around calling ourselves Christians. We are followers and disciples of Christ Jesus and children of El Shaddai, God Almighty.

As His children, we should hate and shun what is evil and fully embrace what is good. Before we became children of God the Father, we loved the darkness. We walked in darkness daily and we could not see anything outside of it. Our lives were consumed by sin and the things of this world. Avarice was our religion and we worshiped in its temple daily. We chased after all those things that made us feel good, but left us wanting even more. In the end, we had nothing of value. Sure. We had expensive homes, cars, jewelry and other things, but what did we gain?

Jesus, in the sixteenth chapter of Matthew’s Gospel, asks, “And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?

Remember the words of the old adage, ”you can’t take it with you.”  All of your wealth and material things are temporary and will, in time, rust, fall apart or be eaten by insects. Termites, mold and the elements will quickly destroy your house. Rust and wear will cause your car to fade into the past and become a lump of useless metal and barely recognizable parts. Like those things, you, too, will one day grow cold, stop breathing and turn into compost. It is just the way things happen.

Flaunting your gain does not do anything other than allow you to sound like a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. But, when you show genuine affection and honor those around you, you are a living sacrifice to God. You give to those in need and help whenever and wherever you can. Even when you think you can’t, God provides you the way to do so. Always be filled with kindness, gentleness and, most importantly, love. Be eager and willing to show hospitality to anyone especially to our brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus.

I have often told those around me that no one ever retires from God’s kingdom. We are all given a place in His kingdom and responsibilities. Sometimes those responsibilities are great while some are small. But, in either case, we are to produce with a great return and always done out of love for God and others. Whatever job God directs you to do, do it with passion and enthusiasm. Look at each assignment that He gives you as a blessing and opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others.

It will be tough at times and almost impossible. But, everything is possible when we have God there with us. Rejoice and be glad no matter what happens. When things start to get rough and the trail gets difficult, go to the Lord in prayer. He is just a prayer away and will never, ever let you down. He will lift you up in times of difficulty and will plant your feet firmly on His holy ground. He will send legions of angels to protect you and will give you the strength to do what He has called you to do.

There have been so many times in my life when I have felt that things were just slipping away from me. The trail was getting too hard to walk and it seemed that everyone and everything was against me. But, that is when we find our strength in God. 

Paul writes in chapter twelve of his second letter to the Corinthians, “That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

When you feel that you can’t take that next step, stop for a moment and pray. God will get you through all of the toils and troubles. By living your life as God’s sacrifice and glorifying Him daily by truly loving those around you, loving what is good and not being lazy in your Kingdom duties, I can assure you that you will be able to stand firm in His grace.      

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

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