1. Several times each year students throughout the country receive report cards to indicate the progress they are making in school. Some schools use the familiar alphabet grading system that has been used for years. In this grading system, "A" stands for best. "B" is good and "C" is normal or average. To mention lower grades is perhaps a little too personal.
2. It may come as a surprise to some, but God also has a grading system that is sometimes different from the one most of us have been familiar with all our lives. God has some "Be's" that He gives and they stand for best. Unless we have this "Be's on our eternal report card will be lost for all eternity!
For everything in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--comes not from the Father but from the world. 1 John 2:16
3. It is imperative that we consider these "Be's."
One "Be" we must have on our eternal report card is gratitude or thanksgiving.
1. Paul wrote.(Col. 3:15).
• One time an elderly man arose in a crowded bus and gave a young lady his seat. She immediately took it and said nothing. The elderly gentleman leaned close to her and said, "I beg your pardon." There was no response, so the second time he said, "I beg your pardon." With this prompting, the young lady raised her eyes to his and said, "I didn't say anything." He answered, "Oh, I beg your pardon, I thought you might have said 'thank you.'"
• Don't you suppose that God sometimes feels this same injustice from us? God has greatly blessed us in the past and gives us blessings each day, but we so often forget to say "thank you."
• We are often like the 10 lepers that Jesus healed. (Lk. 17:11-18).
• The psalmist exhorted us saying. (Psa.100:1-5;103:1-5).
2. Not only should we express thanks to God but we should express it to others.
• Once a soldier in the American Third Army was sent to a rest camp after a period of active service. When he returned to his outfit, he wrote a letter to General George Patton and thanked him for the splendid care he had received. General Patton wrote back that for 35 years he had sought to give all the comfort and convenience he could to his men, and added that this was the first letter of thanks he had received in all his years in the Army.
• There are few points at which human nature is more lacking than in lack of gratitude. We are so quick to ask and receive, but sometimes very slow to say "thanks."
A second "Be" we must have on our eternal report card is holiness.(1 Pet.1:16).
1. God has called the Christian out of the darkness of sin to live a holy life.
• It is scandalous for a Christian to wear the name "Christian" and then live an impure, sin-filled, hypocritical life.
• There are some people who wear the name "Christian" who lie, cheat, steal, curse, and commit every other sin under the sun.
2. The God of purity will not tolerate or save such people. He wants us to be known for our holiness.
• Prior to becoming a Christian sin was the rule of our lives and righteousness the exception, but after conversion, righteousness should be the rule of our lives and sin the exception.
• We should keep these words in mind. (Matt.5:8; Rom.12:2; Rev. 21:27).
• The words of this familiar song should also constantly be in our hearts and lips.
More holiness give me, More strivings within,
More patience in suffering, More sorrow for sin.
More faith in my Savior, More sense of His care,
More joy in His service, More purpose in prayer.
More gratitude give me, More trust in the Lord,
More pride in His glory, More hope in His word,
More tears for His sorrows, More pain at His grief,
More meekness in trial, More praise for relief.
More purity give me, More strength to overcome,
More freedom from earth-stains, More longings for home;
More fit for the kingdom, More useful I'd be,
More blessed and holy, More, Savior, like Thee.
A third "Be" we must have on our eternal report card is the kindness. (Eph. 4:32).
1. In order to enter the heavenly city, a Christian must be full of kindness. The Christian must not be rude or harsh, but he must be tenderhearted, forgiving and concerned for the physical and spiritual needs of others.
2. This old world certainly needs more kindness.
• Millions of hearts are aching for a little kindness, but most people are too filled with apathy or too busy to take the time to be kind.
• Brethren, someone has made this pertinent statement about kindness that we need to keep in mind, "You cannot do a kindness too soon, because you never know how soon it will be too late!"
A fourth "Be" we must have on our eternal report care is peace. (Rom. 12:18; 14:19; Matt. 5:9; 1 Pet. 3:11).
1. These verses and countless others in the Bible emphasize that a child of God should be at peace with all men and follow the things that make for peace.
2. There a number of things a Christian can do which will promote peace.
• One thing a Christian can do to promote peace is to want to get along with others.
o Too many people are like the man who said, "I'm going home and if my wife does not have a good meal cooked, I'm going to raise the roof; and if she does, I'm not going to eat a bite."
o Others are like the man who came into the church business meeting late. As he sat down he said, "I don't know what you are talking about, but I'm against it."
o There is a story told about a man who was very difficult to get along with and impossible to please.
One morning his wife fixed him a delicious breakfast. She fixed him some biscuits, some bacon, coffee, and scrambled him some eggs. She then brought him this breakfast while he was still in bed. All he did was mutter, "I didn't want 2 scrambled eggs." So the next morning she fixed him 2 fried eggs along with the biscuits and bacon and coffee. This time he muttered, "I didn't want 2 fried eggs. I want 1 fried and 1 scrambled." A morning or two after that she fried him one egg and scrambled him another along with all the trimmings and brought it to him. This time he said, "You fried the wrong egg."
o How different this man was to the man who was asked by his wife, "How do you like your eggs?" He said, "I like them." She said, "I mean how do you like them cooked?" He replied, "I like them that way best."
o Oh, we need to be more like this man and try to get along with others.
• A second thing a Christian can do to promote peace returns good for evil.
It will heap coals of fire upon the head of the guilty and bring him to repentance. (Rom. 12:19-21).
• A third thing a Christian can do to promote peace to be easily entreated (Jas. 3:17).
o The Christian must have a yielding spirit in all matters of opinion. He must be willing to compromise for the sake of peace.
o The Christian cannot and must compromise truth. (Jno. 8:32).
o Paul wrote. (Eph. 4:4-6).
o We must never compromise these and other foundational doctrines.
o We should yield in matters of opinion, like or dislike, ore tradition.
o Let me illustrate.
o Preaching the gospel. (Mk. 16:15).
o Caring for the orphans. (Jas. 1:27)
Note: God requires us to preach the gospel to the whole world, and take care of orphans, but the exact method is not commanded. We have a lot of liberty as long as we do not violate God's word.
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40
o A fourth thing a Christian can do to promote peace is forgiveness.
The Christian must not bear grudges but must be willing to forgive the one who offends him. (Colossians 3:13; Matt. 6:14,15).
Still another "Be" we must have on our eternal report card is obedience. (James. 1:22).
1. James emphasizes that merely hearing the word is not sufficient. We must do the things we know to do.
• Once I heard of a church that had to preach only once a month. When asked why they didn't have it more often, they replied, "Wouldn't do any good; we already know more than we are doing!"
• They had the wrong concept of preaching. It can be motivational as well as instructional but their statement is true of us all. We all know more than we are doing and that is a sin! In order to be saved, we must put what we know into action. (Jas. 4:17).
2. This is not only true of the Christian, but it is true of the non-Christian.
• I have heard many non-Christians state, "I know what is right." I submit to you the kindest way I know that simply knowing what is right is not enough. Hell will be filled with people who know what is right but did not do anything about it.
• A person must obey the will of God to be saved. (Matt. 7:21; Lk. 6:46; Heb. 5:9).
1. Yes, God has a grading system that is sometimes very different from man's. There are some things in which He wants to make "Be's" because they are the very best. May the God of heaven be able to place these five "Be's" on our eternal report card.
2. God's gracious invitation is now extended. He invites all to come and enjoy His immense blessings. Come confessing your faith in Jesus and renounce sin and be baptized for the remission sins.
What are the commands of Christ?
49 Commands of Christ
words to live by
Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Keeping the commands of Jesus begins with recognizing what they are. Following is a collection of 49 of Jesus’ commands. As you read through them, ask God to help you observe these words, apply them, and faithfully follow them throughout your lifetime.
“From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17).
• Follow Me
“And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men”(Matthew 4:19).
“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” (Matthew 5:11–12).
• Let Your Light Shine
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
• Honor God’s Law
“Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill” (Matthew 5:17).
• Be Reconciled
“Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift”(Matthew 5:23–25).
• Do Not Lust
“But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. And if thy right eye offends thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell” (Matthew 5:28–30).
• Keep Your Word
“Let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than this cometh of evil” (Matthew 5:37).
• Go the Second Mile
“Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: but I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him, that would borrow of thee turn not thou away”(Matthew 5:38–42).
• Love Your Enemies
“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same?” (Matthew 5:44–46).
• Be Perfect
“If ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:46–48).
• Practice Secret Disciplines
“. . . When thou doest thine alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: that thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. . . . When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. . . . When thou fastest, anoint thine head and wash thy face; that thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly” (Matthew 6:1–18).
• Lay Up Treasures
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:19–21).
• Seek God’s Kingdom
“Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33).
• Judge Not
“Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” (Matthew 7:1–3).
• Do Not Cast Pearls
“Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you”(Matthew 7:6).
• Ask, Seek, Knock
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened” (Matthew 7:7–8).
• Do Unto Others
“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets” (Matthew 7:12).
• Choose the Narrow Way
“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13–14).
• Beware of False Prophets
“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns or figs of thistles?” (Matthew 7:15–16).
• Pray for Laborers
“The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few; pray ye, therefore, the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:37–38).
• Be Wise as Serpents
“Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16).
• Fear Not
“Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).
• Hear God’s Voice
“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matthew 11:15).
• Take My Yoke
“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28–30).
• Honor Your Parents
“For God commanded, saying, Honor thy father and mother: and, he that curseth father or mother, let him die the death” (Matthew 15:4).
• Beware of Leaven
“Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees”(Matthew 16:6).
• Deny Yourself
“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?” (Luke 9:23–25).
• Despise Not Little Ones
“Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 18:10).
• Go to Offenders
“Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he neglects to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglects to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican” (Matthew 18:15–17).
• Beware of Covetousness
“And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” (Luke 12:15).
• Forgive Offenders
“Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:21–22).
• Honor Marriage
“And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matthew 19:4–6).
• Be a Servant
“. . . Whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:26–28).
• Be a House of Prayer
“It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer . . . ” (Matthew 21:13).
• Ask in Faith
“Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea: it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive” (Matthew 21:21–22).
• Bring In the Poor
“Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbors; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompense be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: and thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just” (Luke 14:12–14).
• Render to Caesar
“Show me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:19–21).
• Love the Lord
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment” (Matthew 22:37–38).
• Love Your Neighbor
“And the second [commandment] is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets”(Matthew 22:39–40).
• Await My Return
“Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Matthew 24:42–44).
• Take, Eat, and Drink
“As they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins”(Matthew 26:26–28).
• Be Born Again
“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is a spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again” (John 3:5–7).
• Keep My Commandments
“If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).
• Watch and Pray
“Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41).
• Feed My Sheep
“So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jona, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jona, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep” (John 21:15–16).
• Baptize My Disciples
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19).
• Receive God’s Power
“And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49).
• Make Disciples
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations . . . teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:19–20).