“I AM the Way, the Truth and the Life.

No one comes to the Father

except through Me”

John 14:6

Pastors Noreen & Henry  Kevern

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Working It Out

For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 5:20

Wow, every time I read this passage, I think to myself, “I don’t know if I can do this. I don’t know if I can be more righteous than another, that I can go through my life without sin, without doubt, without saying something that I should not, without getting mad because some jerk cut in front of me in traffic” and so many other things that come to my mind. Is it possible that once we believe that we can be perfect as Jesus tells us we must become? “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). God has put such high standards before us, but I am only human, just how do I do this ‘perfect’ thing that God wants me to do? How am I going to get into heaven because I don’t get how to be ‘righteous’ and how am I going to be less human? If you ponder on this for any length in time, you will more than likely come to the conclusion that some have come to and that is: There is no way that we can be perfect. So then are we all then doomed to go to hell?

What exactly does God want of me and how can I work it out in my life? Does this statement scare you or do you just figure what’s the use, I won’t even bother to try? It will be easier to just go on about in sin and go to hell. Or do you figure you do your best, and God knows that you are not perfect and so you don’t worry? And my question is, “What exactly is your best, and does it fit into what is God’s best for your life?”

Ah, there’s the rub. Our best or God’s best. So then, just how do we know what God’s best is? We don’t hear much about being God’s best and there are so many churches that are emerging into a new wave that are not in the Word of God. Some churches are now saying that God changes with the times but God says: “I the Lord do not change” (Malachi 3:6). Jesus did not come to abolish the law or the prophets but to fulfill them (Matthew 5:17), and all is not fulfilled until this heaven and earth disappear (Matthew 5:18) and then all will be accomplished. People live in fear because some think that the end is near, when it should be the opposite. We should be glad that the end of this earth and this heaven will come and that the new earth and new heaven will be a place where there is no more pain, no more strife, no more disease or poverty. It’s not going to be something that man does that brings all this about as in a new world order but a new beginning in God. It is what we are to be working towards. We are to be living out in our lives the way of the Lord so that when the time comes we are who and what we are to be, and ready to meet our Lord. And in living out our lives in the way of the Lord, we become His righteousness, and become perfect as our Father is perfect.

But how, how will we be able to change from how we are to who we are to be in Christ?

Let us start with a few questions about our lives. What or who is the most important thing or person in your life? Do you look at the Bible as your instruction book or something that you expect your minister to explain bits and pieces to you? Or do you ignore the Word completely viewing it as something that men wrote to explain their point of view and so it must be flawed? How much time to you give to your relationship to the Lord? How many hours to you watch TV or play a game or read other books, or time at work or time with others, or time by yourself, getting your hair done, or playing golf? Do you view the Bible as the Word of God and learn from it on a regular basis?  If or when you quote the Bible, do you know what God was referring to with the quote you bring forth?

We rob God of what is due to Him. He is our Creator and He deserves all of our praise and worship. Our lives should be lived out in thanksgiving for all that the Lord has given to us. Even in our hardships we should thank God, for God knows we are capable of learning so much and that we can make it through the things that come into our lives. God should be first in our lives, not our spouses, our children, our jobs, our cars or anything else that we would put before God. We too easily give into to temptation, falling into sin and then we wonder why God doesn’t seem to answer our prayers. We think we are doing the best that we can, but in reality, we are not. We have given into the greed and corruption that the devil puts before us and far to easily believe his lies. Some people spend an hour or so at church and that’s all they give to God. Some become caught up in some new teaching, like the Lord has changed and now believes that homosexuality and adultery and divorce are okay, that we can get divorced if the love has gone in our marriage, or any other reason, and marital unfaithfulness—adultery—is the norm and not condemned. When we look at these three things, we see what drives these are lust, sexual lust. Not one of these sins is greater than the other. They are sins, equally offensive to God and not according to His nature of things. Far too often, people confuse lust with love. They have no idea that they must resist these things in order to live according to God’s way. It is far easier to give into lust and sin, than to overcome the desire of lust in our lives. Jesus even said that just looking is the same as committing the act of adultery. That divorce was not what God had wanted, that in the beginning that God created man and woman and that they should leave their mother and father and live as one: God created marriage between a man and a woman and that homosexuality is an abomination. We forget conveniently that God created things His way and between humans and the devil we have corrupted our lives.

“You have heard that it 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 His 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?” (Matthew 5:43-46) Right now, we are living in a society that teaches hate. If we speak out against what society is doing and preach the Bible, we are called haters and terrorists and the devil is using these people to try and make laws to say that we cannot preach the Bible or teach what it says. These people do such hateful things and are not tolerate of anything other than the lies they believe. But we who believe have to rise about all of this and pray for them and love them. We cannot show them God’s love if we sink to their level and hate the way they do. We may be persecuted by those who are confused by the devil but we must continue to preach God’s Word no matter what.

Learning the way of the Lord is going to take time because we have to learn to make the time. We have to learn to put God first in our lives and to go to His Word and to Him each day and learn from Him. Jesus showed us the way to live and He lived it out in His life. Jesus warned us about putting the teaching of man before the Word of God. It is said that if we are intolerant of those who sin against God, we are judging them and not being loving towards them, thus we are not being Christians. How clever is the devil. He knows the Word of God and uses it to confuse people who don’t. The devil knows how to make fools out of people and rob them of their Salvation. This little scheme of the devil has been going on for far to long. It is not judging when preaching the Word of God, it is an act of love so that those who are living in sin may learn God’s truth. “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:37-38). Seems pretty cut and dry. Do not judge, do not condemn, forgive, give. But Jesus goes on: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into the pit?” (Luke 6:39) If you don’t know God’s Word, how can you tell others what God’s Word says? “A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40). Have you allowed God to teach you? “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” (Luke 6:41). You have to examine yourself first and see and remove your flaws, your sins before you can help another. And the only way you can examine yourself is within the context of the Scriptures and of God. You have to allow the Holy Spirit to convict you of your sins, no matter how bad it will make you feel. And once you confess your sins to God and receive His forgiveness, you can forgive yourself and begin as a child and learn from God. “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Luke 6:42). Our own sins are always greater than another’s because they are our sins. So helping others with their sins is not judgment.

But there is hope for all. It will take giving God all of you not just what is left over. Giving God the best instead of saving the best for your self. It is in giving to God what is rightly due to Him instead of hoarding what we have and sharing. We have to realize though that God has the right to judge us, by His standards and not by ours. And we are fighting a spiritual battle, one that has been fought for a long time and will continue until the very end of what we know, until the time comes for what we hope for, is. We need to be merciful to one another, without withholding what is due to God. We must not judge by man’s standards, but we will be judged by God’s. We must not condemn by man’s standards, but we will be condemned by God’s. We must not forgive by man’s standards, but by God’s. We must not give by man’s standards but by God’s. God wants the best of who and what you are. He wants you to do to others as you would do to Him. He wants you to love others as you love yourself. “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from ME, for I AM gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

God’s way is not hard and the yoke He places upon us will not restrain us from having a wonderful life. He will lift our burdens and we will rest in Him and receive His strength. God’s love is gentle He will not force you to come to Him. He is humble enough that He became human so that He could teach us His way, His truth and His life. And the burden that He places upon us, to persevere, to stand and fight for Him, will not be hard, for God is with us and will never leave us. Stand firm then with the full armor of God, His belt of truth, His breastplate of righteousness, our feet fitted with readiness to preach His gospel of peace, our shield of faith so that the evil one cannot pierce us with the arrows of sin, His helmet of our Salvation and His sword of His Spirit which is His Word. And keep on praying and fearlessly make known Jesus Christ to all you meet. (Ephesians 6:10-20 paraphrased)

God bless you. And remember God loves you!

If you are ready to begin a relationship with God and make Jesus your Lord and Savior pray this prayer or just talk with God with your own words.

Father, I am at the end of this selfish life I have made and I need you. I don’t know what to do. All I know is that I need you. I’ve made a mess of my life. I confess my sins. Thank you for dying on the cross and taken my punishment for my sins. Thank you for forgiving me of my sins. I am redeemed! I make you the Lord and Savior my life. Amen.