Posts Tagged ‘Christians


Christian Affection

As Peter concludes his first letter, he tells the first century Christians to show affection toward one another. He wrote in 1 Peter 5:13-14 (NLT):

Your sister church here in Babylon sends you greetings, and so does my son Mark. 14 Greet each other with a kiss of love. Peace be with all of you who are in Christ.

Peter says Christians are to greet each other with a kiss of love. There are a few other places in the New Testament where Christians are instructed to show affection for one another in this way. It was probably a normal greeting for people living in that part of the world at that particular time. The principle behind this command is that Christians are to be warm and friendly with one another. The church should be like a big family. We should show affection to one another in an appropriate way. For some, that is a hug. For others, a handshake will suffice. Still for others, a kiss on the cheek is a sign of affection. The point is that we need to express our love for each other in the church to remind one another that we’re all in this together. Together, we’re better than we are apart. May peace be with you in Christ Jesus.


Are We Gentle?

Christians in America don’t have the best reputation. We’re known as many different things. We’re accused of being closed-minded, bigoted, homophobic, angry, judgmental and racist. We’re not known for the things for which we should be known. We’re not known as loving, kind, peaceful and gentle. The apostle Paul talked about that last one to the Philippians. He wrote:

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. – Philippians 4:5 (NIV)

What if we could be known as gentle? What if we dealt gently with people who don’t know the Lord yet? Instead of being defensive, judgmental and angry, we need to be gentle and humble. Why? Paul said that the Lord is near. As time is winding down, we should be gently urging people to turn to Jesus for forgiveness and salvation. The more we yell, get defensive or judge, the less success we’ll have in convincing people that our gentle Savior is the Way, the Truth and the Life. So be gentle in your dealings with people today and may the Lord use our gentleness to open doors of opportunity to tell people about Jesus.

Effective And Productive

In verses 5-7, Peter lists several virtues that Christians should be adding to their faith. Virtues such as goodness, self-control, godliness and love. Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t mean sitting back and taking it easy once you become a child of God. There’s work to be done. Peter says this very thing. He wrote:

For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. – 2 Peter 1:8 (NIV)

The good news is that God does not leave us up to our own devices to add these virtues. He fills us with His Spirit to help us in our faith. As we grow in faith, we are more effective and productive in serving the Master. We are more effective in loving our neighbor as ourselves. We are more productive in sharing the good news of Jesus. We have a job to do and to be effective and productive, we need to surrender to God’s Spirit and allow Him to change us.

The People Of God

Christians are God’s people, not by lineage or ethnicity, but by mercy. Under the old covenant, the children of Israel were God’s people by their ethnic heritage. Under the new covenant in Jesus’ blood, His followers, though they are not of one race, have been made the people of God. Here’s what Peter said:

Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. – 1 Peter 2:10 (NIV)

The mercy of God was extended to the whole world through the cross of Jesus. Jesus took the punishment that we deserved upon Himself so we would be spared the wrath of God. We deserve God’s wrath, but instead He poured it out on His Son. We don’t have to suffer the consequences of our sin because Jesus did it for us. He who never sinned in any way suffered as though He was the worst of sinners. His blood that was shed on our behalf made us the people of God.

Love From The Heart

There is no better way to define the message of Christianity than in a single word: love. The very last command Jesus gave His followers was to love one another. He summed up three years of teaching with this one command. The apostle John and the apostle Peter both reiterated this command in their letters. Peter wrote:

Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. – 1 Peter 1:22 (NIV)

When we obey the truth of Jesus’ message, we have true, unconditional love for each other. Peter wants us to take it a step further. We are to love each other deeply and from the heart. We bear each other’s burdens. We serve one another in love. We sincerely forgive one another and we don’t hold grudges. We pray with and for one another. Love is not optional for the followers of Jesus. It is a result of a life transformed by the love of Christ.

No Favorites In Church

Jesus said it and James did too, God doesn’t play favorites and neither should we. This is what James said:

My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. – James 2:1 (NIV)

James gives the example of two people coming into a gathering of believers. One is obviously wealthy and the other is obviously from the poor side of the tracks. The wealthy believer is shown preferential treatment and the poorer person is not shown the same attention. This should not be the case.
If a church plays favorites, they are directly in violation of God’s commands. God’s grace is the same for all regardless of age, gender, economic status or past. We cannot show favoritism to the wealthy just because they’re on a higher rung of society or to garner some kind of favor from them. We may be tempted to kowtow to the wealthy to fund our ministries or to reach their wealthy friends. The key is to devote ourselves to the truth of the Gospel first and foremost and not play favorites. Otherwise, we’ll be tempted to water down the Word of God so as not to offend those who may be living high on the hog.

The New Clothes

Good Monday morning to you! After taking some time to talk about the ways we used to live and how they are inappropriate for God’s people, Paul turns to how we should live now. He says:

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – Colossians 3:12 (NIV)

Since we are all one in Christ and Christ is in us, we must live differently than the ways we used to live. One of the most important aspects of being a follower of Jesus is that we put others before ourselves. Instead of putting ourselves first, we put Jesus first and then others. We are to be compassionate, kind and humble. We are to be gentle and patient when we deal with others. This is counter-intuitive and counter-cultural. It’s not how the world operates. However, it is how we operate because we don’t belong to the world anymore.

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