Let Brotherly Love Continue
Hebrews 13:1 ESV
“Let brotherly love continue.”
What is brotherly love? It isn’t just for men. It is the love that we, as followers of Jesus Christ, are to have for one another. And how are we to love one another? Affectionately? Properly, yes, but not only with affection. This love still needs to be godly and holy and moral, and it needs to consider what is in the best interest of others, and it is not to do them harm.
So, brotherly love is not just being buddies with others or hanging out with them and playing games, eating food, and watching TV together, etc. Brotherly love also does not pacify sin or participate with others in sin. This kind of love looks out for other believers and cares about their spiritual lives and makes it a point to encourage them in their walks of faith.
And encouraging them in their walks of faith needs to be biblical encouragement which also includes urging, exhortation, counseling, nurturing, and persuading. It isn’t all heartening, reassuring, and cheering another believer in his or her walk of faith, especially if that believer is failing in his walk, and needs exhorting and urging to be faithful to the Lord.
Now, this brings me to something I saw on Facebook today. If you are not familiar with Facebook, it is social media. It is a place on the internet where friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, old friends, and fellow believers in Jesus Christ can gather together and share whatever it is they want to share with their friends and family, etc.
One of the ways in which they share with others is via the use of memes, which can be good, or which can be bad, because the memes can be manipulative in how they are written, and the people sharing them may end up conveying a message they don’t really want to convey, but it sounds good, and a lot of it may be true, but it may come with a hook.
For example, I saw a meme today which was talking about manipulation. It had an obvious message to it, although not openly expressed, but I also saw with it the potential of a hidden message which, if reposted, could, in fact, derail the gospel of Jesus Christ and this whole idea of brotherly love and encouraging one another in our walks of faith.
The meme was about how manipulation works and it gave four steps which had to do with fear, flattery, bribery, and violence. But the explanations going along with these could, if accepted, be used to say that the gospel of Jesus Christ is manipulative, which it is not.
For, the gospel warns us that if we behave in a certain way that bad things will happen to us, and the Bible tells us that if we follow Jesus with our lives that we are righteous in God’s sight, and it does tell us that if we follow Jesus with our lives that we will be blessed by God and have eternal life with him, and it does warn that if we don’t follow Jesus, we will die in our sins.
But that is not Jesus manipulating anyone, nor is it us manipulating anyone if we are sharing the gospel, but it is just the reality of what the gospel is about and what it teaches. For, Jesus died on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, and that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life up for us.
Marriage Held in Honor
Hebrews 13:4 ESV
“Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.”
I read another meme on Facebook similar to the other one I mentioned, and with a similar message, I believe. This one I could agree with part of it, but it still included words associated with the gospel of our salvation, such as “persuaded,” “reminded,” and “incentivized,” and “guilt-tripped.”
The message said “all,” which included “lied to”, but the subtle message was that if any of these are necessary to gain your compliance that you can be absolutely certain that what is being promoted is not in your best interest. But we can’t come to faith in Jesus Christ unless we are drawn to Christ by the Father, and the word “faith” means to be “persuaded”.
And the Scriptures are filled with reminders. Paul often used the expression that this was a “reminder” because the people needed to be reminded. And “incentivized” means encouraged and to be spurred on toward some particular action, such as faith and good deeds, and “guilt trip” means shame or remorse which are necessary for our salvation from sin.
Well, this fits perfectly with this subject of marriage, honor, faithfulness, an undefiled marriage bed, immorality, and adultery. For, many people today professing faith in Jesus Christ are living sexually immoral lives, and in adultery against their spouses, and thus their marriage bed is defiled.
But many of them don’t want “reminders”. They don’t want to be “urged” (encouraged, incentivized) to forsake their sins. And they will chide you for “guilt tripping” them if you do have to speak to them with regard to their sinful lifestyles and of their need to repent. And they are resistant against “persuasion” towards godly and holy living, too.
For, they are being convinced that faith in Jesus Christ means all their sins are forgiven so that it doesn’t matter if they continue living in deliberate, habitual, and premediated sin against God, against spouse, and against others. They believe their salvation and their eternity are sealed, and that nothing can take that away, no matter how they live their lives.
But our God, in the New Testament, under the New Covenant, is still the same God he was in the Old Testament and under the Old Covenant. His character has not changed. His will for us has not changed. His morals and his righteousness and uprightness have not been altered.
He still demands moral purity, faithfulness, honesty, uprightness, godliness, holiness, obedience, and repentance. And Jesus defined adultery as lusting after another (not one’s spouse) in one’s own mind. So, this includes the willful viewing of porn, self-gratification, fantasizing about those not your spouse, and flirtations with others not one’s spouse.
So, the marriage bed is defiled not just through actual physical relations with someone to whom you are not married, but through lust, porn, flirtations, and self-gratification, etc. And this usually includes lying to and deceiving one’s spouse, too. But please know that God will judge you if you are living in sexual immorality and in adultery.
And I guarantee that what is being shared here is indeed in your best interest, for if you continue living in sin guilt-free with no remorse and with no desire to be persuaded or encouraged or reminded to repent of your sins and to follow Jesus in obedience, you will die in your sins. You will not inherit eternal life with God.
What is being said here is also not for the purpose to manipulate you in any way. The facts are that Jesus died that you might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, and that faith in Jesus Christ requires repentance and obedience to our Lord and submission to him as Lord. If you do not repent, and you do not obey, and you do not submit to him as Lord, you also don’t know him, and heaven is not your eternal destiny.
No manipulation! Just the facts! Your choice to choose Jesus or to choose your flesh, but if you choose your flesh, you will die in your sins.
[Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:7; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10]
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.”