Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Marks of a TRUE Christain - Romans 12:9,11-12

Romans 12:9
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good

cf for Love -1 Timothy1: 5 The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith

a pure heart (rather than one filled with sinful desires), a good conscience (rather than one laden with guilt), and a sincere faith (rather than pretense and hypocrisy)

Love must be the distinguishing mark of Jesus' disciples.. Love is the fruit of Faith
John 13:34-35
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Then at the same time you are to LOVE, you are to HATE..Hate Evil..Paul says abhor..Websters defines this word as extreme repugnance or aversion; detest utterly; loathe; abominate. I think that is as clear as the English language can make it..but here are some synonyms in case we are not clear - abominate, despise, detest, execrate, loathe

Romans 12:11-12
11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

Breaking this verse down is quite difficult because there is so much said..Paul says do not be slothful in zeal and be fervent in spirit in serving the Lord..Slothful in Zeal could have just as well said..Be a fanatic..eager desire or endeavor; enthusiastic diligence; Basically it should be real noticeable in our world who is serving the Lord and who is not..We cant sit back and be a Christian and no one notice and just allow others to walk around lost..We must display zeal..enthusiasm for what Jesus Christ can do for us..and then Paul says fervent in Spirit..What I believe he means here is to understand and handle the word of God carefully, rightfully...allowing the Holy Spirit to guide you..To be accurate in your display. Acts 18:25 helps me reach this conclusion " He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. And being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus

Rejoice in Hope - Those who are justified by faith have an unshakable hope, knowing they will be saved from God's wrath on the day of judgment..by virtue of Christ's death..It all boils down to this very concept for me..This future glory also spoken about by Paul in Romans..We must understand and come to know very well the reason we have Hope and where our Hope lies..We will be saved from God's wrath..and be allowed to dwell with him who's hand are scarred from the nails that pierced His Hands..(There is a great song called "One of these days" by FFH that speaks clearly of this Hope)

Be patient in tribulation(difficult times, trials)- we all need to take a second to understand that difficult times are part of life..Becoming a Christian doesn't mean we will live a rosy rest of our life..Be weary of this type of Christianity being preached today...In fact God says he will discipline those He loves..That doesn't mean punish..Discipline is correction..and when God is trying to refine us a potter and his clay, He may have to cut parts of us off in order to achieve the end result He is looking for..We may have to be stripped of certain things in our life..We may have to endure illness and loss in order to be made more like Christ..That is the end goal..Not necessarily happiness but Godliness...To be made in the image of His Son..and AW Tozer nails this point in his book "The Pursuit of God" where we says " The cross is rough and it is deadly, but it is effective. There comes a moment when its work is finished and the suffering victim dies..After that is resurrection Glory and power and the pain is forgotten"..........

but also notice how Paul follows up the comment on tribulation..BE CONSTANT IN PRAYER.. That is the answer to enduring life's most difficult times..to overcoming those refining moments..To defend against the wiles of the devil while he tries to "sift you like wheat".. Prayer is your direct connection to God..Your channel to harness the power of the Holy Spirit..There is no switch, no force field, no galactic ray that can be employed during these times..It is the power of Prayer and the relationship that Prayer offers you with God the Father..The closer you are to God thru Prayer, the better your ability to harness His power..Those who do not know God at all are defenseless against these times of tribulation (whether caused by God or satan) and will try to use their own abilities to make it thru and often times that ends up in giving up..taking ones own life, leaving a marriage, stealing or embezzling from employer..or whatever.. They have no hope and see the only way to make it thru is by them making decisions on their own without the assistance of The Creator..who knows best what to do..Prayer is so central to our faith and who we are as Christians..It can not be emphasized enough..

So in just three verses, much like Romans 12:2..you get a wealth of information in very short and concise sentences..This again shows the vastness and depth of the Word of God..and just how powerful it is.. Studying The Bible requires us to use shovels and hoes and pick axes...not just our hands..We need to dig past the layers to where the real riches are found..In the layers behind the "naked eye" if you will. I liken it to mining for Gold..In order to find Gold, you have to do more than just walk around and pick it up with your hands off the top of the soil..You must dig and dig and sift and sift till you run across those nuggets that eventually pay off for all the hard work and labor you put in..God's word is just like that..There will be times that just on the surface you will learn and glean many things from it, but it's true worth is far deeper than that..It requires a deliberate study of delving past the obvious into the not so obvious...and the understanding that is unleashed in that realm is mind boggling and you begin to get glimpses of just how awesome God really is and how Sovereign are His ways..It is in those depths of study that you begin to uncover the true mysteries of the Gospel..The true riches that God desires to show you..and the circles truly start to come together and Faith that was once the size of a mustard seed can grow to the size of a sequoia tree


(ESV Study Bible, Websters)
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