Monday, March 20, 2023

A Morning Bible Study - God's Love - True Christianity

Leonard V. Johnson     About

Let’s begin this Bible Study by quoting our Lord Jesus Christ –

“ … ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, And with all your mind.’ 38) This is the first and great commandment. 39) And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40) On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets’ – Matthew 22:37-40.

Here our Lord Jesus Christ simplified God’s holy, eternal, and relevant Law – summed up with the TEN COMMANDMENTS.

Our Lord Jesus Christ came to Earth to teach us how to apply God’s holy Law of love so we could live a happy and abundant life! – “ … ‘I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly’ – John 10:10.

His glorious light shall direct us toward the Way that leads to true happiness, true peace, and true security.

“For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments [which, for mankind, is the TEN COMMANDMENTS] are not burdensome” – 1 John 5:3.

This is a glorious truth that so few understand!

It’s vitally important that we properly understand the true intent and purpose of the LORD God’s holy and immutable Law. Let us allow His living word to show us that it is the very basis of true Christianity.
1) How does God’s living word define the very nature and character of the LORD God – the family of God?
“And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. GOD IS LOVE, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him” – 1 John 4:16.

The primary characteristic of the LORD God is love. And it is the greatest attribute that is transmitted to us by the Spirit of God – 1 Corinthians 13:13. God’s Spirit living within us imparts to our spirit His very traits! And the first and most important fruit of God’s Spirit is love.

The LORD God’s very character can be summed up in the word─ love. Truly, the LORD God’s love is an outflowing concern, of giving, serving, helping, and sharing.

God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ live in complete harmony of love – even before They created angels, and even before They created physical matter. Their love─ which is the Greek word agápē─ also regulates the conduct of all angels toward one another and toward their Creator.
2) What is God’s definition of sin?
“Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness - 1 John 3:4.

Lawlessness against the Government of God!

Even upon the very creation of angels the LORD God’s Law was in effect! –

“Bless the LORD, ye His angels, that excel in strength, that do His commandments, hearkening unto the voice of His word” – Psalm 103:20, KJV.

Angels obey the living word of the LORD God! Again, the LORD God’s Law── the basis of the Government of God── is love. The Law of God’s Government is THE WAY OF LIFE that causes and produces peace, happiness, prosperity, and well-being. Sin is the way of life that has caused all existing evils.

Does His word clearly tell us that one of the LORD God’s anointed cherubs sinned?

Yes─ we find this in Ezekiel chapter 28.

The LORD God created the angels first, for they shouted for joy when God laid the foundations of the Earth (Job 38:4-7). The LORD God created three archangels – Gabriel, Michael, and Lucifer (Luke 1:19; Jude 1:9; Dan. 10:13; 12:1; Rev. 12:7).

Note: Within God’s holy immutable COMPLETE living word─ no other archangels are mentioned. Ancient apocryphal literature (which is not part of the inspired living word of the Eternal One) contains several other names of archangels.

These archangels had special positions at God’s throne in the Third Heaven (Ezek. 28:14, 16).

Lucifer (Hêlēl (in Hebrew #1966), Lucifer in Latin) was eventually assigned to oversee the Earth, to prepare it for the arrival of mankind. A position he later came to resent.

Again, Note: Lucifer, later named Satan the Devil, did not want to continue in the beautification of the earth – preparing it for the age of man. And as I have said before - we learn from God’s living word that angels were never meant to rule the earth or the universe – “the world to come” cf. Hebrews 1:5; 2:5 and see also 1st Corinthians 6:3. He became filled with pride and jealousy – cf. Isaiah 14; Ezekiel 28.

Referring to the spirit power behind Tyrus, a wicked Phoenician king, the prophet Ezekiel writes:

“ … ‘You were the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 13) You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The sardius, topaz, and diamond, Beryl, onyx, and jasper, Sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes Was prepared for you on the day you were created.’

“ ’You [Lucifer, not King Tyrus] were the anointed cherub who covers [God’s throne]; I established you; You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones [in Heaven]. 15) You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, Till iniquity [sin] was found in you’” – Ezekiel 28:12-15.

Sin is the violation of the LORD God’s holy and immutable Law of love.

God’s living word reveals to us that Lucifer became the very first sinner. Vanity, lust, and greed were found in him. He became jealous over the prospect that humans would eventually have the opportunity to become a God! – a very member of the family of God!

Jesus Christ in John 10:30-38 – a wonderful little scene there where He’s confronting some of the local religious folks. And He quotes from the Book of Psalms, and He even says, ’ You are Gods [‘ᵉlōhîm].’ Even in the Old Testament! Psalm 82:6 – this truth is right there in black and white! But for most people in this world, it just passes them by. They have no idea what their future is. You know, in Romans 8 – you read through there – you hear phrases like, “sons of God,” and “the Spirit of sonship,” and “children of God.” You can go through Galatians 3 and hear, “children of God … heirs according to the promise.” There are many more such Scriptures – also Hebrews 2:9-11 – talking about Jesus Christ and saying, “bringing many sons into glory.” And, 1 John 3:1-2 – the people of the world do not understand what you are about to read – but many of you reading this have heard it before, and you do understand it! I just hope that we always deeply appreciate it! “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2) Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He [shall appear], we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” We will be like the resurrected Jesus Christ!

Lucifer became jealous and envious of the Word (now known as our Lord Jesus Christ) and attempted to take control of the universe. The prophet Isaiah adds that Lucifer, in his vanity, said, “’ I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God’” – this shows that Lucifer had a dominion, a responsibility, on earth – “’ above the stars of God [angels, Rev. 1:20]; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north [the location in the upper heavenly realms of God’s throne]. 14) I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High [speaking here of God the Father] – Isaiah 14:13-14.

Lucifer apparently attempted to exalt himself above God – to take control of Heaven.

As the Book of Revelation brings out, this resulted in a war in Heaven in which Lucifer – now called the Enemy, or Satan – and his angels (now demons) were cast out: “And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, 8) but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. 9) So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” – Revelation 12:7-9.
3) Are all TEN of the LORD God’s Law, for mankind, listed conveniently in the living word of God?
Yes─ we find them listed for us in the Books of Exodus and Deuteronomy.

“ ‘I AM the LORD your God, … 1 You shall have no other gods before Me. 2 You shall not make for yourself a carved image─ any likeness of anything … 3 You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, … 4 Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. … 5 Honor your father and your mother, … 6 You shall not murder. 7 You shall not commit adultery. 8 You shall not steal. 9 You shall not bear false witness … 10 You shall not covet …’” – Exodus 20:2, 3-4, 7, 8, 12, 13-15, 16, 17.

How do we know that there are exactly TEN!?

“So he [the prophet Moses] was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he neither ate bread nor drank water. And He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the TEN COMMANDMENTS” – Exodus 34:28.

His Law which existed long before Moses – the Law which tells us what is wrong and what is right – for the apostle Paul writes, “ … I would not have known sin except through the Law. …” – Romans 7:7.
4) Did our Lord Jesus Christ come to do away with God’s Law!?
No, of course not! Our Lord and Savior made a statement that even to this day the greater majority of our peoples do not understand! – or they refuse to accept as TRUTH!

’ Do not think …’ – in other words, ‘DO NOT THINK THIS!’ “ … ‘that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets [meaning, the first five Books of the Bible, including the Books of the prophets]. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill – Matthew 5:17.

And, sadly, I have personally heard many a minister say that the word ‘fulfill’ means that He did it all for us and that we don’t have to do it at all. The word ‘fulfill’ actually is plēroō in Greek, meaning “to do them.” Because someone had to completely do Almighty God’s Law perfectly. And He certainly did. They had to be obeyed perfectly.

Verse 18 – ’ For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away [a reference to Matthew 24:35 and Revelation 21:1], one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the Law till all is fulfilled.’ - Jesus elevated God’s Law to A SPIRITUAL PLANE UNDER THE NEW COVENANT.

So, by all except our Lord Jesus─ there was a spiritual inability. A spiritual lack, – that prevented God’s holy commandments to be kept perfectly. But brethren, we shouldn’t have that lack; we should have the Spirit of God in our minds and in connection with our spirit. God’s Law is spiritual. And CHRIST IN US we can truly keep and OBEY His Law in their spiritual intent.
5) What about the living Church of God!? ─ the very Church our Lord Jesus built. Does God’s living word show us that the Church would be teaching and obeying the TEN COMMANDMENTS along with other instructions of our Lord Jesus Christ!?
Friends, this glorious message of the gospel of the kingdom of God is going out to the Gentile nations, WARNING them. Yet, we don’t expect them – the majority – to receive this message gracefully. Surely, Moslems will not accept God’s glorious message. And, if one does – it’s extremely rare and a truly glorious blessing from our heavenly Father!

Indeed, our Lord Jesus has commissioned:

’ Go therefore and make disciples [which includes teaching] of ALL THE NATIONS, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20) TEACHING THEM to observe all things that I have commanded you; …’ – Matthew 28:19-20.

The Church of Jesus Christ Online Ministries and our affiliated churches follow the admonition of Jesus when He said, ’ But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’ – Matthew 10:6, and of course to the potential sheep of Christ. Our mission is to teach the Word of God, the Truth of God, and the ultimate Plan of God to the ‘lost sheep of Israel’ and to testify of Jesus Christ, of His forgiveness, of His atoning sacrifice, of the opportunity for all of us to have Jesus Christ as our great High Priest and to live under the promises of the New Covenant, and to someday be a part of the glorious Kingdom of God!

Now we believe that phrase, ‘lost sheep,’ has a much deeper, spiritual, and heightened meaning. Our Lord Jesus might very well have said, ‘Go to the lost Church members.’ ‘Go to those people who thought they were in a good organization, they didn’t realize their leaders were corrupt and their doctrines were impure – or highly compromised.’ ‘Go to those lost sheep!’ I think it has a double meaning! And, I personally have tried showing some people who think that they are in a good organization. Yet, sadly, their leader's true spirit is not of God. In fact, those same leaders were going to deliver me up before their council and “scourge” me in their church. It can be humbling at times the feeling of loneliness in the faith – but if one mustard seed will take root, then I have done my job.

The LORD God’s living Church today echoes the word of King David and follows God’s Law of love.
6) If we, brethren, receive, renew daily in our mind (Rom. 12:2), and exercise God’s Spirit, will the love of God enable us to ‘fulfill’─ to obey─ God’s holy and immutable Law!?
“Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit [which] was given to us” – Romans 5:5.

“Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the Law. … 10) Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the Law” – Romans 13:8-10.
7) 7) Is it possible to “earn” eternal salvation!?

Our Lord Jesus Christ says, “ … ‘Whoever desires to come after Me, …’ – what!? “ … ‘deny himself, …’

There was “a certain ruler [a Jew] asked Him, saying, ‘Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’” And, to point out that the commandments He speaks of are God’s and not the Sanhedrin’s, He quotes some – “ … ‘You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’The certain ruler says, “All these things I have kept from my youth.” And, surely, with 603 additional ones.

“So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, ‘You still lack one thing. Sell [which certainly also means "deny"] all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’ – Luke 18:18-22.

Have you denied thyself!? Have you – as Abraham did – left your ‘father’s house’!? Have you taken up your cross!? And it will be a cross if you truly follow Jesus Christ!

Now I tell you – with all the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ – this world’s “Traditional Christianity” is NOT teaching you to follow Jesus Christ today! As an example: Our Lord Jesus Christ DID NOT keep any Christmas, Easter, or even any New Year’s Eve! “O’,” you exclaim, “we want to follow the traditions of the world!” Those all originated from paganism. And, I tell you this day the majority of those calling themselves “Christian” don’t follow Him! They don’t observe the customs He did. And, they would be aghast to keep the seventh-day Sabbath along with the commanded annual feasts of the LORD – calling them ‘Jewish holidays.’

Our Lord Jesus Christ says, “ …’ follow Me!’” So, why don’t you look into your own life and then see what He did – and follow Him! Now, many think, preach, and teach that one shouldn’t teach what the apostle Paul taught. Now, let it be known – I have come across in my research a great many churches of this world downright rejecting the apostle Paul.

Friends, wake up and see the truth! And I know that will bring a lot of persecution of course. People are so prejudiced about what God’s living word actually teaches. And I ask you – is it not clear that there are, even today, two groups!?

What I mean by “groups” is that essentially, there were the true Christians – that had a direct connection to the apostles John and Philip within Asia Minor, and then there were others who were associated with the Greco-Roman confederation of churches that began to emerge even in the first century in Alexandria, Jerusalem, and in Rome.

To follow our Lord Jesus Christ in faith means to obey His commands!

However, we cannot “earn” salvation by keeping His commandments. Salvation unto eternal life is a free gift─

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord – Romans 6:23.

“The wages of sin is death”! Ask yourself, “Do I agree with that!?” Do you agree with Jesus Christ!? Because, after all, He is the LIVING word of God. And, the Bible is the very same word of God in print. It’s the same word – there is no difference.

So, the wages of sin – wages being something you receive, or what you get for what you’ve done. What you have earned by what you have performed. Capiche? And if sin is what you’ve done, then God’s word says, death. But, according to all those comments on my Facebook news feed the wages of sin is eternal life, not death. It is eternal life in heaven or eternal life in hell. But have you read the rest of this verse!?

‘the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord’!

Ask yourself again, “Do I agree with this!?” Do you believe that you have an immortal soul? Because if you do, then you don’t agree with God. Well, sadly, not very many people agree with God – not very many people do. Have I planted a seed in your heart and mind!? Or just completely turned you off!?

Eternal life is clearly a gift from Almighty God─ it is not something you can earn by only keeping the holy and immutable Law of God. Yet, no one will enter into the kingdom of God as a sinner. Again─

“Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness” - 1 John 3:4.

Following and obeying the LORD God─ His law of love─ enables one to become more like God, until finally BORN AGAIN into the Spirit family at the resurrection, then possessing in full measure God’s holy, righteous, loving character – 1 John 3:9. □

Scriptural Index

Old Testament - Exodus 20:2, 3-4, 7, 8, 12, 13-15, 16, 17; 34:28; Job 38:4-7; Psalm 82:6; 103:20; Isaiah 14:13-14; Ezekiel 28:12-15, 16; Daniel 10:13.
New Testament - Matthew 5:17, 18; 10:6; 22:37-40; 24:35; 28:19-20; Luke 1:19; 18:18-22; John 10:10, 30-38; Romans 5:5; 6:23; 7:7; 8:14-16; 12:2; 13:8-10; 1 Corinthians 6:13; 13:13; Galatians 3:26-29; Hebrews 1:5; 2:5; 1 John 3:1-2, 9; 4:16; 5:3; Revelation 1:20; 12:7-9; 21:1. 

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