With Humility, Tears, and Trials

Acts 20:17-21 ESV

“Now from Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called the elders of the church to come to him. And when they came to him, he said to them:

“You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews; how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.”

This is a wonderful testimony of God’s amazing grace at work in the life of a follower of Jesus Christ. And it is a marvelous example to us of what our lives should look like when we are operating under the power of the Holy Spirit and not according to our sinful flesh. We, as followers of Christ, should all be this dedicated to our Lord Jesus Christ to follow him wherever he leads us in doing what he has called us to do, in his power and wisdom.

We all need to be people of integrity who are faithful in service to our Lord. And we should all be humble people, recognizing that everything that is within us that is good comes from God and not from ourselves. So we give God all the glory for everything he does in and through us for his purposes and for his glory and praise. And we should be compassionate people and passionate for our Lord and for the salvation of human lives, too.

And if we are such people, and if we are walking in holiness and in righteousness, and not in sin, in walks of obedience to our Lord Jesus, and if we are following our Lord in doing what he has called us to do, we are going to have enemies like Jesus did, and like Paul did, who will plot evil and who will do evil against us. And we will be hated and persecuted, and falsely accused, and despised and rejected, and thought evil of, etc.

But if we follow the example of Jesus and of Paul and of the other New Testament apostles, and the prophets who went before them, we will not shrink from declaring to you anything that is profitable for you spiritually, even in the face of much opposition. For we will teach the truth of the gospel and not the diluted version which is passing for the truth of the gospel today in what appears to be the majority of the church (and/or the institutional market-driven church) in America.

And the truth of the gospel is that Jesus died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness (1 Peter 2:24), and that we would now live for him and no longer for ourselves (2 Corinthians 5:15). And he shed his blood for us on that cross to buy us back for God (to redeem us) so we would now honor God with our lives (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

And it is that by faith in Christ we are crucified with Christ in death to sin and we are raised with him to walk in newness of life in Christ, not like our old lives, but in holiness, righteousness, and in obedience to our Lord (Romans 6:1-23; Romans 8:1-14; Ephesians 4:17-24; Titus 2:11-14).

And Jesus summarized the truth of the gospel so well when he said that if anyone would come after him, he must deny self, take up his cross daily (daily die to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him. For if we hold on to our old lives of living in sin and for self, we will lose them for eternity. But if for the sake of the name of Jesus we die with him to sin, and we now live to him and to his righteousness, then we will live with Christ for eternity (Luke 9:23-26 paraphrased).

And also when he said this:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” (Matthew 7:21-23).

For God’s grace to us is not just forgiveness of sins so when we die we get to go to heaven. God’s grace, which is bringing us salvation, trains (instructs, teaches) us to renounce (say “No” to) ungodliness and fleshly passions and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s return. For Jesus Christ “gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (see Titus 2:11-14; cf. Ephesians 2:10).

[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

Pray, Pray, Pray

An Original Work / September 6, 2012
Based off Various Scriptures

Pray that eyes may enlightened be,
So they may know Christ.
Pray that they may Him better know,
Strengthened by His pow’r.
Pray that they may grasp
How wide and long
And high and deep
Is Christ’s love.
Pray that they may be filled
To the fullness of God’s love.
Pray with thanksgiving.

Pray for an open door for me,
So I may share Christ.
Pray when the gospel is proclaimed –
Shared with clarity.
Pray words are given me so
I declare the gospel fearlessly.
I pray for you to be active
Sharing your faith, too.
Pray continually.

We oft not know for what to pray,
So we ask for help.
The Spirit intercedes for us –
Words cannot express.
Just keep on praying for the saints
With all kinds of requests to God.
Pray they may have faith to
Please their God in ev’ry way.
Pray with joyfulness.

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