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Featured So, what does God expect of us?

Discussion in 'Christian Devotions and Inspiration' started by brakelite, Jan 25, 2019.

  1. brakelite

    brakelite Well-Known Member

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    Love. What is the essential and intrinsic nature and characteristic of love? The world today is immensely confused over the meaning of love. That half the marriages celebrated today (including within the church) end up in divorce bears testimony to this confusion. The fact that an institution supposedly based on love has a 50% chance of ending up in acrimony, bitterness and estrangement shows clearly that the ‘love’ for a great many of those marrying couples was temporary, conditional, and limited in it’s enduring quality and considering the glittering career today of marriage counsellors I would suggest the quality of the remaining marriages leaves much to be desired also. Is that real love? Something that is temporary? Something dependant on circumstances? Is love ‘true’ when times are good but fades away like a fleeting shadow at the first sign of trouble?

    Even in the spiritual world of Christianity, there is a great misapprehension of the nature of love. A great variety and confusion exists in doctrinal belief because so many do not understand the true nature of God, Who the scriptures tell us, is Love.

    A correct understanding of the nature of God would afford us a correct understanding of the nature of love. (And vice-versa). So let us look to the scriptures, and in particular Jesus, to find out what God is like.

    As I said earlier, God is Love. (1 Jn 4:8) Coll. 1:19 tells us that “it pleased the Father that in Him (Jesus) should all fullness dwell”. Later in Coll. 2:9 it says “in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily”. Jesus said Himself to Phillip, “Have I been so long with you Phillip, and yet thou hast not known Me? He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father…” (Jn 14:9) And again in Collosians, it says that Jesus is the image of the invisible God. (1:15)

    So if we desire to know what true love is, because God is love and Jesus is the image of God, then all we need do is look to see how Jesus loved. A great place to start I think is Pauls letter to the Philippians. Chapter 2 begins with Paul exhorting his readers to be united in their walk of discipleship, and that the prime factor that unites them is love. He then exhorts us all that we ought to have the same mind that was in Christ Jesus, and proceeds to give us a brilliantly simple summary of the gospel (Phil.2:1-11) in which he explains that the mind of love that belongs to God was expressed through His Son by an act of self sacrificial humility culminating in His death. In fact, Paul says that God loves us so much that as far as Jesus was concerned, being in the form of God was not worthwhile so long as we were lost!!

    He laid aside His omnipotence for us, yet we with-hold our means to help one another! Jesus laid aside His omnipresence for us yet we balk at walking over the road to help our neighbour! Jesus laid aside His omniscience yet we are reluctant to share with those who don’t know Him how He has saved us! Reputation and honour are relegated to the bottom of the ladder and serving others raised to the top of those virtues best cherished by the Son of man, and man instituted slavery! Man’s natural inclination is not to love, but to serve self.

    To achieve His aim of saving us, Jesus stepped down from His throne of honour, glory, majesty and power where He rightly received the due worship and adoration from countless numbers of heavenly creatures to become a helpless baby in the womb of an unmarried teen-ager in an occupied country where He was completely dependant upon the whims , fancies, loves, hates, and the myriad of emotions, dreams, ambitions, hopes, and all the hang-ups of human sin and degeneracy, in order to live out His mission. His purpose was so steadfast, His faithfulness so enduring, His grace and love so sure, that He endured everything that degeneracy could throw at Him. Insult, hatred, antipathy, disbelief, persecution, mocking, torture and finally death.

    My friends, that is Love. That is real Love. It is the very same love in fact , and no lesser version of it, that Paul exhorts us to emulate when he says “Let this mind be in you which also was in Christ Jesus”. It is the very same love that Paul extols in Ephesians 5:25 “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it”. It is the very same love that is listed in the fruit of the Spirit. Selfless, sacrificial, benevolent, kind-hearted, gentle and truthful. A far cry from the emotional counterfeit that the world offers and so many practice. The love that God offers you through Jesus is the real thing. And He would have us share that very same love with others. Our wives, our children, our brothers and sisters and our neighbours. It is the love that world, now dying in sin and despair, needs so desperately.

    It is a love that endures hardship, spurns hatred, and overcomes unbelief. It never fails, never gives up, never lets go, yet allows the freedom for those to whom it is directed to choose whether to accept and return it, or reject it and resist it. Amazing love!!! Yet we persecute those who disagree with us over doctrine and use the name of God to pronounce them heretics and then kill them! A writer of the late 18th century had these wise words to say regarding freedom.” There can be no more conclusive evidence that we possess the spirit of Satan (as opposed to the Spirit of God’s love) than the disposition to hurt and destroy those who do not appreciate our work, or who act contrary to our ideas.”

    Can we love like that? Can man, or woman, love so selflessly that he/she would give their life for his enemy? Ordinarily, the answer would have to be no. Man is not capable of such love. While on rare occasions we may see and witness wonderful expressions of self sacrificial heroism for strangers by people in emergency situations like firemen etc., but is it love that motivates such acts, or is it duty or patriotism or something else? Sin and the human condition caused by 1000’s of years of moral compromise and degeneracy and selfish gratification has distorted man’s moral reasoning to such an extent that even our prayers need ‘cleaning up’ by our Mediator in heaven.

    Yet Jesus Himself, when challenged with the question “What is the greatest commandment”? replied “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, mind and soul. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself”. (Math 22:34-40). Elsewhere He gave as the 11th commandment: “A new commandment I give unto you, ‘that ye love one another as I have loved you, that ye also love one another’. By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples.”

    Though in and of ourselves we are incapable of such love, God does not command us to do anything without also giving us the means by which to obey. It is up to us whether we desire to love as He loves and surrender ourselves to the Holy Spirit that He may empower us. Thus the degree of love He calls us to transcends any emotional level and becomes a matter of choice. We choose to obey, He empowers us. We choose to love, He fills us with His Spirit and we become partakers of His divine nature. And the world is fed by the food we share. Prisoners are visited. Our homes become sanctuaries. the sick are visited and encouraged. We clothe and shelter those who are cold, homeless, poor and in need.

    As the world witnesses and benefits from our love, two things happen. First and foremost, the world, perhaps for the first time, sees God. We, through our love, destroy Satan’s sophistries and lies regarding the nature and character of God. Much of the world believe God to be capricious, judgmental, cruel, despotic, legalistsic, demanding and spiteful. But through love, not only do you prove Satan a liar, and lead people to the truth, but you also vindicate the true nature and character of God to the universe and when this age closes, all will agree and testify with you, throughout the ceaseless ages, that God is love.

    The second thing that happens as we express the love of God for humanity, is that by so doing we secure our salvation, for when Jesus comes He will say to you, “Come ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world...for inasmuch as ye have (loved) one of these the least of My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.”
    Mathew 25:31-46.

    Regards and love to all
    BL
     
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  2. Windmillcharge

    Windmillcharge Well-Known Member

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    Matt 5 : 48 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
    or John 6:29 "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent."
    or my favourete John 14:15 “If you love me, keep my commands.

    Can we do this, well certainly not the first, but the others we can strive to do so.
    That is what we see in the lives of Christians, their attempts to obey.
     
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  3. Episkopos

    Episkopos Well-Known Member

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    To fulfill anything of the Lord one must live out these things through Him. Other religions and philosophies center around man doing his best to be able to live in a world with other people...and not destroy each other. But Christianity is living a life IN the Lord. IOW....everything is to pass through that relationship. We become dependent on God for all things. There is nothing of ourselves left over that is independent. That is what we are called to do.
     
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  4. bbyrd009

    bbyrd009 Groper

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    yes, we can do this wadr
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2019
  5. Windmillcharge

    Windmillcharge Well-Known Member

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    A question for you.

    Who is it that loves Jesus?

    Your answer will help you understand my post no 2.
     
  6. "ByGrace"

    "ByGrace" Well-Known Member

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    Good opening post. Nice to see some new subjects....the others are getting stale :)

    What does God expect from us?
    He expects us the be always listening for His Voice. Many times The bible says- “to him who has an ear to hear, hear....”. He expects us to be watching and harkening ‘in the Spirit’ at all times.

    My sheep know My Voice .
    We can’t ‘do’ without hearing.
    Well we can, yet in Gods eyes unless He has spoken it , it is dead works. Works of the Spirit is via hearing .

    Jesus said the he only did what the Father told Him.
    Probably the reason why He only healed one man at the Pool Of Bethesda ...

    Thank you for the thread .
     
  7. Episkopos

    Episkopos Well-Known Member

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    It is the part of us that needs Jesus....the inner man. So then we exchange one master...the natural outer man....for another. We detach ourselves from ourselves to follow Christ.
     
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  8. amadeus

    amadeus Well-Known Member

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    Most certainly we can with God's help but most believers [those who call themselves believers anyway] deny the possibility of attaining what Jesus called for. Why would he ask us to pursue an impossibility? Is it not possible for God in us?
     
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  9. Windmillcharge

    Windmillcharge Well-Known Member

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    I agree with the first part of your reply. It is this nonsence I take issue with.

    Just what do you mean by this mumbo jumbo?
    How do we detach ourselves from ourself?

    Are we to be living in some sort of dream world or are we living, working etc in the real world. The world that hates God and are seeking to live as Jesus would have us live.
     
  10. Episkopos

    Episkopos Well-Known Member

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    "By HIS stripes we are healed." This is speaking of the cross of Christ and it's power of separation and death on us....so that our inner man is freed to walk with Jesus. Until then we are in bondage to the flesh....and live in the power of the outer natural man.

    Paul gloried in the cross of Christ that separated him from this world. The outer man is a sort of jail that ties down the inner man. But once the cross of Christ crucifies the outer man...the inner man is free. So we take on a new Master.

    We are to carry the dying of Jesus (in our natural part) so that the life of Jesus is made manifest in us (from within). This is the essence of the Christian walk...otherwise we are just as any other carnal man in the world....but with delusions of grandeur.
     
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  11. Windmillcharge

    Windmillcharge Well-Known Member

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    Not just his stibes but everything in his crucifixtion. Without Jesus's atoning death and resurection we are still sinners facing God's rightous judgement.

    We live in the knowledge of what Jesus has done and are enabled to follow his commands because of the Holy Spirit living in us.

    This is the reality of Christianity that we seek to obey Jesus here on earth in the body he gave us.

    There is no separation of any part of our body or spirit, not untill we die. The same body we had before we were saved is the one we are living in after we are saved. All that has changed are two things.
    God does not count us as sinners and the Spirit is now living in us, other than that live goes on and we have to seek to serve Jesus in a body/mind that is addicted to sin.
     
  12. bbyrd009

    bbyrd009 Groper

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    taking the rest of Scripture into account, it strikes me as an appeal to change one's definitions?
     
  13. bbyrd009

    bbyrd009 Groper

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    imo not if we do it right, and take Christ's words literally, like we are so quick to take the parts we like
     
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  14. amadeus

    amadeus Well-Known Member

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    Many people have changed their definitions, or accepted the changed definitions of others, but few will admit to it and maybe some don't even realize that they have done it. Delusions?
     
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  15. bbyrd009

    bbyrd009 Groper

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    well I guess much the same principle is at work in confession, wherein we are called to admit that we were wrong. The RCC warped this (no offense) into something done in a closet with a, um, well, nevermind what they really are, they aren't the offended party obviously, so thus we are then able to retain our pride etc, and live on the fence, imo same thing with definitions I guess?
     
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  16. amadeus

    amadeus Well-Known Member

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    Some people will use the warps and twists to their own advantage, and they will effectively reap for what they have sown with their knowledge of error. Others walking on seemingly in error, while retaining a sincerity of purpose, will still be able to please God and He will lead them to correct anything that really needs correction.

    Someone completely on the outside [if there is such a critter] of the picture may indeed see a confused mess. That outsider would be hard pressed without help to locate the real good in Christianity or most bearing the label of Christian. We can remember this:

    "For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints." I Cor 14:33

    If we, looking around us, see only confusion even among our best friends, may want to seriously consider where we are as well.
     
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  17. bbyrd009

    bbyrd009 Groper

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    I get you, but I guess this can be deceptive if all of our peers are displaying confidence? Iow that they are disagreeing with each other is deemed secondary, over "believes all things," which is practically impossible to demonstrate in forums, at least near as I can tell
     
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  18. quietthinker

    quietthinker Well-Known Member

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    He expects that we exercise a good conscience. He expects that we walk the talk and he expects that what we give off as his children is the aroma of heaven.
    I would ask, how can anybody fulfil these expectations unless God's Spirit abides in him/her......without the Spirit it is impossible, yes, I will say it again, IMPOSSIBLE!
     
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  19. brakelite

    brakelite Well-Known Member

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    And ask perhaps, as honestly as possible, what do our friends see when they look at us? Do they see a compromising friend who meekly does as they do without thought to the consequences? Or do they see someone who is willing to stand up for what is right, though the heavens fall? Will our friends come to us at the end of time and demand...why didn't you tell us?
     
  20. amadeus

    amadeus Well-Known Member

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    Even so my friend! We cannot always support even our friends, but we need to be sincere and honesty in our pursuit of God and Truth... and in what we share with others. Someone who is really seeking God's kingdom and righteousness will then be allowed to see something good in us. If our hearts are right toward God but there are still differences between us, for God, are they unresolvable? Praise His name!
     
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