Settled In Heaven Blog

Category Archives: Frst John 3:

The Precious Human Life #1: “Thou shalt not kill”

SIH TOTT ICONINTRODUCTION TO OUR SERIES:

The taking of precious human life, whether justified or not,  is a very important action that should never be taken lightly. Yet sadly in today’s society, human life seems to be becoming an expendable commodity, where life is taken very quickly without much, if any, consideration of the severity of the action about to be performed.

Just turn on the news and you will see beheadings; snipers being honored for killing enemies of war; drone attacks killing their targets and innocent bystanders; putting criminals to death by capital punishment; policemen killing armed and unarmed citizens during attempted arrests; the taking of lives of many innocent men, women and children during mass slayings in schools, theaters etc; the daily taking of life while yet in the womb; acts of ethnic cleansing, etc etc etc. The list is seemingly endless.

Please understand, I am not saying all the above are acts of murder, nor am I saying all the acts above are justifiable killings. As a matter of fact, on purpose, I tried to mix what I believe are both types of killings together on purpose. That is because this devotional series is not meant to define what is and isn’t justifiable killings. To do so, would take away from the intent and subject of the series

{For the record: I personally believe that the Bible teaches the existence of both murder and, with very specific limitations, justifiable killings. In my mind, based on my studies justifiable killings would include self-defense, defense of family, governmental punishment for wrongdoing, loss of life due to accidents, and wars to stop the abuse of others.

Unfortunately I believe many of the wars we enter into are not justifiable. They are motivated by political or economic motives and not sincerely being started out of a heart of love wanting to help those who are abused and mistreated. We go to war in places where we have “national interests”, while we allow abuse and killings to take place in other countries that are labeled as containing “no national interests” without lifting a finger to help the abused and murdered. These things ought not so to be.

This is all I am going to say on this subject for this series. The detailed study on this subject is for a later time. The last thing I want during this series is to get sidetracked with debates about what is and isn’t justifiable killing. In my experience, normally more heat than light comes from this type of debate and it will take our attention off the subject of this devotion series.}

This series is about emphasizing the preciousness of ALL human life and the impact of taking ANY human life, REGARDLESS OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES surrounding the act. Because of the great impact of the killing of man upon mankind, we are to very seriously, carefully use the revelation of Scripture consider our actions before any life is taken. And yet, in today’s time it seems to be taken so easily, without due consideration to what is actually taking place when a life is taken.

The Bible clearly presents the need to realize that the taking of any human life, without regard to the circumstances of the killing, is a very weighty act that holds eternal repercussions, not only for the one killed but for mankind and society as a whole. The basis of this teaching is found in the wondrous nature, purpose and need of mankind.

Our devotional series will contain six daily devotions, all of which will emphasize the wondrous nature of the human creation and the loss inflicted upon mankind when a human life is taken from their midst…

1. Thou Shalt Not Kill (Exo 20:13)
2. The Glory and Honor Of Man (Psa 8:4-6)
3. God’s Image & Likeness (Gen 1:26-27)
4. Fearfully and Wonderfully Made (Psa 139:14-16)
5. The Minister and Witness Of These Things (Acts 26:16-17)
6. Prepare To Meet Thy God (Amos 4:12)

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

“Thou Shalt Not Kill” (Exo 20:13, James 2:11, 1 John 3:12-15)

In both OT and NT, we find the clear prohibition to the purposeful taking of human life for unjustifiable reasons (aka murder):

1. MURDER CLEARLY PROHIBITED…

Exodus 20:13 KJV – “Thou shalt not kill.”

2. MURDER IS DEFINED AS TRANSGRESSING (VIOLATING, STEPPING OVER THE BOUNDS OF) THE LAW OF GOD…

James 2:11 KJV – “For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.”

3. HATRED OF HEART LEADING TO MURDER, AND THE ACT OF MURDER ITSELF, SHOWS A MAN TO BE WITHOUT THE HOLY SPIRIT, ALIENATED FROM CHRIST, AND LACKING ETERNAL LIFE…

1 John 3:12-15 KJV – “Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous. Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.”

Folks based upon these three texts, and many others found throughout the Bible, we need to see that MURDER IS PROHIBITED BY GOD and is such a heinous act that it is the mark of an unregenerate man. These principles alone cry out for us to seriously consider our actions before we choose to willfully take the life of any other human being, our physical brother, based upon our creation….

Malachi 2:10 KJV – “Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers?”

May we all come to understand the devastating effects of taking human life and the need for an intense detailed examination of the Scripture for every circumstance where the willful taking of physical life is a possibility.

In our next devotional, we will be being looking at the preciousness of human life by examining man, who is given glory and honor by God.

Homepage…  http://www.settledinheaven.org

Text Blog…  http://www.settledinheaven.wordpress.com

Video Blog… http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

SIH’s Think On These Things: Ephesians 5:21

SIH TOTT ICON“Reflections Of His Grace”

“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”

 

The Grace Of Wisdom (5:15-21)

 

Eph 5:15-21 KJV

“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 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; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.”

 

This devotional, continues to look at the second main division of the book of Ephesians. Previously, we have looked at “Reflections Of His Grace Revealed” (chaps 1-3). It that section, Paul revealed to us the gracious works of the Lord in the lives of His chosen people.

 

In this new section “Reflections Of His Grace Applied” (chaps 4-6) Paul will be explaining to us the practical effects of God’s grace in the lives of His people.

  1. The Grace Of Unity (4:1-6)
  2. The Grace Of Maturity (4:7-16)
  3. The Grace Of Renewal (4:17-32)
  4. The Grace Of Imitation (5:1-14)
  5. The Grace Of Wisdom (5:15-21)
  6. The Grace Of Relationships (5:22-33)
  7. The Grace Of Authority/Submission (6:1-9)
  8. The Grace Of Preparedness (6:10-21)

 

The next effect of God’s grace we will be looking at is the grace of WISDOM (5:15-21). The Biblical concept of “wisdom” is “the application of God’s Word to our lives”. To be “wise” is to apply the truths of God to our daily living. This is true wisdom and flows from the gracious hand of our Lord.

Keeping all this in mind, let’s turn our attention to this is a very basic outline of this section of Scripture:
I.        Applying God’s Word To Our Lives Universally (vs 15)
II.        Applying God’s Word To Our Lives To Use Time Profitably (vs 16)
III.        Applying God’s Word To Our Lives By Recognizing God’s Will For Us (vs 17)
IV.        Applying God’s Word To Our Lives Through Self-Control (vs 18)
V.        Applying God’s Word To Our Lives To Praise and Thank Him (vs 19-20)
VI.        Applying God’s Word To Our Lives By Submission To Others (vs 21)

 

 

EXPOSITION:

 

After explaining the need for us to be “filled with the Spirit”, Paul now teaches us concerning the characteristics of those who are filled with the Spirit (ie are submitted to the Spirit’s control in every area of our lives.)
In our preceding devotional, Paul taught us that:
1. inward personal praise
2. acknowledgement and appreciation of the Lord’s blessings
were two characteristics of those who are submitted to the Spirit’s leadership in their entire being.

 

 

He now continues with a third characteristic …

 

(Eph 5:21) Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

 

 

Submitting yourselves one to another

 
Paul reminds us that, if we are in submission to the Spirit’s leadership in our lives, we will find ourselves in submission to those around us. In other words, we will willingly begin to live our lives for the good of others. It involves being willing to give of ourselves (our time, our possessions, our accompaniment, our counsel and advice etc etc) to help meet the needs of those around us.
In context, Paul is speaking to the members of the church at Ephesus. When he tells us to be submissive “one to another” he is referring to:
1.   all others around us (including strangers and enemies)
Mat 5:38-48 KJV –
“Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.”
“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”
“For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”

 

2. particularly, other Christian brothers and sisters
1Pe 1:22-23 KJV –
“Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”

 

 

3. but most especially, fellow members of the local assembly.
1Co 12:12-21 KJV –
“For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.   For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many.”
“If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? 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.”

 

This is the three-fold responsibility that belongs to the people of God.

 

in the fear of God.

Our willingness to live our lives for the good of others should be motivated by “the fear of God”.
The word translated “fear” is the Greek word “phobos”. It is the same word from which we get the English word “phobia”. It describes “alarm” or “fright” and is translated in the New Testament as “fear”, “exceedingly afraid”, and “terror”. It is clear to see that, in this passage, “fear” is not simply talking about a reverence for the Lord, but it is actually speaking of a literal fear of the Lord.
Why does Paul use such a strong word to describe our motivation to help others from a heart of love? It is because the love we show to others is, perhaps, the greatest mark of a genuine salvation experience…

 

1Jn 3:11-19 KJV
“For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.   Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous. Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.”
“We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.”
“Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?”
“My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.”

 

If we do not love … it is ABSOLUTE PROOF we are not saved; if we are not saved… we will face God’s eternal wrath. Certainly, this is the ultimate reason to allow the fear of God to motivate our love and sacrifice for others.
 
 
 

APPLICATION:

 

Folks are we “filled with the Spirit?” (ie have we handed over every aspect of our lives to the control of the Spirit?) If so, we will see these different characteristics of that filling in our lives….
1. Our minds will be filled with meditation on the Word, inward joy, satisfaction and contentment centered on Christ, and an attitude of reverence and honor for the greatness of the Lord and His works on our behalf.
2. We will be willing and thankful to undergo any circumstance in life as we recognize our Lord is in absolute control of our circumstances, and is working all things out for our eventual good.
3. We will find ourselves loving others and seeking to give of ourselves for their benefit.

 

May we all get a clearer picture of our Lord and Savior, and the great grace He has shown to us. Let us be always watchful to keep His great acts of grace on our behalf in the center of our attention… In doing so, may we be motivated to LOVE Him more, APPRECIATE Him more and SERVE Him more!

 

SIH Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org
SIH Text Blog: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/
SIH Video Blog: http://youtube.com/settledinheaven/
SIH Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com

Why Does Evil Exist? (Part #3)

SIH STSTA ICON“Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God Almighty, The Earth Is Filled With Thy Glory”

“I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these [things].(Isaiah 45:7)

[Thou art] of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity:…” (Habakkuk 1:13) 

 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:  (James 1:13)

In above set of Scriptures, we find one of the supposedly contradictory texts of the Scriptures.  On one hand, from the lips of the Lord Himself, He clearly states that “I create evil”.  Then later in the Scriptures we find Habakkuk, as he speaks concerning the Lord, says [Thou art] of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity:  then, to add confusion to our subject, James states clearly that God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

In this series of lessons, we will be looking into two basic questions, first, “What Is God’s Role In The Existence of Evil ?” and, secondly, “What Is The Purpose Behind The Existence Of Evil ?”

 

THE STUDY:

Before we begin this portion of our study, let’s pick up with the summary from our studies so far …
1.  “Evil” describes something that causes harm or injury
2.  “Evil” can be referring to harm that is so severe, that it causes total destruction or uselessness
3.  “Evil” can, but not necessarily, involves moral wickedness
4.  “Evil” can describe sin or it can describe the results of sin
5.  “Evil” can describe the direct results of sin
6.  “Evil” can describe the indirect results of sin
7.  “Evil” can describe an act that is morally wicked
8.  “Evil” can describe, not the act, but the result of moral wickedness
9.  Evil is “the condition/act of sin, OR the direct or indirect results of sin, that are harmful, and potentially ruinous, to any part of God’s creation.”  
10.  Our Lord is in absolute control of all things, this principle is clearly presented throughout the Bible
11.  It is only because the Lord is in control of all things that we can place our unwavering faith in Him
12.  The Sovereignty Of God affects: His ability to aid us, His answering our prayers, His ability to save, His prophecies to use
13. The Lord is in control of Satan himself, who can do nothing apart from the Lord’s allowance

We will now attempt to come to an understanding about the holiness of God and the origin of evil in this world….

Our Lord Is Perfectly Holy (Separated From Sin) 

When we speak of the holiness of God, we are simply saying that God is completely separated from sin.  He is absolutely pure in character, motives, thoughts and deeds.   His holiness was made manifest to the prophet Isaiah in Isa 6:…
In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.  Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.  And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, [is] the LORD of hosts: the whole earth [is] full of his glory.  And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.  Then said I, Woe [is] me! for I am undone; because I [am] a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.”   (Isaiah 6:1-5)

Notice the effects of Isaiah’s recognition of the holiness of God… “Then said I, Woe [is] me! for I am undone; because I [am] a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” 

The holiness of God is one of His attributes that clearly sets Him above all of creation.  Sin has affected every area of creation, however when Isaiah saw this vision of God he was humbled.  Why? It wasn’t God’s great power or His great majesty that brought Isaiah to his knees… it was the recognition of his absolute sinfulness in the face of the holiness of God.

The attributes of God that Isaiah recognized in his vision were also recognized by the Israelites when they were delivered from bondage in the land of Egypt…
Who [is] like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who [is] like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful [in] praises, doing wonders?”   (Exodus 15:11)

Again, we find the holiness of God being one of the main attributes that were recognized by the humbled nation of Israel.  Please note His holiness is so extraordinary, He is described as being “glorious in holiness.”  In other words, His holiness makes Him deserving of our worship, honor, reverence and submission.  It sets Him apart from all of the idolatrous gods of man and makes Him “shine” in comparison to them.

As a matter of fact, His holiness is so extraordinary that we find He cannot accept sin in His presence…
[Thou art] of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity:(Habakkuk 1:13) 

In the New Testament we have testimony of the Lord’s holiness as well…
This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.  (1 John 1:5)

Note how John emphasized the complete, absolute holiness of God… “in him is no darkness at all”.  The illustration that John uses is an interesting one indeed.  He uses the picture of light to describe the holiness of God, in comparison to darkness that represents sin (Acts 26:18).  Just as darkness CANNOT dwell in the presence of light, so too, sin CANNOT dwell in the person of God (2 Cor 6:14).

The holiness of God is not limited to the Father but is also exhibited in the person of Christ….
For such an high priest became us, [who is] holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;”   (Hebrews 7:26)

What a blessing it is to know that the Lord that we serve is absolutely separated from sin.  He cannot do wrong, He cannot make “mistakes”, He cannot lie, nor can He treat anyone justly.

But also, getting back to our study, sin can in no way come from our God.  He cannot create it, nor can He be held responsible for its existence among man…
Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:  But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.  Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.  Do not err, my beloved brethren.  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”   (James 1:13-17)

James makes it crystal clear to us that, although the Lord is absolutely sovereign, He cannot be held accountable for the sinful actions of man. This is expressed in the first part of our above text…
Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:  But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.  Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

But James goes farther and teaches us that the Lord cannot be held accountable for the origination of sin when he says …
Do not err, my beloved brethren.  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

James helps us to understand that the ONLY type of gifts that proceed from God are “good” and “perfect” gifts.  These descriptions totally eliminate for us the possibility of sin proceeding from God.  To cover all the bases, James then reminds us that this holy God will continue to be absolutely holy throughout eternity…. Therefore, sin will never proceed from Him, nor will He ever be the author of it.

Folks, it is our great responsibility to recognize that, although the Lord included sin in His sovereign plan, and allows the occurrence of sin on a daily basis, He cannot be held accountable for that sin.  The responsibility for the existence of sin must be placed at the doorstep of Satan…
He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.”   (1 John 3:8)

 “Ye are of [your] father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”   (John 8:44)

Not only do we know that Satan is the originator of sin and a causative force for it in this world, we also find that the Bible teaches us that the responsibility for sin’s entrance into this world must be shared with Adam….
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:  (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.  Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.  But not as the offence, so also [is] the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, [which is] by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.  And not as [it was] by one that sinned, [so is] the gift: for the judgment [was] by one to condemnation, but the free gift [is] of many offences unto justification.  For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)  Therefore as by the offence of one [judgment came] upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one [the free gift came] upon all men unto justification of life.  For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.”   (Romans 5:12-19)

 

In our study so far, we have now seen that the Lord is in control of all things.  Because we know He is sovereign we must come to an understanding that the sins He has included in His sovereign plan He allows to take place, all other sins He restrains.

We have also come to understand that, due to His absolute holiness, sin cannot proceed from God in any way.  Therefore, He cannot be the author, nor the originator of sin.  Although He has included sin in His plan for mankind, Satan and Adam are the ones responsible for the entrance of sin into God’s creation.

In our next lesson we will be answering the question… “If God, due to His holiness, cannot be the author of sin then what did He mean when He said “I create evil”?”

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

What we have seen in our study so far….

We have attempted to come to a very basic understanding of the term “evil” as used in the Bible.  We have come to see that:
1.  “Evil” describes something that causes harm or injury
2.  “Evil” can be referring to harm that is so severe, that it causes total destruction or uselessness
3.  “Evil” can, but not necessarily, involves moral wickedness
4.  “Evil” can describe sin or it can describe the results of sin
5.  “Evil” can describe the direct results of sin
6.  “Evil” can describe the indirect results of sin
7.  “Evil” can describe an act that is morally wicked
8.  “Evil” can describe, not the act, but the result of moral wickedness
9.  Evil is “the condition/act of sin, OR the direct or indirect results of sin, that are harmful, and potentially ruinous, to any part of God’s creation.”  
10.  Our Lord is in absolute control of all things, this principle is clearly presented throughout the Bible
11.  It is only because the Lord is in control of all things that we can place our unwavering faith in Him
12.  The Sovereignty Of God affects: His ability to aid us, His answering our prayers, His ability to save, His prophecies to use
13. The Lord is in control of Satan himself, who can do nothing apart from the Lord’s allowance
14. The Lord is perfectly holy and separate from sin.
15. Satan and Adam are the ones who are responsible for sin’s existence and entrance into this world

May the Lord bless you as you continue to seek His truth.

For The Free Study Guide For This Series:  .pdf format    .docx format

 

Please visit…

Settled In Heaven Ministries Home On The Web: http://www.settledinheaven.org
Settled In Heaven Ministries Text Blog: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com
Settled In Heaven Ministries Video Blog: http://youtube.com/settledinheaven

Email Us At: settledinheaven@gmail.com

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

The Human Conscience Series: “Summary Of Our Study”

SIH TOA ICONThe wicked flee when no man pursueth:

but the righteous are bold as a lion.

(Prov 28:1)

As our study on the human conscience comes to an end. I would like us to take a few moments to review our study and look at a text from Proverbs 28:1…. The wicked flee when no man pursueth:  but the righteous are bold as a lion.  (Prov 28:1)

 THE SCRIPTURES:

1) The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.   (Proverbs 28:1 – KJV)

1) The lawless, fleeth when no man pursueth, but, the righteous, like a lion, are confident.   (Proverbs 28:1 – EBR)

THE STUDY:

What a grand way to end our study of the human conscience, we will now take a few moments to study our theme verse.  A verse that is a great summary to our entire series…

Here, we see the work of the conscience in the life one who has been unfaithful to the Lord and following a path of sin….

The wicked flee when no man pursueth:

“Those who have broken the commands of the Lord will run to a hiding place when no man is hunting or persecuting them.”  Why will this take place?  Why is one a fugitive when one man is attempting to catch and harm him?  He does this because of the powerful testimony of the conscience at work in his life.

We have all experienced guilt in our lives.  It is a very powerful emotion that changes the way we perceive everything around us…. a perfect example of the power of guilt is found in Leviticus 26:27-37.  Here, the Lord is speaking to those who have willfully rebelled against His desires for the nation of Israel. They had chosen to replace the worship of Jehovah with the worship of false idols.  Look at how He responds to their sinfulness…
27) And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me;

Due to their willful rebellion against the Lord and the testimony of their conscience…
28) Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins…

The Lord would intervene in two ways:

First, He would take away many of the blessings that they no longer appreciated…
29) And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat.
30) And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and cast your carcases upon the carcases of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you.
31) And I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation, and I will not smell the savour of your sweet odours.
32) And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it.
33) And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste.
34) Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye [be] in your enemies’ land; [even] then shall the land rest, and enjoy her sabbaths.
35) As long as it lieth desolate it shall rest; because it did not rest in your sabbaths, when ye dwelt upon it.

Secondly, He would placed in their hearts a spirit of fear and paranoia, through the continuing testimony of their conscience….
36) And upon them that are left [alive] of you I will send a faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies; and the sound of a shaken leaf shall chase them; and they shall flee, as fleeing from a sword; and they shall fall when none pursueth.
37) And they shall fall one upon another, as it were before a sword, when none pursueth: and ye shall have no power to stand before your enemies.

but the righteous are bold as a lion.

In comparison, those who are diligent in following the promptings of their conscience, possess an inner spiritual confidence and strength that is founded upon their close relationship with their Lord.  We have that principle shown to us in 1 John 3:19-22 ….
19) And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.
By knowing that we have applied the truth of God to our lives, we can have confidence that we are one of His people.
20) For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.
If our human fallen fleshly conscience is telling us that we have sin in our lives, how many more sins are seen by the Holy God who knows all things?  If our conscience is telling us we have sin in our life, we can rest assured our sin does not stop there.  There are probably many other sins we commit that are known by God but unknown to us at our current level of spiritual maturity.

21) Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, [then] have we confidence toward God.
22) And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
The blessing of having a clear conscience before God involves:
1.  knowing we have a close relationship with Him, we are saved and putting Him first in our lives.
2.  knowing that the same God that saved us, is the same God that promises to be with us, lead us, protect us and accompany us throughout our walk on earth.  We can no with certainty He will bless us for our faithfulness to Him.
3.  knowing that as we pray in His will, He will grant our requests as He works out what is best for our lives.

All of this becomes a reality to us as we see His gracious intervention exhibited in our lives through a changed life of obedience to Him.  When we see obedience in our lives, we are also viewing His grace at work in our lives.  Our lives of obedience is a great source of confidence that we are truly saved and in a close walk with Him.

Proverb 28:1 is a case study of the results of going against the urgings of our conscience and committing willful, rebellious sin in the life….
1. The Lord takes away material blessings
2. The Lord takes away spiritual blessings of confidence, bravery and reliance upon Him
3. The Lord allows them to become a defeated and powerless people that was bringing shame to the cause of their Lord.

And in comparison the results of following our conscience and living lives of service that glorify and honor Him…
1.  We know the Lord will meet our every need as our loving heavenly Father.
2.  We know the Lord will bless us spiritually granting us confidence, bravery and reliance upon Him.
3.  We know the Lord will enable us to be powerful, victorious servants, glorifying Him in all areas of our lives.

After reading these texts, helping us to understand the benefits of following our conscience, and seeing the harmful results of ignoring the conscience’s testimony in our lives, how can we not strive to follow our conscience every day?   In doing so, we will be glorifying our Lord and living a blessed life of close communion with Him.

THE SUMMARY:

In our study of the human conscience we have seen:

Lesson One and Lesson Four
1.That the conscience is the gracious gift given by God that is a guide for our lives.  The guiding of the conscience is based upon the perceived truth that we have within us. This emphasizes to us the importance of having a well-rounded knowledge of Scripture which can form the foundation of the working of our conscience.
2.  The conviction of the conscience and the conviction of the Holy Spirit, although similar and related are, in actually, two separate types of conviction from the Lord.

We saw that conscience conviction without the Holy Spirit’s workings results in: sorrow without Godly intervention and eternal spiritual death. Compare this to the conscience that is used as a tool by the Holy Spirit to convict and convince results in: sorrow that results in turning from the sin to service to God;  sorrow that is a gift of God’s grace; sorrow that results in repentance and salvation; sorrow for sin that is permanent; and sorrow that results in Godliness as a top priority of life.

Lesson Two
3.  The conscience of man was active within men during the times of the Old Testament and times of the New Testament as well.

Lesson Three
4.    The conscience works in many and varied ways but all its workings are aimed towards bringing us into alignment with the will of God for our lives.

Lesson Five
5.   For the truth of God’s Word to affect our lifestyle, the truth must be received in our mind and conscience and then applied to our will.

Lesson Six
6.  The ministries of the conscience can be pictured by a messenger, an eye, and a rod.  It is through its three ministries that we can come to understand our true spiritual condition and the spiritual needs of our lives

Lesson Seven
7.  The conscience helps us in seven ways to better serve Christ… It guides our conduct; It strengthens us for service; it enhances our fellowship;  it encourages our witnessing; it aids our prayerlife; it teaches us to be Godly citizens; it builds our character.

Lesson Eight through Eleven
8.  There are four types of consciences described in the Bible: Good, Strong, Weak, and Evil.
9.  We looked at the many differing characteristics, marks and keys to properly deal with each type in our life.
10.  We are to strive to obtain a good and strong conscience; while constantly on guard against allowing our conscience to become weak, or evil.
11.  One of the main keys to developing the desired type of conscience lies in our hearing, believing, and applying the truths of God’s Word to our life.  Also, the need to heed the urgings of the conscience and to live our lives according to it’s leadership is an important factor as well.

Lesson Twelve
12. We saw the importance of submitting to the God-given authorities that are over us.  These included (family, church and government)
13.  We saw several examples of those who chose to follow the Lord’s will for their lives and in doing so, they rebelled against sinful desires of the government that was over them.
14. Finally, in the rare event we must disobey the government to make Christ our first priority we must: be sure we have a consistent Godly testimony; disobey only based upon CLEAR Biblical teachings; always be exhibiting love and concern for others during our disobedience; disobey with the goal to be a witness of the glory of God; behave as Christ would behave.

By God’s grace let us all be aware of the importance and condition of our consciences.  In doing so, let us all strive to maintain a good and strong conscience that will a constant companion as we live our lives for Christ.

For a free copy of this series in book form pdf version: please go to: https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/conscience.pdf

For a free copy of this series in book form docx version: please go to: https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/conscienceprotected.docx

Settled In Heaven Ministries Text Blog: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com

 

 

The Sacrifice Of Love

SIH STSTA ICONJohn 3:16 is arguably the most familiar verse found in the Bible….

“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.”

In 1 John 3:16-19 we find another set of verses that contains the same basic theme…

“Hereby perceive we the love [of God], because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down [our] lives for the brethren.”

“But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels [of compassion] from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?”

“My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”

“And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.”

Let’s take a few minutes to study these two verses that address the Love of God which is shown to us by His acts of unselfishness and self-sacrifice…

THE SCRIPTURES:

John 3:16;  1 John 3:16-19;  Ephesians 5:1-2 ; 1John 4:9-11;  Mark 12:28-34; 1 Cor 13:4-12

THE STUDY:

Does God really love me?  This most important question has been asked by a multitude of people throughout the history of our world.  How can we really know if God loves us and cares about us and our needs?  The Bible gives us a clear proof of God’s love for us…. the sacrifice that He has made on our behalf.  Note our two texts….

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.”

In our first text, please note that the God’s LOVE was displayed through the GIVING of His Son, a true act of self-sacrifice on behalf of God for His people.  Why is the birth of Christ such an important and special act of God?  It is a clear display of His love on behalf of sinful mankind.

Please note our second text:

1 John 3:16-19 …

Hereby perceive we the love [of God], because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down [our] lives for the brethren.  But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels [of compassion] from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?   My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.  And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.

Here, we find that the way we can “perceive” (be aware, to see, to know assuredly) that God loves us is found in His act of self-sacrifice in giving of His life for His people.  Also, please note that in this second text, we find the Biblical mandate to make sacrifices for others in order to show our love for them as well.

True love involves self-sacrifice… a “love” that is selfish and demands only to receive is no love at all. Putting ourselves first, and others second, is turning love on its head, perverting the very nature of love.

Lets look at 1 John 4:9-11….

In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.  Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

In this set of verses the word “manifested” means to “to take the cover off” or “ to reveal”.  How did God “take the cover off” His love for us?  By sending of the Lord Jesus Christ to earth.

Then Christ showed His love for us by giving His life for us.  He did this so that we, as sinners, could receive spiritual life.  The result of receiving God’s gift of love in our life, should be the showing of our love to others.

Ephesians 5:1-2 gives us more information about what Christ did for us…

Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;

And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.

Here, we are told that the death of Christ was motivated by His love for us.  We are also told that His death for us was both a “sacrifice” and a “offering”.  It was a “sacrifice” in the sense that He gave of Himself (to the point of death).  It was an “offering” which tells us He willingly gave His life for us.   Oh what great love… to be willing to partake of death so that others could escape eternal death.  In these verses, we are once again reminded to follow this great example of self-sacrificial love.  How are we to do this?  By loving others as Christ loved us… with a self-sacrificial love.

Mark 12:28-34 (KJV)

And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?  And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments [is], Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:  And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this [is] the first commandment.  And the second [is] like, [namely] this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.  And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:

And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love [his] neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.

And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him [any question].

Here we find the importance of love being clearly defined.  Our love (willingness to sacrifice ourselves) to God is described as the first and great commandment.  The commandment that should be our second priority is the command to love (be willing to sacrifice ourselves) for our neighbor.  Upon these two commands all the other laws are based.

If we love God and others as we should we will keep all the other commandments of God.  For example, if we love God as we should we will not take His name in vain nor would we worship other Gods,  if we love others as we should we would not steal from them nor would we lie to them.  This basic principle (supremacy of love for God and others) applies to all the commands of God.

Finally in 1Cor 13:4-12 (KJV)

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.  For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.  When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.  For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

Please note, in the “love chapter” of the Bible, we find that every manifestation of love is an act of self-sacrifice.  Some examples of this include…. Patience, humility, contentment the list goes on and on.  In each of these cases, all of these flow forth from a heart of love and sacrifice willing to put others first and ourselves second.

Truly, the display of love, is based upon acts of sacrifice on behalf of others around us.

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who have trusted in Christ.

We are to appreciate the love that God has shown to us.  In doing so, we should be willing to follow His example and love others with a self-sacrificial type of love.

For those who have never trusted in Christ.

Please study the Bible to learn more about the great love that God the Father has shown to us in the sending of His Son to the earth.  Then learn more about the love of God the Son, as He gave his life on the cross so that we all might receive the forgiveness of our sins.  (to learn more about the way of salvation, you are welcome to read my blog page “How to have a relationship with God”, or you  can email me with your questions.  Also you can find any Bible-believing church in your area and contact them… I am sure they would be happy to help answer any questions you might have.

What great love…. What great self-sacrifice!  What a great Lord that we serve!

————————————————————————

My Main Blog “Settled In Heaven” (updated twice weekly) – https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com

The following are other places you can find “Settled In Heaven” blog (updated once per month):

www.settledinheavenbibleblog.posterous.com

www.settledinheavenblog.blogspot.com

To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at  http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Take A Look At My Wife’s Artistic/Scriptural Devotion Blog http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”