VIDEO Do It Heartily

Do It Heartily

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men. Colossians 3:23

Have you ever seen someone sweep a floor half-heartedly? The result is the opposite of the desired purpose—and it remains half finished. To do something well, you need to put your heart into it. One translation of Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men” (HCSB). True enthusiasm comes from God. The Lord doesn’t want us sulking around, bored, languishing at our tasks. He has a plan for every day; and as we tackle the projects before us—whether doing the laundry or building a skyscraper—we should remember we’re doing His will and fulfilling an agenda He designed for us.

George Matthew Adams wrote, “Enthusiasm is a kind of faith that has been set afire.”

If you’re reading this in the morning, go into the day with enthusiasm. If you’re reading it at night, wake up tomorrow with excitement. Say to yourself—“This is the day the Lord has made!” And whatever you do, do it heartily, excitedly, energetically, cheerfully—and with enthusiasm.

When we are given a task for God, we’re to do it heartily with all our might and strength.

You cannot love a thing without wanting to fight for it. G. K. Chesterton


Work – Colossians 3:23

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The Gospel of the Son Who Reveals the Father

John and the Synoptics

While each of the four gospels is unique in many ways, the first three—Matthew, Mark, and Luke—have a great deal in common. We call these three the “Synoptic” Gospels (synoptic means “viewed together”) because they have so much in common. Approximately 90% of the stories and teaching in Mark’s gospel appear in either Matthew or Luke. By contrast, only 10% of John’s gospel appears in any of the other three.

Why such similarities and differences? It seems likely that Matthew, Mark, and Luke used many of the same sources.

…for John the most pressing question is whether Jesus is both fully human and fully divine.

But why is John so different? The likely answer is that John was writing somewhat later in the first century AD and under different circumstances. While the biggest challenge facing the Synoptic authors was whether Jesus was the promised Messiah who inaugurated God’s kingdom, for John the most pressing question is whether Jesus is both fully human and fully divine. Some false teachers had begun to claim that Jesus was merely human and not truly God. Others said Jesus may be divine, but he only appeared to be human. John writes to combat both false teachings. Only if Jesus is fully human and fully divine can he provide salvation for the sins of the world. The consistent theme throughout John’s gospel is that Jesus is the self-revelation of God, who provides eternal life to all who believe (see 3:16). We will trace this theme briefly through several passages and narrative features.

John’s Prologue (1:1–18).

John’s prologue represents the most exalted picture of Jesus in the New Testament. Jesus is introduced as God’s eternal “Word” (1:1; Greek: Logos), his self-revelation and communication to humanity. Verses 1–2 are a remarkable description of the Son as both distinct from the Father (he was “with God [the Father]”), yet as fully divine (he “was God”). That the Son is truly God is further evident in that he is the Creator of all things (v. 3). Just as God brought light and life into existence at creation (Genesis 1:3, 20–26), so Jesus is the light-giver and life-giver (John 1:4)—bringing both physical life and eternal life. He brought this life by becoming a human being (vv. 10–11, 14), an event theologians call the incarnation. Though rejected by his own people (vv. 10–11), Jesus’s death paid the penalty for our sins and brought us salvation. Those who receive Jesus are now restored to a right relationship with God as his spiritual children (vv. 12–13). Though the Old Testament law could only point out our sin, God’s grace through Jesus delivers us from it (vv. 16–17). The end of the prologue returns to the theme introduced at the beginning. Just as the “Word” of God communicates who God is (1:1), so Jesus the Son reveals the invisible God (1:18).

The Seven “Signs.”

The Son coming to reveal the Father continues throughout John’s gospel. The first major section (1:19–12:50) is sometimes called “The Book of Signs.” This is because it contains seven “signs,” or miracles, that are meant to reveal Jesus’s glory and to point people to faith in him. The number seven in Scripture often indicates completion or perfection. Interspersed with the seven signs is a series of dialogues and debates between Jesus and the Jewish religious leaders, who challenge Jesus’s identity and actions. The seven signs are:

  1. Turning water into wine at a wedding in Cana, 2:1–11
  2. Healing a royal official’s son, 4:43–54
  3. Healing a disabled man at the Pool of Bethesda, 5:1–15
  4. Feeding 5,000 people with a few loaves and fishes, 6:1–14
  5. Walking on water, 6:16–21
  6. Healing a man born blind, 9:1–41
  7. Raising Lazarus, 11:1–43

At the conclusion of the first sign, turning water into wine, we get an explanation of the purpose of the signs: “What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him” (John 2:11). The signs reveal Jesus’s glory and provoke faith in him.

Yet for the stubborn and hard-hearted, the signs provoke opposition and resistance.

Yet for the stubborn and hard-hearted, the signs provoke opposition and resistance. The last and climactic of the seven signs is the raising of Lazarus from the dead. On the one hand, this miracle causes many to believe (11:45) and foreshadows the greatest of all signs, the resurrection of Jesus. On the other hand, it is the precipitating event that leads to Jesus’s crucifixion (11:47–53). Yet even here the negative is turned to God’s glory, as Christ achieves victory over death and accomplishes our salvation through his atoning death on the cross.

Seven “I am” Statements.

Another important means of Jesus’s self-revelation in John’s gospel are seven “I am” statements, metaphors that Jesus uses to describe himself. The seven, and their significance, are:

  1. The Bread of Life, meaning the source of spiritual life, 6:35, 41, 48, 50–51, 58
  2. The Light of the World, meaning the source of life and guidance, 8:12; 9:5
  3. The Door/Gate for the Sheep, meaning protection from danger, 10:7, 9
  4. The Good Shepherd, meaning provider and protector, 10:11, 14
  5. The Resurrection and the Life, meaning provider of eternal life, 11:25
  6. The Way, the Truth and the Life, meaning the one true way to know God, 14:6
  7. The True Vine, meaning the source of life and spiritual health, 15:1

In addition to these metaphors, Jesus sometimes speaks of himself in absolute terms as the “I AM” (8:58). This is an allusion to Exodus 3:14, where the Lord God identifies himself to Moses as the “I AM,” the self-existent one, without beginning or end. This again emphasizes Jesus as one who is truly divine—the self-revelation of God.

John’s Theme and Purpose.

John’s primary theme is clearly Christological, confirming the identity of Christ. Yet while this is certainly the most theological of the four gospels, even John is not writing theology for theology’s sake. His purpose, like the other gospels, is to call people to faith. The gospel climaxes with an explicit statement of purpose: “that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (20:31).

The Gospels are theological and literary jewels, each a masterpiece in its own way. Yet from the perspective of their inspired authors—the four “Evangelists”— they are much more. They are “good news,” a call to respond in faith to the arrival of God’s end-time salvation and an invitation to be transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Touch That Transforms

Matthew 8:1-4

Seven times in the book of Matthew, Jesus encountered people with sickness or infirmities and healed them with a touch. Although He had the power to simply speak a word or command illness to leave, He often chose a more hands-on approach. In the case of the leper in today’s passage, Jesus’ personal touch must have been something the man rarely experienced, since he was considered untouchable. In fact, that may be why Jesus chose this avenue of healing.

The need for a touch from a fellow human being has not disappeared in the 2,000 years since Jesus walked the earth. Yet in a world dominated by social media and technology, we are now more isolated than ever before. Physical contact is being replaced with “likes” on Facebook. And when we do think of touch, it’s often associated with scandal, impropriety, or immorality. How did this wonderful word become so maligned?

As Christians, we have the opportunity to “touch” people in a variety of ways, including by our words—for example, the proclamation of salvation through Jesus Christ can transform a person’s life and eternal destiny. However, ministry is also accomplished with our hands through service, compassion, and the encouragement of a hug or loving pat on the shoulder.

Our heart, mouth, and hands must be cooperating in order to fully minister in Jesus’ name. And whether alone or gathered with others, we have the privilege of touching lives through prayer. Jesus touched people both physically and spiritually, and as His followers, we must do likewise. Look for opportunities in which God might use you for His glory.

Holy Ghost in David

“For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness.” (Psalm 95:7-8)

It is an interesting coincidence that verses 7-11 of Psalm 95 are quoted almost verbatim in verses 7-11 of Hebrews 3. The two writers are both referring, of course, to the 40 years of wandering by the children of Israel in the wilderness.

The Hebrews reference contains an important insight on biblical inspiration. It is introduced by the words “the Holy Ghost saith” (Hebrews 3:7), showing that God was actually the real author of the psalm. Then, the same phrase (“To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation”) is quoted again in Hebrews 3:15, but this time it is introduced merely by “it is said.”

Then, remarkably, it is quoted still a third time (Hebrews 4:7), where it tells us that God was “saying in David” this grave warning. In other words, the same Scripture was attributed both to David and to the Holy Spirit. Perhaps even more significantly, the phrase “it is said” is seen to be equivalent to “God says.” All of this is a clear affirmation of the divine inspiration of the Old Testament Scriptures.

Finally, the fact that the same warning (“Harden not your hearts”) is cited three times in the space of just 19 verses, all quoting the original warning in Psalm 95:8, must mean that God considers it extremely important that we harden not our hearts! It is possible that even a child of God can become so involved in doubts concerning God’s Word that he becomes useless to God and thus simply must be allowed to die in a spiritual wilderness, never knowing the great blessings of a life of obedient faith. “The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart” (Psalm 19:8). Our hearts should rejoice at His Word, not be hardened against it. HMM

Program, What Program

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

—Matthew 18:20

Now, I freely admit that it is impossible to hold a Christian service without an agenda. If order is to be maintained, an order of service must exist somewhere. If two songs are to be sung, someone must know which one is to be sung first, and whether this knowledge is only in someone’s head or has been reduced to paper there is indeed a “program,” however we may dislike to call it that. The point we make here is that in our times the program has been substituted for the Presence. The program rather than the Lord of glory is the center of attraction. So the most popular gospel church in any city is likely to be the one that offers the most interesting program; that is, the church that can present the most and best features for the enjoyment of the public….

We’ll do our churches a lot of good if we each one seek to cultivate the blessed Presence in our services. If we make Christ the supreme and constant object of devotion the program will take its place as a gentle aid to order in the public worship of God. If we fail to do this the program will finally obscure the Light entirely. And no church can afford that.   ROR094-096

Lord, I pray that Christ might always be the center of our worshipnever the program. Amen.

 

Whatsoever errand I shall send thee thou shalt go

On whatsoever errand I shall send thee thou shalt go, and whatsoever I shall command thee thou shall speak.—Jeremiah 1:7 (R. V. MARGIN).

 

There is no change of time and place with Thee,

Where’er I go, ‘t is still with me the same;

Within Thy presence I rejoice to be,

And always hallow Thy most holy name.

Jones Very.

 

Be assured of this, you do not know God in truth and have no true peace, if you are depending upon times and places. Remember that whatever God gives you to do, from moment to moment, that is the very best thing you could possibly be doing, and you little know where and when the Lord will meet you. He who does not seek and find God everywhere, and in everything, finds Him nowhere and in nothing. And He who is not at the Lord’s service in everything, is at His service in nothing.

John Tauler.

 

God must be sought and seen in His providences; it is not our actions in themselves considered which please Him, but the spirit in which they are done, more especially the constant ready obedience to every discovery of His will, even in the minutest things, and with such a suppleness and flexibility of mind as not to adhere to anything, but to turn and move in any direction where He shall call.

Madame Guyon.

 

Thank Him and Dwell Acceptably

Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto thy name: the upright shall dwell in thy presence.” Ps. 140:13

Oh that my heart may be upright, that I may always be able to bless the name of the Lord! He is so good to those that be good, that I would fain be among them, and feel myself full of thankfulness every day. Perhaps, for a moment, the righteous are staggered when their integrity results in severe trial; but assuredly the day shall come when they shall bless their God that they did not yield to evil suggestions and adopt a shifty policy. In the long run true men will thank the God of the right for leading them by a right way. Oh that I may be among them!

What a promise is implied in this second clause, “The upright shall dwell in thy presence”! They shall stand accepted where others appear only to be condemned. They shall be the courtiers of the Great King, indulged with audience whensoever they desire it. They shall be favored ones upon whom Jehovah smiles, and with whom He graciously communes. Lord, I covet this high honor, this precious privilege: it will be Heaven on earth to me to enjoy it. Make me in all things upright, that I may today, and tomorrow, and every day stand in thy heavenly presence. Then will I give thanks unto thy name evermore. Amen.