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Spiritual Gifts: Gifts And Fruits For Use Today (Part #5)

SIH TOA ICONIntroduction:

In our last few studies, we have been looking at the Spiritual Gifts that the Lord gives us for our usage today.   In our lesson today, we will be looking at Spiritual Fruit that is borne by all genuine believers in Christ.  We have previously summarized the differences between Spiritual Gifts and Spiritual Fruits in the following chart:

The following table helps us to understand the difference between the talents, fruits and gifts we are given by God through the Spirit’s intervention…

This chart is given to quickly illustrate there is a distinct difference between the “Spiritual Gifts”, which is the theme of this Bible study, and the “Fruits of the Spirit” and “Physical Talents” all of which are given by God to man.

Please note that some of the differences between Spiritual Gifts and Fruits include:

 

Difference Spiritual Gift Spiritual Fruit
When Is The Fruit/Gift Received ? Spiritual Gifts are given at the Lord’s intervention in the christian’s life to equip them for ministry. Spiritual Fruits are given when the believer is given spiritual life (during their salvation experience with the Holy Spirit’s indwelling)
What Is The Nature Of The Fruit/Gift ? Spiritual Gifts are supernaturally exercised by the Christian during the performance of their ministry Spiritual Fruits are naturally borne by the Christian resulting from the presence of the indwelling Spirit
What Are The Types Of The Fruit/Gift Received ? Various Spiritual Gifts are given to believers at the discretion of the Lord based upon their individual ministries All of the Spiritual Fruits are given to every believer
What Is The Purpose For The Fruit/Gift ? Different Spiritual Gifts are needed for the Christian’s differing ministries All the Spiritual Fruits are necessary for the fulfillment of the Christian’s ministry
Summary:
EVERY believer, based upon the discretion of the Lord, is given SOME (at least one) spiritual gift(s). The exercise of the VARIOUS GIFTS RECEIVED are vital to the successful completion of the ministries to which the believer is called. EVERY believer, based upon the presence of the indwelling Spirit, is capable of bearing EVERY spiritual fruit.  EVERY fruit is vital to the successful completion of the ministry to which the believer is called.

 

Let’s now continue our study of Spiritual Fruits…

 

Lesson:

Biblical Principles Concerning Spiritual Fruits:

 

#1 – The Amount Of Fruit Borne By Believers Varies…

And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine,  Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow:  And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up.  And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth:  But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.  And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit.  And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred…

The sower soweth the word.  And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.  And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness;  And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.  And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word,  And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.  And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive [it], and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.  (Mark 4:2-8, 14-20)

 

One of the great results of spreading God’s Word to the lost is seeing those who come to faith then bear fruit for God’s glory.  This is one of the basic principles of the above parable.  Among saved individuals the amount of fruit that is borne varies.  This is shown by some bearing 30, 60 or 100 fold.

 

 

#2 – Bearing Spiritual Fruits Builds The Christian’s Testimony Among Men

 “And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch?  The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.  And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye?  Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye.  For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.  For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes.  A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.  (Luke 6:39-45)

 

The spiritual fruits that are borne by the Christian are a vital part of their testimony before others.  It is through these fruits that we can have proof of a genuineness act of saving grace in the heart and the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.  This is compared to those who receive the Word and those who did not act on upon.  It is those who do not bear any spiritual fruit at all. (Matthew 7:15-20; 12:33, Luke 3:7-9. 8:4-15; 13:6-9; Romans 6:18-22; 2 Corinthians 9:10-12, 1 Pet 1:5-11)

Also, please note that these are evil fruits that are given off by the unsaved (Eph 5:7-11, James 3:13-18).  Those evil fruits are listed in Galatians 3:19-21…

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are [these]; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,  Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,  Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told [you] in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

 

#3 – Cleansing Through The Word Increases Fruit Bearing

I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.  Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every [branch] that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.  Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.  I am the vine, ye [are] the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.  If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast [them] into the fire, and they are burned.  If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.  Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. “  (John 15:1-8)

Here in this text, we can see that the Lord using the act of cleansing in the life of the believer to bring forth more fruit (Heb 12:4-13).  This cleansing always involves the application of the Word to the life of the believer (Col 1:3-6, 7-13).   This cleansing can take many different forms (personal Bible study and prayer, chastening, trials and tribulations etc etc).

No matter how God’s Word is applied to the life we see a basic progression of events:

1.  the Word is applied

2.  the Christian draws closer to God

3.  the Christian life increases in submission to the Lord

4.  then more fruit is borne in the Christian’s life

 

 

#4 – Fruit Bearing Is A Reason We Were Saved

This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.  Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.  Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.  Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.  Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and [that] your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.  These things I command you, that ye love one another.”  (John 15:12-17)

The Lord clearly explains in this passage that one of the great purposes of our salvation was so that we might bear spiritual fruit for His honor and glory.  Think about it… He chose us and appointed us to go forth and bear spiritual fruit for Him.  This would include spreading His Word with our mouths and in our actions by bearing spiritual fruit in our lives. (Romans 7:4-6, Hebs 13:12-15)

 

 

#5 – Fruit Bearing Results From Following The Spirit’s Leadership

For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only [use] not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.  For all the law is fulfilled in one word, [even] in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.  [This] I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.  For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.  But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.  Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are [these]; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,  Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,  Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told [you] in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,  Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.  And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.”   (Galatians 5:13-26)

In this foundational passage, not only do we find a detailed listing of the works of the flesh and the fruits of the Spirit, but we also find some practical instruction concerning the bearing of spiritual fruit.  The key to bearing much spiritual fruit for Christ is submission to the leadership of the Holy Spirit in every area of our lives.  This principle is described by two different phrases…

1.  “led of the Spirit” – helps us to understand our need to allow the Spirit to lead and guide us in all our decision making

2.  “walk in the Spirit” – this helps us to understand that, as we habitually allow the Spirit to lead us, it will become a lifestyle and consistent walk of life.

 

 

 

#6 – Spiritual Fruits Are Acts Of Righteous Performed By The Righteous

“And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and [in] all judgment;  That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;  Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.”  (Philippians 1:9-11)

The fruits of the Spirit are also described as the “fruits of righteousness” (2 Corinthians 9:10; Hebrews 12:11; James 3:18).  This title helps us to understand two truths about the fruits of the Spirit:

1.  They are fruits that indicate the presence of Christ’ righteousness in the life of the believer.

2.  The fruits are righteous fruits…. in other words they are aligned with God’s laws and accepted by Him. (Titus 3:12-15)

 

This lesson concludes our look at spiritual fruits borne by all believers.

 

 

Additional Information:

A Description Of Spiritual Fruits For Today:

15) Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

16) Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

17) Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

18) A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither [can] a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

19) Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

20) Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

(Matthew 7:15-20)

 

33) Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by [his] fruit.

(Matthew 12:33)

 

 

7) Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

8) Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to [our] father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

9) And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

(Luke 3:7-9)

 

 

39) And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch?

40) The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.

41) And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

42) Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye.

43) For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

44) For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes.

45) A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

(Luke 6:39-45)

 

 

4) And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable:

5) A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it.

6) And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture.

7) And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it.

8) And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

9) And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be?

10) And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.

11) Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.

12) Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.

13)  They on the rock [are they], which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.

14) And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of [this] life, and bring no fruit to perfection.

15) But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep [it], and bring forth fruit with patience.

(Luke 8:4-15)

 

 

6) He spake also this parable; A certain [man] had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none.

7) Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?

8) And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung [it]:

9) And if it bear fruit, [well]: and if not, [then] after that thou shalt cut it down.

(Luke 13:6-9)

 

27) Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

(John 14:27)

 

151) I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.

2) Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every [branch] that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

3) Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.

4) Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

5) I am the vine, ye [are] the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

6) If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast [them] into the fire, and they are burned.

7) If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

8) Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

(John 15:1-8)

 

 

12) This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

13) Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

14) Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

15) Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

16) Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and [that] your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

17) These things I command you, that ye love one another.

(John 15:12-17)

 

18) Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

19) I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.

20) For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.

21) What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things [is] death.

22) But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

(Romans 6:18-22)

 

 

4) Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, [even] to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.

5) For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.

6) But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not [in] the oldness of the letter.

(Romans 7:4-6)

 

14) And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.

(Romans 15:14)

 

 

10) Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for [your] food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;)

11) Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.

12) For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God;

(2 Corinthians 9:10-12)

 

 

 

13) For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only [use] not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

14) For all the law is fulfilled in one word, [even] in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

15) But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.

16) [This] I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

17) For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

18) But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

19) Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are [these]; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

20) Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

21) Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told [you] in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

23) Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

24) And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

25) If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

26) Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

(Galatians 5:13-26)

 

2) With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;

3) Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

(Ephesians 4:2-3)

 

 

29) Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

30) And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

31) Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

32) And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

(Ephesians 4:29-32)

 

 

7) Be not ye therefore partakers with them.

8) For ye were sometimes darkness, but now [are ye] light in the Lord: walk as children of light:

9) (For the fruit of the Spirit [is] in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)

10) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.

11) And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove [them].

(Ephesians 5:7-11)

 

9) And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and [in] all judgment;

10) That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;

11) Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.

(Philippians 1:9-11)

 

3) We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,

4) Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love [which][ ye have] to all the saints,

5) For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;

6) Which is come unto you, as [it is] in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as [it doth] also in you, since the day ye heard [of it], and knew the grace of God in truth:

(Colossians 1:3-6)

 

7) As ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellowservant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ;

8) Who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit.

9) For this cause we also, since the day we heard [it], do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;

10) That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;

11) Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;

12) Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:

13) Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated [us] into the kingdom of his dear Son:

(Colossians 1:7-13)

 

6) And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:

(1 Thessalonians 1:6)

 

12) When I shall send Artemas unto thee, or Tychicus, be diligent to come unto me to Nicopolis: for I have determined there to winter.

13) Bring Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey diligently, that nothing be wanting unto them.

14) And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.

15) All that are with me salute thee. Greet them that love us in the faith. Grace [be] with you all. Amen.

(Titus 3:12-15)

 

36) For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.

(Hebrews 10:36)

 

 

 

4) Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.

5) And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:

6) For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

7) If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

8) But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

9) Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected [us], and we gave [them] reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?

10) For they verily for a few days chastened [us] after their own pleasure; but he for [our] profit, that [we] might be partakers of his holiness.

11) Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

12) Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;

13) And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.

(Hebrews 12:4-13)

 

12) Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.

13) Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.

14) For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.

15) By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of [our] lips giving thanks to his name.

(Hebrews 13:12-15)

 

 

13) Who [is] a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.

14) But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.

15) This wisdom descendeth not from above, but [is] earthly, sensual, devilish.

16) For where envying and strife [is], there [is] confusion and every evil work.

17) But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, [and] easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

18) And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

(James 3:13-18)

 

18) Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, [as] silver and gold, from your vain conversation [received] by tradition from your fathers;

19) But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

20) Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,

21) Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

(1 Peter 1:18-21)

 

11) Dearly beloved, I beseech [you] as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;

(1 Peter 2:11)

 

5) And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;

6) And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;

7) And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

8) For if these things be in you, and abound, they make [you that ye shall] neither [be] barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

9) But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

10) Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:

11) For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

(2 Peter 1:5-11)

 

 

To Love As Jesus Loved: The Importance Of Love

SIH TOTT ICON
(John 15:9-1
4) – As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and [that] your joy might be full.
This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

This lesson is the first in a series of devotionals entitled “To Love As Jesus Loved”. This series was suggested to me in the poll that was posted on SIH concerning future subjects that would like to be covered. The suggestion was made anonymously, so I cannot give credit to where credit is due for this series.

Basically, this series will take short glimpses of examples of Christ showing His love to others, in relation to the characteristics of love found in 1 Corinthians 13:.   This will be done in an effort to remind us of His great love for us, and our responsibility to display this same type of love to those around us.

 

 

 

But before we begin to look at the life of Christ on earth, I would like us to see a few of the important truths about love that Christ taught to us during His earthly ministry…


Christ’s Teaching:

One of the subjects Christ addressed during His earthly ministry was “The Importance Of Love”…

Loving others is not simply loving others with a human love, but it is handing down the love of Christ to others…

As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.

Christ teaches us that we are to hand down His love to others, just as He handed down the Father’s love to us.

How did He “hand down” His Father’s love? He did this by giving of Himself for those in physical and, especially, spiritual need.

How do we to hand down Christ’s love to others? In the very same way…by sacrificing ourselves on behalf of those who have physical and spiritual needs.

 

Loving others and keeping His commandments go hand in hand…

If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

Love and the keeping of God’s commands go hand in hand. If we truly love others, we will keep His commands towards them. For example, if we love others… we will not lie to them, we will not steal from them, nor will we covet what they own.

This same principle holds true for Christ’s love to us, because He loves us… He does not lie to us, nor does He treat us unjustly, nor does He seek our harm. Due to His great love He ALWAYS works for the benefit of His people. No exceptions.

If we keep these principles in mind, this verse becomes much easier to understand…

“to abide in His love” is describing a Christian consistently living a life that is displaying Christ’s love to others. In other words, it is living a lifestyle that reflects Christ’s love. To put it another way, it is consistently living in obedience to His commands towards others.

When He says “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love”, He is simply saying…

“when you consistently keep my commands, your walk of life is consistently exhibiting my love”.

In the same way, when He says “even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love”, He is simply saying

“as I kept His Father’s commands while on earth, my lifestyle was a consistent reflection of my Father’s love to you”.

 

 Loving others results in overflowing joy that satisfies…

These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and [that] your joy might be full.

One of the great motivations for our loving others is the great joy that we will receive. This joy will be a consistent, overflowing joy that will completely satisfy us.

 

 Loving others is a responsibility given to us by our Lord…

This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

It is our responsibility to love others because He has commanded us to do so.

This is why following the example of Christ, and His love for others, is not only an opportunity to receive great satisfying joy, but is also an opportunity for submission and obedience to the Lord and eternal rewards.

 

 Love is sacrifice of oneself for the benefit of others… 

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

If we think about it, every act of love involves self-sacrifice for others.

For example, when we show our love by patiently waiting for someone to go to an appointment, we are opening up ourselves to possible loss or other harm. By waiting we might arrive to the appointment late and be embarrassed, we may miss the appointment entirely and have to reschedule another, or we may get a speeding ticket in our haste to make the appointment on time.

In any case, it was opening ourselves up to loss and harm by patiently waiting upon the late running person. That is love… being willing to suffer loss so another may benefit from our actions.   Every act of love contains both characteristics… possible loss to the giver motivated by possible gain for the receiver. A quick glimpse of the definition of love found in 1 Corinthians 13: make this very clear.

Keeping this principle in mind… we can easily see why the greatest type of love is reflected in the ultimate sacrifice of oneself, the willingness to die physically so that another might gain. This is exactly what our Lord has done for us… He gave Himself on the cross so that we might secure eternal spiritual life.

 

Love for others is proof of our relationship with Christ… 

Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

Our possession of a Godly love for others is proof positive of our acceptance by Christ. It is only when we are accepted in the beloved through the work of Christ on the cross that we will find ourselves willing to exercise a SCRIPTURAL love for others. This type of self-sacrificial love is a fruit of the Spirit, and as such can only be possess by those who are saved and have the Spirit of God indwelling us.

 

Our Lesson To Be Learned:

So in response to the question, “Why is showing love to others important for the Christian” we can see through the teachings of Christ that there are several answers…

1. Loving others is not simply loving with a human love, but it is handing down the love of Christ to others…
2. Loving others and keeping His commandments go hand in hand…
3. Loving others results in overflowing joy that perfectly satisfies…
4. Loving others is a responsibility given to us by our Lord…
5. Loving others is a sacrifice of oneself for the benefit of others…
6. Loving others is proof of our relationship with Christ…

What is our basic, general conclusion of all these things?   Loving others, as Christ has loved us, is of absolute importance and, perhaps, THE FIRST PRIORITY for all Christians.

This is why we are undertaking this study. It is to simply emphasize, and explain Christ’s great love for us and what it involves to follow Christ’s example of loving others self-sacrificially.

 

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Abortion: When Does Life Begin In The Womb?

SIH STSTA ICON(Author’s Note: Due to the length of this Bible study, I have explained many of the Scripture verses in a very general, basic way.  If you have any questions concerning this Bible Study please feel free to contact me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.  I will be answer any emails promptly.)  

With the presidential debates taking place, I thought it would be a good time to review what the Bible teaches about some of the moral societal issues of today.  At the forefront of these issues are abortion and homosexuality (and same sex unions).  In today’s blog, I would like to center our attention on abortion.  In a later blog entry we will look at homosexuality and same sex-marriages.

Let’s begin today’s look at the Scriptural teachings on abortion.

THE SCRIPTURES:

Exod 20:13 (KJV) Thou shalt not kill.

Matt 19:18 (KJV) He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,

Rom 13:9 (KJV)  For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if [there be] any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Rev 22:14-15 (KJV) Blessed [are] they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.  For without [are] dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

Matt 18 (KJV) At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and [that] he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

Matt 19:13-15 (KJV) Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put [his] hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. And he laid [his] hands on them, and departed thence.

Gen 25:22-23 (KJV) And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If [it be] so, why [am] I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD.  And the LORD said unto her, Two nations [are] in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and [the one] people shall be stronger than [the other] people; and the elder shall serve the younger.

Luke 1:41 (KJV) And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:

Luke 2:12-16 (KJV) And this [shall be] a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.  And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

Job 3:3 (KJV) Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night [in which] it was said, There is a man child conceived.

Luke 1:36 (KJV) And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.

Num 12:12 (KJV) Let her not be as one dead, of whom the flesh is half consumed when he cometh out of his mother’s womb.

Luke 1:43 (KJV) And whence [is] this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

Ps 51:5 (KJV) Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Job 31:13-15 (KJV)  If I did despise the cause of my manservant or of my maidservant, when they contended with me; What then shall I do when God riseth up? and when he visiteth, what shall I answer him? Did not he that made me in the womb make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb?

Ps 139:13 (KJV) For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.

Ps 22:9-10 (KJV) But thou [art] he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope [when I was] upon my mother’s breasts.  I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou [art] my God from my mother’s belly.

Gal 1:15 (KJV) But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called [me] by his grace,

Jer 1:4-5 (KJV) Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, [and] I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

Isa 49:1 (KJV) Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.

Luke 1:15 (KJV) For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.

Psa 139:14-16 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully [and] wonderfully made: marvellous [are] thy works; and [that] my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, [and] curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all [my members] were written, [which] in continuance were fashioned, when [as yet there was] none of them.

Deut 22:25-27 (KJV) But if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her: then the man only that lay with her shall die: But unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; [there is] in the damsel no sin [worthy] of death: for as when a man riseth against his neighbour, and slayeth him, even so [is] this matter: For he found her in the field, [and] the betrothed damsel cried, and [there was] none to save her.

Lev 20:11-17 (KJV) And the man that lieth with his father’s wife hath uncovered his father’s nakedness: both of them shall surely be put to death; their blood [shall be] upon them. And if a man lie with his daughter in law, both of them shall surely be put to death: they have wrought confusion; their blood [shall be] upon them…. And if a man take a wife and her mother, it [is] wickedness: they shall be burnt with fire, both he and they; that there be no wickedness among you… And if a man shall take his sister, his father’s daughter, or his mother’s daughter, and see her nakedness, and she see his nakedness; it [is] a wicked thing; and they shall be cut off in the sight of their people: he hath uncovered his sister’s nakedness; he shall bear his iniquity.

Ezek 18:20 (KJV) The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.

Rom 12:17-21 (KJV) Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but [rather] give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance [is] mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.  Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

Titus 2:4 (KJV) That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,

1Cor 13:4-7 (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.

John 15:13 (KJV) Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Matt 23:37 (KJV)  O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, [thou] that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under [her] wings, and ye would not!

Exod 21:22-23 (KJV) If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart [from her], and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges [determine]. And if [any] mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life,

 

THE STUDY:

I.  The Taking of Innocent Life Is Murder

Most, if not all of us, understand that the taking of innocent life is sinful.  Both in the Old and New Testaments, we find this teaching clearly on display…

“Thou shalt not kill” is not only a part of the Old Testament law (Ex 20:13), but it is also reaffirmed by Christ Himself in the New Testament (Matt 19:18).  Also, we find the Apostle Paul repeating the murder prohibition in Romans 13:9.  Finally, we see clearly that those who are found guilty of the sin of murder will be restricted from heaven and eternally judged for their sin (Rev 22:14-15)  The Bible is clear… murder is a sin in God’s eyes punishable by eternal death.

The Lord Jesus also made it plain that young children were to have special protection, attention and care given to them (Matt 18:1-6, Matt 19:13-15).

In our study of abortion, if we accept that the taking of innocent life is sinful, the question then becomes… does a fetus, in its mother’s womb possess life?  If so, at what point does its life come into existence?   At whatever point the fetus possesses life, the abortion procedure becomes murder.  This is the issue that we are going to examine in this study.

II. A fetus in the womb is considered a child and the pregnant woman is considered the child’s mother.

In Genesis 25:22-23, twins in their mother’s womb are given the title “children”.  The Hebrew word for children is Ben…. It is the common word used to describe children throughout the OT.  In Luke 1:41, John the Baptist while yet in his mother’s womb is described as “babe”.  The Greek word for babe is the word brephos…. This same Grk word is used in Luke 2:12-16 to describe Christ, the babe that was wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in the manger in Bethlehem.

In both of the above examples, we can clearly see that based upon vocabulary usage, the Bible does not differentiate between a babe in its mother’s womb and a babe that has been born into this world.

You can also see this principle in Job 3:3 where we are told that it was a “man child” that was conceived in his mother’s womb.  Luke 1:36 tells us that it was a “son” that was conceived.

In Numbers 12:12 – we find that even in the case of a woman who has given birth to a still born child.  She is still considered a mother, because her child had possessed life while the baby was within her womb.   This same principle is presented in Luke 1:43 when a pregnant Mary is described as the “mother of my Lord”

III. A fetus in the womb is considered a distinct human being with whom the Lord actively intervenes.

In Psa 51:5 the psalmist describes himself, at conception, as “I” and “me”.  Pointing to his personhood beginning with his conception, throughout his mother’s pregnancy and birth and then throughout his life outside the womb.  This can also be seen in Job 31:13-15, where Job describes himself in the womb as “I”, “me” and “us”. In Psa 139:13, the psalmist says “thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb”. Once again, we can see that during his time in his mother’s womb, he was an individual human ( “me”) that was simply “covered” in the womb.

In Psalm 22:9-10 we are told that God was in control of the conception, formation and birth of the child.  This is proof that He was the child’s God even from his mother’s womb.

The Apostle Paul was called by God to his ministry while he was yet in his mother’s womb in Gal 1:15.  The same holds true for Jeremiah (Jer 1:4-5), Isaiah (Isa 49:1), and John The Baptist (Luke 1:15).

IV.  When does life begin in the womb?

In Psa 139:14-16, we find the development of the fetus is in view.  Please notice the 2 stages of development include….

1. the initial formation of genetic material (at conception when the seed meets the egg) “in thy book all were written… when as yet there was none of them.”

2.  the continual forming of the body (based upon the dictates of the genetic material) “in continuance was fashioned” The continual forming and growth of the baby from coneption forward is a sign of the baby possessing life from conception forward.

In other words, the Lord made the Psalmist “in secret” (ie in his mother’s womb – “lowest parts of the earth”) .   When the Lord first made the Psalmist, he was “yet unperfect” (undeveloped) .  However, even though he was undeveloped, all the genetic instructions (“in thy book all my members were written”) were present .   The baby’s body, organs etc, were not physically in existence (“as yet when there was none of them”) although they were in existence in the genetic code.

The baby was in existance and an individual human being from conception.  As the baby grows and develops (following the genetic instructions that are received at conception) the life within the fertilized egg is clearly seen.

Here, we find the answer to the question, “When does the baby receive life while in the womb?”  The Bible makes it plain that the genetic makeup of the child was existing from the very beginning of its formation.  This same genetic code is proof that the child is not simply a part of the mothers’ body.  On a genetic level the baby existed, in it’s entirety from conception.  Add to that the principle of growth and development immediately beginning at conception and we have a clear answer to our question.  The baby’s life began at conception…. the baby existed in it’s entirety at conception and exhibited growth and development from that point forward.

V.  What About Rape or Incest… Is Abortion Allowed In These Cases?

Both Rape and Incest are horrible sins in the eyes of the Lord (Lev 20:11-17, Deut 22:25-27). Any victim of these brutal acts should be treated with the greatest amount of concern, compassion and aid.  As Christians, we have the responsibility to help these victims in any way possible.

In Eze 18:20 we find a basic Biblical principle that I believe applies in these cases…. “the son shall bot bear the iniquity of father”…  Although a pregnancy may have come about due to the heinous sinful act of another, the child should not be punished for the sin of their father.  In other words, taking the child’s life, simply because the child was conceived in a sinful manner (rape, incest) cannot be defended.

Please keep mind, although the child may have been conceived as the result of sin, the murder of the child cannot be justified.  Two wrongs do not make a right, nor is a murder justified by the act of rape or incest.  In Rom 12:17-21… we are reminded that the Biblical method of dealing with wickedness is to “overcome evil with good”.  In other words,  to “recompense” one evil act with another evil act is of no spiritual value.  But by displaying love and kindness to others in the midst of wickedness is glorifying to the Lord who set us

the ultimate example of goodness in the midst of wickedness.

VI.  What About Abortion To Protect The Life of the Mother?

One of the most difficult situations a mother can face is to know that by giving birth to her child may endanger her life.  Anyone in this situation should prayerfully, consider the Biblical teachings on the Mother/Child love relationship.

In Titus 2:4 young mothers are told to” love their children”.   1 Cor 13:4-7 helps us to understand that the basis of a true, Biblical love is self-sacrifice.  Both of these verses, when viewed together, helps us to understand that a mother’s role is one of self-sacrifice… constantly working for the good of the child even at great personal cost.  That great personal cost may even extend to the giving of one’s life.

In John 15:13, our Lord tells us that “greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends.”  This principle applies to a mother and child as illustrated by our Lord in Matthew 23:37… where the Lord speaks of a mother hen gathering her chicks under her wings, protecting them from harm at the risk of her own life.

In the rare event that a pregnancy puts at risk the mother’s life… would it not be proper for the mother to be willing to risk her life for the sake of her unborn child?

VII. Is There Any Example of Someone Being Punished For Harming A Child In The Womb?

In Ex 21:22-23 we find the case of a pregnant woman who is accidently harmed during a fight between two men.  In this case, if she gives birth prematurely due to the injury she received, the party causing her injury was to be “punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him”.  The implication is that the child is prematurely born but does not suffer harm nor death.

However, these verses go on to explain if “mischief” follows.  IE if the child is permanently harmed or dies then “thou shalt give life for life”.  The offender must pay for the mischief that befalls the child due to the premature birth.  If the child dies due to the premature birth then, the offender life was to be taken… “Then thou shalt give life for life”.

This verse clearly tells us that harm to a child within the womb is to be treated just as if any other human being was harmed.  But more importantly, we see that harm to a child in the womb that results in the child’s death is to be punished with death.

What clearer declaration about the sinfulness of abortion could we find anywhere in Scripture?

Exod 21:22-23 (KJV)

22) If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart [from her], and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges [determine].

23) And if [any] mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life,

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Currently, since abortions are legal in our country, the abortion decision must be made on an individual basis between the parents of the unborn and their God.  By God’s grace, a proper understanding of the Scriptures will make clear the sinfulness of abortion and the need for the unborn to be brought to full term.

For those who have already aborted their child, or for those doctors who have committed abortions, forgiveness can be found with our God.

Isa 55:7 (KJV)  Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

Mark 3:28 (KJV)

28) Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme:

If you have more questions concerning forgiveness and the way of salvation please feel free to visit or call a Bible teaching church in your area.  They will be happy to speak to you about the Lord Jesus and the salvation He graciously gives.

Or, if you would rather, feel welcome to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.  I’ll be more than happy to answer any question you may have.

Also, if you look at my blog page “How To Have A Relationship With God”.  On this page you will find several blog entries explaining the way of salvation.

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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.”

A Memorial Day Devotion for Christians

SIH STSTA ICONMemorial Day is a day that is set aside to remember, and honor, our brave soldiers who have given their lives to protect our land and keep us free.  It began as a day to honor our Civil War dead, but after World War I, it was expanded to include our war dead from all the wars in which America was involved.  Go to http://www.usmemorialday.org/ for more information.

According to http://www.historycentral.com/wars.html , our country has fought in 12 wars (not counting the Afghanistan War which brings the updated total to 13.)  In every one of these cases, we have asked the young people of our nation to be willing to give their lives in the name of freedom (for us and others in foreign lands.)    The sacrifices these young men and women have made can never be totally comprehended nor can they be repaid by us.

Just stop and think about a little of what these wonderful young people have given up for us.  At the very least, they have given years of their life, time away from their families, to serve their country which they love. They have given us any chance of setting down “roots”, having to move from base to base once every 3 to 4 years.   Many will be physically disabled the rest of their life, having the use of one or more of their limbs taken from them.   Scores have been mentally disabled resulting in them being unable to handle day to day living.   And thousands upon thousands have given the ultimate sacrifice, their life, so that we can continue to enjoy our lives living safely in a land of freedom.

We can never begin to understand what they went through, and are continuing to go through, all because they love their nation and the freedoms we take for granted everyday.  We can never begin to repay them and their families for the sacrifices they have made for us.  It seems as if saying “Thank You” just isn’t enough.

THE SCRIPTURE:

This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.  Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

(Joh 15:12-14)

THE STUDY:

Here, we find that our Lord recognized the tremendous sacrifice involved when a person is willing to give up their life for their friend.   He describes it as an act of “great love.”   Who better to be able to understand and define the very essence of self-sacrifice and love, but our Lord Himself?

Think about what Christ has done for His people.  He willingly humbled Himself and came to the earth, God in human flesh, giving up the glories of heaven to live among us.   Then, during His life on earth, He set the ultimate example of service, teaching, feeding, praying for and healing those who were in need.   Next, He was willing to be falsely accused, mocked, physically beaten, mistreated and convicted for a set of crimes that He did not commit. Finally, submitting to a horrible death of slow suffocation while hanging on a cross, all so that His people could receive forgiveness and deliverance from their sin and its results.  This is what the love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ brought about for us.

And, now for the most amazing part of all this, He did this for us, not when we were friends with Him, but when we were His enemies…   When we were opposed to Him, He still choose to love us and die for us on the cross.  (Roms 5:10, Col 1:21)

Remember in the above verses Christ Himself said there was no greater love among man than to die for a friend?  How much greater is a love that would make Jesus, God the Son,  be willing to die for an enemy, one that wants nothing to do with Him and who rebels against Him at every turn?  It is described as “the love of God” that cannot be fully understood by man.  (Roms 8:39, Eph 3:19)    This is the ultimate example of love for another.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

On this Memorial Day weekend, let us remember the brave soldiers who have so unselfishly given of themselves for us.   Let’s not only appreciate their actions but then take steps to help these veterans and their families whenever and wherever we can.

But also this weekend, let us remember the Lord Jesus Christ and all that He has done for us so that we might be saved from the eternal punishment for our sins.  And then out of appreciation for His works, let us give ourselves for others, obeying the perfect law of Christ…

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. 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. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

(1Jn 4:7-12)

May we all have a blessed Memorial Day weekend.

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.

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.”