Today’s Scrip-Bit 13 December 2020 John 14:15.

John 14:15.     ​If ye LOVE me, keep my commandments.

Sunday morning’s come down friends! And we’ll do what we do every Sunday morning, be it sunshine, rain or snow; get together and praise, worship and give thanks to Almighty God, our Creator and Provider! Only thing is that these days many of us are worshiping and giving thanks through virtual technology because of the pandemic lockdown. Yes mih people, they may stop us from gathering together physically, but they can’t stop us from giving thanks and praise! And all of God’s people said a loud and proud: ‘Praise be to God!’ 

And with the Christmas season upon us, when we celebrate the earthly birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, I thought it would only be right to open with a timely song, a Christmas carol we all know and LOVE; ‘O Come All Ye Faithful,’an adaptation of a Latin hymn Adeste Fidelis. It’s rather appropriate for this time as it ‘harkens to the biblical story of the birth of Christ. It is considered a reference to the shepherds, after hearing the angels singing, coming to Bethlehem to adore their new-born savior. Today this hymn signifies and celebrates our coming together in worship to adore the LOVING blessing of Jesus, as he sacrificed himself for our salvation.’ 

So let’s worship nuh, in strong soulful, harmonious voice. ‘ O come, all ye faithful, Joyful and triumphant, O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem. Come and behold Him, Born the King of Angels! (Chorus: O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.) God of God, light of light, Lo, he abhors not the Virgin’s womb; True God, begotten, not created: (Chorus) 

O Sing, choirs of angels; sing in exultation O sing, all ye citizens of heav’n above. Give to our Father, Glory in the highest! (Chorus) Yea, Lord, we greet Thee, Born this happy morning; Jesus, to Thee be the glory giv’n; Word of the Father, Now in the flesh appearing, O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.’ 

And is Christ ever worthy of our adoration my people! For no one has ever done what He did; give up His heavenly position and come to earth in manly form, for the main purpose of sacrificing His sinless life so that we could become children of God, with all the wonderful benefits that entails. Mama Mia! What a Lord and Saviour! 

But what does it really mean when we sing about ‘faithful’ eh? First let’s look at some definitions from the Merriam Webster dictionary. ‘1: steadfast in affection or allegiance : LOYAL – a faithful friend. 2: firm in adherence to promises or in observance of duty : CONSCIENTIOUS – a faithful employee. 3: given with strong assurance : BINDING – a faithful promise. 4: true to the facts, to a standard, or to an original – a faithful copy. 5: obsolete: full of faith.’ And you’ll notice what they say about the last one; that it’s obsolete, but a lot of people still believe that’s what it means, and who’s to say them nay eh? (smile) 

So you see all the different meanings ‘faithful’ can have. They left out one word though; integrity, for you can’t be all or any of those things without integrity. And I like how Wikipedia explains it: ‘Faithfulness is the concept of unfailingly remaining loyal to someone or something, and putting that loyalty into consistent practice regardless of extenuating circumstances. It may be exhibited by a husband or wife who, in a sexually exclusive marriage, does not engage in sexual relationships outside of the marriage.’ 

Therefore, in our case we can say ‘faithful’ means that we remain unfailingly loyal to Christ, regardless of the prevailing circumstances. And that’s not an easy thing to do, especially in these rather turbulent and topsy-turvy times. But if we seriously want to be a faithful follower of Christ, then we must buckle down and do the things He commands us. Listen to His all-encompassing statement to the disciples, and consequently to us: ‘If ye LOVE me, keep my commandments.’ (John 14:15) 

Typical Jesus, plain and straightforward. No beating around the bush. And that’s what it means to be faithful; do the things that the person or organization to which you are faithful requires of you. And don’t forget this other requirement of being faithful to Jesus. ‘If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me. For whosoever will save his soul shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.’ (Matt. 16:24-25) 

That means friends, all that wonderful singing we did above does carry serious consequences if we truly want to observe and honour Christ’s call and be faithful. That’s not to say we should not enjoy the merriment and festivity of the season, but we should also consider the job we have to do, after all the merriment is over. Note, after the shepherds went and saw Jesus, they went back to guarding their sheep, though with a more joyful heart. Likewise, our hearts should also be joyful, as we go through this season of Advent, contemplating the importance of Christ’s birth and what it means to us in these modern times. 

And we’ll end with these appropriate words, but please don’t ask me where I got them from, because I don’t remember. (smile) ‘The encouragement to “come, all ye faithful, . . . to Bethlehem” situates the singer both among the shepherds who rushed to see Christ and in the great continuation of the “faithful” that have traveled to Bethlehem in a spiritual nature for over 2,000 years. Although today, we cannot actually witness Jesus in the manger, we can come to Bethlehem in a symbolic sense. We can be there in our imaginations as we allow the Christmas story to hearten our spirits.’ 

Yes precious people, let’s raise our spirits, be faithful and joyful in this Christmas season, despite the many troubles in our world. For that’s what Christians – faithful, steadfast and loyal believers in Jesus do, especially when one of His commands is to be of good cheer, because he has overcome the world! Much LOVE!

…the joy of the Lord is our strength… (Neh. 8:10) 

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