Today’s Scrip-Bit 7 April 2021 Matthew 22:39.

Matthew 22:39.     ​And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt LOVE thy neighbour as thyself.


Moving on…Moving on! Thank God we’re moving on! Yes friends, we’re moving on with Jesus through another marvellous day in the annals of our lives! Wow! And what a joy and pleasure it is to be moving through life with Jesus! A body couldn’t ask for a better companion, a better Lord and Saviour, a better friend, a better neighbour than Jesus! And it’s that last accolade, the topic of neighbours that I want to discuss with us today, because it’s a very important part of our faith, and I don’t think we are being as neighbourly as we ought to. 

So, I guess our first question should be, who is our neighbour? Now what did Jesus have to say about that eh? Remember when the foppish, arrogant lawyer tried to test Jesus by asking: ‘Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt LOVE thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt LOVE thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the and the prophets.’ (Matt. 22:36-40) 

That’s Matthew’s version. However, Luke tells it thus. (smile) The lawyer asked Jesus, ‘Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He, (Jesus) said unto him, what is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said’ – exactly what Jesus said above. ‘And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. But he (the lawyer), willing (wanting) to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? 

And Jesus answering’, told them the parable of the Good Samaritan, which we all know. At the end of the parable, Jesus asks the lawyer, ‘Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among thieves (robbers)? And he said, He that showed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go and do likewise.’ (Luke 10:25-37) 

Yuh see that friends, being neighbourly is basically showing mercy, kindness, LOVE and all the other fruit of the spirit to those around us. But no, it’s not easy with all the negative, angry and cantankerous people that we encounter. But it does get a tad easier if we have the first commandment truly embedded in our hearts, since all LOVE flows from revering our heavenly Father. 

And I like how the scholars explain it. ‘10:37. The lawyer cannot even bring himself to say “the Samaritan.” That’s because of the deep racial hatred between the two groups, although they were related by blood; the Samaritans being Jews who intermarried with Gentiles. ‘However, Jesus shows that racial considerations are utterly transcended by God’s commands to LOVE Him, and thus to LOVE others as He does, without prejudice or partiality.’ Hn! I truly wish that somebody or bodies could get that message across to our world right now yes; a world that’s so inundated with prejudice and partiality, that it’s behind almost every action we take! 

Now, before we get to the meat of our topic, I want to point out one other important aspect of being neighbourly, and that’s Jesus’ warning on the way His Father’s kingdom works. ‘Judge (condemn) not, that ye be not judged (condemned). For with what judgement (condemnation) ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete (use), it shall be measured to you again.’ (Matt. 7:1-2) That’s just to remind us that what we sow we will reap, or as Uncle Charles (Charles Stanley) likes to say: ‘You reap what you sow, more than you sow and later than you sow.’ That means we can’t sow negative seed and expect to reap a positive harvest. 

And all of that finally brings us to the wise and wonderful words of Cousin Sol on the treatment of neighbours from Proverbs. Just a bit more practical advice to help us handle all the cerebral stuff we’ve been talking about. (smile) Cousin Sol begins thus: ‘Withhold not good from them to whom it is due (the owners), when it is in the power of thine hand to do it. Say not unto thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and tomorrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee.’ (Prov. 3:27-28) Oh my people, how often do we do that eh! Holding on to what rightfully belongs to others, until we are good and ready to give it to them is ever so rampant in our current society; which means selfishness and greed are too prevalent. 

And Cousin Sol continues: ‘Devise not evil against thy neighbour, seeing he dwelleth securely by (in safety with) thee. Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done thee no harm.’ (Prov. 3:30-31) And I don’t know if our world has ever seen such unnecessary animosity and strife between people who live close to each other, even between families and so-called friends, as we are seeing today. The petty squabbles that occur over unimportant things is mind blowing, And the courts are full of foolish litigation over petty peeves. The divorce rate is sky high, possibly higher than it’s ever been! We’ve become so adversarial and antagonistic to each other that it’s causing our world to fall apart. 

But listen further to Cousin Sol. ‘Envy thou not the oppressor, and choose none of his ways. For the froward (the perverse person) is abomination to the Lord: but his secret (secret council) is with the righteous. The curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked: but he blesseth the habitation (dwelling) of the just. Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly (humble).’ (Prov. 3:31-34) 

Yes friends, I know we all envy the prosperous wicked some, but it’s unwise to follow in their footsteps, for it’s said in so many places of the Good Book that the wicked and their evil deeds will eventually be destroyed and what they have given to the righteous. So please, please, let’s not live merely for today’s pleasures and aggrandizement nuh, but seriously contemplate what will most profit us in the long run, what will put us in good stead with Jesus. 

And this last word of warning from Cousin Sol is indeed precious. ‘The wise shall inherit glory: but shame shall be the promotion (the legacy) of fools.’ (Prov. 3:35) And the scholars break it all down this way. ‘3:27-35. The needy neighbour is to be helped (vs. 27-28); the innocent neighbour is to be respected and left alone (vs. 29-30); and the wicked neighbour is not to be envied (vs. 31-35).’ That makes it oh so simple my brethren! So please let’s be wise nuh, so that we can inherit the glory that’s Jesus! 

And for those of us who have made that momentous and wise decision, let’s go home now proclaiming our Wednesday Wail, letting all and sundry know of our wonderful position in Christ Jesus. In strong voice with sincere hearts: ‘Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: I’m so glad to be alive on this Wednesday! Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: Thank God the breath of life is still flowing through me on this Wednesday! I am halfway home. My hands are fixed securely on the plough, and I’m not turning back. I’m not looking back at the past, not focusing on what has gone before. But my eyes are fixed straight ahead; straight ahead to a glorious future with Jesus. Glory Hallelujah!’ 

And in these tough and trying times, we need to be reminded that if we endure to the end, our future will be even more glorious than we can ask or imagine! Wow! What an awesome promise mih people! So let’s hang in there till the end nuh! Much LOVE!

…it is much better to give…than to receive…wise men seek to give…but fools crave to receive… 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 17 January 2019 Matthew 10:16.

Matthew 10:16.   ​Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless (innocent) as doves.
 

Moving on…Moving on…! Yes friends, we’re moving on… onwards and upwards! As believers in Jesus Christ we’re supposed to be always moving onwards and upwards in our faith and Christ-likeness – even till the day our earthly breath expires, or Jesus comes back, whichever one happens first. But unfortunately too many of us believers tend to stop learning, stop moving up, stop growing when we most need to – that’s everyday! (smile) 

We can’t enjoy the abundant life Christ died for us to have and be cheerful because He’s overcome the world, unless we’re filled with His Word and His Spirit. The great spiritual writer C.S. Lewis puts it this way: ‘God cannot give us happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it’s not there!’ Yes my brethren, it’s only in God that we can find true peace and happiness, because that’s the only place it really exists! 

And the more peace and happiness we want, the deeper and higher we’ve got to get involved in God-like matters! Rejoice and exult in His goodness and mercy! Hear, read and study His Word, then entrench it deeply in our hearts, so that when the evil tempter comes a calling we can brush him aside with powerful words and actions from the Good Book! 

It’s all a part of growing up as Christians my people! Of becoming strong, steadfast and true! And that’s the ONLY way we can ever carry out Jesus’ directive: ‘Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless (innocent) as doves.’ 

Ah mih people, working for Jesus is not easy, but He does give us all the tools we need to do the job! What a directive eh! Like dumb, innocent sheep in a pack of hungry, angry wolves, but wise like the serpent and yet harmless like a dove! That’s certainly a hard row to hoe with all the contrariness and contrasts it entails. But as I said before, as true believers, we have everything we need to do it! 

And if you don’t believe me, then listen to Jesus further: After warning that we’d be unfairly persecuted, He calmly and sincerely directs us: ‘But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what (do not worry about what) ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in the same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.’ (Matt.10:19-20) 

Mamma Mia! What reassurance my brethren! Yuh see, our Lord and Saviour doesn’t leave anything to chance. He has a provision for each and every situation that we might find ourselves in. The Holy Spirit that dwells in us will prompt us what to say and do in every situation that we face! Glory to God! Give Him thanks and praise for being so attentive to the needs of us undeserving children! 

But here is the really rough part: ‘And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.’ (Matt.10:22) Now therein lies the heart of the story. Just for being believers in Christ, we’ll be persecuted. But those who endure; stand, strong, steadfast and true throughout the severe persecution WILL be saved! 

That’s Jesus’ faithful promise my fellow believers! And we all know that He doesn’t make idle promises. If He says it WILL be so, then you can bet your bottom dollar that it WILL be so! (smile) But we have to endure, and we can only do that by being shrouded in His Word and Will.

 Now hear these words of Bruh Paul to the Ephesians as he explains to them the way of the believer. ‘But all things that are reproved (exposed) are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light (all sins are exposed by light). Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.’ (Eph.5:13-14) Yes my brethren, all we that are less than right with Christ need to turn from our sin and accept the promise of spiritual enlightenment that Christ offers! 

And furthermore: ‘See then that ye walk circumspectly (carefully), not as fools, but as wise (watch carefully how you live), Redeeming the time (making the most of every opportunity), because the days are evil (and are they ever). Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of Lord is.’ (Eph.5: 15-17) And the only way we can understand the Lord’s will is by having constant and excellent communication with Him and His Word! 

‘And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess (dissipation); but be (continually) filled with the Spirit. Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.’ (Eph.5:18-21) 

There you have it friends, Christianity 101: be filled with the Holy Spirit and not wine, which leads to moral intemperance. Learn God’s will, give continual thanks and praise in everything, and defer to others if it is in God’s will. End of sermon! (smile) And when we try to live like that, then our blessings will fall down like rain, as outlined in our Thursday Blessings. Let’s declare them (spelled it right!) in loud voice with sincere hearts. 

‘I declare that I am blessed with God’s supernatural wisdom and receive clear direction for my life! I declare today that I am blessed with creativity, courage, talent and abundance! I am blessed with a strong will, self-control and self-discipline! I am blessed with a great family, good friends, good health, faith, favour and fulfillment! I am blessed with success, supernatural strength, promotion and divine protection! 

I am blessed with a compassionate heart and a positive outlook on life! I declare that any curse or negative word that’s ever been spoken over me is broken right now in the name of Jesus! I declare that everything I put my hands to will prosper and succeed! I declare it today and everyday! AMEN!’ 

And that needs to be a big ‘AMEN’ my people because of the staggering proportions of blessings we undeservedly enjoy, and remember, are also called to share with the less fortunate.  Much LOVE!

…working for Jesus is not easy…but brother…are the rewards ever excellent…and certainly worth it all…