Tag Archives: commands
This video message was preached to the believers at Kenilworth Gospel Chapel on Sunday, September 6, 2020. Comments welcome!
As my friend Frank and I are working our way through I Peter, I couldn’t help but notice the very practical instructions that Peter gives in this first chapter. Here is the text —
Have you found that sometimes we just simply need to obey some commands? Our culture seems to demand explanations for everything. But the believer in Jesus learns — maybe very slowly — that our God doesn’t always explain the WHYS to His children.
In chapter 8 of The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis has Screwtape give the following advice to Wormwood, his understudy demon: “Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger, than when a human, no longer desiring, but intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.”
Here are five very clear commands which are for all believers at all times in all cultures facing any circumstances in life:
1. Set Your Hope on What’s Most Important! (v. 13)
2. Don’t Give in to Your Pagan Desires! (v. 14)
3. Be Holy in All You Do! (vv. 15-16)
4. Live Out Your Life as Godly Foreigners Here (vv. 17-21)
5. Love One Another Deeply! (vv. 22-25)
Has it dawned on you, Christian, that sometimes what you and I really need are straightforward, clear commands? And this is how Paul completes his second letter to the Corinthian believers. Notice his instruction —
1. We are clearly commanded to REJOICE!
What in the world makes us Christians think that rejoicing is an option we can overlook or ignore? It is a command to REJOICE! As hard as life sometimes gets, we are to rejoice in the more important blessings of salvation and peace and purpose and forgiveness.
If any group of believers felt they had the right to wallow in self-pity or stew in unforgiveness or be frustrated with their own failures, it was the Corinthians. And with all the rebuke and strong instructions given by the Apostle to spiritually straighten things out in the church, he still commands them to rejoice!
2. We are to strive for full restoration!
This command is given to a church filled with problems and sin and unrepentance and lack of forgiveness! The temptation to give up, to let bitternesses and unresolved conflicts continue, was probably overwhelming for some of these believers. But that course of inaction was not and would not be of God. He wants full restoration.
3. We are commanded to encourage one another!
Encouragement. You need to know that when Gary Chapman wrote his book The Five Love Languages and he dealt with “words of affirmation” — he had a picture of ME in front of him. Just kidding. But that’s how I receive love — not so much receiving gifts or acts of service or physical touch or quality time, but — words of affirmation. Encouragement. We are clearly instructed to encourage one another. Words matter. What we say to one another matters. And sometimes the words we choose to say can be like a drink of fresh spring water to a thirsty man who’s been stumbling around in the desert.
5. We are commanded to live in peace!
What does it mean to “live in peace”? Well, we are told to “be at peace among yourselves” (I Thes. 5:13). And Romans 12:18 says, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” (KJV). The NIV reads “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” You and I can’t force others to live at peace with us, but we can choose to make every effort to live in peace with them! The Jesus-follower has absolutely no justification to perpetuate any kind of grudge or bitterness or unresolved conflict or family skirmish. None.
THE PROMISE: “And the God of love and peace will be with you.” Wait! I thought God was everywhere. As one theologian put it, “Wherever there is a ‘where,’ God is there!” So what does it mean that God “will be with you”? Not so fast! Notice the character of this God: He is “the God of love and peace.” The only true God — the One who is love and peace — is being spoken of here. HE will be with us as we seek to obey these commands. Are you “with” me? Notice I’m not using “with” geographically. I’m asking “Are you tracking with me? Following what I’m saying?” The omnipresent God is “with” some and not “with” others. Relationally. And that is what is being promised here. I want that. Do you?
Friends: If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that my friend Frank (in New Jersey) and I have been doing an email Bible study for over a year. We read the same chapter every day for a week — and then send a brief email of encouragement to each other. We’ve completed most of the epistles of the New Testament — and it’s been a great discipline for both of us.
We’re now in the book of I Corinthians. And we just started reading I Corinthians 15 on Easter Sunday! We are now concluding I Corinthians and I want to post a few outlines on the last chapter, chapter 16.
The Apostle Paul has had his hands full in writing to and correcting the Corinthian believers, hasn’t he? Now, as he closes this letter, he refers to a number of fellow-workers and his commendation of them. But Paul is always the careful teacher. He realizes that several succinct directives/commands need to be pressed home to these believers. And we need the same today.
Commands Worth Keeping! (A Study of I Corinthians 16:13-14)
II. Stand firm in the faith
>>> Because the temptation to become a spiritual deserter is everywhere.
III. Be courageous
>>> Because persecution (in its many forms) inevitably will be used by those who refuse to believe.
IV. Be strong
>>> Because the Lord requires soldiers, not pacifists.
V. Do everything in love
>>> Ungodly hatred has no place in our mission.
Today’s Challenge: Ask yourself several questions today: (1) Where am I letting down my guard? (2) Am I waffling in my faith in any specific way? (3) Where am I failing to show godly courage? (4) In what area of my Christian life am I weak? And what can I do about it? (5) Does love motivate my daily life?
I am looking forward to Family Camp at Camp Elim in Woodland Park, Colorado, on May 25-27. I get to preach five messages — and I’ve chosen the theme of the spiritually-healthy family (from the epistle of Titus).
Let’s read carefully the second chapter of Titus:
We have already seen that the spiritually healthy family cares deeply about the local church and that, secondly, it recognizes false teaching in its many forms and opposes it (1:10-16).
Let’s notice thirdly in this chapter that —
The spiritually healthy family —
III. Appreciates and Applies the Clear Instructions of God’s Word (2:1-10)
God’s Word is very specific in speaking to specific groups:
A. The Older Men (vv. 1-2)
Notice the qualities that “older men” are to work on: to be temperate; worthy of respect; self-controlled; and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.
B. The Older Women (vv. 3-5)
Who’s going to admit that they belong in the category of “older women”? Personal qualities: They are to be reverent, not slanderers or addicted to much wine. Teaching responsibilities: to teach what is good, urging the younger women to love their husbands and children.
C. The Younger Women (vv. 4-5)
The “younger women” are to focus on family obligations and personal qualities (self-controlled, pure, busy at home, kind, subject to their husbands). Note the reason for the good conduct of the younger women.
D. The Young Men (vv. 6-8)
Note that self-control is the first quality of “the young men.” They are to be examples in doing what is good, in showing integrity in their teaching. They are to be marked by seriousness and soundness of speech. Note the reason for these qualities (v. 8).
E. The Slaves (vv. 9-10)
The last category are “slaves.” Here’s a good article responding to the charge that the Bible supports slavery. God’s Word regulates one’s “ownership” of slaves, recognizing that the gospel will eventually lead to freedom for slave and master! Obedience, a desire to please, and honesty are all qualities of those who are in the category of “slaves.” Note the why of these commands to slaves.
(We will continue this five-part series over the next few days)