Matthew 5:9, 48
1 Peter 3:13Ė22
Faith acts upon belief, itís not passive; and in addition it witnesses to
the world around us that we are true Christians.
True Christiansí faith acts upon belief by living in the heavenly will of God where there is no pain or death, and by faith they bring this way of life to earth in everything they do and say.
They are loving, compassionate peacemaking children of God, for the benefit of the whole of creation including every other human being and animal.
Since this is the sixth Sunday of the Easter season, weíll continue with our discussion of the promises presented in John 14:15-21Ö
15. "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.
This is an example of how faith acts upon belief.
Letís think about this as we review some of the things that Jesus taught us and commanded us beginning with Matthew 5:9Ö
9. "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
This means that if we are truly peacemakers for the whole of Godís creation
then and only then are we also the true children of God.
Jesus gives us the answer in His commandment to us in Matthew 5:48Ö
48. "Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
This is the ultimate example of how faith acts upon belief.
This is also what the true peacemaking children of God seek to do with their whole being.
And this commandment doesnít give us any option; we are to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect, and before we return to our John 14 passage, letís take a look at a key component of how Jesus taught us to pray in Matthew 6:10Ö
10. 'Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
As weíve talked about many times before, if we are supposed to be praying
for Godís heavenly will to be done on earth as it is in heaven, then most
assuredly we should be doing everything in our power to eliminate from our
lives, and the world around us, everything that is not in the heavenly will
And we also need to remember that there is no pain or suffering or death in heaven, so a vital part of our living in the perfection of Godís heavenly will is to eliminate as much suffering and death from our lives beginning with what we put on our plates.
This is another example of how faith acts upon belief.
And if we do these things, Jesus promises usÖ
16. "And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever;
This Helper is the Holy Spirit.
17. that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you.
In other words, all of us who are true believers and live as loving,
compassionate and peacemaking children of God in the heavenly will of God
know the Lord and have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
As a witness to the world around them, their faith acts upon belief; this is an encouragement to others whose faith is weak.
18. "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
19. "After a little while the world will behold Me no more; but you will behold Me; because I live, you shall live also.
20. "In that day you shall know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.
21. "He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me; and he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him, and will disclose Myself to him."
In this promise there is also a very important condition: "He who has My
commandments and keeps them,Ē because while many people claim to have been
born again, a much smaller number of people actually have changed lives
reflecting the heavenly will of God, which is the proof that they are
keeping Jesusí commandments and that their faith acts upon belief.
Those who truly keep Jesusí commandments avoid anything that contributes to the corruption of creation and causes so much pain, suffering, and death; instead, they do everything in their power to end the corruption of creation.
This is also exactly what we are told in 1 Peter 3:13-22Ö
13. And who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good?
Those who are zealous for what is good are those who keep Jesusí
commandments and do everything they can to end the corruption of creation.
They want every human and animal to have the heavenly peace free of pain, suffering, and death that the Lord wants all of us to have, and they work at helping to bring it to fruition.
Their faith acts upon belief, itís not passive.
14. But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are
blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled,
15. but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;
16. and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.
And if our faith acts upon belief as a natural part of our being, then we
donít have to do anything to make this happen, for our consistent witness of
being the loving, compassionate and peacemaking children of God will shame
them even if they revile and slander us.
We are to remain at peace at all times and never even consider any form of violence to be a solution, because violence only produces more violence and never leads to true and lasting peace.
17. For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing
what is right rather than for doing what is wrong.
18. For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;
19. in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison,
20. who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water.
In case any of us might question how long the patience of God is, it took 120 years to build the ark, and the Lord waited all that time for the people to repent, but they didnít; we hope and pray that this never happens to any of us.
21. And corresponding to that, baptism now saves you ó not the removal of
dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience ó through
the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
22. who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him.
In the heavenly will of God, baptism replaced the animal sacrifices, for
killing is of the world, and purifying ourselves through repentance and
baptism opens the doors of heaven.
This is another example of how a true Christianís faith acts upon belief.
What good does it do to call ourselves Christians if the world sees us doing the same things that the world does?
It does no good; in fact it does a lot of harm, for it chases many sensitive and compassionate people away from the church and Christianity.
Gandhi once said that he might have become a Christian if it wasnít for the Christians he saw around him.
These worldly people are doing the same kinds of things that the religious leadership was doing, when Jesus called them to task when they falsely accused Him in John 8:44-45Ö
44. "You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of
your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the
truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks
from his own nature; for he is a liar, and the father of lies.
45. "But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me.
This is the main problem we have in the world today, and the reason there is
so much corruption, pain, suffering, and death, for these worldly people
support all of these practices.
Always remember that our faith acts upon belief and isnít passive.
As a witness to the world around us of Godís Heavenly will, we who are truly loving, compassionate and peacemaking children of God are to peacefully stand between worldly people and the evil they do.
We can and should help change the world into the peaceful world God created it to be, and the one that He wants us to have again.
We can do this.
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