It isn't enough just to regularly attend church services or to be emotionally stirred by songs of praise, passionate prayer requests, or preaching from an eloquent speaker in the pulpit. Speaking in tongues is nice but acts of charity is even greater. Religion isn't something we get but rather it is what we do with the gift of grace given to us and worship is our attitude expressed through liturgical rites which reflect the character and nature of thankfulness and reverence to God for all His goodness, mercy, and love. This is borne out in Love for God and towards our neighbor as well.
Mark 11: 12-14, 20-21
Now the next day, when they had come out from Bethany, He [Jesus] was hungry. And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. When he came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. In response Jesus said to it, "Let no one eat fruit from you ever again." And His disciples heard it. Now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter, remembering, said to Him, "Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away.
NOTE: This is interesting because the appearance of leaves indicates summer is near (Cp. Matthew 24: 32; Mark 13: 28), and according to the customary growth pattern in the Olivet ravines, figs and their seeds precede the appearance of leaves; yet, the narrative clearly states that it was "not the season [spring] for figs" so why did Jesus [Yeshua] go ahead and curse the fig tree?
John 15: 5-8, 16
I am the true vine, and My Father is the husbandman. Every branch in Me that bears not fruit He [God] takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He purges it, that it may bring forth more fruit. I am the vine and you are the branches: He that abides in Me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If a man abides not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you shall be My disciple. You have not chosen Me but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever you ask of My Father in My name, He will give it to you.
Romans 7: 4
Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the Law [Torah] through the body of Christ [Moshiach], that you may be married to another-to Him who was raised from the dead that you should bear fruit to God.
James 5: 19-20
Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins. (Cp. Galatians 6: 1)
Proverbs 11: 30
The fruit of righteousness is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.
NOTE: Notice how fruit of righteousness is linked with winning souls.
Ephesians 5: 9-11
For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth, finding out what is acceptable to the LORD. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose [reprove] them.
Titus 2: 13-14
Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ [Yeshua Moshiach], who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify [sanctify] for Himself His own special [peculiar] people zealous for good works.
Romans 12: 1-2
I beseech [implore] you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
2 Timothy 4: 1-5
I charge you therefore before God and the LORD Jesus Christ [Yeshua Moshiach], who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season [like the fig tree in Mark 11: 12-14]. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and doctrine [teaching]. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn away their ears from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
Matthew 6: 4, 7
Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. And when you pray, do not use vain [pious sounding but empty] repetitions as the heathen [infidels/unbelievers] do. For they think they will be heard for their many words.
Mark 7: 6b-7
This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.
Matthew 25: 34-40
Then the king will say to those on His right hand, Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in (Cp. Hebrews 13: 2); I was naked and you clothed Me (Cp. James 2: 14-16); I was sick and you visited Me (Cp. James 5: 14); I was in prison and you came to Me (Cp. Acts 12: 15; Hebrews 13: 3; Acts 23: 35; 24: 23). Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, LORD, when did we see You hungry and fed You, or thirsty and gave You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison and came to you? And the King will answer and say to them, Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you have done it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.
Romans 12: 13
Distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.
James 1: 27
Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unspotted [uncontaminated] from the world.
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July 7, 2011
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