June 2018           "A Journal of Biblical Understanding"           Volume 14           

(Daniel 4:25)
" ... and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will."


God's Holy Day

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Are You a TRUE Christian? How Do You Know?

HOW DO YOU KNOW YOU ARE A CHRISTIAN? Just what IS a Christian anyway? Do you attend church, feed the poor, visit the sick?

The dictionary tells us that the word 'Christian' means -- "follower of Christ." Of course we are all followers of Christ, but that word 'Christian' also means "Christ-like."

Are you 'Christ-like?'  When people look at you do they see Jesus the Christ in you?

Yes, I know that is a very tough question to answer because most of us would definitely say, "No, I'm not much like Christ!" There is one sure way that we have of knowing that we are followers of Christ and that we are striving to be Christ-like.

Do you know what it is?

John 13:35 "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if you have love one to another"

Yes we are to love one another, but I'm afraid most people have miss-applied that scripture and directed it to ONLY church brethren!


So then, what is love?

1John 4:8 "He that loveth not knoweth not God; FOR GOD IS LOVE."
1John 4:16
"And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. GOD IS LOVE; and HE THAT DWELLETH IN LOVE DWELLETH IN GOD, AND GOD IN HIM."

Yes, God is love! His very being is love. His Spirit is love!

If we are Christians we have His Holy Spirit in us, along with that Godly love.

Rom. 5:5 "And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us."

All of us who have repented of our sins, and been baptized have received God's Holy Spirit. God has BEGOTTEN us!

We are HIS children ....

Rom. 8:16 "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
"And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint–heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together."

.... And greatly beloved by The Father!

Rom. 1:7 "To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ."

Since we are also a part of those beloved, how can WE show that Godly love?

We are expected, no commanded, to be like Christ. We are commanded to KEEP His Commandments.

John 14:15 "If ye love me, keep my commandments."

We are also told that His Commandments are not grievous but more importantly He tells us what God's Love in us really is!

1 John 5:3 "For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous."

No, they haven't been "done away with" as most preachers teach. They are still in effect and still condemn those who break them!

We are told in 1 John 4:19 that we love God, because he first loved us. Yes. God loves this world of humanity.

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

Jesus told His disciples that there was no greater love than that of a man laying down his life for his friends! (John 15:13)

Jesus laid down His life for us! How great is that love?

In Luke 6:35 we are told to "love our enemies."

"But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil."

Yes, we must even love our enemies and show kindness to them. It IS hard to love ones enemies, isn't it? And yet that is what is required of us.

How can we do that?

Most of us try to do it on our own!! We go through the motions in a pretense of righteousness, but the only one being fooled is ourselves! Love MUST be IN US! That LOVE OF GOD must be there where it is automatically given. It is not something we can work up!

We must recognize the fact that we can only love someone with a human love IF we are the one doing it. However, if we are close enough to God, He will love through us! That love will be a very PART of us, to be expressed just the way God and Jesus would do it!

There is a difference between human love and Godly love.

John 21:15-17 " So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

In verse 15 Jesus asked Peter if he loved him. That word love is the Greek word 'Agapao'. Peter replied 'you know I love you', but Peter used the Greek word 'Phileo'.

Phileo means:

From 5384; to be a friend to, that is have affection for (denoting personal attachment, as a matter of sentiment or feeling; while Agapao is wider, embracing especially the judgment and deliberate assent of will as a matter of principle, duty and propriety: the two stand related very much; the former (Agapao) being chiefly of the heart and the latter (Phileo) of the head.

In verse 16 we see the same scenario with Jesus asking Peter if he Agapao's Him and Peter replying "you know I Phileo you!

However in verse 17, we see a different exchange between Jesus and Peter when Jesus asked Peter "do you Phileo me?"

He knew Peter wasn't getting what HE was asking him. That true Agape love must flow from the Father through His Holy Spirit in us! It MUST be a very part of us!! It is not something we should show with what the Bible calls dissimulation. That is FEIGNED love! Hypocritical love! The Holy Spirit of God must be in us and we must be actively using it, living our lives in tune with God and His commandments, statutes and laws!

To be a Christian then is much more than just keeping commandments, and going through the motions of righteousness.

1 Cor. 13:1-13 "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
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 love, 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 love, it profiteth me nothing.
Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6 Rejoiceth not in lawlessness, but rejoiceth in the truth;
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
8 Love 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.
9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
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.
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.
And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; BUT THE GREATEST OF THESE IS LOVE.

Notice in verse 5, true godly love doesn't seek it's own ... in other words, those who will love them back.

Mat. 5:43 "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
44 "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
45 "That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
46 "For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
"And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
48 "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."

Yes, to be a true follower of Jesus we must love as He loves, loving our enemies, being kind even to the unthankful and to those who do evil. In other words we must love everybody because God and Jesus do that AND if they are living IN US we will love as they love!

How hard, how tough is that?

Extremely so because it is not our human nature to respond that way! Our human nature causes us to respond with vengeance whenever we are attacked .... verbally OR physically! We feel we MUST revenge any attack upon us, but God tells us this ....

Rom. 12:19 "Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto (their) wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord."

Too many people think that running away is cowardice. However, sometimes it is the most logical thing to do to protect oneself! Fighting is not always the answer!

Some have asked me, "Well, what if I'm backed into a corner and can't run?"

THEN fight! Not to take vengeance but to protect oneself from pain and danger. VENGEANCE is RETALIATION for some previous hurt or wrong! This is when we should allow God to take care of it, for He truly will do so!

I have seen many times when God has brought vengeance upon those who have hurt His beloved children. God is intimately involved with our everyday lives IF we will allow Him to be!! He wants to be LIVING HIS LIFE IN US, don't you see? He wants us to be ONE with Him and Jesus the Christ.

We can't do that if we are filled with hatred or bitterness all the time over some hurt (or perhaps a presumed hurt)!!

Heb 12:15 "Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;"

Yes, OUR BITTERNESS can DEFILE MANY!!! Do we want that on our conscience?

Do you approach people with an attitude of friendship, of love, and of caring for them or do you approach everyone with SUSPICION? God says that to have friends, one must BE FRIENDLY!! (Prov. 18:24)

Do you AUTOMATICALLY love others, or do they have to "prove" themselves before you grant them your love? Are you open with others and just assume up front that they are wonderful people and that you will gain a valuable friend when you befriend them?

No, probably not... That isn't the way our human nature works. We have to ALLOW our Godly Nature to exude from our very being before those things will happen. That means we must be VERY CLOSE to God in prayer, study, meditation, and fasting!!

We must be living our lives as Christ lived His, willing to give our lives for our friends. And each person out there is a potential, VALUABLE FRIEND if we allow them to be!!

There is one major problem which seems to put a huge dividing wall between people.

That wall is GOSSIP!

God tells us that we should not talk about others to spread tales, or to "enlighten" others about what seems to be some other person's sins!

Prov. 16:28 "A froward (perverse) man soweth strife: and a whisperer (slanderer, talebearer, backbiter) separateth chief (the best of) friends."
Prov. 17:9
"He that covereth (doesn't carry tales about) a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth (spreads gossip about) a matter separateth very (true) friends.
Prov. 17:17 "A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity."

When a person spreads tales, true or not, that person is harming someone greatly! The tales will cause others to think badly about the object of those tales and shun that person, even though, unknown to others, that person might be trying mightily to stop whatever transgressions they are committing.

God tells us that we are not to "judge" one another! However, Satan has used these scriptures to twist them, and use them for his own nefarious schemes.

Let's look at those scriptures and see if we can make some sense out of them without allowing Satan to deceive and beguile us.

Mat. 7:1 "Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye."

The word here rendered "judge" is defined below from the Strong's Exhaustive Concordance.

2919 krinw (Greek= krino kree'-no)

perhaps a primitive word; TDNT-3:921,469; v

AV-judge 88, determine 7, condemn 5, go to law 2, call in question 2, esteem 2, misc 8; 114

1) to separate, put asunder, to pick out, select, choose
2) to approve, esteem, to prefer
3) to be of opinion, deem, think, to be of opinion
4) to determine, resolve, decree
5) to judge
5a) to pronounce an opinion concerning right and wrong

5a1) to be judged, i.e. summoned to trial that one's case may be examined and judgment passed upon it
5b) to pronounce judgment, to subject to censure

5b1) of those who act the part of judges or arbiters in matters of common life, or pass judgment on the deeds and words of others

6) to rule, govern
6a) to preside over with the power of giving judicial decisions, because it was the prerogative of kings and rulers to pass judgment
7) to contend together, of warriors and combatants
7a) to dispute
7b) in a forensic sense
7b1) to go to law, have suit at law

As we can see this word covers a multitude of meanings.

Are we to NOT determine (judge ... compare to scripture) how others are living their lives? YES, we are!! BUT WHY?

We are to determine in our own minds whether or not someone else seems to be sinning SO THAT WE CAN DETERMINE THAT WE WILL NOT LIVE THAT WAY!!!!!!

It is NOT so that we can SHARE OUR JUDGMENT WITH OTHERS which would hurt or maybe even destroy that person we are judging!!

We are to do NO HURT to ANYONE! Physically or mentally, if it is within our power to keep from doing that! Sometimes we inadvertently hurt others and we need to ask God's forgiveness of that, maybe even going to that person to apologize, depending upon the circumstances!

It is a very tough judgment call to make, but we need to desperately cling to God's law and do all that is within our power to not hurt others!!

To try to make this judgment thing a little clearer I will try to explain it this way ....

First, God does not give us the authority to deem what someone else does as sin.

Rom. 14:4 "Who art thou that judgest (that pronounces judgment, or condemnation on) another man‘s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand."

Second, we ARE supposed to watch everything around us and to determine what is right and wrong, but WE ARE TO DO THAT SO WE CAN CORRECT OUR OWN LIVES and not sin!!

WE DON'T KNOW HOW GOD IS DEALING WITH SOMEONE ELSE!!! Even those of God's Children COMMIT SINS!! We cannot determine for ourselves whether or not some one is condemned to "hell" (that good ole Protestant phrase) because God has NOT given us the authority to determine that!

We are to ONLY determine how we live our lives!! Others must live THEIR lives, and God will determine (judge) whether or not that person will be allowed to live forever, don't you see?

The focus of judgment should be upon ourselves, and NOT others!! We are responsible to God for how we live OUR LIVES, not how someone else lives their lives!!

Do you personally want God to keep His Covenant with you and have mercy upon you? If you do, then here is how you should be.

Deut. 7:9 "Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;"
Deut. 7:12
"Wherefore it shall come to pass, if ye hearken to these judgments, and keep, and do them, that the LORD thy God shall keep unto thee the covenant and the mercy which he sware unto thy fathers:
13 And he will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee: he will also bless the fruit of thy womb, and the fruit of thy land, thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep, in the land which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee.
14 Thou shalt be blessed above all people: there shall not be male or female barren among you, or among your cattle.
15 And the LORD will take away from thee all sickness, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, upon thee; but will lay them upon all them that hate thee.
16 And thou shalt consume all the people which the LORD thy God shall deliver thee; thine eye shall have no pity upon them: neither shalt thou serve their gods; for that will be a snare unto thee.

What a magnificent promise we can claim IF we keep God's commandments, statutes and laws!!

1 Pet. 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 4:11
"Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another."


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