In deed and in truth

“My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.”

I John 3:18 NKJV

If we are to truly love as God has called us it requires action. Many will say that they love someone or they will even claim to love God. But if our actions don’t back up our words we are simply a liar.

God’s love is eternal and unconditional. As we walk with Him we become filled with His love. This is what truly defines us as disciples of Jesus Christ.

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Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

1 John 4:11-12 NIV

John writes that since God first loved us we should love one another.  The true mark of a disciple of Jesus Christ is someone who is filled with His love, grace, and mercy.  Simply carrying the title Christian means nothing.  Christianity requires action and everything we do should be from a place of God’s love.

When the love of God is manifested in our lives one for another the character and nature of God is on display.  Many will reject the existence of God and the truth of the bible, but what they can’t deny is a life that is transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit.  God simply desires to use our lives to glorify His name so that others will be drawn to Him for salvation.

His desire is that none should perish, but all come to everlasting life.  In this hour in which we find ourselves upon the earth we know that our time is very short and His soon return is very soon.  There is coming a day when the judgement and wrath of Almighty God is poured out upon the earth.  Until that time may we be diligent students of God’s word and faithful disciples of Jesus Christ.

May our hearts be consumed with His love and His grace.  Every opportunity we have may we lavish the love that God has lavished upon us on others.  There are so many who are broken and lost that surround us daily.  May we see the fields are ripe for harvest and be the generation of sons and daughters that God has called us to be.

That is why I am boldly asking a favor of you. I could demand it in the name of Christ because it is the right thing for you to do

That is why I am boldly asking a favor of you. I could demand it in the name of Christ because it is the right thing for you to do. But because of our love, I prefer simply to ask you. Consider this as a request from me—Paul, an old man and now also a prisoner for the sake of Christ Jesus.[b]

10 I appeal to you to show kindness to my child, Onesimus. I became his father in the faith while here in prison. 11 Onesimus[c] hasn’t been of much use to you in the past, but now he is very useful to both of us. 12 I am sending him back to you, and with him comes my own heart.

13 I wanted to keep him here with me while I am in these chains for preaching the Good News, and he would have helped me on your behalf. 14 But I didn’t want to do anything without your consent. I wanted you to help because you were willing, not because you were forced. 15 It seems you lost Onesimus for a little while so that you could have him back forever. 16 He is no longer like a slave to you. He is more than a slave, for he is a beloved brother, especially to me. Now he will mean much more to you, both as a man and as a brother in the Lord.

17 So if you consider me your partner, welcome him as you would welcome me.18 If he has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, charge it to me. 19 I, PAUL, WRITE THIS WITH MY OWN HAND: I WILL REPAY IT. AND I WON’T MENTION THAT YOU OWE ME YOUR VERY SOUL!

20 Yes, my brother, please do me this favor[d] for the Lord’s sake. Give me this encouragement in Christ.

21 I am confident as I write this letter that you will do what I ask and even more!22 One more thing—please prepare a guest room for me, for I am hoping that God will answer your prayers and let me return to you soon.  Philemon 8-22

Paul writes in his letter that he could demand that Philemon do this in Christ because it is only right to forgive a brother or sister in the Lord.  But Paul appeals to the love that is within us because of Christ Jesus.  For everything we do should be motivated by the love of Christ.  People will know that we are disciples by the love that is within us and it is this very love that Paul is appealing Philemon to act on.

Paul refers to Onesimus as his own child in the faith because it is under the ministry of Paul while he was in prison that Onesimus came to saving faith in Christ Jesus.  When Onesimus ran away from Philemon he was not yet a believer.  But now the apostle Paul appeals to Philemon to receive Onesimus because he is a child of God and a fellow brother in the Lord.  When Paul states that he is his very heart it shows the love, Paul has for Onesimus.  It is truly amazing how the Lord transforms the life of a person by transforming their heart.  When we examine who Paul was before he came to know Christ and we read these words as Paul is now an old man and close to leaving this earth, it is truly a picture of the grace and power of God.

Paul’s desire was to have Onesimus stay with him and aide him in his ministry.  But Paul knew the right thing to do would be to send Onesimus back to Philemon.  Paul’s appeal is for Philemon to forgive Onesimus and not receive him as a runaway slave, but to receive him as a brother in the Lord.  This is a true picture of God’s grace for us.  For all of us are born into sin and don’t deserve the mercy and grace of God.  But God in His love, compassion, grace, and mercy receives us into His kingdom and His family.  May we always be willing to forgive those who wrong us and always to lavish on others the grace and love that Christ Jesus has for us.

Paul appeals to the fact that Paul is the one who led Philemon to the Lord.  This is why Paul says that he owes him his very soul.  Paul also states that whatever Onesimus may owe that it can be charged to the apostle Paul.  Our lives should be lived according to God and His ways and whenever we have the opportunity to demonstrate the love, mercy, and grace of God we should do so.  The measure at which we pour it out to others is the measure it will be returned back to us.

Paul’s hope is that Philemon would heed the request of Paul.  He is also hoping that Philemon would prepare a guest room for Paul so that when Paul got done in prison that He would have a place to stay.  Christian charity is so vital to the spread and advancement of God’s kingdom.  When the apostle Paul would travel from area to area preaching and ministering he often relied on the charity of others to give him a place to stay.  It was all established by the Lord.  We must remember that nothing we have on this earth belongs to us.  We are simply called to be stewards of that which God has entrusted us with.  Paul’s appeal to Philemon was for Philemon to forgive and receive Onesimus.  When we understand what Christ has done for us we will never have an issue for forgiving those who have wronged us or injured us.

Will continue his work until it is finally finished

“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭1:6‬ ‭NLT‬‬

The work that God begins in our lives is finished by His power and His grace. Often times when we are following the Lord and waiting on His timing we can feel forgotten. But God is always faithful. As we seek Him each day He will establish every step. He has chosen us before the foundations of the earth and our lives are divinely designed. May we fix our eyes and our hearts upon Jesus each day. May we seek Him with our whole heart.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

Deuteronomy 6:4-5 NIV

The word of God is not complicated.  God has made it very clear that we are to love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength.  This simply means that He is God and we are not.  There are many who simply give God lip service and simply honor Him with their lips.  But the Lord sees every heart and knows all things.

We are only able to experience all that God has for us when we truly love Him with our whole heart.  It is very easy in the world we live in today to allow things to become idols and take the place God deserves.  But as we abide in Him and draw near our hearts and minds are protected from the wiles and schemes of the enemy.

When Jesus Himself was asked what the greatest commandment was He even said it was to love the Lord they God with all thy heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love thy neighbor as thy self.  These two things sum up the law and the prophets.  It is simple but incredibly complex and deep at the same time.  We only come to this place in our relationship with God as we seek Him each day and draw near.  He is the vine and we are the branches.  It is through Him that life is found.  May we grow each day in our relationship with Christ and become the sons and daughters He has called us to be.

Dwell on these things

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

Philippians 4:8 NASB

We are called to fix our eyes upon Jesus and set our minds and hearts on God’s kingdom.  We live in a world filled with darkness.  It is very easy to become consumed with the darkness of our times.  But we have been set free from the darkness and wickedness of the world.  As we grow in our knowledge of the Lord and His word, our minds become fixed upon the Lord.

The human mind is an incredible thing.  It is where decisions are made on a daily basis.  The battles we face on a daily basis take place in our minds.  We are consistently tempted by the enemy to return to the world and the things of wickedness.  But we must continue to set our minds above on the Lord and His kingdom.

Our minds and our thinking is transformed as we spend time daily in God’s word.  As we read God’s word and meditate upon God’s word, it is the Holy Spirit who pours revelation into our hearts and minds.  It is the Holy Spirit who leads and guides us into all truth.  We can grow as deep as we desire to go in our understanding of God’s word.  It simply depends on how much we are willing to pour into the study of His word.  As we grow each day in the place of prayer and the study of His word, we continue to go deeper in our relationship with God.

Jude 3-4: Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith

Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people. For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about[b] long ago have secretly slipped in among you.They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.  Jude 3-4

Jude’s main purpose for writing his letter is to contend for the faith.  The word of God is our standard of truth.  The world we live in is filled with lies and deception and the greatest deceptions of Satan are those that would be considered half-truth.  They have an aspect of truth but when truly examined against scriptures their deception is revealed.  The problem today is many believers are ignorant of God’s word because they fail to study the scriptures and are easily deceived in this hour of history.

Jude warns of those who have slipped in among believers who are false teachers who have distorted the grace of God for a license to sin.  This is alive and well in our world today.  There are so many so called well known preachers who use the name of Jesus and the word of God to make a profit and the way they build mega ministries for their own name is by distorting the grace of God.

They preach nothing of hell and the need for holiness.  They preach on the grace of God but never speak of repentance.  They never call people to turn from their sins, but simply create a gospel message that is self-centered and causes believers to live in slavery and bondage while claiming to follow Christ.

Jesus came to set us free from the curse of sin and death and if we are truly in Christ, sin will no longer have dominion over our lives.  But if we have never fully given our hearts and lives over to Christ we will continue to be dominated by sin and temptation.  For the only way to truly be free is to lay down one’s life and pick up one’s cross.

The Jesus they preach is not the true Jesus.  For if we have truly come to Christ we will understand His holiness and righteousness and because He is holy we are called to be Holy.  As we grow in Him the Holy Spirit will convict our hearts and lives and continue to prune us so that the character and nature of Christ is produced and manifested through the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

May we heed the scriptures in this hour.  May the study of God’s word and the pursuit to know Him be the priority and obsession of our lives.  Everything in this world that is not of God and His kingdom shall pass away.  We have so many idols today and so many have allowed worthless idols to take only the place that Jesus deserves in their hearts.  God is calling us to something greater.  God is calling us to be the bride He is returning for.  May we seek Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.

Jude 1-2: Jude, a bond-servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James

Jude, a bond-servant of Jesus Christ, and [a]brother of [b]James, [writes this letter],

To those who are the called (God’s chosen ones, the elect), dearly loved by God the Father, and kept [secure and set apart] for Jesus Christ: May mercy and peace and love be multiplied to you [filling your heart with the spiritual well-being and serenity experienced by those who walk closely with God].  Jude 1-2

The one who wrote the book of Jude was the half brother of Jesus.  When Jesus was born Mary was a virgin.  Through the power of the Holy Spirit Mary became pregnant with Jesus.  But after Jesus was born, Mary had other children with Joseph and two of these children were James and Jude.

Jesus brother James wrote the book of James.  He was known as James the just and was a leader in the Jerusalem church.  Jude his brother wrote this letter and it was in defense of the truth and against the false teaching of the day.  Jude nor James believed Jesus was the Christ during his earthly ministry.  They actually believed He was out of His mind (Mark 3:20-21).  But we are told that Jesus appeared to James (1 Corinthians 15:6-8) once Jesus had risen from the dead and we see from Jude’s letter that he also became a believer that Jesus is indeed the Son of God.

Jude writes this letter to those who are believers and followers of Jesus Christ.  We who have chosen to follow Christ were chosen first by Him.  We are kept by the grace of God and it is not based on our own strength or ability.  He has simply called us to draw near each day and abide in Him (John 15:5-8).  As we abide in Him we will continue to grow and experience the abundant life that Jesus proclaimed.

God’s mercy, peace, and love is only experienced by those who walk closely with Jesus Christ.  Our walk with the Lord is something we experience on a daily basis.  It is not an abstract concept nor simply theological in nature.  It is a living relationship with the Living God and the reason we experience God’s mercy, peace, and love when we walk closely with Christ is because His presence consumes our lives.  It is the Holy Spirit who fills us to overflowing and it is the power of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives.  So many miss out on all that God has for them because they simply fail to walk closely with the Lord.  They chase after things that have no eternal value and become distracted by the lies of the enemy.  When Christ is the priority and drawing near to Him is the driving force in our lives, we will experience all that Christ has for us.

1 John 5:16-17: If anyone sees his brother committing a sin that does not lead to death, he will pray and ask [on the believer’s behalf] and God will for him give life to those whose sin is not leading to death

16 If anyone sees his brother committing a sin that does not lead to death, he will pray and ask [on the believer’s behalf] and God will for him give life to those whose sin is not leading to death. There is a sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for this [kind of sin]. 17 All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death [one can repent of it and be forgiven]. 1 John 5:16-17

When we see fellow brothers and sisters in the faith walking away from the Lord and pursuing the desires of the sinful nature we need to pray and intercede for them.  Every time a person begins to wander from the truth they are being deceived by the enemy.  The enemy we face is a spiritual enemy and the way we are victorious is by waging spiritual warfare that happens through prayer.  We cannot idle sit by and watch people walk to destruction.  Too many instead of praying and interceding for them spend time gossiping about what they are doing.  John doesn’t designate what the sin is that leads to death but the only sin that would lead to death would be to fully abandon faith in Jesus Christ.  It is only through Christ we have a relationship with God and have the Holy Spirit working in our lives.

Sin is wrong doing and living contradictory to God and His kingdom.  The apostle Paul in the book of Galatians chapter 5 writes of the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit.  The flesh and the Spirit are contradictory to one another.  Fallen human nature desires the sinfulness and wickedness of this world while the leading of the Holy Spirit draws us to the nature and character of Christ.  This journey we walk with the Lord is a journey that happens one step at a time.  We must pray for strength, wisdom, and understanding each day.  When we see our fellow brother and sister struggling we need to pray and intercede.  May we be a people filled with the love of Christ.  May His grace and mercy fill our hearts and drive every decision we make.