God is Love

Friday, February 14, 2020

“…God is love… God is love… We love him, because he first loved us” (1 John 4:8b,16b,19 KJV).

The word “love” is used very flippantly in today’s world. Of the many who speak about “love,” few know what it is. On this Valentine’s Day, we offer sound doctrine from God’s Word to correct the misunderstandings of what love really is. What is love, according to God’s Word?

Today’s Scripture says that “God is love”—God does not simply love, but His very nature is love. What does that mean? In 1 John 3:16, we read: “Hereby we perceive the love of God, because he laid down his life for us:” Our Apostle Paul put it this way: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). God’s nature is love—selfless, self-sacrificing!

God’s Word defines love and charity in 2 Corinthians 12:15: “And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.” Love is seeking the best interest of others, even if it costs you something (time, energy, resources, et cetera). Charity is love in deed (demonstrated, manifested in action). God loved us, so He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins. It cost God the Father His Son, and it cost God the Son His life. What a selfless act!

Our nature in Adam is selfish, but our nature in Christ is not. Paul declares, “the love of Christ constraineth us” (2 Corinthians 5:14). We who have trusted Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour, our Christian lives are driven and motivated by Christ’s love for us, not our love for Him. It is this unselfish love of Christ working in us that causes us to look on the things of others, to seek their edification and their benefit, not ours (Romans 13:8-10; 1 Corinthians 10:24; Philippians 2:1-11). This will result in charity, our selfless actions reflecting that love of Christ (2 Corinthians 12:15).

As the lost world observes our Christian service, they will see, “God is love.”

*Adapted from a larger Bible study with the same name. The Bible study can be read here or watched here.

You can see our archived Bible Q&A study: “Should Christians celebrate Valentine’s Day?

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Sin Divides #13

Thursday, February 13, 2020

“Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom. For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house” (Micah 7:5,6 KJV).

In religious circles, it is frequently bemoaned, “Doctrine divides! Doctrine divides! We should throw away ‘doctrine’ and just assemble around ‘love!’” Today’s Scripture and its context expose that dictum for the utter foolhardiness that it really is….

Doctrine does not divide; doctrine is not the problem. Sin divides; sin is the problem. False doctrine resulting from sin is to blame. True, if we gather around mere sentiments—so-called “love” instead of sound Bible doctrine—we have a semblance of harmony. Alas, such human efforts will not successfully substitute true unity (God’s life). That shallowness will eventually fail because true love—God’s life—is absent. Unless we maintain sound Bible doctrine, we can never have meaningful, permanent concord!

We do not create harmony using “love.” Genuine love—seeking another person’s highest good—is accomplished via sound Bible doctrine. Once we trust the doctrine that defines Almighty God’s life, then we experience in and among ourselves the selflessness that exists among the Members of the Godhead. Looking at Calvary, we see God’s love for us: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Do you appreciate the unselfishness here? The sinless Son of God dying a cruel death to pay for ournot His!—sins? Nowhere else will we find such self-sacrifice! “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4).

When we trust the Gospel of the Grace of God, then God the Holy Spirit will create in us His nature and attitude. Here is how man gets along with fellow man—and woman! “Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me” (Micah 7:7—the verse following today’s Scripture). While sin has caused divisions in Israel, Micah understood that the LORD would take care of it! 🙂

Sin Divides #12

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

“Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom. For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house” (Micah 7:5,6 KJV).

In religious circles, it is frequently bemoaned, “Doctrine divides! Doctrine divides! We should throw away ‘doctrine’ and just assemble around ‘love!’” Today’s Scripture and its context expose that dictum for the utter foolhardiness that it really is….

The God of creation designed human life to function the same way life operates within the Godhead. As God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost (unselfishly) seek each other’s benefit and glory rather than their own, so creation was intended to reflect those relationships. Adam was created in God’s image and likeness to be the manifestation of Divine living. The Creator issued parameters—doctrine, or teaching to be believed and obeyed—within which Adam (mankind) was to conduct himself. Harmony existed between God and man, and man and woman, until that Divine revelation was ignored in the Garden of Eden. Sin entered by Adam’s unbelief and disobedience. The doctrine that unifies was intentionally forsaken. Accordingly, selfishness and disharmony permeate human civilization.

When we reflect upon all the world’s problems—and there are more than we can fathom—let us remember that it was sin that caused (and still causes) them. Think of those suffering tremendously with sickness and disease. Creation is cursed because of Adam. Consider the endless wars, crimes, divorces, poverty, ignorance, homelessness, and so on. These are the results of poor decisions. We are stuck in a perpetual cycle of operating outside of God’s will for human existence.

Try as hard as we might, we will not eliminate the selfishness (evil) that resides in every human heart. Legislations, incarcerations, hospitalizations, denominations, conversations, proclamations, denunciations, corporations, approbations, aspirations, ordinations, educations, sensations, and orations cannot eliminate sin. What we need is expiation (payment for sin). What we need is salvation (deliverance from sin). What we need is sanctification (set apart for God’s purposes). What we need is justification (righteousness of God).

Let us conclude this devotionals arc….

Sin Divides #3

Monday, February 3, 2020

“Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom. For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house” (Micah 7:5,6 KJV).

In religious circles, it is frequently bemoaned, “Doctrine divides! Doctrine divides! We should throw away ‘doctrine’ and just assemble around ‘love!’” Today’s Scripture and its context expose that dictum for the utter foolhardiness that it really is….

If we look at life in the Godhead, we see the absence of selfishness. The three Members of the Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Ghost—live for the benefit of the other two. For example, the Son was submissive to His Father’s will rather His own will: “And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt” (Mark 14:36). Jesus Christ went about doing His “Father’s business” (Luke 2:49). The Son said, “I honour my Father” (John 8:49). “The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself” (John 14:10). “It is my Father that honoureth me” (John 8:54).

“And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was” (John 17:5). “And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). “For thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name” (Psalm 138:2), Father God said of the words the Holy Spirit wrote. The Son said of the Holy Spirit, “The Spirit of truth… shall not speak of himself…. He shall glorify me” (John 16:13,14).

The Creator God designed mankind to function in a similar capacity: this is the idea of man being made in God’s image, after His likeness. Man should not be living for self, but rather for others. Nevertheless, sin complicates and destroys this simple arrangement. Sin is a man “doing his own thing,” going “his own way.” Without a doubt, sin is the fundamental problem with man and his society….

My Father’s Business #25

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? (Luke 2:49 KJV).

And, just what is the Lord Jesus’ Father’s “business?”

Trusting the Lord Jesus Christ exclusively as our personal Saviour, we are then able to understand our new identity and destiny. First Timothy chapter 2: “[3] For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; [4] Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. [5] For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; [6] Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. [7] Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not; ) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.” Christ giving His life a ransom for all was the message committed to the Apostle Paul (cf. Matthew 20:28).

Father God’s “business” today involves the Holy Spirit edifying us—building us up internally—that we appreciate the “full picture” of His work spanning the ages (past, present, and future). Closing Romans, the Holy Spirit moved Paul to pen: “Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:…” (16:25,26).

Saints, approaching the Bible dispensationally, we gain great insight into Father God’s mind. Firstly, Christ’s finished crosswork has saved us from the penalty of sin (Hell). Secondly, it gives us victory over daily sins right now. Thirdly, we are members of the Church the Body of Christ, capable of glorifying Jesus Christ in the heavenly places in eternity future. Finally, God’s work with us complements His work with the nation Israel (also delivered from sins, they are His earthly people in eternity future). Ephesians 1:8-10—“the dispensation of the fulness of times”—is thus accomplished!

May we now say with Christ, “I must be about my Father’s business!” 🙂

-FINIS-

My Father’s Business #24

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? (Luke 2:49 KJV).

And, just what is the Lord Jesus’ Father’s “business?”

Young Jesus was just 12 years old in Luke chapter 2. Luke’s theme underscores His perfect humanity: He was the literal epitome of how a Man was originally designed to function for Father God’s glory. Christ was consumed in learning His words, believing them, and teaching them to others. Whereas Israel had drifted far from the Bible truths once delivered them, He was motivated to bring them back to God’s Word. Israel—whose number is 12 in Scripture—should have been in their spiritual understanding and activity where young Jesus was in His spirituality and conduct.

As a Man who studied and trusted the Old Testament Scriptures, Christ knew the nature of His Father’s “business.” Luke chapter 2 again: “[46] And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. [47] And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers…. [49] And he said unto them [Joseph and Mary], How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? [50] And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them. [51] And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. [52] And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.”

While the God of Scripture was revealing to mankind the details of the prophetic program, He was deliberately withholding mystery truth. Through the Apostle Paul’s ministry and message, He showed man an additional aspect of His “business.” As God had been forming an earthly people with the hope of an earthly kingdom in order to glorify Christ Jesus in the Earth (the nation Israel), so He had predetermined (but only recently divulged) the founding of a heavenly people with the hope of a heavenly kingdom meant to glorify Christ in the Heaven (the Church the Body of Christ—us!). We now conclude this devotionals arc….

My Father’s Business #23

Monday, January 27, 2020

And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? (Luke 2:49 KJV).

And, just what is the Lord Jesus’ Father’s “business?”

Near the beginning of His earthly ministry, Christ entered the Jerusalem Temple and literally “cleaned house.” John chapter 2 reports: “[13] And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. [14] And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: [15] And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; [16] And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise. [17] And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.”

Jesus understood not only His Father’s “business” in Israel, but also recognized and counteracted a competing “business.” Apostate religious leaders had established their own “business” in the Temple. Yea, in the very place where they should have been proclaiming truth and upholding justice, they were defrauding people by charging exorbitant prices for sacrificial animals. Jesus entered—and actually forced them to exit! Father God’s words had burned in His heart so passionately that He purged that Jerusalem Temple of its spiritual corruption. Indeed, as the Psalmist, King David, saw concerning his descendant (the future Messiah), “For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up…” (Psalm 69:9).

Even now, Father God’s “business” has a rival “business.” Satan’s evil world system still uses a false religious system to distract us. Ignoring dispensational Bible distinctions, we thereby focus on something God did in the past (“time past”) or what He will do in the future (“ages to come”). Thus, we totally miss His “but now” operations. Friends and brethren, unless we give attendance to reading and believing the Apostle Paul’s writings, Romans through Philemon, we will actually be enthusiastically opposing God’s Word to the extent Jesus Christ was avidly advancing it. We now summarize this devotionals arc….

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