"... the joy of the LORD is your strength." (Neh. 8:10)
1 Cor. 13:6, "Rejoiceth not in iniquity,"
I. True Sincere Love For God Will Lead To A Desire For God And His Fellowship --- Rather Than A Love For This World of Iniquity.
A. A True and Sincere Love for God will cause us to have an High Esteem For God!
1. That which we love, we have the highest esteem for.
2. We show this esteem by our Behavior and our Speech.
B. A True and Sincere Love for God will cause us to make a Choice of Him above all other things.
1. His Kingdom or our kingdom.
2. His Honor or our honor.
3. His Mission or our money.
4. His Work or our ease.
5. If we truly love God and Choose Him over these things --- we will, by our actions, Cleave To God and Let These Things Go --- Not Love Iniquity.
C. A True and Sincere Love for God will cause us to Desire Him.
He who truly desires God will be Stirred Up Actively To Apply Himself In Seeking After Him.
Deut. 4:29, "But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul."
2 Chron. 15:12, "And they entered into a covenant to seek the LORD God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul;"
2 Chron. 31:21, "And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, and in the law, and in the commandments, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart, and prospered."
Ezra 8:21-22, "Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance. 22 For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek him; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him."
1 Tim. 6:12, "Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses."
Psa. 63:1, "O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;"
Psa. 70:4, "Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: and let such as love thy salvation say continually, Let God be magnified."
Matt. 6:33, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
Heb. 11:6, "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."
Psa. 10:4, "The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts."
D. A True and Sincere Love for God will cause us to Delight In Him.
1. We will find Satisfaction and Happiness in him --- not in iniquity.
Job 22:26, "For then shalt thou have thy delight in the Almighty, and shalt lift up thy face unto God."
Psa. 1:2, "But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night."
Psa. 37:4, "Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart."
S. of S. 2:3-4, "As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste. 4 He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love."
2. The Unbelievers Have No Such Desire.
Prov. 18:2, "A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself."
Prov. 19:10, "Delight is not seemly for a fool; much less for a servant to have rule over princes."
3. Sincere Love For God causes us to Delight more in God than in iniquity --- we find our Satisfaction in God --- and will Not Forsake God for other things.
a. By our Conduct we Show we are indeed Satisfied in Him.
b. Our Feelings and Choices will be seen in our Actions.
II. True Sincere Love For God Results From True Saving Repentance --- Which Leads To A Holy Life --- Not Rejoicing In Iniquity.
A. Repentance means a Change of Mind --- which leads to a Changed Lifestyle.
1. Such a change of mind must and does results in a Change of Attitudes And Actions.
2. Godly Sorrow for sin is the Beginning of true Repentance.
2 Cor. 7:10, "For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of:"
B. Repentance comes from a Humble Spirit --- which also Leads To Holy Actions.
1. Humility is the Distinguishing Mark between a True Christian Experience and that which is Counterfeit.
a. A humble heart tends to Humble Behavior.
b. He that is Sensitive to his own littleness, nothingness and worthlessness will be disposed to live in Dependence Upon God.
2. He will no longer appear as Proud, Scornful and Judgmental --- Condemning others --- realizing that But For The Grace of God, There Go I.
a. We make Harsh and Condemning Statements about the World and itís people forgetting that they are Not Our Enemy but rather are Our Mission Field.
b. Christian radio commentators, editorial writers, and Preachers relentlessly attack and analyze sinners in both high and low places.
c. This is Not The Task of Christianity.
(1) 1 Cor. 5:12-13, "For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? 13 But them that are without God judgeth."
(2) We should tend to our own business and Let God Judge Those On The Outside.
3. Sometimes we even Rejoice In The Misfortunes of Others.
a. Road Rage --- Accident .....
b. Smoking --- Cancer .....
c. Attitude --- Fired from job .....
d. Prov. 24:17-18, "Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: 18 Lest the LORD see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him."
e. Obadiah 12, "But thou shouldest not have looked (gloated) on the day of thy brother in the day that he became a stranger; neither shouldest thou have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction; neither shouldest thou have spoken proudly in the day of distress."
David, Solomon's father, Refused To Gloat over the Death of his life long enemy, Saul.
On the other hand, the Nation of Edom Rejoiced over Israel's Defeat and was punished by God for their attitude.
To gloat over other's misfortune is to Make Yourself The Avenger and to put yourself In The Place of God Who alone is the Real Judge.
4. True Christian Humility causes a person to be resigned to the Will of God --- to be Patient and Submissive --- filled with a Deep Reverence toward God and his Fellowman who is Created In The Image of God.
a. He will treat divine things with the Highest Respect.
b. He will exhibit a Meek Behavior toward all men.
(1) Condescending to inferiors,
(2) Respectful to superiors,
(3) Gentle to all,
(4) Peaceful, easy to be entreated, not self-willed, not envious of others,
(5) Content in whatever state they find themselves,
(6) A Calm and Quiet Spirit, not disposed to resent injuries, but apt to forgive.
C. Repentance also precedes from a true Fear of The Lord.--- which also leads to a Holy Life Style.
1. This is a holy concern or dread that we should Offend or Grieve God by sinning against Him.
2. Fearing God and observing to do all His Commandments, are joined together.
Deut. 28:58, "If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD;"
Prov. 8:13, "The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate."
Job 1:8, "And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?"
Job 31:23, "For destruction from God was a terror to me, and by reason of his highness I could not endure."
III. True Sincere Love For God Gives Us A Heart of Thankfulness and Praise --- Which Leads To Holy Living --- Out of Gratitude.
A. Our Gratefulness to God leads us to Render Unto Him According To The Benefits We Have Received.
1. Our Actions and Attitudes are indisputable Evidence that we are either Grateful or Ungrateful toward God and toward our Fellowman.
2. A Spirit of Gratitude will cause us to do what we can for the benefit of the one to whom we are grateful.
B. No Man Can Be Truly Thankful To God --- for His infinite mercy and love and the sacrificial love of Christ toward us --- and Still Live An Unholy Lifestyle.
1. His Gratitude, if sincere, will Lead Him To Be Holy.
a. 1 John 3:1-3, "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure."
(1) True hope Looks Only To God for his happiness.
(2) Faith in Christ is the Source of All Our Hope.
b. 1 John 2:15, "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him."
2. Sincere love for God will Wean You From This World --- It will seem as Nothing and Vanity to you.
a. Are we Heavenly-Minded or Earthly-Minded?
b. Do you get more excited about the Things of This World or the Things of Heaven?
c. Are your Treasures laid up on Earth or in Heaven?
3. How Reluctant are you To Let Go of the things of This World?
How Easy Is It for you to Let Go of the Things of God --- What About:
b. Bible Study?
c. Church Attendance?
d. Witnessing To Others About Christ?
e. Your Money --- Is it possible to truly trust God with your soul and not trust Him with your money.
4. Would those who know you best say that there is No Evidence That You Are Weaned From The World and Prefers Heavenly Things to the earthly things?
C. We are judged by the Fruit We Bear.
Matt. 7:16-20, "Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."
D. The person who Keeps Godís Commandments is the person who Truly Loves God.
John 14:21-24, "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. 22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? 23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. 24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Fatherís which sent me."
E. If a person pretends to belong to the Kingdom of God and yet does Not Keep Godís Commandments --- he is either a Hypocrite or Self-Deceived.
Eph. 5:5-6, "For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience."
Gal. 5:19-24, "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christís have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts."
F. Not only will sincere love for God wean you from the world and give you a love for heavenly things --- It Will Give You A Love For Others that results in Actions.
1. If our Love is Sincere, it will lead to Actions.
1 John 3:18-19, "My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. 19 And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him."
James 2:15-16, "If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?"
Matt. 25:40, "And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."
Good works are the Only Satisfying Evidence that we are Truly Possessed by the Spirit and Grace of God.
2. If we truly love others, we will be Ready To Do and to Suffer For Them.
Rom. 13:9-10, "... Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law."
A. When we speak of Knowing Christians By The Fruits They Bear --- we are Not implying that they should live a Perfect and Sinless life.
1. Your Christian Life may be characterized by Many and Exceeding Great Imperfections and yet be a Holy or Truly Christian Life.
2. None of us Have Arrived yet --- Every one of us should be Praying as we Sing:
"Come, Thou Fount of every blessing, Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;"
"Let Thy goodness, like a fetter, Bind my wandering heart to Thee;"
"Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love."
3. You Mean, "I Can Live A Truly Godly Christian Life And Still Have Sin In My Life?" --- Yes! --- Please Tell Me How?
1 John 1:8-9, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
B. Letís Examine Ourselves to see if we have within us the Grace and Love of God which gives Evidence of our Salvation and leads to Godly Fruit Bearing.
1. Does the grace of God have such influence in your mind as to cause your past sinful practices to be Hateful In Your Eyes --- have you mourned before God for them?
2. Is it a Burden In Your Life that your Good works and faithfulness are No Better Than They Are?
3. Is it really Grievous To You that you Have Sinned and Do Sin --- do you, as Job, abhor yourself for it and repent of it in humility?
4. Do you Lament Your Sinfulness and pray to be delivered from sin as you would from a body of death?
5. Do you, habitually, carry with you a Dread of Sin --- whether Past or Future?
6. Do you Dread Sin because it is in and of itself Evil and Hurtful to your soul and Offensive To God?
Gen. 39:9, "... thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?"
7. Are you Sensitive of the Beauty and Loveliness and Happiness of Holy Living or is it Boring to you?
8. Do you Delight In The Law of God and love His Commandments?
9. Do you hold in High Esteem and Delight In The Christian Lifestyle.
10. Do you have a Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness and Holy Living?
11. Do you make an Earnest Effort to endeavor to live a Holy and Godly Life --- does this Weigh Upon Your Mind or is holy living a Mere Incidental thing to you?
12. Do you greatly Desire To Know Godís Will for your life and the Duties He would have you perform? --- Do you have a Sincere Desire to serve and live for Him?
Know & Understand That God Is Not Looking For Perfection
There Is No Second Chance After Death!
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