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January 26, 2017

Text:  “So  whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”  Matthew 7:12

What a fantastic preacher Jesus was!  Read the four gospels and see!  While his contents were so important and needed by his audiences, His delivery was peerless! The biggest problem with His preaching is the the reception we give it. Boy, can we ever get things wrong! Our biggest problems in handling what Jesus told us are filtering it and forgetting it. By filtering I mean screening it with our opinions, and thus changing its meaning to fit our preconceptions. By forgetting it is meant to fail to keep it in mind and thus to fail to obey it, or to dismiss it so that we do not employ it in our minds or behaviors. Either way, the outcome is disobedience.  

Often though, we side-step what our behavior must be. We query, “What should a Christian do?” That, Jesus made crystal clear. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:36 

Oh, yes! Then we begin to insist that the time for this has passed. Old timers may snidely say, “Oh, that old thing is “old hat””! That means that something is out of style. As if to say, “That has expired and is no good anymore.” Actually, there is no expiry date on God’s word. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” Matthew 5:18 

Or there are wise men who stroke their chins and say,”Yes, I’ve heard that all my life!” That adds up to: “Oh, nothing has changed. Our world is still in a mess.” Of course that implies that evil will still thrive no matter what we do.  We might as well forget it! But what have these persons done to help the world be a better place? Lots of politicians whip out campaign promises of making the world a better place, but after their terms it is still as bad or worse. Taking taxes from people  and thumping chests doesn’t make any substantial  betterment. However, where good people exert themselves for righteousness and lift up their neighbors, the grass roots show betterment. Things get better where men preach the gospel and give a hand to the needy neighbors.   If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, Go in peace, be warmed and filled, without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” James 2:15-17

This sums it up: Do all the good you can, to all the people you can, as long as you can! I wish I had said that, but we will have to settle with what Jesus said in what we call “The Parable of the Good Samaritan”. 

You know the story. When an Israelite going to Jerusalem was robbed, beaten, and left for dead, two Israelites, one a priest, the other a Levite, each came to the place and each snubbed him and left him suffering. But a third traveler, who was a hated Samaritan, finding the troubled  traveler, bound his wounds, took him to shelter, and paid for his care. The lawyer who sought self-justification was given the answer to the question he asked: “Who is my neighbor?,”saw that every person is your neighbor, and especially any person who has need. The Priest and the Levite refused to visualize the tragedies suffered by the first traveler, thus they did not perceive his need. The needs are there, open your eyes!

Needs are everywhere. Go out and find a place to employ your desire and ability to resolve a need or problem.  Jesus insisted that his apostles leave and go where the needs were, “And they departed and went through the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.” Luke 9:7  Do good everywhere you go! There are no holidays or timeouts from doing good!  “As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good.” II Thessalonians  3:13  And whatever good task you undertake, give it all the time it deserves.   Christians are doers, not shirkers.

In all the world, do good by all the means you can. Some good works are a “quick fix”, others require large amounts of resources.  If your opportunity calls for difficult means it is up to you to be inventive. Put together whatever works (within scriptural means). You get it, arrange it, build it, borrow it, or  purchase it. Then use it! Scrolling through the TV channels the other day I saw an ad on a retro channel for an old 80’s adventure series call “MacGyver”. He was portrayed as an “adventurer” who worked for a fictional government agency as  a “fixer”. (Wikipedia)  The show was known for MacGyver quickly fashioning a means of escape from items at hand. The ad showed him make a grappling hook from an umbrella, then used it to climb a wall for a break out.  Christians are doers, not shirkers”  Get ‘er done!”

How much good could be done if Christians saw  the need and took care of it!

 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”   Colossians 3:17 







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