"O LORD Almighty, God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth." Isaiah 37:16.
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1. God is the most thrilling thing in the universe. He is the greatest being that could exist without contradiction with maximally infinite divine attributes. Thus, it's inconceivable that God could be more wonderful, more holy, more righteous, more loving, more merciful, more gracious, more powerful, more knowledgeable, more infallible, etc. etc. than He already is.
God is love and God's greatest commandment is love.
God is love
1 John 4:16
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.
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
15 If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever-- 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.
25 These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
26 But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.
7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.
The quintessence of God's law is love
12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
16 Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?”
17 So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
18 He said to Him, “Which ones?”
Jesus said, “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ 19 ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”
14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
God's greatest commandment is love
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
1 Corinthians 13
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
1 John 2
9 Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. 10 Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. 11 But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.
1 John 3
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
4 Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. 6 No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. 7 Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. 8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. 10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.
11 For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12 We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother's righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17 But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
19 By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; 20 for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22 and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24 Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.
1 John 4
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.
1 John 5:16
If you see a Christian brother or sister sinning in a way that does not lead to death, you should pray, and God will give that person life. But there is a sin that leads to death, and I am not saying you should pray for those who commit it.
2 John 1
4 It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us. 5 And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. 6 And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.
10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them. 11 Anyone who welcomes them shares in their wicked work.
2. The Bible is God's primary revelation to the church and it trumps all the ecclesiastical councils of the church. The Scriptures are a universal creed for all true Christians.
The Importance of the Word in the Parable of the Sower
You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me.
It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.
Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.
2 Timothy 3:16
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.
2 Timothy 4:1-2
I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.
18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
2 Peter 3:1-2
This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles.
So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.
3. There is only one true God. The Son of God and the Spirit of God are God's Representatives.
Just as an image represents an object, Christ represents God. "He is the image of the invisible God" (Colossians 1:15, cf. 2 Corinthians 4:4). A word represents a thought. Christ, who is from everlasting to everlasting, is called "the Word of God" (Revelation 19:13) because He is the perfect expression of the will and mind of God. Analogies are representational. Symbols are representations. Radiance expresses glory in symbolic terms. Scripture says, "He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature" (Hebrews 1:3).
Christ through His Representative, the Holy Spirit, is present in the world. Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "... and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:18-20).
As Perfect Representatives of the Father, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all share the same name.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
So, when Christ said "He who has seen Me has seen the Father" (John 14:9), Christ didn't mean that there is just One of Us or that He and the Father are indistinguishable. Christ meant that He is a Perfect Representative of the Father.
"God appeared in the flesh,
was vindicated by the Spirit,
was seen by angels,
was preached among the nations,
was believed on in the world,
was taken up in glory." 1 Timothy 3:16.
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.
In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."
Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.
And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
1 Corinthians 8:6-7
Yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live. But not everyone knows this. (cf. John 1:3).
1 Timothy 2:5
For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.
1 John 5:20
And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding in order that we might know the true One. And we are in the true One, in His Son Jesus Christ. This One is the true God and eternal life.
Where does Christ rank in the Godhead?
A Commentary on Philippians 2:6
4. Conditional prophecy, conditional immortality and conditional salvation are extraordinarily compelling Biblical doctrines.
Conditionalism: A Cornerstone of Adventist Doctrine
Hell, Who can dwell in the fire that burns forever?
5. The righteous have been saved by grace through faith. Being saved, we are to serve God in a faith-filled life.
3 What does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” 4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. 5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness.
16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed--a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith."
Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God's sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.
For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.
Know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.
For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness.
Not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ--the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
13 These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.
1 Peter 2:11
Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.
2 Peter 1:5-8
For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
11 The grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.
1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.
12 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. 20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. 22 Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. 25 For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ's gift. 8 Therefore it says,
“When he ascended on high he led a host of captives,
and he gave gifts to men.”
9 (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? 10 He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, "Go in peace; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
18 But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds."
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder.
20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? 21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called God's friend. 24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.
25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
2 Corinthians 4:18
Look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
1 John 2:15
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.”
Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. (cf. Luke 18:9-14).
7 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.
39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.
26 Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. ... 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
2 Timothy 2:4
No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.
And they have conquered him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.
6. "We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings" (1 Corinthians 4:9). Our mission is what Christ announced to be His mission at the beginning of His ministry.
The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD. Luke 4:18-19.
We are to carry forward the work placed in our hands by the Master. He says:
If you pour yourself out for the hungry
and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then shall your light rise in the darkness
and your gloom be as the noonday.
And the LORD will guide you continually
and satisfy your desire in scorched places
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters do not fail. Isaiah 58:10-11.
For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’ Deuteronomy 15:11.
So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12.
7. Christians are to impart divine illumination to the world for the purpose of bringing glory to God. And God is honored when His people speak with a united voice, when they're not deceived about anything, and when they're actively working on the forefront of every important cause.
13 You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.
14 You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops.
Therefore take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him.
Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
1 Corinthians 10:31
Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.
8. Jesus Christ is the culmination of all revelation, especially that which is written in the Law and the Prophets.
a). Moses, the great law-giver, prophesied of his successor.
The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him.
No greater fulfillment is possible than what was already achieved through Jesus Christ.
Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
21 "You have heard that it was said to those of old, ... 22 But I say to you ..."
27 "You have heard that it was said to those of old, ... 28 But I say to you ..."
31 "Furthermore it has been said, ... 32 But I say to you ..."
33 "Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ... 34 But I say to you, ..."
43 "You have heard that it was said, ... 44 But I say to you, ..."
3 And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one's wife for any cause?” 4 He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” 7 They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” 8 He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”
Then he said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath."
Not only was the Sabbath made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath, but relieving suffering on the Sabbath is preeminently Christlike.
And He entered the synagogue again, and a man was there who had a withered hand. 2 So they watched Him closely, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him. 3 And He said to the man who had the withered hand, “Step forward.” 4 Then He said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they kept silent. 5 And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other. 6 Then the Pharisees went out and immediately plotted with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him.
He said to them, “Which one of you who has a sheep, if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”
10 On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, 11 and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” 13 Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.
14 Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue leader said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.”
15 The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie your ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? 16 Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?”
17 When he said this, all his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing.
15 The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.
16 For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath. 17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.”
18 Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.
For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.
b). The ministry of Christ through His Spirit is incomparably more glorious than the stipulations of Old Testament law.
2 Corinthians 3
7 But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, 8 how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? 9 For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. 10 For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. 11 For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious.
A "new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life." (v6)
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.
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. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
1 John 2:27
But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.
9. Christ is the new covenant (Isaiah 42:1-9). The old covenant was a prophecy of the new. Many of God's Old Testament laws (Exodus 12:1-28, Leviticus 16) and covenants (Genesis 17:1-14, Exodus 31:12-18, Exodus 34:28, Deuteronomy 4:13, Deuteronomy 9:9,11, Ezekiel 20:12,20) emphasized symbolic rites that foreshadowed a new paradigm of unexpected spiritual truths (Luke 22:14-20, Matthew 26:26-29, Luke 12:1, Matthew 16:11-12, Mark 8:15, Romans 2:29, Colossians 2:11-12, 1 Corinthians 5:6-8, 1 Peter 3:21, Revelation 14:7, etc.).
God once said, "My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant" (Genesis 17:1-14). Amazingly however, in the New Testament, circumcision as a physical requirement has ceased to be a part of God's law.
1 Corinthians 7:19
Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is what matters.
Circumcision, instead of being a physical requirement for infants, now represents a spiritual transformation for adults.
But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.
Circumcision in the New Testament symbolizes the removal of our sinful nature.
In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ,
Remarkably, the Sabbath covenant (Exodus 31:16) foreshadowed unseen spiritual truths since the beginning of creation (Genesis 2:1-3, Mark 2:27). Understood through the gift of the Spirit, this covenant (Hebrews 4:9) has been reinterpreted to mean a type of God's rest that we should enter into 24/seven.
Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it. 2 For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard. 3 For we who have believed enter that rest ...
10 For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. 11 Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.
If we accept the New Testament synthesis, then unquestionably, the festivals, new moons and Sabbaths are not to be emphasized as being a presently existing reality that are already completely fulfilled but are to be understood as a shadow of things to come (Colossians 2:16-17 cf. Hebrews 10:1, Isaiah 66:22-23).
We are not to participate in senseless disputes over uncertainties, such as the controversy that existed in the first century over diet and sacred days.
1 Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. 2 One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. 4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.
5 One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind.
The Freedom to Regard Certain Days Sacred
We acknowledge that literal seventh-day Sabbath-keeping wasn't explicitly encouraged or suspended but was left to be interpreted by individual believers. This confirms the radical transition from Old Testament laws to the New Testament emphasis on following the Spirit.
As for the sacredness of certain days, according to the Apostle Paul, we are free to select one of two alternative possibilities. We are absolutely free to regard every day alike or accept the position of the Judaizers, that some days are more sacred than others. The freedom given us by God emphasizes the necessity of living the principles of grace and listening to His Spirit.
Consequently, we are accepting of Sabbatarians like John the Apostle and the women that kept the Sabbath on the day after Christ's death.
The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.
On the Lord's Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.”
The New Covenant of Grace and Truth
"For when the priesthood is changed, of necessity there takes place a change of law also" (Hebrews 7:12).
a). "Seek ye first the reign of God and His righteousness" (Matthew 6:33).
b). "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect" (Matthew 5:48). "But like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, 'You shall be holy, for I am holy'." (1 Peter 1:15,16).
c). "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" (Matthew 22:37).
d). "Ye must be born again" (John 3:7).
e). You shall circumcise thy heart (Romans 2:29).
f). You shall enter God's rest (Hebrews 4:1-7, 9-11).
g). Do not be angry with your brother or sister (Matthew 5:21-26).
h). Do not divorce your spouse or marry a divorced person (Matthew 5:31-32).
i). Do not take an oath at all. Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ (Matthew 5:33-37).
j). "Do not resist an evil person" (Matthew 5:38-42).
k). "Agree with your adversary quickly" (Matthew 5:25).
l). "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (Matthew 5:43-48).
... "Do to others what you would have them do to you" (Matthew 7:12).
m). "Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord" (Hebrews 12:14).
n). "Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful" (Luke 6:36).
o). "Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ" (Galatians 6:2).
p). "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another" (John 13:34).
.... "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you" (John 15:12).
q). "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment" (John 7:24).
r). "Take heed how you hear" (Luke 8:18).
s). "Take heed, watch and pray" (Mark 13:33).
t). "Let all things be done decently and in order" (1 Corinthians 14:40).
u). You must throw out the covenant from Mount Sinai (Galatians 4:21-31 cf. Hebrews 9:1-4, Hebrews 8:13).
v). "Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil." (1 Thessalonians 5:16-22).
w). "Behold the Lamb of God!" (John 1:36).
x). "Proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his wondrous light" (1 Peter 2:9).
y). "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you" (Ephesians 4:32) ... "bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive" (Colossians 3:13).
z). "Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind" (1 Peter 3:8).
2 John 1:9
Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.
The Old and New Covenant Contrasted
The Sinaitic Covenant, established at Mount Sinai, included more than the famed Ten Commandments (Deuteronomy 5).
18 All the people perceived the thunder and the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood at a distance. 19 Then they said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, or we will die.” 20 Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you may not sin.” 21 So the people stood at a distance, while Moses approached the thick cloud where God was.
“THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THEM
AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD:
I WILL PUT MY LAWS UPON THEIR HEART,
AND ON THEIR MIND I WILL WRITE THEM,”
He then says,
“AND THEIR SINS AND THEIR LAWLESS DEEDS
I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE.”
This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him.
Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.
21 Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. 23 His son by the slave woman was born according to the flesh, but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a divine promise.
24 These things are being taken figuratively: The women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother. 27 For it is written:
“Be glad, barren woman,
you who never bore a child;
shout for joy and cry aloud,
you who were never in labor;
because more are the children of the desolate woman
than of her who has a husband.”
28 Now you, brothers and sisters, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29 At that time the son born according to the flesh persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. 30 But what does Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” 31 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.
The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless.
For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second.
In that He says, "A new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
Then he said, "Here I am, I have come to do your will." He sets aside the first to establish the second.
For through the Law I died to the Law, so that I might live to God.
For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse.
You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.
1 Timothy 1:8-11
Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.
But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.
10. The body of Christ will be united, enlightened and perfected through truth just before the Second Coming of Christ.
The Unity for Which Christ Prayed
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.
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.
And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.
10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe. 11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.
11. There is a powerful, heretofore unrecognized fundamental principle of prophetic interpretation, which is illustrated in the Constitution of Israel:
However, if you do not obey the Lord your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come on you and overtake you:
What follows this verse is an incredibly long list of disasters, which were obviously not all fulfilled when Israel would disobey their God. We interpret Deuteronomy 28:15-68 as the prototype of all subsequent prophecies. When God presents multiple scenarios, it doesn’t mean that it all has to be fulfilled. It just means that God is emphasizing all His possible options.
It is very satisfying to understand the divine purpose and prophecy that God has explained in the book of Revelation. The Apostolic church was given the privilege of completing the gospel commission but that early church was to fail in their appointed work, as the Lord foreknew. The next prophetic movement that had a chance to fulfill prophecy was during the great second advent awakening of the 1840s. The Millerites, whom God raised up, could have proclaimed the gospel with sufficiently great power, but they also failed in their God-given opportunity. We are now in the final scenario and have great joy in the Spirit and the hope that we will be illuminating the darkness of the world with the full radiance of the gospel that God has given especially to us.
9 Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. 10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
The New Apostolic/Millerite Interpretation of the Book of Revelation
12. The sole axiomatic system that is more relevant and more consequential than all others combined explains the declaration from God that a heavenly angel has an everlasting gospel to preach; we are given the record of his angelic preaching, along with the messages of his accompanying angels (Revelation 14:6-12).
The Three Angels' Messages Versus The Three Demons' Messages