The Bible Project – Word Study: Ahavah – “Love”
The Bible Project – Literary Styles in the Bible
Brandon Braun – The Heart of a Servant
“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (I John 4:4)
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12)
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
The continued battle to push the agenda of gay marriage, the outright murder of unborn children, the pursuit of everything that seems to right to each person’s own eyes, the effort to remove God from all aspects of society – These are common headlines that adorn the front pages of newspapers, news websites, and the 24 hour news cycle seemingly every time we turn around. This certainly appears to be a time when an all out assault is under way against anything remotely related to biblical truth. What are we to do? Throw in the proverbial towel? Shrug our shoulders under the guise of “well if someone marries another person of the same sex, what is it of my business. It does not impact me.” Is the church to be doing anything in age when godlessness and lawlessness seems to reign supreme.
In order to answer these questions, we have to begin with a foundational truth, namely that if we peek to the back of the Book, we know Satan and those who seek to pursue wickedness will endure a sounding and everlasting defeat. Moreover, we can have confidence that in spite of what appears to be a surge in the pursuit of all things immoral in our society today, the efforts of the wicked will ultimately be in vain. How do we know this to be true? I John 4:4 declares greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world. This passage means far more than just the reality that Christ is victorious. It also connotes the reality that believers in Christ will be able to discern truth from error in an age when false teaching and wickedness at times seems to bear some element of truth. Overcoming the world means far more than just passively sitting by on the sidelines. It involves the effort of digging into the word of God to bathe yourself in its truth allowing the Holy Spirit to write God’s law on your heart. In doing so, you will be able to effectively shine the light of truth which is God’s word as well as swing the sword that is part of the full armor of God, the sword also being God’s word.
The command to don the full armor of God in and of itself reveals the reality that we are in a battle. Ephesians 6:12 clearly demonstrates the focus of the warfare. While it may seem as if we are fighting against a particular political machine, against the so-called liberal establishment, or against even social movements, the truth is the fight is in the spiritual realm. This is a battle between good and evil, not the good and evil portrayed in the Star Wars movies, but rather a cosmic conflagration between an almighty God and one who just so happens to think he can outsmart and out-maneuver God. So we are waging war in the heavenly places, against a spiritual realm that seeks to destroy that which God loves. This enemy is a deceiver, a portrayer of truth, and a charlatan. Thus, it is vital for believers to be able to first recognize the nature of this battle, to engage the enemy, to understand truth from lies, and to ultimately know that even when the going seems tough or it appears in the natural realm that we are losing valuable battleground, the war has actually been won.
This provides us great assurance as war fighters. The victory is not within reach. No my friends, the victory has been won. This should cause us to realize two important facts: 1) The need to reject a pompous or lazy attitude that results in the believer not engaging in the battle, and 2) great confidence in the midst of what may appear to be a losing battle at times. It should not surprise us that the world is spinning out of control, embracing all sorts of wickedness and all things anti-God. After all, Jesus did declare in Matthew 24:27-39:
“As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.”
Whether or not this is a sign of the end of days or not is to a large degree irrelevant to whether we need to be engaged in the battle. If it is the end, then we should recognize the fight will become only more intense. If it is not the end, then we should still be about the Father’s business, spreading the message of truth in the face of lies, shining the light of God’s Word in the midst of darkness, and constantly donning the full armor of God. This is not an every now and then battle we are in. This is a constant pursuit by Satan to seek and destroy. This requires us to not approach the Christian walk as a when I feel interested I will pursue it type existence. The Christian walk requires constant vigilance, the need to keep our lamps constantly lit with oil, being the faithful bride who is looking for the return of the bridegroom. We are a warring bride, a people who are involved in the battle of the ages.
So will you join the fight or will you be comfortable sitting in the pew on the sidelines? Will you recognize the nature of the battle we are in or will you incorrectly see this as nothing more than political gamesmanship, blaming the politicians for all of society’s ills? Will you help your neighbor in need, regardless of whether that is someone literally next door or someone across the world? Most importantly, will you heed the command to go into all the world, to your Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and uttermost parts of the world with the glorious saving message of the gospel? There really is no other answer than what Isaiah said so many years ago: “Here am I. Send me!” God is calling all of us asking the same question He asked Isaiah, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” There is no other answer than to get into the fight and to constantly train yourself as a soldier in the army of the Lord by reading His word, being in prayer, fellowshipping with fellow believers, and pursuing holiness through the power of the Holy Spirit.
The hour has come for the body of Christ to gird their loins. The enemy has sounded their trumpets and is rallying their troops to wage war against all that is godly and true. Will you answer the call of God’s trumpet in an age when the world sorely needs to hear that which is true and holy? I pray you heed the call to arms for the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Remember the battle is not against abortion, gay marriage, or a political agenda. These are merely symptoms of a larger disease. Whacking off one of those arms will not sever the beast. We must thrust the truth of God’s word into the heart of the enemy knowing the battle has been won.
“He that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.” 1 John 5:10
No doubt if our Lord Jesus were on earth he would find many persons for whom he would pray, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” It is no doubt true of many who are living in great sin that they do it ignorantly, not knowing the full measure of their guilt, or its real character in the sight of God. It is the duty of the Christian minister, and indeed of all Christians, to render sins of ignorance impossible by imparting scriptural knowledge; we must let men know what they are doing, and never suffer them to go on in the dark. If they will commit sin, let them at least know what is involved in it, for “that the soul be without knowledge is not good.” It is not meet that any man should continue in darkness now that the true light has dawned upon mankind. It is true our testimony will not always be received, for men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil, but our duty remains the same; we are to bear witness of the truth and to be in the hands of God the instruments of convincing the world of the exceeding sinfulness of sin.
The great sin of not believing in the Lord Jesus Christ is often spoken of very lightly and in a very trifling spirit, as though it were scarcely any sin at all; yet, according to my text, and, indeed, according to the whole tenor of the Scriptures, unbelief is the giving of God the lie, and what can be worse? I earnestly desire that every unbeliever may see his unbelief at this time in its true colors, and perhaps, as the Spirit of God enables him to see the evil of his past unbelief, he will be so shocked at himself, and horrified at his crime, that he will continue in it no longer, but yield himself to the faith. My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth, that grace may be given to the unbelieving, that they may now believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
To continue reading Charles Spurgeon’s article, click here.
“Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you, an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.” Hebrews 3:12
Unbelief is the prince of sins. As faith is the radical grace, so is unbelief a radical sin, — a sinning sin. As, of all sinners, those are most infamous, who are ring-leaders and make others sin, which is the brand which God has set upon Jeroboam’s name, “Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who, sinned, and made Israel to, sin” (1 Kings 14:16), so among sins they are most horrid that are most productive of others, such is unbelief above any other: it is a ring-leading sin, a sin-making sin. The first poisonous breath which Eve sucked in from the tempter, was sent in these words, “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” (Gen 3:1). As if he had said, Consider well on the matter; do you believe God meant so? Can you think so ill of God, as to believe he would keep the best fruit of the whole garden from you? This was the traitor’s gate at which all other sins entered into her heart; and it continues to this day of the same use to Satan, for the hurrying souls into other sins, called therefore “an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God.” The devil sets up this sin of unbelief, as a blind between the sinner and God; that the shot which come from the threatening, leveled at the sinner’s breast, may not be dreaded by him; and then the wretch can be as bold with his lust as the pioneer is at his work, when he has got his basket of earth between him and the enemies’ bullets: nay, this unbelief does not only choke the bullets of wrath which are sent out of the law’s fiery mouth, but it damps the motions of grace which come from the gospel; all the offers of love which God makes to an unbelieving heart, they fall like seed into dead earth, or like sparks into a river, they pare out as soon as they fall in.
To continue reading William Gurnall’s article, click here.
The bitterest pill to swallow for any Christian who attempts to “make peace” with Darwin is the presumed animal ancestry of man. Even many Christians who uncritically accept evolutionary dogma as “God’s way of creating” try to elevate man and his origin above that of the beasts. Evolutionists attempt to soften the blow by assuring us that man didn’t exactly evolve from apes (tailless monkeys) but rather from ape-like creatures. This is mere semantics, as may be seen from the fact that many of the presumed animal ancestors of man have been given scientific names which include the word pithecus (derived from the Greek meaning ape) just like many living apes. The much-touted “human ancestor” commonly known as “Lucy,” for example, has the scientific name Australopithecus afarensis (meaning southern ape from the Afar triangle of Africa), though evolutionists often refer to this ape as a “woman”! But what exactly is the evidence for the ape ancestry of man and how compelling is it?
To continue reading Dr. Menton’s article, click here.
By ‘us’ we mean His people. Although we read of the love which is in Christ Jesus our Lord’ (Rom 8:39), Holy Writ knows nothing of a love of God outside of Christ. ‘The LORD is good to all: and His tender mercies are over all His works’ (Psa 145:9), so that He provides the ravens with food. ‘He is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil’ (Luke 6:35), and His providence ministers unto the just and the unjust (Matt 5:45). But His love is reserved for His elect. That is unequivocally established by its characteristics, for the attributes of His love are identical with Himself. Necessarily so, for ‘God is love.’ In making that postulate it is but another way to say God’s love is like Himself, from everlasting to everlasting–immutable. Nothing is more absurd than to imagine that anyone beloved of God can eternally perish or shall ever experience His everlasting vengeance. Since the love of God is ‘in Christ Jesus,’ it was attracted by nothing in its objects, nor can it be repelled by anything in, of, or by them. ‘Having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end’ (John 13:1). The ‘world’ in John 3:16 is a general term used in contrast with the Jews, and the verse must be interpreted so as not to contradict Psalms 5:5; 6:7; John 3:36; Romans 9:13.
The chief design of God is to commend the love of God in Christ, for He is the sole channel through which it flows. The Son has not induced the Father to love His people, but rather was it His love for them which moved Him to give His Son for them. Ralph Erskine said:
‘God hath taken a marvelous way to manifest His love. When He would show His power, He makes a world. When He would display His wisdom, He puts it in a frame and form that discovers its vastness. When He would manifest the grandeur and glory of His name, He makes a heaven, and puts angels and archangels, principalities and powers therein. And when He would manifest His love, what will He not do? God hath taken a great and marvelous way of manifesting it in Christ: His person, His blood, His death, His righteousness.’
To continue reading A. W. Pink’s article, click here.
“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” John 6:37
This doctrine of coming to Jesus Christ for life, informs us of the evil of UNBELIEF; that wicked thing which is the only or chief hindrance to the coming sinner. Doth the text say, “Come”? Doth it say, “And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out”? Then what an evil is that, that keepeth sinners from coming to Jesus Christ? And that evil is UNBELIEF: for by faith we come; by UNBELIEF we keep away. Therefore it is that by which a soul is said to depart from God: because it was that which at first caused the world to go off from him, and that also, that keeps them from him to this day. And it doth it the more easily, because it doth it with a wile.
This sin may be called THE WHITE DEVIL. For it ofttimes, in its mischievous doing in the soul, shows as if it were an angel of light: yea, it acteth like a counselor of heaven. Therefore, a little to discourse of this evil disease, I observe:
1. It is that sin, above all others, that hath some show of reason in its attempts. For it keeps the soul from Christ, by pretending its present unfitness and unpreparedness: as want of more sense of sin, want of more repentance, want of more humility, want of a more broken heart.
To continue reading, click here.
This week, my Bible reading plan brought me to the Minor Prophets. I have been a Christian for twenty years and sometimes I still struggle to read the Minor Prophets profitably. I doubt that I am alone in this assessment, but I have also found that putting in the work to understand these twelve little-known books can also pay great dividends by helping us grow in our knowledge of God, increase our grasp of the whole Bible, and live the Christian life more faithfully.
The next time your Bible reading plan takes you to the Minor Prophets, apply these four suggestions.
Read the Minor Prophets in Light of their Historical Context
It would be difficult to grasp what is happening in the diary of Anne Frank without knowing something about Nazi Germany during World War 2. In the same way, knowing the historical setting for the Minor Prophets helps us to grasp their message. With some exceptions, the Minor Prophets give you a key to unlock the historical setting in which they speak.
Let’s take the book of Hosea as an example. The first verse of Hosea says, “The world of the Lord that came to Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam, the son of Joash, king of Israel.” The list of kings in the first verse gives us the historical setting for the rest of the book. Look at the names of these kings then go read about them in the books of Kings and Chronicles. This will give you a window into the world Hosea is addressing.
To continue reading Scott Slayton’s article, click here.
A natural implication of God’s aseity is his immutability. At first blush this immutability seems to have little support in Scripture. For there God is seen as standing in the most vital association with the world. In the beginning he created heaven and earth and so moved from not creating to creating. And from that beginning he is, as it were, a coparticipant in the life of the world and especially of his people Israel. He comes and goes, reveals and conceals himself. He averts his face [in wrath] and turns it back to us in grace. He repents (Gen. 6:6; 1 Sam. 15:11; Amos 7:3, 6; Joel 2:13; Jon. 3:9; 4:2) and changes plans (Exod. 32:10–14; Jon. 3:10). He becomes angry (Num. 11:1, 10; Ps. 106:40; Zech. 10:3) and sets aside his anger (Deut. 13:17; 2 Chron. 12:12; 30:8; Jer. 18:8, 10; 26:3, 19; 36:3). His attitude toward the pious is one thing, his disposition to the ungodly another (Prov. 11:20; 12:22). With the pure he is pure; with the crooked he shows himself a shrewd opponent 12 (Ps. 18:26–27). In the fullness of time he even becomes human in Christ and proceeds to dwell in the church through the Holy Spirit. He rejects Israel and accepts the Gentiles. And in the life of the children of God there is a consistent alternation of feelings of guilt and the consciousness of forgiveness, of experiences of God’s wrath and of his love, of his abandonment and his presence.
To continue reading Herman Bavinck’s article, click here.