31.07.19 – 2 John 1.4-6 – The Obedience of Love

Think about someone you love. Think about someone you love that you know loves you too. When they ask you to do something for them, or perhaps tell you that you need to do A/B/C, how do you feel? Do you feel resentment that you have to do something for them? Or do you feel happy to do something for them because you love them, and, because you know they love you, you know that they would do the same for you? Today, this is what John is writing about.

I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father. And now I ask you, dear lady—not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning—that we love one another. And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it. 

John shows his heart for the people when he rejoiced greatly at their Christian walk, as we may call it. Then he reminds this congregation (dear lady) to remember the true mark of being a believer, the most obvious fruit that is on display in our lives when we are walking with the Lord – that we love one another. 

John then explains what this looks like, that we walk according to His commandments. So, simply, loving one another because we are walking with the Lord in a faith relationship should also produce in us an obedience to His commandments. 

Real love produces obedience. 

We know that Jesus loves us, He proved that by giving His life as a ransom for many (Mark 10.45, John 15.13). He loves us and gave His all for us. Now, He asks that we love those He loves, and that we walk according to His commandments. We know they are what is best for us, again, this was proven at the cross. God in human flesh would not have died to then ask you to live a second-rate life for Him. He wants the best for you, He wants you to live in truth, He wants us to live in obedience and in love. 

Point to ponder – Am I loving those He loves, and am I walking in His commandments because I know they are what is best for me?

Prayer – Father, we thank you for the ultimate demonstration of your love for us on the cross at Calvary all those years ago. Empower us by your Holy Spirit to live a life of love. We know that love like this doesn’t come naturally to us, so we need your power and love to flow through us. Help us also today to live the life of a disciple of Jesus, one who walks in His commands, because we know they are what is best for us. Amen. 

Amos 4.4-5 – The heart of worship

Today God speaks through Amos and brings judgement against the worship and sacrifices being offered by Israel.

4 “Come to Bethel, and transgress;

to Gilgal, and multiply transgression;

bring your sacrifices every morning, your tithes every three days;

5 offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving of that which is leavened, and proclaim freewill offerings, publish them;

for so you love to do, O people of Israel!”

declares the Lord GOD.

It seems that Israel was going to places to worship that were simply not meant to be places of worship. David Guzik writes,

“Because the kings of Israel did not want their people to go to the southern kingdom of Judah and sacrifice at Jerusalem, they set up rival centers of worship in cities like Bethel and Gilgal. They offered sacrifices at these places – supposedly to the LORD – but because the offering wasn’t made in obedience to God, it was only a transgression.”

So even though people are – supposedly – worshiping God, it is not in the place God has decreed and therefore it is a transgression. God through Amos goes on to say that the people love to do this, so this worship that God has not declared may be a transgression in His eyes, but the people love it.

Now, we are of course past the time where God’s presence is intensely localised to the temple in Jerusalem, the temple is no longer the focal point of Christian worship after the death and resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus (2 Corinthians 6.14-18, Ephesians 2.11-22), but is it possible to still offer what we see as pleasing and satisfying worship to God that is actually a transgression in His eyes? Is it possible to offer worship that we love, but that God does not?

The crux of the matter is the heart, for us.

Do we worship with mouth but not heart?

Do we worship when we feel like it, or because God deserves it?

Do we go through the motions when we offer collective and sung worship to God?

Is worship something we do once a week when gathered together with our brothers and sisters in Christ, or is worship a lifestyle choice that we have made?

We often pray at Saar Fellowship that all we do brings glory to God; a life of worship that comes from a heart of worship. We are made to give it, He deserves to receive it.

The heart of worship, then, is obedience; giving God what He is due, in the manner that He has told and shown us. The heart of worship is thanksgiving to God, praising God, glorifying God.

The heart of worship begins with obedience, if we get that right, all else will follow.