John 15:1-27 (ESV) “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another. 18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. 21 But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. 25 But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’ 26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.
John 14:21 (ESV) Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”
Romans 15:1 (ESV)
1 We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
"For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen." Ephesians 3:14-21 (ESV)
Guest author: Curtis Sergeant
What are you living for? Hopefully it is more than trying to make as much money as possible or gain as much power as possible for the purpose of living a life of hedonism. There is nothing wrong with pleasure and comfort, but you were made for more than that. God has a purpose for your life. It is to glorify Him. There are lots of ways to do this. In fact, most activities and pursuits can be done in such a way that they glorify God (unless they are inherently wrong in and of themselves).
Glorifying God can also be called worship. There are some ways in which we should all be glorifying God. First, we should acknowledge Him and commit ourselves to following His instructions and guidance for our lives. We should also encourage others in the pursuit of a life of worship. We should continually grow in our likeness to Jesus Christ’s character. We should serve others and look out for their interests as well as our own. We should seek to draw others into a relationship with God if they don’t already know him. Conveniently, these facets of living a life of worship are gathered into a couple of summary statements in the Bible.
One time (Matthew 22:36-40) a Jewish lawyer asked Jesus, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
This is referred to as the Great Commandment.
Just before Jesus ascended to heaven, He gave His disciples their final instructions. This was a crucial event because He knew He would never see them again in the flesh. In Matthew 28:18-20 the Bible says, “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.'”
This is referred to as the Great Commission.
[My entries in] this blog [are] about the ethos of the "ObeyGC2 Life" which can be summarized as an attempt to help people live out the Great Commandment and the Great Commission as effectively as possible. ObeyGC2 is read as “obey GC squared” and by now you might have guessed that GC squared refers to the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. ObeyGC2 is an attempt to expand the Kingdom of God by catalyzing a movement of Christ’s followers working together to bring about greater glory to God and doing what they can to see His will done on earth as it is in heaven. [My entries in] this blog will address my take on what that might look like in practical implementation.
(Used by permission and adapted from https://metacamp.org/blog/)
1 Peter 1.3-9 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
4 to an incorruptible and undefiled inheritance that doesn’t fade away, reserved in Heaven for you,
5 who by the power of God are guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
6 Wherein you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been put to grief in various trials.
7 that the proof of your faith, which is more precious than gold that perishes even though it is tested by fire, may be found to result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ--
8 whom not having known you love; in whom, though now you don’t see him, yet believing, you rejoice greatly with joy unspeakable and full of glory--
9 receiving the result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
1 Peter 3.8 ESV Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.
1 Peter 4.7-9 ESV The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.
8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.
9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.
Life is short. The time you have with family and friends and in this world, is short. Even if the end of this age is not in the next few months, years or decades, our time on earth is short, like a vapor that appears for a moment and then is gone. Therefore, seeing that our time on earth is so short, we should live lives of self-control and be sober-minded for the sake of prayer. Prayer is a vital aspect of having healthy relationships with people. There are fleshly motivations, self-centered perspectives, as well as active and intelligent demonic forces that seek to destroy fellowship between people and with God. So we must live self-controlled, sober-mined lives for the sake of good prayer, focused prayer and effective prayer. An important part of having good fellowship with God and people is having a good prayer life.
Loving one another earnestly means our relationships can survive a multitude of sins, because love covers a multitude of sins. This does not mean that we condone sin, but it means that our relationships with others can survive the reality of sin, with which we all have to battle. Without earnest, sincere and authentic love, relationships will be poisoned by the reality of sin. No one is perfect, though we strive for perfection. If we expect others to be perfect, to never sin, to never disappoint us, to never hurt us, to never misunderstand us or misinterpret our motives or our words, then relationship will suffer, and possibly disintegrate. Why are there so many broken relationships? Why so many broken friendships, broken marriages, rifts between parents and children, siblings and church members? Probably because sin is a malady that affects us all, and unless we learn to love one another fervently, this reality of sin, this poison of sin, will destroy relationships. If we learn to love one another earnestly, relationships can survive and even thrive in spite of our continuing struggle to overcome selfishness and the messiness of human frailty.
We should show hospitality without grumbling, and this is more than just having people over for a drink or a meal. Hospitality is sometimes thought of as entertaining, throwing a party, or having friends over. It may be that in a superficial way, but remember that hospitality has the word “hospital” in it. Showing hospitality means to help people in the midst of their pain, to minister to people in the midst of their weakness and infirmity, to help people find strength and healing in their struggle with injury. If we think of hospitality as that of working with a patient at a hospital, we will probably be far more patient with those we live around, live with, and are called to love. Most people have suffered some kind of trauma in their lives, somewhere along the way, whether in childhood, in a work setting, among friends, or even at church. Many people live in a state of emotional or spiritual or relational handicap due to these hurts and traumas either from the past or in the present. If we can approach our relationship with people with kindness and understanding, a listening ear, a compassionate heart, and ideally with words and actions that can help bring healing to the heart and mind, then we will experience a deep fellowship with others as we become a conduit of the love and healing that God can bring through us.