Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at Faith, Hope & Love P56 (08-25-20)
This is the Christian life. It is trusting Jesus to do what I am evidently unable to do. The whole essence of this lesson is to get us to see that God loves you, and not that you loved Him but He loves us first. Our love is a response to what He has revealed to us. As you listen to the audio, and follow along also with the transcript, with additional scripture references provided, ponder over the amazing love demonstrated to us in Christ Jesus.
How we perceive God determines how we respond to Him. Error in our minds will show up in our behavior, our thoughts and deeds. But as we grow in our understanding of who God is, that God is the way, the truth and the life, our minds are renewed. Not only so, when we are born again, we have the Spirit of God living in us, who is there to reveal to us what truth is. It the truth of Christ Jesus, living in us, that sets us free to live in the newness of life He has freely given us.
How are we to perceive our God? We perceive Him as the one described in 1 Corinthians 13, as one who is patient to us, kind with us, not envious or boastful. He is a God that looks after our own interests. He is not proud, so do not think He is irritated with you. He is not rude or self-seeking. He is not easily angered. He absolutely keeps no record of your wrongs. He always protects you. He always hopes and trusts the best for you. He always perseveres with you. That love never fails.
When we grow in our understanding of God’s love for us, your response to Him would be to go to Him freely, to go boldly to His throne of grace, and to ask for help in time of need. Listen as Bob explains this process going on in the mind of a believer, who is now a child of God, who is learning to abide in the love of God.
Satan says to you that God is sick at his stomach. No, my God says He is patient with me. I did not deserve it and I did not earn it, but I am a recipient of it. Boy, but you are having to answer that one. No, Satan, God is keeping no records of my wrongs. I did not deserve it. I could not earn it. I could not pay for it. It is a truth that God revealed to me that He keeps no record of my wrongs. That is why I say thank you to God when I do wrong. That is why I am going to walk by faith in that truth. I am not going to try to get God to do something He has already done. That is not faith. That is presumption. Thank you Lord that you are not keeping a record of what I just did.
But, on the other hand, I just did something. What I want you to do, Lord, is to renew my mind because you are always hoping the best and protecting me. One of the ways you protect me is by the renewing of my mind. So teach me why I am so persistent in having my own way instead of yours. I was insistent in indulging my flesh instead of walking in the Spirit. Lord, I am going to count on you to show me the reasons why and how I can turn these things around in my life. Teach me truth. I know full well that as a man thinks so is he. My thinking has been off. Therefore, I am asking, by your discipline, by your discipleship to me, to teach me truth that will set me free from this bondage of error that I am giving in to.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails.
God is kind to you. He seeks out the best for you. He is not envious of what you have, or jealous of what you have. He is not boastful with you. God does not boast to you. He is not saying, “How can you do this to me?” God knows you. God came to this earth. He was exposed to all of the techniques of Satan in regard to temptation. He was tempted at all points yet without sin.
15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet he did not sin.
That does not mean Jesus was sitting there, gutting it out, struggling with wanting to do what Satan was encouraging Him to do. But every attack Satan has come up with, he tried on Jesus. Yet Jesus is without sin. He is not boasting about that, saying “after all, I am God, and you are not.” He is saying, “I understand your weakness and indwelling sin. That is why I came to give you a new heart and a new life. So do not think I am ever dealing with you on the basis of being proud or envious, but I am kind to you.”
God is not proud. He is not sitting there saying, “I am too great as God to reach down to you as man.” Think about it for a moment. Here is God, hanging on a cross, being beaten half to death by his own creation. He came unto His own and His own received Him not.
10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God
52 “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. 53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”
He looked down on creation and he could, with a puff of his breath, annihilate every person on the face of the earth. He could have called legions of angels to protect him. Yet he allowed himself, even though he is God, to be ridiculed, maligned, beaten and tortured by His own creation. Why? In order to save this ridiculous creation. Man looks up at Him and says, in essence, in our vernacular, “You saved everybody else. Why don’t you save yourself?” God looks down at that proud arrogant person, and in His heart says, “you, dear friend, if I saved myself, I could never save you.”
39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”
40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence?”
Think about our arrogance. These little arrogant things we are, shaking our fists in the face of God, saying “God, you say this is wrong, but I say it is right. You say this is sin but I say it is an alternate lifestyle. You say this is worry and I say it is a healthy concern. I am not going to listen to what you say one iota. I am going to determine right from wrong on my own.”
In the midst of that proud attitude that we have toward God is this humble attitude that God has toward us. That is just like the father with the prodigal son (Luke 15). Whenever you are ready to come home, you come unto me and I will give you peace and rest for your soul.
Folks, that is not pride. That is total humility. Here is the God who made this universe that was of such a humble serving spirit that said to those proud people down here, that we created, “I am going to humble myself and become one of them. I am going to be tortured, insulted, ridiculed, and everything else by the same people I came to save. But their salvation is worth it more to me than their praise and adulation. So I am going to a cross to take upon myself their sins, and I will, in essence, become sin for them so they will be able to find righteousness in me.”
2 Corinthians 5:21
21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Folks, that is unbelievable when you think about it, that God is not proud.
God is not rude to you. Can you imagine with God, and all that He knows, how easy it would be to make you look like a total idiot. To think we are so smart and intellectual! Can you imagine how God could just annihilate us with His intellect. That would be rude to do that, to show you up, to show you how dumb you are, in comparison to who He is, the I am. I will even listen to some of your dumb prayers. So realize God is not rude. We are rude, but He is not rude.
God is not self seeking. He is seeking after your good. It is not His. God is not sitting up there to not do this or that because it is going to make me feel good. No, it is good for you. You will destroy yourself if you continue in the lifestyle you are working in.
16 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.
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death –
even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name
When talking about God’s love is not self seeking. It is always that He is looking out for our interest above His own. Why did Christ come to die for us? He certainly did not need to. For He was looking out for our interests above His own. He was willing to suffer and die so we might live and be freed from the punishment and suffering that was due to us for our own sins. That is not self-seeking, folks. That is seeking the benefit of His creation. So we have to realize that He was willing to go to extremes of going to a cross in order to enable you and me to go free. How is He dealing with you today? Is He dealing with you in a self-seeking manner? Or, is He always looking out for your best? The latter is obviously true. That is the love of God, always seeking the best for you.
That is amazing. We do not understand that. A lot of times, we will see trials and tribulations come into our lives and the first thing we say is, “Why are you doing that?” “Because I am seeking the best for you. If you just rest in my love, then you will see my plan in regard to this issue.”
So we go through trials and tribulations, and many times we look at them as punishment. No, God says He will disciple us in the midst of trials and tribulations so that in the midst of it, we see that nothing will ever separate us from the love of God. Disciple is not punishment. It is saying in the midst of whatever you are going through, whether self imposed or not, the issue is, regardless of whatever you are going through, “if you will allow Me, I will disciple you and I will teach you and discipline you so that you can see that I will cause it to work together for your good.”
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
I do not know what trials and tribulations you are going through today, but if you see the love of God, you will understand something and that is He is going to work it together for your good if you let Him. Obviously when you do not let Him, nothing is going to be done, for He will not enforce Himself on you.
I can take you to the most marvelous and spectacular scenes in the world and you will not be able to see it. Huge in scope but you could not see it. I could take you to the Grand Canyon. I could stand you 6 feet from the edge of it and you will not see it. All you have to do is turn your back on it. It is there but you have your back turned on it. It is the same thing with God’s provision and love. It is there. But when you turn your back on it, you will not be a recipient of it. Only when you see God is at work in you, to will and to work for His good pleasure, that we are able to walk by faith in whatever we are going through, with total knowledge that God will cause it for you, to work together for your good.
God is not easily angered. That is good news. Yes, but you do not know what I did. Well, no. I do not know what you did. God does. But I do know what some other people did and I know what he did at the cross and what other people did at the cross. You had people there who mocked him. You had people there who made fun of him. You had people who dragged him into the lower part of where he was tortured and beat him half to death. It is said in scriptures that he was beaten as no man.
13 See, my servant will act wisely;
he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted.
14 Just as there were many who were appalled at him –
his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being
and his form marred beyond human likeness –
15 so he will sprinkle many nations,
and kings will shut their mouths because of him.
For what they were not told, they will see,
and what they have not heard, they will understand.
63 The men who were guarding Jesus began mocking and beating him. 64 They blindfolded him and demanded, “Prophesy! Who hit you?” 65 And they said many other insulting things to him.
You had big soldiers plucking out his beard, putting a hood over his head and punching him in the face as hard as they could. “So if you are a prophet, tell us who hit you?” You had beatings, a flogging with a whip with a bone in it of such severity that it says the bowels and sinews of his own body was exposed to the human eye. After all of that through the bleeding and agony of that, putting his cloak back on, ripping it off, which would undo what had taken place with his wounds, just bringing more pain upon him. I know what they did.
28 They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. 30 They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again.
36 These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,”[Exodus 12:46; Numbers 9:12; Psalm 34:20] 37 and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.”[Zechariah 12:10]
I know the people that put a crown of thorns down on his head, those sharp horns piercing his forehead, then hitting him on the head to then go deeper in his body. I know what they did. I know those same people then, not only drove nails into his feet and into his hands and pierced his side with a sword. Then those people were there gambling for his cloak, mocking him, making fun of him and I know they did that to him.
33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals – one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
I know what Jesus said, after all of that. “Father, forgive them. They do not know what they are doing.” That does not sound like he was angered to me. If that does not make you angry, then I think you can forget about some of the things you have done that you think has angered God. The same God that looked down on that torture and abuse and said “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing”, then we have to realize God is not easily angered with you.
It has been proven to us. It is not supposition. It is not sitting here with some flowering, sloppy sentimentality to make up what God is like. This has been revealed. We know who God is like through the scriptures.
God keeps no record of wrongs. If God kept records of your wrongs, then He did not finish His work at the cross. The mere fact that we know God keeps no record of your wrongs, enables you to conclude the cross is exactly what He said, “It is finished.”
30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
13 You were dead in sins, and your sinful desires were not yet cut away. Then he gave you a share in the very life of Christ, for he forgave all your sins, 14 and blotted out the charges proved against you, the list of his commandments which you had not obeyed. He took this list of sins and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ’s cross. 15 In this way God took away Satan’s power to accuse you of sin, and God openly displayed to the whole world Christ’s triumph at the cross where your sins were all taken away.
God says. “I have recorded your sins. I paid for your sins.” There was no sin that had ever been committed that He did not pay for. Because of that, there is no record of your sins.
That is contrary to some popular teaching, that when we sin, we will go up to heaven, as if God says, “Welcome to heaven. Sit down and we will have a movie. It will be all of your life flashed up on this big screen for all mankind to see, for the ones who died and been here. Everyone will see this movie, and it will be everything you ever did and every thought you ever had and everything you ever said.” Would you say, “Well, that is exciting. I cannot wait to go.”? Yet, that is what we are taught will take place, in the midst of the fact that God says He keeps no record of wrongs. So, if that movie comes on, there will not be anything on the screen. The reason is because He keeps no record of wrongs. With that false teaching, that is why people do not want to go. Who would want to go into that movie theater if that was so?
31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
God does not delight in evil, but rejoices with truth. Why? Truth is the solution to evil. The world comes along and dupes you and me and deceives us into thinking that this is good when in fact it is evil. God does not delight in that. He rejoices with the truth.
To those who were bound in lies, Jesus told the truth about Satan, who has them bound and deceived.
You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
Satan comes along and calls something different than what God calls it. God calls it sin. The bible calls it drunkenness, and people call it alcoholism. The world calls it drug addiction and the Lord would say it is a misplaced dependency.
2 John 3-4
3 Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love.
4 It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us.
We have to understand that God does not delight in evil. He always rejoices in truth. John talked about that, praising his people for walking in truth. That is what being sanctified is. What sets you apart from the world is your knowledge of truth. There is no truth apart from Christ. We think we have truth in the world. But, we do not possess total truth. You can do a historical book about a character and we can have all kinds of books on Abraham Lincoln. Even those people in his days did not know everything about Abraham Lincoln, and certainly did not know what he was thinking, thank God.
So, when you are dealing with the Lord, you are dealing with truth. He rejoices in that truth. That is what sets you apart from the rest of the world is your knowledge of, first of all, the truth about who Jesus is, and literally who the Trinity is, the truth of the finished work of the cross, his resurrection and how all of those things apply to you and me, the truth of walking in the newness of life, abiding in Christ Jesus, who came not only to die for you but to live in you. That is truth. He rejoices in that knowledge of truth.
God does not rejoice when He shows us truth and we turn around and deny it. God is not rejoicing at all, whether you go to church and how holy you act, that He has given you eternal life but you think you can lose it. He is not rejoicing in someone who believes he can lose something God says he can never lose. We think he is not rejoicing in our bad behavior, and that is true. But have we ever thought that He is not rejoicing at all when we are believing lies, relying on traditions of men, rather than relying on truth that has been revealed by His Son Jesus Christ?
1 Corinthians 2:8-10
8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 However, as it is written:
“What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”[Isaiah 64:4] –
the things God has prepared for those who love him –
10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.
He rejoices in your coming to understand the truth. He is so interested in your understanding the truth, He placed His Holy Spirit in you, who alone is the revealer of that truth.
Again, we have substitutes for that. We think some kind of scientific biblical study will help you understand the meaning of God. I got news for you. That will not help you understand the meaning of the word of God. There is only one person who can help you do that. He is called the Spirit of God. So stop relying on your eyes, ear and mind, and rely upon the Spirit, who lives in you, to teach you the meaning of this word of God that has been revealed to you with the truth of God.
Many times, the protection that we have against false teaching that can lead you down a primrose path to destruction is the protection of the Spirit of God living in you who gives you discernment of what is true and what is false. There is so much false teaching going on today. It is so much more evident today because of the media that is able to expose that.
11 Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
God wants you to know that He is there to protect you, to give you truth. You match what is being taught against the truth in the word of God. That is a protectant to your mind. We are told in scripture to put on the armor of God. That armor is the protector against all the schemes and strategies of the devil, who has one goal and that is to get your mind messed up. As a man thinks so is he.
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
(For more details on this armor of God, read the entire chapter 6 in the book of Ephesians.)
God always trusts you. He is always looking for not only the best in you, but he is always hoping for the best for you. He is hoping you are going to make the best decisions and He will trust you will. He will persevere with you. That is important to understand. That ties into patience, the perseverance of God to you. “Bob, I will hang in there with you forever. I am going to complete the work I began in you.”
5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
What that means, in essence, is it might not look like a lot has been done here. But at the time of your absence from this body and present with the Lord, you will see Him as He really is and you will become like Him.
1 John 3:2
2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
We have that marvelous understanding of God’s patience and perseverance with us. That kind of love never fails.
As we look at this, something that never fails, that is important. We have to understand that truth. This kind of love will never fail you. So how are we to perceive our God? We perceive Him as the one who is patient to us, kind with us, not envious or boastful. He is a God that looks after our own interests. He is not proud, so do not think He is irritated with you. He is not rude or self-seeking. He is not easily angered. He absolutely keeps no record of your wrongs. He always protects you. He always hopes and trusts the best for you. He always perseveres with you. That love never fails.
4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
(Read the entire chapter 15 in the gospel of John to more fully understand what abiding in Christ means.)
What does that mean to us? It means to abide in that. Abiding in the love of God. Satan says to you that God is sick at his stomach. No, my God says He is patient with me. I did not deserve it and I did not earn it, but I am a recipient of it. Boy, but you are having to answer that one. No, Satan, God is keeping no records of my wrongs. I did not deserve it. I could not earn it. I could not pay for it. It is a truth that God revealed to me that He keeps no record of my wrongs. That is why I say thank you to God when I do wrong. That is why I am going to walk by faith in that truth. I am not going to try to get God to do something He has already done. That is not faith. That is presumption. Thank you Lord that you are not keeping a record of what I just did.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5
3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
But, on the other hand, I just did something. What I want you to do, Lord, is to renew my mind because you are always hoping the best and protecting me. One of the ways you protect me is by renewing of the mind. So teach me why I am so persistent in having my own way instead of yours. I was insistent in indulging my flesh instead of walking in the Spirit. Lord, I am going to count on you to show me the reasons why and how I can turn these things around in my life. Teach me truth. I know full well that as a man thinks so is he. My thinking has been off. Therefore, I am asking, by your discipline, by your discipleship to me, to teach me truth that will set me free from this bondage of error that I am giving in to.
That is the Christian life. It is trusting Jesus to do what I am evidently unable to do. The whole essence of this lesson is to get us to see that God loves you, and not that you loved Him but He loves us first. Our love is a response to what He has revealed to us.
1 Corinthians 13:8
8 But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled;
They are going to or have disappeared.
1 Corinthians 13:8-9
where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.
That perfection is completeness. We have been made complete in Christ. Therefore, our imperfect understanding of Him disappears when we come to understand Him.
1 Corinthians 13:11-13
11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Folks, there comes a time when we have to realize that babies are cute, but there is a time to grow up. He says it is time for us to grow up and to know that this Christian life is based upon truth and it is the truth of Christ Jesus our Lord. It is not in what we are doing but it is a knowledge of what He has done.
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