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TRUE GOSPEL OBEDIENCE

One must believe and obey the gospel to be saved but how one obeys the gospel is one of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.  Those mysteries are hidden in Christ’s parables (Matthew 13:10-11).  His disciples will come to know those mysteries but the crowds can’t hear the message.

Remember, He was the Word from the beginning (John 1:1-2).  When the prophets spoke of our salvation they were searching and “seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow.” (1 Peter 1:11). 

The Spirit of Christ was speaking through Moses when he told His people how they were to worship God at His tabernacle.  That old covenant worship was an earthly copy of our true worship. 

Speaking of that old covenant earthly worship, scripture says, For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near.” (Hebrews 10:1) 

That old Hebrew shadow worship shows us an earthly copy of our true.  The Hebrew writer speaks of how Christ is our true High Priest in chapter 7.  He then says, “Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken His set at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a minister in the sanctuary and in the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man. (Hebrews 8:1-2)  

If Christ is seated at the Father’s right hand in the true tabernacle pitched by God then that old earthly tabernacle pitched by Moses was not God’s true tabernacle.  It was just an earthly copy. 

If Christ is seated by the Father in the true tabernacle, then He is in the inner room “Most Holy Place” of the true tabernacle. 

God’s true Most Holy Place is His heavenly home.  God’s covenant promise to the faithful is to dwell with the Father and the Son in that Most Holy Place.  We must follow our High Priest through the outer room and the veil (The veil that separates those two rooms) of God’s true tabernacle to get there. 

Our hope is to follow Jesus through the veil into that heavenly home but we must go through the outer tabernacle room to have access to that veil.  The tabernacle outer room is where the priesthood serves daily. 

Under our new covenant that room is the church on earth.  We (Christians) are the outer room and we are the priesthood that serves daily in that room. 

God’s priests must offer acceptable worship before Him in the outer room because scripture says that we can have encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us, This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” (Hebrews 6:19-20) 

We must offer acceptable service in the outer room of God’s tabernacle by tending the lamps (The brethren are the light of the world – Matthew 5:14-16) and offering our incense (The prayers of the saints – Revelation 8:3). 

We must serve daily in the outer room but we must not forsake meeting together to worship as an assembly and to observe the Lord’s Supper as Jesus has commanded (Luke 22:19). 

We must also offer our sacrifice at the doorway of that tabernacle.  Jesus was speaking of our sacrifice when He said that we must take up our cross and follow Him (Matthew 16:24). 

Paul is also speaking of that sacrifice when he says, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” (Romans 12:1)

Speaking of how we can enter through that veil, scripture says, “Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh (Hebrews 10:19-20). 

His body of flesh is both the veil leading to the inner room of God’s true tabernacle and it is the outer room of that tabernacle.  How is Christ’s body both the outer room and the inner veil? 

Our body has become Christ’s body.  Our perishable body of flesh is the outer room.  No one having a perishable body can see God and live.  When Christ returns our perishable body will become imperishable.  It is through that body of flesh that we can enter into God’s Most Holy Place

That old earthly worship was to be offered at God’s tabernacle, which was also called, “the tent of meeting”.  God’s people had to live in tents as they traveled through the wilderness toward their land and God was dwelling among them in His tent. 

Our perishable body of flesh is our tent.  Paul speaks of that tent and says, For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.  For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked.  For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life.”    (2 Corinthians 5:1-4) 

We long to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven because that will be a permanent house, not a tent.  We will receive that promise if we follow Jesus and keep pitching our tent toward that heavenly land.

Just as we live in our tent as we travel toward our land, God has His tent among us.  His Spirit dwells in each one of us if we belong to Him, so my body is also God’s tent.  We must not defile God's holy dwelling place by living immoral lives in His tent.  

I will answer in judgment for how I will have lived my life in God’s tent.  Scripture says, For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10) 

We must not defile God’s tabernacle or we will die unless we have repented of that evil and have cleansed God’s house before Christ returns.   

God’s people must worship Him and offer their spiritual sacrifices at the doorway of His tent of meeting.  My brother’s body is God’s house, His tent.  That is where I must offer my body as a living sacrifice.  I must serve my brother with my sacrifices of love.

Jesus gave us an example of how we do that by washing the disciple’s feet.  He said, "Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am.  If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.  For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.” (John 13:12-15)

Jesus was giving His disciples an example of how we are to serve one another by offering our sacrifices of love at the doorway of His tent of meeting.  I must stoop down and wash my brother’s dirty feet if they need washing and especially if he needs help. 

Jesus was speaking of our sacrificial worship when He told His disciples, A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:34-35) 

God had given man the greatest commandment to love God with all of our being and the second command to love our neighbor as we love self but Jesus was giving His disciples a new commandment to love. 

Christ’s disciples must keep the new commandment but keeping that commandment is difficult because I must love the brethren like Jesus has loved me.  Jesus loved me enough to lay down His life for me.  I ought to love the brethren like that.  I must take up my cross and follow Him and lay down my life for the brethren. 

John seems to confirm that when he says, We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.  But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in himLittle children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.” (1 John 3:16-18)  

Jesus showed His love for us by laying down His life for us and, therefore, we “ought” to lay down our lives for the brethren.  The Greek wording says that is the debt we owe.  I must pay my debt of love by keeping the new commandment.  If I see a brother who is in need, I must do whatever I can to take care of that need. 

All people will know that we are Christ’s disciples by how we keep the new commandment and show our love for the brethren, not how we show love for other people.  We are to show our love to all people with deeds of love but we are to show love for the brethren by laying down our lives for them. 

John continues to speak of that sacrifice in the next chapter.  He says that God showed His love for us when He sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins and then he says,Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” (1 John 4:11) 

We ought to obey the new commandment and love the brethren.  Paul told the Colossians that he gave thanks to God for them, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints; because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel”. (Colossians 1:5) 

Paul said the gospel is the word of truth.  Peter said, Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart(1 Peter 1:22). 

Paul said the gospel is the word of truth and the Colossians had faith in Christ and love for the saints because of what they heard in the word of truth, the gospel.  Peter spoke to the church and said that they had obeyed the truth and purified their souls for a sincere love of the brethren and they were to fervently love each other from the heart. 

We must obey the gospel to have that hope laid up for us in heaven.  Paul says that the gospel is the death, burial and resurrection of Christ from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).  How do we obey that gospel?

Remember, a parable includes a spiritual likeness.  It appears that we obey the gospel when we do the spiritual likeness of what Christ came to earth and did for us. 

We do a spiritual likeness of what He did when we take up our cross and follow Him.  We also do that likeness when we obey the new commandment and love the brethren like Jesus has loved us (By laying down our life for them).

That sounds like what we heard John say.  He said that, “He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”  It sounds like we must pay that debt to receive God’s gospel promises.  

We begin to obey the gospel by taking up our cross and following Jesus out of slavery to sin and through the sea.  We will have been saved out of slavery to sin when our sins have been washed away in the sea but we will find ourselves in the wilderness of this world.  We must overcome this world to receive our land. 

We must also be willing to fight for that land.  Our fight is not an earthly fight; it is spiritual.  We must take up the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, and go forth preaching the gospel to the lost.  Those who refuse to help in that fight will fall short and never receive their inheritance.

We can only overcome this world if we continue to obey the gospel by carrying our cross and following Jesus.  It appears that we must continue to lay down our lives for the brethren as we travel through our wilderness.  We must offer our sacrifices at the doorway of God’s tent of meeting.

God’s people must offer their sacrifices of love before the doorway of God’s tent of meeting every day.  Scripture says, “Fire shall be kept burning continually on the altar; it is not to go out.” (Leviticus 6:13)  Jesus says that we must take up our cross daily and follow Him (Luke 9:23).

The Hebrew writer was speaking of how we offer our sacrifices at God’s house when he said, For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints.” (Hebrews 6:10)

We show love toward God’s name when we offer our sacrifices of love for God’s needy saints at the house that is called by His name.  My brother’s body is God's house.  Scripture says of the name by which that house is called, “-the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.” (Acts 11:26)  

God will remember the work and the love that we will have shown toward His name by how we have ministered to needy Christians.  Will He remember that work and love in judgment? 

Jesus spoke of how He will judge the nations on that last day.  He will separate them to the right and to the left, like a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  He will put the blessed ones on the right and the cursed ones on the left.  Those on the right will be blessed because of the good deeds they will have done.  

He will not tell them that they are blessed because they did good deeds for the poor and needy people of this world.  He will tell them that they are blessed because they did good deeds for Him.  

He explains how they did them for Him.  He says, “- to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.” (Matt 25:40)  They will have eternal life because they showed love for the brethren with deeds of love.   

We must obey the gospel to be saved and have eternal life.  John said, We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren.  He who does not love abides in death.   (1 John 3:14) 

Paul spoke of how one church practiced love toward the brethren.  He said, “Now as to the love of the brethren, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; for indeed you do practice it toward all the brethren who are in all MacedoniaBut we urge you, brethren, to excel still more(1 Thess. 4:9-10). 

In his second letter to that church he gives thanks for their obedience.  He tells them, We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater (2 Thess. 1:3).

We can see another church practicing love for a brother when we hear Paul speak to the Philippians about their gifts to him.  He told them, “You yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel, after I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone; for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs.” (Philippians 4:15-16)

He told them, Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account.  But I have received everything in full and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God.” (Philippians 4:17-18)  

We can see another example of how our gifts of love to the brethren are spiritual worship in what Paul said to the Gentile church at Corinth (About their gifts to the poor saints in Jerusalem).  

The church in Jerusalem had become very poor.  They were in need of help from their Gentile brethren.  Paul wrote and encouraged the church at Corinth to send money to help their needy Jewish brethren. 

He tells them, Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also.  On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come. (1 Corinthians 16:1-2)

In his next letter he told them how the churches of Macedonia had given for that work.  He said, “For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord, begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the saints (2 Corinthians 8:3-4)

Speaking of their collection at Corinth, he told them, "For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God.  Because of the proof given by this ministry, they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all, while they also, by prayer on your behalf, yearn for you because of the surpassing grace of God in you.(2 Corinthians 9:12-14). 

Those needy saints would glorify God because of how the Corinthians had shown obedience to their confession of the gospel and they would offer up spiritual incense before God with prayers on their behalf. 

Their obedience would be shown by the ministry of supplying for the needy saints.  That collection was for the needy saints in Jerusalem, nearly a thousand miles from Corinth.  There would have been tens of thousands of poor and needy people throughout that part of the Gentile world but their collection was for the needy saints in a distant land.   

That message is to us.  We must love all people and we must love our neighbor as we love our self but if we have not put love of the brethren at the top of our list, then we are not offering our best sacrifices at God’s tent. 

We should not only be collecting money for the poor saints at home but for those in Jerusalem and in Africa and Asia and South America and anywhere else we hear of brethren who are in need.  Should we reduce spending on our earthly church buildings and use that money for the true house of God?

As we take that gift to God’s house in distant lands, if we see some outsider who is in need along the way, we should help where we can but we must not let good deeds for outsiders interfere with our worship at God’s house. 

Above all else we must obey the gospel for our sins to be forgiven.  Peter says, Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.  Be hospitable to one another without complaint.  As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” (1 Peter 4:8-10)

We must be good stewards and serve the brethren, especially those who are having trouble overcoming the difficulties that we face in this world.  Some can no longer carry their burdens and some of them have stumbled and fallen.  God wants His children home and we need to help them get there.  

As mentioned previously, we must be willing to fight for that land.  Those who are fearful and refuse to take up the sword of the Spirit and fight will find themselves on the outside looking in when that last day comes.  

We should be like those brethren in Macedonia and beg for the favor of participation in the support of needy ChristiansWe will have kept the new commandment to love Christ’s brothers like He loved us and all people will know that we are Christ’s disciples.  More importantly, Jesus will know that we are His disciples. 



Johnny Rogers 11-18-15

Revised 6-20-16

 

                                                                                       

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