Does it MATTER what one Believes?

Does it MATTER what we Believe? part one.

Toward the end of nearly every discussion about the divisive state of the religious world, one will usually say something like this…

“You can’t tell me my sweet grandma (could be neighbor, friend or relative), who never went to church (or did go to a denomination ‘religiously’), who was kind to people and animals, who never said a bad word or did a bad thing, who helped anyone that asked, is lost. She was so very sincere in what she believed.”

Instead of approaching the idea of whether sincerity saves, let’s ask the question:

Does it MATTER what one believes?

Usually in these discussions we can agree that certain very wicked people are lost (the Hitlers and the pedophiles of the world). Are the kind and the sincere who didn’t follow the bible totally saved because of their sincerity and goodness?

We’ll set aside the fact that those who say this are suggesting a ‘works based’ salvation, which they would normally condemn. We will just look at the Bible and ask, does it MATTER?

Does it MATTER what we believe?

Most would agree that we ought to obey GOD rather than MAN. (Acts 5:29). Jesus was critical of those that created doctrines contrary to the doctrine of God.

Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men…” (Mark 7:7-8a)

Usually, they will agree with this point that you have to believe in God, in Christ and in the Bible. But when it comes to saying that the non-Christian religious people are lost, they stop short saying; “I’m not the judge.” This is the fallacy of equivocation. We’re not judging their hearts, we’re making righteous judgment with the Word of God. (cf. Mat 7:1-2)

Paul had ‘judged’ that the Jews of his day were not saved; “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.” (Rom 10:1-2). He had discerned from the Truth of God’s word that they had not obeyed the gospel and therefore were not saved.

Which brings us to our next point about “does it MATTER,” does your belief AGREE with the Doctrine of Christ?

In both Old and the New Testaments, one had to have a ‘thus saith the Lord’ for their beliefs and actions. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom 10:17) When King David desired to build a Permanent Temple for God, he was prohibited because he didn’t have a command from God, there was no scriptural command to do this good thing. Therefore, it was a wrong thing. (2Sam 7:1-7)

Here’s the point, God’s word is Objective Truth. It is transparent, researchable, universal to all, for the thinking person, and it is heavenly (cf. James 3:17). Compare the objective Word of God to the subjective, shifting sand of a person’s heart. (Mat 7:24-29) “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;” (Eph 4:14)

David appealed to the subjective standard of his feelings. He was pointed toward the OBJECTIVE, fixed standard of God’s Word. We’re told not to go beyond what is written (2Cor 4:13), speak as the oracles of God (1Pet 4:11), the commandments of the Lord (1Cor 14:37), the inspired Scriptures (2Tim 3:16-17), using the words chosen by the Holy Spirit (1Cor 2:9-13), and not to add to nor take away from the Word (Rev 22:18-19).

Then, in this 3rd point, when we have an objective standard, called the TRUTH (John 17:17), we have an ability to search the scripture to find out if what we feel is true (Acts 17:11).

Did you know it’s possible to feel secure and not know the Lord has departed from you? (Judges 16:20) Did you know it’s possible to believe a lie? (1Kings 13:18; cf. 2Thess 2:9-12)

By reading & studying God’s word, we can Know the truth and be set free from the bondage of lies, sin, and the corruption of this life. (John 8:32; 12:48; cf. James 1:25; 2:12)

6 Verses that COMPEL me

When speaking about being compelled, we often think that someone is forcibly moving us to do something we don’t want to do.

God doesn’t do that. We obey God because of our love for Him, and because of our reverential belief in who He is, and what He can and will do.

We do this willingly because we believe Him.

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

We’re willing participants.

Another way of saying compelled is with the word motivation. I am emotionally motivated by God’s word. We know the will of God only through His divine word. The Bible has many motivating passages, but I wanted to look at just 6 passages that COMPEL (motivates) me to be a better child of God.

The first is what CHRIST said He will say on the judgment day. “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46; cf. Mat 7:21-23)

Another equally compelling passage is about OBEYING the gospel. “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:” (2Thess 1:8; Heb 5:8-9). False teachers claim that there’s nothing a person can do to be saved. But that’s why they’re false teachers.

Moving on to living Godly in Christ, this next passage compels me to do better. “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:” (Col 3:5). To MORTIFY your members is to kill off sin in your life. That’s serious language. He’s not advocating self-harm, rather he’s illustrating the seriousness of sin.

Within this same chapter, Paul adds details that continue to motivate me to living Godly, “PUT off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.” “PUT on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;” (Col 3:8-17)

Some wonder why I’m so vocal about the Bible. When we realize our helpless condition, and the salvation only through Christ Jesus, we are compelled to obey the Gospel. Then comes the realization that people you love are lost if they die in their sins. Therefore, I’m compelled to EVANGELIZE to the lost world. “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” (1Cor 6:9-11; cf. Mat 28:18-19)

The last, but certainly not the least passage that compels me is actually several; those passages about LOVE. It’s best to read them and let them be their own commentary…

  1. 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.” (Mat 22:37)
  2. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” (1John 5:3)
  3. Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” (1John 4:7-8)
  4. But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,” (Luke 6:27)
  5. Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” (1John 2:15-17)

Which bible passages compel you?

4 Wise Little Creatures pt3/4 Locusts

the UNITY of the Locusts.

God uses nature to teach spiritual lessons. “But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee.” (Job 12:7).

This article looks at another wise creature, the Locusts; “The locusts have no king, Yet go they forth all of them by bands;” (Prov 30:27)

The wisdom of the Locusts is about UNITY. Today, our society has a perverted view of UNITY. It’s being defined as having conflicting goals, conflicting agendas, and conflicting beliefs yet calling ourselves one. Is that what the Bible says?

While there’s something to be said about being kind to people with different beliefs, biblical UNITY is about so much more.

We are to be kind and to live in peace with all; “If it be possible, as much as in you lieth, be at peace with all men.” (Rom 12:18) However, biblical UNITY stretches far beyond just living at peace with folks. Unity could be explained on a spectrum…

UNIVERSALLY, we’re all living creatures, but are we in unity just because we have existence? Let’s ask the wolf & the lamb.

We often times define unity on a NATIONAL level, but we all recognize that this kind of unity is fleeting.

Unity can be seen by the INSTITUTIONS people agree together to support. This gets us closer to understanding unity.

TRUTH has the best chance of bringing about unity, but we have trouble unifying when everybody has their own truth.

A final approach to unity can be defined as two or more YEARNING for the same goal, agenda, or purpose. This is where we will learn the wisdom of the LOCUSTS, Unity through a desire for the same thing.

Calling for UNITY requires those unifying to come together under a set of core values and goals. What are some unifying qualities found in the scriptures?

A great place to start is with the words of Paul found in Ephesians 4; “I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beseech you to walk worthily of the calling wherewith ye were called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; giving diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Here we see that unity is UNITY of the Spirit. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Paul writes about the ONENESS of the body, the Spirit, hope, Lord, Faith, Baptism and One God and Father of all. Here we learn that UNITY of the Spirit is more about God and less about self.

We try to define UNITY through our own agenda, but this would lead to as many agendas as there are people in the world. Biblical Unity is UNITED with the purposes of God.

This brings us to a second idea about how to find UNITY; we will never find unity through NARCISSISM. Biblical UNITY is seen in selflessness not selfishness, Christ being the best example. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)

A third passage that clearly defines UNITY is 1Cor 1:10; “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” This UNITY only works IN Christ.

Building on these three we realize the need for this fourth piece of UNITY. An orchestra cannot be in unity while everyone plays from a different sheet of music, so too the church cannot be united without the TIMELESS Word of God, His Scripture. “The entirety of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.” (Psalm 119:160).

Lastly, People coming together with varying levels of maturity can achieve UNITY if we all have a YEARNING to do the Will of the Lord. “Putting away therefore all wickedness, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as newborn babes, long for the spiritual milk which is without guile, that ye may grow thereby unto salvation;” (1Peter 2:1-2). May this wisdom of the Locusts can help us to develop Biblical Unity.

4 Wise Little Creatures pt2/4 ROCK badger

God uses nature to teach spiritual lessons. “But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee.” (Job 12:7).

This article looks at another wise creature, the ROCK Badger; “The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks.” (Prov 30:26)

While we may not readily recognize this animal, we do know that they are considered weak, yet make their houses among the rocks.

It is these qualities that will be the focus of this article.

The obvious lesson has two elements. The first is easy, we are the “feeble folk,” “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” (Rom 5:6).

The second element is a little bit trickier, but all relate to one another. The ROCK in the New Testament is spoken of in 3 ways; 1) Christ is the ROCK, (1Cor 10:4), 2) The sayings of Christ are also called a ROCK (Mat 7:24; Luke 6:48), and 3) The good confession that Jesus is the Christ, as made by Peter, is a ROCK (Mat 16:18). Any one of which works to understand the wisdom of the Rock Badger. Let’s begin by using the reference that most closely matches the illustration, that of “BUILDING OUR HOUSE ON THE ROCK” as used in Mat 7:24-29.

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:” (Mat 7:24).

From this passage we see the first part, RAISE you house upon a Rock. Every builder knows that every building needs a firm foundation to protect it from shifting sand, torrential rains, tempestuous winds and crashing flood waters. The conies found protection for their weakness in the strong rock homes. The sayings of Christ offer us protection from being “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;” (Eph 4:14).

Our world is full of error and sophistry. By building our spiritual house upon the sayings of Christ, we can find protection from these troublesome winds of false doctrine.

The next thing we see is the necessity of being doers of the word and not hearers only. The builder that lost his house was like one that heard and did them not. True followers of Christ are OBEDIENT to His word. In this is our love for Him demonstrated; “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” (1John 5:3; John 14:15). Before speaking about building on the Rock, Jesus had asked, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46)

It still amazes me every time a supposed follower of Christ tells me it’s unnecessary to keep the commands of God.

Third, CHRIST is our spiritual ROCK. “And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” (1Cor 10:4). In another passage, CHRIST is called the CHIEF CORNER STONE of God’s holy temple, (Eph 2:19-22). “In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” Building on the CHIEF CORNERSTONE is to build on His teachings, His doctrine, His sayings. (cf, 2Jno 9)

The fourth thing to note about building our house on the ROCK, is that we are to KEEP building. We are to continue to build, mature, and to grow. Paul wrote the church to take heed how we build, “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.” (1Cor 3:9-15).

Let us learn from the wisdom of the ROCK Badger, although we are weak, we can be safe and secure on the ROCK which is Christ, His sayings and the good confession that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.                                                       Amen.

4 Wise Creatures Pt1/4 the ANTS

Wise Little Creatures pt1/4

ANTS

God uses nature to teach spiritual lessons. “But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee.” (Job 12:7).

In Proverbs 30 there are several lessons being taught using nature. This article and the next 3 will look at “four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise.”

(Prov 30:24-28)

The first little creature in the text are the ANTS (25; cf. Prov 6:6-11).

The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer;”

The ANTS are among 4 little creatures that are called exceedingly wise. What makes that so? Here are at least 4 lessons from the ANTS.

ANTS are ALL in ALL the time. Not only do they gather enough for their current needs, they also gather for the coming winter. “Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.” (Prov 6:8)

What are the lessons for us? There are two types of lessons, physical and spiritual. First the physical lesson; We ought to be working while we can and while we’re able more than our present needs. The scriptures point out a few physical needs. 1) Needs of others. “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.” (Eph 4:28; cf. Ac 20:35; 1Th 4:11) and 2) Needs of our family when we can no longer work, the winter of life. “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” (1Tim 5:8-16). The spiritual lesson is in the third point.

The second lesson from the ANTS is that they NEVER give up. If you try to block the way of a line of ants, they will climb over, go around, he’ll go under, or move whatever is blocking them. They NEVER quit. That’s a great lesson for us. “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,” (Eph 5:15). They press on, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3:14). They fight the good fight, they run and they strive for their purpose.

A third lesson from the ANTS is they THINK ahead in the summer. (I don’t know what an ant thinks, but the proverb tells us what they do) “…they prepare their meat in the summer;” “Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.” (Prov 30:25; 6:8)

The spiritual application is what’s important. Man doesn’t live forever on the earth and must make arrangements for eternal life. We can’t be so naïve as to believe that summer lasts forever, neither does our physical life. The Hebrew writer wrote, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” (Heb 9:27). Paul wrote, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men;” (2Cor 5:10-11). The wisdom from the ANTS instructs us to be reconciled to God through obeying the gospel of Christ before it’s too late. (cf. Heb 5:9; 2Thess 1:8-9).

The fourth lesson from the ANTS is they START immediately. On the first warm day of spring, they’re out working. At the first opportunity, the ANTS go marching on to find their food. The proverb writers contrasts those that slumber too much with the diligent effort of the ANTS. “How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?” (Prov 6:9). In the NT, sleep is a metaphor for those that are dead spiritually (1Cor 11:30) and for those that aren’t watching (1Th 5:6). “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.” (Rom 13:11).

You can easily tell which denominations believe that baptism is not necessary for salvation; THEY SCHEDULE BAPTISMS. That is completely opposite to what the scriptures teach. “And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.” (Acts 16:33). The Eunuch, upon hearing about Jesus asked, “See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?” When your ‘pastor’ teaches about salvation, will his hearers have the same response as the Eunuch? The lesson of the ANTS is that they START immediately. When is the best time to obey the gospel? TODAY! “For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2Cor 6:2).

From the mouth of Babes

“When it’s thundering, that’s just God bowling.”

“When it’s lightening, that’s God taking pictures.”

“When it’s raining, that’s God crying.”

Perhaps many of us have heard these as children from our parents trying to comfort us. While their intentions were good, the doors were opened for more errors.

I remember hearing a little girl refer to spirits, witches, demons, devils & ghosts to explain sickness, troubles and strange events in her young life. She said, “that’s what my mom told me.”

And this mom is a church goer!!

This little person continued to describe other things she was taught from her parents. “The devil has horns, a red face and a long tale.” Truly sad.

You think that these lies will leave the heart of an imaginative child and not follow them into adulthood? Nay, Nay. An acquaintance of mine spoke about the loss of an adult son; “he had demons.” They weren’t speaking figuratively. Truly sad.

These lies continue to be taught through movies, songs, and YouTube videos. All of which our children are given unfettered and unsupervised access without giving them access to the truth, God’s word.

These stories illustrate a problem we have, people know more that isn’t so than they know about the comfort from the truth. They don’t know the truth, because they are too busy to read it.

A LITTLE MAID.

In second Kings, we hear of a little maid who offers comforting hope to the man that had stolen her from her home in Israel [2King 5:1-4]. What can we learn from a little girl, a little MAID?

The story begins with the description of a MIGHTY MAN of Valor that had stolen a little maid during a raid on Israel. He is not a friend; he is an enemy to the little maid. However, he had a problem, he was a leper.

Rather than withhold from her enemy the hope of a cure, she ADVISED her mistress, Naaman’s wife, who then told Naaman. Naaman believed and was willing to go to the land from which he stole, and went to the land for help! This all began because of the faith of a little maid. This speaks volumes about her more than it does of the others.

What was it about her that she was willing to tell of a cure to her enemy? Perhaps it was the teaching about love for an enemy… “Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.” [Lev 19:18; cf. Mat 22:35-39] This command is connected to Loving God Himself! When a person has love for their enemy, the desire for vengeance will evaporate. Love changes our actions toward another, even toward an enemy.

But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.” [Luke 6:27-28]

What Advice did she give her captor?

IF ONLY my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy.” She told of a cure, not half-truths or falsehoods. She told of actual hope, not the mythological fairy tales we tell children to give them false hope. AND THEY BELIEVED HER.

We have to turn to hear Jesus to complete the story

And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.” [Luke 4:27] Did you catch it? She told them of a cure that She DID NOT HERSELF SEE!! She knew it because of her faith in God, her trust in the Almighty. She had more faith than the king of Israel [2King 5:7]. Jesus uses her example to illustrate Himself being rejected by his own people.

What’s the moral to the story? Children can learn the truth and be comforted by it during their time of need. They don’t need to be told myths. They can handle the truth. The truth will make them free from fear [John 8:32]. And not only that, they can grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and share their faith with others in their time of need.

That You May Know

We have started a podcast site for those who prefer hearing a short message on the go.

It’s called, “THAT YOU MAY KNOW.”

Many of the podcast will be about 12 minutes long, divided into two 6 minute sections. (Except the first episode, which was the test run to learn how the website worked.)

The first half will be about a particular Bible text.

The second half will be applications drawn from the text.

Our aim is to provide an additional method for you to discover more of God’s word, THAT YOU MAY KNOW the truth and that the truth shall set you free.

Letter to a friend (3o3)

Dear Friend, (continued 3o3)

When the New Testament refers to churches it refers to local congregations of the same body, the same church (Romans 16:16; Revelation 1:11). There is only one church, one body of Christ (Ephesians 4:4; Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 1:22,2); Romans 12:5; 1Corinthians 12:12).

Denominations are not all part of “one universal church,” they are different churches. That is why we call them the Baptist Church, the Methodist Church, the Church of God, etc. The word “churches” does not refer to denominations. The term church is never applied to a denomination in the New Testament. A denomination is too large to be what is referred to as the church in the New Testament; it is larger than the local congregation.

It is too small to be what is referred to as the church in the New Testament; it is smaller than the universal church. Therefore, the church of Christ in the New Testament, those who are saved, are not in a denomination.

What we are to do is to be part of the one true church; not the church of our choice, but the church of God’s choice. Religion is not merely a matter of good intentions, but a matter of obedience to the will of God (Matthew 7:21-29; Hebrews 5:9; 1Peter 1:22-25; 1Samuel 15:22; 1John 1:6,7; 5:3; 2John 1:9). We are not to be a part of the church we like the best, as though we are picking cars, but of that which is described in the New Testament.

Friend, the Apostle Paul in writing to the Corinthians, told them that they could not worship falsely and still belong to God.  Be you not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion has light with darkness?  and what concord has Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? and what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty (2 Corinthians 6:14-18). The Christian could not worship with the unbeliever and be doing that which was right. Although Paul was particularly addressing the problem of idol worship, the principle remains the same for any unbeliever, or group of unbelievers.

The apostle John said: We are of God: be that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error (1John 4:6). If a man, or group of men does not listen to the instruction of the inspired apostles as revealed in the New Testament, he or they are of the spirit of error, they are unbelievers. This includes the plan of redemption, the organization of the church, and the worship of the church. If it is different than the New Testament pattern, then they are of the spirit of error. Therefore, for one to be obedient to God, he must come out from among them and be separate; else he has separated himself from God.

Friend, I plead with you to be a part of the congregation of the saved, the church of Christ, by being born again in the waters of baptism. My prayer is for you to walk in the light of God sword.

With the greatest of affection, I pray that I may also remain…

Your Friend

Manifold Wisdom pt 7; LOVE defined biblically

Biblically defining the LOVE of God and our Love of Him.

“It’s just about love.” This statement is used in attempt to stop any who suggest repentance from sin as a step to salvation or toward anyone preaching obedience to the Gospel of Christ. This statement is also used when one points out denominational error.

It may also be used as the pièce de resistance rebuttal toward anyone that shows what the New Testament teaches regarding unity through the doctrine of Christ or the one true church of Christ.

Another way some misdirect the definition of love from its true meaning is when they say, “God loves us as we are.” We are to love a person’s qualities not their corruption. Love the sinner not the sin.

For most, the worldly definition of love is to tolerate sin, live and let live, and salvation has nothing to do with change. “God loves you the way you are.”

When they say, “God loves people the way they are,” it implies He also loves their corruption. This is wrong. God loves corrupt people, but He requires them to put off that corruption. [Col 3:5-7]

The Love of God is amazing and powerful, but the biblical definition is so different than the worldly definition. The Bible says…

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” [1John 2:15]

As we approach this subject, let’s state what we’re NOT saying.

  • We are NOT saying to be hateful or mean to the lost or those engaged in sin. [1John 4:8]
  • We are NOT saying that we are perfect and without sin, that would make us liars. [1John 1:8]
  • We are NOT saying that God hates people who are in sin. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16]. The Bible teaches that God is love. [1John 4:16]

Here is what we ARE SAYING about the biblical definition of LOVE

Love was demonstrated first by God when He

LAID down His life for us.

Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us:” [1John 3:16; cr John 3:16; 15:13; 1John 4:9]

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” [Rom 5:8; Eph 5:2,25]

Biblical Love is LAYING DOWN your life.

OBEDIENCE is LOVE demonstrated on our part. Without Obedient Godly active participation, then true LOVE is not present.

If ye love me, keep my commandments.” [John 14:15,21,23; 15:14]

For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” [1John 5:3]

And this is love, that we walk after his commandments.” [2John 1:6]

Biblical Love is OBEDIENCE to God.

Loving God is

VOLUNTARY and not coerced. If Love only occurs because the direct operation of the Holy Spirit then there is no Love at all. This is one of the lessons taught at the beginning of the book of Job.

Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.” [Job 1:9; 2:4-5]

But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.” [1John 2:5]

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” [Mark 12:30]

Biblical Love is VOLUNTARY toward God.

Sometimes Love is seen when the one who loves us

EDUCATES, Rebukes, Disciplines, Chastens us. Love without discipline is Enabling. Discipline goes beyond just delivering pain. It includes EDUCATION and training. God’s written word Educates us.

For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” [Heb 12:6]

For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.” [Prov 3:12]

Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O LORD, and teachest him out of thy law;” [Psalm 94:12]

But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.” [1Cor 11:32]

Biblical Love is EDUCATION & DISCIPLINE from God.

The children of God are called to LOVE Him. Before we can truly LOVE Him, we must first FEAR him. Once we know the “terror of the Lord” [2Cor 5:11], then we can appreciate His LOVE for us and come to LOVE Him. It’s then that our True, Biblically Defined, LOVE for Him casts out fear. It casts away terror for love. It casts away fear of what man can do for the reward God will give to His children [Mat 10:28; Heb 11:6].

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us.” [1John 4:18-19]

Manifold wisdom pt 6; the OT is over

the OLD COVENANT has been taken away.

This topic is most often seen when those objecting to the practices of the New Covenant of Christ bring up…

  • Instrumental music in worship.
  • Sabbath Keeping.
  • Food restrictions.
  • Priests & Clergy Laity.
  • Saving the Thief on the cross.
  • misc. practices.

It is true that the Old Testament was written for our learning, it is not used to be used for doctrine under the New Covenant of Christ. [Rom 15:4; 1Cor 10:6,11].

If we understand the OT is over, we can answer the vast majority of challenges by denominations.

The Bible Calls the Law of Moses OLD.

We don’t call it OLD or New of ourselves, God calls it OLD. “In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.” [Heb 8:13]

The purpose of the Law of Moses was because of TRANSGRESSIONS.

If God had in mind a New Covenant, why did He make the Law of Moses? “It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator… Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” [Gal 3:19-24]

The Bible also says that the Law of Moses is LIMITED, Faulty & Weak as compared to the Law of Christ.

For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” [Heb 10:4]

For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.” [Heb 8:7]

But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?” [Gal 4:9]

These verses don’t teach that God made a mistake. They teach that the Old Covenant served a Temporary purpose, “to bring us to Christ.” [Gal 3:19-24].

When the Seed Promise, who is Christ, appeared, the Law of Moses was ABOLISHED on the cross.

Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;” [Col 2:14]

Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:” [Eph 2:15-16]

What does OLD, LIMITED, ABOLISHED, & WEAK, mean to you?

Lastly, the Law of Moses WAS a SHADOW of good things to come.

For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.” [Heb 10:1]

Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.” [Col 2:16-17]

But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;” [Heb 9:11]

Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle:” [Heb 8:5]

When presented with these truths, some may ask, “Why then do we study the Old Testament?” This is a great question which God answers in His word. It is for our learning from their examples [1Cor 10:6,11]. What should we learn? Let’s read…

“Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.”

Just because the Law of Moses was abolished DOES NOT MEAN there is no Law nor Doctrine. That’s another mistake being made.

Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.”

[Gal 6:2]

Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.” [2John 1:9; Heb 6:1]