June 3, 2020 – All Good Intentions

Read Matthew 21:28-32

“And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago. 11 Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have.” 2 Corinthians 8:10 


It is far easier to say that we will do something than it is to actually do what we intended to do. The Bible has a lot to say about good intentions. For instance,  we read in 1 John 3:18, “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”
You can picture the problem. There are many who say that they love. There are thousands of love songs that express the love of one for another. We can buy preprinted cards to express that love. It is not that expensive to buy a car or to play a song. But love is sacrificial. If we are unable to pay the price of the sacrifice, then our love is only words. That is not real love. It is a pretense.
When a person says that they love, that is usually not said in jest or in order to deceive. They really mean those words, but love is not a word, it is an action, and without the action, the words are meaningless.
The church in Corinth had the intention of giving money to the poor saints who were destitute. It was real enough, that they started the process of setting aside money. In fact, they began that process a year earlier. But now the process had slowed to a stop. Paul exhorts them to “perform the doing of it.” He wants them to not only have a readiness of will, but also performance.
I believe that most of us will one day look back on our life and we will consider our intentions. We meant to… We always thought we would… There were some decisions that we once made that were made to give honor to the Lord,  but we never really carried through with those decisions. 
For my dad’s birthday one year, I thought hard about what he needed. I thought of his fishing boat and how it leaked water from a rotted transom. So I gave him a card and told him for his birthday I would replace that wood transom. He would like it and appreciate it. The problem, I got very busy with other projects, and one day I noticed that he had replaced the transom on his own. It is something I regret and have never forgotten. 
Jesus told a parable of two brothers who were asked to work in the vineyard. The two had different reactions. The one said, “I will go.” The second said, “I will not.”  We read in Matthew 21:29, “He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.”
It is interesting that the one who said no to his dad changed his mind and went. The other said, “I will go,” but he never went. He had the intention of obeying, but in the end, he did not obey. Jesus asked, “Which of these two did the will of His Father?” The answer – the one who went.
So it is with us. Intentions are not obedience. To obey means to hear and to do. Many honor God with their words, but their heart is far from Him. Obedience is the ultimate way to show our love.

“If ye love me, keep my commandments.” John 14:15 


 An Exercise to Increase our Faith: Picture lying on a bed with only a few hours to live. What would be your thoughts on your death bed? Would there be any “good intentions” that you will wish you had actually acted upon? Is there anything that you have promised God that you haven’t carried out?


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