Marks of the True Christian (Romans 12:9-21)

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Let love be genuine. (Truly place the well-being of others above your own.) Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. (Allow evil to cause uneasiness in your spirit. Don’t let it have a foothold, sin should not be overlooked in your life. Focus on the things of God and see His peace and joy in those things, not worldly imitations.) 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. (Always encourage and lift up one another as you would a best friend. Be a force that lifts up and never tears down.) 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. (Don’t be lazy in pursuing the purpose of God with your life. Let the passion for Jesus in your spirit show through as you serve the Lord and make His name known through your reflection of His nature, which He has placed in you through the Holy Spirit.) 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. (Seek first the Kingdom and God’s purpose, then your hope will find a foundation in Him. Allow God to work through tribulation to combat complacency. Seek Him in prayer for strength, direction and understanding.) 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. (Be one of the tools God uses to build up the Kingdom. Allow the gift He has placed in you to contribute to the body of believers known as the Church. Be accommodating and open to the many gifts that come together in the name of Jesus.)

            The following verses are completely contradictory to the ways of the world. This is proof that they are of God because His ways are contradictory to the ways of fallen man. His light opposes the darkness and eternal life through mercy opposes the death in sin. If our hearts and actions were to resemble the description in the following verses, we would change the world to resemble something closer to what God designed originally. Let your own well-being be laid aside for the bigger picture that is God’s Kingdom. Suffer by letting your personal satisfaction and comfort, which are temporary, become second to growing the people around you. The ways that the Holy Spirit describes through Paul below are the real way to win hearts for Jesus and truly love those that are in this world. Imagine the compassion below being shown to you at your lowest point, when you were at your emotional ugliest. How much of the darkness that had crept into your heart would have been forced out by the light of God shown through the unconditional love and self-sacrifice shown below. Sacrificing yourself isn’t always laying down your life. Sometimes is laying down your comfort, your pride, or the walls you’ve built to protect yourself from emotional pain. Let Jesus take that from you. Place your fear at His feet. Let your fearless vulnerability draw the lost to the Lord. Be different because the Kingdom you serve does not resemble the world that it is saving.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty (do not exalt yourself above another), but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. (do not be too blind to see God’s new direction) 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. (Even at the expense of you comfort and pride) 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” (Their wrong of another will be magnified in the light of your love through the conviction of God) 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Overcome the evil of this earth with the goodness of God. Be the difference you were designed to be.)

More than Words

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This world as become chaotic as sin runs rampant. In the chaos people look to leaders to find a way to improve the situation as it falls deeper into darkness. People follow bad/false teachers into positions where they dig in to defend against any opposing view. They feel that they must now match every opinion with a response which represents their personal position. This only acts to create opposition and division in the world. The people we follow are the people we become! As follower of the perfect leader we must brace ourselves with Jesus. When we interact with the world we have to be the influence and not become diluted in our walk with the Lord. We have to be the influence through our actions and our imitation of Jesus, not our wordy opinions and feeble attempts to verbally change the world. It’s easy to talk about Jesus, true Christianity is being an example to the lost so much so that they want to know about the Holy Spirit that guides you. Attempting to verbally influence the world while living in a contradictory means is the easiest way to push people away from the savior and soil what a relationship with Jesus Christ is truly meant to be. The deceiver uses the shallow faith of these misguided people to turn others away from the path to God and put a stigma on the freedom from death found in Jesus.

Followers of Jesus must be gentle. The definition of gentle is acknowledging the power of Christ within you so much so that you don’t have to force your own power upon people. Imagine picking up an injured animal, you know you are capable of hurting them further so you hold back in an attempt to nurture them in their struggle. Lost souls are injured by sin. Be an example of gentleness and trust that the Lord is at work.

Fruits of the Spirit (Kindness)

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Kindness

Kindness can be defined as a showing of compassion, and compassion defined as the concern for the sufferings and misfortunes of others. We must realize that everyone is fighting a battle. Everyone is struggling. Compassions is the realization that the way you see life is part of a spectrum of viewpoints that all fall short of God’s perfect viewpoint. Think of viewpoints in terms of the light spectrum. Some viewpoints can make an issue un-noticeable (radio waves) which requires someone’s interpretation (radio receiver) for understanding. On the other end of the spectrum are the views that make a situation “life or death” (gamma rays). With compassion through the Holy Spirit we can center ourselves in God’s visible light spectrum and “see” what we need to learn, grow, and help others in the best and worst of situations. Without the Holy Spirit to anchor us, we can fly all over the spectrum, unable to deal with life’s curves.

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Conclusion to The Beatitudes

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In the Sermon on the Plain Jesus again speaks of the contrast between the life of this world and the life that awaits those you live a life in His light. People who find this life to be one of absolute pleasure and happiness are receiving the rewards of this world as opposed to the infinitely better reward that is promised to those who are saved by the blood of Jesus Christ.

(Luke 6:20-26)

20b “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.

24 “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.

 

21 “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied.

25 “Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry.

 

21b “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.

25b “Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.

 

22 “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! 23 Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.

26 “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.

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There is a great deal of danger in losing sight of the ultimate prize found only in God through Jesus. The pleasure of this world is nothing in comparison to the place God has made for His people. Stepping back from the reward of heaven I like to sit and think about how a life lead by Jesus Christ is a better life in general. Even without the reward of paradise the blessing we have the opportunity to be to this fallen world is right in front of us. How much more satisfying is it to give happiness to someone that needs your help? How wonderful is it to give a part of yourself to people knowing that will make an impact that stands the test of time? Imagine the legacy that all of us are capable of leaving if we use our time on this earth to shine as much light on this darkness as we possibly can. What joy is there in blending in? I feel that when people can’t understand why I’m not angry when people persecute me, or I give away gifts the Lord has blessed me with in excess of what I need; they are seeing me reflect the light of my savior to this world. The harder it is to shine the harder we must persevere. Darkness is the absence of light. If we allow our light s to dim in adversity the darkness will take over. In the end Jesus has already claimed victory at the cross. I’m here as a Christian soldier to represent my God who saved me from this darkness and adopted me as His child of light. In the end, representing God and my salvation is being a living version of the Beatitudes, a living version of my savior Jesus Christ.

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The Beatitudes (7)

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“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

Peace is an expression of our relationship with God and with those He brings into our life. God will bring people into our life to guide and love us. People who need to see our reflection of His light and will grow through the Holy Spirit in us. As well as people who will test our faith and cause us pain in order to sanctify and refine us. God desires reconciliation among His people just like He desired to reconcile His people with their Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ. Those who strive for peace do the work of their father and grow as they become recognized as “sons of God.”

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(2 Corinthians 5:18-20) 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling[c] the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

The Beatitudes (5)

 

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“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

Mercy is not only kindness and compassion toward others but also forgiveness for those who might not show remorse. Being saved by the mercy of God through Jesus should inspire those of faith to show that same mercy as a reflection of the unchanging nature of God. At the same time this continued showing of mercy will be continually given back to us by God as promised in this passage. The opposition to mercy is judgment which is not the responsibility of His chosen but of God Himself. Again this attitude of unconditional mercy and reflection of God results in our peace, happiness, and blessedness.

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(Matthew 18:33) 33 And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’

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(James 2:13) 13 For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

The Beatitudes (4)

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“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

“Hunger and thirst” refer to desire of the soul. This desire instilled in us by God can only be filled with the recognition that only He can satisfy it. Most people have trouble differentiating between a want and a need. Only through discovering that we need God to fill that void in our life will the desire of our soul be completely satisfied and our hearts made full, culminating in the blessed happiness promised by our savior. A longing for Jesus Christ will lead to a satisfaction this world cannot produce.

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(Proverbs 10:3) The Lord does not let the righteous go hungry, but he thwarts the craving of the wicked.

(Psalm 11:7) For the Lord is righteous;
he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.