Jesus taught us, as His disciples, to love one another (Jn. 13:34-35). His instruction in that context is not a suggestion. He stated it as a commandment. The purpose behind this commandment is extremely important. The world will recognize Christ in us by the love that we exhibit toward one another. But the reasons that should motivate our love for one another go way beyond just following a commandment that tells us to love one another.
The story goes that the devil decided to retire (now, wouldn’t that be great news!), and he had a “Going Out Of Business Sale.” All of the tools of his trade were openly displayed and priced on row after row of tables. One tool, however, was set off to itself under a glass case. It was more worn than most of the other tools, and it was considerably more expensive. A small labeling card was set in front of it with one word printed thereon- DISCOURAGEMENT
Many people have kind of a funny view of love. Can you imagine a wife who loves her husband too much to demand that he not abuse her? Too much to point out to him that his behavior could ultimately cause him and the family harm? Too much to expect him to work a regular job in order to at least help provide for the family? Can you imagine a husband loving his wife so much that he’d let her lead him to spiritual condemnation rather than trying lead her to salvation through his own righteous example? Christ’s love for the church is the model for how husbands and wives ought to love one another (Eph. 5:22-33).
Pertaining to the final day of judgment the apostle John wrote, “Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.” (Rev. 1:7). Let’s consider a brief analysis of this verse of scripture.
I traditionally devote one bulletin article near the beginning of most every year to review the year past and look forward to the year ahead. We might think of it as a look through the rearview mirror and the windshield.
Another year has come and gone. At the beginning of a new year people typically reflect on their past life, the memories, the challenges, the mistakes, the successes, the failures. Many wish they could go back and do things differently. They wish they could have a new beginning.
As we come to the end of one year and the beginning of another, it’s a good time to do some self examination. Are you where you want to be in life? Whatever your life is like, are you happy with it? If you could have projected ahead ten years ago, would this be what you wanted your life to become? If your life had to remain just as it is now, for the foreseeable future, would you be satisfied?
Our present societal mindset takes a dim view of absolutes. Anyone who is absolutely certain of what constitutes truth and right and wrong, for example, is commonly considered to be narrow minded, bigoted, even radical. Some might also consider him to be mentally unbalanced and possibly dangerous.
In a few days, multitudes of people in this country and around the world will supposedly celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Many will attend some kind of special church service in His honor. Others will simply feel special feelings about the Savior as they go about the day. Specific references to the birth of Christ will be uttered in prayers by some. A large number of people will get drunk!
The Bible is a marvelous body of knowledge. It is, literally, the word of God. Thus, through its message we gain some understanding of the mind of God and of His Son, Jesus Christ. The Bible provides us with abundant instruction as to how to live our lives in a godly manner. Those instructions are both positive and negative. Some of them teach us how to act, what to do. Others instruct us as to what not to do, what to abstain from. The Bible even gives us insight as to how to view someone who claims to be a teacher of God’s word.
Gary L. Hutchens