BIBLE STUDIES

WHAT IS LOVE

 

Inspirational Image for John 13:34

 

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (NIV)

 

 

THE BIBLICAL MEANING OF LOVE

1 JOHN 4:7-10

 


Introduction: The primary meaning of the word “love” in Scripture is a “purposeful commitment to sacrificial action for another.” In the Bible it is a fact that loving God is equated with obeying His Word. The two are inseparable.

 

In our day, most define love as some type of feeling. We “fall in love,” or two people meet and it is “love at first sight.” But the world’s love is a selfish matter. If you are attractive to me, be nice to me, meet my needs and love me I in return will “love” you. The world’s love is based on getting something from some else. The world does not give love where is does not benefit themselves. If you do not please me then I have no love for you. Thus for the world love must be earned by making someone else feel good.

Powerful emotions may accompany love, but it is the commitment of the will that holds true biblical love steadfast and unchanging. Emotions may change, but a commitment to love in a biblical manner endures and is the hallmark of a disciple of Christ. Sadly, the opposite is also true.

Emotions will vary, but a commitment which has its basis in biblical love will not be affected by the whelm of emotion or of one’s circumstances.

Our example of true love is shown in God’s love for the sinner. Romans 5:8 says “. . .commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” The lost sinner living in rebellion and sin is still loved by the Lord. He loved us enough to die for us and pay our sin debt while we were sinning against Him. This shows that true biblical love is a matter of will….not of emotion. God choose to love us and His love was not based on our meriting it in any way.

1 John 4:8 tells us that “. . . God is love.”

The Apostle Paul’s discourse in 1 Corinthians 13:1-8, addresses the true righteousness of those who profess Jesus Christ.

“Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth. . . “ (1 Cor. 13:4-8a)

God is telling us that “charity” which is true biblical “love” does not fail. Relationships based on emotion fail, but those based on the tenants of true biblical love NEVER fail.

Let us define love so we will know what it is truly. When we used the word love it will brings different meanings to different people. Our King James Bibles often translate the word “agape” as “charity.” I recently heard a pastor in his message made the statement with a critical tone, “I never understood why the King James translators us “charity” instead of just “love.” Let me explain why. The Bible expresses three different kinds of love.

1. “Agapao” This word is a verb used to describe God’s divine love. The noun is “apape.” Example is John 3:16, “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) This is the action of totally being committed to the well being of others without regard for their worthiness even unto death. That love was demonstrated by Jesus when He suffered and died for our sins. We, as Christians, are show that unselfish love to others.

2. “Phileo” This word translated “love” refers to fervent love for another person. Jesus when challenging Peter in John 21:15-17 asked do you agape me more than the other disciples. Peter replied, “Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love (phileo) thee” This was his response four times to Jesus’ questions. Peter never used the word “agapeo” in response to Jesus’ questions.

3. “Eros” This is a noun and refers to sexual love.

The King James translators used the English word “charity” because one cannot mistake the kind of love being mentioned. Note the definition of the word “charity” which shows the wisdom of the translators. Apapeo love is charity.

 

      1: benevolent goodwill toward or love of humanity.

 

      2a : generosity and helpfulness especially toward the needy or suffering; also : aid given to those in need.

 

        b : an institution engaged in relief of the poor.

 

        c : public provision for the relief of the needy.

 

      (Merriam Webster Dictionary, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/charity)

In our text verse John gives a straight forward test of true conversion. He begins by saying, “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”

In verse 10 God tells us that those that live in unrighteousness are noted also in that they do not love their brother.

Verse 11, refers to the text of this message when Jesus said the second greatest commandment was to love one’s neighbor as themselves.

In verse 12 is uses Cain as an example. Cain killed his brother because his on works were evil and his brother’s works righteous. Cain had no love for his brother, and the basis of his hatred for his brother was that his brother did right and it incited him to murder.

In verse 13, John offers comfort to the true child of God who are the object of scorn, ridicule and the unloving abuses. He in verse 14, offers assurance to those who are hurting under the unloving attacks of the worldly.

“We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.” This verse plainly states the change that occurs when a person receives Christ. Because the Spirit of God is in them…they are able to without condition love others. This is evidence of true salvation when a person’s love for others becomes unselfish.

Verse 16, states the greatest manifestation of the love the world can know….that Christ laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” He concludes with Verse 18.

Today many churches promote a “feel good” religion. It is meant to appeal to emotions. This has had the effect of turning people on to emotion and feeling instead of true spiritual biblical love and commitment. Many today are motivated by emotion rather than being motivated by a commitment to the Lord.

The Bible says we are to grow by the knowledge of the Word of God, not by religious experiences or feelings. Never in any of the Epistles does the New Testament tell us to seek emotional experiences and be guided by feelings. This is an important truth that is being ignored.

The reason so many are in false doctrine and weak in faith and service to God, and are immature… is because they do not honestly know what the Bible teaches about Biblical love and commitment to Christ or they know and refuse to life in love as the Lord instructs. Their relationship with the Lord is based on how they feel rather than on the promises of God’s Word. The same is true in their relationships in their marriages, with their children, family and friends. They evaluate their relationship based on the selfish idea that others should make them feel good and if they do not they are not loved or have the right to withhold love towards others. ILLUS: When I first came to Tremonton, Utah I met a woman who was offended because I would not allow contemporary So-Called Christian Music in our church. She told me in glowing terms how she listened to a Christian Rock Station and the song so helped her get through the day. My friend….think for a moment about what she was saying? She got through the day by hearing a commercial singer, repeating phrases over and over to a strong rhythmic beat and that this helped her spiritually. By the way…the Buddhists, Oriental mystics and many other pagan religious do the same thing. The use music with a strong rhythmic beat to whip the people often into a frenzy.

 

This message is not about music and certainly music has a part our lives. God gave us music and mentions it numerous times in His word, but He limits the type of music we listen too.

 

“Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”

       (Ephesians 5:19-20)

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” (Colossians 3:16)

Please note both verses use the adjective, “spiritual” which limits the kind of music God is saying He approves. In fact lost people also find great pleasure in listening to hard ungodly rock music that has the same beat and rhythm. But my friend….does God tell us to be comforted and get through the day by being emotionally charged up or are we to live moment by moment following and trusting in the principles of God’s word?

People can actually become “music junkies” having to have music playing all day. However, the true healing comfort to get us through life’s trials can only come from God and through His word speaks to us spiritual in the small quiet voice in our souls.

God says, Psalms 27:1 “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”

Read with me 2 Corinthians 4:8-21. What a wonderful passage this is. Did you notice what verse 13 says, “We having the same spirit of faith,according as it is written, I believed.” Our faith, our hope, our love is based in ONE thing…the Word of God.

This is a long introduction, but let us now look then at the Meaning of Biblical Love:

I. ALL OF GODS’S DIRECTIVES FOR LIVING ARE BASED ON LOVING GOD AND LOVING OTHERS IN A BIBLICAL MANNER.

A. Jesus said, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.” (Mark 12:30)

B. Jesus’ second commandment:

And the second, like it, is this: `You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:31)

This truth is found also in God’s instructions to Israel “Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself: I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 19:18) The Hebrew word is “raheb”, but it means to have affection for one’s brother or friend. Its parallel in the New Testament is “phileo.

C. Note that Jesus said this was a commandment. A Christian will never truly love their neighbor until they first learn to love God. Love is a part of the natural result of loving God is you love your neighbor. When God saves us we are indwelled by the Holy Spirit who gives us the new nature of God which can now truly unselfishly love.

1. Biblical love is defined by God in His Grace. Grace is “unmerited favor.”

2. It is further defined in the word “agape” that is translated in to the English word “love.” The word expresses the highest form of love which is the love of God for mankind. This love is one that is freely given because one wills to give it. It is not based on any merit of the individual.

3. True biblical love can only be known by the actions that it prompts. It is not the love of complacency or affection, that is not drawn out by any excellency in it objects (Vines. p382).

ILLUS: If you ask most any church member or profession Christian if they loved the Lord, they would say….certainly! Yet, the faithfulness and obedience of the individual to the Lord shows if their love for God truly exists or is simply rhetoric.

4. Perfect love is seen the Lord Jesus Christ. In the Garden of Gethsemane Christ agonized over what he would be enduring within hours as He suffered for the sins of all the world. Yet, he said “Not my will, but thine be done.” Only a pure love could suffer for the world, fully knowing that most of the world would reject Christ’s sacrifice for them. Love produces action…and if love is present it will be seen.

 

5. True love will produce sacrifice for the one who is loved. That is why today, some many live uncommitted lives. They are hot one minute and ice cold the next. True biblical love produces stability in one’s life.

ILLUS: I was talking with a good friend who pastors a church in North Carolina. As we ended the conversation he said, “Brother Cooper would you pray with me about my church.” He then said he had been at the church for almost twenty years. The church was doing well financially and in attendance ..but he said we are the epitome of the Laodicean church. His church was neither hot or cold….basically was only existing doing little or nothing for the Lord. Folks there is a lack of biblical love in that church. Their faith in that church which resulted in losing their biblical love, commitment and the attitude of sacrificial living for Christ.

6. Love is not the kind of motivation that is whipped up in an emotional message by articulate preacher. Yes, many churches live from week to week getting having to be pumped up by emotional messages each week. That kind of preaching never lasts much past the door of the church. It does not build faith in God in the people. By the time folks get home its over and its back to apathy and being complacent.

 

           It may be fun to sing catchy choruses, to wave one’s arms around in the air and sway to the beat of the music and be charged up emotionally….but that does not produce any lasting spiritual benefit in the life of the participant. It does not produce faith or love of God. When the trial of life comes, and they surely will come upon us all, emotions do not bring comfort. You may turn on you cassette player and listen for a while to anthemic music (a religious chant), and have your spirits emotionally lifted, but the problem of dealing with it is not solved.

ILLUS: During the time I was beginning our church planting work in Tremonton, Utah I visited a husband and wife who attended a short time, but complained they did not like our church singing traditional hymns and not including contemporary “Christian” rock music. She explained to me what a great blessing this particular “Christian” rock singer’s music was to her. She said when she got up that morning, somewhat emotionally depressed, she began listening to her favorite CCM rock singer and she said it picked up her spirits. I asked her if listening to some CCM singer, singing rock music is where God’s word says we are to get our strength and comfort? “This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me.” (Psalms 119:50) The word “quickened” means to make alive. (Also see Psalm 119:76,82; 2 Thess. 2:17) This couple in the past few years has “church hopped” at least five or six times and some of the churches they attended used CCM in their services. They cannot seem to be satisfied even with the contemporary highly emotional churches.

My friend, when the burdens of life weight you down until you feel like you are being crushed alive…..what brings true help and peace is God’s word that promises to His children never to leave to you, never to forsake you. What brings true help is knowing…absolutely… that you are in God’s hands and that He loves you more than you could ever knowMusic, in charged up emotional church service , or listen to at other times, will not give you the strength you need in a time of peril….but God’s word willAnd dear friends,the preacher who leads such services is not your friend or the friend of God….is leading you astray and God will surely judge him for it.Can God use music to be a comfort to us? The answer is yes it can, but it will be a soothing music based upon God’s word the Scriptures, and will direct you to God’s word and His promises.

ILLUS: Years ago I worked for six long hard years establishing a church. My wife and I sacrificed to serve that congregation. The church grew in numbers, a building was built and I thought things were going well. Yet, these people that we had loved and given ourselves to for so long turned on us and treated us shamefully. Never for a second did I think they did not love us also. In a business meeting they had a terrible fight over giving us a $50.00 a month increase in our support. We had not had an increase in the six years we were there. Our car was worn out with 160,000 miles on it and we could not afford to replace it. The church was financially well off and was often banking four to five hundred dollars per month, but one couple, and several gossipy ladies in the church opposed the church helping us. Let me mention reason this group did this. It was because I would not compromised God’s word. I was never ugly to anyone in person or in my preaching. They wanted me to do things contrary to God’s word. I tactfully and as a loving teacher showed them from God’s word why I would not compromise. Although most the congregation appreciated us and were our friends none of them would stand up for us. They were afraid of those handful who opposed me. It almost killed me and wife. I really thought they were our friends and brothers and sisters in Christ. Their action was a total shock to me. Clearly they did not show any real love or concern for us. I resigned the church the following Sunday, because I realized they did not love us.

The week following after resigning one by one many of them came to our home apologizing and expressing their deep regret over what had happened. One retired school teacher told me she have learned more the Lord under my ministry than she ever had before. Another man in the church wanted to confront those who voted against us, but I would not allow that. Another man, said he felt betrayed by those in the church because they had agreed on the matter before the meeting, but in the meeting, because one outspoken wealthy couple opposed it, most of them backed down. Another man several years later, who was highly respected by the congregation, told me later how he appreciated my love of God and His word and unlike later pastors I was always there for people. I think in time they realized their mistake and even today those that are still in the church show they love us. (This was over twenty years ago)

It turned out to be a good experience though because I had never really been tested like that before. God used this to test our church members and also our commitment to Him. It was a refiner’s fire to see if our love of God and the people we served real. I thank God for the experience although it almost destroyed me …. but God upheld us, showed us His love and we came out of the experience more committed to the Lord. Our love is not based in how people treat us, or appreciate what we do….it is based in God’s word, His promises, and calling to His preacher and that preacher’s dear wife. Honestly it took me over a year to get over this, but Carolyn and I today love those people…all of them, even those who still dislike us and who have not changed one bit. Only God could do that in a person’s life….only God’s love that is shed abroad in our hearts….could cause us to love people who do not love us and so abused us. I think I understand Joseph’s statement to his brother has treated him so badly, “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.” (Genesis 50:20-21)

7. A true love for God, based on His immeasurable love for us…will keep you going when life is black as pitch and trouble is on every side. True biblical love will not be a roller coaster ride….it will keep you confidently moving ever forward…steadily for the Lord.

II. LOVE IS GIVING, NOT GETTING, WITH GOD’S LOVE BEING THE BASIS AND THE EXAMPLE FOR THE EXPRESSION OF LOVE AMONG FELLOW CHRISTIANS. (John 3:16)

 

A. God showed His love and gave His only begotten Son. (John 3:16)

B. The Lord Jesus Christ loves you and gave Himself for you.

“Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father” (Gal. 1:3-4)

Do you understand when it was that Christ died for you? Romans 5:8 says, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Yes, when we were in rebellion against Him

C. The Lord Jesus Christ gave Himself as a ransom on your behalf.

“Who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (1 Tim. 2:6)

D. The Lord Jesus Christ, in demonstrating His love, served others even though He is the Master. READ: John 13:3-17

III. LOVE HAS SPECIFIC CHARACTERISTICS DEMONSTRATED BY GODLY DEEDS (thoughts, words, and actions). The test of Biblical love is to do the following, especially when you don’t feel like it.

“For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:46-48)

In 1 Cor. 13:1-7, is called the love discourse. It is a comparison of love verses the selfishness of seeking “gifts.” Many miss the context of this passage. Paul was addressing the selfishness of the Corinthians in their seeking to obtain gifts of the Spirit that would draw attention to themselves. These misguided individuals were seeking to be “seen” rather than to serve God. Paul was saying their seeking gifts from God was not motivated by love of God or of love of others. By the way dear friend, nothing is changed in that area….it is still going on today in spite of Paul’s strong three chapter explanation of the matter.

A. LOVE IS PATIENT. V4 (Long suffering) Even when you feel like forcefully expressing yourself. Love bears pain or trails without complaint, shows forbearance under provocation or strain, and is steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity.

B. LOVE IS KIND. V4 Even when you want to retaliate physically or tear down another with your words. Love is sympathetic, considerate, gentle and agreeable.

C. LOVE IS NOT JEALOUS. V4 (envieth not) Especially when you are aware that others are being noticed more than you. Love does not participate in rivalry, is not hostile toward one believed to enjoy an advantage, and is not suspicious. Love works for the welfare and good of the other.

D. LOVE DOES NOT BRAG. V4 (vaunteth not itself) Even when you want to tell the world about your accomplishments. Love does not flaunt itself boastfully and does not engage in self-glorification. Instead, love lifts and builds up others.

E. LOVE IS NOT ARROGANT. V4 (is not puffed up) Even when you think you are right and others are wrong. Love does not assert itself or become overbearing in dealing with others.

F. LOVE IS DOES NOT ACT UNBECOMINGLY. V5 (Does not behave seemly) Even when being boastful, rude or overbearing will get you attention and allow you to get your own way. Love conforms to what is right, fitting and appropriate to the situation in order to honor the Lord.

G. LOVE DOES NOT SEEK ITS OWN. V5 Biblical love is not selfish and self seeking. True Love does not try to fulfill its own desires, does not ask for its own way, and does not try to acquire gain for itself. Love, is an act of the will which seeks to serve and not be served.

H. LOVE IS NOT PROVOKED. V5 Even when others attempt to provoke you or you are tempted to strike out at something or someone. Love is not aroused or incited to outbursts of anger. Love continues faithfully and gently to train others in righteousness, even when they fail.

I. LOVE DOES NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT A WRONG SUFFERED. V5 (thinketh no evil) Even when everyone seems to be against you or when people openly attack you. Love does not hold a grudge against someone. Love forgives, chooses not to bring up past wrongs in accusation or retaliation, does not return evil for evil, and does not indulge in self pity. Love covers a multitude of sins.

J. LOVE DOES NOT REJOICE IN UNRIGHTEOUSNESS. V6 (rejoiceth not in iniquity) Even when it seems like a misfortune was exactly what another person deserved. Love mourns over sin, its effects and the pain which results from living in a fallen world. Love seeks to reconcile others with the Lord.

K. LOVE REJOICES WITH THE TRUTH. V6 Even when it is easier and more profitable materially to lie. Love is joyful when truth is known, even when it may lead to adverse circumstances, reviling and persecution.

L. LOVE BEARS ALL THINGS. V7 Even when disappointments seem overwhelming. Love is tolerant, endures with others who are difficult to understand or deal with, and has an eternal perspective in difficulties. Love remembers that God develops spiritual maturity through difficult circumstances.

M. LOVE BELIEVES ALL THINGS. V7 Even when other’s actions are ambiguous and you feel like not trusting anyone. Love accepts trustfully, does not judge people’s motives, and believes others until facts prove otherwise. Even when facts prove that the other person is untrustworthy, love seeks to help restore the other to trustworthiness.

N. LOVE HOPES ALL THINGS. V7 Even when nothing appears to be going right. Love expects fulfillment of God’s plan and anticipates the best for the other person. Love confidently entrusts others to the Lord to do His sovereign and perfect will in their lives.

O. LOVE ENDURES ALL THINGS. V7 This is one of the hardest to practice. Especially when you think you just can’t endure the people or circumstances in your life. Love remains steadfast under suffering or hardship without yielding and returns good while undergoing trials.

P. LOVE NEVER FAILS. V8 Even when you feel overwhelmed and the situation seems hopeless. Love will not crumble under pressure or difficulties. Love remains selflessly faithful even to the point of death.

IV. LOVE CHARACTERIZES THE LIFE OF A DISCIPLE OF CHRIST.

Jesus in instructing his disciples made this in the form of a commandment.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)

V. BIBLICAL LOVE IS AN ACT OF THE WILL..NOT OF EMOTION.

A. God willed to love us. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

1. The word “commended” is the Greek word “sunisthmi” (soon-is’-tay-mee) . It means “to place together” or “to introduce one to another.”

2. While we were in sin and in rebellion against God, (that is what sin is)….He by His own love…placed us together. He made the provision for our sins that we might have by faith forgiveness, from the One we sinned against.

3. How can we even begin to fathom the depth and space of God’s love for us!!

B. Can we then reflect that love towards others? Can we live on this high and lofty plain. YES…. 

 

1. Biblical love of the Lord and for those around us is a matter of one’s will…..of having the will to love others because Christ loved us.

2. Biblical love will motivate you serve others….no matter what the circumstances, it will sail you through discouragements, and dark times that every believer will go through.

3. Yet, it is not automatic…it is some we are to “put on.” Paul in Romans 13:8, said to “owe no man anything but to love one another.” In verse 10, God tells us “Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the Law.”

In Verse 12, he continues “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the amour of light.”

What is the “amour of light?” It is love…true biblical love that puts the heart in us to live for Christ and serve Him.

Ephesians 4:24, says, “And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Putting something on is an act of one’s will…not of emotion.

C. You see love is based in truth. “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.

1. This is the truth to all who will by faith received Christ Jesus as their Savior.

2. Love then is based on truth…not emotion.

D. What is the practical application of this truth?

1. Because God save you…you get up on Sunday morning, Sunday evening, Wednesday night and go to the place the church meets to worship God and study together. God commanded it (Heb. 10:25), therefore you obey the Lord.

2. Because God loved you and saved you from Hell, you put everything of the world second….and Jesus Christ first in all things (Col. 1:18)

3. Because God loved you and forgave you sins…you seek to win your neighbor, friend, co-worker, and the stranger to the Lord.

4. Because God loved you…you in thanksgiving tithe and give your offerings that the work of the Lord might be done.

5. Because God loved you…you love and seek to serve your brethren in the church…You overlook their short comings and frailty. You do not criticized them and seek God’s best for them.

6. Because God loved you first.. and suffered and died for you…you willing will sacrifice you all for Him.

CONCLUSION:

1. TO THE LOST: REALIZE THAT THE ULTIMATE DISPLAY AND EXAMPLE OF LOVE IS GOD’S GRACE. HE LOVED AND DIED FOR YOU. WILL YOU REJECT YOUR SAVIORS LOVE YOU…OR RUN TO HIM FOR FORGIVENESS.

2. FOR THE SAVED: MAKE THAT COMMITMENT: I WILL LOVE, I WILL DO WHAT GOD WANTS ME.

Folks it is that simple! What will you do? Is it to be the status-quo. What will be your attitude when you walk from the building? Have you let the Word of God change you….or are you content to live as a Laodicean…not hot…not cold….not anything of value to the Lord and as Jesus said…be spewed from his mouth.

I challenge you, dear friend….put on the amour of light….and let the light of God’s love shine through you.

 

Inspirational Image for Matthew 6:24

 

“With all your heart” in the Bible: Matthew 22:37

In Mathew, Jesus echoes the words of the Shema when he says that we should love God with all your heart, soul and mind. In John, Jesus tells us that if we love him we will follow his teachings. If we do this, God will love us and make his home in us

Inspirational Image for John 15:9

Inspirational Image for Romans 8:35

Inspirational Image for John 15:12

 

 

Jesus command to us is extremely simple, but so hard to do. He tells us to love each other as he has loved us.

 

Who is God?

 

 The question “Who is God?” is a good question.  It is better than asking “What is God?”  This is because God exists, created us, loves us, is concerned for our being, desires to provide for us, and sent the Son to redeem us.  If we were to ask “What is God?” we might be tempted to say that God is the infinite being, the creator, a presence, or something like that.  In some respect, this would be true.  But the first question brings us closer to understanding more of who God really is in His character and His love for us as revealed in the Bible.

The Bible teaches us that in all existence, from all eternity, there has been and always will be only one God.  God was never created, is completely loving, completely just, completely holy, completely merciful, and that He desires the best for us.  God is holy and He can have nothing to do with sin as the Bible says, “His eyes are too pure to look upon evil,” (Hab. 1:13).  This does not mean that God cannot see what someone does that is wrong.  It is a way of describing how holy God is.  God cannot sin.  He is perfect.

In Christianity, God is a Trinity.  This means that God is three persons, not three gods.  Technically, the doctrineof the Trinity states that in the one God is the person of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Each is not the same person as the other; yet there are not three gods but one.  This is similar in analogy to the nature of time.  Time is past, present, and future.  The past is not the same as the present, which is not the same as the future.  But, there are not three times.  There is only one thing called time.

The reason the word “person” is used in describing the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit is because each exhibits attributes of personhood — not in a body of flesh and bones, but in personality.  In other words, each has a will, loves, speaks, is aware of others, communicates with others, etc.  These are attributes of personhood and we see the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit each demonstrate these qualities.

Because of the Trinity, God can become flesh in the form of the Son, and still exist in such a way so that He can run the universe.  Therefore, the Son can communicate to us on our level.

Following are a couple verses that hint at the Trinity.

  • Matt. 28:19“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
  • 2 Cor. 13:14“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.”

The Bible says there is only one God:  “I am the Lord, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God,” (Isaiah 45:5).  Yet, the Bible teaches that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are each called God.

Below is a very brief chart that shows that each of the persons in the Trinity share the same attributes that only God shares.  But remember, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit each have wills, and speak, etc.  Therefore, we say there are are three persons.

What does it mean to be a Christian?

Being a Christian means that you are changed on the inside–not controlled from the outside. It means that your heart has been changed by the presence of God. It does not mean that you are required to go to church, required to pay tithes, required to be good, required to do anything in order to stay a Christian. It means you desire to do those things because you’ve been changed.

Regeneration

Regeneration means that there has been an actual change in a person. When someone becomes a Christian by trusting in the sacrifice of Christ alone for the forgiveness of his sins, then the Holy Spirit has come and lives in that person. Because the person has been changed from the inside, he does not desire to do those things that are contrary to God. Therefore, he will naturally desire to go to church. He will desire to be good, to be honest, etc. He does not go to church or be goo or be honest in order to be a Christian. He does those things because he already is one. It means that those things he desires to do change. He wants to change and wants to please God–from the inside.

So, being a Christian means that you have encountered the true and living God, and that you have undergone a change in your heart and soul. It means that you are not restricted to the Laws of right and wrong in order to please God because you cannot please God by what you do. God will only find pleasure in you through Jesus Christ.

To be a Christian means to follow Christ, to desire Him, to fellowship with Him, to be indwelt by Him, and to bring glory to Him in your life.

What is Christianity?

 

 

Christianity is a religion based upon the teachings and miracles of Jesus.  Jesus is the Christ.  The word “christ” means anointed one.  Christ is not Jesus’ last name.  Jesus is the anointed one from God the Father who came to this world, fulfilled the Old Testament laws and prophecies, died on the cross, and rose from the dead physically.  He performed many miracles which were recorded in the Gospels by the eyewitnesses.  He is divine in nature as well as human.  Thus, He has two natures and is worthy of worship and prayer.

Christianity teaches that there is only one God in all existence, that God made the universe, the Earth, and created Adam and Eve.  God created man in His image.  This does not mean that God has a body of flesh and bones.  Image means the likeness of God’s character, rationality, etc.  Because we are made in the image of God, every person is worthy of respect and honor.  Furthermore, this means that we did not evolve through random processes from a single-celled organism into rational, emotional beings.

God created Adam and Eve and put them in the Garden of Eden and gave them the freedom to choose between right and wrong.  They chose to sin. Sin is doing that which is contrary to the nature and will of God.  For example, God cannot lie; therefore, lying is sin.  The sin of disobeying God that Adam and Eve committed resulted in them being expelled from the Garden of Eden as well as suffering the effects of death.

As a result of their sin, their children and all of us inherited a sinful nature.  In other words, our offspring are not perfect in nature.  Think about it.  We don’t have to teach children to be selfish or how to lie.  They know how to do these things naturally.  This shows that we are born in a fallen state.

Christianity teaches that God is a Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, not three Gods), that Jesus Christ is the second person of the Trinity, that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead physically, and that all people are under the righteous judgment of God because all people have sinned against God.  It teaches that Jesus is the only way to be saved from the coming judgment of God and that salvation is received by faith in the work of Christ on the cross and not by anything that we can do to please God.

Where all other religions in the world teach that we must do some sort of good in cooperation with God in order to achieve the right to be in God’s presence, Christianity is the only religion that teaches salvation by grace.  This means that we are not made right before God by our efforts, sincerity, or works.  Instead, we are made right before God by faith in what Christ did on the cross.

Christianity further teaches that once a person is “born again” (becomes saved) that the Holy Spirit lives in that person and the person is changed:  “Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come,” (2 Cor. 5:17).  This means that God actually lives in the person and the Christian then experiences a true and living relationship with God.

Therefore, “What is Christianity?” is best answered by saying that it is a relationship with the true and living God through the person of Jesus Christ by whom we are forgiven of our sins and escape the righteous judgment of God.

How do I become a Christian?

How do you become a Christian?  First of all, you don’t become a Christian by joining a church, adopting a creed, or by believing in God.  There are lots of false churches, false creeds, and even the devil believes in God.  Becoming a Christian means you need to understand what the real issues are.  Let’s take a look.

Jesus

Hopefully, you’ve already read the page on Jesus.  But by way of review, Jesus is the most important figure in all of human history.  He is God in flesh (John 1:1,14Col. 2:9), physically risen from the dead (John 2:19-21), Lord (Luke 24:34), and Savior (Acts 5:30-32).  He came to die for sinners (Rom. 5:8) and to deliver people from the righteous wrath of God upon us.

Are you a sinner?

I ask you, are you a sinner?  Have you ever lied, stolen, lusted, coveted, or been angry with someone unjustly?  If so, then you have broken the Law of God.  God has said “You shall not steal; You shall not lie; You shall have no other gods before Me; You shall not murder, etc.,” (Exodus 20).  He has given the standard of righteousness and if you have broken any of God’s commandments then you have fallen short of that standard and are under the inevitable judgment of God.  When you die you will face Him and on the Day of Judgment He will punish all sinners.

If you do not like this teaching, then throw away your Bible and turn from Christ, for this is the message of God’s word — that Jesus came to die for sinners and to save them from the wrath to come.  God is holy and righteous and He must deal with those who sin against Him.

Jesus is the One you need.  Him alone.  Not your works (Rom. 3:10-12Isaiah 64:6).  Not your sincerity.  Not your goodness.  You have nothing to offer God except your sinfulness.  It is only by the love and grace of God found in Jesus and His sacrifice that you can be delivered from the righteous wrath of God upon all who have broken His law.  Jesus saves you from God.

God’s wrath on the Day of Judgment is upon sinners

On the Day of Judgment God will judge all people for their sins against Him.  He will judge all who have lied, stolen, cheated, lusted, dishonored their parents, etc.  He will do this because He is holy and righteous.  God must punish the sinner.  God cannot and will not ignore the person who has broken His righteous law.  The Law is a reflection of the character of God.  Therefore, to break God’s law is to offend God and deny the holiness of His character.  He will be vindicated.  He will judge.

The Bible says that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23).  That means that your sins have caused a separation between you and God (Isaiah 59:2) and the result is death (Rom. 6:23) and wrath (Eph. 2:3).  The only way to be saved from the wrath of God, is by faith in Christ (Eph. 2:8-9Rom. 5:1).  You must trust in what Jesus did on the cross to forgive you of your sins and not trust anything else, not even your own sincerity.  That’s right, sincerity isn’t good enough.  Why?  Because sincerity is an appeal to God based on the goodness of your own heart.  If you’re appealing to God based on the goodness of your own heart, then you’re being prideful.  Sorry, salvation is either based on Christ alone, or it is not.  This is why it is Jesus and only Jesus who can turn away the righteous judgment of God upon the sinner.

The Gospel

The gospel is that Jesus died for sinners on the cross, was buried, and rose from the dead (1 Cor. 15:1-4).  His death was a sacrifice that turns away the wrath of God (1 John 2:2).  This is the only way to be saved.

Jesus is the one who died for the sins of the world (1 John 2:2).  He is the only way to the God the Father (John 14:6).  He alone reveals God (Matt. 11:27).  He has all authority in heaven and earth (Matt. 28:18).  It is only through Him that you can be saved from God’s wrath (Eph. 2:3).  He can forgive you of your sin (Luke 5:20Matt. 9:2).  He can remove the guilt that is upon your soul.  Jesus can set you free from the bondage of sin that blinds your eyes, weakens your soul, and brings you to despair.  He can do this because He bore sin in His body on the cross (1 Peter. 2:24) that those who trust in Him would be saved.

If you are not a Christian, and want to be delivered from the righteous judgment of God upon you due to your sin against Him, then come to the One who died for the sins of the world.  Come to the One who died for sinners (Matt. 11:28).  Turn from your sins.  Believe and trust in Jesus.  Receive Jesus, who is God in flesh, who died and rose from the dead (1 Cor. 15:1-4) as your Lord and Savior.  Ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins.  Receive him (John 1:12).  Only He can wash you clean from your sins and only Jesus can deliver you from the righteous judgment of a holy and infinite God.  Pray to Jesus.  Seek Him.  Ask Him to save you.

He will.

Here is a sample prayer you can offer to Jesus.  It does not have to be exact, but you will get the idea.

Lord Jesus, I know that I have sinned against you.  I know that I am not perfect and that I cannot please you through my own efforts.  I know that I deserve to be judged according to my sins.  And, I know that I have nothing to offer you.

Lord Jesus, I ask you to forgive me of my sins.  Please cleanse me and make me right before you.  I trust in what you have done on the cross.  I do not rely on myself but only on you and I receive you as Lord of my life and as savior of my soul.  Lord Jesus, save me.  I look to you alone.

I would like to note, that the Jesus of Mormonism (the brother of the devil), the Jesus of the Jehovah’s Witnesses (an angel made into a man), the Jesus of the New Age (a man in tune with the divine consciousness), etc., cannot save you from your sins.  Faith is only as good as the person in whom you put it… the Jesus of the Bible.  Jesus is God in flesh, the creator.  God is a Trinity and Jesus is the second person of the trinity.

If you have prayed and asked Jesus to deliver you from your sins and save you from God’s wrath, then please email us at CARM and let us know.

Why should I go to church?

 

The Bible says that we should not forsake “our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near,” (Heb. 10:25).  It is wise to go to church because that is where we can go to hear the word of God preached and to experience the friendship of other believers.

It is very important that we hear the word of God.  The Bible says,“So shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth.  It shall not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it,” (Isa. 55:11).  Also, “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart,”(Heb. 4:12).  The word of God, when it is preached, presents to us the truth that the Lord wants us to know.  We need to hear the word of God presented to us, analyzed, and applied to our lives so that we can live better, accomplish what God desires for us, and can bring glory and honor to Him.

The other very good reason mentioned above for going to church is to experience friendship with otherChristians.  We need friends in order to be well balanced and healthy.  Also, in church we discover opportunities to serve and be served.  Therefore, we learn to apply what is taught out of God’s word and then we learn to extend it to others outside the church.

churchAlso, in church we share in the successes and failures of others and learn how the Lord has worked in the lives of other people.  In this we are encouraged.  Remember, God did not make us to be alone.  We need the friendship of other believers.

So, you should go to church because that is where you can hear the word of God explained and applied to your life, see how God works in people’s lives, and experience the friendship of others.

 

What is salvation

 

Salvation is being saved from the righteous judgment of God upon the sinner.

A lot of people think that salvation means being saved from yourself or the devil.  But that is not accurate.  All who have sinned against God are under the judgment of God.  This judgment is known as damnation where God condemns to eternal hell all those who have offended Him by breaking His Law.

This does not mean that God is unfair.  It shows that God isholy.  God must punish the sinner.  But, He has provided a way of escape so that people will not face His righteous judgment.  This means that God is both holy and loving.  He must manifest each quality equally.  So, being saved from the wrath of God is called salvation.

Salvation is found in Jesus, and only in Jesus, who is God in flesh (John 1:1,14), and who died for our sins and rose from the dead.  1 Cor. 15:1-4 says…

“Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.  3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,”

This is how salvation works:  All of us have sinned against God and deserve judgment.  But Jesus never sinned (1 Pet. 2:22).  He lived the Law of God perfectly.  In this He has a perfectly righteous standing before God.  When the corrupt Jewish leaders forced Rome’s hand into crucifying Jesus, God used this crucifixion as the means to place the sins of the world upon Jesus (1 Pet. 2:241 John 2:2).  This is when Jesus became sin on our behalf.  2 Cor. 5:21 says,

“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

The crucifixion became the place where Jesus bore our sins in His body and suffered in our place.  “But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed,” (Isaiah 53:5).  Remember, no sinner could please God perfectly and no sinner could offer a perfect sacrifice to God.  Only God in flesh, Jesus, could do that.

So, since there is nothing we can do that is righteous before God (Isaiah 64:6 says our righteous deeds are filthy rags), then we cannot please an infinitely holy and righteous God by anything we do.  But, Jesus who is perfectly righteous before God the Father, died in our place.  What we could not do, He did.

If you want to escape the righteous judgment of God, then you need to trust in the sacrifice of God.  You need to be made right before God, by God.  This righteousness of Christ is given to you if you accept him, trust in Him, and believe in what Jesus did.  This is why the Bible says that we are saved by grace through faith.  “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God,” (Eph. 2:8).

When you trust in what Christ has done on the cross, and in no works of your own (since they aren’t good enough anyway), then the righteousness of Christ is given to you — even as your sins were “given” to Jesus.  It’s like a trade.  He gets your sin.  You get His righteousness.

Once you have trusted in what Christ has done, then you possess eternal life and you will never face the judgment of God.

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand,” (John 10:27-28).

Are you looking for God?

 

Some people know there is a God.  They just know.  They are aware of a calling, a presence, a special something about God that is in them.  They want Him.  They know they need to be connected to Him.

Are you like that?  Is there a longing in your heart?  Is there a soft but regular desire to be fulfilled, to be completed in a way that only being with God can accomplish?  I know that feeling.  I know it well.

As a child, I always knew that God existed.  There was always a quality in my heart that desired Him, that “knew” He was there, that he was out there somewhere.  I can’t explain it.  It was something I was born with.  I needed God.  I knew that I wouldn’t be complete unless I was with Him and loving Him.  I’m glad I’ve found Him, or should I say, I’m glad he found me.

Those who are looking for God know the echo in their hearts of God’s voice calling them.  They know it.  They feel it.  It is there.  It is soft, yet persistent.  It is gentle, yet constant.  It echoes and draws us to Him, to find Him, to know Him, to touch Him.

Sometimes, we realize that everything in the world is ultimately meaningless unless we do what He wants, unless we are in His will.  We can gain money and possession, but they don’t satisfy.  We know that when we die, it will all fall away and mean nothing.  That is why we look up to the heavens.  That is why we hear the voice of God calling us.  Do you hear it?  Do you feel its presence?

Are you looking for God?  Is what you have in your life fulfilling, or do you feel empty.  If these words resonate with you, then you need to encounter God by encountering Jesus.  He is the good Shepherd of love and forgiveness.  Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal lifeto them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand,” (John 10:27-28).
Did you get what Jesus said?  He said that His sheep hear HIS voice and they follow Him.  Is He calling to you?  Do you hear his voice in your heart?

Do you want forgiveness of sins?  Jesus forgives sins (Matt. 9:1-7Luke 5:207:48).
Do you want to know God?  Jesus reveals God (Matt. 11:27Luke 10:22).
Do you want to have joy and peace?  Jesus gives them (John 15:11John 14:27).

You won’t find God in man-made religions like Islam, Mormonism, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc.  You only find God through Jesus who said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me,”(John 14:6).  Trust Him.  After all, He raised people from the dead, performed great miracles, died, and rose from the dead Himself.  Who else has done that?

If you want to answer the call of God, read more about becoming a Christian, at How do I become a Christian?

 

10 thoughts on “BIBLE STUDIES”

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