Tag Archive | love

God’s Love

Hello, today my sister and I are doing our post together on Proverbs 24:20 which says:

“24 for the evildoer has no future hope,
and the lamp of the wicked will be snuffed out.”

Solomon is saying that for those who sin, there is no hope. He is saying that if anyone is evil or wicked, there “lamp” will be snuffed out. In other words, Solomon is saying that God puts His wrath on anyone who disobeys Him and does wickedly.

Unfortunately, we all sin. So according to Solomon, we should all have God’s wrath upon us. We should all perish in hell. So what saved us from that wrath? Jesus did. Jesus took upon Him all the sins of the whole world, and then He took God’s wrath upon Him.

Even though it seemed as though all was lost; because everyone sins no matter how hard we try not to, and we deserved the wrath of God. But there is hope; there is someone who loved us so much that He took all of that punishment and wrath upon Himself. That someone is Jesus; God’s very own son.

Even though we could not obey God’s law, He still loved and loves us! He did not make the law just so that He could destroy us; He made it because He is a just God and He cannot stand anything that is not right. It might seem to human brains that God was “stuck” but of course God cannot be stuck; instead He planned this to happen all along so that He might show His love for us.

And it is the greatest example of love that ever could be seen; God sent His holy, perfect son to die in our place. Because God loves us so much we are saved, and now we are His sons and daughters; all because of Jesus sacrifice for us!

Peace and love, Joy Cleveland and,
Grace and truth, Charity Cleveland


All about Love

Happy Valentines Day everyone! I think it’s a perfect time to remind you all that it is through Jesus Love for us that we are saved!

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

God loved us so much that He sent His son to die for us!

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

In fact, Jesus is the very definition of what love is; we are saved from our sins and God’s wrath because of Jesus’ love for us! So I think it’s a great time to remind you that Jesus loves you, and that is why He died to save you from your sins.

Have a Happy Valentines Day!

Grace and truth, Charity Cleveland

The 5 Points

Today the pastor didn’t really preach the Gospel, so I’m going to use the same 5 points just with the Gospel drawn from them.

1. Love

Well there are a lot of passages in the Bible about love, one of them is 1 John 4:9-11 which says:

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”

The perfect example of love is Jesus! Love is that God loved us so much that He sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins! We know what love is because God showed love to us by sending His son as an atoning sacrifice.

2. Hope

1 passage that talks about how we have hope in Jesus is Ephesians 1:12 which says:

11 In him we were also chosen,[a] having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.”

We have put our hope in Christ who is an everlasting hope. We have hope of eternal life with Him in heaven! We have a living hope because after Jesus died for our sins on the cross, He rose again on the third day! We have a living hope in Jesus.

3. Joy or Thanksgiving

As Christians we should have immeasurable joy because Jesus died for us! 1 Peter 1:8:

8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.”

We have inexpressible and glorious joy because we believe in Jesus as our savior! We should have joy because we are saved from our sins. We should have joy because we can share that good news with unbelievers!

4. Respect

Well the Bible mainly talks about respect when it tells children to obey their parents and things like that. But Jesus respected and obeyed His Father, and because of that plus the fact that He loves us, He died for us on the cross.

4. Truth

John 14:6 says:

6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Jesus is the Way the Truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Him, we can’t become saved except by trusting in Jesus! Jesus died for us, He was and is perfect (He didn’t even tell 1 lie or else we couldn’t have been saved) so now we can live because He died for us!

I hope you enjoyed the Gospel from those 5 points.

Grace and truth, Charity Cleveland.

Love One Another

Hi, God’s word for me today is in John 13:34-35 which says,

34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

In this passage Jesus is talking to His disciples and He told them what He had told the Jews: where He (Jesus) was going they could not go.” Jesus was saying that where He was going His disciples could not follow Him. Then He gave them a new command: love one another. Jesus told them to love one another as He had loved them, so they should love one another. Jesus said that by this everyone would know that they were His disciples, if they would love one another. Many people do not love their brothers or sisters, that is why if they would love one another then everyone would know that they were different, that they were Jesus’ disciples. Jesus was telling them to love one another just as He had loved them, He wanted them to follow His example. That was what Jesus wanted them to do, love one another just like He loved them.

But how much did Jesus love His disciples? Well Jesus did not only love His disciples but He loved us, He loved us enough to die for our sins on a cross. Jesus loved us so much that He died for our sins so that we could live. Jesus came down from heaven and took all of our sins on Him and then He died on a cross. Jesus crucified our sins when He was crucified. He Himself hadn’t sinned at all but He took our sins on Him and He died for us. Jesus took the punishment for us, He suffered in our place!

We should believe in the Gospel that Jesus died for our sins. We should trust in Jesus as our Lord and savior. We should believe that Jesus died for us and have eternal life. If you are not a Christian then why don’t you accept Jesus as your savior? Dear Jesus, please forgive me for all of my sins and please come into my heart to make me clean. In Jesus’ name, Amen. Jesus died for us on a cross, we should repent of our sins and trust in Jesus, then we will have eternal life.

We should also love one another! Christians have the love of Christ in them and we should love one another. The way that unbelievers and believers can know that we are Christians is if we love each other with God’s love. Of course no one is perfect but Jesus lives in us and He gives us God’s love and so we do not have habitual sin. We should love on another, James showed His faith by works and we can show that we are saved by loving one another and for caring for each other. If we love one another then that is our testimony to the world that we are Jesus’ followers.

Thank You Jesus for loving us so much that You died for our sins. Thank You Jesus for giving us You love when You died for us. Thank You Jesus for dying for our sins so that we could be free from sin. Thank You Jesus for dying for us so that we could have eternal life. Thank You Jesus for dying for our sins on a cross and giving us Your love. Thank You Jesus for giving us the love of God so that we can love each other. Thank You Jesus for dying for us!

Are you trusting in Jesus?

Grace and truth, Charity Cleveland.

The sermon: how to walk in love

Hi, today my dad preached on Romans 14:14-23, here is his sermon:

First Scripture reading: Psalm 133:1-3 1 A song of Ascents. Of David. Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity! 2 It is like the precious oil upon the head, Running down on the beard, The beard of Aaron, Running down on the edge of his garments. 3 It is like the dew of Hermon, Descending upon the mountains of Zion; For there the LORD commanded the blessing– Life forevermore.

Let’s sing
Second Scripture reading: Romans 14:14-23 14 As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean. 15 If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died. 16 Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men. 19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall. 22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.
Let’s pray
In the New Covenant, Jesus Christ has purchased marvelous freedom for those who belong to Him by faith. Think about the freedoms we have in Christ: we are freed from the penalty of sin, we are freed from the curse of the Law, we are freed from guilt and shame, we are freed from death and condemnation. We’re freed from the entire old covenant which basically said, “if we live perfectly God will accept us, we can go to heaven and live forever.” Now we’re under the New Covenant that says, “Jesus lived perfectly for us, and He died for us, so that by His living and by His dying all who believe are accepted by God, can go to heaven and live forever.”
In the context of Romans 14, we have freedom from all the dietary restrictions of the old covenant. That’s exactly what it says in Romans 14:14 “I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself.” He’s referring to food here, and so we’re taught that all the dietary rules of the Old Covenant are done away with. There is no more “clean” and “unclean” foods under the New Covenant. We have freedom from those restrictions and freedom to enjoy all food in moderation.
Paul says this comes straight from the Lord Jesus. Indeed Jesus taught this very thing in Mark 7:18-19 18 “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him ‘unclean’? 19 For it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods “clean.”) In other words, the New Covenant is about the purity of our hearts, not about clean and unclean foods. All foods are clean. And we have freedom from all dietary restrictions.
But that is not the main emphasis of Romans 14. It’s not whether or not we have freedom, but whether or not we have love. And if we have love, we may choose not to exercise some of our freedoms. And in this passage God is going to give us seven truths to teach us how to walk in love.
The first point is: Don’t grieve your brother. In Romans 14:15 Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. And here we see that our actions can hurt other people, grieve them, make them sad, and that violates the law of love. “Do no harm.” Yes we have freedoms as Christians but shouldn’t our love for each other be the primary thing?
I remember hearing about a very wealthy man in London who was an atheist; and he said that he once believed in God and professed Christ as his Savior, but as a new believer he watched the way the elders of the church lived. And one of them drove a brand new Mercedes-Benz every year. And this man started thinking, that’s what I’d like to do. And slowly he began a slide from faith in Christ to love of money. Until one day he saw no need for God in his life. Now was it ok for that elder to drive a new Mercedes? Of course it was, we can drive whatever we want. But an inescapable law is that our actions affect other people. And we are not to grieve our brothers and sisters but rather love them.
The second point is: Don’t destroy your brother. Vs. 15 says “do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died.” In context he means, don’t shake the faith of those coming out of Judaism; you Romans can teach these new converts to go against their consciences, and thereby tempt the to return to Judaism, to the rules and regulations, and thereby you have destroyed their faith in Christ and their life in the New Covenant.
But notice why we should not destroy them. Christ died for them. Have you been noticing how Paul always takes people to the cross for whatever he is teaching them? We will really see this as we begin to study our next Book, 1 Corinthians. There Paul says right up front, 1 Corinthians 2:2 “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” You Corinthians, whatever problems and issues you are facing in life, there is one solution: The cross of Calvary. And all true instruction is centered in the cross. Always remember that. You should have an ear for listening to any sermons and ask yourself, no matter what the topic or passage, was that message centered in the cross?
And here Paul says don’t destroy the one for whom Christ died. In other words, Christ gave up His life for people, and we’re not willing to give up a piece of meat? When Jesus was talking about giving up His life, He said in John 10:18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again.” Jesus’ life was His own to do with as He pleased, and He chose the path of love, to lay down His life, to give up His very blood, His entire body, all of Who He was so that you could believe and live. And this is the essence of Romans chapter 14. We have certain freedoms; they are ours to do with as we please. But the path of love is the path of giving up for someone else.
Now today the issue for us is not eating meat, there are other areas that can offend a weaker brother. Just substitute the word “meat” for anything that offends your brother. I remember hearing of a man who was saved out of a lifestyle of impurity, and it bothered him for years afterward to hear a saxophone; apparently he connected it with the music he used to hear in impure movies. Well his pastor loved classical saxophone, even played it. But he chose around this weaker brother to not play that kind of music.
Some people are saved out of a life of drunkenness, and they know if they had one drink they’d be right back into it. Wouldn’t it be loving not to offer them a glass of wine when you have them over for dinner? And there’s all kinds of these issues; a person is saved out of a culture of acid rock music. God just changes his heart and gives him a love for music about the gospel. Well maybe don’t have Christian rock blaring in your car when you give him a ride.
This is the point. Should we despise the very people that Christ valued so highly? Did Jesus think it was worthwhile to deny Himself His very existence for them, yet we don’t think it’s worthwhile to deny ourselves anything for our brother? Jesus gave up everything for us, and we won’t give up anything for them? That’s the point. Don’t destroy your brother for whom Christ died.
The Third point is: Don’t let your good be spoken of as evil—vs. 16. He’s speaking to strong Christians and he says you don’t have concede the point just to love the brother. You don’t have to let your weaker brother tell you how wrong it is to be free. Christians can drink a glass of wine, can listen to the saxophone and can enjoy good Christian rock. Don’t let him speak evil of you’re enjoying the gifts God gives you. In other words, you can be willing give up some freedoms because your love your brother, but don’t let him teach in the church all these regulations and restrictions and restrictions. He should be taught to focus on the things that matter.
The fourth point is: Don’t get off topic. Stay with things that matter. That’s what Paul says in verse Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,
And here he tells us to focus on the main things, the big things, the clear things. Be big minded and well as big-hearted. Here are the main points of Christianity: righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, and again he reminds them of the cross.
As if to say, Jesus died on the cross to make you righteous. There was a great exchange at the cross whereby He took on your sin and gave you His righteousness. Romans 4:5 However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness. God’s kingdom is about people who have received righteousness by faith, and are now living in righteousness.
And peace. When Jesus died He removed the enmity between all believers and God, and brought peace. Colossians 1:20 Jesus “reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. And now we should live to promote peace among brothers. That’s what he says in vs. 19: Romans 14:19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.
And when He died, He purchased the Holy Spirit for us, and in Him we have real and lasting joy. The joy of a Christian cannot be understood by anyone else. We rejoice in all things, even in the midst of trouble. Joy is the immediate result of receiving the Gospel. Remember, it’s called “glad tidings of great joy, which will be to all people” (Luke 2:10). This joy comes from having as Savior, from knowing deep down that you are right with God, of having assurance that our guilt was nailed to a tree and buried in a tomb, that you will live forever. John 15:11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. At the cross “the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”
Righteousness and peace and joy has replaced the rules, regulations and rituals. Fourth point is don’t get off topic. Keep with the main things, the big things. These are the things that bring the approval of God and man, as verse 18 says Romans 14:18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.
The fifth point is: Don’t destroy the work of God. Romans 14:20 “Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food.” Isn’t it clear that believers are the work of God. Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. We are God’s workmanship. This word workmanship is the Greek word “poema” where we get our word poem. You might remember a man by the name of Isaac Waats, he wrote poems and hymns for the church. Usually for him these poems just rolled out of him, but one time he wrote a poem that he said took him all day and all night to make it perfect. He said he wanted this poem to be a reflection of who he was. Did you know that believers are God’s poem to the world? And so we could think of it this way; that at the cross God worked not just all day and all night, but three days and three nights to remove your sin and make you the perfect poem. And now He works in us by His Spirit, making us a reflection of who He is. Philippians 2:13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. Believers are the works of God, therefore, be careful not to work against God by tearing down what He is building up.
The sixth point is: Don’t cause your brother to stumble. Vs. 20 says “It is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble.” It’s wrong for us to do anything that causes someone else to stumble in their faith. “Oh they’re a bunch of hypocrites, I could never go to church with them.” And while that’s just an excuse not to go to church we shouldn’t be hypocrites either; we should never trip someone up.
I like to walk and run around Findlay State Park. And Findlay has some very sharp corners, and one time last year I’m running down the hill and I take the sharp corner to the left, and there’s a huge log fallen right across the path, and I couldn’t avoid it and I tripped and down I went. Now nobody put that there on purpose, but we can lay a stumbling block or obstacle in the way of our brothers and sisters by doing things that offend them. And a Christian should make up his or her mind, never to put a stumbling block or obstacle in the way of their brother or sister. Romans 14:13 Make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way. He repeats it in verse 21: Romans 14:21 It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.
Finally, point seven is: Don’t condemn yourself. Vss. 22-23 Romans 14:22-23 22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin. In other words, keep faith primary, never do something that goes against our own conscience.
Here’s the message of Romans 14: although we are permitted to enjoy all kinds of freedoms, we are not commanded to do so. We are not obligated to exercise every freedom we have in Christ. In fact, the greater our love and spiritual maturity, the more willing we are to relinquish freedoms for the sake of serving the Lord and loving His people. As we mature in the faith, we become more interested in other people’s well-being, even as Jesus had freedom to remain in heaven, but chose the path of love instead, died on the cross, rose from the dead and purchased our eternal life.

Grace and truth, Charity Cleveland.

The sermon: wake up!

Hi, today my dad preached on Romans 13:11-14, here is his sermon:

First Scripture Reading: Colossians 3:12-16 12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
Let’s sing together.
Second Scripture Reading: Jonah 1:1-6: 1 Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.” 3 But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. 4 But the LORD sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to be broken up. 5 Then the mariners were afraid; and every man cried out to his god, and threw the cargo that was in the ship into the sea, to lighten the load. But Jonah had gone down into the lowest parts of the ship, had lain down, and was fast asleep. 6 So the captain came to him, and said to him, “What do you mean, sleeper? Arise, call on your God; perhaps your God will consider us, so that we may not perish.” Jonah 1:1-6 (NKJV)
Let’s pray together:
We’re in Romans chapter 13 this morning. By way of introduction, you may have heard of a man by the name of Augustine, one of the early church fathers. But did you know that before he became a believer he lived a life of impurity and drunkenness. One day he was walking along in a garden and he saw a book laying on the ground, he opened it up and began to read the first words that met his eye, Romans 13:11-14: “Not in drunkenness and lust…but put on the Lord Jesus Christ.” He said he felt immediately the power of those words, and resolved to turn from his lifestyle and become a follower of Christ. Later he went on to become a pastor and has greatly influenced the church ever since. That’s the power of God’s Word, and specifically of the very passage that we are studying today. We can have confidence that God will continue to convert people through His Word.
We finished up last time with the truth that “Love Fulfills the Law” and with God’s command that we love each other, now he says 11 And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. Romans 13:11-14
And here God tells us four things about our day’s work:
When we are to wake up,
How we are to dress,
How we are to walk,
What we are to make provision for.
So let’s look at our passage using those helps today: the first one is when we are to wake up. Vs. 11 says “Now it is high time to awake.” We heard when we were little, “it’s high time to get out of that bed.” He means to wake out of the sleep of sin. This is a call to urgency in living the Christian life. It’s as if God were saying to us, “Hurry, wake up, turn from sin and live for Jesus, for your eternity is almost here.” And so it’s a call to being fervent, and urgent and serious about the condition of our soul, and about matters of eternity, and about living for God and ministering. For our time is almost up!
This call is repeated several places in the Bible. Take just a minute and let’s look at a couple of Scriptures together, and see if you sense the urgency in each of these:
Ecclesiastes 9:10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.
2 Corinthians 6:2 “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.
James 4:14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. 7 funerals! Fog!
And 1 Peter 4:7 “But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.”
There is an attitude that Paul is warning about in Romans 13, an attitude that “time goes on forever, and let’s just take life easy, eat-drink-be merry, I’ll repent tomorrow”, and this passage calls us to wake up. God says “it’s high time to wake up”—vs. 11.
Now it’s really important to understand that Paul is talking here to Christians, to believers, and that’s why he uses the analogy of sleeping vs. waking. If he were speaking to unbelievers he would use a different analogy, he would use dead and living. As unbelievers we are “dead in sins and trespasses”. Spiritual death is where someone has no interest in God or the Bible or church, or hearing sermons or repenting of sin or eternal life. They find life in things of this world, temporary things, things that are passing away (their jobs, their business, sports events, entertainment, etc). and God must supernaturally give them life and raise them up. Jesus says: “He who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” John 5:24 (NKJV)
But this is not the analogy that Paul uses, no he is speaking to believers, to Christians who already have life, but they are sleeping, taking life easy, living for themselves and missing opportunities of ministry…just floating downstream with the crowd, slumbering along. And so Paul says, “it is high time to wake up.” Is God possibly saying that to some of us here today? Is He saying to us today what the ships’ captain said to Jonah: “what do you mean, sleeper? Arise, call on your God.” Paul says it again in 1 Corinthians 15:34 “Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.”
And he gives us reasons to wake up in verses 11 and 12: “our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the Day is at hand.” He is talking about both the coming of Jesus from heaven, and the end of our lives in death, either way, we have but a few days remaining. Even if we have 40-60 years, they are but a vapor, a morning mist. It’s time to wake up and live for God and minister to people, and pray for the lost and witness. It’s now time to wake up.
Think about this: if we were truly awake to the times, and to our temporary condition, we should start our day saying “God, please keep me from sin, help me watch and pray. And please bring somebody that I can minister to today. Do you ever wake up and pray for opportunities to show the love of Jesus to somebody, to give the gospel to somebody. If you’ll pray for that every day, God will open many doors for you. It’s time to wake up.
Number 2, how are we to dress ourselves? Vs. 12 says, “Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.”
A.First, we must put off our night clothes, our clothes of darkness. Darkness is ignorance of God, secrecy in sin, unbelief and rebellion. It’s that sin that keeps coming back. Maybe nobody knows about it but we do and God does, and God says cast off the works of darkness. Rid our lives of them. God said the same thing in Isaiah 30: “You will throw them away as an unclean thing; You will say to them, “Get away!” Isaiah 30:22 “lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.” James 1:21
B.Secondly, we are to put on our light clothes. Well this tells us something: it tells us that Christians are soldiers, we’re in the Lord’s army, and we have enemies all around us. The world, the flesh, the devil. And who would think of going into battle naked? We’d be ripped to pieces. We are to put on the armor of light, transparency, openness.
Well what is the Christian’s armor? What are we to put on? Well we can read about it in Ephesians chapter 6, the armor of God. But if you want to make it really simple, just compare the end of Romans 13 verse 12 with the beginning of verse 14. End of verse 12: “let us put on the armor of light”, beginning of vs. 14: “Let us put on the Lord Jesus Christ.” Conclusion? Jesus is our armor. He is our Defense. He is our Shield and great Defender. Our armor. He protects us from the evil one so that we become more than conquerors through Him who loves us.
Think of this way: when we were unbelievers we had no protection. We were open and exposed to all the attacks of Satan, all the desires of our own flesh, we were sitting ducks. But then we heard the message of the cross, of the love of God, that we’ve been forgiven through Jesus’ death, and justified through His resurrection, and we turn from sin and receive Christ as Lord and Savior. Well now we have protection. We have armor. Psalm 119:114 You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word.
So we’ve seen when we are to awake, how we are to clothe ourselves, now let’s see how we are to walk. Vs. 13 makes it clear that we are to walk properly so as to please God with how we live. That means we are to walk honestly, decently, to be careful how we live. We are to “walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;” Colossians 1:10. Paul prayed that the Thessalonians would “walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.” 1 Thessalonians 2:12 (NKJV)
And he tells us how we’re not to walk in vs. 13: “not in revelry and drunkenness (that means partying, using substances, etc.), not in lewdness and lust (that’s sexual impurity), not in strife and envy.” Notice how these go together. Partying leads to inappropriate behavior, which leads to conflict, strife and fighting, etc. They all go together.
You see the word picture that Paul paints for us here, is of a soldier who decides to take a night off and go to a party. And he begins drinking, has too much, and falls to the temptation of lewd behavior and commits sexual immorality. And now things are all out of sort for him and strife and contention arise, and he fights with people at the party, until he finally falls into a drunken stupor and sleeps the night away. And his commanding officer gets word of it, and he comes to him and says “wake up, the night is nearly gone, the day is here, put off your party clothes put on your armor man. Live right, you’re a soldier now act like it.
A believer in Jesus should avoid these things like the plague. Because:
5 You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. 6 Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. 1 Thessalonians 5:5-7 (NKJV)
So we’ve seen when we are to awake, how we are to dress, how we are to walk, and finally what are to make provision for.
Romans 13:14 …make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. This word “provision” means “forethought”. It has to do with keeping something handy in case we need it later. It’s keeping a bottle in the desk drawer in case we need it. It’s keeping access to impure content on the Internet because we use the Internet to do our work. That is making provision for our flesh, to fulfill the its’ lusts. Galatians 5:16 “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”
And we are told not make provision for the flesh, but instead to put on the Lord Jesus Christ. And this is one of the most beautiful teachings in all of Scripture. But it sounds rather strange doesn’t it? How do you put on a Person? Well this is actually a term used in theatres where the actor was to put on the clothing and assume the identity, of the one he was portraying. And so we are to take on the identity and the character of Jesus, to literally show Jesus to the world by the way we live so that when people look at us they see Christ. Think about these words, “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ.”
There is a wonderful illustration of this, if you would look with me in the Book of Genesis chapter 3. After Adam and Eve sinned they discovered they were naked, and they ran from God and hid. Verse 7 says “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.” So they were awakened to their condition, and they went to work trying to cover themselves. Think of all the effort they went to make those fig leaves, to try to cover their nakedness, and to make themselves fit for God’s presence.
And that’s what people have done for thousands of years. They become aware of the wrongs that they’ve done and they start working to cover over their sin and shame, so that by their own efforts they might make themselves acceptable to God. Isn’t that every other religion than Christianity? You keep certain laws, you reform your life, you do good works, and your sins will be covered and God will accept you. But Adam and Eve, that isn’t the way: “He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.” Proverbs 28:13 (NKJV)
So notice what God did. After He stated their punishment (always consequences), in verse 21 it says, “Also for Adam and his wife the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.” Where did the skins come from? God put to death a substitute, an animal, maybe a lamb in their place and covered them with the skins of that animal, and now they were wearing the sacrifice.
Can you imagine it? There’s guilty Adam and Eve, hiding over there in the bushes. They’ve tried to cover their nakedness, their sin and shame. But here comes the holy God, and they know He’d be right to put them to death immediately. But as He comes to them He begins to cover them with skins, and they are no longer naked. And I can imagine Adam saying “But God I’ve transgressed your commandment, I’ve turned my back on you, I and violated the terms of living.” And God says, “but my grace is sufficient for you, and I’ve now covered your sin and your shame.” And putting this humanly, when God looked at them now, He remembered that blood had been shed for their sin, and they were covered and acceptable in His sight now.
This is how someone becomes a Christian: he takes off the fig leaves of his own works that he was trusting in to cover himself, his own efforts, his own righteousness, and he puts his trust in God, and he puts on the Lord Jesus Christ as His righteousness, as that which makes Him acceptable to God. Isaiah 61:10 My soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
But someone says, “I don’t deserve that covering, maybe it’s not for me, maybe it won’t fit. I’ve been doing the opposite of what this passage says to do: I’ve been sleeping my life away, I’ve done the deeds of darkness, have walked crooked not straight, and have made provision for my flesh. And God says again, “my grace is sufficient for you too” here, no matter what you have done, put on the Lord Jesus and you’ll be covered.
Charles Spurgeon said, “God accepts weary sinners, reprobates, profligates, harlots, robbers, thieves, adulterers, fornicators, drunkards, swearers because the Bible says “Whoever believeth in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” Spurgeon’s Collected Sermons (Met. Tabern. Pul.) – –
In other words, when it comes to putting on the Lord Jesus, “one size fits all”, for whoever believes will have every sin forgiven, every crime cleared; every iniquity blotted out; will be saved in the Lord Jesus Christ, and will stand in heaven safe and secure. Just exactly like Jacob, who put on the clothing of his older brother, and received the blessing of the father.
But remember something: Romans 13 is not talking about putting on the Lord Jesus for salvation, Paul is writing to believers, those who have already put on Christ for salvation. What he is talking about is putting on the character of Christ, imitating His life, showing Jesus to others. Put on the Lord Jesus Christ as to His thoughts and His ways. As Jesus was kind and loving, so we are to be kind and loving. As Jesus was humble and meek, so we are to be humble and meek. As Jesus spoke the truth powerfully, so we are to speak the truth at all times to each other. How do we put on the Lord Jesus as Christians:
Colossians 3:12-14 12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.

Grace and truth, Charity Cleveland.

The sermon: love

Hi, today my dad preached on Romans 13, here is his sermon:

First Scripture Reading: 1 Praise the LORD. Praise, O servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD. 2 Let the name of the LORD be praised, both now and forevermore. 3 From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised. 4 The LORD is exalted over all the nations, his glory above the heavens. 5 Who is like the LORD our God, the One who sits enthroned on high, 6 who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth? 7 He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; 8 he seats them with princes, with the princes of their people. 9 He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the LORD. Psalm 113:1-9 (NIV)
Second Scripture reading: 1 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging symbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. 4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. 11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (NASB)
Let’s Pray:
We’ve come now to the second half of Romans chapter 13; the first half tells us of our duty to submit to the authorities, and this section tells us of our duty to our neighbor.
Now one of the characteristics of a believer in Jesus is that we have a real desire to fulfill our duties; to obey the Lord. Before we were saved we didn’t think twice about what God required of us, we didn’t care that we were breaking His laws, and we didn’t want Him telling us what to do. But in salvation a man’s heart is changed, his desires and interests are changed, and He really wants to obey and please the Lord.
We’ve seen that God is holy and righteous and that He hates sin and cannot even look on it, and that when we were living in sin and unbelief we were under His wrath. “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.” John 3:36 (NIV) But then we came to understand that Jesus took our sin on Himself, and in doing so God’s anger was redirected away from us and onto His Son, who bore the punishment of our sin. And God gives us faith to turn away from sin and believe that good news, to trust in it fully and in doing so we are saved. Saved from sin’s penalty and sin’s power. “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1 (NASB)
And those who are saved long to do God’s will. We realize that doing God’s will is the evidence of being saved. Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father.” Matthew 7:21 (NASB) He also said, “”For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother.” Mark 3:35 (NASB) And so doing the will of God confirms that we are in the family of God. Jesus said, “”For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” John 6:38 (NASB) And when we become Christians we want to know “what is the will of God, that I might do it?” And we study God’s Word so that we might know God’s will, and then we depend on God’s Spirit to enable us to do God’s will.
Not that we ever obey perfectly; in Romans 7 Paul says, “For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.” Romans 7:15 (NASB) Every Christian struggles against sin, and falls often, but notice that Paul said, “what I would like to do”. Paul would like to obey God, and all believers would like to obey God and so we study God’s Word to find God’s will.
For the believer God’s Word is beautiful and powerful and majestic and life-changing. When we become Christians we are like a newborn baby, we begin to eagerly crave the pure milk of the Word. Like David we say, 15 I will meditate on Your precepts And regard Your ways. 16 I shall delight in Your statutes; I shall not forget Your word. Psalm 119:15-16 (NASB). “My soul is crushed with longing After Your ordinances at all times.” Psalm 119:20 (NASB) and “The law of Your mouth is better to me Than thousands of gold and silver pieces.” Psalm 119:72 (NASB) This was a man who craved God’s Word and desired to obey it.
And so Christians come to God’s Word and say “In light of what He has done for us, how can we live to obey and please Him. How can we fulfill God’s requirements?”
And we come to our passage of study today and we see one word repeated over and over, and that one word tells us exactly how to fulfill the requirements. Let’s see that Word as we read the passage: 8 Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. 9 For this, “YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, YOU SHALL NOT MURDER, YOU SHALL NOT STEAL, YOU SHALL NOT COVET,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Romans 13:8-10 (NASB)
Love fulfills the Law, so that the word “love” is the short spelling of the word “righteousness.” So let’s just notice the two main points of this passage:
Owe nothing to anyone—verse 8
Owe love to everyone—verses 8-10.
So let’s look at these two points together. First, we’re told to “owe nothing to anyone” so that if we love people we will make sure we pay them what we owe them or die trying. This is a characteristic of righteous people. Psalm 37:21 says, “The wicked borrows and does not pay back, But the righteous is gracious and gives” even as Jesus was gracious and gave His life for us. “Pay him his wages each day before sunset, because he is poor and is counting on it. Otherwise he may cry to the LORD against you, and you will be guilty of sin.” Deuteronomy 24:15 (NIV) “Woe to him who builds his house without righteousness And his upper rooms without justice, Who uses his neighbor’s services without pay And does not give him his wages, Jeremiah 22:13 (NASB) We are to owe nothing to anyone.
Think of what the understanding of this passage would teach us:
To work hard. To not be lazy. Adam had to cultivate the garden “by the sweat of his brow”, working 6 days out of 7. In this day and age millions of people are out of work, not due to them being lazy but due to the economy. And they are trying to find work so that they can pay their debts. But we’re taught to work hard so we can owe no man anything.
To not go into debt. And to be radical in paying it off. Jesus gave His life to pay off your debt of sin, so that anyone who believes is debt free. You owe nothing to God for your sins, we should owe nothing to man either. Therefore we don’t go in to debt and we pay off whatever debt we have.
To be frugal and economical. We should live humbly, and do away with things we don’t need. We don’t ever want to be in a position of owing somebody something that we can’t pay.
To help our children. We should raise up our children teaching them the value of hard work, and saving money and avoiding debt.
First principle here today: we are to owe no man anything.
Second principle: we owe love to everyone. Love is an ongoing debt we must pay to all people, and the wonderful thing is the more we pay it the richer we get. So we have an ongoing debt to love one another. I invite you to turn with me to 1 John 4, and let’s notice that passage together:
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:7-11 (NASB)
The Instruction: “let us love one another”—verse 7
The Definition: “God is love”—verse 8
The Manifestation: “God sent His only begotten Son…to be the atoning sacrifice…that we might live through Him”—verses 9 and 10
The Origination: “not that we loved God, but that He loved us”—verse 10 “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
The Motivation: “if God so loved us…”—verse 11
The Instruction: “we also ought to love one another”—verse 11
Short summary: God is love. He showed it by giving His Son to die that we might live. So let’s love one another. After all, that is how the world knows that we are Christians. 34 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35 (NASB)
Well then what does it mean to love someone? Well first it means to do no harm. vs. 10: “Love does no harm to its neighbor.” It says about the Noble wife in Proverbs 31: 11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. 12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. Proverbs 31:11-12 (NIV)
And under this heading of “Love does no harm” Paul reminds us of the commands of God, given in Exodus chapter 20. And he says in verse 9 The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Romans 13:9 (NIV)
If we loved our neighbor as ourself, and we understood that love does no harm, we would not commit adultery, for adultery harms both people, their spouses, their families, their churches and everybody who knows them.
We’re not to commit adultery in our actions, but neither are we to commit adultery in our thoughts: Jesus said in Matthew 5:27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’; 28 but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5:27-28 (NASB) Under the new covenant we are not to commit adultery with our actions or even with a look. This prohibits pornography and all forms of impurity. Peter describes people who have 14 eyes full of adultery that never cease from sin. 2 Peter 2:13-15 (NASB) Love does no harm to its neighbor in action or in thought.
If we are to do no harm to our neighbor we certainly wouldn’t commit murder. Now most people agree that we should not murder, but how about committing anger? Again Jesus says 21 “You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ 22 “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court. Matthew 5:21-22 (NASB) So that unrighteous anger is the seed of murder.
Some people say “well I’d never murder somebody” and then they go on to say “but did you hear what John did? He…” and they slander someone, in essence murdering their reputation. Some of us have been horribly humbled by this, and we’ve had to learn not to slander the hard way. We’ve learned by experience the truth of Psalm 101:5: “Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will destroy; No one who has a haughty look and an arrogant heart will I endure.” Psalm 101:5 (NASB) No Christian should ever talk behind someone’s back in any way.
Think of this for a moment: Jesus’ hands were tied to a post, and the Roman soldiers beat His back mercilessly. And if you look in Roman history the reason they beat the back is because they didn’t have to see His face. It’s easier to hurt someone when you’re behind their back. Remember that next time you hear slander, or are tempted to slander. Remember that “He who spreads slander is a fool.” Proverbs 10:18
And then Romans 13:9 says “Do not steal” because that does harm to the one we take from. And “Do not covet” because that the seed of stealing. In other words, “Love does no harm to anybody.”
And so we end with verse 10: “Love is the fulfillment of the Law” as if to say “all that the law requires is that we love others.” But the reality is that no human being is able to keep the Law perfectly. We fail and fall short. So for our final thought today let’s compare two verses of Scripture. Compare Romans 13:10 “Love is the fulfillment of the Law” with John 15:13: “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down His life for His friends” and here’s what we come up with. Jesus fulfilled the Law for all believers when He died on the cross. If you repent, that is turn away from your sin, and put your faith in what Jesus did, then God looks at you as having lived perfectly, as having kept the Law in the Person of Christ.
So for just a moment consider the cross. Look at Jesus as they place the cross on His shoulders, and He struggles up to the top of Mt. Calvary. There He is laid out on the cross and His hands and feet are pierced, and then He is raised up on that cross. Look at Him hanging there. Know what that is? That is perfect love fulfilling the Law for all of God’s elect. The Law is now competed, fulfilled and finished.
28 Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. John 19:28-30 (NIV)
Love is the fulfillment of the Law and greater love has no man than this, that He lay down His life for His friends.

I hope you enjoyed the sermon as much as I did.

Grace and truth, Charity Cleveland.