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Encouragement

July 24, 2010

Building Strong Friendships in Christ

The Authority of Christ Today

"For you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus."

1 Thessalonians 4:2 Page 1849  

       Why should anyone believe what you tell them?  Why do you believe some people, and not others?  For most people, they tend to believe in a person.  For example, many people in the United States focus upon Barack Obama, and because they like him, they believe what he says.  Jesus completely rejects such trust in men.  We should not believe the Republican, Democrat, Independent, or any other politician based upon who said it.  Who said it means nothing, what they said makes all the difference.  Furthermore, just saying something does not make it true.  A vast gulf can separate words spoken from truth lived.  The issue will always be truth.  Are people telling the truth?  Christians must not be caught up in a cult of personality, but rather focus upon the truth of God.

      Jesus taught the truth, lived the truth, and referred to Himself as the only truth by which people may know God the Father (John 14:6, page  1684).  Rather than placing trust in fallible people, our faith should be placed only in God and His truth.  In this case, God gave commandments by the authority of the Lord Jesus.  We must pattern our lives on the basis of God's commandments for living, not upon some man's ideas or beliefs.  Jesus criticized the religious leaders of His day for exalting the traditions of men above the commandments of God (Matthew 15:3, page 1527; Mark 7:5, page 1570).   Jesus said: "Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men."  He further explained: "You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition" (Mark 7:8-9, page 1571).

     The ministry team delivered the commandments of God to the Thessalonians, and they received them as what they truly were, not the words of men, but the word of God (1 Thessalonians 2:13, page 1847).  Only Jesus had the words of life (John 6:68, page 1667), and His disciples will always follow His commandments because they love Him (John 14:15, page 1685).  By God's grace, He gave us the words of life, so that we would live to righteousness with Him eternally.  The authority of Jesus Christ as God, with all His perfections, stands behind the message of the Gospel.  He speaks the truth, in love, for love, and with love, so that we may live in love with Him.

    So, we learn some more about building strong friendships in Christ.

     ●  Strong bonds of friendship form when we receive the Word of God, and keep His commandments.

      ●  Strong bonds of friendship grow when we encourage each other by the authority of Christ to live in His truth and love.   

       ●  We harm our bonds of friendship when we place men, or the traditions of men, above the Word of God.       

Application for Today

        Today, I want to be put the Word of God above every other authority in my life.  I want to stop following any tradition of man that conflicts with the commandments of God.  Who will command your life today?