God is Love

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

“…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.

The Jitterbug Jesus Crowd

Thursday, November 10, 2011

“But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come” (1 Timothy 4:7,8 KJV).

You need not visit local nightclubs for free dance lessons. Simply attend a church whose “worship” service embraces contemporary “Christian” music. There, you witness churchgoers boogieing to the rhythms of the flesh. One Christian brother aptly termed them the “jitterbug Jesus” crowd. In religious ecstasy, they raise their hands, convulse, jump pews, laugh uncontrollably, and utter gibberish (modern-day “tongues”). Behold the charismatic movement.

Twenty years ago, a Christian friend of mine left his local church for doctrinal reasons (my parents also left that church around that time). Recently, he informed me that he revisited it some weeks ago. The brother was amazed at how the church had changed… for the worse!

To his horror, unlike his previous visits, drum beating was commonplace during “worship.” Rather than traditional hymns, the churchgoers sang unfamiliar, modern songs that made their bodies really move. Furthermore, they had abandoned the King James Bible for an overhead display of the depraved NIV! In disgust, he left that church for the second time, perhaps to never return (fortunately).

Apostasy and heresy have infiltrated many so-called “Bible-believing, fundamental, evangelical” churches. The very churches that were once the best of the worst have now spiritually declined to fulfill ranks just above the cults. Frightening indeed!

Who goes to church for Bible study? Precious few! Most just go for entertainment. After one hour of jumping and shouting, the preacher tells many jokes, quotes a verse or two, and everyone hurries home. Beloved, today’s Scripture declares, “bodily [fleshly] exercise profiteth little!” Spiritual highs are temporary. Contrariwise, “godliness,” or sound Bible teaching (1 Timothy 4:6; 1 Timothy 6:3-6), is extremely profitable, both in this life and that which is to come.

Few churches teach and preach the King James Bible rightly divided, whose men and women unashamedly oppose the charismatic movement. We stand with them and thank God they stand with us!

Jesus Wept

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

“Jesus wept” (John 11:35 KJV).

Crying is often viewed as weakly and feminine, but the Bible leads us to another conclusion. In today’s Scripture, the shortest Bible verse, we see the magnificent Lord of glory weeping as a man. As the mighty Creator God is saddened by the death of His friend, Lazarus, and weeps, the Jewish onlookers respond (verse 36): “Behold how he [Jesus] loved him [Lazarus]!”

But, let us back up to verse 33. Weeping Mary, Lazarus’ sister, accompanied by other crying Jews, comes to Jesus. Verses 33 and 34 explain: “When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, and said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.” Here, the event of today’s Scripture occurred: “Jesus wept.”

We see Christ’s emotions further exemplified as the passage continues (verses 37,38): “And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died? Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it.”

Oh, how Christ was deeply affected upon seeing Lazarus’ tomb. Jesus loved Lazarus, so He wept. God’s Word speaks of other occasions when Jesus wept and strongly cried (Luke 19:41; Hebrews 5:7). It is not wimpy if one cries, for the Lord Jesus Christ wept! Crying is part of being a human. The Apostle Peter wept bitterly after denying Christ three times (Matthew 26:75; Mark 14:72) and the Apostle John wept much (Revelation 5:4). The Ephesian believers wept on Paul’s neck when the Apostle was leaving (Acts 20:37,38).

God created us humans with a seat of emotions. Emotions are not sinful, but sin has tainted our seat of emotions. Rather than our emotions following our will, they attempt to become our will. Emotions try to dominate us, and while Jesus did cry, He was the perfect Man. He controlled His emotions, rather than letting His emotions control Him.

If ye cry, just remember “Jesus wept.”

The Saviour Who Suffered Surely Succours the Suffering Saints

Monday, June 27, 2011

“And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy; and saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch” (Mark 14:33,34 KJV).

We have all experienced great emotional strain. In today’s Scripture, just hours before His arrest, the Lord Jesus’ soul is troubled, greatly tormented. He foresees His suffering and ultimate crucifixion. This foreknowledge is coupled with satanic oppression. It is as if Christ is being squeezed inside. He is “very heavy.” His soul is “exceeding sorrowful unto death.” Jesus Christ is vexed, troubled to the point of depression. This is probably one of the lowest points in our Lord’s earthly life.

Luke’s account records Christ as being so weak (His humanity evidenced) that an angel from heaven appeared to Him in order to strengthen Him (Luke 22:43). Verse 44 says, “Being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” He was praying very intensely.

Christ suffered for our sins, far more than we could ever suffer. Sin causes us pain, just as it did Jesus Christ. We all live in this sin-cursed world. However, no matter what temptation we suffer, Someone else suffered worse distress. If our Lord Jesus Christ could endure such extreme depression, surely we can endure much less trying times in Him. Even in the cases of severe suffering (to the point of desiring death), Jesus Christ empathizes with us.

Those of us who have trusted in Jesus Christ can draw on His strength in difficult times. Our Saviour can comfort us and give our hearts and minds peace. Regardless of our circumstances, God’s grace is sufficient for us, and His strength is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9,10).

In times of depression and heartache, we need to look to Jesus Christ: “For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour [help, relieve] them that are tempted” (Hebrews 2:18).