Sunday – August 10, 2014 – Read the Word on Worship
Word On Worship – Sunday – August 10, 2014 Download / Print
1 John 3:9-10
“No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.”
John raises many questions to those who would follow after Jesus. Churches across America are filled on Sunday morning with those whose faith is fit only for bumper stickers – “I know Him, live in Him and am in the light!” But they have never stopped and examined themselves to ask how often they reflect the character of Jesus Christ. Are they known as obedient and loving or simply as religious? John challenges all of us in where we stand today.
Many of us recoil at the word obedience. We have heard the messages on obedience and righteousness and we push them aside because they seem suffocating. We say, God loves me and I want to simply enjoy Him and live my life. I often wonder if the doctrines of grace have sabotaged the call to personal holiness. The Scriptures are not a battle between law and grace nor are its teachings a debate between Moses and Jesus. Jesus endorsed no compromise to the believer’s pursuit of righteousness. Thankfully we are saved by faith alone, but never forget the Christian life must display good works which God has prepared in advance for us to accomplish. This paradox is the tension in our life and in the Scripture.
John is absolute in his proclamation of obedience. If we disobey we are liars and walk in darkness. Can the absence of obedience truly disqualify us from being a Christian? I find the conclusion of Jesus in His Sermon on the Mount to be very sobering. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.” (Matt 7:21) This is then followed by our Lord’s teaching about building our homes upon the rock. Hearing the words of Jesus and doing His words compares with a person whose house has an unmovable foundation.
Jesus said our righteousness must exceed that of the Scribes and Pharisees if we want to see the kingdom of heaven. And yet for all the critical statements Jesus made about the behavior of the Pharisees, He also said believers are to take note of what they said. “Therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them.” (Matt 23:3) This is the defining paradox for those who follow after Christ: Personal righteousness and obedience are an essential component to our faith and yet do not form the basis of our salvation. Hear the call to be vigilant, but do not sacrifice the loving character of God in our lives.