Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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Pastor's Blog

Faith and Love 5/06/2012
May the grace mercy and peace from God our Father and His Son, Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ be with us today and always, Amen.

As we continue our study of 1 John, we recall that in chapter 2 of John's first epistle, these words were written by the Apostle, which point out of the unction and anointing that we as believers have and which empower us with the ability to discern truth and error. Here are the verses:

18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
20 But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.
21 I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.
22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.
23 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.
24 Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.
25 And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.
26 These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.
27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

Now as we move to the 4th chapter of 1 John, it is apparent that the chapter break here does not mean a transition to another subject, but rather a parenthesis in the discourse of love is brought forth. In review of this entire letter from the start, we can see that John wrote that our beginning of life is from God and that in order for us to enter into this Life we must come to the Light. Not only must we come to the Light, but we must continue to abide/life in the light as He is in the light. He goes onto to write that the evidence of our entering into the life of God through Christ will be through our attitudes and actions towards our fellow believer. He does this continually through both the positive and negative approaches, in essence saying: This is what the life of Christ looks like or this is not what the life of Christ looks like.

As we begin to look at this 4th chapter, which is a continuation of that which John introduced in the last 2 verses of chapter 3, we read those verses:

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.
24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

From faith in Christ, through the indwelling of the Spirit, love flows towards God and one another. This is what is being introduced in this portion. It is the overall theme. God's love towards us which was demonstrated through the cross warrants our response of faith which then shows itself in love.

Previously he wrote that we have an unction or an anointing of the Holy One and he defined that which this unction/anointing revealed to them, which gave them the ability to discern between truth and error.

2:22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.
23 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.

He writes that one is a liar if they deny that Jesus is the Christ/Messiah, saying that that person is antichrist in their denial of the Father and the Son. With this denial of the Son, there is no access to the Father. No Christ, no Father and therefore, no Christ, no salvation.

In chapter 3 there is the continuation of the theme of love of the Father, of his love for us and our love for others It seems like he is saying the same thing over and over again, and to a certain degree, he is doing that. But yet within his repetitive message, he is building upon that which is written before. In the beginning of this book we saw God described as life and light. In this chapter we are going to see a greater revelation of God: Love.

In the understanding of the revelation of God, it is important to remember that as beautiful as the creation is that surrounds us, it of itself cannot reveal the love of God. It is able to reveal the but it is not able to reveal the love of God. ESV Romans 1:20a "For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made."

In verse 23 he says that we know/are assured that he abides in us by the Spirit which He has given us. There is only one Spirit of God, it is that Spirit which reveals Christ to us, Who came to show us the Father. As John did in chapter two, he now brings up the subject of antichrist again. John here warns us to not believe every person that comes along saying that they are speaking for God, but that we are to test them to see if they are of God, for there are many false prophets who have gone out into the world. They are those who maintain that what they are saying is of God, but in reality they are not speaking for him.

KJV 1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

He gives a simple test by which false prophets can be judged: Do they acknowledge the historical happening of Jesus Christ's incarnation? Do they believe it and confess it by their convictions, words and actions? Let us consider the truths we confess when we recite the Apostle's Creed, for when we repeat that Creed, we are are confessing that Jesus Christ came into this world without a human father (God) but through a human mother (human). He came as a man in fhe flesh, like one of us in order to make atonement and destroy death, but yet He was God. He was fully God and fully man/human. We must leave it at this, recognizing that there would be much scripture to consider this part of John's letter in order to explain and illustrate the importance of the incarnation of Christ. No incarnation of Christ, no salvation.......

4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
5 They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.
6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.

He now returns to speak to three different groups: He speaks to Christians, who have overcome the false prophets, and who have not succumbed to their lies. He speaks to those of the world and then he speaks of his inclusion in the body of Christ when he says, "We are of God."

How did they overcome? John tells us how they did it. They were able to overcome because greater is he that is in them, than he that is in the world. They believed what God said concerning himself and Christ, His Son. We call this faith. It was not anything that the Christians had of themselves, it was gift of faith which enabled them to experience the presence of God through Christ in them. The Holy Spirit dwelt in them. He dwells in us today by faith. His presence in us gives us discernment and judgment in all things.

Outside of this faith, we are yet of the world, therefore we speak of the things of the world and the world listens to us. In contrast to this, we recall that in the beginning of the 3rd chapter John wrote that the "world knows us not, because it knew not him, and therefore will not listen to us.

But we are of God, we are in union with Him and therefore all who are in this union with God through Christ are in fellowship together. John includes himself in this union, saying that those who know God hear "us", and if one is not of God, they will not hear "us". This is the
second test of discernment, for the Holy Spirit is the spirit of truth and the spirit of antichrist is the spirit of error. The confidence with which John speaks is certainly daring, but yet contagious. He knew "in whom he believed and was persuaded that He was able to keep that which he had committed unto him against that day", even as Apostle Paul had written to his fellow Christian Timothy. (2 Timothy 2:1:12b)

John has written of that which God did through love (sending His Son to the cross) and that through faith we live in union with HIm. Now he begins to speak of the fruit of faith in verse 7: Love

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.
8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

The origin of love is God. The display of this love is Him sending His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. His giving of His Son is not the evidence of His love, but rather it is the essence of His being. The love of God is being made clear in His Son.

What is it that causes us to see the love of God? Is it our heavy load of sin that makes a person come to the cross, or is it God's mercy that causes us to come to Him. It is only in the disclosure of God's love that causes us to come to Him, for without the invitation for a place to unload our burden, we will never approach his throne of grace. The cross it like a magnifying glass, where the love of God is seen. The cross is a pulpit from which Christ preached His love to the world. The cross is the pulpit of His love!

We need to remember that because God is righteous and holy, he cannot simply cast aside sin, but a sacrifice must be made in order for it to be atoned for. His anger needed to be satisfied, but here we need to understand that his wrath should not be seen as anger as we know it, but rather his wrath is seen as his settled indignation and uncompromising hostility towards sin. It is love of holiness that makes his judgment of sin certain. It is impossible for him not to deal with evil.

How can God punish sin and yet make sinner sinless? When there is a crime, who pays the debt? Someone does, and in this case Jesus paid the debt. He is our substitute for sin. We place ourselves in the place of God, substituting ourselves for Him, thinking that we are God. In spite of all that, God substitutes HImself for us by becoming sin for us. In his demonstration of love,

God revealed His love by the cross, loving the unlovely and that is us. When we come to understand this, we love others because they are persons, created in the image of God. In the understanding and experience of faith, which then works in love, all people are lovable. No one is excluded from God's love. God's love in us becomes visible when we love those who do not love us. Today many do not read the Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John but they read the gospel according to you and I. This is the love of God incarnate, Christ living in us. The invisible God is made apparent through the love that God's people have for one another. Where God's life is there will be God's love.

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

God is a Spirit, He cannot be seen, but here it seems to say of that which we have been writing previously. When faith works forth in love, it is an indication that God dwells in us and through this indwelling, love is matured/fulfilled,completed in us. What is meant by this?
How can one tell by looking at a person that God lives in them? Not by outward observance one cannot tell, but by observing their life and listening to their words, one will get an indication as to whether the Spirit of God dwells in them or not.

13 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.
14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.
15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.
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.

After stating that we have the assurance that we live in union with him because He has given us of his Spirit, John returns to his own experience saying that they saw and therefore are able to testify that the Father sent the Son to the be Saviour of the world. He was sent for all and it is the Father's desire that all would come to the saving knowledge of salvation through repentance and faith. In essence, John is saying,we saw and we gave witness of this in our lives. It will be likewise for anyone who shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God. Upon faith being given, love will follow, for when the life of God indwells us through faith, love will flow out of Christ who lives in us. .

17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

This fruit of faith is now seen in the place that all within themselves know that there is a day of reckoning coming, regardless of how deeply one may bury it by ignoring it, stuffing it or trying to hide it. There is a day of accounting coming to all, but here John writes that the completeness of this love in the heart of a believer will give boldness or openness in the day of the judgment. This is at first somewhat confusing as we would think that faith would give us this boldness or this confidence, but that is not what is says here. It says that the mature/fuliflled love will give us this confidence.

But there is an explanation at the end of the verse: "because as he is, so are we in this world." Because as Christ is, so are we in this world. What does this mean? Paul wrote of this in his epistle to the Galatians:

2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

We have known and believed of the love that God has to us, for God is love and where this love is experienced, we dwell in God and He in us. If we believe in the finished work of Jesus Christ and are living in the power of His resurrection, this love has been completely fulfilled with us. The power of God's love is understood when we understand how much God loves us. When we live in that, we have openness in the day of judgment, for we do not have anything to fear because of something that is hidden. As Jesus Christ is in the world, so are we. The church is the body of Jesus Christ, where the church is Christ is, where Christ is, the body is. They cannot be separated.. When we live in this reality, there is nothing to fear, for all is covered.

Because we are in union with Jesus Christ through faith which expresses itself in love, there is no fear. How could we have fear if we are in Him in union and there is no separation between us? Completely fulfilled love throws out fear, because fear has torment. To live in fear means that we are in fear of retribution or of punishment. If we know that God loves us, the evidence of which is seen in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. what is there to fear ever? If we fear, we are not completely fulfilled in love. If we live in fear, we are fearing punishment because we have not come to a clear understanding of the cross and resurrection of Christ. Completely fulfilled love throws out fear. We know that we have passed from death to life because we love as we have been loved.

When we come to understand and experience by faith the benevolent love of God in Christ, we will have no fear. If we fear, we have not come to understand God's love because we still fear punishment from God. How could we ever love someone whom we fear will punish us. If we re introduce the fear of punishment, we are not fulfilled in love.

Summarizing it all, John writes the following words.

19 We love him, because he first loved us.
20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

In order to remind all that love originates with God, John repeats the order: He first loved us, and therefore we love Him. God imparts His life to us, by faith we lay ahold of HIs life through Christ and through the indwelling Holy Spirit, love for Him and others flows out of us.

The evidence of God's love for us is that He sent His Son, the evidence of our receiving this love is our love towards our brother and sister. If there is no compassion for others, we are a liar. When we come to understand the love of God in Christ, we no longer know any man after the flesh. We look upon other humans as God looks at them. Perhaps we could say
that the understanding of this commandment from God is: That he who loves God loves his brother as God loves him. That is His desire for us, that we would come to live in the same relationship of love that He and His Son live in. And if all believers are in union with the Father and the Son, it would then mean that in the church there is only One. He is Christ and we are in Him. Therefore we as the church love as God loves and in so doing, the world will know that we are in Him and He is in us. They may not like it, and will oppose us, but the witness of God in us is that we love one another.

Dear Lord, may the words of our mouths, and the meditations of my hearts, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

In God's love,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 06 May 2012 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Behold, what manner of love! 5/01/212
KJV 1 John 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
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.

Behold!! Listen up, this is important, John writes: We are called the sons of God because God has bestowed His love upon us. God has sent His Son into this world as a propititation (appeasing) (2:2) for our sins and through repentance and faith we live in union with the Father and the Son (1:5-2:2). In verses 20 and 27 of chapter 2, there are two words that are used that are rooted in the same Greek word: chrism: In verse 20 the word unction is used and in verse 27 the word anointing is used. In both places the sense of meaning is that through this unction/anointing we know all things and are taught all things We have this unction/anointing within the union of Jesus Christ. We are able to see that which is of the truth and that which is a lie. Here are the two verses:

KJV 1 John 2:20 But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.
KJV 1 John 2:27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

"therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not."

As a result of our being in fellowship/union with the Son, the world does not know us because they did not know him. Earlier in his Gospel, John had written concerning these words that Jesus had spoken.

John 15:17 These things I command you, that ye love one another.
18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

Perhaps it is beneficial for us to remember that when we bear His testimony, we are kept insulated from the world loving us, and therefore from the temptation to fall into trying to please it or people. We are insulated from being affected by the manipulation of all kinds.

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.

We are now the sons of God, even though we are less than we know we should be. It is not future, but it is present. This sonship in his family is a gift of grace, not something that we attain of ourselves. But one day, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is!! It does not matter what the world thinks of us, for we are God's offspring. Living in fellowship with the Father and the Son, we have fellowship with all other believers. We should not forget that one of the principle reasons that John writes this epistle is:
1 John 1:4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.

3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure

Everyone who is fixed upon Jesus Christ is pure. When we are in union with Him, we are pure, sinless. We go back to the first chapter. Christ is life, He came into the world as the Light of the world to show us our darkness, through repentance and faith we now united with Him and are in the Light. This purity is a gift righteousness which is by faith. Let us continue to see if this interpretation is consistent with the proceeding verses of this epistle.

4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.
6 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.

All who are "doing" sin are breaking the law, for doing sin is breaking the law. We are all guilty before this truth.

Jesus was made plain to take away our sins, and in him is no sin. So being in union with him, we do not sin. If Christ has taken away our sin and we are in him, we do not have any sin. What about what we heard in the first chapter? "if we say we have no sin, we make God a liar." But he is talking about this from two sides. We yet sin in experience, but being in Christ it is not accounted to us. God has no memory of our sin when we are in Him, which means that we believe that He has cleansed us through His Son. On the other hand, if we do not believe the Gospel, we are yet accountable for our sin. Will we believe God or will we not believe Him? What John writes in his Gospel will clarify this:

John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Who is doing the condemning? God or ourselves? He that believes not is condemned already. God does not condemn, but through unbelief one is condemned. It is important to see that distinction. God does not impute sin to anyone and wants all to come to the knowledge of what manner of love He has bestowed upon all through His Son.

7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.
8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

Satan wants us all to dwell in our sin and never to come to a knowledge of the forgiveness of our sins. When we do that, we are asking for our sins to be back on us. When we do that, God says: "Why do you want them back?"

Hebrew 8:8 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:
9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.
10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
11 And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.
12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

2 Cor: 4: 3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

When God has taken away our sin he has no memory of it. We yet acknowledge ourselves as a sinner, but God does not see our sin when believe that through Christ we are pure in God's sight. We live in forgiveness toward others because we have received forgiveness. We are sinners, yes, but the power of his blood is greater than our sin and greater than all the sin of the world. All sin is my fault and no one else's fault. It has nothing to do with any external circumstances, but it has everything to do with my sinful self. We sinned and therefore do not merit anything but eternal and everlasting punishment. The blood of Christ is amazing!!! Those who do not see their own sin hate themselves so much that they extend this bitterness towards others. Their lack of forgiveness toward self is a direct cause of their hatred of others.

11 For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.
12 Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous.

John returns to love, saying this is the message that ye have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another and not be like Cain, for he was of the devil. How so? His works were evil and his brother's righteous.
When we lose sense of the forgiveness of Christ and we focus on our sin, we lose the sense of the completion of His finished work. Cain took out his problem on his brother when he should have went to God with his problem. He took out his disagreement with God by killing his brother. There was no rival left. The good works were destroyed so that the only works remaining would be the evil works. That is why Christ was killed, that is why people kill people, in order to get rid of the opposition. Instead of coming to the light and turning towards God in repentance, one simply will get rid of the light so that only the darkness remains. Darkness always wants to hide from the Light and if that is not possible, it will always destroy the Light. Ravi Zacharias summed this up this way: "Kill God, kill ethics and then you will kill people."

The next verse returns to something that he said in the first verse of this chapter: "Therefore the world knows us not because it knew him not." This should bring rejoicing to our heart, for what did Jesus tell his disciples in the 5th chapter of Matthew?

Matthew 5:11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

13 Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.
14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.
15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.

How do we understand this? Perhaps what Peter wrote in his 2nd Letter will help give us some insight as to how evidence of life in us is seen through love to the fellow believers.

KJV 2 Peter 1:1 Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:
2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Love came to serve, love serves the other for their benefit while lust demands to use another for ones own selfish promotion and benefit.

Galatians 1:19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Perhaps a real life example will illustrate what is being considered now in our meditations.

Recently a dear brother was called to glory by our Father in heaven. In my numerous visits with him over the last 10 years, he often would quote this verse as well as some verses from Paul's letter to the Romans. He would relate as to how earlier in his life he lived under the dictates of what he called religion. He said that regardless of how he tried to be obedient in all his duties in the kingdom of God, he always felt like he did not do good enough. One day he threw up his hand and said, "I give up, I cannot do it," and then he would look at me and say with exuberance: "And I died!" He again would look at me and ask me: "Have you died?" As this dear brother got older and as his elderly years began to take a toll on him, he would many time during the course of our visits quote from Romans: "What I thought was unto life, I found to be unto death, and I DIED!" And then again he would ask me: "Have you died?" I will always remember his loving and direct approach to how it is that Christ lives in us, and therefore, through us. In order for Christ to live, we must die. Yes, all have died and arose with Him objectively two thousand years ago, but have we come to know this for ourselves. Let us consider the 6th chapter of Romans as we consider this question.

Understanding what Peter and Paul wrote about, along with our brother's personal experiences, should guide our thinking in these next four verses...

16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
17 But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?
18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
19 And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.
20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.
21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.

God is able to see both our inward person and our outward person, while people are only able to see us outwardly through actions. Yes, our inner attitudes are outwardly perceived and heard also by others, but those are not always exactly what is going on within a person. The easy truth to see here is that our love ought to be expressed not only in word or in tongue, but in dead and in truth. In other words, we ought to walk the talk from a heart of charity towards others. This seems to be saying that loving in deed and in truth is evidence of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, for the fruit of the Spirit is "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance." It does not say "fruits", but it says "fruit."

Because we are by nature self seeking and proud, there are times when our heart will condemn us due to our falling victim to self, but we are told that God is greater than our heart. Since we are His child through the righteousness which is by faith, we are not ever condemned by God, but only by ourselves through our looking at our sinful self instead at the sinless Christ. Looking to Christ always keeps us in a place of confidence towards God.

22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
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.
24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

Our prayers are always heard by Him, and we always receive an answer. Sometimes it is yes, sometimes it is no, and sometimes it is wait. One particular answer of no was heard by the Apostle Paul himself. After he prayed three times that his "thorn in the flesh" would be removed, he was told no, but he was also told why the answer was no. (2 Corinthians 12: 1-10) Do we have a "thorn in the flesh" that we wish would be taken away? Have we been asking God about it? The answer that He gives will work towards our salvation and not against it.

We are given encouragement that since God has revealed/disclosed His saving grace to us through the name of His Son and that we love one another, we live in Him and He in us. And we know that He abides/continues in us through the Spirit which He has given us. Paul wrote to the Romans in this way: "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:" (8:14-16)

May the Lord bless our continued meditations in His Word.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 01 May 2012 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Faith and Love 5/06/2012
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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*Wendy and Dan Salo: Strength & courage to trust Him w/her health concerns