Tag Archives: Zechariah 4:6

By My Spirit

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By My Spirit

DRAWING WATER FROM THE WELLZechariah 4:6 NKJV

“So he answered and said to me:

‘This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel:

‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’

Says the Lord of hosts.’ ”

After the temple was destroyed the people were instructed to rebuild it. After a period of time the rebuilding slowed down and eventually stopped. God moved upon His prophets, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to instruct the people to start the rebuilding process again. The Holy Spirit also moved upon the people to obey.

God revived the rebuilding process through the work and the power of the Holy Spirit, not by human strength and resources. If it had been done with human strength the people would have stopped again when they were faced with opposition. However through the power from the Holy Spirit the work was accomplished.

 

Psalm 68:35 NKJV

“O God, You are more awesome than Your holy places. The God of Israel is He who gives strength and power to His people. Blessed be God!”

God has always given strength and power to His people. To those that believe in Him, Jesus will give them rivers of living water that will fill them with power. This power will give the believer the ability to act or to do something with force or strength.

 

John 7:37-39 NKJV

“On the last day, the great day of the feast,

Jesus stood and cried out, saying,

‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scriptures has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’

But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”

During the Feast of Tabernacles, while only a small amount of water was being poured out during the ceremony in the temple, Jesus told the people that if they believed in Him rivers of living water would flow from them. These rivers of living water would be more than enough water to satisfy them and others.

The Holy Spirit satisfies the believer’s thirst and produces a fountain within them for others. When we are filled with the Holy Spirit the river within us will naturally flow out onto others.

This rivers of living water given by the Holy Spirit will give us power to speak for God, power to do wonders and signs, and power to be a witness for God.

 

I. Speaking For God By The Power Of The Holy Spirit

Micah 3:8 NKJV

“But truly I am full of power by the Spirit of the Lord,

And of justice and might,

To declare to Jacob his transgression

And to Israel his sin.”

The prophet, Micah, was empowered by the Holy Spirit to speak for God. With boldness he confronted the religious leaders about their false ideas of God, and the impending wrath of God because of their sin.

Not only did Micah warn the Israelites of coming judgment, but he also spoke of salvation.

 

Micah 7:18-19 NKJV

“Who is a God like You,

Pardoning iniquity

And passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage?

He does not retain His anger forever,

Because He delights in mercy.

He will again have compassion on us,

And will subdue our iniquities.

You will cast all our sins

Into the depth of the sea.”

God still empowers people today with the Holy Spirit to speak for Him. We must allow God to fill us with His Spirit so that we can speak for Him, not just about Him. We are to tell the people that we come in contact with about God’s judgment and His mercy.

 

II. Doing Wonders And Signs By The Power Of The Holy Spirit

Acts 6:8-10 NKJV

“And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people.”

The leaders in the early church were instructed by the apostles to pick out seven men full of the Holy Spirit to serve in the area of administration.

 

Acts 6:5-7 NKJV

“And this saying pleased the whole multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch, whom they set before the apostles; and when they had prayed, they laid hands on them. Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith. And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people.”

Stephen was full of the Holy Spirit. This overflowing of the Holy Spirit gave Stephen great wisdom, faith and power. Because of the Holy Spirit within him, Stephen did many great wonders and signs among the people.

Acts 6:8-10 NKJV

“And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people.”

Signs and wonders were, and still are, given by God to confirm His Word. They give credibility to what God says and they cause the people hearing or seeing to respond to God. Signs and wonders validate (support or confirm) the truthfulness of what is being said.

 

Acts 2:42-43 NKJV

“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.”

Acts 5:12 NKJV

“And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people.”

We must allow God to fill us with His Spirit so that we can do great wonders and signs which point people to God.

III. Witnessing By The Power Of The Holy Spirit

Acts 1:8 NKJV

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Before Jesus ascended to heaven 40 days after His resurrection, He promised that He would send the Holy Spirit, the Promise of the Father. The Holy Spirit would fill the believers with power. This power would help them to be a witness for God and it would help them spread the gospel, the Good News, all over the world. After the Holy Spirit filled the believers with power, Peter stood up and spoke to the crowed that had gathered around. After Peter’s sermon many people were saved and baptized.

Acts 2:40-41 NKJV

“And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, ‘Be saved from this perverse generation.’ Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.”

The same power is available to us today. We must allow God to fill us with His Spirit so that we can testify of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. With the power of the Holy Spirit we can be a witness and spread the Good News everywhere we go. When we receive salvation through Jesus it opens up the well of power to us.

During the Feast of Tabernacles, while only a small amount of water was being poured out during the ceremony in the temple, Jesus told the people that if they believed in Him rivers of living water would flow from them. These rivers of living water would be more than enough water to satisfy them and others.

 

John 7:37-39 NKJV

“On the last day, the great day of the feast,

Jesus stood and cried out, saying,

‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scriptures has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’

But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”

The Holy Spirit satisfies the believer’s thirst and produces a fountain within them for others. When we are filled with the Holy Spirit the river within us will naturally flow out onto others.

Zechariah 4:6 NKJV

“So he answered and said to me: ‘This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel:

‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the Lord of hosts.’ ”

As a child of God, He will give us (through the Holy Spirit) power to live for Him, power to speak for Him, power to do wonders and signs, power to work for Him, and power to be a witness for Him. We cannot do any of these things without Him. In order to access this power we must first have a relationship with God. That relationship starts with accepting Jesus as our Savior and making Him the Lord of our life.

Dear Father,

Thank-you for the strength and power that You give me. May the power that You give me bring glory to You and point others to You. Fill me with Your Spirit so that I can speak for You, not just about You. Empower me to tell the people that I come in contact with about Your judgment and mercy. With the power of the Holy Spirit may I be a witness for You and spread the Good News everywhere I go.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

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Bulldog Desperation – Being A Bulldog For God

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          When we hear the word bulldog the first thing that comes to mind is a little dog with a smashed in face – a dog that when it bites into something  it won’t let go. While that first thought has some truth to it, there is more to a bulldog than meets the eye. In the past, I always thought of a bulldog as an ugly, mean little dog. To a breeder, someone who knows all about bulldogs, that is far from the truth. I found ten things that breeders look for in the character and attitude of a bulldog. As I read over these things, I thought that it would be wonderful to have a church full of spiritual bulldogs. People that have bulldog desperation for the presence of God.

I. Bulldogs have a loving disposition.

Disposition is one’s habitual way of acting toward others or of thinking about things; one’s nature or tendencies. Bulldogs act in a loving way toward others. They have a loving way in which they think about things. Their very nature exhibits love. As a refection of Christ, we too should have a loving disposition. Our very nature should exhibit love. If we are desperate for the presence of the Lord in our life and in our church we must have a loving disposition.

1 Corinthians 13: 4-8  NKJV    

“Love suffers long and is kind: love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek it’s own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails…”

          The way we think about things (and the way we think about God) should be different than the way the world thinks. We should have a loving way in which we think about things and people.

John 13:34-35  NKJV    

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

          We should show the love of Christ in everything that we do and say. When people look at us our very disposition should show that we are disciples of Christ.

1 John 4:7  NKJV     

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.”

          Our very nature will show if we really know God or not. If you are truly born again you will habitually show the love of God.

II. Bulldogs have great stability.

Stability is being fixed in position; firmness, permanence, steadfastness of character, purpose. Stability is having the ability to maintain or to return to an original position. Bulldogs have great steadfastness in their character and purpose. They have a great ability to maintain their position.

2 Peter 10:14  NKJV    

“Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless”

          If we are desperate for the presence of the Lord in our life and in our church we must be steadfast in our service, in our faith, in our growth in Christ, and in our perseverance.

Steadfast: firm of purpose; loyal and unwavering; firmly fixed; not moving or changing.

A) Steadfastness in service

1 Corinthians 15:58  NKJV    

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”

          We should press on to fulfill God’s calling on our lives. Every believer is called by God to minister to Him, then to the saints, then to the world. Every person bought by the blood of Jesus Christ is called by God, every person has a ministry. Ministry can be wearing on your body, soul and spirit. We must rely on the Holy Spirit to work (minister) through us. By allowing the Holy Spirit to work through us we will not grow weary in well doing.

2 Thessalonians 3:13  NKJV    

“But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good.”

B) Steadfastness in our faith.

Colossians 2:5  NKJV    

“For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and steadfastness of your faith in Christ.”

         Things of this world and things of the enemy should not shake our faith. We, as Christians, have a solid foundation. We have Jesus as our cornerstone.

1 Peter 5:9  NKJV   

  “Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.”

         When we are steadfast in our faith we are stable. True victory comes when we are steadfast in our faith and remain committed to God no matter what we are facing (in all situations). We are not easily disturbed or likely to fall apart when trouble comes our way. Stability is a sign of maturity.

C ) Steadfastness in growing in Christ.

2 Peter 3:18  NKJV    

“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.”

1 Thessalonians 3:11-14  NKJV    

“Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way to you. And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.”

          It is important that we grow (mature) individually and as a body. If we remain “children” we are vulnerable and gullible.

Vulnerable: can be wounded or injured easily; open to attacks; sensitive to criticism, temptations, influences.

Gullible: easily deceived or cheated.

          Many new believers are drawn away from the faith when they do not mature (grow) properly. Also there are some churches that close their doors because they refused to grow (spiritually). When proper growth is not taking place in a believer’s life (or church) they are injured easily, open to attacks, sensitive to criticism, temptations and influences.

Ephesians 10:14-16  NKJV    

“That we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head – Christ – from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”

          We should mature in all aspects of our relationship with Christ. Maturity comes from practice. You must practice (put in action) what you are taught.

Hebrews 5:12-14  NKJV   

  “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”

D)  Steadfastness in perseverance

God has commanded us to stick to our calling in Christ Jesus. We are to hold fast to the things of God that we have been taught.

Revelation 3:10  NKJV    

“Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on earth.”

Perseverance: sticking to a purpose or an aim; tenacity.

Tenacity: firmness in holding fast; stubbornness; persistence; ability to remember; firmness in holding together; toughness.

Endurance: power to last and to withstand hard wear; power to put up with.

          When facing trials, tribulations (hardships, suffering, distress) or desperate situations, we must not give up or give in. We must stand firm in our faith and persevere. We must remember what God has told us and stand firm on His Word.

Romans 5:3-4  NKJV    

“And not only that, but w also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;  and perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

          We are counted as blessed (enjoy the favor of the Lord) when we endure what God has allowed to come against us.

James 5:11  NKJV    

“Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord – that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.”

III. Bulldogs are full of vigor.

Vigor is active strength or force, healthy energy or power. Bulldogs are full of vigor. They are strong and active. They are energetic and forceful. When a bulldog encounters a fight (war) it wages a vigorous war against the enemy.

Isaiah 59:19  NKJV    

“So shall they fear

The name of the Lord from the west,

And His glory from the rising of the sun;

When the enemy comes in like a flood,

The Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.”

          If we are desperate for the presence of the Lord in our life and in our church we must be full of vigor.   When the enemy comes against us the Lord will judge the enemy (person or thing). He will wage war against the enemy. Our part is to be full of the power of the Holy Spirit, and He will help us stand firm in the face of the enemy. He has armed us with strength for the battle.

Psalm 18:39  NKJV    

“For You have armed me with strength for the battle;

You have subdued under me those who rose up against me.”

          The battles that we go through do not belong to us. They belong to the Lord. We should not try to fight the battle for God.

1 Samuel 17:47  NKJV    

“Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.

           Unlike a bulldog, our vigor (strength, force, power) does not come from the physical. It is supernatural. It only comes from the Spirit of God.

Zechariah 4:6b  NKJV   

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

Philippians 4:13  NKJV   

  “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

IV. Bulldogs have great strength.

Strength is quality of being strong; power; force. Strength is the power to resist force, degree of intensity, something that makes you strong; support. A bulldog is strong, powerful and forceful. It has the power to resist force. If we are desperate for the presence of the Lord in our life and in our church we must have great strength. We must rely on God’s power for our strength. God’s power is limitless. The resurrection of Jesus from the grave was an example of God’s power.

Ephesians 1:19-20  NKJV    

“And what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ Jesus when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places.”

          When, not if,  the enemy comes against us we must stay strong. We must stand fast under pressure.

James 1:2-4  NKJV    

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

        Believer’s have the power of Christ in them. That power is greater than any other, therefore we are able to resist whatever the enemy attacks us with.

1 John 4:4  NKJV    

“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”

V. Bulldogs are equable.

Equable is changing little; uniform; even. When something is even it is not easily disturbed or angered, it remains calm. Even can also mean something that is fair or impartial.

Calm: not stirred up; quiet; still; not excited; peaceful.

          A bulldog’s disposition and temperament changes little. It is not easily disturbed or angered, it remains calm.

Malachi 3:6  NKJV

“For I am the Lord, I do not change..”

          If we are desperate for the presence of the Lord in our life and in our church we must be equable.  God does not change. His mercy toward us is continuous (it never ends). He is fair and He is impartial. He does not show favor to one person over another.

Acts 10:34  NKJV    

“ Then Peter opened his mouth and said: ‘In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.’ ”

          God is fair and just. God loves us very much and He is not easily disturbed or provoked.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7  NKJV   

  “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;  does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

          We should be not given to change. Our disposition and temperament should vary little (be even). We should not be easily disturbed or angered, but remain calm.

Proverbs 24:21  NKJV    

“My son, fear the Lord and the king;

Do not associate with those given to change.”

          As followers of Christ, we too, should be fair and impartial. God requires for us to show absolute fairness in all aspects of our lives. There is to be no partiality (favoritism) in our lives.

James 2:8-9  NKJV    

“If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scriptures, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you do well; But if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors.”

VI. Bulldogs are kind.

Kind means doing good rather than harm; friendly. Kind also means a gentle, gracious, sympathetic, considerate attitude toward others. The attitude is genuine, natural and sincere. A bulldog is genuinely kind. It’s kindness is natural and sincere.

Friendly : on good terms; not hostile; wanting to be a friend; supporting.

Gentle : not severe, rough or violent; not harsh or extreme; easily managed; having or showing good manners; polite.

Gracious : pleasant and kindly; courteous; merciful.

Sympathetic : having or showing kind feelings toward others; sympathizing; agreeing; enjoying the same things and getting along well together; harmonious; agreeable.

Considerate : thoughtful of others and their feelings.

Ephesians 4:32  NKJV    

“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”

         As the body of Christ, we should strive to be genuinely kind. The kindness that is shown must be natural (instinctive) and sincere (honest), free from pretense or deceit. We are to be friendly, gentle, gracious, sympathetic, and considerate toward others. Even to the unthankful. God, Himself, is the model of kindness for us.

Luke 6:35  NKJV    

“But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.”

VII. Bulldogs are resolute.

Resolute is having a fixed resolve; determined; firm. It also means constant in pursuing a purpose; bold. A bulldog is determined and bold.

Resolve: make up one’s mind; determined; come to a decision; decided.

Determined: with one’s mind firmly made up; firm.

Constant: never stopping; continuous; incessant; always the same; faithful; loyal; steadfast.

Bold: without fear; daring; brave; showing courage.

          If we are desperate for the presence of the Lord in our life and in our church we must be resolute (determined and bold).The body of Christ has been commissioned to go into all the world and make disciples. We must be determined and bold to fulfill what God has instructed us to do.

  Ephesians 6:19  NKJV    

“and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel.”

          Our heart must be the same as Paul’s. He desired to proclaim the Gospel courageously. He was a faithful witness for the Lord.

VIII. Bulldogs are courageous.

Courageous is full of courage; brave; fearless. A bulldog is full of courage, brave and fearless.

          1 Corinthians 16:13  NKJV   

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

          If we are desperate for the presence of the Lord in our life and in our church we must be courageous.

Psalm 27:1  NKJV    

‘The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear?

The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?”

          With the Lord on our side we can be courageous. Danger (and opposition) can be met  without fear. Courageous people will follow their convictions. When we get to a place where we are desperate for the presence of the Lord we will do whatever has to be done without fear.

2 Chronicles 15:8  NKJV    

“And Asa heard these words and the prophecy of Obed the prophet, he took courage, and removed the abominable idols from all the land of Judah and Benjamin and from the cities which he had taken in the mountains of Ephraim; and he restored the altar of the Lord that was before the vestibule of the Lord.”

           Desperate circumstances can be endured with a firmness of spirit by courageous people that are looking to the Lord for their help.

2 Chronicles 32:7-8  NKJV    

“Be strong and courageous; do not fear nor be dismayed before the king of Assyria, nor before all the multitude that is with him; for there are more with us than with him. With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles.”

          The body of Christ must be able to face danger (opposition) boldly and with determination that with the Lord on their side they will overcome.

Deuteronomy 31:6  NKJV    

“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”

IX. Bulldogs are not vicious or aggressive.

A bulldog is not evil or wicked. It does not have bad habits or a bad disposition. A bulldog is not spiteful or malicious. A bulldog does not start a fight (war) or a quarrel- it does not have an attacking nature. Vicious is evil or wicked, having bad habits or a bad disposition, spiteful or malicious. To take the first step in a war or quarrel, attacking, quarrelsome is to be aggressive. If we are desperate for the presence of the Lord in our life and in our church we must not be vicious. We must turn from our wicked ways.

2 Chronicles 7:14  NKJV    

“if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

         The above passage is not talking to the world – it is talking to the church (the body of Christ). His people, called by His name.

Nehemiah 9:35  NKJV    

“For they have not served You in their kingdom,

Or in the many good things that You gave them,

Or in the large and rich land which You set before them;

Nor did they turn from their wicked works.”

         We must turn from (lay aside) every evil work and abandon evil practices.

Ephesians 4:31-32  NKJV    

“Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”

Colossians 3:5-8  NKJV   

  “Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked you lived in them. But now you yourselves are put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.”

1 Corinthians 14:20  NKJV  

   “Brethren, do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature.

1 Peter 2:1  NKJV   

  “Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking”

X. Bulldogs have a pacific and dignified demeanor.

Pacific means tending to make peace; peaceable. Pacific also means loving peace; not warlike, peaceful; calm; quiet. Dignified means having dignity of manner, style, or appearance; noble; stately. Demeanor means the way a person looks and acts; behavior; manner. A bulldog shows honor by the way it acts (behaves) in a peaceful, loving and calm manner.

Matthew 5:9  NKJV    

“Blessed are the peacemakers,

For they shall be called sons of God.”

          If we are desperate for the presence of the Lord in our life and in our church we must have a pacific and dignified demeanor. God has called us to peace.

Hebrews 12:14  NKJV   

  “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.”

Psalm 34:14  NKJV    

“Depart from evil; and do good; Seek peace and pursue it.”

Conclusion:

Each of the above characteristics and attitudes should be countenanced by a Christian’s expressions and a Christian’s behavior. Especially by one that is desperate for more of the Lord.

Take Heed

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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