Posted by: missionventureministries | June 14, 2018

TRUE AND FALSE DISCIPLES – Matthew 7:21-23

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’’ (Matthew 7:21-23)

According to these verses, who enters the kingdom? It is “…he who does the will of My Father in heaven”. Now what does it mean to “do the will of God”? 

Jesus warned His disciples about the broad road that leads to destruction, and following in verse 15 He warns about the danger of false prophets who lead people down that broad road. Verses 16 through 20 He tells them how to distinguish a genuine prophet from a false prophet. Very simply, Jesus says you will know them by their fruits. You must examine them very closely, because the better the counterfeit, the more carefully it must be examined before it is possible to determine that it is counterfeit. Jesus is saying that the doctrines they teach and the character of their lives reveal whether they belong to God or not. 

Then in verses 21-23 Jesus enforces His warning by saying that many of the false prophets will do and say wonderful and impressive things – “…they prophesied in His name, cast out demons in His name, and did many wonders in His name.” They do some very impressive things, but they are not of God. In verse 20 Jesus again says: “Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” 

So, the context of verses 21-23 is dealing with the false prophets. These false prophets may say, “Lord, Lord”, but they are not of God. 

A person can call Jesus Lord and not know who He is. The title “Lord” does not indicate that a person has a belief in Christ. Before Paul was convicted on the road to Damascus he called Jesus Lord but did not know who He was: “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting” (Acts 9:3-5). As we see, he calls Him Lord but doesn’t know who He is. 

Many could also be calling Jesus Lord in a hypocritical sense, meaning they’re calling Him Lord, but they don’t really believe in Him. Jesus called them: “You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me. ‘But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men'” (Matthew 15:7-9). So, the fact that they call Jesus Lord does not mean that they believe in who He truly is. 

We need to remember what Jesus said: “but he who does the will of My Father in heaven”. Jesus is clearly saying that only those whose life is characterized by obedience to all that the Father has commanded will have the privilege of being with Him for all eternity. He told them: “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.(John 6:35-40)

Being a Christian is more than just believing the right things, you must obey, which means to hear God’s Word and act accordingly. Biblical obedience to God means, simply, to hear, trust, submit and surrender to God and his Word. “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed” (John 8:31).

The New Testament teaches that salvation is by grace through faith. Faith is the instrumental means; grace is the efficient means of our salvation. We’re saved by Jesus Christ. We’re saved by His grace through faith. But we need to realize that Jesus also said:  “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15). That means that we need to be obedient.

Many people think getting saved means saying, “the sinner’s prayer” and then living life the way they used to. They believe some mystical thing happens at reciting a few words.

We need to understand that we must repent and forsake our sins and obey God’s word. As we keep reading the Bible and obeying what we read, the word will wash us and, by God’s grace, incredible changes will occur. Grace is defined as the divine influence which operates in humans to regenerate and sanctify and to impart strength to endure trial and resist temptation; it is a virtue of divine origin.

1 Peter 1:15-16 tells us: But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” 

And Paul writes to young Timothy: “Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity” (2 Timothy 2:19).  

The world is filled with false prophets who are speaking from lying spirits. These false prophets claim to speak for the Lord. But their message is not a message of repentance and obedience. It is a message of prosperity and blessings. Certainly we are blessed by the Lord, but our message is always to be a message of turning from the world, and turning to the Lord.

People say, “I believe Jesus is Lord,” yet they use filthy language, will not hear of repenting and stopping of doing evil, love everything this wicked world has to offer, don’t feel convicted of sin, and are not interested in the things of God. Does this person really believe they are going to heaven?

Many professed Christians do whatever they feel like doing no matter what – fornicating, watching all manner of wickedness and blasphemy on television, going to the movie theater to watch demonic movies, reading “satanic books”, etc. while claiming to be saved. 

Unsaved people do what Satan wants them to do.  Saved people are under the Lord’s commands. Where do you stand? We are either obedient or disobedient. Those who are living without regard for the righteousness of God, using God’s grace as a license to sin, and trusting grace to cleanse of sin are giving church people a false name. If Jesus is not your Lord and Master, he is not your Savior.

Saving faith will manifest itself in change. If no change occurs in a person’s life, we have plenty of scriptures to let us know that true conversion never took place to begin with.

We are not saved by our works, but when we are saved; our life will certainly reflect that decision by our good works. “Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:17). Do you obey God’s word?

The kingdom of heaven is not for those who merely address Jesus as Lord with their words, but who acknowledge Jesus as their Lord in their behavior. This contrast is made clearer in Luke’s version where Jesus says, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” (Luke 6:46) 

If you do not do the will of the Father, if you call Jesus Lord but don’t do what He says, you need to examine your relationship with Him. If you suspect that Jesus does not know you as this passage describes, you need to address it with Him in prayer right now. Go to Him and ask Him to save you and that you want Him to be the Lord of your life. 

  • Admit – and confess that you are a sinner and cannot attain eternal life by myself. Repent and turn away from your sin. (Romans 3:23)
  • Believe – and trust that Jesus Christ is God’s only Son who was crucified for your sins. (Romans 5:8)
  • Commit – and give your life to Jesus Christ and ask Him to be Savior and Lord of your life. (Romans 10:9) 
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Posted by: missionventureministries | June 7, 2018

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO HAVE TRUE FREEDOM IN CHRIST? – Galatians 5:1

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1) 

The Bible tells us that we are either slaves to sin or slaves to righteousness. Those who are slaves to sin cannot free themselves from it, but once we are freed from the penalty and power of sin through believing in His atoning sacrifice on the cross and making Jesus the Lord of our life, we become a different kind of slave, and find complete peace and true freedom in Christ. 

Why, then, do so many so called ‘Christians’ continue living as though they are still in bondage? It is because they are, and those with false faith do not recognize their own slavery to sin. Sin is the ultimate cause of evil, suffering and the lack of freedom. So, what does God want us to do about sin? Why does He command us to repent, and what is repentance? 

The Bible shows that repentance is a significant, personal, life-changing decision, because, repentance is characterized by an understanding of the seriousness of sin, a deep desire to be forgiven and a determined commitment to change our behavior and thoughts in order to stop sinning. Repentance is an unconditional surrender to God and to seek to do what God tells us. 

If we do not repent, we cannot be forgiven or receive the gift of eternal life and instead, we will receive the penalty of death that we deserved. But if we repent and submit to God, He will forgive and provide the help we need to change and prepare us for eternal life (Acts 3:19). 

Paul tells the Ephesians with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:22–24). 

A true Christian realizes that he has been crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20) and that he has been reborn as a complete new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17). The Christian life is one of death to self and being re-born to “walk in the newness of life” (Romans 6:4), and that new life is characterized by obedience to Jesus who saved us. 

It is vital that we strengthen the new freed nature by continually feeding on the Word of God, and through prayer to obtain the power we need to escape the desire to return to the old life of sin. Then we will realize that our new status as slaves to Christ is the only true freedom, and we will call upon His power to “not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires” (Romans 6:12). 

Jesus said: “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:34-36).  Freedom in Christ is the only true form of freedom, because it provides lasting freedom beyond this life. On the other hand, those with false faith are trusting in their own righteousness or religion to save them, not in Christ alone. 

A person who has experienced true freedom in Christ is called to live as His servant. The apostle Paul was an example of this, as many of his letters began with the introduction of himself as a “servant of Christ Jesus” (Romans 1:1). True freedom comes from knowing Christ through genuine faith, which comes by studying His word and consequently obeying His commandments. 

Remember, sin enslaves people causing spiritual death and eternity apart from God. Knowing Christ provides freedom from the control of sin, and eternal life with Him. 

We are set free to serve Christ because Christ’s word is the truth that truly sets us free when we abide in it. When we truly believe in Christ, He gives us the desire to please Him and gives us the ability to obey Him as we walk in the Spirit who lives in us. He gives us opportunities daily to say no to sin and selfishness and to serve others with love.

The most beautiful words a Christian wants to hear from Jesus is, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21), but first make sure you are really saved. The unbelieving will never hear those words, for “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6). And recognize that Jesus is not only your Savior; He also asks:  “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46).

And the most devastating words anyone believing to be a Christian will ever hear is: “Away from me, you evildoers!’ Because, “not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you’” (Matthew 7:21-23).

Please know that a true born again Christian has freedom in Christ, because the Scriptures tell us: “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death” (Romans 8:1-2).

Posted by: missionventureministries | May 31, 2018

IS GOD TRYING TO GET YOUR ATTENTION? – Psalm 119:67

Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word. (Psalm 119:67) 

To get our attention, God will allow suffering, sickness, adversity, anguish, trials, tribulations, and heartaches in our life. 

Your life may be one disaster after another, mostly because of your disobedience to God. In fact, God is always trying to get our attention, but sometimes we won’t listen until we have to pass through times of hardship or pain. 

God loves us, and He doesn’t want us to go through life from one crisis to another, instead, He wants us to build our life on a solid foundation which is founded on the truth of His Holy Word. If God didn’t love us, He wouldn’t bother trying to get our attention. 

He wants us to understand that we need Him. We need God’s forgiveness, His guidance and direction in life. We were not created only for this life, but for eternity, and God desire is for us to be with Him forever in heaven, that is why He sent His Son to teach us and to pay the price on the cross for our sins. Jesus came into the world to re-unite us with the Father. The Bible says, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). 

God used tragedy to bring people to Himself. Prior to accepting God’s call, Jonas fled from Nineveh and got on a boat, hoping this would get him away from what God was calling him to do. Shortly after the boat left the shore, a very bad storm came and started tossing the boat around. All the men were very afraid and they soon realize that Jonah was the cause, and he was tossed into the stormy waters, in hopes of appeasing an angry God. Jonah is then swallowed by a whale and while in the belly of the whale he finally comes to his senses and accepts his ‘call’. 

Maybe something radical, tragic has happened to you lately: bad news from a doctor, an accident or a close brush with death. Or maybe something else has gotten your attention. 

God wants what is best for us. For this reason, He will discipline us if we persist in sin, and will administer correction if we dishonor His name and His commands that are in the Bible. He says, “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent” (Revelation 3:19). 

Please understand that, “though the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, if you trust and obey Him, your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left” (Isaiah 30:20-21), and “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you” (Isaiah 43:2). 

If we try to cover up our disobedience and rebellion God will remove your sense of peace and joy, and the Holy Spirit will keep us under deep conviction until we humble ourselves and repent of our sin and rebellion. Some people have a tendency to exhibit a continuously disobedient and rebellious spirit; therefore, these people may have to be constantly chastised with losses and sometimes chronic pain to keep them from wrecking their lives and causing further dishonor to our Holy God. 

Always remember that God loves you: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).

Through trials and tribulations hopefully we will become wiser and will finally see things in a different light. We will know the difference between things that are truly valuable and those that are worthless, and thank the Lord by realizing that: “It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees” (Psalm 119:71). 

Just like the Psalmist, we too must learn that God’s word is essential to our spiritual growth and life, for without it we will wander and suffer many avoidable afflictions. 

Suffering and affliction helps us to learn God’s ordinances, it teaches us how to obey His Word and it helps us not to forget His Word, but to affirm, apply and obey it. It was not until after the Psalmist was afflicted that he changed his course into the right way of keeping God’s word, and we are no different than he.  

The Psalmist pain lead him back to the Lord and where he once served self, did what was right in his own eyes, he now obeys God’s Word. 

For many who are stubborn, disobedient and resentful, it is in troubles, crisis, pain, struggles and suffering where true spiritual growth takes place. So, let us, “Observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in obedience to Him, and keep His decrees and commands, His laws and regulations…Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go” (1 Kings 2:3). 

Could it be that God is trying to get your attention? How much pain and loss will you have to endure until you fully surrender your disobedient spirit to Him and start obeying His Holy Word?

Posted by: missionventureministries | May 24, 2018

THE LORDSHIP OF JESUS CHRIST – Luke 6:46

“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” – Luke 6:46 

It is vital to understand that Jesus Christ came to earth to reconcile us to the Father; He died on the cross to save us from an eternity in hell and to give us the free gift of salvation. It is critical to understand that when accepting Him as our Savior that we also need to make Him the Lord of our live. 

Many say, “Jesus is my Savior, but I haven’t yet made Him the Lord of my life.” Please understand that the only people ready for His return are those who daily seek to bring every area of their life under His Lordship. Obedience, is the mark of a true Christian and if you are not sure examine yourself to see whether you are in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5), because, those who are ready for Christ’s return seek to follow Him as Lord. 

Paul said, “You are not your own, for you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). 

Lordship teaches that a true profession of faith will be backed up by evidence of faith. If a person is truly following the Lord, then he or she will obey the Lord’s instructions. A person who is living in willful, unrepentant sin has obviously not chosen to follow Christ, because Christ calls us out of sin and into righteousness. Indeed, the Bible clearly teaches that faith in Christ will result in a changed life (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 5:22–23). 

To be ready for Jesus’ coming, we must live in expectation of His imminent return as He states: “Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching” (Luke 12:37), and He continues, “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Luke 12:40). 

If you’re expecting a guest, especially an important guest, you live differently. Your house will be spotless; all the beds will be made. Your yard will look presentable and you might even have some flowers in the house. You want things to be clean and neat because you are expecting a special guest. 

If you’re expecting the King of kings and Lord of lords, how should your life look? Would you be comfortable if He comes while you are watching an improper TV show, have undesirable magazines on your coffee table?  Jesus says that we should be ready immediately to open the door to Him when He comes and knocks (Luke 12:36). We shouldn’t have to yell, “Just a minute,” while we shut off the TV and hide a bunch of embarrassing stuff in the closet. 

So to be ready for Christ’s return, make sure that He is your Master; be involved in serving Him every day; and, live as if you expect Him to come back at any time. 

You might ask ourselves, am I living for today only, with no regard for the Master’s return and the accountability that He will demand? Are you unwisely putting it out of your mind by thinking, “I’ve got time”? Jesus says that we should be “like men who are waiting for their master when he returns.” We should live each day with the expectancy that one day “the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God” (1 Thessalonians 4:16), and that we will be blessed when the Master finds us ready when He comes for us. 

Here are some points to think about: 

  • Repentance is a change of mind from living in sin and rejecting Christ to accepting Him and rejecting sin (Acts 3:19). Genuine repentance, comes when a person submits to the lordship of Christ, resulting in a change of behavior (Acts 26:18–20). 
  • Faith is belief in Jesus Christ, not a promise, a prayer, or a creed (John 3:16). Faith must involve a personal commitment to Christ (2 Corinthians 5:15). It is more than being convinced of the truth of the gospel; it is a forsaking of this world and a following of the Master. True faith always produces a changed life (2 Corinthians 5:17). The inner person is transformed by the Holy Spirit (Galatians 2:20), and the born again has a new nature (Romans 6:6). 
  • Those who submit to the lordship of Christ follow Jesus, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). They love their brothers (1 John 3:14), obey God’s commandments (1 John 2:3), do the will of God (Matthew 12:50), abide in God’s Word (John 8:31), and keep God’s Word (John 17:6). 

Scripture teaches that Christ demands unconditional surrender to His will (Romans 6:17–18). Those who live in rebellion to God’s will do not have eternal life, for “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble” (James 4:6). 

Please understand that those who truly believe in Christ will love Him, and those we love we long to please (John 14:23). If a person remains unwilling to obey Christ, they provide evidence that their “faith” is in name only (1 John 2:4). A person may claim Jesus as Savior and pretend to obey for a while, but, if there is no heart change, his true nature will eventually manifest itself. This was the case for Judas Iscariot. On the other had a genuine believer may stumble and fall, but they will persevere in the faith (1 Corinthians 1:8), and this was the case for Simon Peter. 

Now, a “believer” who completely turns away from the Lord plainly shows that he was never born again to begin with (1 John 2:19), because a sinner who refuses to repent is not saved, for he cannot cling to his sin and the Savior at the same time. And a sinner who rejects Christ’s authority in his life does not have saving faith, for true faith encompasses a total surrender to God. Thus, the gospel requires more than making an intellectual decision or mouthing a prayer; the gospel message is a call to discipleship. The sheep will follow their Shepherd in submissive obedience and make Him the Lord of their life. 

We should not give unrepentant sinners false hope; rather, let us declare the whole counsel of God: “You must be born again” (John 3:7) and warn them that Jesus said: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).

Posted by: missionventureministries | May 17, 2018

JESUS’ ASTONISHING DOCTRINE – Matthew 7:28-29

“And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at His doctrine. For He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.” (Matthew 7:28-29) 

The Bible says they were “astonished at His doctrine” (teaching). They were flabbergasted; and who could blame them, they had truly never heard anyone speak or teach like Christ. 

The crowds were amazed at our Lord’s teaching, since their ears were used to listening to the Pharisaical teachers of the Law who were a mere reflection of authority, and not a very good one at that. Jesus on the other hand was and is the ultimate Authority. He possesses all power and knowledge; and this difference was extremely obvious to His hearers! 

The Pharisees were a mere pretense, unable to fulfill what they preached; they were reciting memorized passages, while Jesus, who spoke the world into being, spoke with authority. 

There were plenty of ‘rabbis’ who had devoted a lifetime to studying the Scriptures, yet Jesus’ teaching struck the crowd as special. He reminded them of the rewards for perseverance in loving God, He exposed God’s words as the bedrock they could trust, and then He revealed its meaning, contrasting His authority with traditional teaching. 

Jesus taught with an assured understanding of the law’s intent, and He was not simply reciting what the Scriptures said or quoting the prevailing opinions of the scribes; the professional theologians of their day and the authority in matters of ‘religious law’. His message was radically different from theirs and this left the crowd astonished. 

In Matthew 7:28 we find the first mention of “doctrine” (Greek didache) in the New Testament, and as such it is significant that it refers to the doctrines taught by Christ in the Sermon on the Mount. It is also significant that there are four other verses telling us that His hearers were “astonished at His doctrine” (Matthew 22:33; Mark 1:22; 11:18; Luke 4:32). 

No wonder He could speak with authority since: “My doctrine is not mine,” He said, “but His that sent me” (John 7:16).  

Paul could also teach this astonishing doctrine because he was careful to teach only the Word of God. And so can we if we likewise believe and teach only in the context of the inerrant, doctrinal authority of God’s Word.

Unfortunately, it has become fashionable today, even in many evangelical churches, to avoid “doctrine” in favor of “discussion” and “personal Christianity.” This is a great mistake and largely accounts for the increasing secularization of our society and the weak testimony of the Christian church. The Bible clearly tells us to hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that we may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it – Titus 1:9. 

Doctrine and teaching are the same, and therefore the Lord’s parting words to His disciples is to teach “all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20). This is an integral part of Christ’s great commission. It is imperative that we, like Paul, teach “all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:27), for “whosoever transgresses, and abides not in the doctrine of Christ, does not have God.” However, “he who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son” (2 John 1:9). 

So why should we study and teach Christian doctrine? 

  • Because it reveals truth about God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Scriptures, salvation, mankind, sin,  future events (etc.), giving us a correct perspective of the world we live in (John 17:17; 1 John 5:20). 
  • It reveals God’s work of redemption. It is truth that leads to salvation (John 8:31-32). 
  • It gives us instructions on how we should live (2 Timothy 3:16-17). 
  • It makes us aware of error and false teaching. We must first know the truth in order to recognize error (2 Timothy 2:15). 
  • Then, it enables us to defend the truth against error (1 Peter 3:15; 2 Timothy 4:3-5). 
  • It grows and strengthens our faith. (Ephesians 4:14).  

And the most important fact is that by applying doctrine, it will give us a greater motivation to live a holy and sanctified life for Him! (Colossians 2:6-7). 

Blessed are those who keep His testimonies (doctrines, teachings), and who seek Him with the whole heart! (Psalm 119:2)

 

Posted by: missionventureministries | May 10, 2018

WARNING AGAINST JUDGING OTHERS – Romans 2:1-4

Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? (Romans 2:1-4)

Chapter one of Romans portrayed a deplorable moral picture of the Gentile world; evil, idolatry, sexual perversion, and debauchery of every kind.   

Now we see Paul addressing the Jews who thought that they were better than the Gentiles and were passing judgment on them. He begins to address Jews without mentioning them by name, but telling the so called moralist that: “You are just as guilty as they are!” 

While “moralist” may not indulge in gross manifestations of sin as some do, all people have thoughts, motives, and attitudes at times that displease God. Paul’s point is that even “nice sinners” who pass judgment on others stand condemned. We need to remember what the Bible tells us that: “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8); and that we “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). 

The Jews had disguised their piety through “keeping of the Law”. If they had been honest, they would have confessed that the Law was impossible to keep and welcomed the opportunity to serve God faithfully and not in a hypocritical way. 

The Jews had accurately condemned the practices that Paul outlined in Romans chapter one, but they also practiced the things that they were condemning! This was hypocrisy of the highest order. They thanked God that they weren’t Gentiles, and then acted like the Gentiles that they looked down upon. 

We need to remember that many Jews esteem the Pharisees; Jesus knowing that the crowds faced spiritual peril if they follow these teachers in their actions reprimanded them sharply: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are” (Matthew 23:15). And He called them “snakes and a brood of vipers” in (Matthew 23:33). 

The Jews assumed that because they were God’s chosen people they would escape His wrath, just as many think today. In the Old Testament, they resisted the pronouncements and warnings of the prophets, feeling that calamity would never come, even though they were not keeping God’s commands. They felt that as children of Abraham, God somehow needed them; but they were wrong. It is so easy to feel spiritual superiority to others because of our spiritual heritage or because of our pretending to obey God. 

As Paul writes this, it is possible that he looked at his own life, since he had once been guilty of the same. Before he met Christ he was one of those proud, self-righteous people who looked down at the “bad” people around him. But when he met Jesus on his way to Damascus to kill the Christians, he began to realize through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that he was guilty of the same sins he was judging in others. 

We all have a tendency to criticize in others the sins we excuse in ourselves. We need to be aware that our own sins to which we are blind, do not distort our judgment of others. 

We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things (Romans 2:2).

God judges on the basis of truth, the actual condition of the person. He judges, the way things really are, not the way they appear; and one day, we personally are going to answer to Him. 

“Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” (Romans 2:3-4). 

At times we might ask ourselves: Why doesn’t God judge adulterers, child-molesters, mass-murderers, pedophiles, etc.? When we should focus on ourselves and ponder, “Why hasn’t God judged me yet for the things that I have done and still have not repented of or changed?” 

God delays His judgment because He’s kind and patient and wants to give us time to repent. But if we refuse to repent, the judgment will come; we can count on it. 

Please remember that God’s kindness, tolerance, and patience is not an opportunity to sin; it’s a call to repent! Repentance means we examine our own mind and heart first before we judge anyone else. God is patient: He used Noah to call wicked people to repent; Noah preached and taught about God’s love forgiveness, wrath and judgment for hundreds of years. Not one person repented – 7 billion people became more evil and wicked every day that they lived. They were so evil and rebellious that God had to kill all of them in the flood and He saved only 8 people; Noah and his family. 

The point in these verses is made very clear: if the moralist is just as guilty as the obvious sinner how will they escape the judgment of God? At the first coming of Jesus, the loving character of God was revealed with greatest emphasis; at the second coming of Jesus, the righteous judgment of God will be revealed very clearly. 

Jesus taught: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Matthew 7:1-2). 

So where do you find yourself?

 

Posted by: missionventureministries | May 3, 2018

STUBBORNESS LEADS TO GOD’S WRATH – Romans 2:5-6

But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God will repay each person according to what they have done. (Romans 2:5-6) 

The Bible divides the entire human race into two classes; the righteous who rejoice before God (Psalm 68:3) and the wicked, with whom God is angry every day (Psalm 7:11). The righteous are those who have true faith in Christ, and who have been renewed by the Holy Spirit. Their original selfishness and stubbornness is subdued and slain, and they live a new life through the ever present grace of Christ Jesus. 

Every sinner has the opportunity to experience God’s grace while he is alive; but needs to understand that in hell there is no grace. Man will be without any excuse at the final judgment and there will be no escape from the omniscient, omnipresent, almighty God. Jesus said, “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?” (Matthew 23:33). Neither atheists, pagans, false Christians or unbelieving Jews can escape God’s final, eternal judgment.

Paul writes, “Or do you show contempt for the riches of His kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4). All sinners experience God’s abundant goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering. In other words, God created us and provides for our every need; He does not leave us when we sin; and He is longsuffering toward us. He does not punish us instantly for our sins but waits patiently to see whether we will repent and think differently about Him, before it is finally too late. He waits to see whether we will forsake all our sins and turn to serve Him with all our mind, heart and soul. We need to understand that the purpose of God’s grace is to lead us to repentance.

God could have judged us long ago, instead, He shows the abundance of His kindness; yet many are willfully ignorant of the purpose of God’s goodness, are stubborn and refuse to repent. Peter tells us that God is patient with us, “not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

Sadly, the majority of people today abuse the goodness, patience, and longsuffering of God by stubbornly refusing to respond to God and making their hearts more hardened and unrepentant. Engaging in ever-increasing sin, they become more violent, wicked, and filthy, thus storing up for themselves God’s wrath as they live a sinful life, damned for an eternity in the Lake of Fire.

God’s judgment is a righteous judgment. “But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed” (Romans 2:5), and all unbelievers must look forward to such judgment.

“God ‘will give to each person according to what he has done’” (Romans 2:6). Every individual who ever lived shall be judged for what he has done while in the body. Every man, being God’s creation, is to obey God and worship Him only, and he will be judged for his actions. Did he conform to the truth of God, or exchanged the truth for a lie? Did he suppress the truth to practice wickedness? Paul is saying that each of us will be judged for what we have done. Then he writes, “There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil” (Romans 2:9).

Either we produce good works, evidencing our justification by faith, or we produce dead works, demonstrating our unbelief, stubbornness, un-repentance, and enmity against God. Those who are saved by grace through faith are to produce good works: “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).

Good works are God’s works; it is the fruit produced due to our vital union with Christ the vine. If we produce no fruit of obedience, we have no vital connection with Christ. It is true that we are not saved by works, but by faith alone; however, saving faith will always conform in obedience to God. Paul writes, “Jesus Christ, gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good” (Titus 2:14); therefore, for a Christian, doing good works is a delightful and natural thing to do.

So what is the final verdict of God’s judgment? Paul writes, “God ‘will give to each person according to what he has done.’ To those who by persistence in doing good, He will give eternal life, “but for those who are stubborn and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil” (Romans 2:6-9).

What can we do in the light of this sober truth of the final and eternal judgment? First, we must realize that those who have already died can do nothing. Their destiny has been sealed (Hebrews 9:27); but for those who are still living, there is great hope. Repent and believe on the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved. Jesus is the Judge, but He is also the only Savior of the world. The cross reveals God’s justice and wrath, but it also reveals His great love: “There is now therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).

No man can escape the Judge or the judgment, therefore, seek Christ and eternal life, and seek peace with God through repentance and faith. There are only two kinds of peoples, believers and unbelievers; only two ways, the broad and the narrow; and only two destinies, eternal life and eternal death. 

Which one will you choose? As for me and my house we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15)

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, 13 which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.14 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. 15 But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. (1 Corinthians 2:12-15) 

In these first 2 verses, we learn that God is delighted to reveal His deep thoughts to us as Paul writes, “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, 13 which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. 

How is it that some people can read a biblical passage and find it tiresome, confusing, or even foolish, whereas others receive great understanding and blessing from the very same passage? The answer is that many are functioning only by the spirit of the world, “the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2), while others are indwelled by the Spirit of God, having received the Holy Spirit when they trusted Christ for forgiveness and salvation. 

The moment we trusted in Jesus Christ and decide to follow and obey Him, we were given the Holy Spirit as a “guarantee” of your salvation (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:14). Therefore, the Holy Spirit has been provided to every believer so we can get God’s answers through the truth of His Word; and the Spirit of God, who knows the innermost thoughts of God communicate these realities to us. 

In contrast, Paul explains why some people do not respond to the Holy Spirit: “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. 

The “natural man” is a person who does not have the Holy Spirit. Their natural values are physical and material. A person like that cannot understand spiritual things. They are controlled by feelings, moods, urges and desires. They can only think by natural reasoning, logical choices made on the basis of goals centering like success, wealth, power, and pleasure. Such a person does not “accept the things of the Spirit God for they are foolishness to him.” This literally means they do not welcome the things of God and therefore cannot discern those things which are true, because they do not have the spiritual receiver, the Holy Spirit, to enable them to appreciate God’s truth. 

If you say that the Bible is too difficult to understand, that you do not have time for it because it is too boring, you need to understand that you have not been born again and you don’t have the Holy Spirit living in you. 

A newborn Christian may not have much knowledge about the Bible, but they have the desire to learn more and so seek the truth of God and are eager to ask questions, which is a sign that the Spirit dwells in them. 

As Paul continues he now gives a contrasting perspective: “But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one.” Spiritual persons are those Christians in whom the Spirit has become the fundamental power of life, and who consistently obey the teaching of Scripture. As a result, they have great potential for being used of God by the power of the Holy Spirit. Paul understood and preached the message of the cross he was a spiritual person with the ability to discern the hearts of the Corinthians. In contrast, their inability to comprehend the cross revealed their unspiritual condition and disqualified them from critiquing Paul (verse 15). 

The mature believer can therefore discern, appreciate, and understand the essence of spiritual truth. They pray about difficult issues and check God’s word for answers in everything they do; and by doing so; they have the assurance to take a position on values and issues that the natural world is totally confused about. In reality, the natural world can’t figure us out. We are a mystery, and they can’t understand why someone would volunteer for children’s ministry or youth ministry year after year, or give 10% of their income to the Lord’s work. They can’t appreciate why someone would want to talk about Jesus all the time and make Him the center of their attention. Our lifestyle appears strange to the people of this world and we hold convictions that other people don’t, we are kind and compassionate when others are cruel; this, because we have insight into the mind of Christ. 

Paul closes out this section with these dramatic words: “For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16). Here Paul quotes Isaiah 40:13 where the prophet was extolling the majesty and unfathomable mystery of God, and remind us that we can’t know the mind of God apart from the Holy Spirit. For without the light of God’s Spirit, we’ll be in the dark. 

The mind of Christ is the disposition to serve rather than to be served and to give our lives as servants for others, and this can be seen in a person’s understanding of the cross and whether they take up their cross daily to follow Christ (Luke 9:23). 

If you’ll commit your life to Jesus Christ, He will send the Holy Spirit the truth teacher to live in you and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free (John 8:32). You will finally have the ability to understand and will have a desire to learn and to obey His Holy Word. It is sad to see however that, light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds are evil (John 3:19). 

You have a choice though, “If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).

Posted by: missionventureministries | April 19, 2018

WARNING TO NOT CAUSE SOMEONE TO SIN – Matthew 18:6

“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” (Matthew 18:6) 

This is such an important message that Mark and Luke also refer to it. 

Being a stumbling block to “one of these little ones that believe in me” is a serious offense. The reference here is to a person that has been converted and becomes humble like a child. Jesus portrays the seriousness of causing a believer or an innocent child to fall into sin in a very graphic manner by saying that it would be better to have been killed by drowning in the deepest sea with a heavy millstone around ones neck. 

The millstone described here is a heavy and large rock that was hewn into a wheel shape and pulled around by a donkey.

This form of execution was used on occasion by the Romans to kill a criminal. This type of pagan execution would have been unimaginably horrible to Jews, yet Jesus said that suffering such a terrible death would be better than to cause one of these little ones to sin. 

As we read on, Jesus pronounces “woe” upon those that are such stumbling blocks and states that stumbling blocks are inevitable. It is certain that they are going to occur for two primary reasons. The first is that the world is sinful and hates God. Jesus said in John 15:18-19, “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” Because the world hates God, it also hates those that belong to Christ, and those who are worldly will use multiple means to try and cause people to stray from God. Methods used will include false doctrine to entice people’s desires, and some of those efforts will be demonically inspired and empowered (Ephesians 6:12). Sadly many of these methods will be by people who are friendly and appear to want to do something good for you, and the common element will be lies that depart from the truths of God’s word. 

We need to be aware that stumbling blocks are also cause by immature Christians that are still battling sin and will tear one another down instead of helping each other. That should not to be, but that is reality as seen both in the Bible and in the experience of your own life.

 Let’s take a look in the Bible since it is dangerous to think that only those who are not Christians will be stumbling blocks; since we need to be fully aware that Christians can also become stumbling blocks if we are not careful. 

Here are several warnings concerning this. Romans 14:13 tells believers to determine “not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way.” And 1 Corinthians 10:32 warns believers not to be an “offense” or a point of “stumbling” to Jews, or to Greeks, or to the church of God. Christians should not cause believing brethren to fall into sin, nor prevent non-Christians from coming to Christ because of their conduct in promoting sin. 

What are some of the ways that believers may entice or be enticed into sin? Direct enticement to sin may come about through counsel that proves to be ungodly. Giving unbiblical advice promotes sin, and the one giving such advice is causing God’s children to stumble. These people are in grave danger of being addressed one day with the same words the Lord warned in Matthew 7:23, “I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.” 

Direct inducement to sin also comes when you try to get someone to agree to your own sinful practice. For instance: A husband or wife that takes their spouse out to some immoral form of entertainment, when Ephesians 5:25-27 tells husbands to lead their wives into purity, not impurity. Another way is watching violent demonic and pornographic movies in your home in the presence of your children and disregarding their pleas to turn it off because they are scared. 

People can also stumble through our actions, since the example we set may lure another person into sin as they imitate us. This is especially important in the home because children are so easily impressionable and emulate what their parents are doing. We need to also understand that new Christians and immature Christians are also very impressionable; and because they are not yet well acquainted with God’s word, they often end up believing that godliness is whatever the “more mature Christian,” is doing. 

Here are some questions to ask yourself: How faithful are you to the Lord, your wife and to your family? What is your attitude towards tithing? What do you watch on TV or what movies do you go to see? What kind of employee are you, do you steal from your boss? What kind of clothes do you wear…do you reveal too much? 

There is a story is told of a man that loved drinking more that his family. On night he snuck out to go to his favorite bar. On his way home he heard soft footsteps in the snow behind him. There was his five year old boy who said when he caught up to his father, “I’m trying to follow in your footsteps, daddy.” 

What kind of example are you setting for those who are following you? Each of us needs to heed the admonition that Paul gave Timothy, “. . . in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe” (1 Timothy 4:12).

You can also be a stumbling block by the manner in which you deal with others. When you speak, is it the truth in love? Or do you speak with the condemning judgment that Jesus warned about in Matthew 7:1-4? Do you respond to other believers in ways that will build them up or tear them down? Parents are specifically told in Ephesians 6:4 “Do not provoke your children to anger.” And Colossians 3:21 adds, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children, that they may not lose heart.” The principles in these verses have a wider application than just for parents. 

Frustration and anger can easily result when you show favoritism or demand unrealistic expectations. If you are critical more than encouraging you can cause another person to lose heart. When you are insensitive, unloving and unkind, you can cause fellow members of the body of Christ to fall into sin. 

1 John 2:10 speaks to the primary issue of how to prevent from being a stumbling block telling us that, “anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble.” The more you abide in the light, that is, walk in the Spirit obeying the directives God has given in the Scriptures, and the more you love your brother, the less you will be a cause of someone else falling into sin. 

The pursuit of holiness is the cure for both problems of either being led astray or leading someone else astray. Anything that morally or spiritually traps you, causes you to fall into sin or to stay in sin, should be eliminated quickly and totally. 

Every Christian is to consider himself to be crucified with Christ, dead to sin, and alive to righteousness. Therefore, examine yourself and make sure you are in the faith and that the Holy Spirit lives in you. This  will end the selfishness that prods pettiness, discontentment, being controlled by emotions and a host of other sins. 

Each of us needs to abide in the light, strive after holiness, and love one another so that there will be no cause of stumbling.

And remember that: “To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen” (Jude 1:24-25).

Posted by: missionventureministries | April 12, 2018

HAVE THE MIND OF CHRIST – Philippians 2:5

“Let this mind or attitude be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:5) 

Jesus Christ’s example of humility helps us to see the apex of virtue from which the apostles drew illustrations and admonitions for us. Jesus gave up inexpressible glory to take upon Himself the humble form of humanity and perform the lowliest of services for us. He consented to be without distinction or honor and was willing to be despised and rejected by mankind. When He laid aside his former rank and dignity, He became a lowly servant, yet now He is exalted above everything and everyone. He set this example for us that we might overcome self-exaltation and develop true humility. 

His humility was the highest example that could be provided for us. Jesus left heaven and all His majesty, and took upon Himself the most inferior form of humanity, so that He might benefit us with a renewed relationship with the Father. 

We need to understand that although salvation is free, it is not cheap since it required the Creator Himself to become man and submit to an agonizing death on the cross. And, by the same token, although our salvation is not conditioned on any meritorious acts of our own, the standard by which we must measure our lives is nothing less than the perfect life of Jesus Christ. In the first place, our words and deeds are to be compared to His: “For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps” (1 Peter 2:21). Our standard of holiness is to be the same as His life of holiness as Peter stated: “But like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior” (1 Peter 1:15). 

If we truly follow His steps, they may well lead to suffering and persecution, but “the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked” (1 John 2:6), and this involves a willingness to be “crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20). 

One of the things that we need to keep in mind is that God the Father did not withhold suffering from His Son and our Savior Jesus Christ. He shared suffering with us despite His high status as God in the flesh and lived a totally sinless life. He did this to be our Savior. He did it in order to be our example. 

Jesus maintained a perfect attitude in every situation. He prayed about everything and worried about nothing. We, too, should seek God’s guidance about every aspect of our lives and allow Him to work out His perfect will. Jesus’ attitude was never to become defensive or discouraged. His goal was to please the Father rather than to achieve His own agenda (John 6:38). In the midst of trials, He was patient. In the midst of suffering, He was hopeful. In the midst of blessing, He was humble. Even in the midst of ridicule, abuse, and hostility, He “made no threats . . . and did not retaliate. Instead He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23). 

When Paul writes that our “mind or attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus,” he had summarized in the previous two verses what such an attitude was: selflessness, humility, and service. “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4). 

In other words, the attitude a Christian should reflect is one that focuses on the needs and interests of others. Without question, that does not come naturally to us. When Christ came into the world, He established a whole new attitude to relationships with others. One day when His disciples were arguing among themselves regarding who was to be greatest in His kingdom, Jesus said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:25-28). 

Jesus is teaching us that, when we become preoccupied with our own things, it can cause conflicts and other problems with people we know. Instead, God wants us to have an attitude of serious, caring involvement in the concerns of others, meaning “let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” 

Paul speaks more about this Christ like attitude in his letter to the church in Ephesus: “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24). Many religions of today, including the New Age philosophies, promote the old lie that we are divine or that we can become gods. But the truth of the matter is that we will never become God, or even a god. Satan’s oldest lie was promising Adam and Eve that, if they followed his advice, “you will be like God” (Genesis 3:5). 

Each time we try to control our circumstances, our future, and the people around us, we’re only demonstrating that we want to be a god. But we must understand that, as creatures, that is an impossibility. God doesn’t want us to try to become gods; instead, He wants us to become like Him, taking on His values, His attitudes, and His character. We are created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:24). 

Finally, we must always keep in mind that God’s ultimate goal for His children is the transformation of our minds into the attitude of godliness. He wants us to grow spiritually, to become like Christ. This doesn’t mean losing our personalities but transforming our minds to be Christ like. Again, Paul tells us, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2). 

It is God’s will that we develop the kind of mindset described in the Beatitudes of Jesus (Matthew 5:1-12), that we exhibit the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), that we emulate the principles in Paul’s great chapter on love (1 Corinthians 13), and that we strive to pattern our lives according to the characteristics that Peter describes in (2 Peter 1:5-8). 

So being, “let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5).

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