Love, Love, Love
It’s very easy for us to become critical of each other, noticing and pointing out flaws, maybe even talking about others behind their backs. But this is not love, nor is it letting Christ shine forth through our lives.
For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.
Galatians 5:14-15 NLT
Even if we see someone who is trapped in sin that the Word of God promises that they will NOT inherit the Kingdom of God and that will lead them to hell – do you realize that we are given warnings about not falling into the trap of spiritual pride when dealing with these situations? That we are meant to be acting in love towards one another with hopes not just to catch and expose imperfections, but to help others overcome and be freed from the sin that binds them.
When we stop look for good in people and start examining them for faults, we are bound to find them. And when we recognize sin in the lives of others, it is usually because we are familiar with that evil spirit ourselves. Whether we are looking in love, forgiveness, and mercy, hoping to serve our neighbor – or whether we are looking with condemnation, accusation, and judgement, hoping to catch our neighbor – it’s an important difference.
There is one that waits for the opportunity to devour people because of their sin – and his wolves are very good at biting and tearing at one another, weakening the prey and preparing them for death, slaughter, and destruction. But there is another who heals, who offers forgiveness, who reconciles us to be more like Himself – and His followers are very good at loving one another, and building each other up, and sharing one another’s burdens. And the difference between the two comes down to perspective. One’s followers look down on the others in pride, while the followers of Christ look at others equally and in unity. These followers of Christ see neighbors and friends in need of the very same unmerited and undeserved grace that their own walk of faith is materializing and bearing witness to in their life of serving and loving others.
So we have to ask ourselves, are we motivated by love towards others or do we enjoy the pride of being critical toward others? Are we aiming our examining eye inward at ourselves, using the Word of God a surgical instrument or are we using it as a sword to slay our brothers and sisters? Do we know how to target the real enemy who is not flesh and blood, or have we comforted our thirst with the blood of the innocent instead of tasting of the living waters that fill our lives to overflowing?
It is easy for me to point out warnings and scriptures that identify those lost and trapped in sin and headed to destruction – and if all that I offer is a warning, is a statement of the impending danger, and I don’t offer the Good News of Jesus Christ that leads to Hope, Faith, and Love – can I say that I’ve shared Truth or just that I’ve lifted my stone in the air?
Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 NLT
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.
Galatians 5:19-21 NLT
Outside the city are the dogs—the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idol worshipers, and all who love to live a lie.
Revelation 22:15 NLT
You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him. Don’t participate in the things these people do. For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true. Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said, “Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts.
Ephesians 5:5-19 NLT
For the law was not intended for people who do what is right. It is for people who are lawless and rebellious, who are ungodly and sinful, who consider nothing sacred and defile what is holy, who kill their father or mother or commit other murders. The law is for people who are sexually immoral, or who practice homosexuality, or are slave traders, liars, promise breakers, or who do anything else that contradicts the wholesome teaching that comes from the glorious Good News entrusted to me by our blessed God.
1 Timothy 1:9-11 NLT
Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.
Hebrews 12:14 NLT
A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever.
John 8:35 NLT
And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out. It’s better to enter the Kingdom of God with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, ‘where the maggots never die and the fire never goes out.’
Mark 9:47-48 NLT
Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few be saved?” He replied, “Work hard to enter the narrow door to God’s Kingdom, for many will try to enter but will fail. When the master of the house has locked the door, it will be too late. You will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Lord, open the door for us!’ But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’ Then you will say, ‘But we ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ And he will reply, ‘I tell you, I don’t know you or where you come from. Get away from me, all you who do evil.’
Luke 13:23-27 NLT
For again I say, when righteous people turn away from their righteous behavior and turn to evil, they will die.
Ezekiel 33:18 NLT
No, and I tell you again that unless you repent, you will perish, too.”
Luke 13:5 NLT
Yes, and these warnings are true because the Word of God does not lie.
I cry out warnings in love each day. I’m sowing the seed of this Good News that Jesus Christ can come into your life, and change you. But many are too wrapped up in the ways of this world and don’t really want their eyes to be opened yet. I know, because that used to be me.
So I just keep sharing truth and hope and faith and love – trusting that those that are His will hear His voice before it is too late.
And some are lost and need hope (a turn to God – change of attitude).
And some are babes and need faith (a focus and dedication and ongoing growth in His will).
And some are among leaven and need love (a remembrance of His undeserved, unmerited mercy and grace as opposed to spiritual pride).
And many are headed for destruction and need truth (it is truly a narrow path with ditches on both sides – in misunderstood grace as a license to sin – and in misunderstood works as a stairway to heaven).
When the crowds came to John for baptism, he said, “You brood of snakes! Who warned you to flee God’s coming wrath? Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones. Even now the ax of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.”
Luke 3:7-9 NLT
But if wicked people turn from their wickedness and do what is just and right, they will live.
Ezekiel 33:19 NLT
2 Chronicles 7:14 ESV
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
1 John 1:9 ESV
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Acts 3:19 ESV
Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out,
Ezekiel 18:21-23 ESV
But if a wicked person turns away from all his sins that he has committed and keeps all my statutes and does what is just and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. None of the transgressions that he has committed shall be remembered against him; for the righteousness that he has done he shall live. Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live?
Acts 17:30 ESV
The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent,
Proverbs 28:13 ESV
Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.
James 4:8-10 ESV
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
Acts 2:38 ESV
And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.