Sunday, September 24, 2017

We Exist To Do Good Works For Others #JesusFollowers

Jesus teaches that we exist to love and acknowledge God, and to love and acknowledge the other human beings around us. 

Selfishness can't play any part in our lives, if we have accepted a call to serve Jesus as our God-appointed Master.

Recognizing the needs of others around us, and acting to serve those needs, is what Jesus calls us to do. 

If we believe this, then worshiping God simply as a means to advance our own lives, our own desires, and our own wants, is completely contrary to the teachings of the one we call "lord" (which in fact means 'Master,' and should always be read as such.) (Luke 6:46)

To arrogantly say that we will give Jesus praise, and even worship, but not obedience, is something for which he did not ask, and against which he specifically warned. (Matt. 7:21)

And merely seeking to save ourselves - both here and eternally - while neglecting the needs of others, is a false religion.  (Luke 9:25; James 1:27)

Instead, Jesus, the one whom God anointed as our example, calls us to deny ourselves, and serve others with every fiber of our being, so that we might be an example and light to the world. (Luke 4:18; Matt. 16:24; 5:16)

The God of the universe, says Jesus, created us to serve and love God, and one another (John 13:34.)

Jesus replied, “This is the most important [commandment]: ‘Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is One Lord, and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31)

We are not relieved of our obligation to serve by saying that other teachers after Jesus taught we are born unable to do Good Works, that we are not required to serve others, or even that a government will do the work for us.

"If you love me, you will keep my commandments," says Jesus. (John 14:15)

Simply ignoring or abdicating to others our duty to ACT to love and serve our neighbors doesn't get us off the hook with God.

No, the words of our Master take precedence over those who came after him, and even those who claim to speak in his name, even as they downplay his commands. We have one Master, and one God who sent him out to preach to the world. (Matt. 6:24; 24:35.)

Jesus' words, he said, were not spoken on his own authority, but on God's (John 14:10) and Jesus said his actions always pleased God (John 8:29) making him our perfect example in all things.

Jesus does not tell us to pray for riches, for advancement, wealth, or status (Matt. 23:11-12; John 8:50). He preaches nothing but our duty to do Good Works as a means of bringing in an Earthly kingdom - a pattern of God's will, made manifest here and now, a mirror of the perfection that exists with God in Heaven. (Luke 4:43; Matt. 6:10)

So we cannot pass off our duty to serve others to our neighbors, to a religious institution, or our government. We must act, says Jesus, to fill our neighbors' needs. And only those who do act are doing the will of God. (Luke 6:46-49)

"Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand even more." (Luke 14:48)

And let's not worry about whether we are trying to "earn our Salvation" by our Good Works. Jesus and the God of Israel consistently say that we will be judged ONLY by our works, and that those Works will be judged only by our creator, not by ourselves, and not by our neighbors or our pastors. (Matt. 5:20, 12:37, 16:27, 19:17, 25:41-46; Luke 10:26-28; John 5:29, Matthew 25:41-46.)

Either judging our own works "good enough" to earn heaven or (perhaps worse) NOT good enough, is not our call. It's God's call alone. (Psalm 62:12; James 4:12; Matt. 7:1; 16:27)

"Surely there is a reward for the righteous; surely there is a God who judges the earth." (Psalms 58:11)

While Jesus does say that we are not to brag about our Works of service simply for the sake of bragging (Matt. 6:1) we are nonetheless called by him to perform those Good Works on behalf of others who are suffering and in need, in order to emulate the example of Jesus, for all the world to see.

“I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you” (John 13:15.)

Let us pray to God our Father to renew and perfect the spiritual strength He  granted us at birth, further equipping us to serve Him more perfectly by serving others.

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