1 Corinthians 16:13-14 (NIV) – “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 14 Do everything in love.”
“The four commands [v.13] correspond to what an army commander might say to someone on guard: keep awake, stand firm, be brave, be strong! The guard must stay awake and alert in case of any danger. Not only so; he must know his ground and not give way. When actual danger threatens, bravery is required to face up to it. When he has to deal with it, he needs to act with all his strength.
“Paul sees the church in Corinth in danger from many things. You can’t just drift along in the Christian life, hoping things will work out somehow. Precisely because of the nature of the gospel itself, those who are embraced and called by it have to take responsibility for what’s going on. He wants them now to assume that responsibility for their own spiritual health, and for the ongoing work of the gospel. At every stage they will need each one of these commands. But, in the process…‘Everything you do must be done in love;’ that has been the keynote of the whole letter, and Paul wants to remind them of it…” [Wright, N.T.. Paul for Everyone: 1 Corinthians. 234-235]
This week let everything we do be in love. Let’s pray and ask the Lord to help us take loving responsibility for seeing the gospel flourish in our churches and ministry. And let’s sing/pray the worship song, “One Thing” (click here) by Hillsong.
John 15:12-13 – “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
We treasure Jesus by joining Him the joy of Real love.
When we treasure Jesus, whose love and glory is so beyond our ability to contain Him, He is going to burst through our seams and overflow with His wonderful love, joy, and hope to those around us. Our delight and excitement in Jesus will burst wide open with His ways in us. His glory and greatness, and His joy for the world can’t be contained when it is so treasured and enjoyed to the max in us.
This joy is a vacuum into God’s love and delight for those who we get to be with or work with. And this is ultimately because God’s incredible love in Jesus has pulled us into His joy and abundant grace. Remember, “Christ is most magnified in us when we are most satisfied in Him” (John Piper).
Treasuring Jesus in real love is the grace of God and privilege of revealing and glorifying Him – making much of Him in our overflowing joy that loves by gladly seeking the hearts and needs of others. Treasure Jesus today by joyfully joining Him in really loving others. Let’s pray, asking for this abundant delight that joyfully overflows in loving others. And let’s also sing to “Rooftops” by Jesus Culture.
Hebrews 12:1b-3 – “…let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
We treasure Jesus in the midst of hardship or sorrow by conSidering the magnitude of what He has done for the things we may go through, including our sin and shame.
Helping the church put their difficulties and sufferings in proper perspective the author does not tell them, “to ‘consider’ Christ’s sufferings but to ‘consider’ Christ himself who has suffered. Thus, this verse emphasizes the magnitude of his sufferings and the finality and continuing validity of his triumph in order to magnify him.
“…They are to ‘consider’ Christ as the one who has been fitted by successful endurance of the worst to sustain them in whatever they face…They should come to the full realization of who he is. It is because he is one who has overcome that they need not ‘become weary, giving up in their very souls.’” [G. Cockerill, The Epistle to the Hebrews]
Let’s pray bringing all that has wearied and burdened our hearts into the greatness of all that Jesus has done, putting our trust in Him. Treasure Him for what He has done, especially within the midst of what is hard. Let’s sing to, “Peace Be Still” led by The Belonging Co.
Philippians 4:8 – “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
We treasure Jesus by the Renewing of our thoughts and thinking about this life. How we think about life determines how we will live life…moment by moment, decision by decision.
Philippians 1:21 says, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
“…Paul’s point is that life and death, for a Christian, are acts of worship—they exalt Christ and magnify Him and reveal and express His greatness—when they come from an inner experience of treasuring Christ as gain. Christ is praised in death by being prized above life. And Christ is most glorified in life when we are most satisfied in Him even before death.
“The common denominator between living and dying is that Christ is the all-satisfying treasure that we embrace whether we live or die. Christ is praised by being prized. He is magnified as a glorious treasure when He becomes our unrivaled pleasure. So if we are going to praise Him and magnify Him, we dare not be indifferent as to whether we prize Him and find pleasure in Him. If Christ’s honor is our passion, the pursuit of pleasure in Him is our duty.” [John Piper, The Dangerous Duty of Delight]
Let’s pray and ask the Lord to fill our lives with passion to honor Jesus and pursue our pleasure in Him. Treasure Jesus in all your thoughts today. Let’s sing to, “How He Loves” led by Passion, ft. D. Crowder.
2 Corinthians 3:16-18 – “But whenever anyone turns to the Lord,the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit,and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory,are being transformed into his imagewith ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
“I saw more clearly than ever, that the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was, to have my soul happy in the Lord.”– George Mueller, the great prayer warrior and lover of orphans.
We treasure Jesus by experiencing the Transforming grace of contemplating Him. Salvation is the reality of ‘contemplating’ or ‘treasuring’ Jesus. It is the invitation to gaze and enjoy the Lord by being in His presence and enjoying His grace and mercy toward us. As 2 Corinthians 3:18 proclaims, in this ongoing experience we are changed and we become more and more like the One we treasure…Jesus.
The Holy Spirit will make this the most profound and deepest of all experiences. Loving Jesus is treasuring Him, pursuing Him, enjoying Him, and really knowing Him. Treasuring Jesus is making much of Him and the wonders of His love for us. That is our reality and life.
Let’s thank the Lord today and praise Him…‘contemplate’ and make much of Him in your heart. And let’s worship to, “Worthy is the Lamb” led by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir.
Matthew 13:44 – The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
“All of life is a seeking after value. Sometimes we find value fortuitously and sometimes with great effort, but often our sense of value is skewed. We need to aim higher. Our relation with God is the most important part of life. All our other pursuits are trivial by comparison. More specifically, understanding what God has done in Christ and following Christ are more valuable than all else we possess or seek…The gospel we proclaim must deserve and explain the label ‘treasure,’ and our lives must express the ultimate value found in Christ.” [Snodgrass, Stories with Intent, 247]
Here in this passage the treasure is likened to the kingdom of heaven. And this kingdom is simply the reality of being in the presence and in relationship with the King – King Jesus. Therefore the implications are this, our faith means not only believing a truth about Jesus, but finding a treasure. Loving Jesus is treasuring Him and setting our hearts on discovering more and more of who He truly is. As we begin our week let’s set our hearts on finding all that Jesus has for us. Let’s pray that we will treasure Him in all that we seek and sacrifice.
Let’s also worship to the song, “Fullness“ by Elevation Worship.
Exodus 3:13-15 (NIV) – Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.'” God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’ “This is my name forever, the name you shall call me, from generation to generation.'”
Salvation and our answers in life to all our issues and needs are found in “I AM” and who He is. The answer to Moses’ fears and confusion were not in the details of the plan, but in the One who has the plan. God will accomplish His plan, in His name, on His terms, and for His glory and the people’s blessing. He did this in Christ for us, and in Christ His plan will continue to be accomplished in and through us, His Church.
In Jesus and the faith we have graciously been given, we live out God’s plan. His plan unfolds as our hearts and lives align under His name. “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:9-11). This is the plan, this is what being saved is all about, and this is how God brings us into Plan A – to bring His glory and salvation in our generation.
Let’s pray and ask the Lord to bring every area of our lives under the Name (authority) of Jesus; and, that at His name in our lives we will bow and worship Him, we will joyfully follow Him, and we will obediently love like He loved us. Let’s end singing to, “Exalted Over All” by Vertical Worship.
Exodus 3:11-12 (NIV) – But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”
“In reply to Moses’ qualms, the Lord, in effect, said to him – and this is reflected throughout 3:11–4:17 – ‘But what about me? Are you taking me into account? Where are your eyes fixed?’ The Lord did not take away – or even promise to take away – Moses’ nervousness, or to impart boldness to him. He did, however, call him to a position of trust. Consequently, the proposed solutions to Moses’ problems involved him resting in the Lord’s presence (3:12), bearing simple testimony to the Lord’s revelation of truth about himself (3:14)…
“Exodus is very clear about where true Christian service begins. It begins in the presence of the Lord. The Lord said to Moses, ‘I am sending you to Pharaoh’ (3:10), but before he sent him out he brought him in and let him stand in his presence and commune with his God. The biblical preparation for service is always that we be found in the presence of the Lord.” [Motyer, J. A. The Message of Exodus (The Bible Speaks Today Series), p. 61,63]
What a privilege and honor to be invited into God’s presence through faith in Jesus Christ. God’s presence is our assurance and hope in the midst of His plans. Can you hear the Lord’s patient words to you today, ‘But what about me? Are you taking me into account? Where are your eyes fixed?’ Fix your eyes on Jesus, put your trust in Him, and let the hope of the Gospel guide your thoughts, sweeten your words, and empower your love for those that God is coming to rescue. Let’s ask the Lord to fill us with His Presence today, for His glory and honor in all we do. And let’s worship to, “This We Know” by Vertical Worship.
Exodus 3:7-10 (NIV) – The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. 8 So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.9 And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”
“God is a sending God. Notice three parts to this commission: (1) God’s motive, (2) God’s purpose, and (3) God’s plan. God’s motive is especially seen in verses 7 and 9… God hears the groans of people who genuinely cry out to Him…. Notice also God’s purpose. His purpose is to transfer His people. He will take them out of Egypt and put them in a place with milk and honey (3:8). It is a land occupied by other nations, and they will have to conquer them later. God is going to save them from something (slavery) for something (worship and witness). That is exactly what has happened to us in the gospel. Finally, see God’s plan. After revealing His great purpose of redemption, God told Moses the plan: ‘You’re it.’ God says, ‘I am sending you’ (v.10). God is a sending God.” [Merida, Tony. Exalting Jesus in Exodus (Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary), p. 24-25]
God’s plan is the only plan, His plan includes each one of us experiencing His salvation from something (slavery and sin) for something, worship and witness of His glory and love. As we experience the glory of God’s Presence in our lives, that experience is to become an expression of God’s likeness and love to others. It is the natural outcome – the norm – of a people embraced by God and transformed in His glory. What is most natural to you today? In Christ, the most natural thing is to be like Him for the world to see and know.
Today, let’s say, “Yes Lord, I will go and live Your plan today.” Let’s ask the Lord to make what is most natural to us in Christ – to display His glory and love – be what is most expressed to those we interact with. Let’s pray that the Lord will open the doors to reveal His grace and mercy through us. And as we pray and come into the presence of the Lord, let us worship to Matt Redman’s song, “Gracefully Broken.”
Exodus 3:5-6 (NIV) – Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.” “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.
God’s holiness is our beginning point. Being called by God means being confronted by His holiness. This was the first lesson Moses learned as God was preparing him for the task ahead. God’s holiness may not be something we readily frame our calling as Christians within. We are aware and ‘know’ God is holy, but the immediate reality and awe of His holiness don’t often register in our day to day activities. In part, because life feels so unholy.
But it is this same Holy God that Moses stood before that also confronts us into this calling and life of love. Because God is holy, His plan is holy. It will honor Him and bring Him glory. And it is and will always be the perfect plan for us – pure in love, perfect in its outcome, and good in all its ways. Not only will it accomplish His purpose but we will be transformed through it. It’s in this deep understanding and awe, that we truly realize just how great and amazing our salvation really is. And what is even more humbling, more sobering is that the one and only Holy God extends His invitation to us, so lacking in perfection and holiness, to join Him…to be His plan.
Hebrews 10:19-23 (NIV) – “Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”
As we pray today, let us draw near to God through Christ with a sincere heart and with full assurance that faith brings. In Christ we have been washed of the old ways and brought into the holy and pure way of God. Let’s ask the Lord to deepen our sincerity for His plan in and through our lives, and let’s ask Him to strengthen and empower our resolve to love Him and bring Him glory today. Let’s sing to Matt Redman’s, “Greatest Hallejuah.”