Not Cookie-Cutter Christianity

1 John 3:11-12 ESV

“For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous.”

The love that we are to have for one another comes from God, therefore it prefers (chooses) what God prefers. It is a pure love which is holy and righteous. It is honest, trustworthy, faithful, kind, upright and godly. It embraces God’s will and obeys his will through his power.

If we are true followers of Christ, preferring to live through Christ, actively doing his will, and we are not Christians in name only who are still living in sin, then we have God’s Spirit living within us. So, we also have God’s love living within us empowering us to love others like he loves us.

So, when we love others with this love, we will not hate them or do evil against them. We won’t lie to them or cheat on them or commit adultery against them or slander them, etc. But we also won’t coddle them in their sins or participate with them in sin or help facilitate them to sin.

Because we love others with this love which comes from God, we will love them as God loves us, and his priorities will be our priorities. Therefore, our uppermost concern for them will be for their salvation from sin, their purity of devotion to Christ, and their walks of obedience to the Lord.

Yet, we will also care for their emotional and physical needs (not necessarily wants), as the Lord leads, and as is in our power to do so. We will follow Jesus’ example in how he ministered to the poor and needy and to the sick and afflicted, and to the sorrowful and mournful.

We will do this, not just because it is the right thing to do, but because we care about other people. We are genuinely concerned for their welfare. We will be discriminating, though, for there are many con artists out there begging for help, too. And love does not assist people to sin against others.

1 John 3:13-15 ESV

“Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”

So, why did Cain hate his brother and then murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. And if we are following Jesus Christ with our lives, in pure devotion to him, and if we are not compromising with the world of sin, we will be hated for the same reasons.

And who hated Jesus and had him put to death? It was his own people, some from his own family, people from his own town, from his own faith, and from the temple of God, including or most especially the rulers and teachers of the Scriptures in the temple of God.

And what are some of the reasons they hated him and wanted him dead? They were jealous of his popularity among the people, for one, and they were threatened by him, fearing that their own positions of power and influence among the people were in jeopardy.

But they also hated him because he was different from them. He didn’t do things like they did. He didn’t fit into their mold. He operated “outside the box,” but not outside of God’s “box.” He didn’t dance their dance. But he confronted them in their sins and he spoke the truth to them, in love.

They hated him for the same reasons that Cain hated his own brother and then murdered him, because their own deeds were evil and Jesus’ deeds were righteous. And, too, it was because Jesus exposed their evil deeds for what they were, and they didn’t like that.

I am not a cookie-cutter Christian. None of us should be. God made us all different. He designed us all uniquely for his purposes. He gave each one of us different personalities, talents, gifts, and ministries. We should all be like Jesus, but we shouldn’t all try to be who other people think we should be.

If we don’t conform to nominal Christianity or to social Christianity, and if we follow Jesus with our lives, doing what he designed for us to do, and if we are obeying the Scriptures and teaching the Scriptures, in truth, like Jesus did, then we should expect to be hated like he was, too.

1 John 3:16-18 ESV

“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”

This love which comes from God is self-sacrificial. It will regard others’ legitimate needs above one’s own self-interest. But it will also love and care for other people in the same way in which Jesus did and does, with the same heart and concerns as he has for the people.

Therefore, when we love like this, we will willingly sacrifice our time, energies, resources, and reputations to obey our Lord and to love others like he loved/loves us. Thus, we will not withhold the truth from people so that they will like us, but we will speak the truth in love, even if we are hated in return. For other people’s salvation is more important than us being liked.

But we won’t confine our loving to only the spiritual or to only the physical, but we will do both. Obviously, we can’t minister to everyone in this world, so we just need to follow the Lord’s leading, for him to show us where he wants us and what he wants us to be doing. And then we just need to obey him.

Songs in the Night

An Original Work / December 18, 2013

“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.” Acts 16:25 NIV ‘84

Lord, I praise You forevermore.
You, my Savior, I now adore.
Hope in heaven awaiting me,
Because You died at Calvary.

I have been forgiven,
And I’m bound for heaven.
Jesus set me free from
All my sin, I say.
I will praise Him always!

Lord, I love You for all You’ve done:
Overcame death, my vict’ry won!
Jesus saved me, and now I’m free!
I rejoice in His love for me.

I will walk in vict’ry!
My sin is but hist’ry!
I am free to please Him
With my life today.
I will love Him always!

Lord, I thank You for giving me
A new life bought at Calvary.
Loving Jesus, I meet with Him.
Tender mercies now flow within.

Lord, I am so thankful;
Through my Lord, I’m able
To sit at His table;
Fellowship with Him.
I will thank Him always!

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