1 John 1:3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.
What’s the difference between social interaction with someone and fellowship with them? The answer is spiritual. Fellowship is a spiritual connection between people that goes far beyond the social aspect. God is in the mix.
Those who seek after God’s will and truly want to follow after Christ as His disciples have to have a heart for discipleship. You can’t love God without loving other people. Our true fellowship is with God the Father through His Son because of His sacrificial atonement on the cross. We’d have no way to God the Father if it weren’t for Jesus. And our fellowship with God spills out into our relationships with other people.
Bottom line principle is that lack of fellowship with God equals a lack of true fellowship with people. We have to be spiritually connected to the Lord in order to have any deep interaction with fellow people. We have to put Him first and cultivate our relationship with Him or our other relationships will suffer. Our character, our attitude, our love, all are affected by our fellowship (or lack thereof) with God.
Matthew 26:39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”
A genuine disciple of Jesus Christ follows His example and walks as closely to Him as possible. When praying, the disciple prays as Jesus would. But how did Jesus pray? What does our example to follow look like?
We all know the Lord’s Prayer, when Jesus taught the apostles how to pray, but when Jesus was alone His prayers looked different from those famous lines. When He prayed to the Father, His heartfelt desires were lifted up to heaven. But notice that He doesn’t stop at asking. Jesus, having been sent by the Father to do His perfect will, knew that the Father’s purpose was more important that His own desires. Can we pray like Jesus prayed?
In His greatest hour of pain, during betrayal, fear, and impending death, Jesus was able to put aside His own wishes for those of the Father. Did Jesus really desire for the pain and suffering of the cross to be taken out of the plan? Was He really praying that the very mission for which He had come to earth would be aborted? Or was He showing us how to pray in great times of sorrow? Was He modeling for us what it’s like to give up our own will in submission to the Father’s? This is what it looks like. This is our daily calling as disciples – to give up our own will in exchange for the perfect will of God.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
What directs the steps of a true follower of Christ? To know God’s will, a disciple must know God. And to know God, the disciple must read His Word. But the way we view the Word has a huge impact on what we get from it.
If we simply view the Bible as stories, suggestions, or even as a rule book, we miss the full impact of God’s self-revelation to us. But if we view it as the very words of God spoken to man, as inerrant, as infallible, as sufficient, we have everything to gain.
God’s Word is a lamp unto our feet, it directs our path. When we seek God in the Scriptures, we find Him there. He speaks to us from the pages, from the Word that’s living and active, hitting us right in the heart with His message. A disciple loves God and so he/she loves God’s Word with a passion. It’s our spiritual nourishment so we should feed on it every single day.
Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
If you fully surrender your life to Christ, how do you know that what comes next is His will? How can you even know His will? What if you think God’s telling you to do something but you are wrong? Step 1 – Start with the Word.
An essential truth for any believer, but especially new believers, is that God reveals Himself in His Word, the Bible. There is, within the pages of Scripture, sufficient information about God. We can know His character, His love, His plan for salvation, His power, and His glory. Everything we need to know right now in this moment has been revealed through the God-inspired words of the Holy Bible. Start there when you’re searching for truth or for direction. Not sure what God would want you to do in a particular situation? What does the Bible say of His character as it pertains to this?
Following God is not all about feelings or signs. Knowing what God wants you to do is very much about knowing who God is. He’ll never ask you to do anything that contradicts who He is. He won’t ask you to sin, He won’t tell you to give into a temptation. That would go against His nature. But to know His nature you have to study His Word.
The Bible isn’t some rule book handed down from on high. It isn’t a collection of fictitious stories. It’s God’s story of redemption for mankind through Jesus Christ. All of it. Old Testament, New Testament, every word is part of the overall story. We WANTS you to know Him.
How do you live for God? Fully surrender to Him and constantly be transformed by the renewal of your mind. By knowing God more and more.
Romans 12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
What does God want from you more than anything? Does He want your money? Your time? What is it that He’s after? The answer can be summed up in one word, and you may not like it. God wants YOU. He wants all of you.
Some genuine Christians who have trusted in Christ as their Savior have never made the decision to surrender their lives to His lordship. They have not turned over their lives to Him in complete abandon. But this is what He calls every believer to. He doesn’t expect us to receive salvation and then go on living our lives as usual. No, a disciple is one who puts aside their own desires in exchanges for Christ’s.
But some will never do this because they think the cost is too high. They think they’ll have to give up too much. Maybe this is you. Maybe you think handing over a blank check to God is terrifying because you don’t know what He’ll do. You fear that surrender to His will means He’ll make you marry someone you don’t love or He’ll send you to Africa. But the truth is, when you surrender, you gain His desires in your own heart. You want what He wants. It’s no longer about what you have to give up, but about what you gain.
Have you fully surrendered your life to God, Christian? Are you a disciple or just a believer who thinks life is about your own happiness? God doesn’t care for lukewarm Christians (Revelation 3:16), so we should all pay attention when He says to present ourselves as living sacrifices. That means something…and it’s not optional.
Angels and demons
James 2:19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!
You believe in God. Good. But is that enough? Even the demons believe in God. They believe in His existence, because they know without a doubt that He exists. But do they surrender to Him? Do they get to live in His presence?
How about you? Do you just believe in God or do you surrender to Him? It’s not enough to believe in the existence of God, as we see by the fact that even His enemies believe. Belief that there is a God falls far short of the gospel. In order to live in the presence of God, we have to put our faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. This is where the demons fail. They believe there is a God, but they don’t trust in His Son for salvation. They try to be gods themselves.
Trying to work our way into heaven instead of taking on the righteousness of Christ is trying to be God. It’s trying to put ourselves in His place. If we do this, we’re no better off than the demons, who believe in God but shudder at the very thought of Him. What separates angels and demons? Not belief, but faith.
Angels and demons
2 Peter 2:4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment;
How could a perfect God who is incapable of evil create demons? Why would He even do such a thing? The fact of the matter is some angels, the heavenly beings God created to carry out His plan, were rebellious and would rather gain power than serve the One who created them. Because God is just, those angels were cast away from His presence, and we now refer to them as demons.
But before we bid them good riddance, let’s take note of what their sin really was. The rebellious angels wanted to be like God, as did their leader Lucifer. Their arrogance cost them. But what did the first humans choose in the Garden of Eden? Rather than obeying God, they wanted to be like Him by knowing good and evil. They chose the same sin as the demons. And so do we.
Every time we choose our own preferences and comforts over what God wants, we’re choosing to be in the place of God. Aren’t we? Think about how many sins start with pride as their root cause and then boil down what pride really is. Pride in our hearts is the desire to be like God rather than submitting to Him. If God didn’t spare angels for doing such a thing, what makes us think we deserve exemption from His judgment? Thank God for His grace!
Angels and demons
Colossians 2:18 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind
Do you believe in angels? Sometimes we get mixed up in what we (and others) believe about the existence of angels over what we (and others) believe about God Himself. The Bible is very clear that angels are real, but they are not meant to be the focus of our attention. They’re just the messengers. (Revelation 19:10)
The truth is, however, we can start to think more about angels watching over us (as evidenced by so many bumper stickers) than we think about our heavenly Father who watches over us. It’s He who sends the angels to guard us. (Psalm 91:11-12) They’re just doing the job they were sent to do. So why do we stop short of worshiping God for how He loves us and worship instead the means by which He shows us?
Idolizing angels isn’t a new concept. Apparently it was a big enough issue to cause Paul to bring it up in his letter to the Colossians. He warned them about only following sound doctrine and staying away from teachers who say that the way to God is through self-deprivation and angel worship, as well as going on about visions (but that’s another whole subject for another series!).
The point is that God alone is worthy of our worship. It’s right to believe that angels are real and that God uses them to carry out His plans, but it’s not ok to worship the messenger rather than the Sender. To God alone be the glory.
Angels and Demons
Mark 12:25 For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven
How are angels different from humans? How is it that we’re “a little lower than the angels” (Psalm 8:5)? The impression we get from the Bible is that angels and humans are quite different, but how? And why?
Angels were all created by God with specific reasons in mind. They are sent out as messengers, protectors, and even warriors. They fulfill God’s will in a different way that we do. When speaking to some religious people of His day, Jesus compared resurrected humans to being more like angels than what we are here on earth. We will no longer marry, as marriage is an earthly institution with purposes that are unnecessary in heaven. Our heavenly bodies will be free from disease and injury, much like angelic beings. We will be made whole in our new bodies, there will be no more sinning, no more hurting.
But it’s important to note that we will be like the angels in heaven, not angels. We don’t become angels when we die, contrary to some cartoons. We will still be distinct from the angels, carrying out our own tasks different from theirs. We will worship God forever like the angels, but not as angels. We’ll be coworkers, so to speak, serving God however He directs us. Nothing will be done in vain.
Angels and Demons
Colossians 1:16 For byt him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.
Have you ever wondered where angels and demons come from? You picture the stuff that’s in the movies with the spiritual realm at battle, angels on one side and demons on the other…but when did they come into being? Have they always been there?
A biblical truth to hold onto when it comes to anything is that God created all things. All things, to include the spiritual beings that are all around, in heaven and on earth. God’s messengers, the angels, were created by Him to do His will. Likewise, demons were created by God, but they chose to disobey Him and were cast out of heaven. Though evil, they were still created by God. How does that change the way you think about demons?
Just as we were created with purpose, angels were created with specific tasks and attributes as well. They have characteristics different from those of humans, but they are nonetheless created beings of God. They reside in heaven, out of heaven, and anywhere that God sends them. It’s worth taking a deeper look at what angels are and what they are not before forming our view of them.