VIDEO Love and Obedience

But why do you call Me “Lord, Lord,” and not do the things which I say? Luke 6:46

A poignant moment in Peter’s life was when he met Christ by the Sea of Galilee after His resurrection—the same Christ whom Peter denied knowing just before the crucifixion. In this meeting in Galilee, Jesus needed to know whether Peter’s heart had changed. Three times Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love Me?” And each time Peter replied that he did. But each time Peter confessed his love for Jesus, the Lord gave him a command: “Feed My lambs…. tend My sheep…. feed My sheep” (John 21:15-21).

Jesus’ words illustrate a theme that runs throughout Scripture: Love is demonstrated by actions. More specifically, when it comes to God and man, love for God is demonstrated by man’s obedience to God’s commands. And such obedience is rewarded by blessing. Jesus made this connection when He spoke to a large crowd of followers and seekers: “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46) In that crowd were people who were seeking His blessing but had not reckoned the cost of obedience.

If you confess Jesus as Lord, don’t take lightly the responsibility to obey His words.

Beware of reasoning about God’s Word—obey it. Oswald Chambers

Luke 6:46-49 – In Depth – Pastor Chuck Smith – Bible Studies

The Right Jesus

If someone . . . preaches a [false] Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, . . . you [wrongly] put up with it. 2 Corinthians 11:4

The buzz in the room faded to a comfortable silence as the book club leader summarized the novel the group would discuss. My friend Joan listened closely but didn’t recognize the plot. Finally, she realized she had read a nonfiction book with a similar title to the work of fiction the others had read. Although she enjoyed reading the “wrong” book, she couldn’t join her friends as they discussed the “right” book.

The apostle Paul didn’t want the Corinthian believers in Jesus to believe in a “wrong” Jesus. He pointed out that false teachers had infiltrated the church and presented a different “Jesus” to them, and they had swallowed the lies (2 Corinthians 11:3–4). 

Paul denounced the heresy of these phony teachers. In his first letter to the church, however, he’d reviewed the truth about the Jesus of Scripture. This Jesus was the Messiah who “died for our sins . . . was raised on the third day . . . and then [appeared] to the Twelve,” and finally to Paul himself (1 Corinthians 15:3–8). This Jesus had come to earth through a virgin named Mary and was named Immanuel (God with us) to affirm His divine nature (Matthew 1:20–23).

Does this sound like the Jesus you know? Understanding and accepting the truth written in the Bible about Him assures us that we’re on the spiritual path that leads to heaven.

By:  Jennifer Benson Schuldt

Reflect & Pray

How do you know that you believe the truth about Jesus? What might you need to investigate to make sure you understand what the Bible says about Him?

Dear God, help me to walk in the light of Your truth.

For further study, read In Pursuit of Jesus: Who He Is and Why It Matters.

Idols in the Life of the Believer

Until we fully trust the Lord to meet our every need, we’ll be tempted by other gods. Colossians 3:1-5

Idolatry isn’t limited to the past but is still prevalent today in various forms. Many religions worship false gods—some with tangible images and some without. But idolatry is actually a matter of the heart, so it is possible for believers to sin in this way. That’s why John says, “Guard yourselves from idols” (1 John 5:21).

If we treasure anything or anyone above the Lord, we’re practicing idolatry to one degree or another. What we value most is often revealed by the amount of time we devote to it, the sacrifices we make for it, and the money we spend on it. Idols distract us from wholehearted devotion to God and deceive us into thinking satisfaction and fulfillment are found in them rather than in Him. 

Ridding ourselves of idols of the heart will be futile until we learn to value the Lord more than anything or anyone else. It’s like playing Whack a Mole. As soon as we push one idol down, another pops up. The key to overcoming idolatry is learning to develop greater love and understanding of the one true God through His Word. When He is the ultimate desire of our soul, all other gods will be pushed out of our heart.   

The Heart of Our Understanding

“Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.” (1 Corinthians 14:20)

The wise man wrote long ago, “With all thy getting get understanding” (Proverbs 4:7). However, we need to be sure that the understanding we acquire is not perverted by the spirit of this world. When Paul wrote to the Ephesians, he emphasized the contrast between a darkened understanding and a spiritually illuminated understanding.

“Walk not as other Gentiles walk,” he exhorted, “in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart” (Ephesians 4:17-18). A blinded heart produces a darkened understanding.

Paul prayed, rather, that God would give them “the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened” (Ephesians 1:17-18). We need an understanding enlightened by the Holy Spirit, not darkened by a hardened heart.

By the same token, as today’s verse commands, we should seek to attain a mature understanding of the things of God, not remaining stagnant at the elementary level of understanding. It is dishonoring to the Lord who called us into His family to remain spiritual children. We should exhibit the faith of a little child, and be as free from malice as a little child, but in understanding we must grow! “For when…ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again…the first principles of the oracles of God…who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:12, 14). “Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). HMM

Faith and Care

Matthew 6:30

FOUR times in Matthew our Lord uses the expression “O ye of little faith,” and each time the application is to a different problem. The first occurrence of the phrase is in Matthew 6:30: “Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?”

This is part of the well-known passage from the Sermon on the Mount dealing with our daily anxieties. Nowhere is faith more needed nowadays. Many Christians seem to think of worry as a “white sin,” as though God had made an exception in that case and we were allowed to fret and grieve, with no provision being made for our relief. People think they simply must worry, but God’s Word is explicit that we are to be anxious about nothing (Phil. 4:6), casting all our care upon God (1 Pet. 5:7)—letting not our hearts be troubled (John 14:1). Why did Jesus say “Let not your heart be troubled” if we cannot help it?

So our Lord tells us: “Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink” (v. 25). Of course, we know that “thought” here means anxious thought and not the forethought and planning that are necessary for any business. It is not work, but worry, that kills—the feverish tension and uneasiness that soon wear down mind and body. The man who lives in the will of God need never worry about food, clothes, and the vexations of daily experience. It does no good, it is positively forbidden in the Word, and God has promised to supply all the believer’s needs (Phil. 4:19).

The Lord Jesus speaks in this passage of the birds and the lilies as illustrations of God’s care. Here cynics have objected that the sparrow falls just the same. But the idea is that no matter what happens, we are in God’s care. The mistake is in limiting His care to temporal welfare—but God does not guarantee to save us from trouble and danger. His care goes beyond that: come what will, our lives are hid with Christ, and no matter what happens to our health or our money, we ourselves—our spirits—are safe in Him.

The heart of the whole matter is found in verse 33: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” We make “all these things” our chief concern but Christ makes them merely incidental. These things should be marginal and God central in our lives, but we put them on the main track and God is switched to the sidetrack, to be called upon only in trouble.

“Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” Each day has enough troubles of its own. But we insist upon borrowing from tomorrow and crossing the bridge before we reach it. No Christian should worry. His sole business is to know the will of God and do it. Whatever his occupation may be, it is only to pay expenses while he is about his real business. But we reverse the whole matter and make our trade the main business with God’s will an outside affair that is considered now and then, if at all. Consequently, when trouble and vexation come we fret and worry.

Our “little faith” shows up daily in this matter of care. The believer who has gained through faith the conquest of care has found life here, even in this troublesome world, a blessed experience. Truly, the peace of God will garrison the hearts and minds of those who are careful for nothing but thankful for everything.

“Lord, save me.”

Romans 3:9-26

Having by our last reading been taught our own connection with Adam’s fall, we will now attentively consider a passage of Scripture which shows the consequent corruption of human nature in all times and places. Let us read

In this portion Paul quotes the words of several Old Testament authors, puts them all together, and presents them to us as a terrible, but truthful, description of fallen man. Of the boastful Jews the apostle asks the question—

Romans 3:9

As an old divine puts it, “whole evil is in man, and whole man in evil.”

Romans 3:10

What the prophet said of one is here applied to the whole race, for the nature of man is in all cases the same. Note how strong are the three negatives here, how they quench all hope of finding a natural righteousness in man.

Romans 3:11-18

See how in character and nature, without and within, in every faculty, in mouth, feet, heart, and eyes, the disease of sin has affected us. We may not actually have committed all the evils here mentioned, but they are all in our nature. Circumstances and education prevent our being so bad in practice as we are in heart, but as the poison is in the viper even when it stings not, so is sin always within us.

What crimson sins are these which defile us! How divinely powerful must that medicine be which can purge us from such deadly diseases. After this indictment of human nature there follows a declaration that by the works of the law none can be saved, since all are already guilty, and the book of the law itself contains the evidence of their guilt and condemnation.

Romans 3:20

We use the law rightly when it convinces us of sin and drives us to the Saviour, but we altogether abuse and pervert it if we look to be saved by obedience to it.

Romans 3:21-22

There is no difference in the fact of guilt, in the impossibility of salvation by merit, and in the plain and open way of justification by faith.

Romans 3:23-26

What a precious gospel verse. May every member of this family understand it, and be a partaker in the substitution of the Lord Jesus. We are all fallen; may every one of us be justified freely by God’s grace through faith in the blood of the Lord Jesus. Let us earnestly pray to be cleansed by the atoning death of him who bore for his people all the curse of the law.

To the dear fountain of thy blood,

Incarnate God, I fly;

Here let me wash my spotted soul

From crimes of deepest dye.

A guilty, weak, and helpless worm,

On thy kind arms I fall;

Be thou my strength and righteousness,

My Jesus, and my all.

The Interpreter: Or, Scripture for Family Worship.

Believe the Right Thing About the Right Person

Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. Romans 15:13

There is a nebulous idea accepted by many in our day that faith is an almighty power flowing through the universe which anyone may plug into at will! It is conceived vaguely as a subrational creative pulsation streaming down from somewhere Up There, ready at any time to enter our hearts and change our whole mental and moral constitution as well as our total outlook on man, God and the cosmos.

When it comes in, supposedly out go pessimism, fear, defeat and failure; in come optimism, confidence, personal mastery and unfailing success in war, love, sports, business and politics.

All of this is, of course, a gossamer of self-deception woven of the unsubstantial threads of fancy spun out of minds of tenderhearted persons who want to believe it! What is overlooked in all this is that faith is good only when it engages truth; when it is made to rest upon falsehood it can and often does lead to eternal tragedy.

For it is not enough that we believe; we must believe in the right thing about the right One!

To believe in God is more than to believe that He exists. To a right faith knowledge is necessary. We must know at least something of what God is like and what His will is for His human creatures. To know less than this is to be thrown back upon the necessity of accepting the affirmations of the soul and substituting “Thus saith my soul” for the biblical “Thus saith the Lord,” and no man has any right to pick and choose among revealed truths.