Posted by: dhkrause | December 8, 2019

Immanuel, God With Us

Isaiah 7_14 (3)

God commands His people, “Be holy for I am holy”, and to love one another as He loves us. Through faith in Jesus Christ, we are upheld by His power to fulfill these commands.  (1 John 4:11, 1 Peter 1:5, 15.)

The gospel of Matthew describes how Jesus Christ in his life and ministry fulfilled many prophecies.  The first is that the Savior would be born of a virgin, and one of his names would be Immanuel, which is translated, “God with us.”  (Hebrew: Immanu “with us” + El “God”.)  Jesus’ actual name in Hebrew is Yeshua, which means “salvation” – very fitting, for He came to save His people from their sins.  Jesus Christ is both “God with us” and our Savior who redeems and transforms our lives.  All of these promises are found in the first chapter of Matthew, where an angel of the Lord comes to Joseph in a dream:

Matthew 1 (NKJV)
Christ Born of Mary
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus [Yeshua], for He will save His people from their sins.

22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.

Isaiah 9_6-7 (2)

The reference to the name, “Immanuel”, is from Isaiah 7:14, “ Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.”  Isaiah 9 gives additional prophecies about the coming Savior (some of which will be fulfilled in His second coming):

Isaiah 9 (NKJV)
For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

In Luke 1, we read how Mary also received a very special visit from an angel of the Lord, while she was wide awake, telling her about the son to whom she would give birth while still a virgin.  Mary received this amazing word by faith: “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” (Luke 1:38)

Luke 1_31

Luke 1 (NKJV)
The Birth of Jesus Foretold
26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”

38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

Hark the herald angels sing

Charles Wesley’s hymn, “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing” captures these wonderful truths about the incarnation of the Son of God:

Hark! the Herald Angels Sing

  1. Hark! the herald angels sing,
    “Glory to the newborn King;
    Peace on earth, and mercy mild;
    God and sinners reconciled.”
    Joyful, all ye nations, rise,
    Join the triumph of the skies;
    With th’angelic hosts proclaim,
    “Christ is born in Bethlehem.”

     2. Christ, by highest heav’n adored,
         Christ, the everlasting Lord:
         Late in time behold Him come,
         Offspring of a virgin’s womb.
         Veiled in flesh the Godhead see,
         Hail th’incarnate Deity!
         Pleased as man with men to appear,
         Jesus our Immanuel here.

John 3:16 describes God’s incomparable gift of love in sending His own Son, that we might have eternal life through faith in Him: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  John writes about the  call of God upon our lives to know His love, and to love as He loves, in 1 John 4:

1 John 4 (NKJV)
In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

1 John 4_11 (2)

God commands us as followers of Jesus to be holy in all our conduct.  We are upheld by His power to win that victory, as described in 1 Peter 1:

1 Peter 1 (NKJV)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

13 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, https://compellinglove.net/, 12/7/2019

Photo credits:
(1) https://www.returntotheword.com/Isaiah-714–Fulfilled-In-Christ  *
(2) https://slideplayer.com/slide/4269906/
(3) https://genesisone.wordpress.com/tag/prophecy/  *
(4) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uShO0BgBZXo
(5) https://medium.com/@keithmcgivern/beloved-if-god-so-loved-us-we-ought-also-to-love-one-another-1-john-4-11-dced66bb9cde  *

* Includes excellent teaching.

 

Posted by: dhkrause | November 24, 2019

Thanks Be to God

Psalm 100_4

Psalm 100:4 declares, “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise.”  What are you thankful for?

We can say, “Thanks be to God” for so many things, including:

(1) His Creation

(2) His faithful provision

(3) His Word

(4) Redemption and glorious unity with Him through Jesus Christ.

Psalm 100 is a beautiful song of praise and thanksgiving to God.

Psalm 100 (NKJV)
Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.
Know that the Lord, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture
.

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.

Revelation 4_11

Revelation 4:11 declares that God created each of us for His pleasure.
By His will we exist and were created.

Revelation 4:11 (KJV)
Thou art worthy, O Lord,
To receive glory and honor and power:
For thou hast created all things,
And for thy pleasure they are and were created.

 Revelation 4:11 (NKJV)
“You are worthy, O Lord,
To receive glory and honor and power;
For You created all things,
And by Your will they exist and were created.”

Psalm 107 gives thanks for the Lord’s faithfulness to His people, four times declaring, “Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!”

Psalm 107 (NKJV)
Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy
,
And gathered out of the lands,
From the east and from the west,
From the north and from the south.

Psalm 107_1

They wandered in the wilderness in a desolate way;
They found no city to dwell in.
Hungry and thirsty,
Their soul fainted in them.
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
And He delivered them out of their distresses
.
And He led them forth by the right way,
That they might go to a city for a dwelling place.
Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men
!
For He satisfies the longing soul,
And fills the hungry soul with goodness.

Psalms 19 and 119 give thanks for God’s Word that transforms and guides us.

Psalm 19 (NKJV)
7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul;
         The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;
8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart;
         The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;
9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever;
         The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
         Yea, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
11 Moreover by them Your servant is warned,
         And in keeping them there is great reward.

Psalm 119_105 (4)

Psalm 119:105 (NKJV)
Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.

The eternal Word of God became flesh in Jesus Christ, and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.

John 1 (NKJV)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

Through the sacrificial love of Jesus Christ, and our faith in Him, we are redeemed and have eternal life.

John 3:16 (NKJV)
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

1 John 4:10 (NIV)
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

We have so much to be thanking God for every day,  most importantly, for redemption and the promise of glorious unity with Him through Jesus Christ.

John 17_3 (4)

John 17 (NKJV)
Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.

24 “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. 26 And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

2 Corinthians 2:14 (NKJV)
Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, https://compellinglove.net/, 11/24/2019

Photo credits:

(1) https://images.knowing-jesus.com/Psalm/100/4

(2) http://2tim3v16.blogspot.com/2014/01/revelation-411.html

(3) https://www.psalmsquotes.com/psalm-107-1-thanksgiving.htm

(4) https://www.markalanwilliams.net/post/2018/09/13/your-word-is-a-lamp-for-my-feet-and-a-light-for-my-path  *

(5) https://heartofworship7.com/2017/09/21/beautiful-feet/#more-13354  *

* Includes excellent teaching.

Posted by: dhkrause | November 10, 2019

Saved by Grace through Faith

Ephesians 2_8-9

As believers in Jesus Christ, we are saved by grace through faith.  We are His workmanship, and co-laborers with Him.

Ephesians 2 (NKJV)
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2_10 (2)

Living faith is always accompanied by action, as seen in James 2:18,But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”

James 2_17

James 2 (NKJV)
Faith Without Works Is Dead
14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

Peter H. Davids writes,  “So is faith without works dead?  What James seems to say is that our works don’t save us, but they do reflect a saving faith.”

https://zondervanacademic.com/blog/what-james-means-by-faith-without-works-is-dead

John’s gospel describes how grace and truth came through Jesus Christ:

John 1_14 (3)

John 1 (NKJV)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

15 John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ ”

16 And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.

Christ has made God known to us, as the New Life Version declares:

18 The much-loved Son is beside the Father. No man has ever seen God. But Christ has made God known to us. 

God’s saving grace through Jesus Christ is clearly seen in John 3:16,

John 3:16 (NKJV)
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

John 3_16 (8)

By grace through faith we receive power to have victory over sin.

John 8 (NKJV)
10 When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”

11 She said, “No one, Lord.”

And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

Romans 5 describes the eternal blessings of being saved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ:

Romans 5 (NKJV)

1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, https://compellinglove.net/,11/10/2019

Photo credits:
(1) https://www.amazingfacts.org/bible-study/scripture-pictures/scripture-pictures-by-books-of-the-bible/verse/e/29238/t/ephesians-2-8-9
(2) http://dailyscriptureblog.com/scripture/masterpiece-4/
(3) http://michellenezat.com/
(4) https://www.hearthymn.com/bible-verse-who-is-jesus-christ.html
(5) https://sevennotesofgrace.com/2012/07/19/this-is-how-we-know-john-316/

Posted by: dhkrause | October 30, 2019

Seeing God’s Glory

Pastor John MacArthur writes, “The sight of the glory of God shining in the face of Christ lies at the heart of the entire Christian experience.”*

2 Corinthians 4:6 (NKJV)
For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

* Forward to Michael Riccardi’s book, “Sanctification: The Christian’s Pursuit of God-Given Holiness”, Grace Books, 2015

Jesus prayed that His followers would be sanctified – set apart to be holy –  and that they would see His glory.

John 17 (NKJV)
17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.

24 “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.

Paul writes that it is in beholding the glory of God that believers are being transformed into His image.

2 Corinthians 3:18 (NKJV)
18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

In his book, “Sanctification: The Christian’s Pursuit of God-Given Holiness” Michael Riccardi describes how sanctification is both internal and external.
The Holy Spirit changes our hearts to not only “do what God commands”, but also to “love what God loves”.  The foundational means of or sanctification is “beholding the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ”.

He writes on page 11,

“Therefore, the truly holy person does not merely “do what God commands,” though he certainly does that; the holy person “loves what God loves,” and then acts in keeping with that renewed heart.  As God works in us, both to will and to work for His good pleasure (Phil. 2:13), He inclines our hearts to treasure the glory of Christ.  And as we behold Him with the eyes of our heart, our minds and our affections are renewed (2 Cor. 3:18; cf. Rom. 12:2), so that we love Him more and love sin less.  We are transformed from the inside out.”

In our progressive sanctification by the Holy Spirit, God is working in us both to will and to work for His good pleasure.  He is working even on our affections.

Philippians 2:12-13 (NKJV)
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

Paul teaches that we are called to be transformed from the inside out:

Romans 12:2 New King James Version (NKJV)
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

The means for sanctification that the Holy Spirit uses include:

  • Scripture – being diligent and disciplined in reading God’s Word
  • Prayer – asking and receiving in dialog with God
  • Fellowship – interaction with other believers, edifying one another
  • Providence – providential working of God in one’s life
  • Obedience – obeying God with a heart of love

Michael Riccardi describes the primary means God uses to sanctify the believer:

Therefore, we conclude that while the Spirit employs various means of sanctifying the believer, beholding the glory of God in the face of Christ is the chief, fundamental, and primary means which breathes life and efficacy into all the other means.  ‘Looking unto Jesus is the great means of grace by which all other means find their potency’.*  He Himself is the fount of all spiritual life and growth, and in this way His supremacy and sufficiency are magnified in progressive sanctification.” (ibid, p. 41)

*Joel R. Beeke and Mark Jones, A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life, p. 526

He continues (p. 43-44), “The Christian’s pursuit of God-given holiness is, as Scripture says, a fight (1 Tim 6:12), a race (Heb. 12:1), and a battle (Eph 6:10-18).  But because the foundational means of our sanctification is beholding the glory of God in the face of Christ, we must recognize that the battle is fought first on the level of spiritual sight.  That race is run, fixing our eyes on Jesus (Heb 12:2).

1 Timothy 6:12 (NKJV)
12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

Ephesians 6:10-18 (NKJV)
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—

Hebrews 12 (NKJV)
The Race of Faith
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Michael Riccardi concludes (p. 44-45),

“As we work out our salvation with fear and trembling, we are conscious that it is the Holy Spirit of God who is working within us.  And He works by illuming the glory of Christ to the eyes of our hearts, winning over our affections by the delightfulness and beauty of that glory.  And then our affections inform and direct our wills, so that as a result we might will and work for His good pleasure.

“And precisely because He works in us in this powerful way, we apply all diligence to put away anything that would cloud our vision of that glorious Savior, because the prospect of fellowship and communion with Him promises a greater pleasure than the false and fleeting pleasures of sin.

“And we make every effort to saturate our minds with the loveliness of Christ’s glory, delightfully disciplining ourselves to behold Him in His Word, to seek His face in worshipful prayer, to enjoy Him in fellowship with the saints, to see Him at work in creation and providence, and to obey Him in the sure hope that obedience brings us into deeper and greater communion with Him.”

Let us, then, fix our eyes on Jesus, and run our race with endurance for the joy set before us.”

As 1 John 3:2 declares, “we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, https://compellinglove.net/, 10/26/2019

Photo credit:  https:// daily-bible-verse.net/2corin4-6.html

Posted by: dhkrause | October 13, 2019

Loving in Deed and Truth

1 John 3_18

The Apostle John writes in 1 John 3:18, “My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.” Loving in deed and truth means abiding in the love and truth of Christ, and loving others as He loves us.  One commentator, posting on the dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com website, writes:

“A godly character that reflects the likeness of Christ is one that loves others as Christ loved us. The love about which the Bible speaks is different from every other type of human love, and is uniquely imparted to the child of God, from the indwelling Spirit of truth and love.”

“To love in word is contrasted with loving in deed. It is translating one’s affectionate words into meaningful, practical deeds, through the sufficient grace of God. The former is to talk about caring, while the latter is to express unconditional love, in action.”

“Loving in spirit, in word, in deed and in truth is evidenced in the life of one who has died to the self-life, abides in Christ and is able to say with the apostle Paul – it is not I that live my life, but Christ, Whose life is in me and living through me.”

Galatians 2_20 (2)

The writer ends with this prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank You that I am Your child, and that Christ died to pay the price for my sin. Thank You that He rose again so that I have been made a new creation in Christ – and received my new life in Him. May the love of the Lord Jesus so flood and fill my being, that it not only flows out to others in thought and word, but in spirit, in truth – and in my every action and attitude. This I ask in Jesus name AMEN.
(https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/1-john-3-18)

We love in deed and truth when we love with the love of Christ, who lives in us.  Paul declares in Galatians 2:20,

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

A friend in the Philippines, Jehu Beronia, has written a song with the words, “Love and truth is your way home.  It destroys the sin.”
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1pvPLc-cWU&feature=youtu.be)
Walking with Jesus in truth and love destroys the power of sin.  Our souls are purified as described in 1 Peter 1:

22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,
24 because
“All flesh is as grass,
And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass.
The grass withers,
And its flower falls away,
25 But the word of the Lord endures forever.”
Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.

1 Peter 1_22 (2)

The love of God is revealed most clearly in the sacrifice Jesus made for us:

John 3:16 (NKJV)
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Steve Green’s song, Calvary’s Love, expresses the wonder and power of Jesus’ sacrifice for us.  The love shown by Christ on the cross still reaches out to those in need today.

Calvary’s love will sail forever
Bright and shining, strong and free
Like an ark of peace and safety
On the sea of human need

Chorus:
Calvary’s love, Calvary’s love
Priceless gift Christ makes us worthy of
The deepest sin can’t rise above
Calvary’s love

Calvary’s love has never faltered
All its wonders still remain
Souls still take eternal passage
Sins atoned and heaven gained
Sins forgiven and heaven gained

John 13_35

Love is the highest commandment of the law, as Jesus taught in Mark 12:

Mark 12 (NKJV)
28 Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, “Which is the first commandment of all?”

29 Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. 31 And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Jesus raised the standard of love yet higher when he said in John 13,

34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

John 15_9 (2)

We love in deed and truth by intimately abiding in God’s love, as Jesus taught in his final days of ministry before laying down his life for you and me.

John 14 (NKJV)
19 “A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. 20 At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. 21 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.”

23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.

John 15 (NKJV)
As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.
10 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.

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, https://compellinglove.net/, 10/13/2019

Photo credits:
(1) https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/1-john-3-18  *
(2) https://worldchallenge.org/verse/galatians-220
(3) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNeGEoKxg2M
(4) http://www.calvarybaptistbc.com/they-will-know-we-are-christians-by-our-love/  *
(5) https://loveofgodproject.org/2019/03/relationship-with-jesus/  *

* (Includes excellent teaching)

Posted by: dhkrause | September 29, 2019

Beloved of God

1 John 4_19

God created us to love us, and gives each person the capacity to love Him back.  This is implied in Genesis 1:27, “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”  The Bible is God’s love letter to every person who will believe His word and come to Him.  He has taken the initiative in this love relationship, as declared in

1 John 4:19, “We love Him because He first loved us.”  The perfecting of this love relationship is the central theme of the New Testament.

Many of the Psalms reveal facets of the deep love relationship God desires to have with us, exhorting people to worship, praise and thank God for His goodness, and to give glory to His name.  Psalms like those below depict the wonders of an ever deepening walk with the Creator and Lover of our souls.

Psalm 29 (NKJV)
A Psalm of David
Give unto the Lord, O you mighty ones,
Give unto the Lord glory and strength.
Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name;
Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.

Psalm 29_2

Psalm 91 (NKJV)
Safety of Abiding in the Presence of God
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”

14 Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.”

Psalm 107 (NKJV)
Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
For He satisfies the longing soul,
And fills the hungry soul with goodness.

Song of Solomon 6_3

The Song of Solomon beautifully depicts a committed love relationship between a husband and wife, and also gives a picture of the kind of mutual self-giving God desires for each of us to have with Him.  The Shulamite woman declares in Song of Solomon 6:3,  “I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine”.  This description of a deep sharing of lives has a spiritual parallel in Jesus’ prayer for his followers in John 17:9-10, “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them.”

In the conclusion of this prayer, Jesus prayed that his followers would know the love that He shares eternally with the Father, that we would be with Him where He is, and that we would see His glory.

John 17 (NKJV)
Jesus Prays for All Believers
20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.

John 17_24 (2)

24 “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. 26 And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it,that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

John 1 is a helpful foundation for understanding Jesus’ prayer in John 17. 

John 1 (NKJV)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

God sent his Son into the world so that we can receive eternal life.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  (John 3:16)

John 8_12 (5)

Jesus declares in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”  Following Him, we enter into a walk with God that grows stronger and deeper day by day, as described in 1 John 4:

1 John 4 (NKJV)
Knowing God Through Love
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

Seeing God Through Love
12 No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 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.

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, https://compellinglove.net/, 9/28/2019

Photo credits:
(1) https://www.fggam.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/1-John-4-19-We-love-God-because-He-1st-loved-us-Hope-in-Today-Ministries-Inc..jpg
(2) https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Psalms-29-2_Inspirational_Image/
(3) https://www.stalkram.net/tag/joyfulverse
(4) https://twitter.com/scripturetclub/status/1006545158408507392
(5) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlQ6RMwKHCc

Posted by: dhkrause | September 15, 2019

Faith and Hope in God

Psalm 42_11

In this turbulent world, whatever life may bring, our faith and hope are in God.  We can command our souls as David did in Psalm 42:11, “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.” 

Blogger Amber Rae Sunshine comments on this verse:

“I love how the author of this Psalm tells his soul to hope in God. Life becomes tumultuous when we wander from God’s truth.  Our spirits become restless and chaos fills our minds.  Our hope is lost to chaos.  We need to be reminded that our hope is in God.

“One of my biggest takeaways from therapy has been the practice of re-centering my mind and spirit on unshakable truths rather than the thoughts that race through my mind.

“The easiest truth to center yourself on is the character of God:
His constant, boundless grace
His omnipotence and omnipresence
His overwhelming love for you
His strength that will carry you when you feel too weak to continue

“We need to remind ourselves, and our souls, to hope in the truth of God’s Word and in His character.”

(https://www.amberraesunshine.com/blog/2018/11/3/psalm-4211)

Psalm 43_3

David prays for God’s light and truth to lead Him, and again commands his soul in Psalm 43:

Oh, send out Your light and Your truth!
Let them lead me;
Let them bring me to Your holy hill
And to Your tabernacle.
Then I will go to the altar of God,
To God my exceeding joy;
And on the harp I will praise You,
O God, my God.

Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God;
For I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God.

Blogger Rebecca Brand comments on this Psalm:

“Our hope is in God.  When we feel surrounded by darkness and uncertainty, this Psalm should give us encouragement. God’s truth provides the right path to follow in our lives and His light provides clear vision for us to follow. … This is an awesome psalm to remind us that when we feel discouraged, spend time in prayer and worship, because God’s presence changes atmospheres and He will certainly never let us down.”

Romans 15_13 (3)

Paul prays in Romans 15:13, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”  He adds in Romans 15:33, “Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.”  This is a fulfillment of Isaiah 26:3, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”

Peter describes being born again “to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead”.

1 Peter 1 (NKJV)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Blogger Mr. Reel comments on this passage:

“There is a razor sharp logic in this passage when we recognize all three persons of the Trinity at work in our salvation. God the Father gave us mercy by loving us and sending His Son Jesus to die for our sins. The Father then raised the Son from the dead so that we, too, can be resurrected for eternal life with Him. When we were saved, the Holy Spirit convicted us of our sins, and then gave us new spiritual life so that we could repent, trust in Jesus the Son, and receive the Father’s forgiveness and grace.”

(https://thereeldeal.blog/2017/09/05/our-living-hope-1-peter-13-5/)

1 Peter 1_3 (4)

As believers following Jesus Christ, our faith and hope are in God.  Rejoicing in His promises, resting our hope fully upon His grace,  empowered by the Holy Spirit, we can live for His glory.

1 Peter 1 (NKJV)
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.

13 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”  …

20 He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you 21 who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, https://compellinglove.net/, 9/15/2019

Photo credits:
(1) https://www.amberraesunshine.com/blog/2018/11/3/psalm-4211
(2) https://rebeccabrand.org/2018/05/07/gods-truth-light/
(3) https://www.bibleverseimages.com/joy-bible-verse-4.htm
(4) https://ymi.today/2015/04/typography-1-peter-13/

Posted by: dhkrause | September 1, 2019

Christ’s Love and Glory

1 John 4_9

God’s love is preeminently revealed in John 3:16, For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  1 John 4 expands upon this revelation:

1 John  4
Knowing God Through Love
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
Seeing God Through Love
12 No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 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.

Colossians 1_13

Colossians 1 describes how God has gloriously redeemed believers through Christ, “the Son of His love”:

Colossians 1 (NKJV)
13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.

Moses prayed in Exodus 33:18, “Please, show me your glory.”  The Lord graciously responded:

Exodus 33 (NKJV)
19 Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” 20 But He said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” 21 And the Lord said, “Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. 22 So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. 23 Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.”

2 Corinthians 4_6 (4)

Paul declares in  2 Corinthians 4:6, “For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

Isaiah 6 records a glorious vision of the Lord sitting on a throne:

Isaiah 6 (NKJV)
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
The whole earth is full of His glory!”

David exhorts the people in Psalm 29:2, “Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name; Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.”

Pastor John Piper  describes the difference between the holiness of God and the glory of God:

Manifest Holiness
Now when Isaiah 6:3 says that one angel is crying to another, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts,” the next thing he says is this: “The whole earth is full of his . . . ” You might have expected him to say, “holiness,” but he doesn’t say that. He says, “glory.”

Isaiah 6_3

Intrinsically holy, and the whole earth is full of his glory — from which I stab at a definition, by saying that the glory of God is the manifest beauty of his holiness. It is the going-public of his holiness. It is the way he puts his holiness on display for people to apprehend. So, the glory of God is the holiness of God made manifest.

And, the Bible says, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” (Isaiah 6:3). If you had eyes to see in this room, you would see the glory of God everywhere. We need eyes. We need eyes more than we need anything: “The god of this world has blinded the minds of unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:4).

So I ask, “Do you see it? Do you love it?” You were made for this, deep down in your heart.

https://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/what-is-gods-glory–2

Christ’s high priestly prayer in John 17 reveals His love and eternal glory.

John 17 (NKJV)
Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

John 17_22 (2)

I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”

He prayed that believers would behold His glory and know His unfailing love:

20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.

24 “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. 26 And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, https://compellinglove.net/,8/31/2019

Photo credits:
(1) manna.amazingfacts.org/amazingfacts/website/amazingfacts/images/scripture-pictures/1-john-4-9.jpg”
(2) bythisallwillknow.wordpress.com/2018/05/09/i-am-rescued/
(3) http://www.foolsforchrist.net/2-corinthians.html
(4) http://www.idisciple.org/post/verse-of-the-day-isaiah-6-3
(5) wiirocku.tumblr.com/post/170556746391/john-1722-nkjv-and-the-glory-which-you-gave

Posted by: dhkrause | August 18, 2019

The Joy of the Lord

Nehemiah 8_10 (4)

True and lasting joy comes from walking with the true and living God. In Paul’s description of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22, he lists joy second, right after love: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness”.  Lasting joy is from God, and the joy of the Lord is your strength, as Nehemiah 8:10 declares:

Nehemiah 8:10
Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Abiding in God’s presence brings fullness of joy, as David describes:

Psalm 16 (NKJV)
10 For You will not leave my soul in Sheol,
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
11 You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Psalm 5_11

Those who put their trust in God, love Him and obey Him will rejoice in His goodness.  He will bless them with favor, and surround them as with a shield:

Psalm 5 (NKJV)
11 But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You;
Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them;
Let those also who love Your name be joyful in You.
12 For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous;
With favor You will surround him as with a shield
.

As we walk in God’s light and truth, He becomes our exceeding joy.

Psalm 43 (NKJV)
Oh, send out Your light and Your truth!
Let them lead me;
Let them bring me to Your holy hill
And to Your tabernacle.
Then I will go to the altar of God,
To God my exceeding joy
;
And on the harp I will praise You,
O God, my God.

Psalm 51_12

The joy of the Lord is lost when a person willfully sins against God.  The only remedy is to sincerely repent, and ask God to restore the joy of your salvation, as David did in Psalm 51:

Psalm 51 (NKJV)
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

11 Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.

Luke 2 describes the birth of Jesus Christ, the long awaited Savior that had been prophesied.  The angel announcing the birth of Jesus to the shepherds in the field told them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.

Luke 2
Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.

Luke 2_10

11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

Jesus urged His followers to abide in His love.  If we do, His joy will remain in us and our joy will be full.

John 15
Love and Joy Perfected
“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 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.

11 These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”

Jesus Christ, the captain of our salvation, suffered and died to bring “many sons to glory”, through His death and resurrection.  This was the “joy set before Him” for which He endured the cross.

Hebrews 12_2(2)

Hebrews 2
10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

Hebrews 12 (NKJV)
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Paul says in Philippians 2:5, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus”.  Jesus put the will of His Father first, the eternal life of each of us second, and Himself last.  He said in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”  If you put Jesus first, others second and yourself last, you will have true and lasting Joy. It may even be contagious, affecting all nature around you!

Isaiah 55 (NKJV)
12 “For you shall go out with joy,
And be led out with peace;
The mountains and the hills
Shall break forth into singing before you,
And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, https://compellinglove.net/, 8/18/2019

Photo credits:
(1) https://pilgrimtraveler.com/for-the-joy-of-the-lord-is-your-strength/
(2) https://www.christianwallpapersfree.com/2014/01/sing-for-joy.html
(3) https://thejoyfulchristianministry.com/tag/salvation/ (Includes excellent teaching)
(4) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_XxLWeQneg
(5) https://blog.peacebewithu.com/where-is-your-focus/ (Includes excellent teaching)

Posted by: dhkrause | August 4, 2019

The Kingdom of God

Matthew 6_33 (2)

The phrases, “Kingdom of God” and “Kingdom of Heaven” are used synonymously in the New Testament, occurring about 100 times.  In some passages the phrase refers to Christ’s millennial reign on the earth, or His eternal reign in the new heaven and new earth.  In other passages it refers to God’s reigning in our lives here and now through the Holy Spirit.  Jesus taught that above all else we are to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.”

Matthew 6 (NKJV)
25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

Matthew 6_10

In the prayer Jesus taught to the disciples, the phrase “Your kingdom come” is looking forward to the God’s coming kingdom here on earth, as well as  praying for God’s complete rulership in the believer’s life.

Matthew 6 (NKJV)
In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Jesus taught that one must be born of the Spirit to see kingdom of God.

John 3 (NKJV)
Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”

Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

John 3_3

The Knowing-Jesus.com website comments on this passage:

Nicodemus could only relate to our physical birth – our natural birth where when a human baby is born through the action, will and work of man. But the new birth is not something that can be implemented by the action, will or work of man. The new birth is a supernatural, spiritual act, that is performed by the Holy Spirit, within the heart of a man or woman, the moment that they put their trust in Jesus Christ.(https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/john-3-3)

Teacher Mary Fairchild writes:

The Kingdom of God is the realm where Jesus Christ reigns as King and God’s authority is supreme. This Kingdom exists here and now (in part) in the lives and hearts of the redeemed, as well as in perfection and fullness in the future.(https://www.learnreligions.com/what-is-the-kingdom-of-god-701988)

At every moment, we have the choice to be abiding in His kingdom or outside of it.  That is why Paul enjoins, “Pray without ceasing.”

1 Thessalonians 5 (NKJV)
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

John 15_4 (2)

Jesus teaches that if we abide in Him, we will be fruitful for God’s kingdom.

John 15 (NKJV)
1 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

Abiding with Christ means walking in the Spirit and not fulfilling the lusts of the flesh.  Paul contrasts the works of the flesh with the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5.

Galatians 5 (NKJV)
16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Galatians 5_25

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Francis L. Harris comments on this verse:

Let God speak to you through His Word, The Holy Bible. After being born of the Spirit, we must walk in the Spirit, that is, yield ourselves to God to be led of the Spirit. If you allow the Holy Spirit to guide you, you will avoid the old ways of the flesh, and pursue holiness in the fear of God, “speaking to yourselves in Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the LORD”, Ephesians 5:19. “Rejoice in the LORD always: and again I say, Rejoice.” Philippians 4:4. This is walking in the Spirit.
(https://versaday.com/Months/12/1214.aspx)

Walking in the Spirit means daily becoming more like Jesus.  As we abide in the hope of His coming, we will purify ourselves, just as He is pure.

1 John 3 (NKJV)
Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, https://compellinglove.net/, 8/4/2019

Photo credits:
(1) https://www.bibleversesof.faith/2019/03/matthew-6-33.html
(2) https://twitter.com/sprec61551/status/970149469055430656
(3) https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/john-3-3
(4) https://www.yhwh.today/2018/08/john-154.html
(5) https://versaday.com/Months/12/1214.aspx

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