I always thank my God for you and for the gracious gifts he has given you, now that you belong to Christ Jesus. Through him, God has enriched your church in every way—with all of your eloquent words and all of your knowledge. This confirms that what I told you about Christ is true. Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
1 Corinthians 1:4-9 NLT
Paul wrote this letter to the church at Corinth in order to correct and instruct them in some areas where they needed additional guidance. But he doesn’t just start out immediately rebuking and condemning them, calling them fake Christians, crushing their hope – he first offers them encouragement for the things that they can hold onto as assurance of their salvation.
It isn’t that hard to find faults in other people. It isn’t hard to find faults in the people you will find in churches. We are very familiar with those faults c we find in others because we ought to recognize them from our own lives. This is the great danger in judging others, because we forget that we too need that undeserved gift of grace to make us right with God. In fact, many people have been hurt by those who are inside the church buildings participating in religious activities, sounding religious, acting religious, but having no true love for their brothers and sisters. Some would say that the number one reason for atheists today is the hypocrisy of those who call themselves Christians – and they are probably right.
Loving. Forgiving. Merciful. Righteous. Faithful. True. Patient. Peaceful. Meek. Bold. Gentle. Wise. Humble.
Yes, these are words about you, child of God. More specifically, they are words about who you have been given the power to be, due to Christ who lives in you. And I commend you in some of these. And I recognize in myself that I have grown in some of these. But now, I urge you to press on, and to press in towards God who is drawing you near to Him. Do not become complacent in your confidence that you are His, but let it store in you a hunger to be even closer to Him in your walk. Let it urge you to. Walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh.
For if we are growing, we can know that we are alive, and we can enjoy this relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. But unfortunately, how many of us are seeking a relationship with God, versus how many just want Him “on our side” like a genie or a spare tire when we need the help that only He can provide? And I applaud you for not being like this, friends of Christ, but for loving and seeking the Lord with your hearts.
But there are some who act like a pimp, perverting and pimping out the gospel truths and twisting them into nothing less than a feel good, self help guide for manipulating others for their own personal gain, prosperity, and as an excuse / license for their remaining trapped deep in sin and darkness.
I am thankful that this is not you, child of God. But we must continue to press in further, to love one another with even more passion, to seek God with even more dedication and fervor, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ in even a wider reach, to prepare ourselves for His return.
And why do we do this? It isn’t because we consider ourselves perfect – no, that is that liar of pride distracting you from the truth, sinner. It isn’t because we are striving to earn treasures – do you not know that He is your portion and prize – have many blind guides not yet claimed the only inheritance worth having? It is because how can we accept such a gift, such an undeserved gift, and not be grateful, and not respond to His love in kind?
And how does He tells us to demonstrate our grattitude? How does He tell us to demonstrate our love for Him in return?
“If you love me, obey my commandments.
John 14:15 NLT
Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them. Anyone who doesn’t love me will not obey me. And remember, my words are not my own. What I am telling you is from the Father who sent me.
John 14:23-24 NLT
1 John 4:11 ESV
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another
If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their fellow believers.
1 John 4:20-21 NLT
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? Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God.
1 John 3:17-19 NLT
Matthew 22:36-40 ESV
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
1 Corinthians 13:1-3 ESV
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law. For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace. But we who live by the Spirit eagerly wait to receive by faith the righteousness God has promised to us. For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.
Galatians 5:1, 4-5, 13, 16-17, 19-26 NLT
Dear friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people. I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. So I want to remind you, though you already know these things, that Jesus first rescued the nation of Israel from Egypt, but later he destroyed those who did not remain faithful.
And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them securely chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the great day of judgment. And don’t forget Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, which were filled with immorality and every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities were destroyed by fire and serve as a warning of the eternal fire of God’s judgment.
In the same way, these people—who claim authority from their dreams—live immoral lives, defy authority, and scoff at supernatural beings. But even Michael, one of the mightiest of the angels, did not dare accuse the devil of blasphemy, but simply said, “The Lord rebuke you!” (This took place when Michael was arguing with the devil about Moses’ body.) But these people scoff at things they do not understand. Like unthinking animals, they do whatever their instincts tell them, and so they bring about their own destruction.
What sorrow awaits them! For they follow in the footsteps of Cain, who killed his brother. Like Balaam, they deceive people for money. And like Korah, they perish in their rebellion. When these people eat with you in your fellowship meals commemorating the Lord’s love, they are like dangerous reefs that can shipwreck you. They are like shameless shepherds who care only for themselves. They are like clouds blowing over the land without giving any rain. They are like trees in autumn that are doubly dead, for they bear no fruit and have been pulled up by the roots. They are like wild waves of the sea, churning up the foam of their shameful deeds. They are like wandering stars, doomed forever to blackest darkness.
Enoch, who lived in the seventh generation after Adam, prophesied about these people. He said, “Listen! The Lord is coming with countless thousands of his holy ones to execute judgment on the people of the world. He will convict every person of all the ungodly things they have done and for all the insults that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”
These people are grumblers and complainers, living only to satisfy their desires. They brag loudly about themselves, and they flatter others to get what they want.
Jude 1:3-16 NLT
But you, my dear friends, must remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ predicted. They told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires. These people are the ones who are creating divisions among you. They follow their natural instincts because they do not have God’s Spirit in them.
But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.
And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.
Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.
Jude 1:17-25 NLT