Encourage One Another

(Romans 15:1-3)

When Christ Jesus came to the earth He preached the gospel of the good news of the kingdom of God and established the means by which man could be reconciled to God and enter His kingdom.he selected disciples and taught them all they would need to know to make more disciples and to deal with the issues of this life as they walked with Him.

Encourage one another

Encourage one another

And then Jesus left. He left because He had no choice but to leave. He had to die otherwise we would not be able to enter the kingdom of God because the new covenant, through which we enter this new life of the spirit, could not come into being without the offering of a perfect sacrifice. Jesus Christ was the perfect sacrifice.

But before Jesus left, he established the brotherhood of Christians that is the church. And one of the key purposes of the church, both as individuals within it and collectively as a body, is to support and encourage one another.

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Faith Versus Doubt

(Romans 14:20-23)

It is a fine line that we walk as Christians for we need to always be aware of what we hold to by faith. There are many things that people believe that have no basis in the bible, and many other things that are held as forms of Christianity that are based on twisted, wrong and even invented beliefs.

Faith vs. doubt. A spiritual contest for your life

Faith vs. doubt. A spiritual contest for your life

The challenge for all of us is to sift the truth from error and hold fast to what is good while we reject what is evil.

But in that process as we learn, there will be doubts. And doubts do us no good at all for doubt is what kills faith. Doubt is the antithesis of faith and while strength in the Lord is based upon faith, doubt brings weakness, destruction and death.

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Walking In Love

(Romans 14:13-19)

In all the things that we have come to as Christians, this is the most important.

Walking in love...a long difficult journey

Walking in love...a long difficult journey

We are being trained in Christ so the we may be like Hime. We are being transformed by the Holy Spirit into the image of Jesus Christ, who is Himself the image of the Father.

And we know that God is the epitome of all that is love for the scripture tells us that God IS love.

Thus the most important thing we must learn to do, and indeed the outcome of the training and transformation that is going on in every Christian is to learn how to walk in love.

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Every Knee Shall Bow

(Romans 14:10-12)

It is a sobering thought to realize that we shall all have to give account before God for every action we have done, every word we have spoken and every judgement we have made.

Every knee shall bow

Every knee shall bow

These few verses should give all people pause to consider their lives and how they choose to live. Note these words:

10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; 11 for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” 12 So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. – (Romans 14:10-12)

So let us consider some of the things these words are telling us.

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Be Convinced

(Romans 14:5-9)

Among Christians there are many beliefs, some of which have no basis in the bible, some that are a little strange to some people and some that seem unbelievable but are in fact based in the truth.

Be convinced

Be convinced

Some beliefs are quite harmless in the total scheme of things regarding the truth of Christianity while others are quite destructive. We need to understand the latter, and avoid them, but the former beliefs that some people hold are not of great consequence, unless or until those beliefs overwhelm the person and become more important than the truth of Jesus Christ.

Paul quotes two good examples in this section of the scripture where he speaks of those who believe they should not eat certain foods or meats, or those who believe that certain days are more important than others. Neither of these beliefs is critical to salvation for both are based in works and salvation is by faith alone.

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Brotherly Love

(Romans 14:1-4)

There are many people with different Christian backgrounds who read this and other Christian blogs. They come from all denominations and sects of the church, both from mainstream churches as well as small independent groups, home churches and those going solo who are in-between churches.

Many paths, many opinions but one goal

Many paths, many opinions but one goal

The one thing ALL of these people have in common, apart from a love of the Lord, is they believe the path they are following is the right path, the true path and the pathway to the kingdom of God.

But they also all believe different things. They are all approaching the kingdom of God from slightly different directions. And unfortunately all too often we see bickering between brothers and sisters in the Lord over their differences of opinions.

And it is exactly this issue that Paul is addressing here. Bickering over opinions and differences is not appropriate for brothers and sisters in the Lord. Instead we need to learn from each other because NONE of us knows it all and all of us can learn from each other.

Let's look at it and see what Paul is teaching us that the Lord taught him.

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Walking Properly With Christ

(Romans 13:12-14)

One of the first principles of coming to Jesus Christ is the principle of repentance. Repentance relates to changing your life by turning around and away from the things of this world to the things of the spirit.

Walk in the light and walk properly with Christ.

Walk in the light and walk properly with Christ.

The word “repentance” is translated from the Greek word “metanoia” which literally means to change your thinking. And when we change the way we think, we automatically change the way we behave because all behaviour commences with a thought.

So then, if we are to learn how to walk properly with Jesus Christ, we need to change our behaviours and this is preceded by changing how we think. This is the focus of these few verses we are looking at today.

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Salvation Is Near

(Romans 13:11)

The primary reason people come to Jesus Christ is that they recognize the fruitless ness and worthlessness of their life on earth through sin, and are seeking salvation. Jesus Christ is the Saviour and He is the way we must find salvation for salvation comes from God alone, through Jesus Christ.

Salvation into God's kingdom is near

Salvation into God's kingdom is near

But there is an interesting perspective on salvation that we can see in this scripture. Christians often talk amongst themselves asking the question of people whether they have been saved or not. There is also a movement in parts of the church who claim that when you come to Christ, you become “Once saved, always saved”.

This OSAS position is not correct, for being saved and receiving salvation are not the same thing. This scripture shows us this amongst other things. So let us look at what this verse is telling us.

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Love: The Great Commandment

(Romans 13:8-10)

What is the ultimate expression of the faith and beliefs of a Christian? Is it good works? Is it giving a helping hand when needed? Is it showing our faith is real through the things we do, our behaviours and where we stand when the going gets tough?

Well, all of these things do have a bearing on our Christian life and the walk that we are on with Jesus Christ. All of them are certainly important. But there is a foundation upon which all of these plus many other aspects of the Christian life stand.

That foundation is love. Not love as it is expressed in this world, but the love of God and living a life that reflects His love for us in all we do and say.

God Is Love

Needless to say it is impossible to live a life in Christ unless we express it through the love of God.

The scriptures tell us that God is love and that being true means that He cannot do anything but give His love and show His love to us who are His children.

The opportunity we have to be set free from sin, death and all of the wickedness in this earthly life exists only because God loves us. His grace is nothing more than an expression of His love for anyone who will seek Him out and come to Him to receive His salvation offered through Jesus Christ.

His love also is not like the depictions of love in this world. It is not the soppy mush portrayed in movies and books. It is unique for His love is unlike anything on this earth.

The love of God did not require us to love Him first. He shows that while man was still His enemy He gave man a chance. While man is still a sinner, torn apart by the wretchedness of human passions, emotions and lusts, God offered His grace, and through it His love so that we may be saved.

Furthermore, there is nothing that we can offer in return except ourselves. The Lord Jesus made the point that when He gives us anything it is not as people of the world give. People give to others expecting something in return. But the love of God gives expecting nothing in return for who has anything or can offer anything that would repay God for what He has given to us.

Debt of Love

To that end then we are being trained to love as Christ loved us. We see these sentiments expressed in these verses in Romans 13 saying,

8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. (Romans 13:8-10)

Do not be indebted to anyone except to love them as God and Jesus Christ first loved us. That is the sum of all we are called to. We are called to love.

We know that when Jesus died He took away our sins. And at the same time He also set us free from the law and ordinances of the old covenant as He issued in the New Covenant age.

But we see in the law the expressions of God's love. The commandments we see above are just a few of the Ten Commandments and as each of these ones as well as most of the rest relate to how we treat the people around us, they are by nature expressions of love.

The great commandment in the law was to love one another just as God loves us.

But now that we are free from law, we are freed from this law also. However, we do not reject what the law tells us. Rather we are at greater pains to uphold the truth of the law and the love of the law because it is the nature of God. We may not be bound under law to love, but we are convinced and convicted by the Holy Spirit to live a life of love for it is the Holy Spirit's role to transform us into the image of Jesus Christ.

So when we are living in the love of God as this scripture informs us, we do not seek to upset, offend or wrong anyone. Instead we seek to help, conciliate, overcome conflicts and seek the peace of God to work in all situations.

This is our call. We are called to be children of God. And to be a child of God is to be a child of love, exhibiting the love of God in us through all that we do and say.

You might also like:

Love Is The Answer
Jesus Fulfilled Law
Love Your Enemies
God Is Merciful
The Woman Who Was A Sinner
Vengeance Is Mine Or Is It
The Good Samaritan
Do You Know How To Set Your Moral Gps
Increase Our Faith
For God So Loved The World
Serving Jesus
A New Commandment
How To Love Jesus
If You Keep My Commandments
The Friend Of God
The Joy Of Jesus
Parables And The Love Of The Father
Jesus Prayed For You
Expression Of True Love
A Merciful God
Restored By Grace
Access To Grace
Hope Love And The Holy Spirit
Greatest Gift Of All

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Paying Taxes

(Romans 13:6-7)

Let's face it, everybody hates paying taxes! Most people complain bitterly about the amount of taxes they have to pay and there are whole industries devoted to helping people find ways to legitimately reduce the amount of tax they pay. There are also plenty of people who illegally evade taxes too, which is a dangerous and pointless exercise because eventually the authorities will catch up with them and they will suffer the consequences.

Pay your taxes!

Pay your taxes!

As for me, I am of the opinion that if you are paying a lot of tax even after legitimately minimizing the tax impact on your income, then you should be happy because if you are paying a hefty amount of tax you must have earned an even heftier amount of income. So don't complain about it because there are plenty of people who would like to be in your situation.

And the bible is also very clear in these passages about paying taxes along with other things that we must do with respect to our dealings with the authorities of the land we live in.

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