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Take Heed

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“But take careful heed to do the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, to keep His commandments, to hold fast to Him, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul.”  

  Joshua 22:5  NKJV

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” 

  Deuteronomy 6:5  NKJV

      Moses warned the Israelites to love God with everything in them. The people were to be devoted to God.

“but the Lord, who brought you up from the land of Egypt with great power and an outstretched arm, Him you shall fear, Him you shall worship and to Him you shall offer sacrifice.” 

2 Kings 17:36  NKJV

“And it shall come to pass That from one New Moon to another, And from one Sabbath to another, All flesh shall come to worship before Me .”    

  Isaiah 66:23  NKJV

Throughout the Bible we are told to worship God. Everyone is instructed to offer true worship to God.

“Let all that you do be done with love.”  

1 Corinthians 16:14  NKJV

     Everything that you do must flow out of your love for God. God looks at your heart to see the motive behind everything that you do.

1. You must follow God out of your love for Him.

2. You must keep God’s commandments out of love.

3. You must hold fast to the things of God out of your love for Him.

4. You must worship (minister to) God out of your love for Him.

“Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment” 

Matthew 22:37  NKJV

I. Walk In God’s Ways:

We must conduct ourselves in godly ways. Our behavior must be that of Jesus. A believer’s life should match, or line up with the Word of God. We should live in a way that the things we do, say and think measure up to the God we serve.

“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called.”   

  Ephesians 4:1  NKJV

“That you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.” 

1 Thessalonians 2:12  NKJV

“That you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” 

  Colossians 1:10 NKJV

     God has called us to His standards, and He will empower us by His Holy Spirit.

“Strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy” 

  Colossians 1:11  NKJV

     The standards of the world are not the standards of God. No matter where you live in the world, no matter what your culture is nor what your traditions are,  God’s standards are always the same. They never change.

“’For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.’ ” 

  Isaiah 55:8-9   NKJV

     God never intended for the church to become like the world in order to reach the world. He has called the church to a higher standard -His standard. We cannot walk in God’s ways if we try to compromise or “water down” the standards of God. When a church allows the world, or the area they live in, to set the standards they are on very dangerous ground. They are no different than the church of Pergamos -the compromising church or the church of Thyatira- the corrupt church. Both of these churches allowed immorality and idolatry to creep in. They exchanged God’s standards for the world’s standards, thus they were found lacking in the sight of God.

Jesus is coming back for a bride (church) that is spotless, not a bride (church) that is stained with compromise.

“That He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” 

  Ephesians 5:26-27  NKJV

II. Keep God’s Commandments:

According to the dictionary “keep” means to: have for a long time or forever, to have and not let go, to have and take care of, to have; to hold, to maintain in good condition; preserve, to observe, to be faithful to. Jesus tells us that if we love Him we will keep His commandments. You cannot separate love and obedience. In other words, if we love Jesus we will be faithful to observe and preserve the commandments of God forever. We will not let go of the Word of God for anything or anyone.

“If you love Me, keep My commandments.”   

John 14:15  NKJV

     No one will be able to stand before God and say that they didn’t know His commandments. God gave us His Word, the Holy Bible. It’s up to every person to read it and to obey it. Obedience brings blessings and rewards, and disobedience brings curses and punishment.

“But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.’ ”  

Jeremiah 7:23  NKJV

‘..in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not  obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 

  2 Thessalonians 1:8  NKJV

“And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him” 

  Hebrews 5:9  NKJV

III. Hold Fast To God:

We need to be firm, secure, loyal and steadfast to God, and to the things of God. We should not allow the things of this world and the cares of life to have a negative effect on our love for God.

“My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and give praise.” 

  Psalm 58:7  NKJV

     Our love for God must not be swayed by every doctrine of man that comes along.

“Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.” 

  1 Corinthians 16:13  NKJV

“Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.” 

Philippians 1:27  NKJV

“…If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.” 

2 Chronicles 15:2  NKJV

“Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.” 

Revelation 3:11  NKJV

IV. Minister To God With All Your Heart And Soul:

Worship (ministry to God) must come before service.

“Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His Word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”  

Luke 10:38-42  NKJV

     Jesus did not rebuke Martha for serving, but for putting the wrong priority on serving. Worship to God must come before serving. After we worship and minister to God, then we will have the power to go out and minister to others.

“How the can you comfort me with empty words….”  

Job 21:34 NKJV

     You cannot give what you do not have. You must spend time in the presence of God to effectively minister the way God wants you to.

“Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place- unless you repent.”  

Revelation 2:5  NKJV

Conclusion:  

We were created to (and commanded to) have a deep intimate relationship with God, and to be devoted to Him. We are to love God with everything in us (heart, soul and mind), with our whole being. When you truly love God you will have a desire to walk in His ways, to keep His commandments, to hold fast to Him, and to minister to Him.

“You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him.”   Deuteronomy 13:4  NKJV

     Like Martha and the church of Ephesus, we can become distracted from worshiping God by working for God. The church in Ephesus had turned away from their love to God-they turned away from the first and greatest commandment.

“I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place- unless you repent. But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” 

  Revelation 2:2-7  NKJV

     Trying to minister without having intimacy with God can cause the Holy Spirit to leave the ministry or work that you are doing.

“Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place- unless you repent.”  

Revelation 2:5  NKJV

     As you read about the church in Ephesus you can see that they had a lot of good things going for it. The were working (ministering to others), they had patience (fruit of the Spirit), they hated what God hated, they had discernment (a gift of the Spirit), and they were not into immoral idolatrous behavior and practices.   But God had something against them. The church in Ephesus had left their first love. This church had lost it’s love for God, and it’s intimacy with God. They were instructed to do three things:

1. To remember the intimacy that they once had with God.

2. To repent for falling out of love with God.

3. To have intimacy with God again.

     Then they were given a warning. They were told that if they didn’t do as they were instructed that God would remove their lampstand. The lampstand represents the oil of the Holy Spirit.  The anointing, placed upon us by the Holy Spirit, is what breaks the yokes off the people that we are ministering to. Without it we are ineffective and what results we see are usually temporary. Only an encounter with the Holy Spirit will change things.

“Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.”  

Zechariah 4:6  NKJV

     The church that overcomes (obeys the first and greatest commandment) is promised a  reward- they will eat of the tree of life. Eating of the tree of life in the midst of paradise is a promise of intimacy with God. The fellowship that man was created to have with God would be renewed.

“And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day….”  

Genesis 3:8 NKJV

     The intimacy that Adam once had with God can be enjoyed when we love the Lord our God with everything in us.

“Jesus answered and said to him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.’ ”  

John 14:23  NKJV

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