Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. 2 Timothy 2:25-26
The majority of the world is against Christians. They do not believe in God and do not want anything to do with Jesus. There are some who are violently against believers and will get physical in their opposition. The rest just oppose believers in words. Either way they act, they are opponents to those who follow Jesus.
All of these people have been taken captive by the traps of the devil. They are living as the devil desires, doing his will to oppose Jesus.
Many believers are willing to take a stand against those who oppose Christ. The problem is that there have been many who have done so in a way that is not the way Jesus would respond to opponents. They have harshly condemned the opponents, struck them, physically destroyed their property and more.
Jesus rarely used violence. The only time He used a little violence was in the temple against those who were religious, and then it was not against them physically, but against their stuff. Jesus had spoken with kind words almost every time. He worked to draw people to Him, not push them away.
Paul told Timothy to speak gently with his opponents. He is to show love and care to them. Jesus had stated that believers are to love their enemies.
Speaking gently is to speak kind words as one points out where a person may be wrong. It is pointing a person to Jesus and His words. It is showing love, compassion, mercy and grace to a person. The goal is to get them to become a follower of Jesus, not beat them down.
You will have people who will be an opponent to you. Some may be just verbally violent, while others may be physically violent. Jesus had both types against Him. How you speak and react to them will show how much of a follower of Jesus you are.
Give them a chance to change and choose to follow Jesus. Do not just condemn them and give up on them. Jesus did not speak harshly with you and did not give up on you.
I pray today that you will know the gentleness of Jesus; that you will show God’s love to all people; that God will give you the words to speak to your opponents; and that many will come to Jesus through your message.
Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. 1 Corinthians 11:28
The night before Jesu was crucified, He and the disciples had a meal that became known as the last supper. Later the church did the very same thing Jesus did and it became known as communion. Paul reminded the people of that communion, but also had a warning for them. They were to examine themselves prior to taking it.
In order for a good examination to be done, one must be willing to look closely at something. When a person goes to a doctor for an examination, he expects the doctor to look closely at everything to determine if there is a problem or what the problem is. Change cannot occur, unless there is an examination.
When something is looked at closely, one can see things more clearly. One can see the dirty spots when looked up close. One can see the fault lines in examining closely.
The world does not like to look closely at themselves, because they do not want to see any faults. Many will examine another person closely to find fault in the other person, but never in themselves.
Yet, Paul says the believer is supposed to examine himself closely prior to taking the communion bread and cup. For the believer, it is to look and ensure that he has repented of all sins, that he is now standing clean before God.
Jesus cannot forgive, unless a person repents. He is willing to forgive each and every time a person repents.
Taking the communion is a reminder of what Jesus did for the person. He died on the cross and shed His blood to remove all sins. If a person does not repent of his sins, there is no purpose in taking the communion, it is done in an unworthy manner.
Prior to ever taking the communion bread and cup, you need to examine your life. Are you standing clean before God? Have you repented of any and all sins that you have committed?
Along with doing this during an actual communion time, it should also be done any time you sit down and eat a meal. Remember what Jesus has done for you. Remember the breaking of His body and the shedding of His blood as you eat any food or drink something.
Have you examined your life today?
I pray today that you will know what Jesus has done for you; that you will repent of all sins; that you will examine your life on a daily basis; and that you will stand clean before God.
I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Luke 13:3
Some people had come to Jesus and told them how some Galileans were killed by Pilate. Jesus asked them if they thought that the Galileans were worse sinners than they were because they had suffered. He then warned the people that if they do not repent, they would also perish.
People inside the church will often look at people outside the church as worse people. This often occurs when the person outside of the church suffers in a bad way. Believers will very quickly condemn the person for his actions and say he is a worse sinner than they are.
Someone who has committed several murders is considered a worse person than the person who has just told a few lies. The condemnation runs high.
This will even occur with inside the church. One believer will condemn another believer as being a worse sinner. Often certain types of people are looked down upon as worse sinners, adulterers, drug addicts, alcoholics, divorced, alternate sexual preferences, and more. The are considered worse sinners.
In God’s eyes, sin is sin. It does not matter if it is a ‘big’ sin, such as murder, rape, or some other ‘great’ sin. Or if it is just a ‘small’ sin, such as telling a lie or gossip. Every sin, regardless of its “size” is sin and separates a person from God. All Adam and Eve did was eat some fruit that was forbidden to be touched, and they were separated from God.
Was that a ‘big’ or ‘small’ sin? In the eyes of the world it was a very small thing to do with a very large consequence. In God’ eyes it was a very large problem.
Regardless of what ‘size’ the sin is, a person needs to repent of it. As a believer, you must also repent of, turn away from, all sin. Do not allow any sin in your life.
Treat every sin as though it is the worst thing that could ever possibly be done. God hates all sin and that is why He sent Jesus to die on the cross for you. He wanted to remove all of that sin. Only Jesus can remove sin.
Take time today to repent of any sin in your life. Be careful not to judge someone else as being more of a sinner than you.
I pray today that you will repent of all sin; that God will help you turn from all sin; that you will not judge others as worse than you; and that you will live your life in obedience to God.
Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. Luke 3:8
John the Baptist had started his ministry and was baptizing people with water. As he was doing this, many people came to see him. Many were thinking that they were Abraham’s children and did not need to change anything. He told them to start producing fruit with the repentance that they were doing.
Fruit trees that do not produce fruit are worthless. They become just another tree that takes up space and maybe offers a little shade, but they are not doing what they are meant to do.
People are to be just like the fruit tree. They are to do something of value. Repenting of sin is something that is easy to do, because it is just saying some words. It is admitting one is wrong and saying he is sorry for it.
However, repentance is much more than just being sorry for a sin, it is a turning away and producing new fruit.
In the Bible the people talked about being the children of Abraham. Today people talk about their parents being a believer, or a pastor of a church. Or some will say that they are a member of some church. These things do not make a person a believer and does not show any fruit in one’s own life.
The fruit that needs to show up is the fruit of the Spirit. There is to be love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and more. There needs to be a greater hunger for God’s word. There needs to be a desire to tell others about Jesus. There needs to be a change of character.
If you have repented and chosen to follow Jesus, you must take a look at your life. Are you showing a change in your life, by becoming more like Jesus everyday?
Are you producing fruit in your life?
If you are not producing fruit, God will be upset with you. You have become just a dead tree in His garden. In the end, God will have to cut you down if you do not produce any fruit.
Seek God and His ways to produce fruit. Be willing to be changed by God and made useful today.
I pray today that you will allow God to produce fruit in your life; that you will be used by God to make more disciples; and that people will see Jesus in and through you.