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To Love As Jesus Loved: “Charity Hopeth All Things”

SIH TOTT ICON“And though I bestow all my goods to feed [the poor], and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
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: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether [there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away…  
And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these [is] charity.
(1 Corinthians 13:3-8, 13)

 

As we continue looking at events in the life of Christ that set a wonderful example for us of Scriptural love. In this devotional, Christ’s great love is shown to us as He sees beyond a woman’s sin and saw her repentant heart of submission and love…

 

Christ’s Life:

 

The Characteristic of Scriptural Love: Thinks And Sees The Best In Others

 

And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat.
And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that [Jesus] sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment,And stood at his feet behind [him] weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe [them] with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed [them] with the ointment.
Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw [it], he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman [this is] that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.
And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on.
There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?Simon answered and said, I suppose that [he], to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.
And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped [them] with the hairs of her head.Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, [the same] loveth little.
And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.
And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also?
And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace. (Luke 7:36-50)

 

In this event in the life of Christ, we have clearly displayed a tale of two opposites…

 

First of all, on the one extreme, we see the attitude of the Pharisee. It was a fault-finding critical attitude that centered on the past sinful acts of this woman… “This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman [this is] that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.

 

On the other hand, we find Christ who, looking beyond her past failures, responds to her heart that was filled with love for Him. Notice what He says… “Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much:

Christ, being God, could see the contents of her heart. We can see the depth of her submission and love to Christ through her outward actions…

 

1. brought an alabaster box of ointment,– she willingly gave to Him what she valued greatly
2. stood at his feet behind [him] weeping, – she was sorry for the sins she had committed against Him
3. began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe [them] with the hairs of her head,– she humbly served Him
4. and kissed his feet,– she loved Him and would do anything for Him
5. and anointed [them] with the ointment– she actively worked for His benefit

 

These all point to this woman’s possession of a true, deep love for her Lord and Savior.

 

Our Lesson To Be Learned:

 

The apostle Paul helps us to understand the great need for us to show our love for the Lord and others by having tender hearts of forgiveness, looking past the sins of others and showing kindness to them instead.

 

Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.(Ephesians 4:31-32)

 

This is another way that we can love others and follow the example Christ has set for us…

 

Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also [do] ye.

(Colossians 3:12-13)

 

 

 

 

 

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The Importance Of The Local Church -9 “The Blessings Of Church Membership”

SIH TOA ICON

“…The house of God, which is the church of the living God,

the pillar and ground of the truth.”   (1 Timothy 3:15)

In this ninth lesson of our study on the Lord’s church, we will be looking at the many blessings that can be had by those who join the membership of a local assembly…

 

THE STUDY:

Blessings Of Spiritual Growth:

1.  Receive the Teachings Of God’s Word
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;   For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:  Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:  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;  But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ:  From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”   (Ephesians 4:11-16)

As the saints are instructed in the Word, they gain….

2.  Spiritual Maturity & Strengthening
For all flesh [is] as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:  But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.  Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,  As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:  If so be ye have tasted that the Lord [is] gracious.”   (1 Peter 1:24-2:3)

 

Blessings Of Opportunities Of Ministry:

1.  Build A Good Testimony
First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.  For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;  Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you.  For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established;  That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.´  (Romans 1:8-14)

The Christian is able to build up their personal testimony through faithful attendance and increased opportunities of service, but also they are able to build a better testimony being members of a faithful church that is known publically for their faith in service.

2.  Increased Opportunities of Service
But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.  And if they were all one member, where [were] the body?  But now [are they] many members, yet but one body.

And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.  Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:  And those [members] of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely [parts] have more abundant comeliness.”   (1 Corinthians 12:18-23)

 
With increased opportunities of service also comes increased rewards when the service is completed faithfully…

3. Rewards For Obedience
And whatsoever ye do, do [it] heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;  Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.  But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.”   (Colossians 3:23-25)

Blessings Of Community:

1.  Encouragement
Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.  Let us hold fast the profession of [our] faith without wavering; (for he [is] faithful that promised;)  And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:  Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some [is]; but exhorting [one another]: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”   (Hebrews 10:22-25)

As saints see faithfulness in the lives of other saints, it encourages them to be faithful as well.

2.  Fellowship
Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added [unto them] about three thousand souls.  And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”   (Acts 2:41-42)

3.  Separation from Sinful World To Worship
And the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught.  And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.  And they departed into a desert place by ship privately.”   (Mark 6:30-32)

Just as Christ called the first church to separation from the world for a period of rest and refreshment, so too, every time the saint attends the meeting of the church, they can get their minds off of the sinful world in which they live.  They can do this by concentrating more fully on the Lord through communal worship.

4.  Care From Others
And all that believed were together, and had all things common;  And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all [men], as every man had need.  And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,  Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”   (Acts 2:44-47)

5.  Lord’s Presence and the Joy That Follows
For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”  (Matthew 18:20)
The Lord promises showing a special presence to those who join together with others to worship Him.  A result of His enhanced presence the saint also experiences increased joy….

Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence [is] fulness of joy; at thy right hand [there are] pleasures for evermore.”   (Psalms 16:11)

6.  Spiritual Protection
It is reported commonly [that there is] fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.  And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.  For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, [concerning] him that hath so done this deed,  In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,  To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”   (1 Corinthians 5:1-5)
 

Here, we can see that church membership affords added protection from the powerful intervention of Satan in our lives.  In this text we can see that when an individuals are removed from church membership due to unrepentant sin, they are left exposed to greater Satanic influence in their lives.  This was done to show them their sinful condition and bring them back to repentance once their sinful stubborn flesh was overcome through the affliction of Satan.

 
THE SUMMARY:

What are the blessings of church membership that are available to all of her members?
1. Blessings Of Spiritual Growth
2. Blessings Of Opportunities Of Ministry
3. Blessings Of Community:
Why should we should attend, join and support the ministries of a local church?  There are many varied blessings that will be received as faithful members of His churches.
May the Lord bless us as we seek His truth.

 

For a free study guide for this series in .pdf format:

Click to access lordsassemblyprotected.pdf

For a free study guide for this series in .docx format:
https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/lordsassemblyprotected.docx

 

 

The Meaning Of Our Life

SIH STSTA ICONHave you ever asked yourself  “What is the purpose of my life?”  or perhaps, “How can I best use the time I have been given to live life on earth?”  For some, these questions are unanswerable… they struggle their entire lives trying to come to the true meaning and purpose of the life which we have been given.

Solomon was a great example of this type of person.  King Solomon lived his life in pursuit of the answers to these questions.  It was only in his old age, just prior to his death, that he came to an understanding of his purpose in life.  You can read about his pursuit for these answers in the book of Ecclesiastes.

However, for others, these answers are known from a young age… Solomon’s father, King David is an example of this type of person.

Do you desire to know the purpose of your life?  Do you want to know the most fulfilling way to live your life on earth?  Let’s spend some time to look at events in the lives of King Solomon and King David that will clearly explain these most sought after answers.

And then, finally, lets look at the writings of the Apostle Paul on the subject of the meaning of our lives.

THE SCRIPTURES:

Eccl 12:13-14 (KJV) Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this [is] the whole [duty] of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether [it be] good, or whether [it be] evil.

1Sam 17:45-47 (KJV)  Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.  This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.  And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle [is] the LORD’S, and he will give you into our hands.

Col 3:4 (KJV)   When Christ, [who is] our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

THE STUDY:

In our quest to find the true meaning of our lives, we will begin by studying the conclusion that Solomon drew from his life-long pursuit to find the purpose of his existence.

In the book of Ecclesiates, we find that Solomon, throughout his life, tried many different pursuits in an attempt to find self-satisfaction and contentment and purpose for his life.  He tried everything from the carnal pleasures of this world to wealth, education, the arts, political power, and other selfish pursuits, all to no avail.

Finally, in his old age, after living a wasted life seeking the truth, he finally came to an understanding of his life purpose.  Listen to what he came to in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14…

13) Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this [is] the whole [duty] of man.

14)For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether [it be] good, or whether [it be] evil.

The second example we will look at is King Solomon’s father, King David… David is described as a “man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22) and we see him living out his calling as a very young man facing the giant Goliath (1 Sam 17:).

It is of utmost importance that we understand the motive behind David’s actions in the Goliath incident.  Why did David choose to face Goliath when no one else in Israel was willing to face the giant?   For David it was an issue of God’s glory….

1 Samuel 17:45-47

45) Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.

46) This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.

47) And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle [is] the LORD’S, and he will give you into our hands.

David did not desire the praise of men, nor did he stand against Goliath to receive worldly wealth or power.  He only did it to honor, glorify, and obey his heavenly Father.  Bringing honor and glory to God was the purpose of David’s existence on earth.  He was simply doing what he had been called to do.  He was fulfilling God’s purpose for his life.

Just as his son Solomon, David came to the conclusion that putting His God’s will above his own, by seeking God’s will and glory in all things, was the reason he was living on earth.

Finally, let’s look at one verse that the Apostle Paul gives us in Colossians 3:4…

4) When Christ, [who is] our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

In this verse Paul makes 3 very important “points to ponder” in our pursuit of the the true meaning of our lives….

Point #1 –  “When Christ, who is our life” – We owe Christ our lives.

Paul here clearly declares that Christ, as God, is everything to us.  He is our Creator, our Savior and our Sustainer (Acts 17:28).  Without Him we truly are nothing (John 15:5).  We owe Him our very existence and both the physical and spiritual life that we possess.  This is why Paul affirms that living our lives for Him is simply our “reasonable service”, that we owe Him (Roms 12:1)

Point #2 – When Christ… shall appear” – Christ is coming again.

Paul is stating that we can be assured Christ will come back someday.  We are simply left on earth to “occupy” until He comes again.   What does it mean to “occupy” ?  Very simply we are to faithfully use the graces, gifts, talents and opportunities the Lord gives to us during our life on earth.  All of us must realize that we all will stand before the Lord someday and give an account of how we lived our lives on earth.  (Luke 19:12-27).

Point #3 – “ then shall ye also appear with him in glory. “ – If we are followers of Christ, we can be assured of spending our eternity with Him.

As we seek to fulfill our calling in life, by serving Him, we can rest assured that we have an eternity awaiting us.  Living a life that centers upon Christ, is one of the greatest proofs that we have truly been saved by His grace.

Remember, anyone who has been forgiven of their sins has become a “new creature in Christ”.  By this we mean that we have a new motive for living, a new set of desires within us and a new eternity awaiting us.

Realizing that the trials of this world are only for a fleeting moment is a great blessing to us all.   As we serve Him on earth, we are to always keep in mind we will be spending an eternity with Him.  What a glorious  promise this is to all of us….

John 14:1-3 (KJV)

1) Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

2) In my Father’s house are many mansions: if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

3) And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, [there] ye may be also.

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

In our study of the true purpose and meaning to life a few things becomes crystal clear… first, our purpose in life is to glorify and honor our Lord by living a life in submission to His will and ways.  Secondly, our Lord is coming again, to take an account of our life and the many opportunities and gifts He has given to us.  And finally, if Christ has become the Lord of our life, through our salvation, we can rest assured we will spend eternity in His presence.

For those who are saved, let us be encouraged as we study, understand, and act upon the knowledge we have been given of the purpose of our lives on earth.

For those who have never experienced His grace in their lives, let them come to a knowledge of the importance of submitting to His will and relying upon Christ for their salvation…  living a life apart from this is living a wasted, fruitless, and meaningless existence on earth.

If you have any questions about salvation, I have a tab available on my blog that gives in depth information on what salvation is and what you must do to be saved.  Please click on this link for more information about salvation.

If you continue to have questions or concerns about your salvation, find a Bible-believing church in your area.  The Pastor would be glad to share Christ and the way of salvation with you.   If you feel more comfortable communicating through email, you are always welcome to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.

May the Lord bless you as you seek His truth.

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