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Character and Conduct: Biblical Foundations (Thought)

Character is WHO you ARE
Conduct is WHAT you DO

1. LOVE is the Essence of True Character.
Without Love, a person is nothing.
"If I don't have love, I am nothing at all." (1 Corinthians 13:2, NIRV).
Love defines who you ARE (Character).

2. CHRIST is the Source of Right Conduct.
Without a right connection with Christ, a person can do nothing.
"without Me you can do nothing." (John 15:5, NKJV).
Abiding in Christ defines what you DO (conduct).
When Christ's words abide in me, and I abide in Christ, I bear fruit.
"He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit" (John 15:5)
"If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you." (John 15:7)

THIRST-TRUST-THRUST: 3 Pre-requisites to a Saving Miracle (John 5:1-9)- Sermon

Evening Service, SNGR. Oct 14, 2012.

The impotent man, suffering for 38 years, was healed in an instant. That's the miracle working power of God. How can I see a miracle in my life? Three things to consider:

1. Willingness to be healed [THIRST]
Jesus asked him, "Do you want to be healed?" Of course he did, or else he wouldn't be there.
Awareness of our need for healing and salvation is very important. Where there is no thirst, water has no value. Jesus said that only the sick need a physician. Those who think they are all fine can't appreciate, (Forget about desiring!) the power of God. Jesus said, Let him who is thirsty come unto me and I will give him water to drink. The deeper our thirst, the richer our experience of Him will be.

2. Absolute Reliance in God (Throwing Away All Crutches) [TRUST]
The man replied that he had no one else to help him. He had no alternative but God. Many times we fail to fully experience God because we have so many other options still in hold; and so we cannot commit ourselves 100% to God. We cannot trust Him absolutely. Jesus said that no man can serve two masters. The rich young man could not follow Jesus because he was not willing to let go off the crutch of worldly riches. He finally returned to them and forwent the treasures of heaven. As long as we have other things to still turn to, our heart cannot follow fully after God. To seek God's Kingdom and His righteousness is the primary object of our life; other things are only meant to follow.

3. Obedient Faith [THRUST]
Jesus told the man to take up his bed and walk, and he did. The servants at Cana obeyed Jesus and they saw there a miracle through their hands. The disciples distributed the bread that Jesus blessed and gave, and a miracle happened in their hands. Unless we take the bold step of faith and obey whatever the Lord tells us, we can never walk. When Jesus told the man to arise, he had two choices; either to laugh at Jesus' statement and keep lying there forever, or believe His word and rise up and walk. He did the latter and so we read of his faith in the Gospel, the Good News.

Our Thirst for God, Our Trust in God, and Our Thrust towards God is the Sum of our Experience of God.

Q&A: The Laws of Moses Look So Hard and Inhumane!

Ques: The laws of Moses look so hard and inhumane. He allowed social evils such as slavery and revenge. See for instance theses verses:
"if a man sells his daughter to be a female slave, she shall not go out as the male slaves do." (Ex.21:7)
"eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot" (Ex.21:24)

Ans: When Jesus came, He said that He came to bring the Law of Moses to perfection (Matt.5:17). He didn't come to annihilate it but to bring it to perfection. It certainly implies that the Old Testament Law was not in a perfect state. Jesus said that Moses gave that Law because of the hardness of human hearts (Matt.19:8). The Old Testament itself stressed the importance of Mercy as the spirit of the Law; Jesus quoted it when He taught the key to the right practice of the Law:
"But if you had known what this means, "I desire mercy and not sacrifice,'you would not have condemned the guiltless." (Matt.12:7)

He highlighted the spirit of the Law:
Jesus said to him, ""You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets." (Mat 22:37-40)

And His Sermon on the Mount laid the foundation for Christian Morality; for instance:
--You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca, ' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell. (Mat 5:21-22)
--You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Mat 5:27-28)
--You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. (Mat 5:38-39)

The Old Covenant Law was not bad. But, the problem was with the human heart and its hardness:
"For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin." (Rom 7:14)

When Jesus came, He brought the Law to its perfect state through another Covenant, which He called the New Covenant:

Heb 8:6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.
Heb 8:7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second.
Heb 8:13 In that He says, "A new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

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