Manna for Today

 

10 Signs of a Christian – 3. Separation

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”

17   “Therefore come out from them

and be separate,

says the Lord.

Touch no unclean thing,

and I will receive you.”

18   “I will be a Father to you,

and you will be my sons and daughters,

says the Lord Almighty.”

 

7   Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.  (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1)

Learn it:

            In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians he encourages his readers to be “yoked” to unbelievers.  The term “yoked” is not one we use very often today.  To be “yoked” together means that you and another person are entering into a contractual relationship together.  As a believer we should be hesitant to enter into partnerships with unbelievers in marriage or business. 

Why should we be separated in these types of relationships?  One, we will both have different values that we are pursuing.  Believers live in the “light” and unbelievers are in “darkness”.   Believers goal in life is to please God.  Unbelievers could be pursuing good things like bettering their community or they could be pursing their own gain.  A follower of Christ could be tempted to do the same and if you partner with someone who doesn’t share your values it will be harder to keep your focus on Christ.

A second reason we should be separated is because God commands us to in his Word.  Just like Israel was commanded to be separated from the rest of the world we too should live a life that looks different.  We have a special relationship with God and as we covered Friday, he wants us to be in a relationship only with him.  He wants us to be holy as he is holy.  It will mean we will have to sacrifice things, but it will be worth it.   

Live it:

            As with a lot of things in life, this is always easier said than done.  Separation will naturally create tension.  When we remove ourselves from certain areas of culture, we should do it graciously but also firmly rooted in our faith.  If people question our actions, we should take the opportunity to share our faith.  We must also be careful not to take this passage to the extreme and remove ourselves from every area of the world and have no unbelieving friends.  If we do that how can we be the light in the darkness?  Paul is focused on entering into partnerships, not relationships in general.  Examine your life and think about what it means for you to be separated from the world.  Are there areas in your life that need to change?  How can you be the light in the darkness? 


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10 Signs of a Christian – 2.  Devotion

And God spoke all these words:

 

    2      “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

    3      “You shall have no other gods before me.

    4      “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.  (Exodus 20:1-6)
Learn it:

                God the Father wants nothing but complete devotion from his followers.  This passage from Exodus lists the first two of the ten commandments.  God starts out by reminding the Israelites of how he brought them out of Egypt.  He reminds them he is the God who acts and can do miraculous things.  He then lays out what he expects from his people.  This is how they can show the gratitude.  He wants them to be completely devoted to him. We will pledge allegiance only to God.  No other person, place, or thing should hold our devotion other than God. 

                Since there is only one God, we should not worship idols.  Back in the time of Exodus they would have create idols based on things seen in nature.  Today idols can take many different forms.  They could be our jobs, hobbies, materialistic things or relationships we have.  These things can start out innocent enough, but they can quickly take over our lives if we do not keep them in check.  God demands that we that we only worship him.  If we worship anything else, we might be disciplined but if we love him, then we will may receive blessings. 

Live it:

                Being devoted to Jesus means that God is the center of our lives.  We love him with our whole heart, and we love his Word equally.  We love the things that God lives as well.  We love the Church and we have compassion and mercy for the lost.  A second way we show our devotion is by how we live our lives.  Are we doing things that please God and glorify him? Having become new creations in Christ we should be living a life free from sin and living a new life. 

                 A third way we show our devotion to God is by losing ourselves.  Jesus calls his followers to die to themselves and follow him (Mark 8:34-36).  It is never easy to sacrifice our plans and dreams for God’s.  If we are devoted to God we know that his ways and plans are far better than anything we can ever come up with.  How can you become more devoted to God?  Pray to God that he would open your eyes to things in your life you need to change and draw more closer to Him. 


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10 Signs of a Christian – 1.  Forgiveness

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41 If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.  (Matt.  5:38-48)

Learn it:         

            Jesus taught about forgiveness as part of his Sermon on the Mount.  He started out by describing what forgiveness meant in the Old Testament.  Back then the Law was all about justice and fairness.  Justice is a good thing, but Jesus is coming to switch things.  A follower of His should turn the check.  They should be willing to give generously to others and be willing to go the extra mile.  Giving is one way that we show forgiveness. 

            A second way we show forgiveness is through our love.  This is what the next section is all about.  We love our enemies and we should pray for them!  Not only do we pray for them, but we should serve them.  Just as God makes it rain on both believers and unbelievers so their crops may do well.  We should want to see unbelievers do well in the businesses too.  Why do we do that?  We do that so that we might have an opportunity to share the gospel with them and they would surrender their life to Christ.

Live it:

            As a follower of Christ, we are expected to live a life of forgiveness.  Forgiving someone takes some humility and swallowing your pride.  Someone has wronged you and you need to let your anger towards them go.  Jesus tells us that we should even be willing to go further than that!  We should be generous towards those that have wronged us.  This is contrary towards every natural feeling we have.  This is the same type of forgiveness that has shown us.  While we were enemies of God, he sent his Son to die on the cross for our sins.  What would it look like if we loved our enemies in the same way?  Sometimes it starts out with saying a prayer for those that irritate us.  Then God will build up our compassion for them and He will open our eyes to ways we can serve them. 


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Jesus’ Last Words (Luke 24:36-53)

While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

37 They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38 He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39 Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”

40 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41 And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate it in their presence.

44 He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”

45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

50 When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. 51 While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. 52 Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. 53 And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.  (Luke 24:36-53)

Learn it:

            Jesus makes another appearance during a meal with his disciples.  They are still processing Jesus’ resurrection about what it looks like and what it means.  Jesus teaches them that he is not some ghost but a physical person.  He then begins to teach them that this is what he told and what the Old Testament has predicted about him.  We see Jesus giving another Bible lesson about what the Old Testament says about him!  He wants the disciples to understand that everything is going according to plans. 

            He then teaches them how they should respond to his resurrection.  They are now going to be witnesses.  The disciples are now charged with going out to the nations and telling them about the forgiveness of sins.  It is so counter cultural that they would go to the nations and invite other people into their faith.  While they are being sent out Jesus also tells them that they will not be alone.  He is going to send his Spirit to be with them.  Luke wraps up his gospel quickly and it leaves the reader thinking about when is the Spirit going to come?  It also leaves them thinking about this commission to take the gospel to the world. 

Live it:

            Just like the disciples were left with a challenge to tell others about the gospel, we have that same challenge today.  Jesus fulfilled all the prophecies about the Messiah in the Old Testament and we have the recorded testimonies of his resurrection in the Bible.  We also have our own testimonies of how Jesus has changed our lives and we should respond to that with joy!  This joy should be seen in our lives and it should drive us to tell others of this amazing thing.  But so often we get distracted and lose focus of this power within us.  We have the Holy Spirit within and we must lean on him for the strength to tell others of the love of Jesus Christ. 


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Pastor’s Corner