Full Of Goodness

Tuesday, July 02, 2013, 8:00 a.m. – the Lord Jesus woke me this morning with the song “My Heart’s Desire” playing in my mind. Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Romans 15:14-19 (NIV):

I myself am convinced, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with knowledge and competent to instruct one another. Yet I have written you quite boldly on some points to remind you of them again, because of the grace God gave me to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles. He gave me the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

Therefore I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God. I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done— by the power of signs and wonders, through the power of the Spirit of God. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ.

My Heart’s Desire / An Original Work / June 29, 2013

Based off Rm. 10; Lu. 9:23-26; Ep. 4:20-24

Loved Ones, Oh, my heart’s desire
Is that you might come to Jesus.
Many appear zealous for God,
But they do not trust in Him.
They have not submitted to the One
Who saved them from their sins;
Not forsaken their sins,
Nor have they obeyed their King.

The word of the Lord is near you:
The word of faith we’re proclaiming:
That you must confess your faith
In Jesus as your Lord and King:
Believe in Him as your Lord,
And follow Him where’er He leads.
Share the gospel; be a witness,
And meet others’ needs.

Beautiful are the feet of those
Who bring the good news of Jesus:
Anyone who would come to Him
Must deny himself today;
Die to sin and self, and
Let the Spirit transform you in heart;
Put on your new self in Jesus,
Yielding to the cross.



The Lessons

When I read through this passage of scripture this morning, the thought that crossed my mind was, “What can we learn from this?” I mean Paul is sharing here some of his experiences, his thoughts and beliefs, his mission and goals, his calling, and his thoughts concerning specifically the church in Rome. So what does this teach us today? I believe this scripture teaches us these five main and Biblical principles:

Competent to Instruct

We, as true followers of Jesus Christ, are all full of goodness, complete in knowledge, and competent to instruct one another by virtue of our relationship with Jesus Christ per God’s grace and through faith, and by virtue of the Spirit of God indwelling, teaching and empowering us from on high for every good work. Since the Spirit of God now lives within us, we have full access to his grace, wisdom, understanding and the fruit of the Spirit.

Yet, is it our responsibility to instruct one another? And, under what circumstances or criteria should we be expected to do so? If you look up the word “edify” in a thesaurus, you will find that it has as its core meaning to inform, educate, instruct, improve and teach. As well, the literal translation of the word “instruct,” as it is translated in the NIV, is the word “admonish.” To admonish means to caution, to warn, to advise and/or to counsel someone.

In Rm. 14:19 we read: “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.” As well, we read in 1 Co. 14:4: “…the one who prophesies edifies the church.” And in v. 12: “So also you, since you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek to abound for the edification of the church.” In Rm. 15:2 we read: “Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification.” And in Ep. 4:29 it says: “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” Cl. 1:28 teaches this: “He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.” And, Cl. 3:16 says this: “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.”

Another word phrase for edify is also to build up (in NIV), which means to encourage. And, to encourage means to inspire, reassure, urge, support, assist, nurture, persuade and even push (encourage strongly). So, we are responsible as members of the body of Christ to instruct, counsel, educate, encourage, admonish, urge, warn and advise our fellow Christians. And, the only Biblical prerequisite I know of for this is that we have a genuine faith relationship with our Lord Jesus, and that we are walking in the light of his love and truth so that we are not being hypocritical in our instruction, i.e. so we don’t teach others not to do certain things while we are guilty of doing the same things we warn them against. Otherwise, this is our God-given responsibility toward the body of Christ, and we should all be involved in the mutual edification and encouragement of one another in the faith.

Ministers of Christ

A minister is a priest, a holy person, and someone who looks after and cares for, comforts, and supports others. We, as true followers of Jesus Christ, are all kingdom priests, and a royal and holy priesthood, to “offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ;” and “so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (See 1 Pt. 2:5-9). So, we are all ministers of Christ with “the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God,” so that others might “become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.” In other words, we all not only have a responsibility before God to edify the body of Christ, but also to be ministers of Christ in sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ so that others might come to know him, and so they may grow in their walks of faith and obedience to Christ (See Mt. 28:18-20; Ac. 1:8).

Give God the Glory

Paul always, as far as I can recall, gave God the glory and the credit for anything the Lord Jesus did through him. He was careful to never take the credit for himself. I believe that is a good and Biblical principle for us all to follow, and is one I try to follow consistently.

Words and Deeds

Paul told, then, of what Christ accomplished through him – the leading of the Gentiles to obey God by what he did and by what he said, through the power of the Spirit of God. Three things stand out to me here. The first is that our teaching and our deeds for Christ should be done in the power and the working of the Spirit of God within us, and not in our own flesh and/or of our own will and purposes. The second is that Paul led others to obey Christ. We are taught in scripture that obedience to Christ not only demonstrates our love for Christ, but is essential to our salvation (see 1 John). We are also taught that we should teach those we disciple to obey Christ’s commands (See Mt. 28:18-20).

The third thing that stands out to me here is that Paul led the Gentiles to obey God not only by the things he said, but by the things he did. In other words, though none of us will live this out with absolute perfection, we should make sure that our actions match our words or that we live what we preach and we preach what we live. Actions speak louder than words. Now, others may misjudge our words and/or our actions, and they may decide that we don’t live what we preach based upon their own interpretations of words and/or their own criteria of how they think we should act, but that is not what this is talking about. What this is saying is that I or you should not knowingly teach what we know we are not living, and thus be hypocritical in our teaching. We should teach others by our words and by our actions.

Fully Proclaim

Paul said that he “fully proclaimed” the gospel of Christ. Now, I recognize that the meaning of this phrase here could be disputed, but what I take away from this is that he proclaimed the full gospel; the whole counsel of God (See Ac. 20:27). This is very critical here, I believe, because so many are diluting the gospel today and are preaching a half-truth gospel, which is not the true gospel, and is thus a lie. Many are removing the words “repent” and “obey” from the gospel, and some are even removing the word “sin” or are replacing it with phrases such as “messed up,” because “messed up” doesn’t sound as bad as “sin.” Yet, Christ taught that we have to die to sin daily and we have to follow him in obedience if we want to come after him (See Lu. 9:23-25; cf. Ep. 4:17-24 & Rm. 6).

Yet, if we preach the “full gospel” of salvation, we should be prepared to be ostracized, kicked to the curb, rejected, ignored, mocked, criticized, challenged strongly, persecuted, even kicked out of some congregations, and in some cultures it could even mean our literal death, being killed for our testimony for Christ. For instance, the things talked about here, though Biblical, do not fit in with many of our cultures today, and do not fit in with the worldly culture within the church here in America, and perhaps in other countries, too. So, when we choose to follow the word of God, to instruct and admonish one another in the faith, and to preach the full gospel, we can expect to be persecuted, even within the church.

Fully Ready! / An Original Work / June 19, 2013

Based off Acts 20-22, 26; Mt. 28:18-20; Ac. 1:8

Why are you weeping and breaking my heart?
I’m fully ready to suffer for Christ.
If I must die for the sake of His name,
I am convinced it will not be in vain.
Glory to God and to His Son Jesus,
Who has redeemed us; bought with His blood.

May I speak to you? Jesus came to me;
Asked of me, “Why do you persecute me?”
He said, “Now get up and stand on your feet.
Go, and you’ll be told all I have for you.
I have appointed you as a servant,
And as a witness; you have been sent.”

“Go into the world and preach the gospel.
Open the blind eyes. They will receive sight.
Turn them from darkness to the light of Christ;
From power of the evil one to God,
So they may receive forgiveness of sins,
And a place among those who’re in heav’n.”