Today’s Scrip-Bit   20 September 2022 John 8:42a.

John 8:42a.        If God were your Father, ye would LOVE me:

It’s Tuesday, another glorious late summer’s day… and we’re still around. Thank the Lord! And you know what that means? We still have work to do down here in God’s great plan for our lives. So please, let’s get ourselves together and do what we need to do, be it big or small, significant or insignificant in our sight, because every little cog is important in God’s eyes and plans. 

And that goes sort of double for me this morning, because I was very late to bed and thus was somewhat tardy in rising, (smile) and then some other things got in the way, as things always do when you’re late and behind schedule, so I’m only now, almost noon, getting to writing the Bit. But even in that unfortunate circumstance, there are a couple lessons to be learnt; like get to bed early if you want to get up early, and give yourself some extra time to do the unlikely things that are likely to happen every day. And all God’s people, said a loud and sincere ‘Lesson learnt!’ (smile) 

Ah friends, there are so many lessons for us to learn, especially in these grievous times, these times of so many unexpected storms, both literal and figurative. But unfortunately, we don’t seem to be learning them at all, because we’re still exhibiting the ungodly, angry and divisive actions that have brought us to this desperate point. One would think that because we’re the Lord’s most magnificent creation, with minds capable of wisdom, understanding and reason, that we’d wake up and realize that continual division and dissension would only breed further disillusionment, anger, hate and warfare amongst brothers and sisters, all creations of the One True God Jehovah. 

But it seems like our selfish, warlike human nature has taken over, while wisdom, understanding and reason have conveniently fled the coop. In other words, the enemy is winning this current round of warfare; ungodliness is trumping godliness. And we all know that’s just a recipe for total disaster and destruction! For all the enemy does is come to steal, to kill and destroy, to reap havoc amongst God’s people. No wonder Jesus berated the Pharisees thus, when they spoke of God being their Father. 

‘If God were your Father, ye would LOVE me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts (desires) of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode (stands) not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own (from his own nature): for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.’ (John 8:42-45) 

Yes friends, the devil, the author of lies and deceit is still around today and is even more powerful than ever, as the great turmoil engulfing our world readily shows. That turmoil can only be the work of the enemy, not of God. For God does not deal in such upheaval and deceit. He is not a warmonger like the enemy. That simply means we are listening to the devil more than we are listening to God. 

And John corroborates this in his first epistle, when he writes: ‘He that committeth (practices) sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit (practice) sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that LOVETH not his brother.’ (1 John 3:8-10) 

Now what does all of the mean? The scholars tell us that ‘John is not speaking of sinless perfection (see 1:8,10; 2:2). He speaks here of habitual practice of known sinful acts. The true believer’s actions will conform to the character of his true father, either God or Satan. The person born of God will reflect this in his behaviour.’ And furthermore, ‘For John, a mere “profession of faith” in Christ was insufficient if not accompanied by the outward marks of divine parentage.’ And on top of that, ‘He links LOVE for other Christians closely with righteous living. (see John 13:35) 

Yes, we all know that scripture, or ought to know it, and have it stenciled indelibly in our hearts, souls and minds. For they are the defining words of a true disciple of Christ, as He said it. ‘By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples; if ye have LOVE one to another.’ (John 13:35) But it’s oh so obvious by the ungodly turmoil in our world that LOVE for each other is not paramount amongst our concerns, but rather the things of the devil; hate, anger, deceit, lies and unnecessary destruction. 

Instead of building, we seem bent on destroying what has taken us so long to build. It’s rather unfortunate that what has taken years, even centuries to build, can be totally destroyed in the blink of an eye. And that’s what the human animal seems hell bent on doing in these turbulent and ungodly times. The devil must be in his glee with all the destructive stuff that’s happening these days. 

But yuh know what my faithful brethren, we need to totally realize and fully believe that good is more powerful than evil, and LOVE than hate. And don’t think the devil doesn’t know that, he knows it better than us, that’s why he’s fighting tooth and nail to have our sinful natures come to the forefront and not our godly ones. 

So what’s the answer? Believers have to come together and show that we are true disciples of Christ, by LOVING each other, and working together to build Christ’s kingdom, instead of working against each other and thus tearing it down like the devil desires. 

Jesus said it this way. ‘But I say unto you which hear, LOVE your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully (spitefully) use you.’ (Luke 6:27-28) And Bruh Paul put it even simpler than that: ‘Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.’ (Rom. 12:21) And that my fellow saints in Christ should be our simple motto for these trying and troubled times, because LOVE indeed makes the world go round! 

So, for those of us who are truly trying to live for Christ, let’s go home declaring (awright!!!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting the whole world know to whom we belong lock, stock and barrel. As one strong and sincere voice: ‘In God’s eyes, I’m not what I do. I’m not what I have. I’m not what people say about me. I am the beloved of God, that’s who I am. No one can take that from me. I don’t have to worry. I don’t have to hurry. I can trust my friend Jesus and share His LOVE with the world. Amen!’ 

And having made that commitment, lets’ now go out and share the amazing LOVE and friendship of Christ with all those we meet, so that they too can come to know and LOVE Him like we do. Much LOVE!

…the most powerful weapon…LOVE…but it must be used…if it is to work… 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 26 April 2014 Matthew 5:48

Matthew 5:48.      Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
 
Oh Friends, today we have another two certain harbingers of spring. The first is the rise in gasoline prices, which are currently running around $ 1.40 per litre in the Greater Toronto Area (G.T.A). They say it’s about 15 cents more per litre than it was last year. Ah Lord eh!
 
And if you live in these parts, you’ll know that just around this time, termed the start of the driving season, gas prices are always on the rise. Hn! The ole crooks who control the commodity just laugh at talk of boycotts and other stuff, because they know that we have to buy it, since our modern lifestyle is centered around motor vehicles. We need vehicles, and thus fuel for them, to do almost everything; from grocery shopping, to work, to church, and even to play.
 
Strangely enough too, the prices always seem to be a few cents less outside of the G.T.A. Why is that I wonder? But what really amuses me – that’s strictly sarcasm – is that every time there’s an uproar over the exorbitant gas prices, and some politician(s) check into it, there’s never any case of gouging to be found.
 
But yet the oil companies are making billions of dollars in profit every year, while the poor people whom they expect to buy the gas are losing their jobs by the thousands, to cut costs and increase shareholder returns. Don’t these greedy, short-sighted, capitalist fools realize that it’s the same people they’re putting out of work that they expect to buy their products? Steups! 
 
But enough of that, because the blatant exploitation just makes me angry, and there’s nothing much I can do about it. Now the second harbinger of spring is road closures. Chuh! Roads are closed every day for any number of reasons, including road repairs, walking, bicycling and running marathons, parades and festivals, street fairs, etc. etc.
 
Some days it makes you long for winter, when none of these things are around to make driving so onerous. One lane to the T.O. airport has already been closed for a couple of weeks, and will remain that way for at least a couple of months. So can you imagine the traffic snarl that now creates on an already badly traffic snarled highway?
 
All I can do is praise the Lord that He has significantly reduced my driving these days, so I don’t spend as much money on gas, or time on the road. But the sad fact is that almost anywhere you go, the traffic jams will affect you.
 
Anyway, we can’t do much about the rise in gas prices or road closures, so let’s grin and bear them, and instead focus on something we can control, both individually and together as Christ’s Church; that’s our Bit. ‘Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.’
 
But Friends, before getting into any other scriptures on the topic, let’s first hear some much needed explanations from the scholars. ‘5:48. This section of the Sermon on the Mount is summarized with the statement Be ye therefore perfect. Since the New Testament is clear that even the believer is capable of sin, the term perfect (Gr. teleios) is not to be taken as sinless perfection. Perfect here means “complete,” that is, possessing a complete LOVE that, like God’s (v.45), embraces those who LOVE you as well as those who do not.’
 
And as my corollary to that, (smile) although it comes before it in the Good Book, listen to Jesus on the subject. ‘Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt LOVE thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, LOVE your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully (spitefully) use you, and persecute you;
 
That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye LOVE them which LOVE you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans (tax collectors) the same? And if ye salute (greet) your brethren only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the publicans so?’ (Matt.5:43-47) 
 
And now Friends, let’s get some good explanation on all that from the scholars. ‘5:43-44. The law of LOVE, sometimes called “law of Christ,” summarizes the ethical principles of the Sermon on the Mount. “LOVE thy neighbour” summarizes the entire second table of the law (cf. Lev.19:18-34). But the unscriptural addition “hate thine enemy” was a popular concept in Jesus’ day.
 
The admonition LOVE your enemies is one of the greatest statements Jesus ever made. The LOVE enjoined in this passage is LOVE that originates from God Himself. Man is not commanded to attempt to LOVE his enemy on the basis of mere human affection but rather on the basis of a LOVE that comes from God.
 
The quality of LOVE commanded here is expressed by giving. Bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that persecute you. LOVING an enemy involves doing good toward that enemy in order to win him over to Christ.’
 
And now for some further explanation from the scholars. ‘5:45-47. In summarizing the importance of LOVE, Jesus reminded that LOVE was a necessary proof of salvation: that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven may be better rendered, “that ye may prove to be sons of your Father.”
 
An initial reading of this text out of its context might seem to imply that LOVING one’s neighbours automatically makes one a child of God. However, the New Testament is clear that LOVE is the evidence that one is already saved by the grace of God (cf. 1 John 3:14). Therefore Jesus reminds us that we are to LOVE our enemies as our brethren, for even the publicans LOVE those who LOVE them. Publicans were public officials of Jewish nationality who worked for the Roman government as tax collectors and were generally despised by the people.’
 
And there we have it Friends, today’s sermon, (smile) ably assisted by the scholars. I do hope that the information they provided will be helpful to us all, giving us a better understanding of what Jesus requires of us, for that’s what the Good Book is all about, and what we’re here to try to learn, mark and inwardly digest. Please ponder it all, asking God for help to understand it, because that’s truly wisdom from on high. Much LOVE!
 
…godly LOVE should be the basis for ALL Christian action and interaction…