Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at The Word of God P44 (05-18-21)
As we ponder over understanding the word of God in regards to interacting with other people, we have this wisdom from God in dealing with anxiety and worry and also dealing with a critical spirit toward others. What is our tendency when others do not think like us? Do we want to just write them off and have nothing further to do with them? Thank God Jesus is not like us. When a woman was caught in adultery, all these men were picking up stones to stone her to death. What did Jesus do? He told them that if any one of them is without sin, he is to be the first person to cast the stone. Jesus, being the only person without sin, what did he do? He told her to go free and to sin no more.
So we need to realize that we are no different than other people. Why are you tearing down another person, discrediting another person, or being critical of him? What is true of another person? The same is true for you. You were a sinner saved by grace. If it were not for the grace of God, you would be dead as a hammer.
So as we have our minds renewed with truth, what does the word of God instruct us on these matters? Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, think about these things. I think this passage is in regard to dealing with other people. When we look at that, and ask, “What is true about another person?” The same thing that is true about you. You are one in whom Christ came to this earth and died for. What is true about the other person you are critical of? What is true about them? He is a person whom Christ came to die for. Both of you are in the same category.
So we extend grace in the same manner grace has been extended to us in Christ Jesus. He instructed us to be thankful in all circumstances. Why? He loves and cares for us. He initiated His love toward us when we were yet enemies in our minds toward God. We came to believe and His Holy spirit of love was poured into our hearts He has given us everything we need for life and godliness through him. He promised to never leave us or forsake us, to complete the good work He began in us, and to cause all things to work together for our good.Only He can cause things to work together for our good. We cannot pull that off. He wants us to simply trust Him. For that is the restoration of mankind, from the sin of unbelief inherited in Adam, that caused the death of the entire human race. God restores us to Himself. He did all the work for us. God, who is love, fulfilled the law for us. Love does its neighbor or no wrong, God did everything that is defined as love in 1 Corinthians 13. We could not pull anything like that off. Love never fails but we do. God knew that and loved us anyways.
So as we keep our mind on Christ, learn more and more about who He is, and stay focused on Him, allowing the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us, to renew our minds with truth, of who God is, we walk in the newness of life. Jesus is the one who is true, who is admirable, who is noble, who is praiseworthy, who is perfect love, who is pure and holy. We learn to walk in the new way of the Spirit, which is to walk in total dependence on God the Father just as Jesus did. We can live above our circumstances, above trials and tribulations of life, knowing what Jesus has spoken to us, that He will cause all things to happen for our good. We can trust Him to develop perseverance in us, that through trusting in Him, that is what produces godly character in us, and come to realize this hope that does not disappoint. To learn to hold onto His word, to trust Him in all His promises for us in Christ Jesus, is a privilege we have. We have no rights to anything, but that is why we are under grace and not law. If we had rights to anything then we would still be under law and not grace. Let us trust Him, for our faith is what pleases God. Come boldly, He says, to the throne of grace for help in time of need.
You have people walking around trying to find God’s will. “I want to know God’s will. Oh, I want to know God’s will.” “Are you giving thanks in all things?” “No, but I want to know God’s will. But I want to know God’s will.” “He already told you God’s will and you are not paying attention to that, so why should He tell you more? Until you want to know God’s will and act upon it, why should you seek another will?”
Until we come to the point of saying you are willing to give thanks in all things, not to be walking around always saying “Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus”, thinking that is going to do something, but to realize God is truly at work in me to do His good pleasure, and is truly at work in me causing all things to work together for my good, then in all things and in all circumstances, give thanks. Why? God’s will for you. How come? It shows you trust Him.
Again, the thanks does not bring about His trustworthiness. It is just an expression that you are trusting Him. That is good. “Thank you Lord. I do not understand why but I will thank you anyway for that is God’s will for my life.” That stuff is poor theology and there is no reality in poor theology. What you are dealing with there is that I am giving thanks because there is a reason God does not want you to walk around blind. Why can I give thanks in all things? Because He is going to work together for your good.
What kind of circumstances are you in today? Some people are in all kinds of circumstances; bad ones, hard ones, death, maybe facing prison, and possibly into a situation caught in some kind of a sin that is going to destroy your family and your marriage. All kinds of things. What does He say to you if you are a child of God. Jesus says, “if you trust Me, I will cause that to work together for your good.” “How in the world can that work together for my good?” “It will teach you that the reason you got into that jam is because you did not trust Me. And it will show you the repercussions of not trusting, not trusting My love, care and wisdom in you. And it will draw you closer to Me.”
You do not see the whole picture. You are seeing a little segment of your life, just a little spot. God says He sees the beginning and the end. “I am on top of the Empire State building. I am watching this whole parade going on. You down there are in the midst of it and cannot see what is ahead of you. But I know what is up ahead of you. If you will trust Me, I will cause this thing to work together for your good.” So what will you be able to do in this jam? “Thank you.” Not thank you for my sin or mistakes I made, for it is stupid. But I can thank you for the fact that you said you would cause it to work together for my good. It will teach me something. “Lord, I am going to trust you.” That is what faith says. We have to understand that is what faith is about.
6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
When I do not have faith, it is saying, “I do not trust your love for me. I do not trust your provision for me.” How in the world is God going to be pleased with that when He has already told you He loves you perfectly and has mercy upon you and will cause it to work together for your good. Why do you stubbornly insist on doing it your way? “I will do it my way.”, you say. You are going to look like you did at the end of your life. “But if you do it My way, you will love the results of that.”
anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
That is how you came to Christ to begin with, if you are saved. You obviously had to believe He existed to come to Him. It is dumb to come to a shadow or an imagination. You came to a person. “I rewarded you for your faith.” If you do not know you are saved, you need to know that. You are playing games or there has to be some reality there. On the day you came to the Lord Jesus Christ, you came to a person, who came to live in you. If that is not true, then you might as well eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow you die. If that is true, then where is He? He has not left you nor deserted you. He said that He would never leave you nor forsake you. He lives in you. If you came to Him to begin with by true faith, then why not believe that He is there, living in you, giving you wisdom, causing things to work together for your good? That is what causes us to say, “Lord Jesus, thank you in all things.”
23 everything that does not come from faith is sin.
Anything that is not of faith, it says, is sin. That is what sin is. That is what happened in the garden of Eden. If you want to know what sin is, go back to where it began. It is not the filthy five. Nobody there to do those things with. So what was sin? “I do not believe you, God.” Adam, for a temporary moment, doubted the love and provision of God. He believed the lie and he fell. That is what sin is. Anything that is not of faith is sin. In who? The God who loved you and gave Himself for you. That is what Jesus said, “the world’s sin is unbelief in Me”, and that in regard to salvation.
John 16:9 (TLB)
9 The world’s sin is unbelief in me
So just as you received him, walk in him. How did we receive Him? By faith. So walk in Him by faith.
One of the things we have to realize is that in this world you will have tribulation. Jesus told us that, on his way to the cross.
32 Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. 33 These things I have spoken to you so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
You are not functioning by faith by believing that when you come to Christ that everything is going to be great. “I am going to be rich. I have the ability now to boss God around. If I visualize I can get a Cadillac, I will get one.” You will not find that kind of teaching in the bible. You might find that in some church, but you will not find that in the bible. It says you will have tribulations.
In James 1:2-3, he says to consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds.
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
Now, you do not have God up there saying, “I am going to test his faith. I am going to test Bob’s faith. I am going to give him a trial and a tribulation, to knock his socks right off, just to see how he does. God does not have to give you trials and tribulations. The world is out there to do that. Whoever it is who is distributing problems has got one whale of a business. For I do not know anyone who does not have one of his products. So in this world you will face trials of many kinds. But in Christ, when I face those trials, trusting Him then there is something I am going to have. I am going to develop perseverance, trusting Him in the midst of the trial and tribulation.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds. Try doing that as a non- Christian. How can you ever consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds? When you face such a trial, you do not consider it pure joy. You are hacked and anxious about it. No, not if God is alive living in you, that is not how you face that. If you do not know the Lord, you are certainly not going to face it that way.
But if you know God is at work in you to work and to do His good pleasure, and God who lives in you says He will cause all things to work out for your good, who are called according to His purpose. You are certainly called according to His purpose, otherwise you would not be a child of God. “You would not be loving Me unless you understood My love for you. It is not going to do you any good to try to love Me unless you understand how much I love you. But if you do understand how much I love you, then there is a by-product to that. You will love Me and trust Me.”
The Christian life is lived by your love of God, that results in dependence upon God that then results in obedience to God, and it is in that order; love of God, dependence upon God, obedience to God. Why are so many out trying to get people obedient until you get them in love? That is legalistic obedience that makes you sick and everybody around you. The reason I can depend upon God and become obedient is a result of freedom. Obedience is a result of understanding true freedom. It is not obedience that I have to do it. It is an obedience that I want to because of what I know about, the dependency upon the one I love. And the reason I love Him is because He loved me first.
1 John 4:19
19 We love, because He first loved us.
When I understand that God is in control of all things, and God loves me perfectly, and my future is in his hands, just like my present and my past have been, then I can truly come to consider it pure joy when I face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith that develops perseverance. God is not testing our faith. The trials and tribulations are there. I have heard people say, “I became a Christian and this happened to me.” “What do you think would have happened to you if you had not become a Christian?” “I just had this child who died and I just became a Christian last year, and I do not understand it.” “That child is going to die whether you became a Christian or not. That trial or tribulation was going to come upon you one way or another.” The beauty of being a child of God is being able to walk in newness of life in the midst of that trial and tribulation, so I can have hope, not like the heathen who has no hope at all. But to get through that testing that the world put upon you, God does not bring about death. Satan brought upon death. The world brings on those things. You will have trials and tribulations because you are in the world. The beauty of being in Christ is the ability to have perseverance in the midst of that trial and tribulation.
We see that amplified in Romans 5:3-5.
3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Not only do we consider it pure joy, but we rejoice in it. Why do we rejoice? Because we know. We see people sitting around saying “Praise God. Hallelujah.”, and all that kind of stuff, and do not know anything about anything. “Well, if I say it, then maybe something will happen.” Yes, it will. You will say it and get all excited in your meeting and you will go home and hit the pits. You are going to rejoice because you know something, not because you have been jacked up emotionally but because you know something. First of all, you know someone and because you know someone you know something about that someone. I know that someone, Jesus Christ, who is alive living in me, I know something about that someone and that is, he told me, “Bob, in this world you are going to have tribulation, but fear not, I have overcome the world. Whatever trials and tribulations you are going through, I will cause it to work together for your good. I know in this world you live, you are going to have suffering because all people are suffering whether you are saved or not. Just like the rain that falls on both the lost and the saved, suffering will fall on both the lost and the saved.”
44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?
You are not going to escape that. “The same sun I put in the sky warms the body of a criminal the same it warms the body of a saint. The rain falls on both of you. Trials and tribulations fall on both of you, but for you, a child of God, when those things occur, it produces something. When you abide in Me, and turn to Me and trust Me, it produces perseverance.”
What do you mean by perseverance? It means you have that ability to hang in there. You have a reason to hang in there. What? You cannot wait to see how God is going to make it work for good. I cannot make it turn for good, but God can. That calls for perseverance. Hang in there and let Me show you something that you know nothing about.
That perseverance produces character. What kind of character? Christian character. It produces a kind of a person that walks as strong as horseradish in his understanding and faith in a living God who came and loved you and gave Himself for you and lives in you, with the promise, “I will cause it to work together for good.”
You are unshakeable. That is what character is. You are unshakeable. What else about character? You are being who you are. You are a child of God. I have character.
A politician in the old days, and I have not seen too many of them, but you had statesmen. What were they? They had character. They acted out what they represented. They were there to represent the people and they represented them. They stood tall and did not compromise and they were stalworth in their conviction. They were statesmen. You would say the man has character.
If every time you have problems you just buckle under it, you will not have perseverance and so you will not have character. But you will see character produced through suffering. I have seen that in my wife Amy. It is called Goodbye is Not Forever, a story of her life in Ukraine under Communist dictatorship, stuck between two world powers, Russia and Germany, during World War II. It is one of the most touching stories I have ever encountered. Every time I read through it I just boo hoo over it, over the fact of seeing the suffering that took place in their family and how that produced perseverance and how that perseverance produced unbelievable character. I have said Amy has more character in her finger than I have in my fat body. But that was produced through suffering. It is there. I can see it. When I read this, I do not have to ask if it is true or not. I have seen it. I have seen it in my own life. When I have gone through suffering, it has produced perseverance and it has produced character.
Through that character, it produces hope. Hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love through His Holy Spirit. Why does character produce hope in God? What is hope? Not what I hope for, a hope so. Hope is a realization of absolute truth. It is not going to disappoint us. If God is going to cause all things to happen for good then I just live in hope, that in time that is going to occur, and that the ultimate hope is that one day we are going to be absent from the body and present with the Lord, without trials and tribulations. But in the meantime, I have hope in the fact of what God is going to do. Faith says I know He is going to do it and hope says I will be glad when He does. It is not a hope He is going to but I know He is going to. It is not going to disappoint. Why is it not going to disappoint? Because God has poured out His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. So we are back to love.
10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails.
What can we count on in life? Love. What was the fulfillment of the law? Love. What was the only thing He left us to do? Love one another. Love Him. Love one another. Love is the fulfillment of everything. He says love never fails. That is powerful. It is because of God’s love for us that we can realize that when we go through trials and tribulations of life that we do go through, it produces a perseverance of trusting Christ, knowing His reality that produces godly character and that produces hope.
Even though things are not like what I certainly would like to be today, I know full well of something. He will cause them to work together for good. We have had trials and tribulations. You have them in your personal life and in ministry. But He will cause them to work together for good. And you sit back and watch Him do it, and you say “Praise the Lord Jesus Christ.”
5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Why do I know He is going to do that? Because of His love that He has already poured out in my heart. I already know about that. I understand His love. He has given it to me abundantly. Why do I think God, who loves me perfectly, will cause things to not work together for my good? But God will. Is that not wonderful? When you have financial pressure, what do you say? “Thank you Lord.” How come? “I will work them together for your good.” In the meantime, you will learn some things. “I did not bring those financial pressures upon you. I did not cause people to go bankrupt. Or your dumb decision did, either way. But in the midst of that, I will do something for you. I will cause them to work together for your good. Trust Me. It will produce perseverance in you. It will produce character in you and that character will produce hope.
Now, how in the world is all of this going to fit in to put all these things into application in regard to our critical spirit toward others?
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 As for the things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
When you are doing that in regard to another person, how are you going to be critical about that type of thing? How are you going to be tearing down another person or discrediting another person, or being critical of him? What is true of another person? The same is true for you. You were a sinner saved by grace. What is true about another person? The same thing about you. If it were not for the grace of God, you would be dead as a hammer. That is true about them and is true about you. So why do we look at things as a big deal when it is not a big deal.
As we wrap up on this topic of dealing with a critical spirit with one another. Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, think about these things. I think it is in regard to dealing with other people. When we look at that, and ask, “What is true about another person?” The same thing that is true about you. You are one in whom Christ came to this earth and died for. What is true about the other person you are critical of? What is true about them? He is a person whom Christ came to die for. Both of you are in the same category.
41 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Remember the passage about before taking out a speck in your brother’s eye, take a log out of your own. When you see people extremely critical and spent a great deal of time lambasting another human being, you look at that and say, “You know friend, if I was as good, pure and noble as you are, and right in all things, and lovely as you are, and as admirable as you are, and as excellent as you are, and as praiseworthy as you are, I would not want to be around that person either.” That is really what you are looking at when you see someone who is just writing people off because they do not do what they want them to do. I feel like saying to people, “if I was as praiseworthy, admirable, pure and noble and as true as you are, I would not want to do anything with that person either.” You look at that and ask yourself, “Am I noble ? Am I true? Am I always right? Am I lovely? Am I admirable? Am I excellent? Am I worthy of praise?” The answer to that is “no”.
So if that is true about me, then what right do I have to feel critical about you? You see what I am getting at there? We have to come to understand these things as what they are. These things are self righteousness. You see that again especially in the Christian community. People are so easy to write somebody off. God does not write us off. Thank God that God is not like us. People constantly try to establish that they are only around the fact that is not what I would do. I got news for you. God is not like you. Thank God He is not like us. We will write somebody off like a New York minute if they do not do what we want them to do or behave in a way inconsistent with how we think they should behave. We would write somebody off in a minute. God does not write somebody off. Where do we get off thinking we are noble, that we are right, pure, lovely, admirable and excellent, and that we are praiseworthy? If we are, then we would have a right, I guess, to have to say to just write people off and to say I do not want to be around them. If that is not what we are, what right do we have to judge another person. We have to look at life that way, folks. We have to back up. We have to look at 1 Corinthians 13.
In the definition of love there, if we are always doing that, then we would have the right to be critical, but the only one who had those characteristics, who is noble, right, true, admirable and praiseworthy, is Jesus, and what did He do? He came to die for us. He came to give His life for us, not to criticize us, not to cast us away, not to write us off and He is worthy of that.
1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
11 “No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
It is like the woman who was caught in adultery. What happened? These guys stood around with their stones getting ready to stone her. That is back in the days when getting stones is different than today. It really hurt back in those days, enough to kill someone, and that was the purpose. He looked around and said, “any one of you without sin cast the first stone.” They all dropped their stones. There is only one person there without sin, and therefore, a person who was worthy of casting the stone. The only person that would have been justified in stoning that adulterous woman, was someone without sin. What did He do? “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.” Those are attitudes we have to realize and that ties into forgiving one another, when Jesus said, “Father forgive them they do not know what they are doing.”
34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
Surely God, who knew no sin, could say “I have never done those things, so let them have it.” But He did not say that or do that.
12 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so must you do also.
Are you God’s chosen person? If you are in Christ you are. Holy? Yes. He made you that way. Dearly loved by God? Yes. He dearly loves you. So He says to clothe yourself with compassion. If you do not have any compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience toward your brother, then you either do not know you are God’;s chosen person or maybe you are not one of God’s chosen people. Maybe you had never come to the Lord. Maybe you are playing church, playing Methodist, Presbyterian, Catholic or Baptist. Maybe you are just playing the game but never truly born again. Maybe you have gotten an enlightened soul but an unregenerate spirit.