Living in God’s Truth and Love

God’s truths, as revealed in the Bible, showcase His unwavering love for each of us and provide guidance for living in alignment with His will. From Genesis to Revelation, the scriptures affirm God’s love, grace, and desire for a relationship with humanity. Verses like John 3:16 emphasize that God’s love is so profound that He gave His only Son for our salvation. This sacrificial love is a cornerstone of the Christian faith, offering hope and redemption. God’s commandments and teachings throughout the Bible are not merely rules but expressions of His love, designed to lead us to a fulfilling and righteous life. The Bible assures us that God’s love is unconditional and ever-present, inviting us into a personal relationship with Him.

However, the Bible also outlines the consequences of disobedience to God’s commands. Just as a loving parent disciplines their child for their well-being, God’s judgments and corrections guide us back to the path of righteousness. Stories such as the fall of Adam and Eve, the flood in Noah’s time, and the Babylonian exile illustrate that disobedience leads to separation from God’s blessings and protection. Yet, even in judgment, God’s love remains evident. He offers forgiveness and restoration to those who repent and turn back to Him, emphasizing His desire for reconciliation and eternal fellowship. These dual themes of love and accountability underscore the Bible’s message: God’s love is boundless, but our choices have significant consequences.

 Scriptural Insights

John 17:14-15 (ESV) states:

“I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.”

Ephesians 4:15 (ESV) advises:

“speaking the truth in love,”

God’s love and truth are deeply interconnected in the Bible. Here are some key points that illustrate this connection:

Biblical Depictions

Psalm 85:10 (ESV):

“Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other.”

This verse poetically expresses the harmony between God’s love and truth (faithfulness).

John 1:14 (ESV):

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

This verse speaks of Jesus Christ, who embodies both God’s love (grace) and truth.

John 3:16 (ESV):

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

This well-known verse emphasizes God’s love as a fundamental truth that leads to salvation.

1 John 4:8 (ESV):

“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

Here, love is directly identified with God’s nature, implying that understanding God’s love is understanding a fundamental truth about God.

 Theological Interpretations

Love as a Reflection of Truth:

God’s love reveals His character and truth. To know God’s love is to understand His nature, intentions, and the reality of His kingdom.

Truth in Love:

The truth of God’s promises, commands, and the gospel is conveyed through acts of love. The ultimate act of love, Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, is the ultimate revelation of God’s truth about salvation and redemption.

Living in Truth and Love:

Christians are called to live in both love and truth. Ephesians 4:15 encourages believers to “speak the truth in love,” showing that truth should be communicated with love, and love should be grounded in truth.

Practical Implications

Holistic Faith:

Believers are encouraged to pursue a faith that embraces both God’s love and truth, ensuring their understanding of God is balanced and comprehensive.

Ethical Living:

The interplay of love and truth guides ethical behavior, promoting actions that are both compassionate and honest.

 Biblical Examples of Disobedience and Consequences

Adam and Eve:

Their disobedience resulted in profound consequences, as outlined in Genesis 3:14-19. The serpent is cursed, Eve faces increased pain in childbirth, and Adam encounters a life of arduous labor and eventual death. These judgments underscore the far-reaching impact of sin.

Noah and the Flood:

In Genesis 6-7, widespread disobedience leads to a catastrophic flood, destroying all life except for Noah, his family, and the animals on the ark. This narrative highlights the gravity of turning away from God’s ways while also showcasing God’s mercy in preserving a remnant.

The Tower of Babel:

In Genesis 11:1-9, humanity’s prideful attempt to build a tower reaching the heavens results in God confounding their language and scattering them. This story illustrates the consequences of defying God’s authority.

Babylonian Captivity:

Chronicled in 2 Kings 24-25 and Jeremiah 25, the Babylonian captivity resulted from Judah’s persistent disobedience. The fall of Jerusalem and the exile emphasize the seriousness of abandoning God’s commands.

Sodom and Gomorrah:

In Genesis 18-19, the severe sins of Sodom and Gomorrah lead to their destruction by fire and sulfur. Yet, God’s mercy is evident as He spares Lot and his family due to Abraham’s intercession.

 Conclusion

God’s truths in the Bible consistently reveal His profound love for each individual and His desire for a personal relationship with humanity. This love is demonstrated through the sacrifice of His Son, as stated in John 3:16, and is reflected in His commandments and teachings designed to lead us to a fulfilling life. God’s love is unconditional and invites us into a deep, personal connection with Him. However, the Bible also clearly states that there are consequences for disobedience. Just as a loving parent disciplines their child for their own good, God’s judgments are meant to guide us back to righteousness. The stories of Adam and Eve, Noah’s flood, and the Babylonian exile illustrate the serious consequences of turning away from God’s commands. Yet, even in His judgments, God’s love remains evident as He offers forgiveness and restoration to those who repent.

In the Bible, God’s truth and love are deeply interconnected, as demonstrated through various passages and stories. The Tower of Babel, the Babylonian captivity, and the symbolic representation of Babylon in Revelation all highlight human pride and disobedience against God’s authority, leading to severe consequences. These narratives emphasize the importance of living in accordance with God’s will, as defiance results in separation from His blessings and protection. Nonetheless, the overarching message of the Bible is one of hope and redemption, underscoring God’s boundless love and mercy. By adhering to His truths and embracing His love, we are guided towards a life of righteousness and eternal fellowship with Him.

We must each share the truths of the Bible to help those who have disobeyed God and His commandments, even when these truths are unpopular. Only by communicating God’s word can others come to know the truth and be saved from eternal damnation through Jesus Christ.

Dealing with unforgiveness

Rev Randy Brummitt

I believe will help you in this area of honor and forgiveness
About a decade ago, I had an experience that took place in my life
That was very, very hurtful.

After that experience, I slowly began to slide into a state of
Solemness
Really
I began to be depressed and I began to feed on what happened?
I began to feed
I began to cultivate and here’s a principle, I’ve only stayed at home with the details
What you feed in your life
Physically, spiritually, mentally, otherwise
Will grow to what you start
And I learned a valuable lesson
Because people would say
Hey, did so and so do so and so do you
I said
I began to cultivate
The germination of unforgiveness in my life
And as much as I prayed for crop failure, it just went bad
It kept getting worse and worse
I remember one day when I was praying
I was reading God’s Word
And without a doubt
I think that the Holy Spirit was saying this to my heart
Randy, you must forgive me
It wasn’t a suggestion
And it was a spiritual man
Because I knew
The toxic effects of unforgiveness
That I had taught on
That I had helped others walk through
And I knew better
But the grip was there
The sword had already pierced my heart
And I was feet
As I read the Word of God
And simply prayed for unforgiveness to leave
I knew
I was challenged
With a much more difficult task
And I knew that the Holy Spirit through God’s Word was saying to me
Randy, you need to pray for that person
And you need to bless them
Through the scriptures
I could quote text after text
About blessing those who personally being good to those
Who despitefully use you and persecute you
And all of that was in my mind, even my heart
But I had to make a choice
I had to begin to call the name of that person out in prayer
And I had to begin to bless the heavenly Father
Bless this person
Or bless the minister to
I prayed for their family
I prayed and I felt nothing
The Holy Spirit spoke to me yet again
Through God’s Word and said,
Randy, you need to bless the person who hurt you
Like you want me to bless you
Pray for them
Like you prayed for yourself to be blessed
So I did
I began to pray for them
I began to pray for them to be blessed
I began to pray for God
To do something in their life
That would be miraculous, spontaneous
There would just bless their songs on
And I felt nothing
I was about a month ahead by now
For him
I had to continue to pray
Let me teach you a principle
Your emotions will
Evidently light
Just because you feel nothing
I kept praying
It was weeks later
I spent almost two months praying
Before I felt it
Now let me give you a tangible pertinence
A pertinence example
Those who fly single engine planes
They are number one
Risk of Christ
Here’s why they crash
While they’re flying
They look at their ultimate
You are ascending
Flying
Correctly
Everything is fine
And yet they’re in a cloud bank
That fog of cloudiness
I was in there spiritually
It was called unforgiveness
The cloud bank of those gifts
Well these pilots are in a literal cloud bank
And they can’t see anything
And because they can’t see it
None of them behind them
Their emotions begin to lie to them
And they’re descending
And you can pull out of it
Well because they trust their emotion
And not the instrument panel
They end up in a crash-dive situation
Descending
They can never pull out of it
And they crash
Not one reason
Small planes crash
And the emotions lie to the pilot
Instead of believing the instrument panel
Which you can trust
They put their emotions

From God
From the word of God
Was absolutely
Freshness
After I prayed
I prayed for the person
Who had offended me
I prayed for them
God would bless them
As much as I prayed for God
To bless me and for what
And about two months in
Guess what happened
The damper
It jumped up when I think about it
God said
Really
You feel something
Yes, what I feel
What you feel right is
That pain
And don’t Jesus what you mean
Randy the only way you know this person
Is through what they did to you
But I know them
But what happened to them
I say that again
Randy the only way you know this person
Is through what they did to you
But I know them
Through what happened to them
And then I begin to realize
That person as a child
A teenager
Traumatized
They were traumatized so greatly
That hurting people, hurting people, hurting people
And that hurt
Inside of them
It’s been oozing out
As it appeared that they were lying
Others rejected others
Probably many other ways
And friend, you’re in one of these two categories today
You’re either a hurting person that’s hurting people
For you’re the walking one bit
For being hurt
And you need to learn how to forgive
The enemy of your soul doesn’t care if you’re the person who’s causing the hurt
Or receive the hurt
He wants to destroy the way
Today I want to pray for you
Because I pray for those on this face to the way
That in the name of Jesus
God will do something in you
Greater than what has been done to you
Begin to pray for the person that hurt you
Call their name
Number two, begin to bless them
Thirdly, let that blessing in them
Equal or surpass
Your prayers for God to bless you
Then something will happen
It may take six to eight weeks
Like it never did with me
But boom
Is it better than the other person taught you
But yeah, to see the optics
Of a living heavenly Father
Who also sees you
Not for what you’ve done to others
But for what’s been done to you
See, the trauma in your life
Has caused you to hurt others
So I pray to the name of Jesus
First of all, if you’re the walking wounded
If you’ve been hurt in trauma times
Then we, none of us, get out of this life
But I pray for you right now
The name of Jesus
Make your hurt
What has been done to you
The trauma
That’s been done to you
Would begin to be healed with the name of Jesus
A bruised reed, I will not break
The Bible says
Of Jesus
A bruised reed
Imagine a lemon tree that’s been broken
And while we’re going to break it off
Not Jesus
It brings that lemon back
You’re perhaps it
It holds it in place
Until it is alive
That’s what it’s going to do for you
Jesus, and I pray for you
And for your experiencing
Anger, dial, and forgive us
Maybe even hatred that you fought towards someone else
I pray that you’ll begin to bless people in it today
That as you begin to do that
That blessing will come to fruition
Your life
Your emotions will be awakened
Your empathy
Thank you Holy Spirit
For others will be
A growing
Aspect of your life
Listen, try to fall for perfect
For I have more empathy today
And I’ve never had a whole life
And I can’t live in a painful process
If I’ve wanted to have it for you
Someone who had hurt me
I pray the same for you friend
Your greatest days of your hair
Be an extension of Jesus
Be a friend

Rev Randy Brummitt

My Comment

It’s clear from your story that you’ve experienced deep hurt and struggled with unforgiveness, yet found a path to healing through prayer and obedience to God’s Word. In similar times of hurt, I find it helpful to remember Ephesians 4:31-32 (ESV), which says, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” This scripture underscores the importance of letting go of negative emotions and choosing to forgive as Christ forgave us. Your journey of praying for the person who hurt you, even when it was difficult, embodies this principle of forgiveness and highlights the transformative power of aligning our actions with God’s commands.

He Gets Us

“God Calls us” to him not just “He gets us”

Certainly! The slogan “He gets us” suggests that God understands us deeply, but it goes beyond just understanding. According to Scripture, God knew us even before we were formed and calls us to reunite with Him. Here are some scriptural references that illustrate these points:

1. God knows us intimately:

  • Psalm 139:1-4 (ESV): “O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.”
  • Jeremiah 1:5 (ESV): “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
  • Matthew 10:30 (ESV): “But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.”

2. God’s call to us:

  • Isaiah 43:1 (ESV): “But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.'”
  • John 6:44 (ESV): “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.”
  • 1 Peter 2:9 (ESV): “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
  • 2 Timothy 1:9 (ESV): “who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began.”

3.God’s love and knowledge of us:

  • Psalm 139:1-4 (ESV): “O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.”
  • Jeremiah 1:5 (ESV): “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
  • Matthew 10:30 (ESV): “But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.”

4. Our reconciliation with God through Jesus Christ:

  • 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 (ESV): “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.”
  • Romans 5:10-11 (ESV):”For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”
  • Ephesians 2:13-16 (ESV):”But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility”.

5. Salvation through Jesus Christ:

  • John 3:16 (ESV): “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
  • Romans 5:8 (ESV): “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
  • Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV): “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
  • Titus 3:5 (ESV): “he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.”

These verses highlight that God not only understands us but has known us from the very beginning and calls us to Himself, offering us salvation by His grace and mercy through a relationship through Jesus Christ.



Steps to Accept Jesus as Your Lord and Savior

  1. Acknowledge Your Need for Salvation:
  • Recognize that you are a sinner and in need of God’s grace.
  • Romans 3:23: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
  • Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
  1. Believe in Jesus Christ:
  • Believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that He died for your sins, and that He rose again.
  • John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
  • 1 Corinthians 15:3-4: “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.”
  1. Confess Your Faith:
  • Confess Jesus as your Lord and Savior.
  • Romans 10:9-10: “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”
  1. Repent of Your Sins:
  • Turn away from your sins and turn toward God.
  • Acts 3:19: “Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out.”
  • 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
  1. Receive Jesus into Your Heart:
  • Invite Jesus to come into your life and make Him the Lord of your life.
  • Revelation 3:20: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”

A Prayer of Salvation

If you are ready to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you can say this prayer :

“Dear God, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe that Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sins and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.”

Assurance of Salvation

  • John 1:12: “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”
  • Ephesians 2:8-9: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
  • Romans 8:38-39: “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

If you have prayed this prayer and meant it in your heart, welcome to the family of God! It’s important to find a local church or community of believers to grow in your faith, be baptized, and begin studying the Bible, start with the book of John.

To help you get started on your new Journey we have a New Believer Bible Study.



God Is Good!

Author: Barry Bennett

Many Christians attribute to God the characteristics of the enemy.
They see God as the thief.
They see God as making them sick.
God is taking their possessions.
God is making life hard.
God is sending suffering on their lives.
That’s a wrong concept that is going to horribly affect the way you live your life.
If you don’t see God as being for you,
and being the opposite of what the enemy comes to do,
God is not the enemy.
God is not your problem.
God is the blesser.
God is the one who is wanting to give you more life.
God wants us to be joyful.
He wants us to have his nature, his peace, everything about him.
He has made available to us.


My Comments

Author: Rev. Cecil Thorn

My comment addresses a common theological misunderstanding among some Christians regarding the nature and intentions of God. Here’s an analysis of the key points:

  1. Misattributing Negative Characteristics to God: The comment highlights that some Christians mistakenly attribute to God the characteristics and actions traditionally associated with the enemy (often understood as Satan or evil forces). These attributions include seeing God as a thief, the one who makes people sick, takes possessions, makes life hard, and sends suffering.
  2. Impact on Life Perspective: The belief that God is the source of these negative experiences can profoundly affect one’s outlook on life. If individuals see God as an adversary, it can lead to a sense of hopelessness, fear, and a strained relationship with their faith.
  3. Theological Correction: The comment argues that this view is fundamentally wrong and harmful. Instead, it suggests that Christians should understand God as a benefactor who desires to bless, give life, and bring joy, peace, and abundance. This perspective is more aligned with the traditional Christian view of God as loving, compassionate, and benevolent.
  4. God as Supportive and Loving: Emphasizing that God is for people, not against them, encourages a healthier, more positive spiritual life. It reassures believers that God is not their enemy but their supporter, seeking their well-being and happiness.
  5. Biblical Foundations: This perspective is often supported by various biblical texts. For example, in John 10:10, Jesus says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” This verse contrasts the actions of the thief (often interpreted as Satan) with Jesus’ mission to bring abundant life.

In summary, the Bible supports the view that God is not the source of our problems but rather our helper and benefactor. Recognizing God as a loving and benevolent Father who desires our well-being and joy can transform our faith and life perspective. Trusting in God’s good intentions aligns us with His promises and character, fostering a life of peace, joy, and confidence in His provision and care.


The Epic Battle: Kingdom of Man vs Kingdom of God – The End of All Things

Revelation 21:1-2 (NIV):

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.”


How does the story of Scripture end? Well, another founding of a city.

It’s a founding of the heavenly city and the destruction of Babylon. And so what the Bible is trying to get us to understand is the whole arc of redemptive history is a war between these two kingdoms.

It’s a war between those who say it’s me, it’s mine, it’s my kingdom, it’s my name, it’s all about me and I’m going to
get as much as I can for myself against a kingdom whose ethic is I’m going to lay it all down for his name and his glory and his kingdom and his will because he reigns.

And in the end of all things we see that the kingdom of man is all destroyed.

Everything that they live for all the wealth and pleasure and everything else eventually at all right out of their hands and it will be destroyed but the kingdom of God is triumphant.

    Author: Sam UnderthehoodFL

    My comments

    The contrast between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of man is starkly evident in their foundational principles: the Kingdom of God centers on God’s sovereignty and selflessness, whereas the kingdom of man often revolves around self-interest and pride. In the Kingdom of God, the call is to deny oneself and follow Christ, as Jesus states in Matthew 16:24 (ESV): “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” This kingdom values humility, service, and submission to God’s will (Matthew 20:26-28 (ESV)). On the other hand, the kingdom of man frequently exalts self-promotion and personal ambition, as depicted in James 3:16 (ESV): “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.” The self-centered nature of human kingdoms contrasts sharply with the selfless, God-centered nature of His kingdom, which calls believers to seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness (Matthew 6:33 (ESV)).

    Christians who seek the benefits of faith without commitment

    There are so many people in Christianity today, who want the quick fast track

    They want the byproducts of a relationship with God without the relationship

    They want the byproducts of salvation without salvation

    They want the byproducts of repentance without repentance

    They want forgiveness without repentance

    They want salvation without submission

    John MacArthur: Christianity Today

    In his quote, John MacArthur criticizes a prevalent attitude among some Christians who seek the benefits of faith without committing to its core principles. He argues that many people desire the positive outcomes associated with a relationship with God—such as salvation, repentance, forgiveness, and ultimately salvation—without engaging in the necessary spiritual disciplines and commitments, such as a genuine relationship with God, true repentance, and submission to His will. MacArthur suggests that this approach undermines the essence of Christianity, which requires sincere dedication and transformation.

    Summary

    In today’s self-centered world, many prioritize personal feelings over reality. However, God represents the true reality through the saving power of Jesus Christ. He is calling you to return to your Creator and embrace this truth today.

    The thematic connection between John 15:1-17 and Galatians 5:22-23

    The thematic (theme or subject) connection between John 15:1-17 (ESV) and Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV) lies in the concept of bearing spiritual fruit as a result of a deep, abiding relationship with Christ and living by the Holy Spirit.

    John 15:1-17 (ESV)

    In John 15:1-17 (ESV), Jesus uses the metaphor of the vine and branches to illustrate the necessity of abiding in Him to bear fruit. Here are the key themes:

    1. Abiding in Christ: Jesus emphasizes that believers must remain in Him (the vine) to produce fruit, as branches disconnected from the vine cannot bear fruit (John 15:4-5 (ESV)).
    2. Bearing Fruit: The fruit represents the visible evidence of a Christ-centered life, such as love, obedience, and joy (John 15:8-11 (ESV)).
    3. Love and Obedience: Jesus commands His followers to love one another as He has loved them, linking this love to the concept of bearing fruit (John 15:12-17 (ESV)).

    Matthew Henry’s commentary on John 15:1-17 (ESV) highlights the vital connection between Christ and His followers, the necessity of abiding in Him, and the command to love one another. It emphasizes that true discipleship involves bearing fruit through a close relationship with Jesus, obedience to His commandments, and a sacrificial love that mirrors His own. The commentary provides a rich theological understanding and practical application for believers seeking to live out their faith authentically.

    Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)

    In Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV), Paul describes the fruit of the Spirit, which are the qualities that emerge in a believer’s life as a result of living by the Holy Spirit:

    1. Fruit of the Spirit: The list includes love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
    2. Living by the Spirit: Paul contrasts the works of the flesh with the fruit of the Spirit, emphasizing that a Spirit-led life produces these positive attributes (Galatians 5:16-26 (ESV)).

    Matthew Henry commentary on Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV), underscores that these virtues are not achieved by human effort alone but are the result of the Holy Spirit’s work in a believer’s life. He contrasts these fruits with the works of the flesh, noting that the presence of these virtues is evidence of true spiritual transformation. The fruit of the Spirit collectively reflects the character of Christ and the moral and ethical standards that believers are called to embody. By cultivating these fruits, Christians demonstrate the transformative power of the Holy Spirit and live in a way that honors God and blesses others.

    Thematic Connections

    1. Source of Fruitfulness:
    • John 15 (ESV): Emphasizes that fruitfulness comes from abiding in Christ.
    • Galatians 5 (ESV): Attributes the production of spiritual fruit to living by the Holy Spirit.
    1. Nature of the Fruit:
    • John 15 (ESV): Focuses on love as a primary fruit and evidence of discipleship.
    • Galatians 5 (ESV): Lists multiple aspects of the fruit of the Spirit, including love, joy, and peace.
    1. Purpose and Outcome:
    • John 15 (ESV): Bearing fruit glorifies God and demonstrates that one is a true disciple of Jesus.
    • Galatians 5 (ESV): The fruit of the Spirit reflects a transformed life and the character of God.

    But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions: joy that overflows, peace that subdues, patience that endures, kindness in action, a life full of virtue, faith that prevails, gentleness of heart, and strength of spirit. Never set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless . Galatians 5 :22-23 (TPT)

     

    Summary

    Both passages emphasize the transformation that occurs when believers are deeply connected to Christ and led by the Spirit. John 15 (ESV) uses the vine metaphor to teach the necessity of remaining in Jesus to bear fruit, while Galatians 5 (ESV)details the specific characteristics that the Holy Spirit cultivates in a believer’s life. Together, they highlight that true spiritual fruit is a result of a dynamic relationship with Christ and the active work of the Holy Spirit.

    Biblical Fasting

    In the Bible, fasting involves abstaining from food or certain types of food for a period of time as an act of devotion, repentance, or seeking guidance from God. The practice is mentioned numerous times throughout both the Old and New Testaments. Here are a few references in the English Standard Version (ESV):Matthew 6:16-18 (ESV): Jesus teaches about fasting, emphasizing the importance of doing it sincerely and not for show. Isaiah 58:6-7 (ESV): This passage discusses the kind of fast that God desires, which includes acts of justice and compassion towards others. Joel 2:12 (ESV): Joel calls for a fast accompanied by repentance and a turning back to God. Acts 13:2-3 (ESV): The church at Antioch fasts and prays before sending Paul and Barnabas on their missionary journey. Esther 4:16: Esther calls for a fast among the Jews as they face a life-threatening situation. These are just a few examples, but fasting is mentioned throughout the Bible as a means of spiritual discipline and seeking God’s guidance and intervention.

    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    I. Biblical Fast 

    II. Types of Fasts

    III. Fasting Items

    IV. Jewish Fasts

    V. New Testament Fasting


    I. Biblical Fast 

    A biblical fast, as described in the Bible, involves abstaining from food or certain types of food for a period of time as an act of devotion, repentance, or seeking guidance from God. Here are some key scriptures and references:

    1.  Matthew 6:16-18 (ESV):  Jesus teaches about fasting: “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

    2.  Isaiah 58:6-7 (ESV):  God speaks through the prophet Isaiah about the kind of fast He desires: “Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?”

    3.  Joel 2:12 (ESV):  Joel calls for repentance accompanied by fasting: “Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.”

    4.  Acts 13:2-3 (ESV):  The church at Antioch fasts and prays before sending Paul and Barnabas on their missionary journey: “While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.”

    5.  Esther 4:16 (ESV):  Esther calls for fasting among the Jews in the face of a life-threatening situation: “Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.”

    These scriptures highlight various aspects of fasting in the Bible, including its purpose, proper attitude, and examples of fasting in practice.

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    II. Types of Fasts

    In the Bible, people observed fasts in various ways, often accompanied by specific actions or intentions.

    1.  Abstaining from Food:  Fasts typically involved abstaining from food or specific types of food for a designated period of time.

       –  Daniel 10:2-3 (ESV):  “In those days I, Daniel, was mourning for three weeks. I ate no delicacies, no meat or wine entered my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, for the full three weeks.”

    2.  Repentance and Mourning:  Fasts were often associated with repentance, mourning, or seeking forgiveness from God.

       –  Joel 2:12 (ESV):  “Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.”

    3.  Seeking God’s Guidance:  Fasts were also observed as a means of seeking God’s guidance, intervention, or blessing in a particular situation.

       –  Esther 4:16 (ESV):  “Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.”

    4.  Spiritual Discipline and Worship:  Fasts were sometimes practiced as acts of spiritual discipline or worship, demonstrating devotion to God.

       –  Acts 13:2-3 (ESV):  “While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.”

    5.  Interceding for Others:  Fasts were also observed to intercede for others or for a collective cause.

       –  Nehemiah 1:4 (ESV):  “As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.”

    These examples illustrate the various purposes and practices associated with fasting in the Bible, each serving as a means of seeking God’s will, mercy, and presence.

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    III. Fasting Items

    In biblical fasts, people often abstained from specific types of food or even all food for a period of time. The items included in a biblical fast varied depending on the circumstances, cultural practices, and personal choices. Here are some common elements:

    1.  Water:  In many biblical fasts, water was allowed, as it was essential for survival and hydration during the fasting period.

    2.  Bread and Grain Products:  Fasts often involved abstaining from bread and grain-based products, which were staple foods in many ancient cultures.

    3.  Meat and Animal Products:  Some fasts included abstaining from meat and other animal products, such as dairy and eggs.

    4.  Wine and Alcoholic Beverages:  Fasts sometimes involved abstaining from wine and other alcoholic beverages, which were common in social and religious gatherings.

    5.  Delicacies and Luxuries:  Fasts might also involve abstaining from indulgent or luxurious foods, such as sweets, desserts, and rich dishes.

    Ultimately, the specific items included or excluded in a biblical fast depended on the individual’s or community’s intentions, cultural practices, and religious beliefs. The key aspect was the deliberate abstention from certain types of food as an act of devotion, repentance, or seeking God’s guidance.

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    IV. Jewish Fasts

    In Judaism, there are several types of fasts observed for different purposes, including communal and individual fasts. Here are some of the main types of Jewish fasts:

    1.  Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) Fast:  Yom Kippur is the holiest day in Judaism, and it is observed with a 25-hour fast from sunset to nightfall the following day. It is a complete fast, meaning no food or drink is consumed, and it is a time for repentance, prayer, and atonement.

    2.  Tisha B’Av Fast:  Tisha B’Av is a day of mourning commemorating various tragedies in Jewish history, including the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem. It is observed with a fast from sunset to nightfall the following day, similar to Yom Kippur.

    3.  Fast of Esther:  This fast is observed on the day before Purim, commemorating Esther’s fasting before approaching the Persian king to plead for the salvation of the Jewish people. It is a dawn-to-dusk fast, typically lasting from sunrise to sunset.

    4.  Fast of Gedaliah:  This fast commemorates the assassination of Gedaliah, the governor of Judah appointed by the Babylonians after the destruction of the First Temple. It is observed on the third day of Tishrei, the day after Rosh Hashanah, and it is a dawn-to-dusk fast.

    5.  Tzom Gedaliah:  This fast is observed on the day after Rosh Hashanah, commemorating the assassination of Gedaliah. It is also a dawn-to-dusk fast.

    6.  Tenth of Tevet Fast:  This fast commemorates the siege of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, which ultimately led to the destruction of the First Temple. It is observed on the 10th day of the Hebrew month of Tevet and is a dawn-to-dusk fast.

    These are some of the main types of Jewish fasts, each observed for different historical events or religious purposes.

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    V. New Testament, Fasting

    In the New Testament, fasting is mentioned as a spiritual practice, primarily associated with seeking God’s guidance, expressing repentance, and deepening one’s relationship with God. While specific guidelines for fasting are not extensively detailed in the New Testament, there are principles and examples that provide insight into what a New Testament fast might look like:

    1.  Fasting for Spiritual Clarity:  In Matthew 4:1-11(ESV), Jesus fasts for 40 days and nights in the wilderness before beginning his public ministry. This fasting period is characterized by prayer, meditation, and spiritual preparation.

    2.  Fasting for Prayer and Discernment:  Acts 13:2-3 (ESV) records a time when leaders in the early Christian church fasted and prayed before making important decisions: “While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.”

    3.  Fasting for Repentance:  In the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32, the son returns to his father in repentance, saying, “I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.'” While not explicitly mentioned, fasting could be a part of the son’s act of repentance.

    4.  Fasting as a Spiritual Discipline:  In Matthew 6:16-18 (ESV), Jesus teaches about fasting as a private spiritual discipline: “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

    5.  Fasting with Humility:  In Luke 18:9-14 (ESV), Jesus tells the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, highlighting the importance of humility in fasting and prayer.

    These examples illustrate that New Testament fasting involves not only abstaining from food but also engaging in prayer, seeking spiritual clarity, repentance, and humility before God. It is a deeply personal and spiritual practice aimed at drawing closer to God and aligning one’s heart with His will.

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    What is expected of Christian’s under the New Covenant?

    Under the New Covenant of Jesus Christ, Christians are expected to follow the teachings of Jesus and live according to His commandments. Here are some key aspects of what is expected of Christians:

    1. Faith in Jesus Christ: Christians are called to believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and Savior.
    • John 3:16 (ESV): “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

    1. Repentance and Forgiveness of Sins: Christians are called to repent of their sins and seek forgiveness through Jesus Christ.

        • Acts 2:38 (ESV): “And Peter said to them, ‘Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.'”

        2. Love for God and Others: Christians are called to love God with all their heart, soul, and mind, and to love their neighbors as themselves.

          • Matthew 22:37-39 (ESV): “And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'”

          3. Living a Holy Life: Christians are called to live holy lives, set apart for God’s purposes, and to pursue righteousness.

            • 1 Peter 1:15-16 (ESV): “But as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.'”

            4. Following Jesus’s Teachings: Christians are expected to follow the teachings of Jesus, including His moral teachings and commandments.

              5. Spreading the Gospel: Christians are called to share the good news of Jesus Christ and make disciples of all nations.

                • Matthew 28:19-20 (ESV): “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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

                These are foundational expectations for Christians under the New Covenant, as outlined in the teachings of Jesus and the apostles in the New Testament of the Bible.


                Jesus summarized His commandments and teachings in several key passages in the New Testament. Here are some of the most prominent ones:

                1. The Great Commandment – Love God and Love Your Neighbor:
                • Matthew 22:37-40 (ESV): “And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.'”
                1. The Golden Rule – Treat Others as You Want to Be Treated:
                • Matthew 7:12 (ESV): “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
                1. The Sermon on the Mount – A comprehensive teaching on various aspects of Christian living, including humility, forgiveness, prayer, and righteousness:
                • Matthew 5-7 (ESV): This entire section contains many of Jesus’s teachings, including the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12 (ESV)), instructions on prayer (Matthew 6:5-15 (ESV)), and ethical teachings on various topics.
                1. The New Commandment – Love One Another:
                • John 13:34-35 (ESV): “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another.”
                1. The Great Commission – Make Disciples of All Nations:
                • Matthew 28:19-20 (ESV): “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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
                1. The Parable of the Good Samaritan – Show Mercy and Compassion:
                • Luke 10:25-37 (ESV): This parable illustrates the importance of showing mercy and compassion to others, regardless of their background or circumstances.

                These teachings encapsulate the essence of Jesus’s message and the principles He wanted His followers to live by. They emphasize love, compassion, humility, and obedience to God’s will.

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                Embracing Christian Masculinity

                Introduction:
                Today, we delve into the profound concept of masculinity from a Christian perspective. In a world often muddled with conflicting messages about what it means to be a man, let us turn to the timeless wisdom of Scripture to illuminate the path towards authentic masculinity.

                1. Rooted in Humility

                    • Scripture Reference: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4 (ESV))
                    • Masculinity, from a Christian viewpoint, is not about dominance or asserting one’s superiority over others. Rather, it is grounded in humility, placing the needs and well-being of others above oneself.
                    • “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” (James 4:10 (ESV))
                    • James encourages believers to humble themselves before God, promising that God will exalt those who demonstrate humility.
                    • “Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you.” (1 Peter 5:5-6 (ESV))
                    • Peter underscores the importance of humility in relationships and before God, highlighting that God opposes the proud but extends grace to the humble, ultimately leading to exaltation.

                    2. Exemplifying Strength in Love

                      • Scripture Reference: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” (Ephesians 5:25 (ESV))
                      • True masculinity is demonstrated through sacrificial love, mirroring the love of Christ for His church. It involves strength not in physical prowess alone, but in the depth of one’s capacity to love and serve others.
                      • “Let all that you do be done in love.” (1 Corinthians 16:14 (ESV))
                      • This verse encapsulates the overarching principle of conducting oneself with love in all actions and interactions, reflecting the strength of love in Christian character.
                      • “We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19 (ESV))
                      • This verse reminds us that our capacity to love stems from experiencing the love of God, highlighting the foundational role of God’s love in exemplifying love’s strength in our lives.

                      3. Leading with Integrity

                        • “The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them.” (Proverbs 11:3 (ESV))
                        • A Christian man leads with integrity, guided by moral principles and honesty in all endeavors. Integrity forms the bedrock of trustworthy leadership, both in the family and in society.
                        • “The righteous who walks in his integrity—blessed are his children after him!” (Proverbs 20:7 (ESV))
                        • This verse emphasizes that leading with integrity not only benefits the individual but also leaves a positive legacy for future generations.
                        • “With upright heart he shepherded them and guided them with his skillful hand.” (Psalm 78:72 (ESV))
                        • This verse describes the leadership of David, highlighting his integrity and skill in guiding God’s people.
                        • “Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.” (Titus 2:7-8 (ESV))
                        • Titus encourages believers to exhibit integrity in their actions and teachings, ensuring that they stand as exemplary models of Christian conduct.

                        4. Embracing Responsibility

                          • “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (1 Timothy 5:8 (ESV))
                          • Masculinity entails taking responsibility for one’s actions, providing for and nurturing the family entrusted to one’s care. This responsibility extends beyond mere provision to emotional support, guidance, and spiritual leadership.
                          • “For each will have to bear his own load.” (Galatians 6:5 (ESV))
                          • Galatians underscores personal responsibility, reminding individuals that they are accountable for their actions and the burdens they carry in life.
                          • “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4 (ESV))
                          • This verse highlights the responsibility of fathers to raise their children in a manner that nurtures them spiritually and emotionally.

                          5. Seeking Wisdom and Discernment

                            • “The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight.” (Proverbs 4:7 (ESV))
                            • A Christian man seeks wisdom and discernment, recognizing that true strength lies in the ability to make wise decisions and discern the will of God in all aspects of life. This pursuit of wisdom shapes his character and influences his interactions with others.
                            • “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” (James 1:5 (ESV))
                            • James encourages believers to ask God for wisdom, assuring that God is willing to generously grant it to those who seek it with sincerity.

                            In conclusion, Christian masculinity transcends societal stereotypes and cultural expectations. It is a holistic embodiment of humility, sacrificial love, integrity, responsibility, and wisdom, all rooted in the teachings of Scripture. As men called to live out our faith in a broken world, may we strive to embody these virtues, reflecting the image of Christ in all that we do.

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