Friday, 13 May 2016

Walking with Jesus. ~ Ganeida.

1 John 2:6 says: He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walketh. The NLT puts it more bluntly: Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.

Before we get into our subject this morning I would like you to think about a couple of questions.

Do you believe Jesus was sinless?

Do you believe Jesus was led by the spirit always?

Did Jesus ever express anger?

Can you think of an incidence where Jesus’ words might be considered less than loving by today’s standards?

You see how you think about these things impacts your understanding of who Jesus is & what it means to walk as Jesus walked. Let’s let scripture answer those first questions.

1 John 3:5 You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin.

John 8:29 "And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.”

Mark 3: 4~6 And He said to them, "Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save a life or to kill?" But they kept silent. After looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, He said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and immediately began conspiring with the Herodians against Him, as to how they might destroy Him.

Matthew 23:33 Snakes! Sons of vipers! How will you escape the judgment of hell?

I think we have a problem.  If God is love, how do we walk by the Spirit of God?  How do we walk in love? How do we express anger?  What justifies it? What does *walking by the Spirit* really look like because it is obvious from these examples that Jesus was hardly wishy~washy in His thinking, statements or actions. His love did not *tolerate* anything & everything.

We have become so conditioned to not ever rocking the boat with others in the name of love, especially other believers, that we are in danger of straying from the heart of the gospel.  Jesus never shrinks from saying the hard things.  He never shrinks from doing the difficult things.  He is never going to love someone into hell.

Let’s start with some of the things Jesus Himself says about love.

John 14:15 If you love me you will keep my commands.  Love is agape.

John 15:10 If you keep my commands you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands & remain in His love.

Again love is agape.

John 13:34 This is what I command you; love one another. Agape again.


It has become cliché ~ which is unfortunate~ but the instruction is always to love the person, never the sin. Unrepentant sin in the life of the believer brings consequences because it is an abuse of God’s grace. What’s more there are certain things that are not to be tolerated because Jesus Himself does not tolerate them. Tolerance is not love ~ & it can have disastrous results.

In the book of Revelation we have 7 churches & Jesus has something to say to all of them, some good, some bad. Of Ephesus He complains that they have forgotten their first love for Him; Of Pergamum He complains of false teaching, idolatry, sexual sin;  Thyatira He accuses  of permitting a Jezebel to teach & lead people astray; Sardis He accuses of being dead even though they think they are alive; Laodicea is accused of being lukewarm. There is a grave warning to those churches if things do not change.

There are things we are expected to deal with ~ especially within the body of believers.

Ephesians 5:3 Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God's people.

Sexual sin is particularly grave within the body of believers because we know that our bodies have become a temple for the Holy Spirit & the church as a whole is a living body.  As such it is to be kept pure & holy, undefiled. Greed is the love of money & it is the love of money that is at the root of all evil. 1 Timothy 6:10. Neither is to find a place amongst God’s people. It is not loving to tolerate what God calls sin in the name of love.

We know that each of us is a 3 part being.  We are a spirit who has a soul & inhabits a body.  Every moment of our lives one or other aspect of our being is in pre-eminence. Paul says in Galations 5:19 that if we let our flesh control us the results are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarrelling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division envy, drunkenness, wild parties.  This is diametrically opposed to a life lived controlled by the Spirit of God.   Such a person exhibits love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness & self~control. Galatians 5:22

So how do we walk in love, yet not tolerate the intolerable? Galatians 6 says If another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently & humbly help that person back onto the right path ~ but we are also to ensure we don’t become ensnared in that person’s sin ourselves!

Amos 2:3 says How can 2 walk together unless they agree?

This is really our first clue to bringing this all into alignment. We cannot walk with God unless we are in agreement with God. We call things by their true names.  Sin is sin. Truth is Truth. This is why a believer cannot walk with an unbeliever & why a believer who is in error cannot walk with a believer who isn’t.  It probably accounts for most of the division in the churches for Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:19  But, of course, there must be divisions among you so that you who have God’s approval will be recognized!

I am not saying that there cannot be outreach or witness but there can be no true fellowship unless we are all in agreement with what God Himself says. Thus we guard our hearts carefully, discerning the spirit that is in a man or woman with whom we are engaging.

So here are some practical steps for doing that.
Revelation 12:10 Satan is called the accuser of the brethren. Here is where we need to untangle a person from their actions.  The person is not what they do, even though their actions may be sinful.  Their actions may call for some sort of discipline by the church & on at least one occasion Paul handed a person’s flesh over to satan that he might be saved.  [1Corinthians 5:5]

This is not to condemn anyone to hell. Rather it is part of the refining process by which the things of the flesh will be purged from that life, allowing for the work of Grace via the Holy Spirit to accomplish His purpose in that life.

In contrast we have Jesus, the advocate.  An advocate pleads another’s cause; an intercessor. It is Jesus who lives in us.

The accuser will always work with our flesh.  He will accentuate the negative & minimise the positive.  He will highlight the bad whereas the Spirit will look on the heart, will focus on the good.  He neither condemns nor condones, accuses nor excuses. However He does need us to co~operate with Him. So we need to keep our own hearts with all diligence never allowing the seeds of accusation to take root & grow, but neither allowing, or tacitly condoning, sin either in our lives or in another believer’s.

How do we do this? Romans 8:5

1.Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. Or in other words we are to renew our minds! Romans 12:2 gives greater insight:  Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.  Remember, according to 2 Corinthians 10:5 we are to take captive every thought to make it obey Christ.

When we think the way God thinks we will have the discernment Jesus had.  We will know when to be gentle, when to be firm & how to discern what is going on around us.

2.Put to death the deeds of the body Romans 8:5. Most of us will have struggled at some point with a particular sin that we just don’t seem to be able to ditch. We will always fail when we do this in our own strength but we will have success when we do it by the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.

3. Pray! Pray! Pray! 1 John 5:16 Remember there is great power when we pray in the Spirit for we are praying out the will of God in the language of God through His Holy Spirit. Remember Jesus could call out sin without sinning Himself; be angry with a righteous anger & yet maintain His composure.  Do not act until prayer has brought your flesh under the control of the Holy Spirit.

Lastly: Trust & obey
“In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.” 2 Cor 13:1

If you believe you have heard correctly from the Holy Spirit on a matter & the testimony has been established & confirmed by 2 or 3 witnesses then obey!

The joy & the blessing of walking in the Spirit is knowing the sweetness of Christ as a living reality & knowing Him it becomes grievous to us to in any way displease Him & thus we will always strive to please Him & in pleasing Him He reveals more of Himself.  The more He reveals of Himself the more we will delight in Him. May it be so, both in your life & in mine!

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