Following Jesus

    Those of us who have “EYES THAT SEE” AND “EARS THAT HEAR” (Matt. 13:16), the message that Jesus brought to His followers; a message of “good news of great joy that will be for all the people” (Luke 2:10, 11), plus an unbelievable offer to follow Him; copying His pattern, and becoming a member of His Bride and Priesthood, still find it difficult to believe such an offer is made to us.

    Perhaps that is why we are given assurance of these promises by the apostles in their writings. See 2 Corinthians 15:51-54; 2 Peter 1:4; Revelation 5:9, 10; 14:1-5, etc.

    Since this invitation has been extended to us, let us review what is expected of us that our Teacher, Guide and Master has given as His clear instructions.  In Matthew 10:37-39 Jesus said:

    “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me; and anyone who does not take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me.  Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”

    The Apostle Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).  That must be our goal.  “Christ in you, the (only) hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). How does this take place?  Jesus gives us the answer in John 14:23, “If anyone loves Me, he will obey My teaching, My Father will love him and We will come to him and make our home with him.”

    So then, what is this “teaching” that Jesus gave us?  When He was asked, “What is the greatest commandment of all?” we know His reply is found in Matt. 22:37-40 and Mark 12:28-31. Then, at the last supper He gave them another commandment, “A new commandment I give you!  Love one another, as I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34, 35). To emphasize this point, He repeated it in John 15:12, 13 saying, “My command is this:  Love each other as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this that he lay down his life for his friends.”

    This must be our life’s guiding principle if we would be true followers of Jesus.  LOVE, is not merely a noun; it must be a verb, in our lives, shown forth in our actions!

    Listen to the Apostle John in his first Epistle: “We know we have passed from death to life because we love our brothers.  Anyone who does not love remains in death. This is how we know what love is. Jesus Christ laid down His life for us and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.  If anyone has material possessions and see his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?  Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth and how we set our hearts at rest in His presence.” 1 John 3:14, 16-19

    In James 2:8, 14, and 17 he states, “If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself” you are doing right.”  Then he asks, “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds?  Can such faith save him?  Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food, if one of you says to them, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed.’ But does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?  In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”

    During the early years of the church, the brethren in Jerusalem fell upon hard times, both financially and with persecution (Acts 8). In his first letter to the Corinthian church (about AD 55) Paul encourages taking a collection for the Jerusalem congregation (1 Cor. 16:1-4).  He follows up on this request in his second letter.  See 2 Cor. 8, 9.

    We, therefore, have clear examples of how we are to lay down our lives for our brethren, both individually and to congregations.  We are not actually dying by so doing, but we are being crucified as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1).

    “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of Praise, the fruit of lips that confess His Name, and do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased”  (Hebrews 13:15, 16).

Finally, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Galatians 6:9, 10).

D. Anas  ©CDMI

Verse of The Day

1 John 1:7
//
July 20, 2017

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”

Verse of The Day

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