We long to live and walk in love—to have the humility to see others interests as more important than our own. To be a servant and bear the burdens of one another. And to build each other up in this most holy faith in Jesus.
Though we may revert to selfishness time and time again, we are not the only ones who fall into this trap. Scripture records the many struggles and successes of those who have also been changed by Christ as He called them to live out a new life of others-centered service.
So how do we lift ourselves and others out from the selfishness so common to our sinful nature? Through the tools that the Lord has given us—the word and prayer. There is no more powerful combination in ministry than the ministry of the word and prayer!
Do you desire to see others made strong in Jesus? Serve them with the word! Encourage them and build them up with God’s word. Then serve them by praying for them. Bring them constantly before the throne of grace. Battle for them in the Spirit. Ask Jesus to give them His grace, His mercy, His peace, and His strength.
It sounds so simple, but if we would be faithful in using these tools, it would profoundly transform our lives and the lives of those we love.
God has given us two important tools to minister to one another—the word and prayer. There is no more powerful combination for the lives of the ones we love than the ministry of the word and prayer. The Apostle Paul encourages us to wield them wisely as he demonstrates their proper use in Romans 15. Watch our study as we learned what it looks like to serve one another with the word of God and prayer.
Do you remember our study on legalism and license? All of us have certain tendencies and lean certain ways. If we’re not careful, our assets can become liabilities. What we perceive as strength can actually be weakness.
Some of us lean more towards legalism, and some of us lean more towards license. But if you remember, there is a third way—love. God wants to release us from the never-ending back-and-forth tug-o-war between legalism and license by calling us to simply walk in love.
Romans 14:13 says, “Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.” The entirety of Romans 14 helps us understand what it means to willingly limit our liberty for the sake of love. We can set aside what we have a right to so that we do not provoke others to stumble or tempt them to fall. Rather than making a list of what’s right and wrong in disputable matters, Paul simply calls us all to love and personal responsibility.
There is an old saying that goes: in essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity (or as we would say, love). Think about it—in the essentials, it is important to have unity because there are boundaries to the core components of Christianity. In the non-essentials (the disputable matters), it is important to understand that there is liberty and personal conviction that can vary.
But in everything, there ought to be love. We should receive one another—not to argue or to judge—but to love and to serve. We should be ready to lay down our liberty and our very lives as well—all out of love for one another.
As a believer, your love may be tested more by Christians who disagree with you than by unbelievers who persecute you. So what should you do when your brother or sister in the Lord disagrees with you on non-essentials issues?
Paul addresses this in Romans 14. One could say that this chapter is an equal opportunity offender—if you listen close, you will find yourself somewhere in this chapter. This portion of scripture has answers to a lot of the questions that we ask about others, but the answers may not be what we would expect.
Watch our study of Romans 14 as we consider what it looks like to limit our liberties in love.
The emphasis on application and behavior we read about in Romans has nothing to do with scoring points with God or earning our salvation. It’s so that the watching world would see our good works and be prompted to glorify God.
The world is reading our behavior. As representatives and ambassadors of the Lord Jesus Christ, we are the only thing they are reading about to learn about Him. So if there is no difference between us and the world—if we’re no different in how we act or behave, if there’s no difference in our conduct and behavior—then there is nothing that would prompt them to ask why we are different.
But when we behave differently as a response to who God has made us, the watching world is intrigued. When our identity is in Christ and we live that out, we demonstrate to the world who Jesus is. The world is looking for something real and genuine, something stable and secure, something rooted and grounded in truth, something that looks like genuine love. The only way they will see this is through our behavior as followers of Christ.
So live a life of love so intentionally and fervently that the watching world would read your behavior and be so captivated by it that they would wonder ‘why?’ which would lead them to ask, “why?” Then tell them about Jesus and what He did for you and what He wants to do for them!
Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16). Our motivation for doing good works isn’t to impress others, gain their admiration, or give us more attention. Our hope is that people would see our good deeds and glorify God.
The good works we do and the obedient behavior we aspire to is not an effort to score points with God or to win friends and influence people. Our participation in good works is a part of what God uses to intrigue the watching world—so that they would wonder why we are the way that we are and ultimately see the Lord.
In Romans 8, the Apostle Paul points to many opportunities we have as followers of Jesus to do good works that would draw others to Him. Watch our study of Romans 8:8-14 as we consider how our good deeds can be a segue for others to see the Lord and glorify Him.
There are 3 institutions established by God: the family, the church, and the government. Each have specific roles and responsibilities of contributing to a healthy society.
Our role in the church and in the home is not to enforce the law or distribute justice for breaking the law. As citizens of heaven living on earth, our responsibility is to love our neighbor, even and especially if our neighbor is our enemy. We have a role and responsibility to lead others to Jesus through living out the law of sacrificial love.
But rest assured that God sees what our enemies do to us. And He is not mocked. Vengeance belongs to the Lord and He will repay. He uses His institution of human government to distribute vengeance and dispense justice.
Do you wish to see change in human government? Lead those around you to Jesus. He can and will transform the lives of those in society from the inside out. This includes leading wicked men and women who currently serve in positions of authority. Change begins once we are more concerned about their souls than the preservation of our own property or our pursuit of happiness.
Whether they know it or not, those who serve in human government are ministers of God. It is important to treat them with the appropriate amount of respect. Say what you need to say, but do it in such a way that does not cause needless offense. It’s entirely possible to be thoroughly and uncompromisingly truthful while at the same time being kind and loving.
And when human government commands us to do something that is clearly contradictory to the revealed word of God, then we must obey God and disobey man. But we can still do this with gentleness and respect, considering the soul of the servants that we are standing before.
From Pastor Dom...
When I first gave my life to Jesus, there were friends in my life who helped me to grow in my understanding of God, through His word, and for those friends