Hebrews 12:29 asserts that God is a “consuming fire.” Again and again in the Scriptures, God is revealed as expressing His holiness in the form of fire. Sometimes this expression of holiness is in CONDEMNATION of sin. Other times it is a COMMENDATION of righteousness. God manifests displeasure with sin through fire. And also manifests His pleasure with righteousness in fire.
Compare Sodom and Gomorrah and Nadab/Abihu (Leviticus 10) with Elijah at Mount Carmel and Pentecost.
Fire is a symbol of God’s holiness either condemning or commending, either perishing or purging. Why one or the other?The presence or absence of sacrificial blood. True in each of the above examples.
Our God is a consuming fire, either consuming the sin or the sinner. The presence or absence of sacrificial blood determines which.
Step one: We need to know Jesus and begin a lifetime of discipleship (learning/following) to Jesus. Part of being a disciple is making disciples. There is no plan B.
If you make disciples, you always get the church. But if you make a church, you rarely get disciples.
The most important number to Jesus, as far as the church is concerned, is disciples, not attendance, buildings, or cash. He wants to know if we are “making disciples.”
Do their lives look like the lives of the people we see in Scripture? Are we just good at getting people together once a week and maybe into a small group, or are we actually good at producing the types of people we read about in the New Testament? Have we shifted our criteria for a good disciple as someone who shows up to our events, gives some money, and serves when it’s convenient?
Effective discipleship builds the church, not the other way around. We need to understand the church as the effect of discipleship, not the cause.
“Shout for joy to the Lord all the earth.” Psalm 100:1
Most of the shouting today is out of anger or frustration. Politics and social media are two particular contexts where that is too common.
Rather we are called to shout for joy to the LORD. Who is to shout? WE, and the rest of the world.
“Worship the Lord with GLADNESS. Come before Him singing with joy.” Psalm 100:2
How much of our worship is done with gladness and joy?
“Know that the Lord is GOOD. It is He who made us and we are His. We are His people, the sheep of his pasture. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.” Psalm 100:3, 5
The most important question we can ask of a biblical text is not, “What does this mean?” but “What can I obey?” A simple act of obedience will open up our lives to the text far more quickly than any number of Bible studies.
Soren Kierkegaard said,
The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly.
Ephesians 5:8c, 10
Live as children of the light…and find out what pleases God.
Living as children of the light is determined not only by what we do, but also by whom we please. It is a matter of our heart’s motives as well as the work of the hands. Not only are we to do what God commands, we are to do so out of a desire to please Him. We should delight in His delight. Mere outward conformity to the law is not what God requires. The person who does what God says with a resentful heart does not bear the mark of the true child of light.
The desire to please One so delightfully pleased with us becomes our passion and our power, our highest and strongest motivation.
Today you can fulfill the law of Christ!
Galatians 6:2, “Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
It’s that simple.
Find a “burden” someone else is carrying and help them with it, bear it for them if possible.
That’s what Christ did on the cross by bearing all of our sin-burdens.