By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
Believers do not need to concern themselves with the motives and reasoning of an unbeliever; we just need to speak the truth in love. Reason being, it is difficult for us to judge the motive behind the actions of another person. We cannot with certainty explain why one person chooses not to go to church, nor can we with certainty explain why another person attends church. That is one of the reasons we are commanded not to pronounce judgments based on motives.
1 Corinthians 4:5 (ESV): Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.
Traditionally, light exposing darkness is referring to righteousness revealing the unrighteous; but not in this case. The darkness in the above verse represents the hidden motives of the heart. There is nothing inherently good or evil about unknown motives, but we are reminded that we cannot understand another’s heart on our own.
Jeremiah 17:9-10 (ESV): The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”
On the last day, God is less interested in the number of deeds completed and more interested in the reason we performed those deeds. For example, if we were looking for praise on earth, not giving glory to God, or not doing it out of love; it would be of no benefit to us.
1 Corinthians 13:3 (NIV): If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Due to the standard by which God will judge, good people in our eyes will be condemned on the last day. God is going to weight the heart against the words in the Bible when deciding our judgment. It is vital we devote as much (if not more) time ensuring our motives are as pure as our actions.
Proverbs 21:2 (NKJV): Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
The calmness and clarity Jesus continually utilizes when speaking about issues of great concern is truly amazing. The anxiety and worry that would grip the average person appears to be absent from Jesus’ mind. Jesus just finished prophesying about the destruction of the temple (Matthew 24:1-2) and His disciples were full of questions.
Matthew 24:3-4 (NIV): As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age? ”Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you”.
Why did Jesus immediately warn His disciples to be careful that none of them are deceived? It is likely Jesus understood the fear riddled throughout the disciple’s questions. When fear and self-preservation is our concern, we will likely listen to anyone telling us exactly what we want to hear. When love and faithfulness is our motivation, we will tell each other what we need to hear, even if it is not what we want to hear.
Matthew 24:5-6 (ESV): For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet.
Jesus could not make it any clearer, “you will be hated by all” because of your faith. But if you stress about the trials you will endure, you will run away and do anything to preserve your life - including betrayal of friends and family.
Matthew 24:9-10 (NKJV): “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another”.
I am reminded of Peter walking on water (Matthew 14:28-33). He was doing well before he started to lose his faith and sink into the water. Jesus does not want us be anxious or overwhelmed by anything, but to trust completely in him through prayer and supplication. The moment we finish praying, we should be confident whatever happens after that “must take place” and should not “alarm us”.
Philippians 4:6 (ESV): Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
As God was preparing to send an angel to guard and guide the Israelites on their journey, He gave them a few warnings about the angel. There were suggestions that we would expect to hear; such as “pay attention to him” and “listen to him”. There was one warning in particular that I found most interesting and that was “do not rebel against him”.
Exodus 23:21 (NIV): Pay attention to him and listen to what he says. Do not rebel against him; he will not forgive your rebellion, since my Name is in him.
God warned the Israelites if they rebelled against the angel, the angel would not forgive them. I find this fascinating because God is so loving and longsuffering, that we often attribute this characteristic to all in heaven. We even find this understanding confirmed by Jesus when He told the parable of the Lost Sheep.
Luke 15:7 (ESV): Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
It is not that this angel was arrogant or disgruntled; God says the angel will not forgive them because God’s name is in his heart. We have to remember that angel means messenger, in particular, an angel is a messenger of God. In this case, God is trying to deliver a message of obedience to the Israelites. God wants His people to understand if they listen to Him, they will gain everything. But in the same way, if they rebel against Him, they will lose everything.
Exodus 23:22-23 (NKJV): But if you indeed obey His voice and do all that I speak, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries. For My Angel will go before you and bring you in to the Amorites and the Hittites and the Perizzites and the Canaanites and the Hivites and the Jebusites; and I will cut them off.
Notice in verse 22 how God interchanges between the people listening to His angel and listening to Him. The oneness is continued in verse 23 as well. God says He will send the angel ahead of them, but ends the same verse by saying He, not the angel will wipe them out. Since an angel is a messenger of God, it only speaks when God tells it to speak and it only does what God has authorized it to do. That is why this angel will not be forgiving the Israelites if they rebel against God. Not because the angel has a personal agenda, but because it is only able to deliver the message that God wants delivered.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr
There are so many divisions among the churches that it has to be concerning for many. We are led to wonder... why are there so many divisions, are they all correct, and what must we do to reduce denominations. The early church was dealing with similar issues and Paul tried to stop it then as we should do now. He asked simple questions of the church in Corinth; was Christ divided, should His church be divided, and what type of foundation should the church be built on?
I am reminded of Moses and his service for the Lord.
Exodus 7:1-2 (NKJV): So the Lord said to Moses: “See, I have made you as God to Pharaoh, and Aaron your brother shall be your prophet. You shall speak all that I command you. And Aaron your brother shall tell Pharaoh to send the children of Israel out of his land.
God told Moses he would be as a God to Pharaoh and Aaron would be his prophet. God exalted Moses with immense power and authority, but He reminded Moses he was but an instrument that needed to speak ALL that was commanded by Jehovah. If we want to eliminate the divisions within the church, we have to remind ourselves who is the foundation of the church.
1 Corinthians 3:11-13 (NIV): For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work.
The authority God provides us to grow His church does not give us the clout to grow it by any means. The ultimate power of any church leader is to speak the words of God found in the Bible without bias and prejudice. Even though leaders may be seen as gods to some, we cannot offer our own revelations and we should not steal God’s glory. If there appears to be a disagreement among members of the church, let us first seek the kingdom of God and follow His will before we are tempted to create another denomination. Let us be humble and not divide over correction, knowing that correction is an action of love and one of our responsibilities as brothers and sisters in Christ.
Galatians 6:1-2 (ESV): Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.