How To Esteem Others More Than Self

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How To Esteem Others More Than Self

Matthew 25:40 “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

When a kind act was done to someone in need, Jesus said it was done unto Him. The Lord deeply feels our hurts. When someone is neglected, Jesus says He is also being neglected. We have a high priest who is touched by the feelings of our infirmities, Hebrews 4:15. When we hurt, He hurts. When we are blessed, He is blessed. The God of the universe is intricately involved with every detail of our lives.

How can we esteem others better than ourselves when really we think we are better than others? Some people are better athletes than others. Some are better businessmen than others. Some are better speakers than others, and so forth.

First, we need to recognize that our accomplishments don’t make us better than others. There is a difference between what we do and who we are. Better performance does not make a better person. A person’s character can be severely wanting even though his performance is good.

Secondly, to esteem someone better than ourselves simply means to value them more than we value ourselves. To some that may seem impossible, but it isn’t.

That is exactly what Jesus did. If Jesus, who was God in the flesh, 1 Timothy 3:16, could humble Himself and value our good above His own welfare, then we should certainly be able to do the same. It can happen when we die to self and live to God.

If we think only about ourselves, we will be selfish. If we get out of self and think more about the benefit of others than the benefit of self, then we will be selfless. It’s a matter of focus.

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Follow The Leading Of The Holy Spirit

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Follow The Leading Of The Holy Spirit

Matthew 25:14 “For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.”

The parable of the talents continues the theme of being ready for the Lord’s return, but it also makes a strong point that we are accountable to the Lord for the gifts He has given us. The Lord intends us to use these gifts to further His kingdom – not keep them hidden.

This parable also shows the Lord dealing with His servants according to their own individual gifts and abilities. The servants who doubled their Lord’s money were praised equally, even though one had produced two and one-half times as much revenue for His Lord than the other. Every man’s work shall be judged as to what sort it is – not what size it is.

Most people today are preoccupied with quantity of ministry instead of quality of ministry. The Lord is going to reward us based on how well we did, not on how much we did. Those who are not governed by the Holy Spirit in their actions will see all their good works burned up on the day we stand before the Lord and He tries our works. Those who acted only under the guidance of the Holy Spirit will find that their works will endure the test and they will receive a reward.

Many people choose to do good things thinking that God will be pleased. It is our positive response to God’s direction (faith) that pleases God, Hebrews 11:6. We were created with a purpose and every individual has a God-given plan for his life. Unless our actions are in agreement with God’s plan for our life, they will not abide the test of God’s fire.

Get Ready For Jesus

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Get Ready For Jesus

Matthew 24:38 “For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark,”

Jesus is prophesying that just as in Noah’s day, people will be dominated with the temporary affairs of this life instead of eternal spiritual truths, when Jesus returns. Before our Lord’s second return, there will be plenty of signs to show that the time is drawing near, but few will heed them. Preoccupation with the affairs of this life can dull us to the spiritual realm.

The Lord kindly but seriously, points out the urgent need to be ready for His return. In the same way that a thief comes when people are the least prepared, so our Lord will return in a time when people are not looking for Him.

This is not because our Lord desires to surprise everyone and see how many He can catch unprepared. On the contrary, He is urging us to be watchful so that we will be prepared. Jesus gave us the signs of the end times to help us be prepared. He is simply prophesying that there will be a condition of apathy in the latter days that will tend to lull even the faithful to sleep if they don’t take heed to His words.

Believers will not be assembled on a mountaintop somewhere waiting for the Lord’s return. They will still be going about their daily routines. The Lord told us to “Occupy till I come.”, Luke 19:13. We should be ready for the Lord to come back at any moment, yet work as if His return was still far off.

Base Your Relationships On God

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Base Your Relationships On God

Matthew 24:12 “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”

The only reason that an abundance of iniquity would make anyone’s love for the Lord wax cold, is if he were not separated from that iniquity. As with Lot, a righteous man can vex his soul from day to day by hearing and seeing the unlawful deeds of the ungodly, 2 Peter 2:8.

We have to deal with the world’s system and those in it, but we need to be careful and maintain proper balance. We should shun relationships with those who influence us negatively more than we influence them positively.

Marriage is one area where this principle is especially true. There is no closer union in life than the marriage relationship. A believer who marries an unbeliever is directly violating this scripture and is toying with disaster. The Lord should be the most important person in our life. How could we possibly become “one” with a person who doesn’t love our Lord?

It is folly to think that after marriage an unbelieving spouse will accept the Lord. Although that does happen, it cannot be guaranteed. In fact, statistics are overwhelmingly against this happening. Regardless of that possibility, a believer who marries an unbeliever is directly violating God’s instructions here. It is not a good start to any marriage to spurn God’s Word.

Being unequally yoked with unbelievers just doesn’t work. Believers and unbelievers are as different as righteousness and unrighteousness, light and dark, Christ and the devil. One has faith and the other has none. One is the temple of God and the other an idol. Any Christian who doesn’t see this conflict is deceived.

Guard Against Deception

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Guard Against Deception

Matthew 24:4 “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.”

Deception can be avoided or else Jesus would not have said, “Take heed that no man deceive you.” Satan can only deceive those who allow him to do it.

Ephesians 6:11 tells us to “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Putting on the whole armour of God will protect you from the deception of the devil. Just wearing part of God’s armour will not fully protect you. Many Christians have been running around with the helmet of salvation on but nothing else. There is more to overcoming the devil than just being saved. We have to understand our righteous position in the Lord. We also must possess faith, know the Word, and understand the gospel of peace.

The Christian life is a constant struggle against Satan, who is trying to corrupt us. Most Christians are aware of the warfare, but they don’t know where the warfare is occurring. The battle is in our mind. Just as the serpent didn’t come against Eve with brute force, but rather used words to deceive her, likewise Satan tries to corrupt us through thoughts contrary to the gospel. Satan’s original tactic was deception and that is still his method of operation today.

One of the characteristics of children is that they are easily deceived. They are gullible. One of the things that must take place to move from childhood into sonship is spiritual discernment. This comes from being grounded in the Word of God.

The way to recognize deception is not to analyze all the false claims but rather to become so familiar with what is genuine that a counterfeit will be easily recognizable. Anyone who is truly grounded in the Word of God will not be deceived.

 

Hypocrisy Is An Attitude

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Hypocrisy Is An Attitude

Matthew 23:12 “And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.”

He who thinks that he will be exalted by acting as a servant, pretending to be humble so that he will receive the promise of God’s Word, is sadly mistaken. Hypocrisy is an attitude or motive.

There are two main types of hypocrisy: 1) People don’t practice what they preach. 2) People’s motives are wrong even though their actions are right.

The second type of hypocrisy is why Jesus rebuked the scribes and Pharisees.

It is more subtle than the first type and is very prevalent today in religion. They were seeking self-glory instead of seeking to glorify God.

Their priorities are wrong, and their focus is on outward displays instead of on the inner condition of their heart. Furthermore, they always persecute the true worshipers of God.

Universally, people dislike blatant hypocrisy; although this subtle type of hypocrisy has been encouraged and even promoted by religion. Religion teaches tithing and giving for selfish motives while 1 Corinthians 13:3 and 2 Corinthians 9:7, make it clear that giving will profit us nothing unless we have the proper motive. The same thing happens when people try to achieve holiness by performing many other religious acts. It is not always the acts that are wrong, but the motives behind the acts. These wrong motives can also make you a hypocrite.

Anyone who rejects salvation because he doesn’t like religious hypocrites, should remember that if he doesn’t receive Jesus as his Lord, then he will spend eternity with these hypocrites in Hell.

Give Agape Love

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Give Agape Love

Matthew 23:12 “And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.”

In Romans 12:10 we are admonished to desire the welfare of others more than our own; to like others better than ourselves. That is an awesome command that is only obtainable through God’s supernatural love. If this very simple, yet very profound truth could be understood and applied, then strife would cease, Proverbs 13:10. The world would see Christianity as never before, and we would discover the true joy that comes from serving someone besides ourselves.

There is much confusion today on the subject of love because we have only one English word (love) to describe a broad aspect of meanings. For example, if I said, “I love my wife, I love apple pie, and I love my dog,” obviously I am not talking about love in the same degree or definition.

God’s type of love; the highest kind of love, is AGAPE. This is when we seek the welfare or betterment of others even when we don’t feel affection. AGAPE love does not come from one’s feelings. Jesus displayed this AGAPE kind of love by going to the cross and dying for us even though He didn’t feel like dying. Jesus sought the betterment of you and me, regardless of His feelings.

We, too, can AGAPE love our enemies even though we don’t have a warm feeling of affection for them. If they are hungry we can feed them; if they are thirsty we can give them a drink. We can choose to seek the betterment and welfare of others regardless of how we feel.

If anyone becomes a servant and humbles himself with the motive of being exalted, then he is not truly fulfilling Jesus’ command. Jesus is teaching about a true, servant’s heart, that loves others more than itself and will joyfully go without so that someone else may prosper.

 

 

Our Life Belongs To God

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Our Life Belongs To God

 

 Matthew 22:20-21 “And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.”

The image on the denarius, the only small silver coin acceptable for imperial tax payments, was probably that of Tiberius Caesar (reigned A.D. 14-37). The inscription upon the coin read “Tiberius Caesar Augustus, Son of the Divine Augustus” with the reverse side reading “Chief Priest.” This inscription was a claim to divinity and as emperor, the right to be worshiped.

The Jews had tried many times to accuse Jesus on the basis of religious issues and had always failed. Now they approached Him about paying taxes in hopes that His answer might give them the opportunity to deliver Him to Pilate for prosecution.

These Pharisees and Herodians reasoned that any answer that Jesus gave would be wrong. If He approved of the Roman taxes, then He would lose popularity with the masses. If He spoke against the Roman taxes, then the Jews would hand Him over to the Roman government and Pilate would dispose of Him. It looked like they had Jesus trapped. Jesus, however, answered with such simple wisdom that these Pharisees and Herodians were caught in their own trap and made to look like fools.

Jesus declared, “Render (give back) to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s”, Mark 12:17. People are made in God’s image, so we must render to God the things belonging to God (our lives) and to Caesar the things belonging to Caesar (his money and other benefits of his rule).

 

Our Righteousness Is In Christ

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Our Righteousness Is In Christ

Matthew 22:11 “And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:”

In this time, it was customary for the host to provide their guests with wedding garments to wear to the wedding. It was an insult of the highest degree to refuse to wear the clothing provided since the guests were brought in directly from the highways and streets. The wedding garment speaks of the righteousness of Christ that God so graciously provides for all who accept His invitation into the kingdom. It must be put on by both good and bad, Matthew 22:10.

Right standing before a holy God is not to be achieved in keeping the law but in humble trust in the person and work of Jesus Christ. No one, who is trusting in his own righteousness, can have the benefit of Christ’s righteousness. The righteousness that gives men relationship with God is the RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD, and it comes freely through faith in Jesus Christ.

The way we obtain this righteousness is by putting faith in what Christ has done for us. When we place our faith in Christ, then the righteousness that Jesus obtained by His faith becomes ours.

Through faith in Jesus, we can receive the very righteousness of God as a gift. God’s righteousness is infinitely more in quality and quantity than man’s puny righteousness. No one can ever be justified in the sight of God based on his own righteousness which comes through acts of holiness. One must have God’s righteousness which only comes through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. Paul said in Philippians 3:9, “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” This is “the righteousness of God.”