He was raised for our Justification.
March 19, 2017
THE THIRD SUNDAY IN LENT
BE IMTATORS OF GOD!
Little children want to be like their parents. Little girls want to grow up to be like their moms. Little boys want to grow up to be like their days. And the children of God imitate Him.
The life and cross of Jesus prove God is our heavenly Father. He loves us. To imitate God we imitate Jesus. We learn to love as He loved us. And God smiles.
Jesus’ love is the prototype. His love is pure and without stain. It is unselfish, sacrificial. So different is His love Paul warns against other types of love. Human love is self-centered. Paul describes that which pollutes human love. He wrote:
Fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks…this you know, no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ.
Our nature and the world in which we live pervert it. People talk about making love. Outside of a proper marriage, God calls that fornication. We call it doing business. God calls it dishonesty, greed and theft. We call it humor. The Bible calls it foolish talking, coarse jesting. We get confused until we focus on what Jesus did for us. The saint warns: Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.
People calls this stuff is old fashioned, out of date, the morality of the past. God says it is the truth. God’s law regulates love. If it is contrary to God’s law it is not love. If it is contrary to God’s law, it is sin. Those walking in the footsteps of anyone other than God are not living as God’s children. Those who do these types of deeds are children of disobedience.
We need to be clear. If a behavior or way of thinking sepa-rates us from God, we need to know. The world needs a remind-er. If it threatens us with eternal punishment, it is not love to ignore it. If it makes God angry with His children, it is the opposite of love to suggest that it is not so bad.
The Bible warning is real. The world tries to deceive us. Those who promote a love contrary to God’s law may wear the robes of a pastor or have a degree in counseling. Don’t listen.
Walk the path of love set by our Lord Jesus. Paul wrote:
Therefore do not be partakers with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth),
Jesus saved us from all evil. He did not save us for evil or to do evil. When the Holy Spirit called us to faith, He called us out of sin. The faith He created causes us to be born anew.
It is not as if we are better people. We once walked in dark-ness as do all those born in a natural way. But Jesus redeemed us from all that. He rescued us from our sin and the death we deserve. He saved us from this world headed for destruction. The things from which we are redeemed are not good for us no matter how we desire them. They are the things that hurt us.
But we are born again in Jesus. He is so good. He is our goodness. We are born again to live as the children of God. We follow the path of light rather than darkness and evil.
The love with which Jesus loved us is godly love without a hint of selfishness. It is the love we are learning. It is hard work. It does not come naturally. This love goes against our thinking and emotions. It is the love of God. It is the footsteps of Jesus.
He loved us sacrificially to save our souls. He wants us to love as He loves so other souls everywhere can be saved. It is not that we can die for them as Jesus died but we can live for them so that they are interested in our Jesus.
The world looks for excuses. People delight when famous Christians get caught in sin. People don’t understand. Christians are not perfect. We are Christians because we need mercy.
We are learning to listen not to the world but to our loving God. Filled with His word we produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit. We begin to produce the love that asks for nothing in return.
It is an individual task. It is also a task of this your church. Together, we are growing into the kind of people who walk in God’s footsteps. We will be careful in judging fellow Christians but when we see something that needs improving, rather than announce it to the world, we will find a way to improve it. It is not loving to sit high on a horse of superiority criticizing each other. It is loving to see the problems, forgive the problems in Christ and work to fix the problems. Don’t talk about it. Do something about it.
The people of the world imitate that which is evil. We imitate Jesus. We are His dear children.
Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.  And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.
Amen. Soli Deo Gloria!