The Key of Knowledge

key of knowledge

In Luke 11 is an intriguing verse of scripture

52Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered .

Jesus told the lawyers (people that had mastered the Law of Moses) that they had taken away “the key of knowledge”. This prevented them from entering in but also stopped others from entering. When Jesus said “the key” my question is “What is the key?” that he is referring. He did not say “the keys” or “a key” but “the key”.  Jesus does not tell us in the context of this chapter. I started studying knowledge in the Old Testament and found this verse in Proverbs 1

7The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. A key gains you access to a house, car, or safety deposit box. A key is never the final goal but provides an entrance, start, or beginning to the thing being sought. This was the verse that explained Luke 11:52 but I had to find it in the remote context.  To ensure that we are right let’s consider two more verses in Proverbs. In chapter 1

29 For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD:

And chapter 2

5 Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.

These verses show that the fear of the Lord is a prerequisite for knowledge.  The prase “the fear of the Lord” is used 14 times in the book of Proverbs. In Proverbs 9 it’s also the beginning of wisdom.

10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

The fear of the Lord is significant to our walk if we want to wise and knowing. So now we have a new question, What is the fear of the Lord mean? Fear is commonly used to refer to being scared. This word means to give reverence or respect to something. If you fear a snake then you are giving respect to the power or danger posed by the snake. When we fear the Lord then we give reverence or respect to God. So how do we give respect to God? This is done be respecting the Word of God. As we read the Word of God and obey it then we are showing respect to God.  As we show respect to God in this way then he allows us to begin in our quest for knowledge, and wisdom.  The Word of God is unfathomable because it contains infinite knowledge and wisdom. That’s why the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom because we will never live long enough to apprehend and comprehend the full knowledge and wisdom contained in the book.

Here are all 14 verses in Proverbs which contain the phrase “fear of the Lord”. If you read, study, and meditate on these verses then God will give you more knowledge and wisdom. God is waiting for you to spend some quality time with him. Enjoy the journey.

Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 1:29; Proverbs 2:5; Proverbs 8:13; Proverbs 9:10; Proverbs 10:27; Proverbs 14:26-27; Proverbs 15:16; Proverbs 15:33; Proverbs 16:6; Proverbs 19:23; Proverbs 22:4; Proverbs 23:17

 

His Star

Who knew and when? That is a common question during an investigation and usually established by analyzing the evidence and cross examining witnesses. This study is an analysis of the birth of Jesus Christ with the focus on “who were the wise men?” and “when did they know?”.

Matthew 2

1Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,

2Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

3When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.

4And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.

5And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,

6And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out ofthee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

7Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.

8And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.

9When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.

10When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

11And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

12And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

Who are these wise men and why are they the only ones aware of Jesus birth? None of these locals seem to be aware which disturbs the king. The wise men arrive unannounced and assume that everybody knows about the birth of the King. How did they know about this important event and nobody local knew?

Magos is the Greek name for the wise men. Magi is the name for a wise man. The magi are from the Chaldee area of Persia, also known as Babylon. The magi that went west were called magicians. Magicians are the group that practiced astrology and other black and white arts. The Magi were astronomer scientists that studied the stars. Magicians studied the stars also with an eye to corrupt the star knowledge for religious application.

How did these magi from Persia know about Jesus birth? The key is revealed in the book of Daniel chapter 2,

48Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon.

Daniel was the leader of all of the wise men of Babylon. He learned what sign to look for in the stars to signify the birth of Jesus Christ. Daniel probably received revelation from God since this was not common knowledge in Israel. Daniel then taught the magi the signs to look for in the stars. They were faithful to observe the stars nightly for over 400 years. Once they saw the proper signs in the sky then they packed up and headed for Bethlehem. The travel took months and probably was a caravan. They arrived months after the birth since he was in a house at the time. He was over a year old since Herod had all of the male children two years old and under killed according to his calculations for the birth.

What was the star that the magi saw? Matthew 2,

2Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

 

The key to this understanding is the word branch in the old testament. Specifically the Hebrew word tsemach which is translated into the word branch.

Jeremiah 23

5 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.

Jeremiah 33

15 In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land.

Zechariah 6

12And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD:

Zechariah 3

8Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH.

Isaiah 4

2In that day shall the BRANCH of the LORD be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel.

These are all Old Testament references to the Lord Jesus Christ.  In the following picture is the representation of the Virgo constellation. Zemach (tsemach) is the bright star in the wheat sheaf in the ladies left hand.

 

 

The zodiac is a picture of the Word of God written in the stars. It begins with Virgo the virgin and ends with Leo the Lion. The beginning of the story is the birth of Jesus Christ and ends with Jesus Christ as the Lion of the tribe of Judah (King of Kings).

The tsemach is the star that the magi saw in the sky to signify the birth of Christ. There were a series of signs over months that finally culminated in the sign that assured them that the birth had occurred and then they traveled to see the King.

 

 

Has your identity been stolen?

Has your identity been stolen? Has anybody ever told you that you are not worth much? That you are not smart enough, not pretty enough, not sophisticated enough, not rich enough? To be blunt, that you are just not good enough? This could be due to your family inheritance: alcoholism, laziness, physical abuse, emotional abuse, anger, minimal education, overly submissive, peer pressure, poor eating habits, poor exercise habits. Your past is not your identity. Your family is not your identity. Many of us grew up in dysfunctional families but that does not give us our identity.

We are all born with the same God given gifts. We all have 24 hours in every day. We are all born with freedom of will. This gives us the ability to make choices. Within this freedom of will we are given response-ability. You may have always reacted a certain way but you have a choice to not act that way.  That should put some wind in your freedom sails. We also are given the opportunity to believe God’s Word. This is the secret for radically changing your life. We all steward our time, our choices, and our believing.

This means that we are influenced by our past and our families but we have the choice of how we want to respond. In Isaiah 55 is the synopsis of our struggles,

8For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

9For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Pause and consider these verses. God’s thoughts and ways are way, way, way higher than our thoughts and ways. That means that God’s thoughts and ways are always superior to our thoughts and ways. But due to freedom of will we can choose to believe that our ways are better. When you are born again your identity is now a Son or Daughter of God. Now you have to think and act in a different way because your citizenship has changed. Now you are a child of God with Christ in you, the hope of the glory.

So where do we begin in order to change how we think (because thinking always precedes our actions). Observe Romans 12,

1I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

2And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Before you are born again then your life is conformed (of the same form or look) as the world. But after being saved then your life can be transformed (of a different form) than the world. This is how to live out your new identity.

The next verse in Romans 12 provides further instruction.

3For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

Since we are to think soberly (sanely) then we need to think what the Word of God says about us. We are not to think more OR less than the Word says about us. Here are some of the things that God’s word asks us to consider.

1-    Now you are a Son of God

2-    You are seated in the heavenlies

3-    You have grace and peace from God our father and the Lord Jesus Christ

4-    You are complete in him(Jesus Christ)

5-    You have the mind of Christ

6-    You are a member of the body of Christ where Christ is the head.

7-    God is light and in him is no darkness

8-    Jesus Christ has already paid the price for your sins and sicknesses.

9-    There is no condemnation for those that are in Christ.

10- You can love with the love of God because of your new nature. This includes loving God, yourself, and your neighbor. Also includes loving those that have hurt you to the extent of blessing them.

11- You are guaranteed that you will get a new body when Christ returns for his saints.

12-You are promised eternal life.

13- You are forgiven. Unforgiveness is a scheme of the devil which dominates and oppresses many people. You have a choice of not partnering with the Devil and choose to live in freedom.

Are we “used” by God?

God does not use us

I often hear Christians say that “God used them” or “pray that God will use you”.  I don’t think that God uses anybody. Things are used. I use my car, my computer, and my lawn mower. People are to be loved and not used.

Since God is our father then consider this. When is the last time that you heard a parent say that they used their child? Never. That’s because it’s an inappropriate word when interacting with your child. When is the last time you heard a child say to their parent that they hope their parent uses them? Never. Because that is an inappropriate relationship. If a child said that it would be creepy. Why do we not think that use is an unacceptable word in our relationship with God?

God does ask, cajole, beg, encourage, and exhort us to a more worthy endeavor. We can choose to obey or disobey due to our freedom of will. Anything that I use does not have a choice to be used. As believers we are called to serve. Serving is not being used. We serve out of love and not out of obligation. Something to consider next time you hear  “God wants to use you” or “I was used by God”.

Comfort One Another

The letters of Paul, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, are the pinnacle for the church. It’s a model church with the hope of Christ’s return as the center of their focus. The return of Christ is mentioned in multiple times in these letters.

1 Thessalonians

1:10 And to wait for his Son from heaven,whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come .

2:19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?

3:13 To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.

4:15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus        Christ.

2 Thessalonians

2:1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our   gathering together unto him,

2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

3:5 And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.

In the Old Testament they looked forward to the first coming of Christ. During the church age we look forward to the second coming of Christ. The first words spoken by the angels after Jesus ascended was a reminder of his return

Acts 1

11 Which also said , Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

Let’s now look at 1 Thessalonians 4 where we find the phrase “comfort one another”.

Read 1 Thessalonians 4:13-1

1 Thessalonians 4

13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

God does not want us to be stupid about the dead. Asleep is a euphemism (the truth is diminished)for dead. In the Greek there are two words for sleep. This word means unintentional sleep (always referring to death). We are not to sorrow like the world which has no hope.

14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

Do we believe that Jesus died and rose again? If not then we have a savior that is still in the grave. But because we died and was raised then we can be assured the the saints that have died will God bring with him.

15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

Open your eyes and ears because we are getting ready to hear the word of the Lord. We that are alive until the coming of the Lord shall not precede them which are asleep [dead].

16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

For the Lord Christ Jesus shall come down from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel (Michael?) and with God’s trumpet. The dead in Christ shall rise first. Notice the time references, this comes first.

17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet theLord in the air: and so shall we ever  be with the Lord.

After the dead in Christ rise THEN we which are alive shall be caught up (snatched up) with them (the dead saints that are risen) to meet Christ in the air. And we will spend forever with the Lord. There are two parts to Christ’s coming. This is the first part about Christ coming FOR his saints where we meet the Lord in the air. The second part is Christ coming WITH his saints as he returns to the earth (this is what happens in the book of revelation).

18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

What is the comfort in these words? The saints do not need to sorrow when fellow saints die because we know that they are saved and we will see them again. We know that Christ is coming back and it may happen during our life time. Somebody is going to be alive when he returns, why not us?

In 1 Corinthians 15 the same truth is taught with additional details.

 

51 Behold , I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep , but we shall all be changed ,

Get ready because God is about to reveal a secret. We shall not all die but we will all be changed.

52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound , and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed .

In an moment (immediately, literally in an atom), after the trumpet sounds  the dead shall be raised incorruptible.

53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

The dead will be raised in incorruption. The mortal [alive saints that are death doomed] must put on immortality. These are the new bodies that we will all receive. This new body will not have flaws or imperfections. We will no longer have cancer, diabetes, arthritis,[you can insert your own physical challenges here]. The new body is able to pass thru walls and fly. We will still look the same (at least the adults, I’m not sure about children that die).

54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

After we get our new bodies then Death will be swallowed up in victory.

55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

This victory will be after we meet the Lord in the air. Until then Satan has the power of death.

Hebrews 2(NIV)

14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death–that is, the devil

Since the devil is not destroyed yet, then he has not relinquished his power over death. This will occur after Christ returns to the earth with the saints in the book of Revelation.

Our attitude concerning the return of Christ will determine how faithful we are in ministry. This means that when mental pressures, physical pressures, financial pressures, marriage pressures, work pressures, etc. come knocking at our door then how will we respond? The hope is what kept the apostle Paul going in spite of his obstacles.

 

2 Corinthians 11

24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. 25 Thrice was I beaten with rods , once was I stoned , thrice I suffered shipwreck , a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.28Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.

 

There is a crown of righteousness for those who love (look forward to with anticipation and a strong desire) for his appearing.

8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

 

Continuing on in 1 Thessalonians there is another occurrence of “comfort one another”

 

1 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.

 

What times and seasons? When Christ will return for his body (the saints) and when Christ will return with the saints.

 

2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.

 

The “day of the Lord” is when Christ will return with the saints.

3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

Previously God was addressing “we” and “us” but now “they”. The “we” and “us” are the saints while they is all of the non-saints. The sudden destruction comes upon them (the non-saints) and they shall not escape.

 

4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.

But we are not in darkness so that the day will surprise us like a thief.

5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.

We are children of the light. God is light and in him is no darkness.

6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.

This sleep means intentional sleep or slumber and not death. We are not deceived because we are watchful and sober. We should not be asleep.

7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.

8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. 9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

We are to have a sound (sane) mind. This means putting on the full armor of God according to Ephesians 6:11

11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

Note: The charge for readiness and the list of the full armor is in Ephesians 6:11-18

We are called to be fully alert and fully equipped watchmen.

God did not appoint us to wrath but to obtain salvation. Hallelujah!!!

10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep [dead], we should live together with him.

Why? Because we are all going to be changed when we meet him in the air.

11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.

We should  comfort/encourage and edify/build up each other with these words.

In conclusion, the Return of Christ is significant to believers because

 

1-    It’s our motivation to stay faithful to the Word of God and our Christian calling.

2-    It’s our comfort when the saints die.

3-    It’s our anticipation that the return of Christ will occur during our lifetime.

4-    It’s our knowledge that we will get a new body.

5-    It’s our promise of a crown of righteousness.

6-    It’s our encouragement that we will not go through the  wrath.

7-    It’s our confidence that our legacy will have the same spiritual compass to guide them.

Love One Another

love one another

 

In the New Testament there are many occurrences of the phrase “one another” which means to reciprocate or mutually. The root of the Greek word for “one another” is allos. This word means another of the same kind. Therefore this is referring to how one saint or believer is to relate to another saint or believer.

I.              Love one another

The phrase “love one another” is used much more than any other. The remaining occurrences are either positive qualities we will display when we “love one another” or negative qualities we will display when we do not “love one another”.

The phrase “love one another” is used in the New Testament 15 times.  15 is a product of 5 x 3. Five is the number for grace and the number 3 means complete. Therefore 15 means complete or full grace. This phrase has great significance to the saints. Here are the 15 verses containing this phrase.

·         John 13:34

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

·         John 15:12

This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

·         John 15:17

These things I command you, that ye love one another.

·         Romans 13:8

Owe no man anything, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

·         Ephesians 4:2

With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love

·         1 Thessalonians 4:9

But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.

·         1 Peter 1:22

Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:

·         1 John 3:11

For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.

·         1 John 3:23

And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.

·         1 John 4:7

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God

·         1 John 4:11

Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

·         1 John 4:12

No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his loveis perfected in us.

·         2 John 1:5

And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.

The word “love” is the Greek word “agape”. In Greek there are 3 words for love.

1-    Eros – physical or sexual love

2-    Phileo – brotherly love. This is a love that is conditional. “I like you because of something in you I like, e.g. we like the same food, same sports team, same school, same games, same books, same music, etc.”

3-    Agape – the love of God. This is unconditional love. It’s part of the new nature that we receive from God.

According to John 4:4 God is love (agape). This does not just mean that God loves but that its God’s nature to love. It’s his essence. Agape was not available before the day of Pentecost. When Adam fell in Genesis chapter 3 he lost Holy Spirit so instead of being a complete man with body, soul, and spirit then he only had body and soul. All men have inherited their flawed, broken natures from Adam. This nature was impossible to fix, even with the Mosaic Law. Because of our broken natures we needed a new nature to reconcile us back to God. This is what was provided by God on the day of Pentecost for all men and women. Since everything is after its kind then when God imparts his nature to us when we are saved then we receive God’s agape nature. This allows us to fulfill the new commandment.

John 13:34

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

Jesus said that all of the laws in the Old Testament are fulfilled by the two love (agape) commandments

Matthew 22

37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all

thy soul, and with all thy mind.

38 This is the first and great commandment.

39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Agape is how the disciples of Jesus are recognized.

John 13:35

By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another

It’s interesting that Jesus did not say how we love men that they will know you are my disciples. It’s through their observation of us loving each other is how they would know we are his disciples.

A breakdown of what agape means is expounded in 1 Corinthians 13. In the King James agape is translated as charity instead of love. It’s the same Greek word.

1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become a sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

This is referring to speaking in tongues which can be in a heavenly or earthly language. If the speaking in tongues is not done with the love of God then “I” am just a noise maker. Clank, Clank, Clank!

2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

If I have the manifestation of prophecy with a mastery of all mysteries and all knowledge, and have faith to remove mountains (believing to overcome any obstacles) and have not the love of God then “I” am nothing. This could be very helpful to others but “I” am nothing.

3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

If I have the motivational gift of giving and give away everything that I have to eradicate poverty, and burn out myself by expending all of my time and energy helping others, but have not the love of God then it profits me nothing. It could be very profitable to others but zero profit to me.

Do you see the picture that God paints that we could have tremendous gifts and talents that would produce awe from the world and yet personally we would be empty, unprofitable, noise makers, An unfulfilled shell receiving praise from the world.

4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself , is not puffed up ,

Agape suffers long. Phileo will suffer under great burden and resentment. Agape never elevates itself. Phileo will forever be promoting itself and seeking acceptance from the world. Agape is not puffed up (thinking more highly of himself than deserved). Phileo is competitive and always wants to be in an elevated, visible position.

5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

Agape is always decent and in order, not self-seeking, very slow to be provoked to anger, thinks no evil. This requires a careful filtering of our thoughts. Phileo is indecent, always looking out for number one, quick to be provoked to anger, and naturally thinks evil.

Phileo is on display in our culture in music, art, movies, politics, books, social media, advertising, magazines. It’s all about revenge, jealousy, getting even, and if it feels good do it. Alistair Crowley, one of the most wicked men that ever lived wrote in his Book of the Law, “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law”. This was the guiding philosophy that began in the 1960’s when the bible was sidelined from public discourse.

6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Agape does not celebrate evil but Phileo celebrates the evil of the world. Agape supports all things true, believes all things true, hopes all things true and endures all things true. The Word of God is truth so agape supports, believes, hopes, and endures the entire bible. This implies there is a need to study to show ourselves approved unto God rightly dividing the Word of Truth.

8 Charity never faileth : but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail ;whether there be tongues, they shall cease ; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away .

Agape never fails but Phileo is a miserable failure because of its self-centered nature.   All nine of the manifestations (only three are mentioned (prophecies, speaking in tongues, word of knowledge)but all are included) will end one day but agape has no expiration.

9For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

The manifestations are the best that God has to offer but they are partial. The partial will end when the “perfect is come”.

11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known .

Now we see through a mirror (highly polished metal) unclearly but then face to face. When Jesus comes back for his saints then we will see him face to face and forever be with the Lord.

13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

 

Our 3 primary motivations/characteristics are faith(believing), hope(looking for Christ’s second coming), and the Love of God but the greatest of these three is the Love of God(agape).

 

1 John 3

1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon[given} us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.

God deposited his very love nature, in us so that we not only can be called Sons of God but in reality we are Sons of God. This is not by adoption but by birth. If it were by adoption we would not have the nature of God because nature is passed on by seed.

2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

Hallelujah! I get excited every time I read these verses. I am a Son of God awaiting his return. When you are saved God makes you his Son also. Agape is part of our nature. This allows us to walk in the love of God and not in Phileo love of our old man nature.

The new nature allows us to accomplish lofty goals now that we are saved. Here are a few of them.

Ephesians 5:2

And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor.

We are implored to “walk in love”. This means that our manner of life will emanate the love of God which resides in us.

Ephesians 4:15

But speaking the truth in love may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

We can “speak the truth in love”. It doesn’t just say to speak the truth which many of us have mastered but we are to speak the truth in love. The challenge is to do it in love. If you cannot speak the truth in love then it’s best to stay quiet and pursue God for the right words to speak. Your best and only option may be to pray.

We are privileged to live In this administration which allows us to be Sons of God. God raises the standard for us by asking us to obey the love commandments by walking in love and speaking the truth in love. We have much to celebrate as we live in the kingdom as ambassadors of Christ. We should walk with pep in our step as we joyfully walk in our agape nature.

 

 

The remaining occurrences are either positive traits of loving one another or negative traits due to not loving one another.

Random Thoughts on Teaching the Bible

  • Expounding on the greatness of God’s Word  is unlike any other teaching.  All other books contain finite knowledge but the Bible contains infinite knowledge and wisdom. The Word and words are living energy  which the creator of the heavens and the earth enforces.
  • Since God’s thoughts and ways are higher than our thoughts and ways, then the goal of every bible teaching is to focus on God’s thoughts and way.
  •  It’s profitable when teaching the Bible to know that God is active in the spiritual realm to customize his “thoughts and ways” for each student listening. This is one of the miracles of teaching.
  • I believe that every time that the Word of God is taught that the goal is not to find “a” teaching  but to seek God for “the” teaching that God desires for that day. When “the” teaching is taught then every person there will receive ministering from the Word shared. Usually the teacher needs to seek God to find “the” teaching. Rarely do I find that a committee identifies “the” teaching but a committee can determine the area of the teaching. A beginning teacher should allow at least 2 weeks to prepare for a teahing and seek God every day. Many times the topic that you begin researching will change before the teaching is finalized.
  • Never teach the Bible to prove your point.
  • When teaching always remember that  too short is always better than too long.
  • Always use the Word of God when counseling.
  • Teaching is a requirement of all leaders in the body of Christ (1 Timothy 3:2, 2 Timothy 2:24). I believe that the  phrase “apt to teach” includes preparing and delivering a teaching but a greater need is to be able to dynamically draw on the Word of God when : counseling, training, delivering doctrine, reproving, and correcting.
  • Leaders are charged with measuring words and deeds against the standard of the Bible. When a word of prophecy(or speaking in tongues with interpretation) is given then there is a responsibility to evaluate in light of the Word.
  • We are charged with emulating the Berean’s by searching the scriptures daily to see if the things we are experiencing lines up with the Bible(Acts 17:11).
  • One of the greatest goals of a teacher is to understand the heart of God so that an intuitive understanding of the written word aligns with the spirit of God
  • All scripture is God-breathed and is profitable (2 Tim 3:16).  When God breathed into Adam then he became a living soul (Genesis 2:7). When God breathed into scripture then he infused life into the Words.
  • Always speak the truth in love. Sometimes it’s easy to speak the truth but not in love. Disobeying this principle will lead to sin. You can be soooo right but soooo wrong.
  • I consider myself a bible tour guide. I have the privilege to share the Word of God by highlighting what is written. This is similar to a tour guide highlighting items in view and explaining the background.
  • Researchers and teachers are needed in the body to help explain how the bible fits together, understand the heart of God, and comprehend biblical principles.  The dynamic application of the bible in your life requires the Holy Spirit.  We need the spirit of God to dynamically draw on the Word of God when counseling, teaching, measuring, or evaluating.
  • God will only bring to our remembrance something that is already in our memory. Prophetic people are inspirational and will receive Word of knowledge and word of wisdom without effort. I have never met anybody that received a verse of scripture which was not already familiar.
  • Study to show yourself approved of God (2 Timothy 2:15).  The only way to show ourselves approved of God is to study the word of God. The word “study” means to be diligent.
  • In 1 Timothy 2:4 God restates the great commission for the church, “Who[God] will have all men to be saved , and to come unto the knowledge of the truth”.Salvation is a desire of God but would require less than 1% of the bible if salvation was his only desire. Salvation is simple, quick, and requires no effort due to grace.  The other 99% of the bible is about believers coming unto an experiential knowledge of the truth.  With our physical birth the conception is easy and the birth is a short 9 months away. The majority of the time is spent in raising up a child in the way that he should go.  The work of the ministry is raising up spiritual babes to be mature Christians.
  • I encourage you to ask this simple  question every time that the Bible is taught, “What did i learn about God’s thoughts and ways?”. It’s not important that the information is new because much of our learning is due to repetition.
  • The heart is the gateway to the mind. When hearts are connected then the information will be received. When hearts are not connected then it’s time to stop teaching because the discussion is not being received. In the New Testament, following miracles or healings,  the greatness of God’s Word is shared because the hearts are open to hearing the Word. Develop a sensitivity for your heart connection with others.