Love Instruction

Dear Brethren,

As we rapidly enter the last days before the return of Jesus Christ, God has life-saving instructions for His Church.  But, it seems that much of God’s warning to us goes unheeded as though we were all asleep.  Jesus describes the end-time Church this way – and we’d all be wise to apply this parable to ourselves.  “While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.”  (Matthew 25:5)   Jesus says that the entire Church is unprepared and asleep.  What does He mean?

What must we do to be prepared?  The answer is to heed God’s warnings and love the instruction He has given us.  Only God’s truth can steer us in the way that we should go.  God says, “Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children: for blessed are they that keep my ways.  Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not.  Blessed is the man that hears me.”  (Proverbs 8:32-34)

What does Jesus expect of us?  What is it that the greater Church of God is not doing – that we should be doing?  Most of the brethren feel that their particular organization is pretty much right on target.  When they examine themselves, they erroneously find that they are God’s people – doing God’s work.  There is no cry from most of the numerous branches of scattered groups for their members to awake and prepare for Christ’s coming.  “…Now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand.”  (Romans 13:11-12)

Why did God inspire Paul to write those words about awaking out of sleep?  Those instructions follow on the heels of an admonition to work toward the love and unity of the brethren.  “Owe no man anything, but to love one another: for he that loves another hath fulfilled the law.  For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery… Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.  Love works no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”  (Romans 13:8-10) 

At the time that we should see peace, harmony, and unity among the brethren – look at what we find within God’s Church.  We see major contentions among the ministry, we see ministers closing their eyes to wrong dating practices, unlawful marriages of members, and we can hardly find any movement toward reconciliation of the various Church groups to one another.  This evil conduct is transparent to God and it is clearly not loving God’s instructions nor acting on them.  “Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life.  Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men.”  (Proverbs 4:13-14) 

We are fast running out of the time that we will need to make ourselves pleasing in God’s sight.  The day will soon come when it will be too late to accomplish anything more than a death-bed repentance – and that is not God’s will.  His will is that we are to be blameless in His sight at all times.  “[God] shall also confirm [establish] you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  (1 Corinthians 1:8)

“Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.  For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren… that there are contentions among you.”  (1 Corinthians 1:10-11)  These verses are unmistakable warnings to us today to get our lives in order.  Paul said, “I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you.”  (1 Corinthians 4:14)

We who are in the Church of God must be an example of obedience to God’s law, while striving for unity among the brethren.  We know that God will hold us accountable.  How do we know?  God held ancient Israel responsible for breaking His covenant with them – and they did not have His Spirit as we do.

How did God view those foolish Israelites after their appalling blunder?   He sent them into Assyrian and Babylonian captivities for their failure to be an example for all the world to see.  We are making a worse mistake!  And for those of us who are led by God’s Spirit, the penalty will be much greater than national captivity – our very salvation is in jeopardy.  It is important that we learn from history’s example.   What will be the result if we, too, fail to be the prepared, unified Christian body we were called to be?  Not unified in organization – but integrated into a common bond of Christian love that knows no bounds?

The Church of God is puffed up, and has not humbled itself and become unified – not even to fulfill the last request of Jesus – Father that they may be one. (John 17)  We will give an answer to Christ if we fail to do everything possible to achieve unity with all Christians.  “These things, brethren, I have, for your sakes,.. written, that no one of you be puffed up one against another.”  (1 Corinthians 4:6)  Paul wrote that verse because there existed an arrogance among the membership that said, "Our group is best, and we can't be bothered to help a brother from another faction into the Kingdom of God."

God’s instruction for all the brethren to be one as Christ and the Father are one – is the most important and challenging task before Christians at this time.  This concept of striving for a spiritual community will be God’s determining factor for who is protected and hidden in a place of safety.  God instructs us to take the initiative to obediently gather together in unity and oneness, before it is too late.  “Gather yourselves together, yes, gather together…, before the day of the Lord’s anger come upon you.  Seek you the Lord, all ye meek of the earth…, it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord's anger.”  (Zephaniah 2:1-3)


Sermon:  "Love Instruction"
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