March 4, 2022

THE LEADER GOD WANTS TODAY – AND FOUR QUALITIES HE NEEDS

Even the secular world is noticing the leadership crisis facing the church. Noted the Wall Street Journal last week: 

“(C)lergy members are stepping down …. the job, always demanding, has become almost impossible during the pandemic: Relationships with and among parishioners have frayed while meeting only over video, and political divisions have deepened….”

Prophets not prophesying. Priests profaning. People partitioning as politicians prey. It’s reminiscent of the situation in Ezekiel 22, when God issued a shocking indictment: 
“And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before me for the land, that I should not destroy it.”
“But I found none.”
God is reissuing that call today – for men to stand in the breach. And blessedly, we have a model of the leader God wants: Moses, as described in Hebrews 11:20-29.
A man who for 40 years learned to be somebody, then for 40 years to be a nobody. After which for 40 more years God took that nobody who was a somebody and did something for His glory. 


All because Moses possessed four qualities:

First, evaluation, taking the long view: discerning long-term gains for the kingdom in eschewing short-term pleasure. Hebrews tells us that Moses “refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.”

Moses put aside riches and a potential throne, alongside the deviant practices of Egyptian royalty, to set the stage for a new covenant foreshadowing the coming Lamb of God.
Some would-be leaders today can’t manage such discernment: I once met a brilliant pastor who planted multiple churches, including one of America’s fastest-growing, yet left the ministry (and cheated on his wife) after being waylaid by pornography. I observed, referring to 2 Peter 1:5, that in evaluating he had managed to add knowledge to his faith but bypassed virtue, with tragic consequences.

Second, determination, which is about “choosing,” which determines consequences. Moses chose the “reproach of Christ” because he “esteemed” God’s eternal riches over all Pharoah had to offer. 
Determination requires claiming the promises of God and fulfilling the purposes of God with eternal perspective. Scripture is replete with examples with men and women who by faith served against all odds to obey God despite seemingly impossible odds. David against Goliath, Gideon with three hundred men against Midiante army, and Heziakiah against the mocking Sennacherib king of Assyria, and Joshua against Jericho to name a few examples. The New Testament servants of God by faith determined to fulfill the will of God even if it meant death. Christ is the ultimate example that should encourage us.

Third, elimination: Moses chose “rather” – likewise, God’s leader must be willing to embrace affliction, eliminating anything less than the Lord’s best for HIS long-term glory.

Exhibit A: Finnish member of Parliament Päivi Räsänen, on trial facing jail for tweeting Romans 1:24-27, denouncing a national church’s participation in a “gay pride” event. Exhibit B: an Illinois pastor’s confession to me of uncertainty that his son-in-law was ready for persecution from authorities if he accepts a pulpit and simply preaches Bible truth.


Can today’s leader, determining that God’s will is paramount, eliminate all other considerations and trust in His protection?

Finally, continuation: Moses “endured” (v. 27), “kept” the Passover, and “passed” through the Red Sea. With his gaze on Christ – the long view! – he kept on keeping on. 


God’s leader must maintain three blinders:

Keeping passion for Christ growing through intimate, alone time with God, just as Moses twice spent 40 days with the Lord, and both Elijah and Paul were called apart to fulfill their missions.
Keep your eye on the mission: why are you here? In hockey, it’s not to get distracted by poking and prodding and land in the penalty box, but to get the puck into the net. In ministry, it’s “making disciples” and ignoring how people who should be praying for you are reviling you and penning evil, nonsensical letters.
Keep your relationships right as much as is humanly possible: otherwise your power plug will be pulled as conflicts grieve and quench the Holy Spirit.

In 2004, Brazilian Olympic marathoner Vanderlei De Lima showed this level of continuation, hanging on for a bronze medal after he was attacked by a publicity-seeking spectator and his seemingly insurmountable lead dissipated. The International Olympic Committee later awarded Vanderlei the Pierre de Coubertin Medal for sportsmanship, and he won the honor of lighting the 2016 Rio Olympics’ ceremonial “torch.”

Can we find leaders equally committed to advancing the Gospel – the only hope for a lost and dying world? Can he, with Vanderlei and the Apostle Paul, “finish the course” and view the “henceforth” of a future crown, rather than joining the droves abandoning the ministry amid the pressures, demands and divisions now rending the church? Paul baccalaureate 

In 2 Timothy 4, really is a summary of Paul’s passion for the Word to be preached, for Christ to be exalted, and for believers to finish the race set before us. Paul says in 2 Timothy 4:6-8; “For I am now ready to be offered and the time of my departure is at hand I have fought a good fight I have finished by course I have kept the faith Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord the righteous just shall give me at that day and not to me only but unto all them also that love his appearing.” 

Oh, that today’s church may avoid God’s indictment – “I found none” – and abound with God’s leaders with the qualities of evaluation, determination, elimination and most of all, continuation to stand in the pulpit, and the breach.


April 6, 2022​

​THE POWER OF THE TONGUE JAMES 3

Is it possible that cancel culture has been practiced to distance believers from believers? Have good people who have not been guilty of any biblical violation been targeted to be canceled because they have not agreed with every nuance of a particular control group? If so, the tool used of satan to accomplish the division is the tongue.

James issues a strong warning to those who teach and preach that there is a stricter judgement for the use of their tongue. Dr. Warren Wiersbe’s commentary on the book of James called “BE WISE” has a simple and clear exposition that highlights the marks of mature believers.

In James chapter three, Weirsbe points out that the tongue, which is a powerful tool, has three vital powers. First, the tongue has the power to DIRECT, and uses the picture of a bit in the horse’s mouth which controls the whole body and also a rudder on a large ship determines its direction. Those who are spiritual leaders must be careful not to manipulate information to direct listeners to a conclusion that might not be God’s will. It is much more godly to give the word of God to say what is says and not what the speaker wants it to say. Direction can be set by words.

The tongue also has power to DESTROY as pictured by fire and poisonous animals. “How great a matter a little fire kindeleth.” James 3:5 A careless toss of a cigarette can cause

thousands of acres to be destroyed. A careless communication by the tongue can cause great harm to the body of Christ and institutions to be destroyed.

James 3:6 -10 “...and the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature: and it is set on fire of hell. For every kind of beast, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father: and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. my brethren, these things ought not so to be.

The third power of the tongue highlighted by James is its ability to DELIGHT, pictured by the fountain and the fig tree. Water is refreshing and life-giving. Prov. 10:11 ...”the mouth of a righteous man is a well of life.” The fruit of the fig tree is a refreshment to the hungry soul. Prov.10:21 ...”the lips of the righteous feed many.” What a privilege men and women of God have to give life-giving truth in a world that is in desperate need of hope. Our nation is sitting on a powder keg getting ready to detonate; and it is imperative that God’s children reflect the joy of the Lord as, shoulder-to-shoulder, the real enemy is confronted. Eh. 6:12

As James is concluding his instruction on the use of the tongue, he asks a probing question and describes who is truly wise among them compared to those who are being used of satan to cause confusion and strife. James 3: 11-16...”Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine figs? So can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh. Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is there is confusion and every evil work.”
Note the contrast that is revealed when the wisdom from God is described as compared to
the earthly wisdom.

If a Christian is desirous to reflect the mind of God in a situation he would be wise to ask himself the question, What kind of wisdom am I displaying by the use of words when input is given?”

James 3:17 - 18 “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy, and the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make. peace.”

January 29, 2021
REASONS THAT I THANK THE LORD FOR 2020 AND THE COVID 19 VIRUS DILEMMA
Introduction
The word says, “In everything give thanks.” A glance back at the year 2020 could cause one to search for a reason to give thanks. The hope is that you do not mind me sharing some personal thoughts about the year.

I am thankful that temptations have waned. One of the temptations is to waste time watching television. Even though our watching habit has never been a big thing, getting rid of the screen on the wall that turns the thinking negatively and in many cases to anxiety was a spiritually positive move. Now, as never before in our lifetime, has there been more of a need for Christians to reflect the joy of the Lord and a positive rejoicing spirit. Another temptation that went by the wayside is the urge to watch a steady diet of sports. While watching football has never been an addiction it was definitely a diversion of time that could have been given to more profitable things. I have been a Green Bay Packer fan since my youth, but when the players chose to stay in the locker room or the tunnel during the playing of our national anthem I lost all interest. As far as I was concerned they should stay in the locker room. Perhaps they never had a folded flag handed to the family at a funeral for their loved one who gave his life for the defense of the country. Why take time to honor ingrates who dishonor the patriots who shed their blood to give pro-athletes the opportunity to become multi-millionaires? Cuba and Venezuela do not offer such a privilege. The new focus is helping me to not dishonor
the One who shed His blood that I could have eternal life.

I am thankful for the unexpected events of 2020 because I am experiencing a greater hunger for God’s word. The amount of time that has been redirected has afforded many precious hours in the word with a greater thirst for righteousness and a greater sensitivity to the indwelling Holy Spirit. More time focused on what God has to say reaps a confidence in the precious promises He gives. Wasted time which is turned into worship and praise time is always a good thing. The promises are a great enhancement to a life that responds in worship and thanksgiving to our gracious God. For a brief example, just meditate on the promises that God gave to Joshua as he was handed the responsibility to lead the Israelites the remainder of the journey to the promised land. “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then shalt thou make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” Josh. 1:8 Consider the promises of Psalm chapter 1:1 - 3. The scriptures are loaded with promises , but neglect of the word will cause one to miss what God has for the believer.


I am thankful fo the events of 2020 because our prayer life has been refreshing as our evenings at home are free of distraction. Charlene and I spend time discussing the pressing needs recorded our prayers list. The time in prayer and praise to God seems to relieve the pressures of the day. What a joy it is to have direct access and an open invitation to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.


I am thankful for the events of 2020 because of the reminder from the word that Christians are strangers and pilgrims who are not in harmony with this world’s system. Genuine believers will never fit the mold of Marxism and other anti-god philosophies, but are exhorted to be salt and light in a decaying dark world that is desperately needing the message of God’s love and forgiveness. Spirit-filled believers should live with boldness and confidence while proclaiming the truth of the Gospel even if it means persecution or even martyrdom.

As a side note, the death of family members, dear servants of God, and close fellow laborers has caused me to realize anew that time is short and eternity is sure. We, like Moses in Psalm 90:12, should renew our hearts to pray as he did, “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”
In a recent conversation with a dear pastor friend who was told by a staff of doctors that he had a 10% chance of survival from the covid virus, he relayed that he was advised to call his family in. By God’s mercy and grace he was spared and is in a slow recovery. He said that “ in all my life as a Christian and in all the years of ministry, there has never been a time when I have had such a passion for Christ or a boldness to proclaim His word.” He vowed to God that he would not be a Hezekiah and waste the remaining years. What a refreshing conversation it was, as I want that same passion to grow in me. Perhaps there has never been a more opportune time to see revival in the church so that a lost world can witness real Christianity.


What are the believers’ responsibilities now in light of coming events?
Be HOLY
Peter exhorts the child of God to live holy and godly lives without spot or blame. He also is told to be at peace with Christ. II Pet. 3:11, “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness.”
Be WATCHFUL Peter also exhorts the child of God to be watching for the coming Day of God.” II Pet. 3:12 “Looking for and hastening unto the coming Day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?”
Be PURE
John reminds the born again believers that if they have the hope of his they will live pure lives. I John 3:2-3 “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that, when he shall appear we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is, and man that hath this hope in him purified himself, even as he is pure.”
Be GROWING
Peter encourages the saints to continue growing in their conformity to Christ. Just as he began his first letter with the challenge to give all diligence, add to their faith that they might know Jesus Christ more fully, he concludes the second letter with the same theme. II Peter 3:18, “ But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory, both now and forever.


January 1, 2021
It is interesting that some of the praise and thanksgiving psalms are intermingled with pain and suffering of some sort. Psalm 30 is one of the psalms that illustrate that point by contrasts such as God’s anger versus God’s favor, weeping versus rejoicing, night versus morning, and a moment versus a lifetime.

The focus of this challenge will highlight the contrasts given in chapter 30:5: His anger and His favor, our weeping in the night and our joy in the morning. Perhaps we look back at our decisions that reaped less than ideal circumstances and experienced the displeasure of God; but, be assured that the favor and mercy of God have not ceased.

Knowing God’s character anchors the believer’s soul resulting in calm joyful assurance. Consider David’s situation described in Psalm 30 when he was reaping the consequences of pride and self confidence by numbering the people. In spite of being counseled by friends to not do such a thing, David pressed on with his plan. He consequently experienced the disfavor of God and reaped a devastating consequence. Gad, David’s seer, revealed three options that David had for his judgement (I Chron. 21:8-13). David chose to put himself into the hands of God because he knew God’s character. I Chron. 21:13...”and David said unto God “I am in a great strait: let me fall into the hand of the Lord: for very great are His mercies: but let me not fall into the hand of man.” Notice the contrast between God’s anger and God’s favor that David experienced. Psa. 30:5 “For His anger endureth but a moment; in His favor is life: Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”
Many seemingly hopeless things happen in our night experiences. As a christian, you may be going through what seems like an endless night with no hope of morning light, but know by the grace of God that morning is coming with the joy that is promised. Sometimes the pain of the night seems unbearable and will never end. Keep the eternal perspective and rest in the unchangeable character of God and the grace He provides. James Montgomery Boice gave a fitting example in his commentary on Psalm 30 which helps to keep the eternal view when going through dark nights. “I acknowledge that some Christians do suffer a great deal, and sometimes their suffering is so intense that it seems longer than it truly is. What do we say of such circumstances: In the face of such suffering, we need to see our experience not only in the light of this world but of eternity.” (emphasis mine). Harry Ironside tells that when his father was dying he was suffering a great deal. A friend visited him and leaning over said, “John, you are suffering terribly aren’t you?” The father did not deny it. “I am suffering more than I thought it was possible for anyone to suffer, and still live,” he said. “But,” he added, “one sight of His blessed face will make up for it all.” That is the true
Christian’s ultimate perspective. It is faith that triumphs strongly over everything.” An Expositional Commentary on Psalms, Vol. 1, p. 264, Baker Books

Dr. Ironside’s dad was echoing the words of Paul in Romans 8:18 which states, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Paul also emphasizes a similar truth when encouraging the Corinthian christians to keep their gaze on an eternal mindset. II Cor. 5:16-17 “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, which is for us a far more and eternal weight of glory.”
These reminders by the Apostle Paul to keep an eternal gaze are refreshing in light of David’s words that we considered earlier in Psalm 30:5b, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”
Let us not lose heart, even in the midst of troubling times. Remember, nothing is out of God’s control and He cares about every detail of our lives.

On a personal note, the year 2020 is behind us with all of its joys, pains, successes, failures, and unexpected frustrations. For Charlene and me it was a year of postponed or cancelled meetings because of Covid 19. It was also a year of new experiences by having to zoom some conferences, as we did to Harvest Ministries in Guam for their staff inservice. The conference with Gospel Mission of South America was cancelled, which included missionaries serving in Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay, because their governments would not allow large group gatherings. The mission groups in each country decided to meet with just their field workers, so we electronically sent seven of our 30-minute television telecasts from the Building Great Leaders TV programs which air on VCY Channel 30 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Thankfully, the VCY producer was gracious to send the selected programs to them for their conferences.

On the downside of 2020, Charlene and I both had sisters pass away unexpectedly. Charlene’s sister Glenda from Missouri went home to be with the Lord at age 80, and Les’s sister Dorothy from Colorado met her Lord at age 83 just before Thanksgiving. Our hearts were heavy but God has given grace. We were quite close to both of them.

On a positive note, many meetings did go on as scheduled and we rejoice in how God used His word in hearts. Also, we now have 100 complete episodes of our Building Great Leaders TV Leadership Series with more recording to be done in each month of 2021.

Among the blessings of 2020 was the special honor of co-officiating the wedding ceremony of our granddaughter, Jamie Bennett, to Jonny Harm on October 23 in South Carolina.

Let us have a greater hunger to know our God and reflect His communicable attributes in the New Year 2021. Phil. 3:10

March 23, 2022

Hindered By Messengers     

The spread of the gospel of Christ is hindered by the messengers, not the message.

    The Corinthian church was experiencing a problem that seems to have continued in Christianity to this very day.  The problem of contentions among believers was reflected in divisive speech, (orations), divisive sects (organizations), and divisive spirits (opinions).  Paul appealed to the brethren by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among them.  I Cor. 1:10, “Now I beseech you, brethren by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”

    It had come to Paul’s attention that there were contentions among them.  I Cor. 3:1-4  “And I, brethren, could not speak  unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.  I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were ye not  able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.  For  ye are yet carnal:  for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal and walk as men? For while one sayeth I am of Paul:, another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?”

    Paul addresses the matter as a problem of carnality, not of morals, but of immature spirits.   Immature spirits led to formation of personality cults which showed itself in envying and strife and divisions.  I Cor.3:3-4     His exhortation reminded them that they should have grown to greater maturity since their new birth; but they were still acting like babies who still needed milk.  Paul reminded the Corinthian believers that they as God’s children are laborers together.

    Laborers means that we as believers are in union with God and his children to function in our God-given task.  Together stresses that we are to be in unity while being engaged by the Grace of God, with the Masterbuilder.    In other words, there must be fellowship (unity) as well as function (union).

What is the difference between Union and Unity?  If a dog and cat were tied together, there is union but to assume unity is far-fetched.  When a bride -to-be and a groom -to-be are joined in marriage union, unity does not just happen, but a process of maturity has to take place as they grow in genuine love.   So it is with believers.  Salvation places the newborn into union with Christ and other believers; but then the process of sanctification leads to maturity, and as one grows in maturity, then Christlike character is reflected.    Sadly, too many believers never mature and they remain carnal.   Consequently, they get caught up in divisive speech, divisive sects, and divisive spirits, becoming a hindrance to the gospel instead of a help.

    The book of Galatians which was written to combat the Judaizers’ attempt to get believers to live under the Law rather than to emphasize christian liberty.  While christians have liberty, there is never liberty to be carnal or to be in conflict.  Gal. 5:13, “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty:  only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.”   Liberty cannot be used as an operating base to go out on flesh maneuvers.  Love trumps liberty.

    Paul goes on with the thought of love.  Gal. 5:14, “For all the Law is fulfilled in one word, even in this, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.  But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not  consumed one of another.”

    The need to be filled with the Holy Spirit becomes more obvious when the believer realizes that he cannot have victory over the flesh in his own strength.  “They that are in the flesh cannot please God; But ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.”  Rom. 8:8-9.   The statement ye cannot do the things that ye would indicates that choices  have to be made to yield to the Holy Spirit’s control or yield to natural desires.

    The works of the flesh are in three groupings of sins.  There are RANK (sexual) SINS, which are adultery, fornication, uncleanness and lasciviousness. (Gal. 5:19b   The RELIGIOUS  SINS are given as idolatry and witchcraft.  (Gal. 5:20a)  The RELATIONSHIP SINS given in  Galatians 5:20-21 are the sins which hinder the unity.   The relationship sins are the ones most tolerated which grieve and quench the Holy Spirit,  and thus the “power plug” is pulled.    Sadly, organization and function can still go on.

    The relationship sins are these:

*    Hatred     - “Echthra”:  opposite of love. Nurtures a hostile attitude toward some

        one else.

*    Variance - “Eris”:  quarrelsomeness, rivalry, animosity, Cain’s animosity toward

        Abel

*    Emulations - “zelos”:  zela, jealousy, search for significance; always have to be

        better than my rival

*    Wrath - “Thumos”:  hot anger and passion

        -God’s wrath is always righteous

        -Our wrath is almost always sinful

        -“Jealousy fermenting in the soul is expressed outwardly in anger”

*    Strife - “Eritheia”: factions, rivalry, party spirit

        Diotrephes (III Jn 9-11) Root:”hireling”-desire to win a following

*    Seditions - “Dichostasia”:  standing apart dichotomy    

        Rom. 16:17 - Mark those who cause divisions

*    Heresies - “Hairisis”

        Sadducees (Acts 5:17)

        Pharisees  (Acts 15:5)

        Tertulles used this word against Paul,

        The sect of the Nazarenes

        Creates a cause and demands a following (Acts 24:5).

*    Envying - “phthonos”:  used in a bad way (Matt. 27:10; Mark 15:10; Rom. 1:29;

        Phil. 1:15; I Tim. 6:4; Titus 3:3;  James 4:5; I Peter 1:21)

    Jesus was delivered to the Romans out of envy (Matt. 27:18)

    Malicious, spiteful spirit.

*    Murders - First sins after the fall

*    Drunkenness - All too common, affecting relationships  (Examples: Noah, Lot,

            Uriah, Zimri )

*    Revellings -    Near neighbor of drunkenness

 

    There is a sobering warning at the conclusion of the list of Relationship sins.  Galatians 5:21b  “they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”  The habitual practice of the sins listed reflected a heart that has never experienced salvation by grace through faith.

    The greek definitions of the relationship sins were taken from John Phillips’  expository commentary, Exploring Galatians, pages 167 - 172, Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI 49501.

    After laboring through the swamp of the flesh sins, we come to a refreshing spring.  The contrast is introduced by the word BUT.   The christian does not have to be bound by the sins of the flesh when he can be empowered by the indwelling Hoy Spirit, the One who Jesus promised would be the paraclete.   

    We have seen that there is union with Christ and a call to unity with other believers;  now we see the unction that makes the body of Christ work.  We consider now the fruit of the Spirit which reflects our God relationship, our others relationship, and our self relationship.

Dr. Douglas MacLachlan, former President of Central Baptist Theological Seminary and Pastor of Fourth Baptist Church in Plymouth, MN, points out that the fruit of the Spirit is love, and all other fruit listed is a different face of love.

    The fruit of the Spirit is:

*    Love    -    Self surrendering to God fully.  Phil. 2

*    Joy    -    Love celebrating deeply  

*    Peace    -    Love resting quietly

*    Long-suffering     Love enduring patiently

*    Gentleness    -    Love performing benevolently

*    Goodness    -    Love behaving morally and generously

*    Faith        -    Love trusting fully and serving reliably

*    Meekness    -     Love domesticating appetites powerfully

*    Temperance    -    Love restraining sensual drives strongly

Paul appealed to the body of believers who were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, that they be perfectly joined together in the “same mind and in the same judgment.”  I Cor. 1:9-10   The plea for unity and humility is throughout the new testament writings.   The world needs to see how christians love one another.  Broken relationships do not usually affect function.  One can still sing, preach, teach, and do many other things and have broken fellowships; but the freedom of the Spirit and the fruit is absent.   Why would a child of God continue living that way?  The most convicting study that this writer has ever done was a word-by-word study of I Cor. 13, which is an exposition of what agape love looks like.  The realization that one can study, serve, sacrifice, and burn out in God’s work and discover at the judgment seat of Christ that it was all a zero without love.  We should live in light of that accountability.  I Cor. 3:13-15 -  “Every man’s work shall be made manifest:  for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is,   If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.  If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss:  but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”

    There is not a lot of time left for this world that is quickly descending to destruction, so it behooves those who represent the Lord Jesus Christ to wake up to be true reflectors of His nature and character.

    Romans 13:10-14 - “Love worketh no Ill to his neighbor:  therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.   And that, knowing the time, that now it is time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.  The night is far spent, the day is at hand:  let us put on the armour of light.  Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.  But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.”