The love of Christ controls me 1) To treat people with dignity and respect, 2) To be a living sacrifice by humbling myself, and 3) To overcome the ambition of selfish desires. … [L]earn how the love of Christ controls the life of the Christian to act in a respectful, humble, and selfless way.
“To the one who loves us and has set us free from our sins at the cost of his own blood and has appointed us as a kingdom, as priests serving his God and Father—to him be the glory and the power for ever and ever! Amen.”
John’s greeting to the seven congregations in Asia includes praise to Christ. His three-fold description of the Lord’s work begins with love.
Write your own praise to Christ and include other biblical descriptions of what Christ has done for his people.
“… ‘You have no part with us in building a temple to our God. We alone will build it for the Lord, the God of Israel, as King Cyrus, the king of Persia, commanded us’” Ezra 4:3.
In this era of inclusion and bending of the rules to accommodate everyone, the drawing of a line of fellowship by the returning exiles sounds really harsh to us. But, it is God who draws it.
It was precisely because His people had erased His line and drawn it where they pleased that they had ceased to be His people and had compromised with the beliefs and practices of every nation around them.
As Ezra had to tell those of the surrounding peoples who opposed them, “You have no part with us,” Nehemiah needed to a few years later when he sought to rebuild the walls.
But why not extend fellowship? Doesn’t God love all people? Yes, but with God a person is either in or out. It’s tempting to want to call seemingly good and loving folks who are doing great deeds “Christians,” but God draws the line still by whether they are in or out of Christ.
It is up to us to have the courage to hold the line and build the wall in the face of opposition or give in to the pressure to re-draw God’s line.
Are you courageous to stand for God?
I think this was written sometime around my birthday, last week. It appears not to have been posted anywhere, so here it is for the appreciation of those who love the art of poetry.
With love in the heart, we’re like the Lord:
His patience working powerfully in us,
His faith is ours, in the fullness of God,
His tender touch our gentle tool—
This Man of men, bringer of mercy.
“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”
Jesus sent the Twelve on a limited preaching tour, but Matthew finds many enduring lessons from the Lord’s instructions.
How does loving a relative more than Jesus demonstrate itself?
“So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed only a few days to him because of the love he had for her” (Genesis 29:20 NKJV). Jacob worked 7 years for Rachel’s father in order to marry her. This was true love, not hormone-driven sex! Movies, television, and music in our day dwell on the fleeting moments of sexual passion and call it “love.” Little wonder, then, that many shape their lives around what they think is “love.” Amnon said he “loved” his half-sister, Tamar, and he raped her. “Then Amnon hated her exceedingly, so that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her. And Amnon said to her, ‘Arise, be gone!’” (2 Samuel 13:15 NKJV). Is your relationship like Jacob or Amnon: for “love” or “sex?”
This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.
An area congregation publishes a monthly bulletin for the city’s saints, called “I Love Jesus.” I went to speak there last month by request. My designated topic was biblical authority and instrumental music in worship. I began the first of two lessons with the sentence, “I love Jesus.” And because I love Jesus, I love the truth of Jesus, since he is “the way, the truth, and the life” Jn 14.6. Probably, not a few listeners caught my reference to the title of their bulletin. This year is, for me, the Year of Love. It might seem strange to some to talk about such topics as authority and instruments from a framework of love. But isn’t that the best (and maybe only) framework in which to treat them? And every other spiritual subject as well?