The Word of God – Showing us that God is Loving

The-Word-of-God-Showing-us-that-God-is-Loving

Verses for Today

1 John 4:8 He who does not love has not known God, because God is love.

1 John 4:9 In this the love of God was manifested among us, that God sent His only begotten Son into the world that we might have life and live through Him.

1 John 4:10 Herein is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son as a propitiation for our sins.

1 John 4:11 Beloved, if God has loved us in this way, we also ought to love one another.

Fellowship

The 10 commandments are found in chapter 20 of Exodus. In verse 12 God commands us to honor our father and mother. In verse 13, that we shall not kill, in verse 14, that we shall not commit adultery, and in verse 15, that we shall not steal. Look through all the rest of the commandments. You will see that they strongly testify that our God is loving.

[Exodus 20,] verses 12 through 14 reveal that God is a God of love. If we do not honor our parents, it means that we do not love them. Likewise, if we love others, we shall not steal from them. In Matthew 22:37-40 the Lord Jesus answered His opposers by implying that the whole law is fulfilled in loving God and man. We must not only love the Lord with our whole being, but we must also love others as we love ourselves. In Galatians 5:14 Paul says, “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, in this, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” If we consider the Ten Commandments in depth, we shall see that God’s love is revealed in them (Life Study of Exodus, p. 598).

If the whole law is fulfilled in loving God and man, then this really is telling us that God’s law testifies that our God is a God of love.

God’s nature is love, and therefore His love is unconditional. God loves everyone, even the unlovable ones… We love those who love us but what about those who are mean to us or different from us? God loves everyone including those who are not like us or those who do not always obey Him. (Church in Irvine, Lessons, God is Love).

The highest expression of God’s love is revealed in the New testament. God loves us and does not want us to suffer the punishment for sin. It was out of His love that He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to die for us. We should all realize the following three things. 

1) We are all sinners; this means that there is something in us that causes us to do the evil that we don’t want to do. The commandments show us a high standard and expose our fallen condition.

2) Jesus paid the price for our sins. When we believe in Him, He forgives us and takes away all our sins (1 John 4:10). Furthermore, He gives His eternal life to us (1 John 4:9). This is the love of God and it is real love. No other love compares to this. 

3) God does not require the sinner to become sinless before coming to Him. God loved the sinners first and took the first step in coming to them. When we consider our close family, our relatives, friends, and even our enemies, we have to realize that God loves them. He loves every human being and even came to be a man to die for them. Keeping God’s love in mind and enjoying and experiencing God’s love affects the way we see and treat others.

With a heart full of respect, honor, and worship for God’s love, you can sing hymn 30. Stanzas 1 and 3 are included here.

1
What love Thou hast bestowed on us,

We thank Thee from our heart;

Our Father, we would worship Thee

And praise for all Thou art.

3
Thou gavest Thy beloved Son

In love to come and die,

That we may be Thy many sons,

As heirs with Him, made nigh.

The Word of God – Life to Us and a Revelation of Who God Is

The-Word-of-God-Life-to-us-and-a-revelation-of-Who-God-is

Verses for Today

Psalm 119:16 I will take delight in Your statutes; / I will not forget Your word.

Psalm 119:140 Your word is very pure, / And Your servant loves it.

Exodus 34:28c And He wrote upon the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.

Fellowship

God’s words are contained in the Bible. When we read a verse, we have to realize that it is God’s speaking. God carries everything out by speaking. His creation was by His speaking; God said, and there was. Today, God nourishes His seekers through His word. The Lord Jesus said that man shall not live on bread alone but by every word that proceeds out through the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4). Even the 10 commandments can become life-giving to us if we take them as God’s words from out of His mouth.

At least thirty-seven times in Psalm 119 the psalmist refers to the law as God’s word. Instead of simply declaring that he loved God’s law, the psalmist declared that he loved God’s word. This proves that he thought of God’s law as His living word. (Life Study of Exodus, Msg 56, Section 2)

In our Christian life, we start out by receiving the many sweet provisions God has for us. This was also the experience of the children of Israel in the first part of the book of Exodus. They were saved from slavery, separated from Egypt, given water to drink and manna to eat. For us New Testament believers, God gave us His only Begotten Son to die for us and forgive us our sins. We were saved from a life of bondage in which we served sin as slaves. God separated us from the world and gave us living water to quench our thirst and living bread that we might have His eternal life. Our salvation experience matches the salvation experience of the children of Israel coming out of Egypt.  In our experience, we are learning how to come to God’s word for life. We have to turn our heart to the Lord and exercise our spirit to contact Him. We can say, “Thank you Lord Jesus for all you’ve done for me!” May all God’s children enjoy God’s full salvation.

In addition to taking care of all our problems and nourishing us, God’s word functions to reveal to us who God is, and this is most important. Let us now get into this.

Concerning the matter of law, there is an important principle: the kind of law a person makes expresses the kind of person that one is. For example, if criminals could make laws, they would legalize crime. Furthermore, a backward country would have rather barbaric laws, whereas a highly cultured society would have highly cultured laws. This principle applies also to God Himself. God is a Law-giver. In giving the law, He would never legalize crime or sin. He would not legalize theft or adultery, for He is not that kind of God. Only the god of witchcraft would legalize such things. A law is always a revelation of what kind of person has enacted that law.

The first function of the law is…to reveal God to us….I wish to emphasize the point that the primary function of the law is to reveal God to us. After God brought His people into His presence to have fellowship with Him, to serve Him, to contact Him, to worship Him, and even to feast with Him, He made Himself known to them. Prior to this time, God had not revealed to His people what kind of God He is….Only when we come to Exodus 20 do we have a revelation of what kind of God our God is (Life Study of Exodus, pp. 592-593).

We get to know our God in His word. His laws, statutes, ordinances, and all His words are not for us to take as lists of dos and don’ts. Rather, they are there that we might know God. He wants to be known. His laws are often referred to as His testimonies, meaning that they are there because God wants to be known by us. Finally, knowing who God is through His word is not for our mere acknowledgement. When the Bible says that God is love, it conveys God as love into us. By our contacting God in His word to get to know Him, who He is gets infused into us, making us the same as He is. Let us, in a pure way, read God’s word to get to know who He is. This is altogether worthwhile.

Gospel of Matthew – Taking the Way of Righteousness – Baptism

15-The-way-of-righteousness

Matthew 5:20 For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall by no means enter into the kingdom of the heavens.

Philippians 3:7-10 But what things were gains to me, these I have counted as loss on account of Christ. 8 But moreover I also count all things to be loss on account of the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, on account of whom I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as refuse that I may gain Christ 9 And be found in Him, not having my own righteousness which is out of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is out of God and based on faith, 10 To know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,

To live a life that takes the way of righteousness is to live, work, and act according to God, but, what does this mean?

The first part of living in the way of righteousness is to obtain righteousness objectively. This happens through our repenting of our sins and believing in the gospel of Jesus Christ. He died for us and if we confess our sins and believe in Him, then we receive Him as our life and God counts us righteous. This righteousness is not based on any of our doings, but it is altogether based on Christ’s doings. We call this our objective righteousness.

The second part of living in the way of righteousness happens when Christ continues to live in us, through us, and out of us. Anything good that comes out of us without our living Christ is not righteousness. Only that which comes out of the Christ in us is true righteousness. This is what we call our subjective righteousness.

In the Old Testament, people followed an outward law, something they thought would govern their behavior. The scribes and Pharisees attempted to keep the old law through their natural life (without Christ). When we come to Matthew chapters 5 through 7 the uplifted law of the kingdom is revealed. However, the New Testament shows us a new way, a new way to live that is different from the Old Testament. The new and uplifted law of the kingdom requires a new life – the divine life. Having this new life and living by it is the way of righteousness. This way actually fulfills the entire law.

What about Baptism?
Baptism was introduced at the beginning of the New Testament indicating a great change from the old way to a new way. The way to live righteously before God is to terminate our old, natural life and receive a new life and live by it.

The righteousness we are speaking of here is not something that we must work out—it is altogether something that is from Christ and is even Christ Himself.

Through the baptism of death we are terminated in the flesh; through the germination of Jesus’ baptism we are regenerated to be joined to the God of resurrection. The highest righteousness in the whole universe is termination and germination. If we want to achieve this highest righteousness, we must be terminated and then germinated by God. (Crystallization Study of Matthew, Message 6, Andrew Yu).

We encourage you to go to the Lord, praying about these things, even as you read the verses and consider the points in the attached slides below.

Taking the Way of Righteousness – Baptism – PDF
Taking the Way of Righteousness – Baptism – PowerPoint Slides

The Word of God – Showing us that God is Righteous

The-Word-of-God-Showing-us-that-God-is-Righteous

Verses for Today

Exodus 20:5b visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me,

Exodus 20:6 Yet showing lovingkindness to thousands of generations of those who love Me and keep My commandments.

Psalm 89:14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; / Lovingkindness and truth go before Your face.

1 Peter 2:23 Who being reviled did not revile in return; suffering, He did not threaten but kept committing all to Him who judges righteously;

Isaiah 56:1 Thus says Jehovah, / Preserve justice and do righteousness, / For My salvation is about to come / And My righteousness is about to be revealed.

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes, both to Jew first and to Greek.

Romans 1:17a For the righteousness of God is revealed in it

Fellowship

The Ten Commandments also reveal that our God is righteous. Because He is righteous, He will visit those who hate Him for three or four generations. If He failed to do this, He would not be a righteous God. He must act in this way in order to indicate that He is righteous. If you hate Him, He will deal with you according to His righteousness. At the same time, however, He is merciful and loving. (Life Study of Exodus, p. 599)

When God says He will do something, He is bound by His righteousness to carry it out. This should encourage all of us. No matter what is happening around us, God is righteous. He will reward the loving seekers and He will judge the evil. The Apostle Peter said of the Lord Jesus: “Who being reviled did not revile in return; suffering, He did not threaten but kept committing all to Him who judges righteously” (1 Peter 2:23). Because God is righteous we can be like the Lord Jesus and commit all things to Him.

God is just. He judges fairly. It is therefore quite reasonable that we also come to fear God for His righteousness. This is a healthy fear of God.

God is righteous. Although He loves us, when we do something that is not right in God’s eyes, there are consequences. We should heed God’s word and be mindful that there are consequences if we do not obey His word (Church in Irvine, Lessons, God is Righteous).

With this understanding of God’s righteousness, that it is an encouragement to us in the midst of the suffering in the world, and that it is something to be feared, we want to see another awesome application of God’s righteousness. It is because God is righteous, that we are ultimately saved.

According to John 3:16, salvation is out of God’s love, and according to Ephesians 2:5 and 8, salvation is by God’s grace. But in Romans 1:17 Paul says that salvation comes by the righteousness of God. Neither love nor grace is related to the law. No law forces us to love or to give grace. Whether we love or not we are still lawful, and whether we extend grace or not we are still legal. In a sense, God is not bound to love us. Furthermore, He is not legally bound to show us grace. Righteousness, on the contrary, is very much related to the law.

Because Christ has fulfilled all the righteous requirements of God’s law, God is bound to save us. If you say, “Lord Jesus, You are my Savior,” you can turn to God and say, “God, You must forgive me, whether You like it or not. You are righteous if You forgive me, but You are unrighteous if You do not forgive me.” We can say this to God because Christ has fulfilled all the righteous requirements of the law, and, as a result, God is bound by His righteousness to save us. Righteousness, therefore, is a mighty bond God cannot escape—He must save us because He is righteous. (The Conclusion of the New Testament, (Msgs. 001-020), Chapter 9, by Witness Lee)

Even if we don’t understand the depths of God’s salvation, we should all at least see this: We are saved because of God’s righteousness. 1 John 1:9 says: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” If you want to study this application of God’s righteousness a little more, we invite you to read more on this topic.