Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Jesus' Commandments: Believe in His Name and Love One Another (1 John 3:23-24)

Summary of God's commandments
And this is his commandments: We must believe in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as he commanded us. Those who obey God’s commandments remain in fellowship with him, and he with them. And we know he lives in us because the Spirit he gave us lives in us
(1 John 3:23-24, NLT).

From Bible verses above we learn that there are two important ways we can obey God. First, we must “believe in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ.” This means that we need to accept Jesus for what He really is – God’s Son, our Saviour. Jesus was more than just a good man or a popular teacher or prophet. He is who He claims to be, and we need to believe and continue to believe in Him. And to believe Jesus is to love Him also. The other way we obey God is to “love one another.” Again, the Apostle John reminds us of the important combination of right doctrines and right actions. As the Apostle Paul tells us, “What is important is faith expressing itself in love” (Galatians 5:6).

By obeying God’s commands and loving others, we show that we belong to God. We remain in fellowship with Him, and He with us. And we know that God lives in us because of the continuing work that the Holy Spirit does in our lives. “We know he lives in us because the Spirit he gave us lives in us.” How amazing is that?! Once we become Christians by believing in the name of Jesus of the Bible, we are never alone.  God gives us the strength and courage to keep on growing and learning, since God’s Spirit lives within us.

In his letter to the Galatian Christians, the Apostle Paul challenged the believers to “live by the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16, NIV). And one way to know if God’s Spirit is really living in us is by the “fruit” (such as attitudes, actions, and so on) which come from our lives. The fruit of the Spirit includes: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (read Galatians 5:22-23). The more we enjoy God and commit our concerns to God, the more God’s Spirit does its work in our lives – molding, changing, improving, and to use engineering term, overhauling – until we show the kind of “fruit” God wants for our lives.

My mom planted a rambutan fruit tree in our backyard. By observations and biology text books, I know that a great deal of work has to go into getting a fruit tree ready to bear fruit. The tree must be planted correctly, watered, fertilized, pruned, sprayed, and cared for until it is ready to bear fruit. That kind of care usually results in the best kind of fruit. But if we neglect the care of a fruit tree, the fruit may be shrivelled up, full of insects or worms, or not show up at all. In the same way, the “fruit” in our lives shown greatly when we care to habitually keeps God’s commandments – “believe in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another. By God’s grace, we can. Amen.

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