The next step
Seeking after the world as was pointed out at the end of the precious part of this series makes of us that calls ourselves “Christian,” adulterers. Yet the majority that calls themselves “Christian,” go about their lives, living in Christian adultery and don’t even give it a second thought. Many in fact come to embrace this as part of their outward sign that they are in fact “Christian.” As was shown in James 4:4-10, that is the furthest thing from the truth.
Yet what is it that makes people Christian adulterers?
It is how they live their lives.
Revelation 3:14 “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Laodicea. This is the message from the one who is the Amen—the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s new creation: 15 “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! 16 But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! 17 You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. 18 So I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see. 19 I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference. 20 “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends. 21 Those who are victorious will sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat with my Father on his throne. 22 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.”
“I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!”
The moment we seek after things. The moment we desire to have the biggest, the most expensive. The name brand items. Those special golf clubs, that million dollar house, that fifty thousand dollar car. You no longer serve God but yourself. That house, that car.
Mathew 6:19 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”
This money you are scrimping and saving just to spend or place yourself in debt for. Could in fact be spent as we are told how to spend by the Bible itself.
1 John 3: 17 – If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person?
The answer is it not.
Matthew 19:16 – Someone came to Jesus with this question: “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” 17 “Why ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. But to answer your question—if you want to receive eternal life, keep the commandments.” 18 “Which ones?” the man asked. And Jesus replied: “‘You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. 19 Honor your father and mother. Love your neighbor as yourself.’” 20 “I’ve obeyed all these commandments,” the young man replied. “What else must I do?” 21 Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 22 But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he had many possessions. 23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is very hard for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. 24 I’ll say it again—it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!”
When living a Christian walk. We should not seek the best, the brightest, the most expensive. We are to seek after a live that does not deprive us of some comforts. However, when those comforts become the focus of your wealth then we are not serving God, but the world. Our treasures are not in heaven, but in the temporal. The here, the now. And they are especially not on those in need.
We are to live a modest life and if we are given more than a modest income. Then what is beyond modesty is ALL GODS and no one else’s, not even yourself. That is a Christian walk.
The first steps (part three)
How do you put following the road laws into practice?
As was pointed out at the end of the previous part. A lot of reasons as to why people go about not doing following the road laws, was given. If you noticed they focused upon one thing. The self.
This is when we need to look what Jesus called the greatest commandment.
Matthew 22:36 “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the Law of Moses?” 37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
If you love God with all your heart, soul and mind. How can you think of your own wants and desires?
The road laws state that you are to go a certain speed limit. This increases the time it takes to travel when you do not speed. So staying up to watch a sports event, or that special show. Staying out with your friends in a bar or at a party. Just because it is what you want. This does not place God as the most important person in your life. You are your most important person. You are your own god.
Exodus 20:3 “You must not have any other god but me.”
Yet this is shown daily upon the road. When you speed you are your own god. When you cut someone off because you are in the lane that is ending and they have the right of way you are loving yourself over your neighbor. Something that is popular in Pennsylvania, turning across traffic in front of oncoming traffic as the light turns green. Again this is someone placing themselves above all others, and especially God.
So as you can see just driving a car is a way of reflecting your Christian faith. Common courtesy along with not placing yourself first in any situation is by definition living a Christian life.
But how is that accomplished?
You stop placing yourself first.
This is not easy. This is why following the laws of the road is so important. It actually teaches you to become aware of your Christian walk through life. It shows you when you are being selfish and self-serving. It points out to you when you are placing yourself above others.
It also shows just how difficult the true Christian walk can be and is.
James 4:4 You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. 5 Do you think the Scriptures have no meaning? They say that God is passionate that the spirit he has placed within us should be faithful to him. 6 And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 7 So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. 9 Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.
The first steps (part two)
Why put obeying the road laws into practice?
The main reason for this is made perfectly clear in Romans 13, but we shall do a deep dive into these verses to get a better understanding and thus answer the above question
Romans 13:1 – Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. 2 So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. 3 For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. 4 The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. 5 So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience.
For all authority comes from God.
To address this we must turn to the fourth book of Daniel
4:17 – “For this has been decreed by the messengers; it is commanded by the holy ones, so that everyone may know that the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world. He gives them to anyone he chooses— even to the lowliest of people.”
Simply obeying the laws given by a state or nation that do not go against the Bible and its teachings is something that we must follow as an open expression of our faith and love in God and His Son Jesus Christ.
So following the speed limit says you love Jesus.
When an ending lane merges to the lane that does not. If you are in the lane ending you allow those in the other lane to go before you, yielding them the right of way. This in turn goes into the next verse in Titus three:
2 – They must not slander anyone and must avoid quarreling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone.
The laws created for the road are practices taught within the Bible, just applied to how you get about in your everyday life. Yet, most that profess to be “Christian” find the need to follow these laws a burden, an inconvenience, something to be tolerated. Why? Because they the “Christian” are more important.
They are more important than God or their very salvation.
To be humble is one of the true vestments of Christianity. So what is the word “humility” in Titus?
Humility (NLT) – meekness (KJV) – praiotes – properly, temperate, displaying the right blend of force and reserve (gentleness). praótēs (“strength in gentleness”) avoids unnecessary harshness, yet without compromising or being too slow to use necessary force.
I will let you ponder upon this definition, and allow you to make your own conclusion as how to behave upon the road.
I have heard all the excuses by those that profess “Christianity.”
“Well during the time I am driving, if I go the speed limit I am a safety hazard to those upon the road.”
“If I go the speed limit I have to go to bed earlier and miss my favorite TV show.”
“I have so far to travel I will be on the road longer.”
These are things I hope if have not already been shown to be addressed, as they should be by now, they will be addressed as we answer the next two questions as this series continues.
The first steps (part one)
The first steps are the hardest aren’t they? It takes months for a baby to finally get to the point of walking. It is a series of trials and errors. Sometimes they are a shock, a surprise. Other times it hurts and the child ends up crying at the least, bleeding at the most. This too is the Christian faith as we strive ever daily to be more Christ-like.
However, we need a starting point. To follow the commandments we must come to understand that the true “commandments” is not just the ten commandments. In fact the commandments are found in Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy. This is verified in an exchange Jesus has with one of the religious leaders that confronted Him. It is found in Mark twelve, Luke ten and Matthew twenty-two. However it is also first shown in Deuteronomy six:
4 “Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. 5 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. 6 And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today.
This confirms that all the laws within these three book to a degree are still in force. Does this mean we are to go and stone someone? For heaven’s sake no. It does mean we need to put those things into practice that can be maintained by our own actions and behavior. Nor are we to perform sacrifices for Jesus was the pure Lamb sacrificed for our salvation unto to His Father God.
However, what is our first steps other than coming to know the Bible and the commandments there in? How do we put into practice that which we know we must do to avoid death of our spirit? For we have determined not to live by faith alone, but by both faith and works.
Well we have to find something that is common for most of humanity, be they Christian or not.
Romans 13:1 – Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. 2 So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. 3 For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. 4 The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. 5 So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience. 6 Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority.
Titus 3:1 – Remind the believers to submit to the government and its officers. They should be obedient, always ready to do what is good.
Now I know many both Christian and non-Christian that daily disobey this one teaching. So it is here that I feel we should begin. For from here once it becomes a habit can lead unto to other teachings and commandments within the Bible. What is this one thing that is daily disobeyed? Following the speed limits and other traffic laws.
This is something that is shared by all of humanity and can in reality show your commitment to following God with all your heart, mind and soul. But how is that accomplished? How do you put it into practice? Why put it into practice? I will answer all three of these questions in reverse order as we continue this series.
If you love me, keep my commandments.
These are the words of Jesus Christ in the fourteenth chapter of John the fifteenth verse. They are direct and to the point. However, when you really look into how those that call themselves “Christian.” How many of them truly do not love Jesus. For the majority do not follow this direct and simple directive from Jesus Christ the Son of God.
One of the main reasons for this is due to not even understanding their own faith and beliefs that form this faith. This is something that need to be addressed. Many perceive this as legalism.
The main reason for this is due to how the true Word of God has been diluted or not even taught fully or completely. They live under a belief that if all they do is believe then they will make it into heaven.
James 2:14 – What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
Faith alone without following the commandments is dead. It is a simple statement. It comes straight to the point. If you do not follow and live the teachings of Jesus Christ you are dead unto Him. If you are dead unto Him, you are not of Him, and so hate Him. They are living what is called a lukewarm live.
How does Jesus Himself few the lukewarm?
Revelation 3:15 “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! 16 But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!
They are so distasteful to Him that He spits them from His Body.
So how can we change this? How can we make it where we are not spit out by Jesus?
We come full circle back to where we began. We follow the commandments.
It is here that someone will start to argue that Jesus dying upon the cross and then rising upon the third day removed the need to follow the commandments. However that is not the correct interpretation of what the Bible teaches.
Matthew 5:17 – “Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the Law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose. 18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved. 19 So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. 20 “But I warn you—unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven!
Again we are told by Jesus Christ Himself that we are to follow the commandments. So how can you even attempt to question? It is not me that you are challenging but Jesus Christ Himself and His own words. So following the commandments, especially those taught by Jesus Christ Himself are not legalism, it is the required works of a living faith in Jesus and His Father, God. It is the act of love He asks of us to do.