Work and keep for our salvation

A. Stories

There lived a father that had 3 sons. One day, his 3 sons are going to go to school. The father gave them 3 houses and 3 keys. A, the first son, took it. B took it too. But C, he didn’t even care about that key. He ignored and didn’t take the key.

After the school, the 3 boys went to home. But because C didn’t take the key, he couldn’t enter his new house.
And in the middle of A and B’s journey, B lost his key, and he searched for it for a long, long time, but he didn’t even found it.
But A didn’t lost his key. He kept and guarded his key, because he know, the key is the only way to enter his new house, and without it, he would lost forever.

So A, B, C, met their father. The father proudly let A enter his new house. But to B and C, the father was angry at them, for losing and not taking the key. He threw out them from their new houses. They was not able to enter those house forever.

B. Reflection and meaning

The father was our Lord God. The 3 sons were humans with 3 different types. The key (it was the same key, but copied to 3) was salvation that God gave through Jesus Christ. So this is the types of humans:

A: Humans that accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior, and work hard to keep their key, their salvation. Note that the key is from the father, but A only work hard to KEEP the key, not to OBTAIN the key.

B: Humans that accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior in the beginning, but then missed the key. They lost it, because they just didn’t care about it, just “do as you want to do”, not guarding and not keeping the key. In other words, apostasy.

C: Humans that didn’t know or didn’t accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior.

So from the story it’s really clear that we must work hard to maintain our salvation. No such things as OSAS, no such things as hypergrace. In fact, in one of Jesus’ parables, He stated the one who received the seed on the path, on the stones, in the thorns. It means that they received Him as their Savior, but then apostate.

And Apostle Paul made it clear again with this verse:

* Philippians 2:12
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence, but so much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

Look at the bold words. WORK OUT your own salvation with fear and trembling. So it’s clear, we must do the works of God to keep our salvation, not just keep silence. Just look what happened to those who kept silence in Matthew 25:31-46

הַלְּלוּיָהּ – Halelu-Yah!

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Drink the Living Water

A. Stories

  • There was a man, with bleeding disease. His friend tell him to go to his hospital, but he only answered, “No, I’m fine, no need to”. His friend had asked him so many times, but he just refused it. Then, it comes, he died, because of blood lost.
  • A man runs, really long, than he got tired. His friend offered him water, the first he reject it, but then because he became more and more weak, he accept it. Then, his strength recovered.

B. Explanation

  • Story 1: The man is people in this world. The hospital’s owner is God. When people sick, God offer salvation, through Jesus Christ, – Jesus is the treatment, blood transfusion, infusion, etc. – when he rejects it, he must be die.
  • Story 2: The runner is people in this world. The man who offered water is God. The water is Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit. When we are in spiritual dryness, God offer us Jesus Christ, so that we might receiver the Holy Spirit, so our spiritual dryness will be healed. When we reject, our condition get worse, but when we accept, we were recovered, healed.

C. Bible Verses

  1. * John 4:10
    KJV, Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.
    Textus Receptus, απεκριθη ιησους και ειπεν αυτη ει ηδεις την δωρεαν του θεου και τις εστιν ο λεγων σοι δος μοι πιειν συ αν ητησας αυτον και εδωκεν αν σοι υδωρ ζων
    Translit, apekrithê iêsous kai eipen autê ei êdeis tên dôrean tou theou kai tis estin ho legôn soi dos moi piein su an êtêsas auton kai edôken an soi hudôr zôn
  2. * John 4:14
    KJV, But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
    Textus Receptus, ος δ αν πιη εκ του υδατος ου εγω δωσω αυτω ου μη διψηση εις τον αιωνα αλλα το υδωρ ο δωσω αυτω γενησεται εν αυτω πηγη υδατος αλλομενου εις ζωην αιωνιον
    Translit, hos d an piê ek tou hudatos ou egô dôsô autô ou mê dipsêsê eis ton aiôna alla to hudôr ho dôsô autô genêsetai en autô pêgê hudatos allomenou eis zôên aiônion

And many others….

D. Reflection

We, as human, surely experience spiritual dryness. In that condition, the Devil will tempt us. This is our weak point: spiritual dryness. So, in order to resist the temptation of the Devil, we must recover our spirit, restore our spirit, by drinking the water of life. When we are strong, the Devil is weak. So come to Jesus, and drink His holy water.
הַלְלוּ־יָהּ – HALELU-YAH

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Love with real action, not just words

Jesus’ greatest commandments is love, the first is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and the second is to love one another. And why He commanded us to love because He Himself is love. So as Christ’s followers we must love too.

  • 1 John 3:18, “My little children, let us love not in word and speech, but in action and truth.”

If we confess to the other, “I love you”, it is true? Maybe true, maybe not. But if he confessed, “I love you”, and he protects his neighbors, but then he just use him for his profit, that’s not love also, but hypocrisy. And, if someone gave some of his money to the poor, just so that he may be honored and praised by men, it is hypocrisy.

What is true love? True love is from God. True love is the love of Christ. There are 4 words for love in Greek: Αγαπη – Agapê, Στοργη – Storgê, Φιλια – Philia, and Ερως – Erôs. The love of God is the first: Αγαπη – Agapê.

Now let us analyze that 4 words more deeply.

  1. The first, Αγαπη – Agapê, is the love of God, which is self-sacrificing love. This the highest type of love. This type of love can be seen in this verse:
    • John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”

    It is also the type of love Paul spoke about in 1 Corinthians 13, “the love chapter”. So, in other words, this love is not selfish, but prioritize the other’s importance than his own. This is why this type is the highest type of love.

  2. The second, Στοργη – Storgê, is the type of affection love, like between parents and children, humans and pets, etc. This type of love is “to understand each other”.
  3. The third, Φιλια – Philia, is friendship. This love is between we and our friends, but this type of love can cause enmity, because this type is partial.
  4. The last, Ερως – Erôs, is the sexual love. Husband and wife have this type of love. This type of love is used to do reproduction. But this type of love can harm and cause danger. And it also can lead to adultery and fornication.

In order to have the true love, not hypocrisy, we must have the love of Christ. Or, in other words, do anything for the glory of God, don’t do self-glorify. Like Paul said:

  • 1 Corinthians 10:31, “Therefore, whether you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God.”

And if we glorify and love God, we will also love the others, not just in words, but in real action. And we must love the others with Αγαπη – Agapê love.

The difference between Αγαπη – Agapê and the others is, Αγαπη – Agapê is the type of unconditional love, whether he is our enemy, whether he is our friend, we love him. But the three others, they are partial. Στοργη – Storgê is known for “do not know, do not love”. This type only loves those we have known. And Φιλια – Philia can cause enmity with the others, and Ερως – Erôs also can lead to fornication and hatred.

So let us pray that God will change our heart to loving heart, with the Αγαπη – Agapê love, that care for each other, prioritize other’s importance and requirements. And let us do this, not only in sayings, but in real action, with Christ’s help. Remember, that faith without works is dead, and so, confessing love without practicing love is dead. Hallelujah! Amen.

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Grace and peace

The live of true Christians can be seen by their live that produce the fruit of the Spirit. From Galatians 5:22-23, the fruit of the Spirit is: love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control. This can be divided into 3 groups. The first: love, joy, peace. This speaks about our relation with God. The second: patience, gentleness, goodness. This speaks about our relation with our neighbors. The third: faithfulness, meekness, self-control. This speaks about our relation with the others and ourselves.

The meaning of peace is a situation where we feel peace, safe, no wars, no fighting, etc. God gave us peace in our hearts as His children. But often, peace became missing from our hearts. The main cause for this is sin (Isaiah 32:17). Guilt and feeling sinful will make us not peaceful and we must quickly repent so that peace come back.

The other cause is Satan and evil spirits, they will tormented our thoughts with bad and negative thoughts, so our hearts will be negative too, and will make us lose the peace God has given.

  • John 14:15-31, “If you love Me, keep My commandments. I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Counselor, that He may be with you forever: the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, for it does not see Him, neither does it know Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you, and will be in you. I will not leave you fatherless. I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see Me no more. But you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. On that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you are in Me, and I am in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father. And I will love him and will reveal Myself to him.” Then Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, how is it that You will reveal Yourself to us, but not to the world?” Jesus answered him, “If a man loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words. The word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me. I have spoken these things to you while I am still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you. Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and am returning to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I. Now I have told you before it happens so that, when it happens, you may believe. After this I will not speak much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no power over Me. But I do as the Father has commanded Me so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.”

We get peace when we live in Jesus. Jesus is the one who gives us peace. So if we live in Jesus, we must love Him more than anyone else, and must keep His commandments. Only by that way, we will get peace because we live in Jesus and He gives us peace.

We get peace also because He gave us grace. Grace is something that we are not worthy to receive. Grace is because of God’s love. One of His greatest grace is giving us salvation because of Christ’s sacrifice for us.

True peace we get when we are reconciled with God with Jesus Christ, so that we can be reconciled to our neighbors and ourselves. Before His death, He spoke about peace, and after His resurrection, He spoke about peace again. His peace is different than the world. His peace is peace because of love.

We can get peace if we keep these 2 commandments: to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, soul, mind, and strength, and love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Peace because of love is the best peace, the peace in its highest quality.

We as Christians had been sealed with the Holy Spirit. So we don’t have to be worried about anything. Stable peace will not be affected by any problems, troubles, fear, feeling no other ways, etc. Those feelings declares that we have no peace. But like Paul said, “All things I can carried over with Him who gave me strength”. We must have faith in Him, so He will remove our fears, problems, etc. Amen.

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Remain persistent in Christ

A. Stories.

1. There was a kid and a father lived in a house near garden. Once upon a day, the father asked his boy, “Son, can you help me? I have a pierced basket. I put the bucket there. Can you fill that bucket with the water that brought with that pierced basket?” The son answered, “Yes, I can”. The basket was dirty because it is used for charcoal.
So the son come to the pool and take up some water, then walked to the bucket’s place. But because the basket was pierced, the water spill. He tried again until 5×, but it still the same. Then he asked to his father, “I have tried 5×, but the water spill”. The father said, “Of course. You walked. Try to run. Maybe you can fill the bucket”.
So the son come again to the pool and take up some water again, then ran to the bucket’s place. It still the same, although he ran. He protested to his father. But his father said, “Look at this basket. It was dirty, but now it is clean, because he water you bring keep cleaning the basket”.
2. A worker needs to build a building. He had some materials. When he started to build the building, he formed some materials that not fit. Bent steel he formed became flat steel. Sharp steel he formed became blunt steel, etc.

B. Explanation and reflection
From no. 1: the father is God, the son is us. The basket is our heart, the bucket is our will and the pool is God’s Word. When the first God asked us to do something, we obeyed. God “mocked” us and commanded us to fulfill our desire, by using His Word. We fail, and we surely fail. We protested to Him, and He said to try harder. We tried harder but still fail. We protested. But God then revealed that if we persistent trying with His Word, His Word will cleanse our hearts.
From no. 2: the worker is God, the materials are us. When God wanted to build us into a better characters, He formed some materials. Being formed with love is not always soft. But maybe really hard and painful. A sharp steel formed into a blunt steel is really painful. And to form a bent steel into a flat steel is painful too.

So the conclusion from these stories: we must be persistent and faithful to Him. We must believe, that He is forming us into better characters. Maybe we felt the pain, the hard ways, but we must believe God’s way to form us is the best. And if we conquered the temptations, and not escape, we become better, and pleased God. And the reward for that is eternal life. Soli Deo Gloria. Amen.

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Celebrate God that sanctifies

Holy is from the word Hebrew קָדוֹשׁ – QADOSH and the Greek ἅγος – HAGIOS. Holy has a meaning “separate”, which is separate from all types of evil, separate from all things that are not pleasing God. We know this verse:

  • John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”

From this verse, we know God loved His creation — which are us, humans — and then, He gave His only begotten Son — Jesus –, is the real act of His confession of His love, and then, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life, has a meaning, that the form of His love produce a result that who believes will have eternal life, and who doesn’t believe will go to everlasting punishment.

Holiness is really important in Christian life. How not, for God is holy, so all things that are related to Him must be holy. To be holy must to be separate from all types from evil, which we can’t do that, but with Christ we were made holy by Him.

  • Hebrews 9:11-28, “But Christ, when He came as a High Priest of the good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation, neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood, He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats, and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies so that the flesh is purified, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? For this reason He is the Mediator of a new covenant, since a death has occurred for the redemption of the sins that were committed under the first covenant, so that those who are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. For where there is a will, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a will has force after men are dead, since it has no force at all while the testator lives. So not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. For when Moses had taught every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book and all the people, saying, “This is the blood of the covenant that God has commanded you to keep.” Likewise he sprinkled both the tabernacle and all the vessels of worship with blood. And according to the law almost everything must be cleansed with blood; without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. It was therefore necessary that the replicas of heavenly things be cleansed with these sacrifices, but that the heavenly things themselves be cleansed with better sacrifices than these. For Christ did not enter holy places made with hands, which are patterned after the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us. Nor did He enter to offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. For then He would have had to suffer repeatedly since the world was created, but now He has appeared once at the end of the ages to put away sin by sacrificing Himself. As it is appointed for men to die once, but after this comes the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many, and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin but to save those who eagerly wait for Him.”

From the Hebrews epistle there are 3 truths that is related with God that sanctifies:

  1. Verse 11-14 ⇒ the incredible effect of Christ’s sacrifice
    The writer of Hebrews declared that Christ’s blood exceeds the sacrifices that all that time the Jews did with animals. Jesus Christ’s sacrifice is more incredible and efficient in solving the relationship between humans and God,
  2. Verse 15-22 ⇒ Christ’s sacrifice is the valid one from God
    Again the writer compared between sanctification that the Jews did in Old Testament’s time, with what Jesus did to sanctify us. The sacrifices the Jews did are valid, but Christ’s sacrifice is more valid. And had been established by God that Jesus is the one who sanctifies us.
  3. Verse 23-28 ⇒ Christ’s sacrifice is only once and complete
    Sacrificial system in Old Testament’s worship was done with animals, and that sacrificial system was endless. Because that sacrificial system couldn’t really bring men to holy condition before God. It is only “down payment” for our sins, not really removed it. Jesus didn’t need to be sacrificed many times for to settle up sin problem.

Because of Christ’s sacrifice we become sons of God and we get the status holy. And we can be separated from all types of evil that is not pleasing God with the Holy Spirit’s help and with Christ’s righteousness. This world and all of its pleasures are not pleasing God. Because of that, Romans 12:1-2 affirmed so we are not similar and not conformed to this world.

By realizing that our status as holy people and responsible to that status with real act from our minds that change according to the will of God and reflected from our sayings and works as holy people.

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Seek Jesus the Liberator

To live this life on earth, with many imperfections and many limitations must be not delightful. But maybe sorrowful. If can choose how, maybe people asked God, “I want this, I want that, without limitations, without imperfections, I want this, etc.”

  • Mark 10:46-52, “Then they came to Jericho. And as He went out of Jericho with His disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat along the way begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many ordered him to keep silent. But he cried out even more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stood still and commanded him to be called. So they called the blind man, saying, “Be of good comfort. Rise, He is calling you.” Throwing aside his garment, he rose and came to Jesus. Jesus answered him, “What do you want Me to do for you?” The blind man said to Him, “Rabbi, that I might receive my sight.” Jesus said to him, “Go your way. Your faith has made you well.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus on the way.”

Maybe, for Bartimaeus, his hopes and his life vanished. Nothing exciting to be proud even the slightest of his existence. The Bible doesn’t say since what age he suffered blindness. It can be, he was blind when he was a kid, or maybe from his birth. If it was right, maybe he can angry to God. Interestingly, he didn’t angry at God. He could not depend all of his need to his parents. He didn’t being lazy and idle, he decided, although his conditions hard, he beg.

He chose to go out of home, seek and tried to supply his needs. The most interesting part of Bartimaeus is, when he meet Jesus, he cried, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” He collected his power to cry so that Jesus heared that. Although the people around him tried to stop him, his cry became louder. We can imagine a beggar, that maybe not yet eat, his cry must be very draining his energy.

Bartimaeus’ cry was not in vain. That cry was heared by Jesus. His cry changed everything. Maybe his thought, his steps maybe hindered by many people, but his cry not. And it was right, Jesus heared and stopped His steps, and cared for him. Jesus asked what is his needs and his desire, and he told, so that he might received his sight.

Learn from Bartimaeus, that is persistent, that had a heart that seek Jesus the Savior and Liberator. Remember Jesus’ sayings,

  • Matthew 7:7-8, “Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and it will opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who seeks finds, and everyone who knocks, the door will be opened”.

So Jesus taught us to persistent in prayer and keep asking in faith, and seek Jesus our Liberator that will give us liberty from sin. Just have faith in Him and He will heal us. Amen!

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Worship in humility before God

Worship is a form of service to the higher being. Everybody worship something or someone, or in the rough language, everybody worship idols, but Christians worship the Holy Trinity, the One True God. There are 2 forms of worship, personal worship, and communal worship. Personal worship, that is usually done personally: praying, praising God, read the Bible, etc. Communal worship is worship that is done together with brothers that have same faith.

Humble is one of the most prominent attitude in Christianity. Jesus Christ taught His followers to become humble as He is.

  • Philippians 2:6-11,”who, being in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped. But He emptied Himself, taking upon Himself the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. And being found in the form of a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross. Therefore God highly exalted Him and gave Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Christ’s humility and self-emptying is called kenosis, from the Greek word κένωσις. In the book “The Jesus I Never Knew”, Philip Yancey explained, “He stooped so low as to become one of those creeping, crawling creatures”. This is another way to reveal the the meaning of incarnation (become flesh). The event God “stooped so low” revealed with theological language that has known, κένωσις – kenosis: “who, being in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped. But He emptied Himself, taking upon Himself the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men”. So, in other word, God that is absolute, unlimited, infinite, transcendent become the portion of this world that is limited, low, mortal, immanent. God that is “Super” become “minor”. God wanted to be tied up with this natural law and the law of this world. So, it is clear that God’s attitude – κένωσις (kenosis) – must be role model for us His people.

  • James 3:13-18, “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show his works by his good life in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, do not boast and do not lie against the truth. This wisdom descends not from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, and devilish. For where there is envying and strife, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”
  • James 4:1-10, “Where do wars and fights among you come from? Do they not come from your lusts that war in your body? You lust and do not have, so you kill. You desire to have and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have, because you do not ask. You ask, and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your passions. You adulterers and adulteresses, do you not know that the friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “He yearns jealously for the spirit that lives in us”? But He gives more grace. For this reason it says: “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Therefore submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to ­dejection. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”

From these passages,

• James 3:13-18 → follow the true wisdom, from God
This verse explain between wisdom from above and worldly wisdom. In this part emphasize that worldly wisdom is that human wisdom itself, and wisdom from demons. This type of wisdom is really crafty, taking advantage of the others for his own sake.
Wisdom from above is the opposites of them all. In that verse is: pure, peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy, good fruits, without partiality, without hipocrisy. It is “be wise as serpents and harmless as doves”. So it benefit self and the others. This type of wisdom is like Abraham “lying” to Abimelech, saying “Sarah is my sister”, he didn’t say she is his wife. It benefit Abraham, Sarah, and Abimelech.

• James 4:1-10 → conscious of spiritual warfare
James wrote about spiritual warfare. The lust of the flesh is fighting against the will of God in our body. James also told us to obey God, not obey the world, for friendship with the world is enmity with God (James 4:4). James also gave us the way how we resist the lust, “submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you”. And in verse 10, James emphasize how important is humility, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up”. Humble before God is like, “I can’t do this. I need God’s help. Only with God I can do it”. This is surrendering to God. So God will “lift you up”, or give us power to resist the devil.

Because of that in verse 8 James wrote that we must live as believers. draw near to God, always seek God, always ask God’s guidance to live our life. Cleanse our hands, purify our hearts, avoid sin and His prohibition, and do His commandments, and focus to God always, and don’t be double-minded Christians, be faithful to God that is faithful to us.

So a life that worship in humility before God can be lived daily, not get stuck on any ceremonial worship only, but worship in humility before God, anywhere, anytime, that is the form of true worship. Soli Deo Gloria. Amen.

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Compete and race to become servants

To become great and famous person maybe is the desire of many people. One of the ways people do to be great is collecting money as much as possible, for with money the world can be controlled. Authority can be purchased with money.

  • Mark 10:35-45, “Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Him, saying, “Teacher, we want that whatever we may ask, You would do for us.” He said to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?” They said to Him, “Grant us to sit, one at Your right hand and the other at Your left hand, in Your glory.” But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I drink and be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” They said to Him, “We can.” Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink the cup that I drink and be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized. But to sit at My right hand or at My left hand is not Mine to grant. It is for those for whom it has been prepared.” When the ten heard it, they began to be very displeased with James and John. But Jesus called them together, and said, “You know that those who are appointed to rule over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever among you would be greatest must be servant of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”

In the verse 32-34, Jesus told His disciples about His suffering and death. But James and John suddenly ask Jesus to sit at the right and left side of His throne. This is rude, because Jesus was telling about His suffering, while John and James want His glory.

But Jesus’ sayings about His sufferings may be just pooh-pooh to His disciples. Because before this, Jesus had said many about authority. First, His transfiguration that was seen by Peter, John, and James. Second, the wages for following Jesus, and etc. Furthermore, James and John were His cousins. Their motive is about authority in heaven. Because of His transfiguration and His sayings about Kingdom of Heaven, and they were His cousins, they become very ambisious about the authority to rule Heaven.

But, Jesus asked them questions. First, “Can you drink My cup and baptized?” They answered, “we can”. Well, this is just not nonsense. It is fact, and declared their bravery. James was killed (Acts 12:2) and John was banished to Patmos (Rev 1:9). Now, explanation.

Verse 40: Because of their ambisious motive, they wanted the second-highest place in heaven. But, Jesus said, this is only for they who had been chosen by the Father. A referee can’t promise rewards to his friends, for he must be fair. Same with God too.

Verse 41: Because the 10 heared about that, they was very frustated and angry to become the last. And they maybe thought, “We also have the privilege to be the second-highest!”

Verse 42: Jesus than said about that problem. He said, to think again about the glory of the world and the glory of heaven. He also said to think about their spiritual growing, not wordly thoughts like that.

Verse 43-44: The world is different than spiritual. In spiritual, serving others is serving God. In this world, when A work for B harder than C, A will rewarded greater by B. Same with God. We serve the others we serve God. And when we serve God more, He will repay us more also.

Verse 45: Jesus declared that He came not to be served, not to beat the Romans, not to be the King of Israel, this is wordly thoughts and egoistic thoughts. But Jesus said He came to serve and to pay our sins. Then, in the end times, He will become king.

And, this verse,

  • Hebrews 11:24-26, “By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a time. He esteemed the reproach of Christ as greater riches than the treasures in Egypt, for he looked to the reward.”

Look at Moses, he didn’t seek wordly authorities, but he seeked the reward for following God. He didn’t enjoy the pleasures of sin for a time. This must be our example. We must too, look for reward, not authorities and sins.

So, we have to serve each others. Other men is “our lords”. Paul told us to serve men like serving God. And we serve because we had been served by the Lord of lords, who give up His life for our salvation, so we must serve also. Serving is believer’s motive. He is a true believer or not will be revealed with his serving motive.

As Christians we must serve, for to enter the Kingdom of Heaven is not a request, but because of we follow God’s wills. Serving is one of the most important aspects to enter the Kingdom of God. Let us serve each other and love each other.

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Focus on God

Focus is one of the most important things in this life. When we work, we must focus, so our works can be finished faster. When we study, we must focus, so we can understand. Same with that, we must focus on God, so we can be born again and become better human.

  • Hebrews 4:12-16, “For the word of God is alive, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intents of the heart. There is no creature that is not revealed in His sight, for all things are bare and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. Since then we have a great High Priest who has passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who was in every sense tempted like we are, yet without sin. Let us then come with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

There are many ways to focus on God, but at least in Hebrews are like these:

  1. Hold still to the Word of God, for the Word is not just words, but the Word is alive and has power: The Word that is alive and have power is described sharper than any two-edged sword. Two-edged sword is a sword that is sharpen on the two sides. This type of sword is really effective to kill quickly. That means, the Word must be believers’ hold to face and to fight our enemies of faith, Satan and his angels. The Word is sharper than two-edged sword means that the Word has full power to see even expose someone’s life. No one can hide from God, for He is omnipresent, so there are 3 things from this: the Word is sharp, the Word is piercing really deeply, and the Word exposed. So don’t even try to sin hiddenly, for God sees us.
  2. Hold still in faith to Jesus Christ for He is the highest of priests, who has passed into the heavens: Jesus Christ had become our mediator to God, just have faith in Him for He had ruined the tricks of Satan and his angels. He is the Lamb of God who become our atonement.
  3. Hold still to the grace that had given to us, for with that we can go into God’s throne: Grace is given by Jesus Christ, and we must hold still to that. For we are saved by grace, we must hold still to that grace. Jesus our High Priest is not a priest who can’t feel our weakness, sadness, angriness to sins, when we fail, for He has tempted before. Hold still to that grace so that He will guide and help us.

There is also another way, like written in Philipians, Corrinthians, and other epistles: count other things as rubbish, and count Christ like a precious diamond, and just run like in a marathon to gain the most precious of the most precious diamond. And also know that God loves us and live in His love

So, the conclusion is:

  1. True faith to Christ will be tested when we face troubles and problems. Will we hold still to Him, when troubles not finish, when troubles come continually? Or we just have faith when all things just run well? Let us test ourselves.
  2. The Word of God is strong and sharper than any weapons. So it is our weapon to fight against deception and tricks of Satan. So the Word of God can show us who truly are ourselves, because of that hold still to the Word of God.
  3. Christ is the only High Priest that can give us forgiveness of sins, so the way to enter God’s throne is opened by Christ. Because of that hold still to Christ.

The simplest key to focus on God is that 3 statements, just “hold still”. Just work for Him and He will do the rest. Soli Deo Gloria. Amen.

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