Belief and Practice

Happiness is a By-product of Doing Right Things

by Robert Lewis

“For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.  If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.”
Joh 13:15-17

Preaching the gospel has prospered in the last 50 years. Many have been saved and many churches have been planted. Whether we like it or not, many churches are filled with fans or admirers of Jesus and not followers. This can be borne out by the current trending decline in church attendance, and the closing of thousands of churches.

  • Verse 15:
    an example a specimen or pattern to exhibit for imitation or warning
    ye should dobe content so as continue to perform the work I have called you to do
  • Verse 16:
    servant one who claims to be in service voluntarily
    is not greaternot larger or greater in might or significance
    than his Lordthe one who has supreme authority to be his master controller
    that is sentdelegate; an ambassador of the Gospel; a commissioner of Christ, messenger
    than he that sent himthe sender who orders a temporary errand with orderly motion
  • Verse 17:
    If ye knowunderstand these things so as to be aware of your position (greater /lesser)
    Happy are yeso fortunate as to be supremely blessed
    If ye do themcondition based upon the doing what ye know to do

There is a disparaging gap between what we know and what we practice. It is not just us. It is an ever-present human weakness. Our walk in the world, our weariness in the flesh, and our war with the devil makes it difficult to live a Spirit-filled, victorious, and joyful life.

    “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit” – Ephesians 5:18
    • Bold to speak
    • Uninhibited / fearless
    • Controlled by another person

“By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.  For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” – I John 5:2-4  

And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house, Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” – Acts 20:20-24

If we are chosen out of this world. . . .

  • Shouldn’t everything about us be under the King’s control?
  • Shouldn’t we yield all we are and all we have to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords?

If so, it is God, not government, that orders our lives. In this increasingly socialist culture, you’re going to have to decide whether to be a Christ follower or merely a Christ admirer.

“The admirer never makes any sacrifices. He always plays it safe. Even though in words, phrases, songs, he is inexhaustible about how he praises Christ, he renounces nothing, will not reconstruct his life, and will not let his life express what he supposedly admires. Not so for the follower. No, no. The follower aspires with all his strength to be what he admires.”
~ Soren Kirkgaard ~

GOD CREATED THE FAMILY to be the seed which glues human society in an orderly fashion.

  • He did not reach down and form a full blown society.
  • He did not create villages, cities, or nations with politicians, laws, schools, and infrastructure.
  • No, He created a family. He began with Adam and Eve, and he told them to be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:28).

    God revealed himself in an undeniable way to human civilization which was staggering under the influence of sin, he did not accomplish that mission by fashioning a philosophical system. He did not thunder from heaven in great speeches with powerful rhetoric.
    “And God said, [to Abraham] Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.” – Genesis 17:19

    God Chose to reveal Himself in human flesh to fulfill his promises and provide salvation for all people, he did not join a Kingdom or seek to win an election. He did not attempt to connect himself with an existing power system.
    “And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.  He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:  And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.  Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?  And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” – Luke 1:31-35

Socialists know that if the family remains strong, socialism cannot flourish. So, there’s an ongoing attempt to subjugate the home to the government.

Socialism, and communism sees organized religion as the enemy – a competitor to be eliminated. “It is a rival to Marxist mind control and it had to be vanquished regardless of costs and difficulties.”

To Karl Marx, religion was the opium of the people. On one occasion he described the church as  medieval mildew which must be scraped away.

In the Soviet Union, a favorite slogan was, “Let us drive out the capitalists from the earth and God from Heaven.”

  • This totalitarianism was described by Benito Mussolini. “Everything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.”
  • The government becomes the sole authority for means of production, education, family planning.
  • It is alarming that a 2019 AXIOS poll found that 61% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 have a positive reaction to socialism.

God Invites Ordinary Sinners To His Family

“If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.” – John 13:17

Our walk in the world, our weariness in the flesh, and our war with the Devil makes it difficult to live a Spirit-filled, victorious, and joyful life.

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
Matthew 11:28

Not asking you to join a movement; an organization; a political party; Jesus is asking you to join His family and behave as a newborn child of God desiring the sincere milk of the word.

What it means to be “Born Again”:

In the simplest words I can use I want to tell you how a person can become born again. It is the way that I became born again and it works. It will work for you as well.

John 3:4-8

“Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?” – John 3:4

Nicodemus only knew about a physical birth. That is why he mentioned “his mother’s womb.” He knew that no one could enter a second time into his mother’s womb. This was a somewhat sarcastic question offered by an unbeliever with only human wisdom.

“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” – John 3:5-6

When Jesus said that a man must be born of water and of the Spirit he was talking about two births. First there is a physical birth. This was the birth from his mother’s womb which is a water birth. Carefully reading the verses in context will reveal the use of the three words that connect to a physical birth. Those words are: womb (verse 4), water (verse 5), and flesh (verse 6). Birth from a womb is a “water birth.”  It is the birth of the flesh. Anyone who has had the privilege of being nearby when a mother delivers a baby knows that the last thing that normally happens before the child comes forth from the womb is that “the water breaks.” Hence it is a “water birth.” Jesus said that unless a man is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. This is not as difficult as some try to make it.

He is simply saying that in order to be a human being you must first have a human (fleshly, water) birth.

Secondly, In order to be a spiritual being you must have a spiritual birth. This is the new birth or the 2nd birth. Both births are necessary for one to be included into the Family and kingdom of God. This water birth is certainly not baptism.

They are distinct and separate births which give us distinct and separate natures; human nature, which we are born with; and spiritual nature which we receive as a gift when we are born of the Spirit. 

“Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” – John 3:7

“The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” – John 3:8

Verse 8 is an amazing illustration about natural life and spiritual life. It is a comparison of the wind to the work of the Spirit. When the wind blows, it blows wherever it wants. You cannot tell where it came from nor where it will go next. The interesting thing here is that the wind is invisible, and you cannot see it. Yet you can see what it is doing. You see the leaves blowing about, the dust in the air, the limbs moving and so forth. When someone says, “Wow, the wind is really blowing!” you might challenge them by saying, “How do you know? You can’t see it.” To which they might answer, “No, I cannot see it, but I can see what it is doing.” This is the meaning of Jesus’ words.

You cannot see the Spirit of God, but you can see what the Spirit of God is doing in the life of a person who has had the second birth.They have begun to walk in the newness of life. Old things are passed away. The things they used to do they do not do any more. Those who know them best will be the first to notice that something has changed.  

It is essential that what you believe is based upon truth. You do not want to wake up one day and find that you have been lied to by somebody that you trusted. I want to assure you that the Bible is true. This the foundational truth for Christianity. The experience of being saved or “born again” is not offering a mechanical prayer. God wants your heart. He will not simply take it. You must give it to Him.

Here is how to do it:

1. Think of anything and everything in your life of which you are ashamed.

    “As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one:” – Romans 3:10

    “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” – Romans 3:23

    You may think that this is difficult, but it is not. Ask yourself these questions. “Have I ever told a lie? Have I ever taken anything by deceit? Have I ever done anything that is impure? This will not cover all the sins you may have committed, but it will initiate your thoughts concerning your need for forgiveness. 

    2. Recognize That There is a Penalty on Sin (those things for which you are ashamed).

    “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” – Romans 6:23

    “Wages” are what you get for what you did. It is your pay. The pay for sin is death. Death in this verse means separation not only from life, but separation from God forever. That is to be in hell.

    3. Believe that Jesus paid for all those sins Himself on the cross of calvary, and receive Him as your personal Savior.

    Satan brought sin but Jesus brought salvation

    Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” – Romans 5:12

    Salvation is a gift from God. It is not yours until you receive it or accept it. You must accept it by faith.

    “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9

    In a moment of prayer ask the Lord to forgive you of those things which you know to be sinful, planning to forsake them completely.

    “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” – Romans 10:13

    When you do this be sure to tell somebody that you believe in Jesus, and you have received him as your Savior. This will confirm it for you. Satan would love to make you think it could not and did not happen.

    “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” – Hebrews 11:6

    “And said, Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 18:3

    Once you are indeed born of the Spirit of God, you will know it and you will not be able to keep it a secret. You will show it. As the leaves blow around in the wind, so your life will be moved by the breath of God to be and to do things you never dreamed of. When you add the ingredient of the supernatural to your race in life, you will see supernatural results, which will be noticed by others.  

    If you are already a Christian He is saying on our text:

    Are you Spirit Filled?

    Are you overcoming the world the flesh and the devil by faith?

    Is the Joy of the Lord your strength?

    Are your beliefs and practices synchronized in such a way that others have confidence in your testimony?

    Do you have Faith and works?

    “Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” – Nehemiah 8:10