Homepage Latest update: 3/22/04
Are you missing out on the best things in life when
the best gift you could give or receive is free?
You probably get lots of junk mail ADVERTISING FREE GIFTS...all hyped to sound unbelievably fantastic. But of course there are always conditions--One time offer...Reply before deadline...One to a customer...Not available any where else...Limited supply...Just fill out the coupon and send your check for this free gift...
Is there anything in this world that's really free? Obviously all these gimmicks are just a play on human nature to get you hooked into buying something you probably don't need and don't want. And in most cases the free gifts are probably just plain junk.
If you could ask for just one gift that could make the rest of your life a true joy, what would you choose?
How would you like to receive a truly free gift, something everyone in the whole world needs, something that is not just useless junk or a come-on, but is truly a Gem with EVERLASTING VALUE, a PEARL of GREAT PRICE...ABSOLUTELY FREE.
You might ask, "WHAT IS THIS GIFT, this PEARL of GREAT PRICE"?
It is UNBREAKABLE. It cannot be stolen, and it will NEVER GROW OLD, DIE, or DECAY.
Many SONGS have been WRITTEN ABOUT IT...it has been CALLED a MANY SPLENDID THING...
It IS absolutely EVERYTHING you could ever rightfully WANT to RECEIVE FROM or GIVE TO anyone...It is called the GREATEST GIFT in the Bible (1 Corinthians 13:13).
This gift is very RARE in the world today, but the SUPPLY is UNLIMITED! However it CANNOT be BOUGHT anywhere and you CANNOT SELL it. The offer is UNCONDITIONAL and an unlimited supply of this gift will always be available to anyone. And it IS ABSOLUTELY FREE, but there are conditions for you to receive it..
Many in the world seek after fame, fortune, power, knowledge, wisdom, understanding of prophecies, etc., but without the greatest gift, the gifted tongue is as a sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal. And even with all your wealth, power, wisdom, knowledge or faith you will be nothing without this gift (1 Cor 13:1-3).
What is this truly GREATEST GIFT?
As you may have already perceived from the title, the greatest gift is the GIFT of LOVE... But not just any kind of love, it is a LOVE described in the Bible, the world's most authoritative book on love.
HOW would you LIKE to have an unlimited supply of that LOVE to TREAT OTHERS--your WIFE, HUSBAND, CHILDREN, PARENTS, FRIENDS, NEIGHBORS, and EVEN your ENEMIES with SUPREME PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GENTLENESS, MERCY, FORGIVENESS...to GIVE a SMILE, HELP, ENCOURAGEMENT to others, or even CORRECTION when its needed, but in MEEKNESS and LOVE just as you would like others to DO UNTO YOU?
Truly, What the World NEEDS NOW is this Greatest Gift. To RECEIVE this gift you need to UNDERSTAND WHAT IT IS, where it comes from and how to receive it.
The gift of LOVE is like a seed that GROWS--like a child grows from infancy to maturity--from love for self and love for others, to intimacy in marriage and love and care for children, to love for God. Love is not an inborn gift or trait. It is an acquired quality that must be learned--though some of its physical expressions may be natural or instinctive. At BIRTH all have the gift of physical life (Genesis 2:7), but "no man knows either love or hatred by all that is before them" (Ecclesiastes 9:1).
LOVE is an ATTITUDE of the mind (intellect) and heart (feelings or emotions), a WAY of THINKING that translates into ones actions and behaviors. It can produce powerful feelings that energize and motivate one to great heights - that overpowering feeling described in the song. It works in the brain by stimulating the flow of chemical neurotransmitters called endorphins and dopamines--the feel good hormones--and these produce their beneficial effects by stimulating other processes that take away tensions and pain and boost the immune system and healing.
The opposite effects of love are brought about by evil thoughts and attitudes such as envy, jealousy, anger, contentiousness and hate, which cause the outpouring of the stress or "fight or flight" hormones. These prepare the body for an emergency situation but their prolonged effect is stress, suppression of the immune system, emotional turmoil and wearing down of the body and health.
The ways of TRUE LOVE are summed up in the principles of God's law. These biblical principles are not burdensome Old Testament restrictions, they are the way to love one another. They reveal what we often fail to do for others and what we should not do that hurts others and destroys loving relationships (Exodus 20:1-17; Matthew 5:1-48; 22:36-40; Romans 13:8-10; Galatians 5:14). Jesus summed up the law of God in the two great commandments,
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind...[and]
"You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Mat 22:3640).
The commandments reveal how we should love our neighbor - family, friends and enemies alike - as ourself. For example:
"Honor your father and your mother...You shall not murder (or hate)...You shall not commit adultery...or steal...or bear false witness against your neighbor...You shall not covet (or lust after what is not yours)." (Deut 5:16-21; Mat 19:16-21).
"Love works no ill toward his neighbor, for love is the fulfilling of the law...Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another [fulfills] the law. (Rom 13:8-10).
Love for God is summed up in the first four of the ten commandments, though all also apply toward God "for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?" (1 John 4:21; Ex 20:2-11; Deut 5:6-15). God says:
Total committed love must be of the heart (feelings, emotions and compassion - meaning, with passion), the soul (the physical energies and actions of our being), and the mind (our thoughts, intellect and understanding). "We love Him because He first loved us" (1 John 4:19).
"Therefore know this day, and consider it in your heart, that the Lord He is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is no other. You shall therefore keep His statutes and His commandments which I command you this day, that it may go well with you, and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days upon the earth, which the Lord your God gives you, forever" (Deut 4:39-40).
- "I am the Lord your God... (the One who created us and gives us life and every good gift (James 1:17) and delivers us from eternal destruction) You shall have no other gods before Me.
- "You shall not make...(or worship) any image...nor serve them...
- "You shall not take God's name in vain (in profanity or as having no authority or power)...
- "Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you..." (His Sabbaths are His appointed times for us to rest from our labors and fellowship with and learn from Him and His people, those who obey Him - Heb 10:24-25)
HOW CAN YOU RECEIVE and GROW IN the GIFT of LOVE? Where do you start? Maybe you were deprived or missed out as an infant and weren't nourished in a way to build even the beginnings of love for self--self-esteem or self-acceptance. One must start at whatever point they are now and grow from there.
As stated at the beginning, the GIFT of Love is FREE and the OFFER is UNCONDITIONAL. You CANNOT EARN it, BUY it with money, DEMAND it, or WORK it up. It is a FREE GIFT without any strings attached.
But you MUST learn to DISTINGUISH between and choose the GENUINE PEARL of TRUE LOVE from the fake gems of this world's counterfeit "love" or self indulgence which is LUST and covetousness. The choice is between the ways of "blessing or cursing," between "life and good" (the way of love) and "death and evil" (the way of selfish lust) (Deuteronomy 30:15-20).
The Bible refers to the COUNTERFEIT love of the world as LUST, which is the selfish desires of the mind and flesh (1 John 2:15-17). Lust is covetous, possessive and controlling and seeks self-gratification. It corrupts the mind and emotions and leads to evil thoughts. Evil thoughts cast out love and are destructive.
The lusts of the flesh lead to sin, evil and death (Rom 8:3-8; Eph 4:22; James 1:13-15):
"adultery, fornication, uncleanness, licentiousness (unrestrained lawlessness), idolatry, sorcery (Gr. "pharmakeia"-witchcraft, drug use), hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like..."(Galatians 5:19-21).In a more subtle way, "The love (lust or desire) for money is a root of all kinds of evil," which results in many sorrows (1 Tim 6:10).
"Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your lusts" (James 4:1-3).
"joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control" (Galatians 5:22-23).The major terms translated as love in the New Testament come from two Greek root words-"philia" and "agape". PHILIA is human love, a "natural" affection based on love for self. It develops into friendship and having and sharing common interests with others. This is a give and take relationship based on personal and mutual needs, especially for acceptance and companionship. Philia is often combined with other words such as in philautos (love of self), philadelphia (brotherly love), philandros (love of husband), philoteknos (love of one's children, Titus 2:4), philotheos (love of God), philosophia (love of wisdom), etc.
"Love (agape) suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely; does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. LOVE NEVER FAILS" (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).
"Simon...do you love (agapao) me more than these?" Peter replied, "Yes Lord: You know that I love (phileo) you" (John 21:15-17).Before their conversion and receiving of the Holy Spirit, Peter and all the other disciples forsook Jesus during His time of trial (Mat 26:56). Philia relationships often break up in time of trials or when one no longer gets what they want or need from the other. To overcome human selfishness and weaknesses and emotional ups and downs, one must reach the higher level of godly or agape love.
"God has not given us the Spirit of fear, but of power, and of love (agape), and of a sound mind" (2 Tim 1:7).God's love for man is doing what is best for and needed by man, not always what man desires (ie. few yet recognize the need for Christ's sacrifice for their sins, John 3:16). For man to show agape love to others and to God, he must first receive it from God (1 John 4:19), for only God has such unselfish love.
GOD IS the only SOURCE OF True agape LOVE.
"Love is of God... for God is love" (I John 4:7-8).LOVE IS GOD'S CHARACTER! God's love is long-suffering (patient), gentle, kind, and it corrects for our good (Hebrews. 12:6). God is the GIVER of all good gifts (James 1:17). God's gift of love is UNCONDITIONAL (irrevocable, Romans 11:29)--it is always available to any and all who will accept and receive it. He says in Isaiah 55:1-3,
"Everyone that thirsts, come...buy...eat... buy WITHOUT money and without PRICE."But there are CONDITIONS for receiving it.
"The LOVE of God is SHED ABROAD in our hearts BY the HOLY SPIRIT which is GIVEN UNTO US" (Rom 5:5).
Jesus Christ taught how we may receive God's gift of love.
Key #1 - ASK
"ASK, and it shall be given you... For everyone that asks receives... If you...being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!" (Matthew 7:7-8,11).
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God" (Philippians 4:6).
"If any of you lacks...let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach...But let him ASK IN FAITH, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord..."(James 1:5-7 and 4:3).
Key #2 - BELIEVING FAITH
As noted above, a second key to receive is that you must believe.
"[For] without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6).Our faith is proven by our works, for
"faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead" (James 2:17).so when we do receive love, we must also use it by doing good works...returning love to the giver and giving love to others.
And True "Faith Works by Love" (Gal 5:6),
Key #3 - SEEK
In addition to asking in believing faith, Jesus said to
"SEEK and you shall Find; KNOCK, and it shall be opened unto you...and he that seeks, finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened...(Mat 7:7-8).How can you seek love?
Key #4 - ACTION
Love REQUIRES ACTION! It is good to tell someone that you love them. But as the saying goes, "Actions speak louder than words." If our actions toward others do not reflect true concern for them through patience, kindness, gentleness, encouragement, etc. (1 Cor 13:1-8), it is not true love. And words without action are like faith without works, they are dead (James 2:8-20). Open rebuke is considered better than secret (hidden or unexpressed) love (Prov 27:5). Even faith works by love (Gal 5:6). Show those you love how much they mean to you by what you say and do to make them feel accepted and important to you.
Key #5 - GIVE
A VITAL KEY given in Luke 6:38 is:
"GIVE, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that you mete withal it shall be measured to you again"To put it simply, to continue to RECEIVE GOD'S GIFT of LOVE one must GIVE it AWAY.
"We love Him (give love back to God) because He first loved us" (1 John 4:19) "and gave Himself for [us]" (Galatians 2:20).GIVE is the OPPOSITE of GET. The Get attitude is inward and selfish, not law abiding, whereas love is outward, giving and law abiding. Jesus warned,
"because lawlessness will abound, the love of many shall grow cold" (Matthew 24:12).Love cannot be bottled up, hoarded, stored or kept for oneself, It MUST BE PASSED ON to others and back to God, its source. It could be likened to electrical energy, which must flow in a complete circuit and return to its source to produce its wonderful effects--producing works of light, heat, power, etc. If you want love don't be like a RESISTOR or broken wire that blocks the flow of love by trying to get it just for yourself. Love must flow, it must be returned to its source to produce its continuous and lasting beneficial effects of peace and joy.
Jesus said, "Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets" (Matthew 7:12).
The law says, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 22:39).
"'I love God,' and hates his brother, he is a liar, for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?" (1 John 4:20).
Key #6 - GRATITUDE
When we go through trials and TESTS in our personal life, whether it be family problems, health, business or whatever, we should be aware of the many ways that God sheds His love abroad to us and not reject it or fail to be thankful. We must return it and pass it on.
God's love may come through others by their offers of help, extending of HOSPITALITY, cards of encouragement, etc.--often at times and in ways we are UNABLE to RECIPROCATE. Don't let a false sense of pride cause you to reject that love. And don't forget to return the love by SHOWING GRATITUDE and passing the love on to others. For,
"whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?" (1 John 3:17).Remember "THE GOLDEN RULE," "Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the law and the prophets" (Mat 7:12).
Key #7 - LOVE MUST GROW!
LOVE, which is a fruit of God's spirit (Galatians 5:22), cannot remain dormant and inactive. It must be renewed day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16), and to renew it we must continually stir it up by applying it (2 Timothy 1:6). Love must become our WAY OF LIFE or it will dry up and die like a plant without water or a battery that isn't continually recharged.
For love to become our way of life, LOVE MUST GROW in us as a seed grows from germination to maturity. Jesus instructs us to, "[Become] perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect" (Matthew 5:48).
Proverbs 1:7 says, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of Knowledge," but the Scriptures also reveal that that is only the beginning for,
"There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear" (1 John 4:18).Love must grow from its infant beginnings to maturity and perfection. Growing in love is a process that goes through several STAGES or LEVELS of DEVELOPMENT just as growing physically, mentally and spiritually from birth to maturity.
"God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind" (2 Timothy 1:7).
One of the most basic needs of all humans is to be loved. A newborn INFANT MUST LEARN to properly LOVE and accept itself. It learns this from love received from its parents.
A child develops the foundations of self love, which (in psychological terms) are part of its self identification or ego and self esteem (self-acceptance), in the first few years of life. A child naturally seeks to satisfy the innate needs of the flesh and mind--seeking nourishment, comfort, stimulation, acceptance, companionship, security, accomplishment, etc., which are a part of the natural survival and development drives placed in humans by God. The infant discovers itself, explores its environment and becomes attached or bonded to those things that give it pleasure, such as its mother through nursing, because they fulfill its needs for food, comfort, affection, security and stimulation.
SELF-ACCEPTANCE--LOVE of oneself--is the first stage of Love. It is learning to accept oneself as being worthy of the pleasures and joys and labors of life, which is a gift of God (Ecclesiastes 3:13). It is natural for an infant to learn to LOVE ITSELF under normal conditions. "No man ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it" (Ephesians. 5:29).
This basic FOUNDATION of self-love is essential for learning and growing in the other stages or levels of love. For how can one love others, as the law says "Love your neighbor as yourself" (Lev 19:18; Mat 19:19) if he doesn't love himself? God loves Himself for God is love! (I John 4:8) and He loves us as Himself (1 John 3:16-17). We are to become part of His family (Eph 1:3-10; 3:15). It is natural for parents to love their children as an extension of themselves, but unfortunately some grow up without this natural affection from parents because many in society have rejected God's instruction and love (Ex. 20:4).
There is NO GREATER GIFT that parents can give to their children than true godly love. That includes their example of love to one another as well as to their children, anything less is not true godly love, and may cause insecurity and emotional difficulty for them in the future. A child learns what it lives. A child that is given affection learns to love both itself and the source of its affection and comforts. A child that lives with acceptance, learns to accept itself and others. But a child that lives with abuse learns to be defensive and hostile. How unfortunate it is for a child to be born out of wedlock or to grow up in a broken or contentious family or to unloving and abusive parents.
Love from both the mother and father is needed for the child to build the foundations for a complete and balanced mature love. A daughter will learn and mimic her mothers example and learn to relate to the example set by her father and visa versa for sons. When a child is taught the way of love by the example of its parents, he will not depart from it when he grows up (Prov 22:6).
A CHILD bonds with parents when all is well and learns to show appreciation and RETURN their LOVE when the parents nourishing love and attention satisfy its needs. However, an uncared for, abused or abandoned child may learn insecurity, rejection and fear and respond by crying out demanding someone attend to its needs. Eventually an abused or ignored child may learn to feel it is the cause of its rejection and abuse and develop feelings of guilt and unworthiness. Such deep seated emotional feelings may block the development of normal self love and self acceptance and even cause them to reject love from others and from God resulting in the inability to progress to higher levels of love.
But ALL HOPE is NOT LOST for those who have been deprived of parental love in childhood. The good news is they can turn to God, who is our loving Father, and Jesus Christ His Son for comfort, forgiveness, love and healing.
We can come to understand the great love God has for us because from before the foundation of the world, before God created man on the earth, God who became the Father (Eph 3:14-15), and the Word (John 1:1-3,14) who became Jesus Christ the Son were willing to make the surpeme sacrifice to save us. Jesus Christ, the first born Son of God, willingly came down and gave His life to pay the penalty for the sins of all mankind, which cut us off from God. He made intercession to redeem us from death, the penalty for sin, so we could become the children of God (Isa 53:12; Rom 5:10; 1 Pet 1:17-21).
"For God so loved [us] that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved" (John 3:16-17).When we accept God's love by believing in Him (Heb 11:6), seeking Him and His righteousness (Mat 6:33). and exercising the faith of God, which works by love (Galations 5:6), He will give us the power to become sons of God (John 1:12) and to overcome feelings of rejection, guilt and unworthiness (Psalm 103:1-12; 2 Tim 1:7). He gives us HOPE.
"Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit [which] he has given to us" (Rom 5:5).And when we choose His way, He says,
"no one who has left house or brothers and sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for my sake and the gospel's, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time-houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands..." (Mk 10:29-30) ...a family to love us and to love.
Companionship - having friends - is another basic human need. Loneliness is a scourge to the soul, it withers the heart and spirit. But how does one grow to have friends?
Jesus said the second great commandment is, "You shall love (agape) your neighbor as yourself" (Mat 22:39-40).
Friendship and brotherly love (philadelphia) is a second stage in the development and growth toward mature agape love. Philia love involves sharing and giving - give and take. But this attitude of sharing and outgoing love and concern for others is contrary to our own SELFISH nature, which is self-centered and sometimes hostile toward others and especially toward God (Rom. 8:7).
Growing in brotherly love means we must overcome our inherent selfishness by learning to SHARE our thoughts, talents, energies, time and possessions with others for the mutual benefit of all (1 Cor 12:7-31). We must learn how to SERVE others by sharing and giving of ourselves in service to them. WE MUST GROW BEYOND the "Me and My" level of thinking to the "We and Our" level for a more mature philia love. We begin to include others into our circle as friends and close companions, those whom we are able to share with.
When a child begins sharing its feelings of satisfaction and joy with its mother and father and other family members, it is learning to Love (philia) them AS ITSELF. As the child grows, it learns to share toys, time, talents, common interests, etc. and to make commitments to friends and companions for mutual benefit and satisfaction, but parental guidance is important to help the child overcome selfish tendencies. This stage is a GIVE and RECEIVE sharing relationship.
However when self-love doesn't grow up and mature, the child will remain selfish and inward. When a child is deprived of love and affection it may either withdraw or become demanding, possessive and controlling because of its dependency and needs for acceptance, love and stimulus. Children who are ignored or abandoned often withdraw and wither away and may even die from lack of stimulus, a condition called "give-up-itis." Abused children sometimes learn to fend for themselves, but develop confused values and behaviors. A child that is indulged by its parents and is without proper instruction, correction and discipline will likely become spoiled and grow more selfish and vain (Proverbs 29:15), stunting the development of mature philia love.
Unfortunately most people in the world fail to understand true love and how it works. The key to happiness is learning how to GIVE--learning how to LOVE.
Jesus said, "It is MORE BLESSED TO GIVE then to receive" (Acts 20:35).
This is a principle based on faith. The blessings to the giver may not be immediately apparent, but, as the principle is applied, a second principle also begins to kick in and works to the benefit of the giver,
"Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom" (Lk 6:38).The more you give the more you will receive! It is a law that God backs up.
"But this I say, He which sows sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which sows bountifully shall reap also bountifully" (2 Cor 9:6).
"So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace (favor) abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, have an abundance for every good work" (vs 7).God's greatest single attribute is love (agape)-- outgoing concern for others. And He desires that each one of us develop this same attribute in our own lives to the full. He wants us to learn to GIVE and SHARE with others -- to become out going and concerned about the needs of others.
"Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.' Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You...' And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.' (Mat 25:34-39).Do you want friends? BECOME A FRIEND to someone who needs a friend!
"A man who has friends must himself be friendly, and there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother" (Prov 18:24).
"A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for adversity" (17:17).
And, "Faithful are the wounds of a friend (he will give hearty counsel...and sharpen the countenance of his friend), but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful" (Prov 27:6,9,17).
What about the more intimate relationships of boys and girls as they mature? It is only natural that they should become interested in one another and this is good, for God created humans as male and female. And God made it so that at adolescence hormones would bring about many changes in boys and girls stirring up sexual drives that would draw them together.
"So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them...But GOD Created SEX for MARRIAGE! And God Ordained the covenant of Marriage between a (one) man and a (one) woman (Gen 2:18, 20-25; 1 Cor 7:2-3,10-11,39; 1 Tim 3:2,12; Tit 1:6) to bless and protect them and family relationships. Marriage is another level for the growth of love. The marriage covenant is a promise to faithfully love one another for life and that includes fulfilling one another's needs for intimacy (1 Cor 7:2-5).
"And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good" (Genesis 1:27,31).
"Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined to his wife: and they shall become one flesh" (Gen 2:24-25; Mat 19:5). (See "The Marriage Covenant")Therefore, one should not play around and stir up the sexual passions by intimate kissing and necking before they are ready to make a lifelong commitment to one another in marriage, as this is likely to lead to sins of fornication and adultery.
"Can a man take fire to his bosom, and his clothes not be burned" (Prov 6:27).The sexual union consummates a marriage in God's sight "and they shall become one flesh". And God put the man and woman in the garden of Eden (a Hebrew word meaning PLEASURE or delight). What a place for a honeymoon!
"And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed" (or not disappointed as the Hebrew word "buwth" also means. (Gen 2:25).What a plan! God created the first man and woman to become His children and then involved them in His plan to produce children for Him Gen 1:28; Ex 4:22-23; Deut 6:1-9; Rom 8:16-21). But God created SEX and ordained MARRIAGE not only for reproduction, but also for the BONDING of a man and woman into a lifelong FAMILY RELATIONSHIP for growing in philia (human love and friendship) and to learn agape love (God's giving love) for one another. And as it says in the book of Ecclesiastes,
This (marriage) too is a gift from God, the giver of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17).
"Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one be warm alone?" (Eccl 4:9-11).
"that in the last days perilous time shall come. For men (and women) will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money (many marry for money)...unloving, unforgiving, slanders, without self-control, brutal...lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God...from such people turn away" (2 Tim 3:1-6).
"But a prudent wife (or husband) is from the Lord" (Prov 19:14).Establishing a right and loving marital relationship begins with meeting and getting to know the right person through proper DATING, COURTSHIP and BETROTHAL.
"With thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God" (Phil 4:6).
"Ask and you will receive, that your joy may be full" (John 16:24).
"Moses, BECAUSE OF THE HARDNESS OF YOUR HEARTS, permitted...divorce...but from the beginning it was not so. ...whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality ("porneia"), and marries another, commits adultery..." (Mat 19:8-9).God's covenant with ancient Israel was likened to a marriage covenant (Jer 3:14), but, because Israel committed adultery with the gods of other nations (idolatry), God put her away and gave her a bill of divorce (vs. 8). Without a change of heart and a total commitment to loving one's spouse a divorce and remarriage to another is unlikely to fare any better, especially when you consider the confusion and hurt caused to the children and extended family.
"Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial (an epithet of Satan)? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?" (2 Cor 6:14-15).However, when an unbelieving spouse shows by his or her actions of mental, emotional or physical abuse or persecution that they are not pleased to dwell together with the believer, then they may separate.
But if the two love and respect each other, they should stay together "For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; else were your children unclean, but now they are holy" (1 Cor 7:10-14,16).
"A brother or sister is not under bondage in such cases; but God has called us to peace" (1 Cor 7:12-15).The believer in such cases as well as the widow or widower is at liberty to be married to whom they will; "only in the Lord" (1 Cor 7:27-28, 39).
To the converted believer he says, "You are bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. Brethren, let each one remain with God in that calling in which he was called" (vs 23-24).But if they marry "only in the Lord," that is to someone dedicated to pleasing God, then they can be helpers to each others joy and faith (Rom 15:1-2; 2; Cor 1:24) honoring one another as heirs together of the grace of life (1 Pet 3:7).
"Marriage is honorable in all and the bed (Gk. "koite"-coitus or sexual intercourse) is undefiled, but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge" (Heb 13:4).Sex was not the original sin as some have surmised (Gen. 2:24-25; Matthew 19:4-6; 1 Corinthians 7:36). The original sin was rejecting God, His instructions, spiritual gifts and His love that would have brought every blessing a man and woman could desire. Satan not only deceived the first man and woman into rejecting God's instruction and believing they would not die, but also into feeling ashamed of their sexuality (Genesis 3:4,10-11). Sex was created as a blessing, not a curse. SEXUAL SIN, the transgression of God's laws (1 John 3:4) is disregarding the proper place and use of sex (for marriage between a man and a woman only) and misses the mark or goal of a happy fulfilling lifelong relationship, CAUSING MANY CURSES and the shame associated with it.
"Submitting yourselves to one another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves onto your own husbands, as onto the Lord... Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it..." (vs 21-33).Jesus Christ desires a close intimate relationship with every human and that we become one (united) with Him and the Father spiritually (John 17:20-21). He gave His life to redeem us from our sins to make it possible for us to become the children of God (John 3:16; Gal 3:26) and His bride - signifying in type the intimate relationship He wants with us (John 3:29; Rev 21:2-3,9-14).
"If someone says, 'I love God,' and hates (or doesn't love) his brother (or spouse), he (or she) is a liar; for he who does not love his brother (or spouse) whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?" (1 John 4:20).The SEXUAL UNION is ONLY FOR MARRIAGE, NOT BEFORE! To avoid sexual immorality, God's Word says,
"It is good for a man not to touch ("haptomai," meaning to handle to exert a modifying influence upon something or oneself, attach oneself to, to set on fire - ie. to kindle passion) a woman.SEX OUTSIDE of the commitment of MARRIAGE (fornication, adultery and other acts including pedophilia, incest, sodomy, homosexual (gay or lesbian) relations, bestiality and any other sexual perversions - Lev 18) IS SIN. Why would God consider these as sin and evil?
"Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife and let each woman have her own husband.
(and) "Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband" (1 Cor 7:2-3).
"Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body" (1 Cor 6:18).God was diligent to make it clear of the consequences of sexual sins, including homosexuality (sodomy), which brought the downfall of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen 19; 2 Pet 2:4-10; Jude 7). Sexual sins have many physical and mental repercussions as everyone knows. Those who commit them are playing Russian roulette against themselves and their future happiness. The joy of the right physical sexual relationship is given as a type of our spiritual relationship with God, for
"But do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For 'two,' He says, 'shall become one flesh.'" (vs. 16).
"he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him" (vs. 17).Physical sins of immorality are like the spiritual sins of idolatry, which destroys our relationship with God, and will lead to one's destruction if not repented of (1 Cor 10:5-14).
"The Spirit itself (of God) bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God" (Rom 8:16).
"Therefore what God has joined together, let not man put asunder" (Mat 19:6).For a married person to even look at another woman or man with desire or lust, or for a single person to look at a married person with lust is a sin of the heart (Mat 5:28). Marriage is a lifetime commitment (1 Cor 7:39), which, when two follow God's instructions and grow in true love for each other, will lead to a lifetime of blessings and joy together. Marriage is the foundation of the extended family with children, grandchildren, etc. (Psa 103:17-18; 126:1-6; Prov 13:22; 17:6).
"Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man (or society) sows, that will he also reap. For he who sows to the flesh will of the flesh reap corruption..." (Gal 6:7-8).God instructs us in the book of Proverbs,
"Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice with the wife of your youth. As a loving deer and a graceful doe, let her breasts satisfy you at all times; and always be enraptured with her love. For why should you, my son, be enraptured by an immoral woman, and be embraced in the arms of a seductress? For the ways of a man are before the eyes of the Lord, and He ponders all his paths. His own iniquities entrap the wicked man, and he is caught in the cords of his sin. He shall die for lack of instruction, and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray" (Prov 5:18-23).God gave instruction for dealing with adultery in society to stop the spread of its evil effects (Deut 5:18, 21; 22:22-27). Jesus Christ's sacrifice in the New Testament makes it possible for the death penalty to be forgiven when there is repentance (John 3:16-17; 8:3-11).
"Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor..." (Rom 12:9-10).Love takes effort! And God's love (agape) must be renewed day by day. Do not take your mate for granted. Ask God daily to supply your needs (Mat 6:11) so you may have all sufficiency to fulfill your spouse's needs in love (2 Cor 3:5; 9:7-8). Don't forget the joy of that first love (Rev 2:4),
"Treat your wife like a thoroughbred if you don't want her to become an old nag," admonished a sign in one rancher's office.
"Live joyfully with the wife (or husband) whom you love all the days of your vain life which [God] has given you under the sun...for this is your portion in life..." (Eccl 9:9).
One purpose of sexual intercourse in marriage is to produce children (Genesis 1:28; 4:1). God, the Creator of Adam and Eve, made them male and female to produce offspring.
"And God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth...'" (Gen 1:27-28).God created us to become the children of God (Rom 8:14-17,21; 9:26; Gal 3:26). Human begettal of children is used in the Bible as a type of the spiritual begettal of the children of God through the gospel and gift of the Holy Spirit (John 1:12-13; 3:3-8; Rom 8:14-17; 1Cor 4:15; 15:44-54; 2 Cor 1:21-22; Gal 4:23,29; Eph 1:13; Jam 1:18; 1 Pet 1:3-5,22-23; 2:2; 1 Jn 3:1-3,9).
"she shall be saved in [the] childbearing (Gk. "teknogonia," meaning childbirth, maternity-the performance of maternal duties) if [she] continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control" (1 Timothy 2:15).However, both parents must be equally responsible in giving the nurturing that is needed, including taking care of some of the thankless duties that come with the job.
"that [they] might fear the Lord to keep all His statutes and His commandments...all the days of [their lives], and that [their] days may be prolonged... And you shall do what is right and good in the sight of the Lord, that it may be well with you... for our good always, that He might preserve us alive..." (Deut 6:2-9, 18,24).In the New Testament God's Word admonishes,
"Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise; that it may be well with you, and you may live long on the earth. And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Eph 6:1-4).But what do you do WHEN a CHILD REBELS and rejects your love and instruction and gets into trouble-as many are doing today? That is when we need to understand that GOD IS THE PERFECT PARENT, and WHY God, the perfect parent, allowed Adam and Eve to make mistakes and why He is allowing all the suffering that is in the world today resulting from mankind's sins (Rom 5:12).
"the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth...the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart" (Gen 6:5-6).But His love and purpose far transcends the grief and suffering (Rom 8:18-21). God's love and desire for children was so great that from before the foundation of the world, God foreordained that Jesus Christ would give His life, if it was necessary, to redeem mankind from their sins so we could become the children of God and inherit eternal life and be in His family (1 Pet 1:13-22).
"that all should come to repentance" (2 Pet 3:9)and turn to Him and His way of love and righteousness that they may receive the gift of eternal life (Rom 6:23).
"Love suffers long (is patient) and is kind [and forgiving], bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails" (1 Cor 13:4-8).GODLY PARENTAL LOVE INCLUDES providing for all of a child's needs: giving affection, proper nutrition, cleanliness, comfort, security, training, education (Proverbs 10:1), correction (Hebrew 12:5-11) in patience, gentleness and kindness, teaching responsibility (Proverbs 10:4-5) and eventually giving them total independence to make all their own choices. The parental relationship and growing in love for one's children teaches us the love (agape) God has for us (Matthew 7:9-11).
Earlier we discussed the "law of love" and the first great commandment of the law, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind." This "first and great commandment" (Mat 22:37-38) is like the fifth commandment in that it is a commandment with promises of great blessings.
But why does God command us to love Him and why do so many people turn away from God? Why does God get such a bad rap? How can we really love God?
The problem is that the natural carnal human mind "is enmity (an enemy, hateful, hostile or antagonistic) against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God" (Rom 8:7-8). God gets blamed for just about everything from natural disasters (insurance companies call them acts of God) to allowing us or our kids to get sick. Even the theologians who translate the Bible, the Word of God, not knowing God (Mal 1:6-8; 1 Cor 2:1-14), mistranslate much of it making God sound like a hateful, vengeful, wrathful God.
We MUST LEARN to LOVE GOD, just as an infant learns to love its parents. We learn to
"love Him because He first loved us" (1 John 4:19).The first four of the ten commandments specifically reveal God's protective jealousy and concern over us (Ex 20:5; 34:14-17; 1 Cor 10:22; 2 Cor 11:2-3). God does not want His children to be deceived by false gods and demons that do not love us and will not protect or save us (Deut 32:15-21; Isa 45:6-22). The devil has deceived the whole world into believing his lies and to hate God (Gen 3:1-6; 2 Cor 11:3-4,11-15; Rev 12:9). Men see all the suffering and grief that has resulted and blame God for it, when it is mankind, deceived by Satan (Mysteries of Satan...The Power Behind Evil & Terror, that has chosen to reject God's ways and believe in lies, superstitions and false gods (Rom 3:10-20).
For "God is love" (1 John 4:8,16).
"...all things work together for good to them that love God..." (Rom 8:28).He pleads with us to follow His ways for our benefit (Deut 5:29; 30:16). And as if that isn't enough, God wants to give us all things including the whole universe, all that He created, and the gift of eternal life in His family and kingdom (Rom 8:32; 6:23; Heb 2:1-8; Rev 21:7).
"God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship (or love) Him IN SPIRIT and TRUTH" (John 4:24).What did He mean by that? GOD'S WORD IS TRUTH (John 17:17). God's Word teaches us how to love God, and the gift of God's Spirit gives us the ability to understand God's Word (John 16:13; 1 Cor 2:4-15) and the power to overcome our selfish carnal nature to truly love God and one another (2 Tim 1:7).
"A good understand have all those who do His commandments," "But fools despise wisdom and instruction" (same verses).But fear is only the beginning of wisdom. The apostle John explains,
Proverbs 8:13 says, "The fear of the Lord is to hate evil, pride and arrogance and the evil way; And the perverse mouth I hate."
"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear has torment, he that fears is not made perfect in love" (1 John 4:18).Jesus Christ said, "If you love Me, keep My commandments" John 14:15). Which commandments? When a rich man came to Him and asked, "Which ones?" He told him,
"In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence... The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, to avoid the snares of death" (Prov 14:26-27).
"You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and your mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself."When the young man told Him,
"All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?"Jesus answered,
"If you want to be perfect, go sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me" (Mat 19:17-22). But the young man went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions and was covetous.Jesus reemphasized the importance of keeping the commandments of God many times:
"He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him" (John 14:21).Jesus not only made the commandments binding when He said, "I came not to destroy the Law or the Prophets but to fulfill" (Mat 5:17). He also came to magnify the law and make it honorable (Isa 42:21). HE LIVED and TAUGHT the spirit and intent of the LAWS of the Kingdom of God, saying,
"If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.
"He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father's who sent Me" (vs. 23-24).
"Blessed are the poor in spirit...those who mourn...the meek...those who hunger and thirst for righteousness...the merciful...the pure in heart...the peacemakers...those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Mat 17:3-10).And said how we should deal with our enemies?
Going beyond the letter of the law, He taught: "...I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without as cause shall be in danger of the judgment..." (vs 22). "...whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (vs 28). "...whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery" (vs 32).
"...LOVE YOUR ENEMIES, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven..." (vs. 44-45).Jesus fulfilled all of God's law as an example for us (1 Pet 2:21). He reiterated,
"JUDGE NOT, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged; and with the same measure you use, it will be measured back to you" (Mat 7:1-2).
"As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you" (John 15:9-12).The apostle John makes it clear that,
"Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, 'I know Him,' and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him" (1 John 1:3-5).How could it be plainer?
"If someone says, 'I love God.' And hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen. And this is the commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also" (1 John 4:20-21).
"By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments, and His commandments are not burdensome" (1 John 5:2-3).
"I believe that God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives, and being the gentleman that he is, I believe that he has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us his blessing and his protection if we demand he leave us alone?"The Statue of Liberty is a symbol of the greatness of the American nation and way of life. A foreign statesman visiting America said,
"America is great because it is good. When America ceases to be good, it will no longer be great."The Scriptures say,
"Righteousness (all God's commandments are righteousness - Ps 119:172) exalts a nation, but sin (crime, lawlessness) is a reproach to any people" (Prov 14:34). "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, and the people He has chosen..." (Psa 33:12 ).Some people say you can't legislate morality, but law is morality. God's law, "You shall not murder," is a moral law. Without this law and many others like it America would not be a land of liberty and relative peace, it would be chaos.
"Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and the judgments, which I teach you to observe, that you may live, and go in and possess the land which the Lord God of your fathers gives you.People, even in nations of poverty and oppressive regimes, may show great patriotism, but without patriotism (love) to God first, that patriotism is not a blessing to the nation or people. They are still oppressed and in poverty.
"You shall not add unto the word which I command you, nor take anything from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.
"Keep therefore and do them, for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, 'Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.
"For what nation is there so great, who has God so near unto them, as the Lord our God is in all things that we can call upon Him for?
"And what nation is there so great, that has statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?
"You shall keep therefore His statutes, and His commandments, which I command you this day, that it may go well with you, and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days upon the earth, which the Lord your God gives you, for ever" (Deut 4:1-2, 6-8, 40).
Why does love sometimes fail?
Human love (philia) often fails because, at its best, it is still selfish and prideful or ego-centric. Pride is a root of anger and strife.
"By pride comes only contention" (Prov 13:10). "He who is of a proud heart stirs up strife" (Prov 28:25).AGAPE LOVE NEVER FAILS! Peter's love (philia) failed and he was offended and forsook and denied Christ three times, though just before that he had told Jesus he would lay down his life for Him (John 13:37-38; 18:15-18,25-27). Jesus prayed that Peter's faith, which works by love, fail not (Lk 22:32; Gal 5:6). After Peter became filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, God's faith and love in him never failed him (Acts 2:1-4; 2 Pet 1:1-15)
The human heart without the spiritual gift of God's love (agape) is "deceitful above all things" (Jer 17:9). We often deceive ourselves--wanting to be good, but not able to always do what is good according to God's moral spiritual law (Rom 7:14-15,18-19). Then we either feel guilty and remorseful, or we try to justify ourselves, which is to pass the blame by accusing and finding fault with others.
If we are truly seeking God's love, He will correct us (Heb 12:1-11). His spirit will convict us of our sin (John 16:8; Acts 2:37). But if we resist and quench the Spirit by trying to justify ourselves, we are rejecting God and His gift of love (agape) (Acts 7:51-53; 1 Thes 5:19).
Major blocks to the flow of the gift of God's spiritual love (agape) include: contention, animosity, anger, hostility, rage, wrath, bitterness, resentment, hate, envy, jealousy, adultery (physical or in the mind), covetousness and all the works of the flesh (Gal 5:14-21) as well as pride, blasphemy (speaking evil), slander, unthankfullness, unforgiving (2 Tim 3:1-4).Jesus said, "Woe to the world because of offenses!" (Matthew 18:7).
What should you do when you have conflicts with friends, a spouse, children, neighbors, business associates, competitors, enemies, etc.?
Offenses are a primary cause of domestic, marital and family problems and conflicts between others, which far too often escalate into the tragedies of abuse and violence. It all starts because people offend one another or are too easily offended--in most cases one or each demanding to get their own way, not willing to give in or make peace.
Offenses are a sign of emotional, intellectual and spiritual immaturity. Is there anyone who hasn't offended others? It is written,
"There is none righteous, no, not one...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:10,23).But, human nature being what it is, we are more likely to remember offenses of others against us, than to recognize or admit our offenses against others.
"For in many things we offend all, if any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man and is able to bridle the whole body" (James 3:2 KJV).
"if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" (Matthew 6:14-15).The apostle Peter asked the Lord,
"'How often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?' Jesus said to him, 'I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven'" (Matthew 18:21-22).FORGIVENESS - means to give up or forgo any rights or claims of anything due from another.
Being able to forgive and not adding up the offenses is another step in growth toward mature giving (agape) love. But that does not mean that those who offend should not or will not be corrected for their offenses. God says,
"Vengeance is mine; I will repay" (Rom 12:19). Forgiving others is to pardon any debts or trespasses. Jesus, when He was being crucified, nailed to the cross for our sins (See Passover...The Beginning of Salvation), said,
"Father forgive them for they do not know what they do" (Luke 23:34).For that kind of love we must ask for God's help and gift of agape (Heb 4:16).
He also said, "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who spitefully use you and persecute you" (Matthew 5:44).
"And above all things have fervent love (agape) for one another, for love will cover a multitude of sins" (I Peter 4:8).Esteem others above yourself and think about their good points (Philippians 2:3). (See "Have You Been Offended?" in the Keys for Successful Living Menu).
"Love suffers long (is patient) and is kind...is not puffed up; does not behave rudely ...is not provoked, thinks no evil...bears all things...hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails" (I Corinthians 13:4-8).
Jesus said, "GREATER LOVE has no man than this, than to LAY DOWN one's LIFE FOR his FRIENDS" (John 15:13).
How does one attain to this level of love?
Certainly, some have given their lives for others, and this can include giving up their personal desires, goals and time in service for others. Some have even made the ultimate sacrifice by laying down their lives for the benefit of their families, friends and country. That is the greatest of human love, but would you lay down you life for your enemy?
Paul stated that,
"I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. For I wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises..." (Rom 9:2-4).His kinsmen had become his enemy because he turned to Christ, but he dedicated his life to God to serve them.
"For scarcely for a righteous man will one die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners (His enemies), Christ died for us" (Rom 5:6-8,10).Few really comprehend the greatness of God's love! (See The Love of God and Jesus Christ!)
God, our Father, and Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, loved us when we were His enemies who sometime may have cursed and blasphemed (spoke evil against) His name. Jesus Christ laid down His life on the cross to redeem us from our sins (John 3:16-17; Romans. 5:6-11) that we might attain the resurrection (John 5:21-30; Phil 3:10-11,20-21). Sadly, some may even ultimately reject that great love and the sacrifice God gave for them (Phil 3:18-19; Rev 20:11-15).
Jesus Christ, who gave His life for us, was LORD (Yehweh or Jehovah - Eternal), the Word ("Logos" - Spokesman) of God (Elohim) to Israel in the Old Testament (Deut 6:4; 1 Cor 10:1-4). He,
"Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God..., made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God (the Father) also has highly exalted Him...that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow...and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Phil 2:5-11).Jesus Christ is the Word who was with God and was God and all things were made, including man, through Him (John 1:1-3). He was the LORD (Jehovah, meaning Eternal or Everlasting One), the Spokesman of Elohim (the God Family) to Israel. He was the King of Righteousness and King of Peace who appeared like the Son of God to Abraham (Heb 7:1-3). From before the foundation of the world the two personages of the GOD FAMILY (Heb. "Elohim" is a collective plural noun like family-Gen 1:1,26; Eph 3:14-15), in their great love, knew that one of them would have to give up their power and glory as God and come down in human form to give their life for the sins of mankind to redeem us from eternal death (1 Pet 1:18-21; Rev 13:8). The Word gave up His power and glory to become the Son of God (John 17:24) and came to reveal the Father (Mat 11:27) and make intercession for us so that we also could have eternal life and become sons of God (Rom 6:23; John 1:12).
Copyright ©: 11/18/96, Allen L. Stout; 2001 - 2007, Serf Publishing, Inc.