"Love to God, and love to Christ, and love to saints for God and Christ’s sake, and the enjoyment of the fruits of God’s love in holy communion with God, and Christ, and with holy persons—this is what we have a relish for; and such is our renewed nature, that such happiness suits our disposition and appetite and wishes above all other things; and not only above all things that we have, but above all that we can conceive it possible that we could have. The world does not afford anything like it." Jonathan Edwards. "Heaven: A World of Love"
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." Hebrews 12:1-3
"By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth." 1 John 3:16-18
The practical remark has often been made that many of the things which now frighten Christians and fill them with anxiety would cease to frighten them if they would endeavor to see the Lord Jesus in all, ordering every providence and overruling everything so that not a hair falls to the ground without Him. They are happy who can hear His voice through the thickest clouds and darkness, and above the loudest winds and storms, saying, "It is I; do not be afraid." R.C. Ryle - Notes on the Gospel of John
“Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 17 Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. (2 Kings 6:16-17)
"I believe the doctrine of election, because I am quite sure that if God had not chosen me I should never have chosen him; and I am sure he chose me before I was born, or else he never would have chosen me afterwards; and he must have elected me for reasons unknown to me, for I never could find any reason in myself why he should have looked upon me with special love" -Charles Spurgeon
How do we define the character of a Christian? What is it that sets us apart from the world of non-believer’s? The mark of a Christian, the defining mark of the Christian walk, is that people should be able to see Christ’s character and love in us. The love of Jesus was revealed to us in God’s Word. The love of Christ is the measure of love that each of us should aspire to in our lives. His love is measured by His amazing statement that “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13). That is the highest standard of love.
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call - one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
"As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in Scripture."
As we struggle through life it is important that we remember where our help comes from. The Lord has promised many times in His Word that His steadfast love for us "will endure forever". (Psalm 136). This enduring love is assured to us by His ever presence in our lives because it is written “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” (Deuteronomy 31:8).
It is foolish and wasteful for those who were told to make disciples for the God of the universe to devote any time trying to bring people better morality or better living conditions through political means. We have been commissioned to bring the world the Gospel, which offers eternal life and a hope that politics never will. I believe that as Christians our task is the proclamation of the Gospel and we should not be sidetracked by the political culture of our day.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:11-12).
“Blessed are the peacemakers.” (Matthew 5:9). “This is the seventh step of the golden ladder which leads to blessedness. The name of peace is sweet, and the work of peace is a blessed work. Blessed are the peacemakers. Observe the connection. The Scripture links these two together, pureness of heart and peaceableness of spirit. The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable (James 3:17). Follow peace and holiness (Hebrews 12:14). And here Christ joins them together pure in heart, and peacemakers, as if there could be no purity where there is not a study of peace. That religion is suspicious which is full of faction and discord.” The Beatitudes by A.W. Pink, The Seventh Beatitude
“You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48). That’s a very high standard indeed. God’s absolute purity is God’s standard for the heart!
Mercy, therefore is a fruit of the born again Christian’s character. Because mercy is reflected in the essence of Christ’s character we therefore must show mercy in our lives. His life and substitutional death was the ultimate act of mercy for an undeserving people – namely us. God was not required to show mercy on us but having done so we can do no less. Having been the recipients of His wondrous mercy, we cannot help but now act mercifully toward others.
“He has no stately form or majesty… He was despised and forsaken of men… He was oppressed and He was afflicted… like a lamb that is led to slaughter … that He was cut off out of the land of the living,” and “His grave was assigned with wicked men” (Isaiah 53:2-3, 7-9)
Mourning is hateful and irksome to poor human nature. From suffering and sadness our spirits instinctively shrink. By nature we seek the society of the cheerful and joyous. Our text presents an anomaly to the unregenerate, yet it is sweet music to the ears of God’s elect. If "blessed," why do they "mourn"? If they "mourn," how can they be "blessed"? Arthur Pink, The Beatitudes, Page 6, Kindle Edition.
"Blessed are the poor in spirit." What is poverty of spirit? It is the opposite of that haughty, self-assertive, and self-sufficient disposition that the world so much admires and praises. It is the very reverse of that independent and defiant attitude that refuses to bow to God, that determines to brave things out, and that says with Pharaoh, "Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice?" (Ex. 5:2). To be poor in spirit is to realize that I have nothing, am nothing, and can do nothing, and have need of all things.”
"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore." Isaiah 9:6-7
In Christ we are heirs of the Father, adopted into His family. In Christ we need to fully understand our position in that family. Scripture clearly attests to our metamorphosis from darkness into the light. Scripture clearly define how exactly we are a new creation.
"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:13-16
"Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them." Romans 12:9-14