Learning God's Ways
Sunday, July 15, 2018
I speak often about walking in the Spirit and putting off the flesh. When we walk with God we begin to take on His nature. We begin to see things the way He sees things. Our lives begin to take on the nature of God. When we walk in the flesh, we only see things as we want to see them. Our lives turn in upon ourselves and we grow in our selfishness. Our God is the God of love. He loves unconditionally and He expects His people to follow Him and love as He loves.
There are two kinds of love. The first is the love that says, “What is in this for me?” “I love you because of what you do for me, because of how you make me feel.” “I will love you as long as you meet my expectations.”
The second says, “What can I do for you?” “I am committed to caring for you, even when you cannot or will not care for me.”
The second is how God cares for us. It is how He wants to teach us to love one another.
1 May God arise, may his enemies be scattered; may his foes flee before him. 2 May you blow them away like smoke— as wax melts before the fire, may the wicked perish before God.
3 But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful.
4 Sing to God, sing in praise of his name, extol him who rides on the clouds; rejoice before him—his name is the Lord.
5 A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. 6 God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land. (NIV)
16(b) Stop doing wrong, 17 learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.
18 "Come now, let us reason together," says the Lord. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. 19 If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land; 20 but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword." For the mouth of the Lord has spoken. (NIV)
Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” (NIV)
James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. (NIV)
One thing is common in all of these passages. God wants us to love, to care for those who cannot do anything for us in return.
This is who God is… Psalm 68:5 A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. 6 God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing.”
This is who God wants us to become. As I quoted Dr. Who last week, I believe God says the same to us. “Do you think I care for you so little that your betraying me would make a difference?”
Yes, He will let us go if we insist, if we continue in our rebellion, if we persist in our refusal to trust Him to love us, to be our Savior. He will let us go if we insist, if we continue in our rebellion and persist in our refusal to trust Him to lead us, to be our Lord. He does so begrudgingly.
He does not want anyone to perish, to go into eternal separation from Him. He loves us and He calls us to love one another. He calls us to walk with Him through this life and on into eternity.
1 This is what Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem:
2 In the last days the mountain of the Lord's temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it.
3 Many peoples will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths." The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. 4 He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.
5 Come, O house of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the Lord. (NIV)
“Let us walk in the light of the Lord.”
In these last days, we, the nations, the Gentiles, will stream to the Lord’s temple. When Jesus died the veil of the temple was torn from top to bottom.
Matt 27:50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. 51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. (NIV)
We have access to the Holy of Holies. We have access to the very presence of God because of what Jesus did on the cross. He gave His life, that we might have life. He desperately wants to have fellowship with us. He loves us.
We are to walk in the light that He has given us. We are to love as He loves. We are to love without condition.
Sometimes the widows and orphans, those who are distressed in life, do not smell good. They do not dress like we dress. Their hygiene is not what we expect of ourselves. Sometimes they will take advantage of our loving nature.
There was one line about God leading prisoners out with singing. Whose singing voice does He use to lead them out? How will prisoners hear the singing unless someone goes to the prison and sings?
I struggle with how we are to minister to those God brings our way. How do we let them know that God loves them? How do we convince them that someone really does care about them?
Following Christ is sometimes uncomfortable. He leads us to places we may not like. Will we follow? Will we trust Him to love others through us?
If we are going to walk in the light of the Lord, we must go where He leads.
“He will teach us His ways.”
Galatians 5:6(b), “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” Paul says we are free from the law, but we are not to use our freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. (Galatians 5:13)
We are to live by faith in God. This faith brings us to the place that we are free to live by love. Before we put our faith in God, we were in bondage because we saw our need to be loved but sought to fill that need by insisting that others meet our need. We worked at proving our worth. Now we know that God offers His love freely. We are now free to love others because God loves us and our need for love is met by God.
Christ teaches us that we should love and give to those in need; those who cannot repay us for what we do for them. When we were in bondage to the need to find love in all the wrong places we only loved those who could meet our need.
When you accept that God loves you and offers that love freely it changes your whole perspective about what life is all about. We are set free to love God and love others, learning to love, thinking more of others than of ourselves.
He will teach us His ways.
Thank you, Lord, for loving us so freely. Sending Your Son to die for us while we were still in rebellion. Help us each to accept your love and then to turn around and offer love to those who need it. Help us to see with Your eyes and to love as You love.
You are the great, awesome Creator. We bow before you and we claim Your love for us and promise to work at helping others know that You love them as well. We will take care of those who need help the most, those who cannot love us in return.