Sunday, April 14, 2024

958. Having Knowledge of God's Love Vs. Knowing God's Love

Love may be the most talked about thing in every corner of the world while also being at the forefront of what people think about throughout their daily life. After all, we're pretty much bombarded with it everywhere we turn—at least in various forms—in our songs, books, entertainment, relationships, etc. Certainly, our churches focus much on love, especially about God's love and the importance of loving each other.

But do we really understand love? Can it even be comprehended intellectually with the mind, or does it go much deeper? Is love just a feeling? An emotion? Love exposes the naivete of atheists who are found to be in over their heads, failing to effectively explain the love factor into their silly equation of a Godless universe—because they can't resolve what they don't know or have not experienced.

What about the individual sitting near the back row week after week in the corner of the church building? Have the doctrines of men kept them from recognizing and realizing the revelation of the One who is love? Clearly, God wants us to know the love of Christ (which surpasses knowledge) and to truly believe in this love that He has for us. When our hearts begin to receive what the Spirit desires to reveal, it changes everything.

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Sunday, April 07, 2024

957. Not One Command From the Law Brings Life

Stop and think about the emphasis that is placed on the topic of faith within our churches and even within multiple religions. Those who believe in a supreme being may often identify themselves as "people of faith." The Apostle Paul stated that the commandments contained within the Mosaic law are not of faith—and yet we find a tremendous emphasis being placed on small portions of that law within the Christian church.

For those who were attempting to be doers of the law, God required the Jewish people under that law to obey all of it (which no one ever did). On the flip side ... Paul told believers in Christ that if they were going to attempt to cling to even one commandment from the law (such as circumcision), they would be obligated to keep the whole law package (containing 613 line items). The result would be a falling away or distancing from grace. He also articulated that if a single law could give life and righteousness, then those things would have been provided by such a law. But life comes by faith in a living Christ—not a religious system of works that seeks to establish phony self-righteousness.

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Sunday, March 31, 2024

956. "The Great Commandment" According to Jesus (But That You Were Never Under)

In Matthew 22, Jesus had just silenced the Sadducees at one of His press conferences. After seeing this, and after a quick huddle with his co-workers, a reporter for the Pharisees couldn't resist a follow-up question in the attempt to test Jesus when it came to the subject of something near and dear to their hearts. "What is the great commandment in the law?"

Jesus answered: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

The corporate church world has generally made this a foundation for the Christian life. But the key words in the question that Jesus answered was "in the law" ... referring to the law of Moses which was still in effect at that time for Israel. But it is a law Gentiles were never under and was made obsolete for Israelites after the cross and resurrection. It is a commandment no one had ever kept nor has anyone successfully fulfilled it since. The "great commandment" is not the message of the gospel as suggested by those who blend the Bible into one book as if two very different and incompatible covenants were meant to be mixed together. Love is still the answer—but in a very different context.

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Sunday, March 24, 2024

955. Behavioral Changes - How Do You Know if You've "Repented" Enough?

If repentance is based upon changes in behavior or if it specifically means to turn from sin, how can someone know they have truly reached a place where they can be defined as one who has attained the required plateau of having repented? Turning from sinful behavior is good advice, but when religion includes it in the context of repenting, things get a bit vague and uncertain as to whether that means reducing your sin count or eliminating sin altogether ... and leaves people in a place where they wonder if they are right with God—unaware that God is no longer counting sins against them.

A works-based religious system touts a message that believers are broken people who are in constant need to be fixed and that it's our responsibility to accomplish this. Let's repent by changing our thinking—realizing God no longer sees us in Christ as "sinners" but as children who have been gifted with righteousness through an inheritance. We have the life of God and His Spirit abiding within as holy and perfected people. We can begin living from this reality and experience it in the here and now.

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Sunday, March 17, 2024

954. Religion's Well-Meant Bent to Misrepresent How to Repent

John stood in the middle of a river calling for Jewish people to repent—because the kingdom of heaven was at hand—and to be cleansed with water. Although there is no record of the Pharisees being baptized by John, they also were not surprised or shocked by such a cleansing ritual where people would confess their sins ... which was common under the law. However, they were curious as to the motivation and purpose of this one who came from the priestly tribe. The old priests didn't go to the people, the people went to the priest.

After John's arrest, Jesus would go out among the Jewish people saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” But exactly what was it that Jesus was calling for these people to do when He said to repent—these who were under the Mosaic law? If we assume His intent was to get them to stop sinning, He could have simply stated to work harder at keeping the law they were trying to live up to (but constantly failed at doing). Yet we know the law never resulted in reducing sin, but increasing it.

As we've done many times on the podcast over the years, we'll review the meaning of the word repent or repentance from the Greek and provide some specific consistency within the context. To repent is a good thing, but empty religion has defined it in a way that makes it impossible for people to do and only leads to a sin consciousness which Jesus came to free people from.

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Sunday, March 10, 2024

953. Question: "How Can I Properly Interpret Bible Context?"

Many interpretations of scripture are rooted from a certain mindset. Assumptions about certain things related to the Bible and its content can lead to a point of view which may or may not be true. Bible verses that get singled out and quoted without the proper context of the passage or even the gospel message itself can result in people being misinformed.

A listener had written to us asking if there was any advice we could give regarding the proper understanding of context ... especially as it may relate to what was written directly for us as believers in Christ compared to issues being addressed by the writers to those specific people of that time in the early years after the cross.

There may not be a perfect answer to such a question, but we talk it out to provide some food for thought.

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Sunday, March 03, 2024

952. Fleeing From Falling into the Forlorn Futility of Frequent Forgiveness

When we talk about the once-for-all forgiveness found in the one sacrifice through the blood of Jesus, we'll often notice a variety of spiritual muscle spasms from those who had a (1) particular Bible verse taken out of context and pounded into them for many years, found in 1 John 1:9.

Considering what we have covered in recent programs about forgiveness, how does this mesh with what we find in other passages? Was John really talking to believers to encourage them to remember to confess each individual sin ... sins that God declared He would no longer remember inside of a new and better covenant? And if that were true, where would it leave a person if they didn't confess every wrongdoing? Can we walk in and out of fellowship with God while consistently going back and forth between abiding in the light or darkness? Is it confession or blood that causes us to receive forgiveness?

One more question that absolutely needs to be answered within our hearts: Is the forgiveness of sins from God dependent upon you or something you do ... or is it the result of a Savior who bled, died and rose one time? Let's get some answers with a consistent context that will help make people truly free indeed.

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