Mere Accolades

Sunday, February 26, 2017, 2:02 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Seek the Lord.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 1 John 1 (NASB).

We Proclaim Him (vv. 1-4)

What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life— and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us— what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.

When our Lord walked the face of this earth, John was one of Jesus’ twelve disciples. So, John gave eyewitness testimony here as to Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah, Lord and Christ of God. He and the other eleven traveled with and worked with Jesus in ministry for at least three years. He was also an eyewitness to Jesus’ death on the cross and of his resurrection from the dead. So, he was able to say that he, along with the others, had heard him, seen him, and that he had touched him. He was sharing first-hand testimony and knowledge concerning the Christ, the Son of God (God the Son).

In the Gospel of John, he shared even more detail concerning the Word of Life. Jesus Christ was in the beginning with God, and he was God – the second person of our triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. All things came into being through Him, i.e. Jesus Christ is our creator. He is the Light of men (humankind) which shines in the darkness. The Word (Jesus) became flesh, and he made his dwelling among us. Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. Jesus, too, was the Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world, via his death on a cross and resurrection from the dead.

Yet, not everyone received (believed on) him. Many hated him, were jealous of him, and despised him because he told them the truth about who he is, about their sin, about judgment, and about their eternal destiny, as well as he gave many messages of hope and healing for the penitent. So, they killed him. But, this was God’s will that he should die for us so that we could believe on him, be delivered from slavery to sin, and have eternal life with God, and so we could be born of God and could become children of God.

In the Light (vv. 5-10)

This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.

When I woke up this morning, the phrase “mere accolades” was in my mind, so I did a dictionary search on the word “accolade.” The words which jumped out at me, which were contained within the definitions, were “ceremonial,” “ritualistic,” “formality,” “performance,” “nominal,” and “acknowledgment.” To acknowledge something means to admit its truth or existence. For something to be nominal, it means that it is in name only, or it is so-called. And, other words for “formal” are “mechanical” or “performed.” And, to “perform” means to “play act.” The phrase “ceremonial embrace” was also included, which means formality or show of acceptance, agreement or belief.

So, how does this apply to this passage of scripture? Well, first of all we read here that God is light and that in him is no darkness at all. Light is truth, morality, righteousness, goodness, mercy, holiness, and purity, etc. Darkness is the opposite of light, so it is lies (deception), unrighteousness, wickedness, sinfulness, hatred, immorality, impurity, and irreverence, etc. God is not a mixture of both light and darkness. Only goodness exists within him. So, if we say we are in Christ Jesus, by faith in him, and thus we have fellowship (friendship, partnership) with God, but we conduct our lives (walk) in darkness (wickedness), then this says we are liars.

So, what is a liar? He (or she) is a fraud, fake, pretender – a phony. He is a fibber, storyteller, and a deceiver. He is someone who pretends to be what he is not, i.e. he is a hypocrite. He is someone who goes through the motions of being a Christian and a follower of Christ, but it is just an act. He is just performing for the crowds. He is a Christian in name only, but not in reality, i.e. not in lifestyle, i.e. not in actions. His profession of faith in Jesus Christ is ceremonial only, i.e. it is ritualistic or mechanical, but his heart is far from God. His praise of God is for show only. His worship is in vain. He acknowledges the existence and truth of Christ, but it is head knowledge only. His lifestyle does not back up his profession. Thus, he is a liar.

This is not saying that, as Christians, we will live in absolute perfection, though, or that we will never sin (See: 1 Jn. 2:1). But, it is saying that when we put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives that our lifestyles (the way we live our lives day in and day out) should reflect Christ in our lives. If we truly have believed in Jesus, our old self was put to death with him, and we have been born anew of the Spirit of God, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24). We died to sin so that we might live to righteousness. So, this should be evident in our lives that this spiritual transformation has taken place. Daily we should be dying to sin and self; daily we should be putting to death, by the Spirit, the misdeeds of our flesh (See: Lu. 9:23-25; Ro. 8:1-14). And, daily we should be walking (living our lives) according to the Spirit of God.

You see, there are many people today who are preaching a false grace gospel. What I mean by this is that they are not teaching that genuine faith in Christ means death to sin and living to righteousness. True faith in Christ includes repentance (turning from sin) and obedience (submission) to Christ and to his Word. This is because genuine faith is a gift from God, i.e. it is God’s divine persuasion (convincing) of us as to his will for our lives. It is him moving us to some kind of action, and that action is holiness, which is what we were called to. So, if we believe in Jesus with God-given faith, our hearts will be transformed of the Spirit of God away from sin to God and to his righteousness. We will be crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we will be resurrected with Christ to newness of life, and our lifestyles will reflect this, although this is an ongoing process of being made holy by God.

Yet, if we get this idea that we can just acknowledge that Jesus Christ died for our sins to free us from condemnation, and to promise us heaven when we die, and that we can make a mere profession of such, but with no real heart transformation ever having to take place, then we are lying to ourselves. If we think God is pleased by our mere formality of service to him, by our false worship of him, or by our mere church attendance, and/or with us just going through the motions (rituals) of Christianity, while we hold on to our old lives of living for sin and self, then we need a wakeup call! Genuine belief in Jesus Christ results in genuine lifestyle change. We no longer live our lives to please our sinful passions and desires, but we live our lives to please God, and we keep growing in our faith and service to our Lord, and he continually cleanses us and renews us and grows us in Him.

Then, like John, we can give first-hand witness, knowledge and testimony of Jesus Christ and of his saving grace, not because we touched him physically, as did John, but because we have a real-life relationship with him. We know him, not just intellectually, but experientially. We have true fellowship with him because we walk in the Light, and we’ve been cleansed from all sin.

Seek the Lord / An Original Work / July 20, 2012

Based off Isaiah 55

“Come to Me all you who thirst; come to waters.
Listen to Me, and eat what’s good today,
And your soul will delight in richest of fare.
Give ear to Me, and you will live.
I have made an eternal covenant with you.
Wash in the blood of the Lamb.”

Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him.
Let the wicked forsake his way, in truth.
Let him turn to the Lord, and he will receive mercy.
Freely, God pardons him.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,”
declares the Lord, our God.

“My word that goes out of My mouth is truthful.
It will not return to Me unfulfilled.
My word will accomplish all that I desire,
And achieve the goal I intend.
You will go in joy, and be led forth in peace.
The mountains will burst into song… before you,
And all of the trees clap their hands.”

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