Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Monday, – 26 April 2022:
Leviticus 24:14 – “…let all who heard him lay their hands on his head.”
Witnesses of a crime that carried the penalty of death had to participate in the execution of the convicted offender so the witness would feel the burden of responsibility for their testimony. The intent was to deter innocent blood being shed by false witnesses. If the witnesses proved false, they would be guilty of murder.
Leviticus 24:16 – “Whoever blasphemes the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death.”
Blasphemy carried the same penalty as murder. Times certainly have changed.
Leviticus 24:16 – “The sojourner as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death.”
God’s laws applied to all.
Leviticus 24:17 — “Whoever takes a human life shall surely be put to death.”
Those who protest capital punishment with signs that say, “Though shalt not kill,” seem to miss the OT penalty for murder.
Leviticus 24:17-21 – God’s ways bring punishment equal to and corresponding with the crime.
Romans 10:9 — “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
How is one saved? “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13) However, calling upon His name is not merely a verbal act, it is a matter of the heart, and expression of deep felt, convicting belief. It is a matter of faith – “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) This faith rests upon our hope (complete assurance) in His perfect, unending love for us (see Romans 8), ultimately demonstrated through His Son, Jesus Christ, and our confidence in His ‘amazing grace’ enables us to abide in His love as we fellowship with Him and glorify Him by sharing His love with others. “We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19) To know Him is to love Him, trust Him, obey Him, enjoy Him, and share Him. However, how can one believe in Him if they don’t know Him?
Romans 10:14, 15 — “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’”
Do you have beautiful feet? Does your love for God and your love for others (the Great Commandment) compel you uncontrollably to preach the Good News (The Great Commission; Matthew 28:19; 20)? Perhaps, the greatest evidence of your love for God and for others is how committed you are to sharing the Gospel.
- Mathew 28:19, 20 – “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”
Sharing the Gospel is where your true love for God and your true love for others come together and manifest in the highest form of worship and compassion. God is love. He loves so much He gave His Son Jesus that the world may know Him, love Him, and be one with Him (see John 17). Knowing Him is eternal life. When we love God, we share His heart for others. When God abides in us, we naturally love others and want them to experience the love and blessings of God to the fullest and eternal life in Him – “No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us…. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” (1 John 4:12, 1 John 4:16)
Many people express their love for others through giving, but the greatest gift of all is the gift of grace through faith in Jesus, and our love for others should compel us to share the Good News of that gift with others above all else. Conversely, “How much do you have to hate your co-worker or friend to never share the gospel with them?” (David Platt) “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.” (1 John 3:14)
- Matthew 5:43-48 — “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
- Luke 6:27-36 — “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”
God calls Christians to a radical, shocking love. In fact, Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23) This love should compel us to share the Gospel with those who would persecute us for doing it. Paul exemplified this sort of love by refusing to stop proclaiming the Gospel to those who beat him ruthlessly for it, even stoning Him, eventually beheading him. For example, read Acts 21:27-40 – Saved at the last minute by Roman soldiers and centurions from a crowd determined to beat Paul to death, Paul’s appeal to the Romans as they were taking him away was, “I beg you, permit me to speak to the people.” Do you share Paul’s heart for those lost people in your life who mistreat you due to their bondage to sin? Are you prepared to take up your cross daily and follow Jesus’ example of seeking others’ reconciliation with the Father at all costs because of your great love for God and for them? With whom have you neglected to share the Gospel? Why?
- Romans 1:16 — For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
- 2 Timothy 1:12 — …which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 26 April 22: Share the Gospel with someone today.