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Serving Christ For His Glory… What Does “His Glory” Mean?

SIH STSTA ICONINTRODUCTION:

From the pulpit, from the classroom, and from the mouths of most Christians, we hear the instruction to “serve the Lord for His glory”… unfortunately, this phrase can be very confusing for each one of us due to the variety of teachings about the Lord’s glory found in the Bible.

Many times, when the Bible describes God’s glory (as in Exo 24:17), it is speaking of a bright manifestation of the very presence of God.  This meaning of the phrase reveals to us that God’s glory “appears” (Exo 16:10), “can be seen” (Num 14:22) and is “revealed” (Isa 40:5) to us.   When we tell others to “serve the Lord for His glory” are we telling them to serve our Lord in the hopes of seeing His presence revealed as a bright, overwhelming light?  I think we all understand this is not the case.

In at least three different occasions (Job 40:10, Psa 93:1 and 104:1-2), God’s symbolic clothing is described as his glory.  If we use this Biblical definition then we are to serve Him to receive a vision of the symbolic clothing that He is said to wear.  Of course this is not the meaning of “for His glory” that is to motivate us to service for Christ.

The Bible also describes His glory as being revealed in a thunderstorm (Psa 29:3).  Does this mean we serve Him so that we will see lightning and hear thunder roll?  We can all agree, this is not the case.

The list goes on and on.  When God’s glory is described it can be revealed to man in many, many different ways.

So what is “God’s glory” and how is it shown to mankind when we serve Him and bear his fruits in our life?  In other words, what is the Scriptural motivation for our service to Christ?  These questions are what we will be seeking to answer in this Bible study.

 

TODAY’S TEXT:

Matt 5:16 – “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

1Co 10:31 – “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

 

TODAY’S LESSON:

To come to an understanding of our motive for service (as we serve Christ “for His glory”, we need to understand the definition of the term “glory”.  The word glory is translated from several different words in the Bible.  In the Old Testament, it is translated from these Hebrew words and their forms:

  1. kabowd – weight, splendor, honor
  2. paar – to gleam or boast
  3. hadar – ornament, splendor
  4. halal – to shine, flash forth, boast
  5. shabach – laud, praise, command
  6. tipharah – beauty, boasting
  7. howd – splendor, majesty, vigor
  8.  addereth – mantle, garment, robe
  9. tohar – brightness
  10. yeqar – wealth

 

In the New Testament, it is translated from these Greek words and their forms:

  1. doxa – dignity, honor, praise, worship
  2. kauchema – to  cause to boast
  3. kleos – praise, respect

 

As we can see, in both the Old and New Testaments, the most basic, shared meaning behind all the words translated “glory” involves a revelation of the Lord’s excellence.  Whether it be speaking of the bright light like fire that appeared over Mt Sinai, the Lord’s clothing being symbolized as a bright light or His voice thunders and “is full of glory”, we can see that the Lord’s greatness is being described.

Excellence, or the Supremacy over all others, is the central theme we can see in all the above words translated “glory” in the Word of God.  To put it very simply, the phrase “the glory of the Lord” is describing a revelation of the Lord’s greatness.

When we are told to “serve the Lord for his glory” we are being told to serve the Lord motivated by the desire to reveal His Greatness to others.  This should be the motive and goal in all of our ministries and in everything we do…

1Co 10:31 – “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

 

We should never seek to exalt ourselves or others around us, our one purpose of ministry is to allow the greatness of Christ to be displayed in us.  This is symbolically like Christ’s glorious light that shines forth from us revealing our Savior to the world around us….

Matt 5:16 – “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

 

As you can see from the above passage the way that Christ’s light shines forth from us is through the fruits of the Spirit which we possess within us.  When we bear these fruits the end results are good works which exalt Christ.

This is the true meaning behind the phrase “we are to serve the Lord for His glory”.

 

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Let’s close our study this morning by asking a few very simple questions….

Why do we serve the Lord and live our daily lives for Him?

Is the end result of our ministry His glory, our glory, or a combination of both?

May we all seek to have Jesus glorified in everything we do!

 

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SIH Valentine’s Day Devotionals…

SIH STSTA ICONShare Christ And The True Meaning Of His Love With Others!

 

 

SIH Valentine’s Day 3-Part Devotion Series: The Greatest Of These Is Love:

Part  #1 – The Importance Of Love

Part #2 – The Eternal Nature Of Love

Part #3 – The Supremacy Of Love

 

 

SIH Valentine’s Day Devotional Video Playlist:

SIH Valentine’s Day Devotional Playlist (4 Videos)

 

 

 

 

Christ Is The Bread Of Life…

SIH HALTAL ICONAnd Jesus said unto them…Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.

I am that bread of life.Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever:

and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. (John 6:32,47-51)

 

For The SIH Devotional On This Subject:

http://wp.me/pU88A-3Dh

True Love Covers The Shame Of Others

SIH TOTT ICON1) Jesus went unto the mount of Olives.
2) And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.
3) And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,
4) They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
5) Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
6) This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with [his] finger wrote on the ground, [as though he heard][ them not].
7) So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
8) And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
9) And they which heard [it], being convicted by [their own] conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, [even] unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
10) When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
11) She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
(John 8:1-11)

 

For The SIH devotional on this subject:

http://wp.me/pU88A-3Dk

Christian Love For The Family Of God

SIH STSTA ICONThe greatest display of love found in the Bible is Christ’s death on the cross for the sins of His people. ( 1 John 3:16, Rom 5:8, Eph 5:2, Rev 1:5)

Likewise, throughout the Apostle Paul’s ministry, he risked his life to take the gospel to the lost around him.  (2 Cor 11:23-28, Acts 14:19, 2 Cor 4:10-12).  This risking of “life and limb” is a wonderful living display of the love that Paul held for the lost. (1 Thess 2:13-16, Rom 10:1, Rom 9:1-3)   Being willing to die for those we love is the ultimate display of love.  (John 15:13)

Even though to be willing to die for another is the supreme display of love, in Rom 1:9-15, we find several other demonstrations of love being discussed.  Let’s take our time and study love on display based on Roms 1:9-15 …

THE SCRIPTURES:

Rom 1:9-15 (KJV)

9) For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;  10) Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you. 11) For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established; 12) That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me. 13) Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles. 14) I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.  15) So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.

 THE STUDY:

In these few verses, Paul shows us several indications of his true Biblical love for those in Rome.

1.     “without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;” – praying for others is a sign of our love for them.  Keep in mind, if we really love someone, we will ask the Lord to intervene on their behalf keeping them physically safe and making them spiritually secure and prosperous. (Matt 5:44, Rom 10:1, 2 Cor 5:20, Phil 1:4-6 etc etc)

2.    “I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you.” –  being willing to give of our time and effort for others is a sign of love (Eph 5:2, 2 Cor 5:15, Matt 20:28)

3.    “For I long to see you” – wanting to be physically present with someone… missing them when we aren’t with them. (Phil 4:1, Phil 1:8, Gen 31:30, 1 Thess 2:17-18, 1 John 3:14)

4.    “that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established;” – giving of ourselves for others to promote their spiritual growth and strength (1 Cor 4:14-16, 2 Pet 3:1-2, Roms 1:7)

5.    “that I may be comforted together with you”– wanting to give comfort after loss to others that we love (Gen 24:67, Gen 37:31-35, Job 42:10-11, Phil 2:1-2, Col 2:1-2)

6.    “by the mutual faith both of you and me.” – desiring to share our spiritual faith in the Lord which then allows fellowship among the brethren. (2 Cor 13:14, Eph 2:18-22, 1 John 3:23-24)

7.    “that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.” – desiring to bear spiritual fruit (being a good witness and testimony) to others is a sign of biblical love. (1 Cor 13:4-8, Eph 5:2)

8.    “I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise” – seeing ourselves as indebted to the Lord and, therefore, to others, needing to do them right and help them. (Phil 2:25-30, Roms 12:1, 1 Tim 5:4, Eph 5:25, 1 Tim 2:1-3, 2 Cor 5:13-14)

9.    “I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.” – Wanting to share the gospel with others. (Matt 5:43-48, Phil 1:7-8, Phil 1:16-17, Eph 4:1-15)

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who have trusted in Christ.

To summarize our study…. A true Biblical love is shown by:

  1. Desiring      to pray for those we love
  2. Desiring      to sacrifice ourselves for those we love
  3. Desiring      to accompany those we love
  4. Desiring      the spiritual growth of those we love
  5. Desiring      to comfort those we love during times of loss
  6. Desiring      fellowship of the truths of God with those we love
  7. Desiring      to bear spiritual fruit in the sight of those we love
  8. Desiring      to help those we love during times of trial and need
  9. Desiring      to share the gospel message with those we love

Are we exhibiting a Scriptural love to those who are around us?  This should be our daily desire.  If we find our love weak toward other Christians, it could be that we are forgetting that we are members of the same spiritual family.  We have the same Father, the same salvation, and the same eternal home.  Spiritually we are one with Christ.

Remember our love for others is a very important proof that our salvation is genuine (1 John 2:9-11)  If we cannot find love in our hearts for other Christians, it is a clear indication that we have never been saved nor adopted into Christ’s spiritual family.

For those who have never trusted in Christ.

A Biblical love is a God-given grace. Withour Christ we cannot show love in our lives.   For us to receive the many graces of God, we must first come to a saving knowledge of Him.  Have you ever seen your need of salvation?  If so, have you turned from your sin and come to Jesus Christ?  Have you ever trusted in Him as your Savior and then submitted  to Him as your Lord?

If you have any questions concerning 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.

Please visit the “Settled In Heaven Ministries” homepage –

http://www.settledinheaven.org

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.”

Where Does Waldo Go To Church?

SIH STSTA ICONIn the late 1980’s a series of books containing the theme, “Where’s Waldo?” came to America.  Originating in Britain, these books contained illustrations of many characters all participating in a variety of activities.  The goal of the reader is to seek out Waldo, in the midst of the crowd.  For more about the book series take a look at these sites:

http://www.findwaldo.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Where’s_Waldo

Just as children throughout the world looked for Waldo in the pages of his books, how many of us are looking for a church that we can confidently attend?   How many of us are frustrated, not being able to find a church that aids our spiritual growth?   Many times, the reason why we can’t find a spiritually edifying church is because we do not understand what we should be looking for in a church.

The Word of God is not silent about this matter….

THE SCRIPTURE:

Hebrews10:

24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

THE STUDY:

Here is list of the characteristics of a church (local assembly of believers) that we can attend with which the Lord is pleased…

Uses Scriptures only as foundation of beliefs and teachings  (1 Tim 3:15 )

The Lord’s churches are described as being the “pillar and ground” of the truth.  In other words, one of the greatest roles the church has is to firmly hold up the truth of His Word.  This refers to both the declaration of His Word from the pulpit as well as declaring His Word through the practices of the church.

Seeks to glorify the Lord in all of it’s ministries by putting His desires first.  (Eph 3:21)

The Lord Jehovah is to be glorified in all things (every ministry/activities) of the Lord’s churches.  Every endeavor that is undertaken by the church is to be done with His authority, His direction and His glory as the end motive.

Clearly teaches salvation by grace through faith …man’s inability to save himself from his sinful condition  (Eph 2:8-9)

The Word of God is clear, salvation is entirely of God’s grace, even the faith we exercise at our salvation is a gift that is given to us through His intervention in our lives.  Understanding these truths results in God being exalted to His deserved level, while properly humbling man and showing his true impotence in the salvation experience.   Any other message of salvation leads to a man trusting in not only Christ’s work, but his own actions, and righteousnesses, for the forgiveness of his sins.

Observes ordinances of Lord’s Supper and Baptism as declarations and memorials to work of Lord Jesus Christ  (1 Cor 11:23-29, Matt 28:16-20)

The Lord’s church has been given two, and only two ordinances to observe, baptism and the Lord’s supper.  Both of which are observed as a form of remembrance and declaration.  Baptism, declares an individual’s salvation and is a remembrance of the Lord’s death, burial and resurrection.  The Lord’s Supper is a declaration of a church’s existence and the unity of its members, as well as a remembrance of His suffering and death on the cross.

Teach practical and doctrinal truth during it’s services to encourage spiritual growth of members (Eph 4:11-13, Acts 20:27-29)

The Lord placed those who teach and lead within the church so that the members may become perfect (spiritually mature), edified (built up, strengthened), they are to do this by teaching the “all the counsel of God”… a churches goal should be to gradually build up and mature it’s members so that, eventually, the entire Word of God can be declared with no fear of misunderstanding on the part of it’s members.

Promotes a lifestyle of service and worship of Christ through the leadership of the Spirit (Rom 12:1-2, Rom 8:1-9)

The church is to lead and teach God’s people so that they will become living sacrifices, bringing praise to their Lrod in every aspect of their life.  This is done through an exercise of the fruits of the Spirit, as they follow God’s Word through leadership of the Holy Spirit.

Emphasizes the need for prayer and independent Bible study (Roms 17:10-13)

One of the greatest needs within a local assembly is a clear acknowledgement of each man’s responsibility to learn, understand, and live according to God’s Word.   This can only be accomplished through each member developing an intimate knowledge of His Word.

Has evangelistic outreach/missionary ministries to local area and throughout the world (Acts 1:7-8, Matthew 28:16-20)

The Lord, in giving His assemblies a mission, made it plain that the gospel was to be declared to the entire world…locally, nationally and internationally.  The mission of the church, described as “the Great Commission”, includes proclaiming the gospel to the lost, baptizing those who are saved (to publically declare the salvation they have already received) and teaching those who have been saved and baptized.

Meets the physical needs of the community in which they reside (Matt 14:13-21)

The first and primary mission of the church is fulfilling the Great Commission.  However, in the course of ministering, meeting the physical needs of others opens many doors and creates receptive hearts in the community.  This, in turn, aids the proclamation of the truth to them… meeting the physical needs of the community not only yields physical benefits but spiritual benefits as well.

The members lives are living testimony to the righteousness, love, peace and joy given by the Lord Jesus Christ. Roms 13:11-14, Gals 5:22-25

A church that is fulfilling the mission the Lord has given to them, will have a membership that will be growing in grace, knowledge and spiritual fruit bearing.  As a general rule, if the members of a church are not growing spiritually, there is a problem in the churches ministry to them.

THE APPLICATION:

Hebrews 10:24-25 ….  “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”

Church attendance is a necessity for the Christian’s seeing to grow in the Lord and in His service…  if you are one of the many Christians who are seeking a church home, my prayers are with you. 

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.

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.”

Valentine’s Day Devotion: But The Greatest Of These Is Love – Part 3

SIH STSTA ICONOne of the most talked about sections of Scripture is found in the book of 1 Corinthians.  Chapter 13, commonly called the “love chapter of the Bible”.  In this small section of Scripture we have several basic principles concerning love being addressed:

  1. vs 1-3 – the absolute necessity of love (charity) in all aspects of Christian life and ministry
  2. vs 4-7- the evidences of Biblical love
  3. vs 8-12- the eternal nature of Biblical love compared to the ceasing of Divine, inspired revelation to man; the physical / spiritual maturing of an individual picturing the increasing revelation of God received by man until completion; the increasing understanding of God due to completed revelation
  4. vs 13a- the continuation of love, faith and hope
  5. vs 13b- the supremacy of love over faith and hope

We will divide our study of this section of Scripture into 3 basic parts.  In the last part of our study we will be looking at 1 Corinthians 13:11-13.

Let us prayerfully, begin our study of the compelling and important subject of love…

THE SCRIPTURE:

1Cor 13:1-13 (KJV)

1Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become [as] sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal…13And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these [is] charity.

THE STUDY:

In our previous study, we saw how both the gifts of prophecy and knowledge ceased to exist when the last of God’s revelation to man was received.    We now turn our attention to two examples given by Paul to help illustrate the principle.

1 Corinthians 13:

Vs 11 – 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.

Paul now uses the example of the physical maturing process to picture the process of God’s revealed Word being brought to completion.  Just as Paul’s growth allowed him to come to a more mature and full understanding of life, so too, as God’s Word is brought to completion, it brings to us a fuller understanding of our Lord and our responsibilities as servants.

Based on the Word being brought to completion during the age of the Corinthian church. It was time for them to “grow up” and become mature as well. It would only be at that time that they could use the wonderful blessing of His completed Word to help them to correct the many errors in their assembly.

Vs 12 – 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.

Paul now compares our understanding of God in our sinful flesh with mankind’s knowledge of God with only a portion of His Word given to them.  In both cases, an incomplete view of God is had by man.

  1. Paul describes a time when God cannot be seen clearly
    1. Paul describes our life in sinful flesh as seeing our Lord “through a glass darkly”.
    2. Paul then compares this to mankind trying to see a full picture of Christ with only a portion of God’s Word given to man. “now I know in part”.
  2. Paul next describes when we can receive a fuller vision of Christ
    1. When we go home to be with the Lord in heaven, it is seeing Him “face to face”, this will result in seeing Him much more clearly than while in our sinful flesh.
    2. Paul then compares this to receiving His completed Word which gives us a much more full revelation of the Lord.  “ then shall I know even as also I am known” .

In other words, through the completed revelation of God given to man, we can now understand truths about Him, much like others can come to know us.  Others can see much about us clearly but they still do not know everything about us (especially what goes on inside of us)

Vs 13 – And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these [is] charity.

After telling us about the Word it’s soon completion, Paul now beings us back to the original thought.  That love is even greater that our three existing gifts of faith, hope and love.

Why didn’t Paul mention prophecy or knowledge as abiding (to continue on for extended period of time, to endure to limit)? We have already seen they would end within a short period of time when Word was brought to completion.  So he didn’t include these on our list.

But why didn’t he include the gift of tongues… when did they cease to exist?  Tongues ceased to exist, around the same time as knowledge and prophecy.  Tongues was one of several “sign gifts” that God gave to mankind.  These were gifts given by God to His followers to accredit their message and to prove He was the only true God.  This is why these types of miracles are called “sign gifts” from God (Exo 3:14, 4:1-8)   A listing of the sign gifts can be found at 1 Cor 12:8-11.

Over the years, studying the sign gifts of the Bible, I have noticed something very interesting.  It seems as if these sign miracles of God were basically performed in three “groups” throughout Biblical history.  Please notice the following basic, generalized table to help explain my point:

Group 1                            Group 2                               Group 3

Miracle Workers:  Moses, Joshua    Elijah, Elisha, Other Prophets   Christ, Apostles

Worship Accredited:  Tabernacle Worship            Temple Worship                Church Worship

Message Accredited:  Law                                 Prophets                           New Testament

It has been so interesting for me to come to an understanding of the Lord’s motives in these sign miracles that were performed.  Note that the Lord, through divine miracles, accredited the messenger, as well as the section of Scripture written, and the worship place used at that time.  In each case, the “sign miracles” were in existence for approximately 70 years. In each case, a “silent time” existed after each group of miracles, where no sign miracles and few, if any, other miracles were performed.  Why?  Once God established the validity of each of the above segments, there was no need for miracles until another segment was about to take place.

For example, following the accreditation of the tabernacle and the message of the law, there was no reason to accredit anything, or anyone, until the temple and the prophets came on the scene.  Likewise, there was an extended period of “miracle silence” after the completion of the Old Testament.  It was only when Christ came on the scene that we have a period of sign miracles taking place to validate the message of the New Testament and the church as the new place of worship for God’s people.

So therefore, tongues, being one of several sign gifts came to an end approximately 70 years after they had come into existence (29 or 30 AD), probably about 90-100 AD.  They would have gone out of existence in and of themselves, nothing had to act on them. This is unlike the gift of prophecy and knowledge which ceased at the completion of God’s Word.

Putting all of this together, it is easy to see why only faith, hope and charity are said to “abide” (to stray in place for an extended period of time).  The gifts of prophecy, knowledge and tongues would go out of existence within a few years after Paul’s ministry would be complete.

But not so with faith, hope and love.  They would continue on until the second coming of Christ.  When Christ comes back we will have no need of faith nor hope…. As we begin, our eternity with Him, we will begin the process of receipt of all His promises to us.  Faith and hope will no longer be needed, we will be experiencing all He has for us.

At that point, faith and hope will no longer be in existence, but only love will continue on to eternity.  Thus making “love” the greatest gift of all that are mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13:.

    • Gifts are temporary but love is eternal
    • Gifts are elementary but love is mature
    • Gifts are partial but love is complete

 

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For those who are saved…

As we come to a completion of our study the basic principles we have learned about love compared to the other gifts mentioned is significant.

First of all we saw that God’s gifts to man are temporary, but love is eternal.

Secondly, the gifts of God are elementary, love is the essence of maturity.

Thirdly, the gifts of God are partial, but love is complete.

Keeping all this in mind, it should not surprise us that the Lord gave Peter this word of self inspection and instruction….

John 21:15-17 (KJV)

15So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, [son] of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.16He saith to him again the second time, Simon, [son] of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.17He saith unto him the third time, Simon, [son] of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

You see, our love for the Lord should be one of the ultimate motives in our service to Him.  The more we love and appreciate Him the greater our service to Him.  Is our service motivated by our love for Him?  Is our helping and instructing others coming from a heart filled with love for our Lord?

May the Lord help all of us to be able to say “yes” to these questions.

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

If you have never experienced the love of God in your lives, look to Him knowing He has made clear His love and concern for His people…

1John 4:7-12 (KJV)

7Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.8He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.9In 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.10Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins.11Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.12No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

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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.”

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Valentine’s Day Devotion:But The Greatest Of These Is Love -2

SIH STSTA ICONThe Eternal Nature of Love 

One of the most talked about sections of Scripture is found in the book of 1 Corinthians.  Chapter 13, commonly called the “love chapter of the Bible”.  In this small section of Scripture we have several basic principles concerning love being addressed:

  1. vs 1-3 – the absolute necessity of love (charity) in all aspects of Christian life and ministry
  2. vs 4-7- the evidences of Biblical love
  3. vs 8-12- the eternal nature of Biblical love compared to the ceasing of Divine, inspired revelation to man; the physical / spiritual maturing of an individual picturing the increasing revelation of God received by man until completion; the increasing understanding of God due to completed revelation
  4. vs 13a- the continuation of love, faith and hope
  5. vs 13b- the supremacy of love over faith and hope

We will divide our study of this section of Scripture into 3 basic parts.  In today’s blog entry we will look at 1 Corinthians 13:8-10.  And in our final part we will look at verses 11-13.

Let us prayerfully, begin our study of the compelling and important subject of love…

THE SCRIPTURE:

1Cor 13:1-13 (KJV)

1Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become [as] sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal…13And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these [is] charity.

THE STUDY:

1 Corinthians 13:

Vs 8 – 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.

Here, Paul makes it very plain that love is the only gift of the four divine gifts (love, prophecy, tongues, knowledge) that will exist eternally.   In our previous study, we explained that both knowledge and prophecy was related to the divine inspiration of Scripture, when the Lord handed His Word to mankind.  The sign gift of tongues was related to the accreditation of the ministry of Christ, His NT Word and the local church ministry.

(Please note it is crucial to understand the meaning of the phrases “shall fail”, “shall cease”, and “shall vanish away”…

  1. “shall fail”
    1. is the greek word – “pauo” – it means “to stop”, “to be made complete” and “to end”.
    2. is in the middle voice, meaning the subject of the verb is acting upon itself.  In other words, tongues would “stop by themselves” or “would be ended in and of themselves”
  2. “shall cease” and “shall vanish away”
    1. Both of these phrases are the same Grk word “katargeo” which means “to be made inoperative, to cease to work, to cease to exercise, to render useless, to vanish”
    2. Both of these are in the passive voice meaning the subject of the verb receives the action.  In other words our verse is saying that “the perfect thing” (vs 10) will cause both knowledge and prophecy to “no longer be exercised”, or “to vanish away”

Vs 9 – For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

Out of the four previously mentioned gifts from God… knowledge and prophecy are set apart as being “in part”.  What does in part mean?  This phrase is referring to the nature of divinely inspired revelation to man.  Keep in mind, as God handed down His word to mankind, he did it over many years and many different men.  He gave it a part at time, not all at once.   (Isa 28:9-13)

The gifts of prophecy and knowledge were “in part” meaning… as each prophecy came from God (as each bit of knowledge came to man) they were “one part” of the whole of divine revelation to man.  Until the final revelation from God was received by John on the Isle of Patmos (the book of Revelation), both knowledge and prophecy received by man was only a piece of His Word.  At the end of the message given to John on Patmos, the word was finally completed.  It was only then that mankind had the prophecy and knowledge God had chosen to give to man in a state of completeness.

Love exists eternally, knowledge, prophesying and the gift of tongues will definitely come to an end, making love a much more valuable gift from God.

Vs 10 – But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

Paul here describes what causes prophecy and knowledge to vanish away.  He describes it as “that which is perfect.  To help us understand what Paul is referring to we need to recognize a few important points in our study…

  1. Lets review a few points from the previous verses in our study
  1. Remember, in the previous verse of our study we saw that the gifts that were in part were the gifts of prophecy and knowledge.
  2. Also, we saw that the ending of these gifts were described by the Grk word “katargeo” which means “to be made inoperative, to cease to work, to cease to exercise, to render useless, to vanish”
  3. Thirdly, we learned that based on the Grk passive voice, something must act upon the knowledge and prophecy “to render it useless” or “to cause it to vanish away.”

2.  What has acted on the gift of prophecy and knowledge rendering them worthless?  It is the completed revelation from God… Once God had given to man all of His Word, there was no need for prophecy or knowledge gifts any longer… they were now useless and ineffective because the Lord was not going to give men His inspired revelation any longer.

  1. Remember, the Lord has made it plain that the Word He has given to us is now complete with the revelation He had given to John.  We will be receiving no additional inspired truth from Him.  (Rev 22:18, Heb 1:1-2)
  2. We know it is His Word that is perfect based on the Greek word for “perfect”

The word for perfect here is the Grk word “telios” – which means “complete”, “matured”, “brought to completion”.  “Telios” refers to the Word of God in James 1:25.  The only other two times this word is used in 1 Corinthians “telios” refers to human beings who are mature, or should be mature in the faith. (1 Cor 2:6, 1 Cor 14:20).  Also there are many other occasions in the Word of God where this word refers to the same type of idea.  (Matt 19:21, Phil 3:15, Col 1:28, 4:12 etc etc)

In Matthew 5:48 “telios” is used to describe the Lord and in the context, it is describing His absolute maturity.  Note that the issue of treating all men kindly and with respoect is the issue being addressed, this is a mark of spiritual maturity.  We are to even pray for those that mistreat us.  By doing this, we will be mature Christians following the example of our Father who is in heaven.  He is the epitome of spiritual maturity and completeness.  The issue is not sinlessness, the issue, here is spiritual maturity.  Learning to treat all men with love and kindness. The very issue of our study in 1 Corinthians.  No place in Scripture does the word “telios” mean sinlessly perfect.

3.  But what about the Lord?  We’ve already seen that the Lord is described using the term “telios” In Matthew 5:48.  However, we have already seen that this “perfect thing” that is coming must act on the gifts of prophecy and knowledge rendering them useless.  If this is so then…

  1. We have to say that the Lord is continually revealing His inspired word to man throughout the ages. In other words, His word is not in completed form but He is continually adding to His revealed Word to man. This revealing of the Word will only stop at His second coming.
  2. If this is so, we should be continually adding to the Scriptures.  Every new revelation God gives to man should be added to the Scriptures.  This principle does away with the warning given by John to not add to the Scriptures (Rev 22:18-19).
  3. And also the fullness and completeness of God’s Word for us to use is done away with.  Therefore we cannot count on His Word being the complete set of instructions for us to live by. (2 Tim 3:16-17)  In this hypothetical scenario, we may face situations that the Word cannot equip us to face.  What happens if the part of the Word we need now, will not be revealed to man for another 25 years?  Our entire view of the Scriptures must change if this is the case.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For those who are saved…

Remember, the principle concerning love that is presented in our study today…. Charity NEVER FAILS.  But all these other gifts that are mentioned have already failed and now cease to exist.  We’ve seen that the gifts of prophecy and knowledge have already ceased to exist when man received the final revelation of God to man.  In our next study, we will see that the gift of tongues has already gone out of existence as well.

The eternal nature of love is one of the many reasons why love is counted as superior over these sign gifts.

With the importance of love in view… should we not all strive to show love to others?  How much love do we show others?  Or maybe, I should ask it this way… how much are we willing to sacrifice for others?  This is the true mark of love.

John 15:12-14 (KJV)

12This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.13Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.14Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

If you have never experienced the love of God in your lives, look to Him knowing He has made clear His love and concern for His people…

1John 4:7-12 (KJV)

7Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.8He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.9In 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.10Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins.11Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.12No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

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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.”

——————————————————

Valentine’s Day Devotion: But The Greatest Of These Is Love – Part 1

SIH STSTA ICONOne of the most talked about sections of Scripture is found in the book of 1 Corinthians.  Chapter 13, commonly called the “love chapter of the Bible”.  In this small section of Scripture we have several basic principles concerning love being addressed:

  1. vs 1-3 – the absolute necessity of love (charity) in all aspects of Christian life and ministry
  2. vs 4-7- the evidences of Biblical love
  3. vs 8-12- the eternal nature of Biblical love compared to the ceasing of Divine, inspired revelation to man; the physical / spiritual maturing of an individual picturing the increasing revelation of God received by man until completion; the increasing understanding of God due to completed revelation
  4. vs 13a- the continuation of love, faith and hope
  5. vs 13b- the supremacy of love over faith and hope

We will divide our study of this section of Scripture into 3 basic parts.  In today’s blog entry we will look at 1 Corinthians 13:1-7.   In section two of our study we will be examining verses 8-10. And in our final part we will look at verses 11-13.

Let us prayerfully, begin our study of the compelling and important subject of love…

THE SCRIPTURE:

1Cor 13:1-13 (KJV)

1Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become [as] sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal…13And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these [is] charity.

THE STUDY:

1 Corinthians 13:

Vs 1 – Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become [as] sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

If men were not motivated by love when they exercised the gift of tongues, they were simply making noise without gaining any spiritual benefit for themsleves or the listener.

(Note here,  that angels are seen throughout the Bible as God’s “messengers” delivering His Word to those of God’s choosing.  This is why in many verses, a human messenger sent by God is described by this same Greek word “angelos” (matt 11:10, Lk 7:24, 2 Cor 8:23 etc etc etc )

In EVERY case, angels speak human languages as they give God’s Words to man.  Paul is saying whether he shared God’s word in a off-hand everyday way, or as part of an authoritative, divinely called ministry, without love, he is not actually pleasing the Lord.

The divinely given  gift of tongues was the ability to speak a human tongue not learned by the speaker.  It was intended to give the gospel message to foreigners who could not speak the same language as the speakers.  Acts 2:1-13.  The main purpose of the gift of tongues, like all other sign gifts, was to accredit the ministry of Christ, the apostles and the first churches as they took the gospel to the Gentiles.)

Vs 2 – And though I have [the gift of] prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

Paul, says that the display of miraculous feats, without love, are of no true spiritual value.   The four miraculous feats that Paul talks of are feats involving inspiration, knowledge and faith.

(At the time of the writing of 1 Corinthians 13:, the revelation of God’s Word to mankind was not completed.  God still had more to say to man.  This is why the gift of prophecy, understanding, and knowledge were still in effect at the writing of this letter.

The gift of prophecy is simply the miraculous ability to receive a message from God and to be able to reveal it to man without error.  The ability to understand all mysteries, involves a supernatural ability given by God to understand the spiritual truths that He revealed to man.  The third gift is the ability to possess knowledge that had never been shown to man before.

All three of these gifts were absolutely necessary as God handed down His Word to mankind.  They are three different aspects of God’s giving His Word to man via Divine inspiration)  And now that the Word is completed there is no longer any need for these gifts.

Vs 3 – And though I bestow all my goods to feed [the poor], and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

Paul states although he gave up his possessions to meet the needs of the poor, and if He was willing to sacrifice his very body and life for the cause of Christ, if he was not motivated by a love for Christ and others, all of these immense sacrifices were of no spiritual profit for him.

In verses 1-3, we come to a very important and overlooked principle of our service to our Lord.  All areas of our service to Him, must be motivated form a heart of love for God and man.  That is why love for God and others is described as the “first and great commandment” … Matt 22:37-39

Vs 4-7 – 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; 7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

 Here, we find the evidence of Biblical love in our life. These are the signs that we have a Biblical love in our hearts as we serve our Lord and others…

  1. Charity suffereth long, – patient
  2. [and] is kind; – make our self useful to others
  3. charity envieth not; – does not desire possessions of others
  4. charity vaunteth not itself, – does not brag about self
  5. is not puffed up, – to believe we are better than another
  6. Doth not behave itself unseemly, – does not make someone look bad in public
  7. seeketh not her own, – does not live selfishly
  8. is not easily provoked,  – does not get agitated, irritated easily
  9. thinketh no evil; – does not plan nor desire evil
  10. Rejoiceth not in iniquity, – does not find joy in sin of others
  11.  but rejoiceth in the truth;  – finds joy in truth of  God’s Word
  12.  Beareth all things,  – to be willing to “put up” with things in silence
  13. believeth all things, – exercises faith, trust in others
  14. hopeth all things, –  thinks the best of others, sees the best in others
  15. endureth all things – willing to bear up under burdens for extended period of time 

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For those who are saved…

We have seen the importance of love in every aspect of our service to the Lord.  We have also seen the marks of true love in our loves.

Do our lives exhibit the Lord’s love?  Are our ministries motivated by a love for Christ and others?

If we can say “yes” to these questions, we can have joy knowing that our ministries, and lives, are pleasing to our Lord.  If we must say “no” to these questions… we need to reevaluate our service, and lives, we are living for Christ.  It is very possible we are simply going through the motions without ever actually having experienced God’s grace in our lives.  This is the message of Matt 7:21-23.

Matt 7:21-23 (KJV)

21Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.22Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

If you have never experienced the love of God in your lives, look to Him knowing He has made clear His love and concern for His people…

1John 4:7-12 (KJV)

7Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.8He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.9In 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.10Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins.11Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.12No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

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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.”

———————————————————-

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.”

Love… Biblical Style

SIH STSTA ICONThe subject of “love” has dominated the attention of mankind throughout the years.   There have been literally thousands of songs, poems, stories, fables, even scientific studies, trying to help define love and explain it more fully.  The entertainment industry uses love as a central theme in most of it’s programming.

Do you remember a TV show called “Love, American Style”? It was a show featuring a different cast of characters every week.  They would show the affects of love on many, varied, fictional relationships.  For a quick walk down memory lane watch this…. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrBe09SIENA&feature=related

After all these attempts, it seems as if there still exists much confusion about love and man’s pursuit of it.  For us to look to our society for a definition of love is a futile act.  Today’s definitions can range from an innocent emotion to an immoral act and everything in between.   The more man tries to define it, the more confused man becomes.

So what is love?  We will try to answer this question from God’s Word….

THE SCRIPTURE:

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.

(Gal 5:22-25)

THE STUDY:

The Bible has ALOT to say about love… within the pages of the Bible we find at least 311 times when the word “love” is used (300 times in the Old Testament, 11 times in the New Testament).  Love is a central theme of the Bible…. Both God’s love for man and man’s love for God are emphasized.  But throughout the Word, there is also many references to mankind’s love for one another.   Anyone who is willing to take the time to examine every reference to love in the Bible will see a vast storehouse of information that helps us to see the true meaning and role of love in our lives.

At the risk of over-simplifying the Biblical teaching, let me center on just one of many observations about love found in the Bible….   a scriptural, God-pleasing love is one that produces self-sacrifice in our lives.  For one example of this principle please see John 15:3; here we find love for a friend resulting in laying down our life for them.

Our God set the ultimate example of a sacrificial love for us…

God the Father loved us so much He gave His Son to die for us on the cross. (John 3:16, Roms 5:8)

God the Son loved us so much He gave His life as an offering and sacrifice to God for us, paying the price of our sins. (Eph 5:2)

Christ, in the person of God the Spirit, then indwells our hearts through faith… giving us a continual testimony of His great love for us. (Eph 3:17-19)

Finally, we can never be separated from this great love He has bestowed upon us!  What a wonderful promise, once we are placed in His love, no one can take His love off of us… in other words, His love is without limit, He will never cast us aside nor will he ever desert us, we are kept by Him eternally. (Roms 8:35-39)

Now, after setting such great examples of true love for us, He then promises to implant within us this same love when we are forgiven of our sins.   In our scripture verse, love is classified as one of the “fruits of the Spirit”…   this means that love is given off in our lives, when the Holy Spirit inhabits our hearts, at the time our salvation.  Therefore, we can begin to love Him, and others, with the same type of love that He has loved us… an unrestricted, self-surrendering love.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

What a wonderful gift we have been given…. a fruit of love that we can give off to others…. much like a tree gives off its fruit to those who need it.   We can love others sacrificially, with no thought of personal gain.  Have you ever heard of an “unconditional” love?  This is the same type of love we can give to others through the working of the Spirit in our lives.

As followers of our Lord, we can place this love upon Him, allowing us to serve Him without hesitation or reservation.   We can willingly give our all to Him, just as He gave His all for us. (1 John 4:19)

Then, we are able to love others as Christ loved us.  What a wonderful way to be a living testimony for Him.   By loving others sacrificially, with no thought of personal gain, we are displaying for all to see how our Lord has loved us and laid down His life for us on the cross. (John 15:12)

For those who have never received the love of God into their hearts…. look to the Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.  Trusting in Christ for his salvation, is all men’s responsibility.   Have you trusted in Christ?  Have your sins been forgiven?  Has the love of God been placed upon you?  Does His Spirit now enable you to love as He loves?  If you have answered “no” to these questions please read God’s word, it shows us the way of life and true, Godly love.   A great place to start reading is 1 John 3:23-24.

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.”

If you have any questions or subjects you would like discussed on this blog, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.  I will answer all emails via this blog, by email, or both.