“Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus, Just from sin and self to cease,
Just from Jesus simply taking life and rest and joy and peace.”
(From “‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus” by Louisa M. R Stead; 3rd Stanza)
[Please read the whole post or, at least, more than the first paragraph.]
Sadly, some people never respond to the Holy Spirit’s call to “trust in Jesus.” Just as the scribes in Jesus’ day, they “BLASPHEME the Holy Spirit” by denying His truth about Jesus being the Messiah, the Savior of the world (See Mark 3:21-30). Just as the scribes did, they think Jesus was “possessed” and His teachings were from Satan or they just continue to believe that the story about Jesus is just plain ridiculous and they never change their minds about Him. This is called “the BLASPHEMY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT”. In the Gospel of Mark Jesus gives a solemn warning: “Truly and solemnly I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever abusive and blasphemous things they utter; But whoever speaks abusively against or maliciously misrepresents the Holy Spirit can never get forgiveness, but is guilty of and in the grasps of an everlasting trespass. For they persisted in saying, He [Jesus] has an unclean spirit” (Mark 3:28-30 [The Amplified Bible]). People who hate Jesus Christ and all they think He stands for will be separated from God forever. Sadly, instead of searching the Scriptures and asking the Holy Spirit to guide them to the truth, they base their feelings about Jesus on the actions of people who call themselves Christians, but are nowhere near being Christ-like.
Because of this, believers in Jesus Christ need to be all the more diligent to pray for those who do not yet know and love the Triune God., We need our lives to “be filled with” (Ephesians 5:18b) and “controlled by the Spirit of life and peace” (Romans 8:6), in order to live out the love of Christ to a world which so desperately needs His Love. As Christians, we need to “live by the (Holy) Spirit” and “keep in step with the (Holy) Spirit” (Galatians 5:25a) because the world is watching us. When the world is watching, do they see our lives filled with “the fruit of the Spirit [which is] love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:26).
Do we, as Christ’s representatives, love others as Christ loves us? Do we light up a room with the “”joy of the Lord [in Whom we get] our strength” (Nehemiah 8:10)? Do we “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievance [we] may have against one another…[just as] the Lord forgave [us]” (Colossians 3:13)? Do we “[rejoice] with the truth” (I Corinthians 13:6b) and “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who morn [and] Live in harmony with one another” (Romans 12:15-16)? Are we “joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer [and] Share with God’s people in need [and] Practice hospitality [and] Bless those who persecute [us]’ bless and do not curse” (Romans 12:12-14a)? Or are we known by our political ideology and by our hatred towards certain people? These are hard questions, but these are the questions Christians need to ask themselves and come to grips with, seek forgiveness and repent. It is only by God’s grace and by the power of the Holy Spirit that we can ever hope to change to be more like Christ and to be known by His love.
When Jesus is asked what is the greatest commandment, He replies: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind’…And the second is like it; ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matthew 22:37,39). In the Gospel of Luke, immediately following the discussion of the “Greatest Commandment”, Jesus teaches about the “Good Samaritan” (10:25-37). Jesus uses a person belonging to a highly despised people group to the Hebrews, a Samaritan, as the “hero” of His parable. He also uses a needy stranger whom the Samaritan helps as a good “neighbor” would. Jesus continues to increase the kinds of people Christians are to love in Matthew 5:43-48: “You have heard that if was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even the pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
What does it mean, “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect”? I believe it means that we ought to love others as Christ loves us. Jesus raises the bar even higher when He says, in John 13:34-35: “A new command I give you. Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know you are My disciples, if you love one another.”
The apostle Paul writes to the church in Galatia: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Galatians 6:9-10).
Sadly, some Christians who are ministered to by the Holy Spirit, with all the riches God wants to bestow on them, choose to GRIEVE the Holy Spirit by their actions. The Apostle Paul warns against this: “And do not GRIEVE the Holy Spirit of God, with Whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, just as in Christ God forgave you. Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 4:30-5:3).
Sadly, some Christians who are ministered to by the Holy Spirit, with all the riches God wants to bless them with, choose to QUENCH the Holy Spirit’s fire. Paul also warns against this: “See that none of you repays another with evil for evil, but always aim to show kindness and seek to do good to one another and to everybody. Be happy [in your faith] and rejoice and be glad-hearted continually – always – Be unceasing in prayer – praying perseveringly; Thank [God] in everything – no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks; for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will]. Do not QUENCH (suppress or subdue) the (Holy) Spirit. Do not spurn the gifts and utterances of the prophets – do not depreciate prophetic revelations nor despise inspired instruction or exhortation or warning. But test and prove all things [until you can recognize] what is good; [to that] hold fast. Abstain from evil – shrink from it and keep aloof from it – in whatever form or whatever kind it may be…Faithful is He Who is calling you [to Himself] and utterly trustworthy, and He will also do it [that is, fulfill His call by hallowing and keeping you]” (I Thessalonians 5:15-23, 24 [The Amplified Bible]).
How do we know when something is not of the Holy Spirit? When something is said or done without God’s perfect love (the love Jesus has for His Father, His followers, the “stranger“ and His enemies [See Luke 23:34]) , it is not of the Spirit of God. No matter how good it may seem (even in the practice of Spiritual Gifts), if it is done out of self-pride, hatred, greed, jealousy or any other kind of self-love, it is not inspired, nor is it from the Holy Spirit of God. (Spiritual Gifts is a topic for another time – Romans 12:3-13, I Corinthians 12:7-11 and 27-31, Ephesians 4:11, I Peter 4:8-11).
The Apostle Peter urges followers of Christ: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” (I Peter 4:8).
With God there is always hope and the power to change: “To Him Who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy – to the Only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen” (Jude 24).
Jesus, Friend of Sinners
(By Casting Crowns)
Jesus, Friend of sinners, we have strayed so far away.
We have cut down people in Your Name, but the sword was never ours to swing.
Jesus, Friend of sinners, the truth’s become so hard to see.
The world is on their way to You, but they’re tripping over me.
Always looking around, but never looking up, I’m so double-minded –
A plank-eyed saint with dirty hands and a heart divided.
Oh Jesus, Friend of sinners, open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers Let our hearts be led to mercy. Help us reach with open hearts and open doors.
Oh Jesus. Friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks Yours.
Jesus, Friend of sinners, the One’s Who’s writing in the sand,
Make the righteous turn away and the stones fall from their hands.
Help us remember we are all the least of these.
Let the memory of Your mercy bring Your people to their knees.
Nobody knows what we’re for, only what we’re against when we judge the wounded.
What if we put down our signs, crossed over the picket lines and love like You did?
You love every lost cause; You reach for the outcast,
For the leper and the lame; they’re the reason why You came.
Lord, I was that lost cause and I was the outcast.
But You died for sinners just like me, a grateful leper at Your feet.
‘Cause You are good, You are good. And Your love endures forever
(Repeat 3 times)
Oh Jesus, Friend of sinners, open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers.Let our hearts be led by mercy. Help us reach with open hearts and open doors.
Oh Jesus, Friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks Yours.
And I was the lost cause and I was the outcast.
You died for sinners, just like me, a grateful leper at Your feet.
Check out this song on You Tube (Thank you Linda Smith for introducing me to this song). What a conscience-convicting and spirit-stirring song! I pray for me and for all of us who know and love the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, to let “Jesus, Friend of sinners break our hearts for what breaks Yours.” Holy Spirit, change us to be more like Jesus! Amen.
“God, have mercy on me, a sinner” (Luke 18:13:b).
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9).
“Gone Fishin’… Be Back At July-Thirty!”