Keep Moving

Keep Moving

Jesus has called us to be disciples—disciples who focus on Him, follow Him, obey Him, and tell others about His love and salvation. So, whether you are pleased or disappointed with the upcoming election results, don’t lose your focus.

The Kingdom of God is not of this world! We are not citizens of the world. We are citizens of God’s Kingdom and we are His ambassadors to this world. There is no need for us to have fear or joy about who governs this country. Jesus is at the right hand of the Father, who sits on the Throne. He rules over all. We have the same commission regardless of who is elected to office in this nation. Vote, but don’t lose your focus and don’t worry about who wins. Turn off the media and enjoy God’s creation and His Kingdom. Keep moving in God’s grace as His ambassador in this world.

Again, here is the commission Jesus gave to His disciples, the Church: Matthew 28:19-20 “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Jesus started the Church in motion in Acts 2 by unleashing the Holy Spirit upon all believers. This empowered them to be His witnesses. His power is unstoppable. We can have absolute confidence in the Holy Spirit to build Christ’s Church and sustain it.

Jesus said in Matthew 16:18…upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.”

If the gates of Hell will not overcome the Church, if our mistakes can’t stop it, then certainly an election cannot prevail against the Church. The government may persecute us, but that will only purify the Church and make it more effective. We saw persecution begin in Acts 4 and the disciples’ response. They prayed for boldness to keep moving in the grace of God to fulfill the Commission. They were obedient unto death, knowing they had eternal life with Christ in Heaven.

Therefore, persecution did not stop the growth of the Church. Although the Roman government blamed Christians for the problems of society, mocked them, tortured them, and publicly executed them in the sport arenas, the Church grew and changed the world.

Remember, Paul was a citizen of Rome, an empire full of brutality, homosexuality, and every kind of sinful behavior. He did not consider the emperor as god. Paul preached about the one and only God, Jesus and His Kingdom, and His Resurrection from the dead. For this he was jailed and eventually killed.

However, this persecution did not stop the Gospel, for Paul wrote much of the New Testament while he was in prison. Here is part of what Paul wrote:

Romans 12:9-16 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

Imprisonment stopped Paul’s missionary travels, but he wasn’t stopped from moving on to fulfill Christ’s Commission. He wrote letters to encourage disciples outside of the prison, teaching them to obey everything Jesus commanded. Notice all the commands in this passage. Let’s look closely at some groups of them.

1.Love must be sincere. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.”

God is love. Love is one of the characteristics of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. It is impossible to truly love others until God lives in us. Therefore, we need God’s grace to love one another. Then people can see God, the Holy Spirit, living and moving in us.

1 John 3:23-24 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.

1 John 4:10-13 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.

1 John 4:16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.

The love described in these verses isn’t merely a handshake, hug, or flattery. It is God’s love, which we don’t possess unless He lives in us. God’s love sees a brother’s need and does something about it. In fact, if we see our brother in need and don’t do anything about it, the love of God isn’t in us.

1 John 3:16-18 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

Love is like the wind. We can’t see it, but we can see its action. The Holy Spirit gives us love, causing us to say, “Brother, sister, let me help. I want to stand with you, to be with you in your trouble.”

Once the grace of the Holy Spirit starts this motion of love in you, helping others won’t be a burden. On the contrary, it will thrill you, because you will share in God’s love and joy. So love isn’t something just to talk about. It’s a matter of doing, acting, living, and moving in the grace of God.

2. “Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.”

Zeal in this context is love ablaze, like the love Jesus showed. Zeal without reason becomes fanaticism. Jesus was not a fanatic. Zeal disregards personal safety, drops "sacrifice" from its vocabulary, hates sin (especially in our own life), but loves the sinner enough to reach out to him in his need.

Leonard Ravenhill said this about the lack of zeal in the Western church: “The Church began in the Spirit, now She is operating in the flesh. There is no pillar of fire over the sanctuary. There are no preachers who can hold the hell-bound spellbound. I am not sure that it can be proved that Nero fiddled while Rome burned. It can be proved that the Church is fiddling while the world is burning! The one reason that we do not have revival today is that we are content to live without it.”

We are commanded to be zealous. The zealous Christian lives for one thing only: to please God. He is not worried about the things of this world. He disregards the opinions of others about his zeal. He cares not whether he is esteemed or despised, considered a fool or a philosopher. Regardless of evil reports or good reports, curses or kisses, he is set to do the will of God because He loves Jesus more than his own life!

Brothers and sisters, it is not enough to say that we are fundamental or conservative in "doctrine." We must be ablaze with God’s love. We must ensure our zeal for God keeps moving regardless of world events or personal trials.

Young people (or prisoners), you will be leaving home (or prison) someday. Your freedoms, relationships, and responsibilities will change. In the midst of all those changes, don’t let your zeal for God become lukewarm by distractions or laziness. Stay passionate for God and keep moving, using the gifts God has given you.

Remember, you belong to the Body of Christ. Stay connected to the Body—Christ’s Church. Remember what you’ve been taught, make your relationship with God your top priority, and live holy—a life separated from the world and dedicated to God. Keep your spiritual fervor; be zealous about the things of God and about serving God.

No matter our age or how long we have been a Christian, we are to keep moving in the grace of God. We are to live holy, sanctified, and separated lives, which are in a continuous state of motion, daily growing closer to God.

Hebrews 2:1 We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.

If we do not remember or pay attention “to what we have heard”, if we relax the standards of God’s Word, if we quit moving in the grace of God, if we quit obeying the Holy Spirit, we will drift away from God!

Regardless of the hazards and resistance to the truth, Jesus and the disciples did not drift. They continued moving against worldliness, sin, and false religion. So stay filled with His Spirit and never stop following Jesus regardless of any difficulty.

3. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Some of the fruit of the Spirit are mentioned here: joy, patience, faithfulness. As we move with the Spirit, He will produce this fruit in our life during affliction. It will overflow and affect everyone around us. They will see our persecution and suffering and notice how we have hope in the Lord while remaining faithful in prayer, trusting God, and receiving His grace to persevere.

Furthermore, Paul said to bless those who persecute you. Jesus said the same.

Matthew 5:44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you

The grace and power of the Spirit enables us to have divine love to do this. Therefore, expect persecution. When it happens, consider it a blessing and bless your persecutors.

Matthew 5:10-12 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

2 Timothy 3:12-13 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.

We are witnessing evil people and impostors going from bad to worse, even running for political office by deceiving people. They are deceived themselves, believing the ends justifies the means for achieving power. This was prophesied. Therefore, stay focused on Jesus Christ, who is the Truth, and keep moving with Him. Expect to be persecuted for following Christ so you won’t be caught off guard when it happens.

4. Lastly, “Do not be proud, be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.”

Philippians 2:5-8 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Remember, Christ humbled Himself, left Heaven, and identified with us. We must have that same humble attitude and move in God’s grace as we follow the Holy Spirit. As we go, consider others as better than yourself. Find a way to talk about Jesus, always praying, “Lord, send the Spirit to convict them and open their eyes to Your love through me.”

Praying this way is important, because unless the Holy Spirit does the work, nothing will happen. Only the Holy Spirit can speak to the deepest depths of the heart and draw people to Jesus Christ. To be effective ambassadors of Jesus, we must pray, read His Word, and be filled with His Spirit. As we learn to know our Master’s voice, He will lead us to the people He has prepared and He will give us the words to speak.

We cannot stand still and stay as we are. We have to keep moving. The question is “What direction are we going?” We make choices every day that determine where we go. Either we will we “drift away”, or we will we “move in the grace of God” as the Spirit leads.

If the pressures of life, the sin of the world, and your inability to do anything about them are wearing you down, draw near to Jesus Christ, focus on Him, die daily to self, and follow Him.

Perhaps you realize today that you are going the wrong way. If so, humble yourself before Almighty God and confess your sin. Believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior and give your life to Him in baptism. When you do these things, He will give you His life, eternal life, born of the Holy Spirit.