Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at Faith, Hope & Love P62 (09-08-20)
When we come to understand the love of God for us, His mercy and grace to us, how do we respond to that? Should that not form in us new attitudes of heart? How should that result in love in action, in how we act toward our brothers and sisters in Christ? When you are born again, you have been made into a new creation, the body of Christ, the church of the born again, the Ekklesia, the called out ones, of whom you are brothers and sisters to one another, with Christ Jesus as your head, your Counselor, your common Father.
When you think of a physical body with many parts, controlled by the head, how does that help you to understand how we are to function towards one another in love. Each body part is unique in function and no one part is considered more important than another, and each responds to the instructions of the head to operate properly. So too with the body of Christ. When you think of the spiritual body, and compare that with the physical body, how does that help you see what kind of attitudes we should have to each part of the body, our brothers and sisters in Christ? Should we not look after one another and care for one another? Indeed, Jesus said the world will know you are my disciples by your love for one another.
Suppose a brother or sister in Christ gets trapped in a sin, what should our attitude be? You, who are spiritual, what should your attitude be? Should it be not the same as Christ Jesus? Christ Jesus did not come to condemn people but to save people. Then we should also want to restore people to their proper manner of function in Christ Jesus, to a dependency on Christ, who is their life.
Can any of us ever generate love? The Spirit of God produces that as we abide in him. Have any one of us ever fallen into sin as a believer? We all have. Is it not sin a result of a lack of faith? Anything that does not come from faith is sin. Is that not how sin entered this world and the root of all sin? So our struggle is in the mind, to learn to trust Christ, and not to rely on own understanding, but to know and trust Him.
What would we want someone to do for us, if we were caught up in sin? If we are restored in knowing who we are in Christ, a child of God, and learn to depend on Christ, where does that dependency on Christ lead? Does that dependency not lead to trusting Christ, in what He has said concerning you. He has given you everything you need for life and godliness? Can we help someone see what God has freely given us so they too can walk in that same grace we have, that there is hope in Christ. He can set you free with truth, as He promised us.
Yes, love tells someone the truth, but it is done in gentleness, in humility, that if it were not for the grace of God, I too could be ensnared. And, if someone is not in Christ, what hope do they have? They need Christ as their life. Would it be loving to hold back truth from anyone. To a lost person, that if they remain in their condition, that they would ultimately end up in hell. And to a believer, that in Christ you can experience the joy of your salvation. That in Christ, there is no condemnation. You are a child of God and you can go boldly to His throne of grace for help in time of need. What kind of love would it be to withhold that information from someone and fail to tell them who the solution is to all their problems?
Love tells the truth. Jesus came full of grace and truth. Truth is what we need to hear in order to come to our senses and be saved or to walk in the newness of life God has given. It is the grace of God that made us want to come to Christ in the first place. His loving kindness is what led us to repentance, to godly sorrow that leads to salvation. His mercy towards us helped us see we did not get what we deserved. But his grace, His offer of new life, what we did not deserve, is the abundant life we are looking for and we have access to, who are in Christ. Christ is our life.
1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
That is true worship. Anybody can do the other. That is the thing that we do not realize that if we cannot see the difference between what anybody can do and what Christ can do, then something is wrong with our discerner. Anybody can get goosebumps in a praise service. Anybody can lift their arms up. Anybody can keep their arms piously in their lap. I do not care if you stick your hands in your ears. It does not make an ounce of difference. That is not what God is looking for. That is not worship. The true spiritual act of worship is making your body available to God to live His life in and through you. Only a born again believer can do that.
So we have an awful lot of imitations or substitutes for what is the real thing. We have a tendency to hang onto those much more than we do the spiritual things that God has given to us.
Now, in order for you and me to have our minds renewed, we have, as it says, to not conform any longer to the patterns of the world. The world is out there with all kinds of thinking patterns bombarding our minds continually. It is all contrary to the truth of the word of God. All of it. Everything that you see, wanting more, desiring more. “This is not pleasing.” “This is not making me happy.” “Let us go find something else to make me happy.” And we have gone happy crazy.
As we talked about so many times, the word “happy“ comes from the anglo-saxon word, “hap”. In other words, “hap” is what is happening. My happiness is predicated on what is happening. If everything is happening the way I want it to happen then I am happy. The reverse of that is also true. If everything is not happening the way I want it to happen, I am not happy. That is why there is a word “unhappy” but there is no word “unjoy”. There is no word “unjoy”. But there is a word “unhappy”. Why is there not a word “unjoy”? Because joy does not come from what is happening. Joy comes from God. That is why the apostle Paul could experience joy while he was in prison. Why? Because his joy was not predicated on where he was but who he was. So his joy did not come from what was happening.
2 Corinthians 7:1-4
1 Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.
2 Make room for us in your hearts. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have exploited no one. 3 I do not say this to condemn you; I have said before that you have such a place in our hearts that we would live or die with you. 4 I have spoken to you with great frankness; I take great pride in you. I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds.
Read further along in 2 Corinthians 7, and discern the heart and love Paul had for the believers, that although he had difficult words to share for their correction, that correction was heeded. So he got to see how the believers set aside their old fleshly desires and put on Christ, to walk in the newness of life. That was Paul’s greatest joy.
3 John 4
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
Now if he was looking for happiness, I do not think he would have been very happy in that rotten jail he was in. But he was not looking for happiness. He was looking for joy. That joy is internalized in the only one who can produce joy in and through us and that is Christ Jesus. It is one of the fruit of the Spirit, joy.
So he says if we are going to experience the attitude of Christ Jesus, again, not the action but the attitude, then we are going to have to quit conforming to the pattern of this world. Stop buying everything that comes down the pike that the world tells you is a solution to your problems. Recognize that is not the solution to my problems. That is the worldy solution to my problems, but Jesus is the only true solution to my problems.
It is like peace.
27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Then we say, “that is not good enough. I want some peace.” We look at vacations. We look at mountain streams. We look to the mountains. We look at all kinds of things for peace. It is kind of peaceful. The only problem is when you leave, the peace does not leave with you. That is a peaceful situation to sit by a mountain stream and to meditate there. I can think when we were over in Israel, when we were going by some of those streams over there, very peaceful. But the minute you walk away from it the peace is gone. It is a human peace but it is not the peace of God that surpasses all understanding. “Those things can be a supplement to my peace but they will never be a substitute for my peace.”
2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.
If we are going to walk in peace, we are going to have to have our minds transformed by the renewing of our minds. We are going to have to be transformed internally by the renewing of our mind. You notice it did not say to be transformed by the actions but by the renewing of our minds. Only as our minds are renewed on the word of God are we going to be able to test and approve what God’s will is, His good and pleasing and perfect will.
So what are we saying? Do I want to know, test and approve what God’s will is for me, His good, pleasing and perfect will? Sure. All of us want that. How do we do that? By renewing your mind. By getting your mind renewed and being transformed by the truth that is Christ Jesus, refusing to listen to error.
32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
In this day and age, we have every hair-brained idea in the world coming out of the Christian world. And if we do not have discernment enough to know what is truth and what is not, then something is wrong with our discerner. I am amazed, sometimes at the total lack of discernment that I see in people who claim to be born again believers because the Spirit of truth lives in us. You see all of these people coming down and we have said before, how many of the popular teachers that are on television today who are preaching a prosperity gospel? In light of the fact that the scriptures in Timothy very clearly say that anyone who teaches that godliness is a means to financial gain, that is a prosperity gospel, is a man of corrupt mind. How can we not see that? I mean the word of God says that a man is of a corrupt mind who teaches that prosperity, that financial gain is a means to godliness. That is a false teacher.
1 Timothy 6:1-5
2 These are the things you are to teach and insist on. 3 If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4 they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5 and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.
So when I hear a man teaching that, I am not going to listen to anything he has to say. The trick of Satan is to put a little truth in with his error. In other words, the truth is that there is a lure that looks like a fish. The problem is there is a hook in it. “So I am going to make it look good enough. I am going to talk about Jesus just enough to get people to think everything is okay. The reason I am going to do that is I am going to suck them in like a lure but there is a hook in here. I am going to hook them on emotionalism instead of truth.” That is exactly what takes place today. All of a sudden we find ourselves like a fish in a frying pan and we do not know how to get out, and we do not know why it is hot there. We do not know why we are not free. Jesus said it is because you listened to error and the only solution to error is truth. My truth will push that error out and that truth will set you free. When the Son has set you free you shall be free indeed.
Basically, in summary of what we have been talking about, it is man’s attitude toward God as our teacher. We are told that in the scripture that the Holy Spirit of God came to be our instructor, our teacher and our counselor. As a matter of fact, he is called the Counselor. And so the attitude that we are talking about is, am I going to go to the Counselor or am I going to go to a counselor?
26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
What true biblical counseling is all about is just merely leading people to Christ and leading them to dependency on the Spirit of God who is alive living in them to renew their mind. Without the renewing of the mind nothing is going to happen to us. Action and thought follows attitude. And so it is so important that we have the proper attitude towards God as my teacher. Therefore, if God is my teacher, that is why I am not going to conform any longer to the patterns or the teachings of the world.
8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.
9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.
The world can come in and talk about all of their brilliant philosophies if they want to. As an example, in evolution, they can sit here and discuss that intellectually all they want to, all day long, but as far as I am concerned, it is a very, very simple situation. The Lord Jesus Christ is God. God said that we are created and that ends the subject. You can get into all of these intellectual discussions you want to. You hear people just expounding their brilliance all over the place on both sides of that issue. But the issue is not anything except if Jesus is God, and He said that He created man. He did not create a monkey in order to make one. We act like it sometimes, but the fact that we are created by God that ends the evolutionary discussion as far as I am concerned.
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Now let us take a look at some of the attitudes toward the body of Christ. In other words, we have an attitude toward Christ as our teacher. Now let us take a look at attitudes toward the body of Christ, one another. In Romans 12:3-5 it goes ahead to say this.
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
This is a perfect picture of a marvelous truth of you and me as a part of the body of Christ. Do not think we sit around thinking, “Boy, my hands are sure better than the feet. Look at what those marvelous hands are doing and my feet just kind of sitting there right now, and sitting here analyzing the parts of your body.” We know as a human being, that right now you are looking at me and I am looking at you. I am looking at your head, and underneath that head is a body that is controlled by the head.
15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
Your body does not control your head. Your head controls your body. That is where it is supposed to function, at least. So therefore, we see that you have one head and you have one body, yet your body is made up of many, many parts, is it not? Every one of those parts belong to one another. So when we realize that there are no heroes in the body. If God gave you a mouth to speak with, is that mouth any more important to you than your stomach? No. It is all a part of the body. Who made us a part of the body? Jesus. And when Jesus made us a part of the body, not all of the parts of the body have the same functions. Not all of the parts of the body have the same gifts.
6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
As an example, how would you like it if we just had one gift of teaching. Everybody would just be sitting around teaching up a storm all the time. How would you like it if I came and said to you, “Bob, unless you have the gift of teaching, you are not filled with the Spirit?” You have got to be kidding me. Why would someone come up and say if you do not have the gift of tongues then you are not filled with the Spirit? Both are gifts yet there are people who camp on that kind of nonsense and say that there is a gift that if you do not have it, you are not controlled by the Spirit or in some cases you are not even born again. That is in total contrast to what scripture teaches in regard to the body of Christ and to the functions of the body and the gifts of the Spirit within the body. Everyone is not a nose, but what has happened is we have become infatuated with our gift instead of the giver.
We just get so proud of these things. To me, every Sunday, all the noses get together and blow up a storm. All ears get together and wiggle. All the tongues get together and they blab. All of this nonsense going on. It is like taking this body and tearing it apart. During the week you are together, but on Sunday, brother, I am going to take those hands off and put them over here. I will put your nose over here and put your eyeballs over here, so we can really rejoice. Quite frankly, unless you are a nose, you are readily not much of anything. That thing is total flesh. It has divided the body of Christ. It is flesh. Another thing that takes place, we come down and say, “I was born Jewish. I was born Gentile.” So let us get all the Jewish Christians over here and let us get the Gentiles believers over here and let us separate the body again.
8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
How do we put that together when the bible says there is no Jew or Gentile slave or free. How do you put that together unless you think that because I am this I am more important. I need to follow these rules and regulations. If that is the case, Jesus could have stayed at home. We have to come to grips with those things, that we are no big deals. You are not a big deal if you are a Jew, that is in Christ, and you are not a big deal if you are a Gentile who is in Christ. What makes us a big deal is the big deal, and that is Jesus, not us.
I have said before, Ed Hecht and I have worked together for well over 20 years. Ed came out of a Jewish background. I came out of a Gentile background. We never ever have thought about that in 20 some years as to whether you are Jew or Gentile. We are brothers in Christ. We are brothers in Christ Jesus. It does not matter what your background was. Why? Because in Christ there is no Jew or Gentiles, slave or free. We are just one in Him.
Each of us has one body with many members, and they do not all have the same function. So, quit bragging on the members. There are people who want to walk around appearing so spiritual that they are just ready to make their ascension into heaven. You will have people. I have been around for a lot of years. I have been around Christianity for a lot of years. I can remember people, especially if they had a good Scottish accent, and I can remember people in there saying prayers. They are the most beautiful things you ever want to hear in your life, just rolling off of the tongue. And people sit there and say, “Boy, God has got to listen to that. I mean. He may not listen to my stumbling prayers, but boy, He listens to hers.” So she becomes the prayer warrior. So everybody is going to her to get her to pray for you. Why? Because she prays beautiful prayers, and for sure God loves that beauty. What is that? That is flesh. That is total flesh from the word of God.
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
Our dependency should be on Him who I can be able to do whatever I want to babble and God listens to me because I am His child. I do not need someone else to beseech God on my behalf. I am His child. Yet, we boast with these kinds of people and we sit in and admire these kinds of people. I will have people come up and ask if I would pray for them, and I understand what they are saying. Certainly I will pray, but I want you to pray for yourself, because you have the same hotline to Jesus that I do. I have no hotline to Christ different than the one you have. So, if you want to join me in prayer, that is fine, but do not think because I happen to be in the ministry, and happen to be on radio, that there is just a volume control that is on a little higher for me than it is for you. That is ridiculous. You have the same voice to the God that I do. That is a wonderful thing to know. We are all a part of the same body of Christ. Each member not only belongs to Christ, but we belong to one another.
That is an important thing for us to see. I have said, so many times, in marriage, that when I began to see Amy, she was not only my wife, but my sister in Christ. There is a world of difference in our attitudes toward one another. Amy is going to be my sister in Christ for all eternity. She is only going to be my wife as long as we are here on this earth because we are told there is no marriage in heaven. Some people think that is why they call it heaven. The fact is that there is no marriage in heaven. We will be together here on this earth as husband and wife, but we will be in heaven eternally as brothers and sisters in Christ.
When we begin to see each other in that vein, I think it has to begin to change our attitude toward one another. If people truly saw that truth, if you are left foot was not behaving quite the way it should, as an example, would you go and stamp on it, and get people and rumorize about it and how to say how bad that foot is? And call the newspaper and put an article on newspapers about how bad your foot is, and all of these kinds of things, and sit there and gossip with the rest of your body about how bad your foot is. You would not think of doing that, would you, because it is your own body. As it says in marriage, we love our wives like we love our own body. Nobody ever hated their own body, but loved and cared for it. We would never think of doing that. We would do anything to preserve our body. Even if you had gangrene, you would say if there is any way to save that at all, please do. We preserve your body.
But in the Christian world, if we do not see ourselves as a part of the body of Christ, look at what is going on. People lambast each other. They do not protect one another. You and I protect our bodies. We do not protect each other. We are diverse. We criticize each other. We rumorize each other. All of those types of things. I want to tell you that the Jewish people have a much better grasp on that than we do. They stick together. They buy from each other. They sell to each other. They yell at each other and yet turn around and support each other. They are much more an example of what God is saying than the body of Christ is. Unfortunately, we are, who are naming the name of Christ and claiming to be a part of the body of Christ. We have to look at that and to see what is the problem going on in the Christian world today? Basically, I do not think we see each other as who we are, the body. We think our little thing is the body instead of being a part of the body.
1 Corinthians 6:7-11
7 The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? 8 Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers and sisters. 9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
There is a world of difference between attacking people and talking about teaching what is true and exposing error. When I hear people, sometimes, who are involved in identifying false teaching, I think overall a person whose heart is in the right place will zero in on the teaching but will not be in the attack mode toward the teacher. It is like when you are dealing in cultic teaching. I hate the cultic teaching, but I love the people. We have to understand that. There is a world of difference between that.
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
This whole passage here in Romans is about love in action.
A lot of people perceive love as not to correct anybody. What is the big deal about doctrine? There is a doctrine that is sending you to hell and you say you are being loving without telling him that. Then I have a different idea about what love is than what someone else would. We have to realize that in this world, however, that we, as a a part of the body of Christ, the most detestable thing that I can think of is going out and intentionally trying to destroy another brother or sister in Christ Jesus.
So, was it not loving of Paul to instruct the believers in 1 Corinthians 6, to confront them with what shameful activity they were doing? To correct them? What do you suppose was Paul’s motivation to do so?
I have no problem at all in seeing a brother or sister in Christ that can make a mistake and can fall in some way or another, but the intentional heart that would say, “I am going to expose those people. I am going to go attack those people.” That is a heart so contrary to the Lord Jesus Christ that you cannot even put it in the same comparison. It is the heart of a Judas but it is not the heart of Jesus.
So, when we live in this day and age, we see so much faction that takes place. And, again, I have to come to the conclusion, that we evidently are either not in Christ, who do not have the Spirit of God living in us, or we have never come to understand that if the Spirit of God lives in us, and He has now placed us into His body, that we not only belong to Him, but we belong to one another. What we are doing is cutting off our own fingers. The whole deal of cutting off your nose in spite of yourself. It is just ridiculous as to the mindset that people have of going out and trying to destroy other members of the body of Christ. Yet, it goes on all the time.
We see sometimes and people, many times, use prayer chains. I call them, sometimes, gossip chains. “Hey, did you hear about this, this and this. Let us pray about the poor guy.” All you are doing is just gossiping in the name of prayer. We have to realize that if we are living in this world and we are living among people who are in Christ, then we also have to realize that those people in Christ also have indwelling sin living in them. That means that there is no such thing as a person that cannot make mistakes, that cannot engage in sin.
2 Corinthians 12:19-21
19 Have you been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves to you? We have been speaking in the sight of God as those in Christ; and everything we do, dear friends, is for your strengthening. 20 For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder. 21 I am afraid that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they have indulged.
What does it say about that?
1 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
If you see a brother that is caught in sin. That does not mean somebody was peeking on him. That means you are trapped in something. It says our attitude should be like that of Christ Jesus. What would Christ Jesus say, or what was his attitude? His attitude was that I am going to go to them to restore them. What was God’s attitude when he looked down on man and on our fallen detestable condition? I am going to go restore them. I am going to provide a way for restoration, not condemnation, but restoration. We say that our attitude should be like that of Christ Jesus. Well, Jesus said, “I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world.”
17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
So if his attitude was one of not condemning but saving, what should our attitude be? One of not condemning but saving. Yet, how many times is our attitude toward people an attitude of condemnation instead of restoration.
You see, many times, people who have, for one reason or another, whatever is taking place in their lives, and we do not know those things, but when you see a person who is in that condition, is your attitude, “there for the grace of God go I”, or is your attitude, “thank God I am not a sinner like that person.”
9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people – robbers, evildoers, adulterers – or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
So, we have to come to grips with our own attitudes. How do we perceive the body of Christ? I think Jesus summarized all of that with “do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” I would ask that question, “Would you, if you fell in one form or another, want the body of Christ to go out and to expose and to ridicule and to criticize and to publicize a mistake that you may have made?” There is no one without a skeleton in their closet. I can go and find out anything about anybody at some time of their life. They are digging things twenty years ago if you run for president or for politics. Those poor things. They are going back to the college days. They are always there, to bring you and to expose and to condemn. Is that the mindset of Christ? No. I do not think so. Christ says to put that aside. But the flesh says, “this is how I want to function.” If we call ourselves born again believers and we have an attitude of condemning and we have an attitude of just writing someone to death, we do not know what the Lord, we do not even know the Lord or we sure do not know what His attitude is.
1 Corinthians 10:12-13
12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
If you find someone in that condition, you who are spiritual, you who are in Christ, go to them, but never go with an attitude that I could not do that. There is not a thing in the world you could not do. Go to them with an attitude of restoration. And so if we will continually be thinking about restoring people instead of condemning people, that is when the world is going to see what Jesus said, “their love for one another, that is what is going to draw the lost world to the Christian world, their love for one another.
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.”
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