Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God. Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything.” 1 John 3:19-20 NLT
The old saying is "Actions speak louder than words". This statement is absolutely true. As believers in Jesus Christ, we are called to portray Christ in our lifestyle. People see more than they ever hear. Jesus said it like this: “In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:16 NLT Back in the 1990's I went to a small engine repair shop. On the wall was a saying. I will never forget what it said: "I can't hear what you are saying for what I see you doing". In just that short visit, God spoke to me about the significance of my actions. Christianity is so much more than association with religion, a church, or tradition. Association does not equate salvation. Knowing Jesus has a direct impact upon a person's conduct. To know the God of Creation is the most transforming event anyone can experience. If we truly know Jesus, it will be evidenced by our actions.
We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” 1 John 3:16-18 NLT
Real love is sacrificial. Jesus epitomized this. He laid down His life for us. Listen to what He said in John 15:13 - “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” NLT It's not enough to simply say the words. True love demonstrates itself by action. Love is a verb (an action word). Many confuse love with a feeling. Yes, love creates feelings. However, love is not a feeling, it is an act of our will. We must determine to behave like Jesus toward one another. The love of God is a benevolent love that isn't based upon our meritorious conduct. God's Love is simply from His heart of compassion toward man. The greatest form of this was exemplified on the cross. ““For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NLT
“But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” Romans 5:8 NLT Everything we have is God's. In His mercy and grace, He is letting us utilize it. Are we conscientious of the needs of others around us? People don't care what we know until they know we care. Jesus fed the multitudes, healed the sick, cast out demons, and many other miraculous and marvelous deeds for mankind. He didn't just talk about theological things. He displayed the likeness of God in His person, presence, and practice. Brethren, let's show our love. Talk is cheap!!
This is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another. We must not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and killed his brother. And why did he kill him? Because Cain had been doing what was evil, and his brother had been doing what was righteous. So don’t be surprised, dear brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. If we love our brothers and sisters who are believers, it proves that we have passed from death to life. But a person who has no love is still dead. Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them.” 1 John 3:11-15 NLT
Jesus said it like this: "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.” John 13:34-35 NLT This is the identifying characteristic of Christ's presence in the life of the believer. When Jesus is Lord of our lives we will demonstrate it by love for our brothers and sisters in Christ as well as our fellow man. When we accept Jesus into our life, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us. The Holy Spirit is Christ in us. ““If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you.” John 14:15-18 NLT If the Holy Spirit truly dwells in the professed believer, there will be evidence. Here is that evidence: “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!”
Galatians 5:22-23 NLT Love is the #1 identifying characteristic of the presence of Jesus in our lives. We must love even our enemies. "You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.”
Matthew 5:43-48 NLT Do you truly know Jesus? The proof is in the love. If you don't love others you are considered, by God Himself, as a murderer. (see I John 3:15) Now that is sobering!!
Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God. And you know that Jesus came to take away our sins, and there is no sin in him. Anyone who continues to live in him will not sin. But anyone who keeps on sinning does not know him or understand who he is. Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you about this: When people do what is right, it shows that they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous. But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil. Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, because God’s life is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning, because they are children of God. So now we can tell who are children of God and who are children of the devil. Anyone who does not live righteously and does not love other believers does not belong to God.” 1 John 3:4-10 NLT
There are four things we must understand about sin:
1. THE POWER - “For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power.”
1 Corinthians 15:56 NLT
The law gives sin its power because it reveals the violation. “Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God.” 1 John 3:4 NLT Without a law there is no standard. With no standard, there is no expectation. God's law (His Word) is the standard that reveals our violations. When we know the standard and disobey it, we sin. Therefore, sin is revealed by the law.
2. THE PENALTY - “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23 NLT Death is the penalty of sin. There is only one payment method that is accepted by God - His Son Jesus Christ. Through Jesus, we are set free!!! Thank God!!!
3. THE PRACTICE - “My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous.” 1 John 2:1 NLT As born again believers in Jesus Christ we are set free from the power and penalty of sin. What we now wrestle with is our natural, human, carnal nature that contends with our spirit. We, daily, battle with the practice (choice) of obedience and disobedience. If we yield to the flesh, we will sin. If we yield to the Holy Spirit, we overcome. No child of God has any business meandering in the muck and mire of sin. We are set free FROM sin, not IN sin. Yes, there is one more thing:
4. THE POTENTIAL - Each one of us have the potential to violate God's Word and fall to sin. None of us are exempt. “If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.”
1 Corinthians 10:12-13 NLT “Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.”
Galatians 6:1-2 NLT We should not make excuses for our sin. We must allow the conviction of the Holy Spirit to call us to repentance and let the blood of Jesus cleanse us when we confess. “But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” 1 John 1:7-9 NLT Live life by, and through, the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. Then, and only then can we live as children of God. Our character should match that of our Father.
Jesus - righteousness
Satan - sin
If you were being placed on trial for your faith, would there be enough evidence to convict you?
And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure.” 1 John 3:3 NLT
When we know the love that God has bestowed upon us in calling us His children and when we understand that we will be like Jesus when He returns (incorruptible and immortal), we should be motivated to living pure lives. Having an understanding of what God has done in us, who He is, and what change is coming should cause us to live life in perspective of eternity. Being a child of God is so much more than owning an eternal fire insurance policy. Jesus is not just Savior. He is Lord! He must be Savior and Lord, not just Savior. When we call Him Lord, we are implying that He is the Master and Ruler of everything. This includes our character and conduct. For a child of God to live contrary to their Father's likeness is to bring reproach to Him. We should be striving daily to live our lives to bring Him honor. He is PURE!!! Let me borrow some statements from the late Dr. S.M. Lockridge: "He is purity's whitest peak. He's truth's fairest jewel. He is light's clearest ray. He is glory's stateless summit. He's time's choicest theme. He is joy's deepest tie. He is the gem from the glory-land". Can I hear you shouting right now? Hallelujah! Today, let's strive to live pure lives that bring honor and glory to our PURE Lord Jesus Christ. “God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.” Matthew 5:8 NLT
“Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is.” 1 John 3:2 NLT
Imagine what it's going to be like to see Jesus and be like Him. This doesn't mean we will be physical clones of Jesus. He is Lord! He alone will reign as King of kings and Lord of lords! He is Omnipotent - has all power, Omniscient - knows all things, and Omnipresent - is everywhere at the same time. He is Holy, True, Just, Wise, Infinite, and all other characteristics that accompany God. Only He can, and will, retain the fullness of God. We will be like Him in essence. We will be sinless and experience God in a very personal relationship. Our bodies will be immortal and incorruptible. “But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies.” 1 Corinthians 15:51-53 NLT
We will have direct access to Him physically, enjoy life in its original sense, and have a spirit, soul, and body that will be in perfect tune with God. There will be no more depravity or it's effects upon humanity or the earth. Every heart will beat in rhythm with God. Every mind will think with holy understanding. Every will is submitted to Christ in heaven. There will be no debauched or depraved minds of evil, political pundits propagating the earth with wickedness. Gone will be all abominable behavior. “All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children. “But cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and all liars—their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”” Revelation 21:7-8 NLT The absence of Satan, sin, and evil will flood the earth like fresh, clean water. Everyone will know the Lord. “Nothing will hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain, for as the waters fill the sea, so the earth will be filled with people who know the Lord.” Isaiah 11:9 NLT “All your people will be righteous. They will possess their land forever, for I will plant them there with my own hands in order to bring myself glory.” Isaiah 60:21 NLT Can you imagine living on the earth with righteous people who live in harmony as one family of God? God has promised this to us. We will know the Lord and rule on the earth as children of God. “And they sang a new song with these words: “You are worthy to take the scroll and break its seals and open it. For you were slaughtered, and your blood has ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. And you have caused them to become a Kingdom of priests for our God. And they will reign on the earth.” Revelation 5:9-10 NLT No Satan, no sin, no sickness, no suffering, no sorrow. We will be able to live life the way it was intended. Jesus has made this possible!
“See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him.” 1 John 3:1 NLT
The King James Version, New King James Version, American Standard Version, and New American Standard Bible all use the word "bestowed" in this verse. The New International Version uses the word "lavished". To bestow means "to grant, present, award, or entrust". To lavish means to "bestow something in generous or extravagant quantity". This describes the manner in which God has given us His love. God's Love is absolutely incredible! He loves us so much that He calls us His children. Think of this very concept: God calls us His children. The Creator of all things has given us the absolutely distinguished privilege of sonship. He came to the orphanage of this depraved world and paid the price for our adoption. Adoption implies that He chose to love us and call us his children. He refused to leave us in the slavery of Satan's orphanage. He came to where we were, chose us, paid the price for our freedom, and took us home as His adopted children. “So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”” Romans 8:15 NLT
“And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.”” Galatians 4:6 NLT Abba is an Aramaic term that means "Father". We can call God our "Papa" or "Daddy". Jesus used this term in the garden of Gethsemane as He prayed prior to His arrest, trial, and crucifixion. “Abba, Father,” he cried out, “everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Mark 14:36 NLT In Matthew 6:9-13, Jesus teaches us to pray "Our Father..." in what is called The Lord's Prayer." We are honored and privileged, above and beyond anything this world can offer, to be called children of God. We are His family. We are His blood washed saints. I Peter 2:9-10 says it this way: “But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. “Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.” NLT Take a moment to consider this: We get to eat at His table, sit at His feet, receive His instruction, submit to His discipline, enjoy the pleasure of His presence, receive His provision, find shelter in His protection, and the promise of His inheritance. Wow!!! Did you get that?? “And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are.” Romans 8:17 -19 NLT We get to eat manna from the table of heaven, drink from the water of life, bask in the Sonlight of His radiance, wash in the shower of His forgiveness, rest in His grace, awaken to His mercy, live in His love, and joy in His promise of eternal life. That is what it means to be His child!!
And now, dear children, remain in fellowship with Christ so that when he returns, you will be full of courage and not shrink back from him in shame. Since we know that Christ is righteous, we also know that all who do what is right are God’s children.” 1 John 2:28-29 NLT
Let us live our lives under the direction of the Holy Spirit. When we seek to walk with Christ Jesus our Lord we remain in "Koinonia". This Greek word means social intercourse. We NEED this fellowship. This kind of relationship with Jesus helps us live holy lives that bring Him glory and prepare us for His return. When He returns, He will reckon with His servants and hold them accountable for their lives. “That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty. God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.” Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 NLT “So why do you condemn another believer? Why do you look down on another believer? Remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.” Romans 14:10 NLT “For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body.” 2 Corinthians 5:10 NLT “Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God.” Romans 14:12 NLT Think about that!!
I am writing these things to warn you about those who want to lead you astray. But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true—it is not a lie. So just as he has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ.” 1 John 2:26-27 NLT
The Holy Spirit is the presence of God in the life of the believer. “And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.” Ephesians 1:13-14 NLT The Holy Spirit is the believers spiritual conscience. He discerns truth and error. As born again believers in Jesus Christ, God has given us His Spirit to help us live a life of truth. When we listen to the Holy Spirit within, we receive direction from God about right and wrong, good and evil, and what direction to take concerning matters. “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future.” John 16:13 NLT When we listen to, and follow, the unction of the Holy Spirit we do what is right in God's eyes and please our Father. “So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses. When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.” Galatians 5:16-25 NLT Today, and every day, take a moment to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to have control of your mind, will, and emotions.
So you must remain faithful to what you have been taught from the beginning. If you do, you will remain in fellowship with the Son and with the Father. And in this fellowship we enjoy the eternal life he promised us.”
1 John 2:24-25 NLT
“Remain” and “Faithful” could be synonyms. They give us the idea of being steadfast. Nothing in this world should sway us concerning the truth. Truth is absolute and unchanging. We live in a culture of relativism - (the doctrine that truth, morality, and knowledge are in relation to culture, society, or historical context). This presents us with a fundamental problem. If truth is not steadfast, and is evolving, then there is no standard to live by. Absolutes are necessary for order. No building could be constructed without codes. A ruler or tape measure must be clear and precise in it’s calibration. Standards of measurement are critical In engineering and architecture. They must be absolute. No law can be upheld if there are no absolutes. Without authority, the law is powerless. Could you imagine living in a lawless society? Well, just look around! We can see it swelling to a crescendo all about us. The reason is simple. Everyone is doing what is right in his own eyes with little, to no, regard for God and His absolute truth. “In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.” Judges 21:25 NLT (see also Judges 17:6).
“People may be right in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their heart.” Proverbs 21:2 NLT Truth does NOT change with time or culture. To be so arrogant, as to assume that we are capable of establishing our own “truth”, is utter foolishness. This only proves our rebellious, sinful nature. As disciples of the Lord Jesus we MUST remain faithful to the truth. The stability of civilization and society depend upon it. More importantly, the eternal destiny of mankind is wrapped up in the truth. To ignore the truth, compromise the truth, or attempt to change the truth, is absolutely detrimental and ultimately destructive. We CANNOT afford to be playing games with the lives of humanity. It is utterly preposterous to craft a sermon or try to promote the church of the Lord Jesus Christ without the clear, unadulterated truth. Do we have the guts to stand and speak it? I beg you brothers and sisters, stand in, and for the truth. “Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness.” Ephesians 6:14 NLT “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”” John 8:32 NLT
Rev. Curtis Norris