It is an obvious error for all to see in those ministers of the Church who make such a wide gulf between their preaching and their living. They will study hard, to preach exactly, and yet study little or not at all to live exactly. All the week long is little enough to study how to speak for two hours; and yet one hour seems too much time to study how to live all the week. They are loath to misplace a word in their sermons; yet they think nothing of misplacing affections, words, and actions in the course of their lives. Oh, how curiously I have heard some men preach, and how carelessly have I seen them live!
~ Richard Baxter (1615-1691)
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.
~ Mark 10:45 (NKJV)
The life and ministry of the Lord Jesus was to serve others. Jesus came to serve, and to be an example of what it means to live a life serving, loving and helping others. Though Jesus was, and is, God in heaven, in coming to the earth, He took on the form of a servant. He came not with pomp and glory, but as a man in humble life. He practiced self-denial on their account, and for them was about to lay down his life.
Jesus came to us in the form of a servant in order not only to show us the importance of serving others, but also ultimately to give His life for us – the greatest act of sacrifice and servitude. We have to choose this day whom we are going to serve. The Lord or ourselves? Jesus wants us to take on the heart of the servant. To find fulfillment, peace and joy in serving others just as He did during this ministry. Pray to the Lord to grant you a servant’s heart. A pure desire to see the needs of others even above your own. To think and esteem others before yourself. To humble yourself before God and man that you might better others through your acts of service. For, in the final analysis, when we really let our heart dwell upon it, is this not what Christ has already done for you?
The basic assumption which all expositors seem anxious to secure is certainly right, namely, that the ultimate purpose of a parable is to help and not hinder the apprehension of the truth. But beyond this, we may say that it belongs to the very nature of revelation that the capacity to receive it depends upon the prior surrender and obedience of the will… The disciples had so surrendered to the sovereignty of Jesus and could therefore know. If temporarily a parable concealed the truths of the kingdom from the outsider on the intellectual plane, it was only in order that moral conviction might first be secured with a view to intellectual enlightenment afterwards. There are many who, through intellectual pride, would like to have it otherwise, but it cannot be.
~ C. E. Graham Swift (1949- )
“Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart…”
~ 1 Peter 1:22 (NKJV)
The souls of Christians must be purified before they can so much as love one another unfeignedly. There are such lusts and partialities in man’s nature that without divine grace we can neither love God nor one another as we ought to do; there is no charity but out of a pure heart. It is the duty of all Christians sincerely and fervently to love one another. Our affection to one another must be sincere and real, and it must be fervent, constant, and extensive. The Spirit convinces the soul of its impurities, furnishes those virtues and graces that both adorn and purify, such as faith, hope, the fear of God, and the love of Jesus Christ.
~ Matthew Henry, Complete Commentary on the Bible
“Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven... And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me…”
~ Matthew 7:21 & 23 (NKJV)
What greater tragedy could there be than on the last day, believing you are going to heaven, to hear the Lord Jesus utter to you the words, “Depart from me, I never knew you”? I think what Jesus is trying to teach us here with these stark words is it isn’t enough to simple say you’re a Christian. It isn’t enough to say you believe in Him and follow Him. Jesus doesn’t accept mere lip service. It is he who does the will of the Father who enters into Christ’s kingdom. Jesus doesn’t want your words, He wants you. So not everyone who merely says “Lord, Lord” or “Jesus I know you” is saved, but those who truly and sincerely desire to love and serve Him.
Jesus wants people who are completely dedicated to following Him. He is seeking true disciples. Those who want to learn from Him, be like Him and be with Him. Jesus wants the confession of our mouth to match the character of our life. If we say Lord Lord, if we confess to know Him, then He desires for our life to show it. He wants our faith to be reflected in our good works. And Christ warns us, if we merely acknowledge Him with our lips, but don’t live for Him by faith, then we are in jeopardy of hearing those eternally frightful words from the Lord, “Depart from Me, I never knew you”.
Prayer helps us cling to the altar of God’s promises by which we lay hold of God Himself.
~ Joel Beeke (1952- )
The search for your significance is over once you know the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible says He is our Alpha and Omega, beginning and end. He is our all in all. We don’t need to look any further for our purpose, value, self-worth, than Christ to find our significance. For to have Christ is to have everything, and to not have Him is to have nothing. The significance of the Christian is not found in the thoughts, words and opinions of others. Nor is our true significance even found in our own opinion of our self. Rather, the true purpose and significance of the individual is found in Jesus and in Him alone.