DEFINE LOVE, DEVINE LOVE
Imagine just for a moment if Jesus had come as our Savior, and had no LOVE. He was born just as the prophesies foretold, and possessed all the Gifts, but had no LOVE. He grew to become a man, went about His Ministry here on earth, without LOVE. Turned the water into wine, healed the sick, cast out demons, raised the dead, walked on water, even fed the thousands without LOVE.
All because this is what was expected of Him, not because He LOVED us. When the woman touched the hem of His garment, she was healed, but He just walked off like nothing happened. When He walked on the water and bid Peter to come, and Peter's faith failed, He laughed at Peter and watched him drown.
When the disciples were in the storm and He was asleep below, instead of calming the storm, He became angry and made the storm worsethey had woke Him up.
When the harlot was brought to Him by the "Religious men"told her how horrible she was and helped them stone her. When His friend Lazarus died He sent the sisters a card telling them how sorry He was and that He was a little too busy to come there now.
When people with leprosy came to Him wanting to be made whole, He looked at them disgustedly and said "I'm not touching that!!!!"
People with demon spirits or others who did not dress as He did or bathe or wear their hair as He did came to Him, He sent them away and told them "We don't allow THAT here in THIS Church!!!"
When the disciples or the people who were following Him asked Him questions, He looked at them; rolled His eyes and said "Can't you see I'm busy here! I do not have time to explain everything in the universe to you people!!!"
When the people who were listening to the sermons said something about being hungry, He said "You people are really getting on my nerves! Now you want something to eat and drink too!!!"
Maybe a small child about four or five years old comes up to Him while He is resting and just wants to show Him their new toy. shouts at the child, sends it away, and gives the mother a good piece of His mind."
When He is before Pilot being tried, and Pilot asks Him if He is the Son of God. Instead of quietly answering "I am as you say." He brings fire down from heaven and consumes the entire town.
While being beaten and bruised He uses His Power to take the instruments of torture from His tormenters and tortures them instead.
While He was hanging on the cross, suffering, bleeding and dying for our sin, He complains to the Father "Hurry up and get this over with, can't you see I'm suffering down here!!!!"
When the thief on the cross next to Him asks for Him to remember him, He says "Yeah right buddy, We don't want your kind in the place where I am going."
Now please read I Corinthians 13 for a good definition of what LOVE or JESUS are all about. See which areas of your life may need to be adjusted. You may just find that if you don't have LOVE, you have nothing!!!!!!
ADDITIONAL READING: THE ENTIRE BIBLE, COVER TO COVER.by Teresa Ashby
What is a CHRISTIAN......
Just what is a real Christian? As with salvation, are you certain that you know the answer? Would you say he is one who “attends Church”? Is a Christian one who “professes Jesus” or “knows Christ”? Have you perhaps thought a Christian is anyone who has been “baptized”?
Is there a single verse to which we can turn that gives the Bible definition of a Christian and eliminates all confusion? There is!
Paul wrote, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Rom. 8:14). A Christian is one who has the Holy Spirit leading him. But is having God’s Spirit absolutely essential to being a Christian? Earlier, Paul had said, “But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His!” (vs. 9).
It is that simple! One either has the Spirit of God, and is a Christian, or does not have it and is not a Christian—is “none of His.” All those who are truly converted must have the Holy Spirit in them.
But what does this mean? And is this all there is to Christianity and conversion, with nothing more to understand?
The Bible is filled with terms that seem to unnecessarily confuse people. “Salvation,” “reconciliation,” “sin,” “justification,” “predestination,” “sanctification,” “works,” “repentance,” and many more, have probably seemed ambiguous and confusing to you.
For instance, most Christians believe they are “saved by the blood of Christ.” This is not true! While the Bible says that we are “reconciled to God” and “justified by His [Christ’s] blood,” it also states that we are “saved by His life” (Rom. 5:9-10).
Understand this point.. We are not justified by works, but by the blood of Jesus Christ.
Repentance—turning to God and obeying Him—addresses a Christian’s future obedience. It does nothing to cover up PAST sins. Christ’s blood justifies—makes clean, white, righteous—all past transgressions, sins.
But, being “saved by His life” is vital to understand and requires explanation.
Let’s examine I Corinthians 15:17-18. It begins the explanation of why we can only be saved by the life of Christ: “And if Christ be not raised [His resurrection made Him alive again], your faith is vain; you are yet in your sins.” But why is this?
Why would Christ’s Resurrection also be necessary to remove Christians from the consequences of their sins?
Consider! If Christ is not risen from the dead, then He cannot send His Holy Spirit to beget Christians at repentance and baptism (Acts 2:38). Remember, “as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Rom. 8:14). It is this same Spirit that God will use to eventually change all converted people into spirit-composed sons of God—resurrected immortal Spirit beings.
It is this Spirit in them that, when they are changed, makes eternal life—salvation—possible.
Is this clear? If Christ had not been resurrected, then He could not have gone to heaven where He could send His Spirit to His followers. Without this Spirit living in a Christian’s mind, there is no hope of eternal life.
We have seen that human beings do not have life inherent within them. They are not born with an immortal soul. Since you are not immortal, your life span will cover a certain allotted time, after which you will die. That is absolute. Unless God intervenes in your life, you have no future—no hope—beyond a limited time of about 70-80 years.
Now let’s return to answering the question of exactly what a Christian is. Remember, it is only the true Christian who will receive eternal life—salvation. We must not accept a partial or incomplete answer to this most vital question.
When Christ kept the Passover on the night before He was crucified, He indirectly, through prayer, explained an important principle to His disciples: “I pray not that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through Your truth: Your word is truth” (John 17:15-17).
A Christian believes and follows the truth. It is the truth that sets him apart (sanctifies him) from all those around him. He is not of the world and its ways, customs and traditions.
But what does this mean?
It means that Christians are required to obey the laws of God. That is the truth from His Word.
Jesus never taught that people should just “believe on Him” to receive salvation. When a young man asked Christ what he must do to have “eternal life”—receive salvation—Christ told him, “If you will enter into life, keep the commandments.” Hearing this, and knowing that the man was rich, the disciples were shocked. They also did not understand how obedience was possible and asked, “Who then can be saved?” Christ answered, “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible” (Matt. 19:17, 25-26).
In Mark 7:7-8, Christ said, “Howbeit in vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men.”
It is possible to worship Christ in vain. It is possible to think about Him, talk about Him and refer to Him often as Lord—ALL IN VAIN! And if your religion is vain, then you have no salvation.
Hundreds of millions of “Christians” assume that they will be saved at death, simply because they have “accepted Jesus” as Savior. This is not what the Bible says!
Notice: “NOT every one that says unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven [“of” not “in” heaven]; but He that DOES the will of My Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21). Paul wrote, “the DOERS of the law [God’s] shall be justified” (Rom. 2:13). Professing Jesus is not enough.. And God is not willing to forgive (justify) any who will not also “do” the law.
Though it is the blood of Christ that justifies us (Rom. 5:9), His blood will not be applied to those who do not strive to keep God’s law. Obedience to God is a qualifier for those who seek eternal life. It is even essential to receiving or continuing to receive the Spirit of God.
The book of Acts speaks of “the Holy [Spirit], whom God has given to them that OBEY Him” (Acts 5:32). I doubt you have ever heard that before.
Receiving God’s Spirit is preceded by repentance of having broken God’s law and baptism (Acts 2:38). At this point, a new spirit-begotten life begins. The newly begotten child of God is now an “heir of God…joint heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:17). He becomes part of the true Church that Christ promised to build and lead (Matt. 16:18; Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:18), which He feeds through His true ministry (Eph. 4:11-15).
YOU NEED TO BE REBORN IN JESUS CHRIST WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD! Salvation is a GIFT from GOD - Rom 6:23
Isaiah 59:1-2 explains that sin cuts people off from God: “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither His ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities [lawlessness] have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear.”
God is literally unreachable to the sinner whose past has not been forgiven and cleansed.
Isaiah 55:6-7 instructs those who seek God, “Let the wicked forsake his way.” Notice: “Seek you the Lord while He may be found, call you upon Him while He is near: 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.”
But obedience to God is still not enough to bring you eternal life. Neither will a lifetime of “good works.” If it were, then eternal life could be earned through good works, just as much as permanent existence in hell fire could be earned through evil works.
Many verses explain that sin can only be forgiven through Christ’s sacrifice. John was inspired to write, “And this is the record, that God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that has the Son has life; and he that has not the Son of God has not life” (I John 5:11-12).
Unless we have a Savior—One who paid the penalty for our sins—we are UNSAVED and headed for death! Many more verses could be cited to prove this. Read John 5:26. It shows that only God has the power to grant eternal life. Christ said, “For as the Father has life in Himself; so has He given to the Son to have life in Himself.”
This is wonderful news. God does hold the power to grant the “gift” of eternal life. But, we will later learn, it is a gift with conditions given only to those who have qualified.
Make no mistake. It cannot be earned—it is a free gift!
Now get this point straight! We must remove all doubt about what brings salvation.. It is a free gift from God. There is absolutely nothing that a Christian can do to merit or earn it. The only wage that human beings can earn is death. before studying the subject of Christian works, recognize that no one can earn eternal life through works..
Salvation is by God’s grace. But what is grace? It is completely unmerited pardon of one’s sin. Salvation means that one is saved from death. Unless God intervenes to apply the blood of Jesus Christ to cover the repentant sinner’s past, there can be no salvation.
What scriptures directly state this? Ephesians 1:5, 7 says, “Jesus Christ… In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:14 states the same thing, verbatim. God gives grace—forgiveness—through Christ’s blood.
Recognize. You have a temporary, chemical, physical existence. There is nothing about being flesh that means you will live forever. Each of us is a heartbeat, stroke or accident away from our “appointment” with death. From the moment we were born, we began “winding down” toward a certain end. There is absolutely nothing you or I can do about this process other than extending our life a little through exercise, better eating habits, proper rest, etc. Of course, none of these have the power to grant or bring eternal life.
What role does faith play? Some believe that being “justified by faith” is all that Christians must be concerned with. They believe that those who teach that any works are necessary deny God’s gift of salvation. (We will explore this more fully later.)
Faith does play a role, but what is it?
Ephesians 2:8-9 expands on Romans 6:23: “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that [the faith] not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Salvation comes as a free gift by grace, through faith! And this leaves no room for anyone to boast that they earned it through their own goodness.
Paul explains that even the faith must be a gift. Otherwise, it would, like any other “work,” be generated by human effort. If God gave salvation on this basis, it would mean that a Christian earned it through human faith.
We have arrived at a most critical question. Since it is only true Christians who will be saved, then we must know what IS a true Christian. As with defining sin, we must also let the Bible define this, perhaps, greatest of all questions. What is a Christian?
If one desires to be SAVED, learns what he must be saved FROM, understands that it is a GIFT, but does not know HOW to receive this gift, what good does it do him?
Surely no sincere person who understands even the most basic teachings of God thinks that He will save those who are not Christians (Acts 4:12). Yet, almost no one understands the Bible definition of a Christian.
But you can understand!
Continuo next page.....