by George Kirkpatrick
Vital Words to the Body of Christ
Freely We Have Received, Freely We Give
Love is the most dynamic, powerful word in any language. If we try to dissect the word love we would have to dissect every person on earth, because love has its own particular meaning to each and every person.
The common belief is that love is an emotion. The first understanding we must come to concerning love is that it is not an emotion or feeling, nor is it temporary. Then what is love? Love is a commitment. We must be committed to love. How can we do this? First, we must understand the meaning of love by and through the Scriptures:
"He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love." I John 4:8
God is love. It does not say God loves, but God is love. The whole makeup of God is love, so it is impossible to love without the presence of God in our lives. The world knows love as an emotional, sensual experience. As the world says, "They fall in love," as if love was a pit or a hole. The world falls in love easily, and they fall out of love just as easily.
In the English language, we have only one word for love. The Webster's dictionary describes love as "intense affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties; a strong attraction resulting from sexual desire." What Webster describes does not fully explain God's love. God's love is agape love. Webster only described love as a physical, emotional love.
There are two basic words used in the Bible for love:
agape and phileo
As we understand these words, we discover they have no comparison in the way they are used.
Agape love is the love God has for His whole creation. God's love is a manifested, committed love. When we acquire agape love we have a living comprehension of God's intelligence and reasoning.
Phileo love is the love Webster described. Phileo love expresses the love of mere personal affection and liking. Phileo love is a brotherly love. The word Philadelphia means the city of brotherly love.
God's love is agape love. Phileo love is an affectionate love. Phileo love comes natural in family ties, relationships, and friendships. Agape love is supernatural. Agape love loves the unlovely, those who may hate us, and despitefully use us. So how do we acquire God's supernatural agape love? There is only one way. Agape love is a fruit of the Spirit. As Paul described, agape love was on the top of the list. We cannot manifest the agape love of God in our lives without the first fruit of the Spirit, love.
God commands us twelve times in His Word to love our neighbor. Each time we are instructed to love our neighbor, God uses the word agape. Who then is our neighbor? The word neighbor is the Greek word PLESION and means "near."
God's ancient people considered any member of the Hebrew race as neighbor. All others were Gentiles (aliens of God). So who are we to consider our neighbor, today? Jesus gave us an example of who our neighbor is, when a lawyer asked him, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus asked the lawyer, "What is written in the law?"
"And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself. And He said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbor?" Luke 10:27-29
This is a question all should ask themselves today. "Who are we to consider to be our neighbor?" Jesus used the example of the man who went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, robbed and beat him, and left him half dead.
"And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side." Luke 10:31-32
The man who came down from Jerusalem (the true place of worship) fell among thieves. Anytime one goes down (away from God) it is easy to fall among thieves (those who serve the spirit of darkness). This man going down from Jerusalem represents backslidden, fallen man.
A priest and Levite passed by this fallen man on the other side of the street. We need to ask, "Who was Jesus trying to show us by the priest and Levite?" The Levites were the priesthood tribe. As we study the New Testament, we come to understand that both the Pharisees and the Sadducees were of the Levite tribe. It becomes plain who Jesus was speaking of when He stated the priest and the Levite passed by on the other side of the street. He was speaking of the Levite as being the religious system of His day, and the priest as being the religious leaders. Neither the religious system of Jesus' day or the religious system of our day are interested in the fate of fallen man. All they desire is to maintain their religious programs and promote their man-made precepts and doctrines.
"But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him," Luke 10:33
When Jesus was born, His parents lived in Nazareth which is in Samaria. Jesus was, and is, the Good Samaritan who had compassion on fallen man.
"And (the Good Samaritan) went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him." Luke 10:34
When Jesus came to fallen man, He poured in the oil and the wine. The oil is the anointing and the wine is the anointed Word. Only by the anointing and the anointed Word can man be restored to his rightful place in his Creator. Then Jesus asked the lawyer:
"Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, he that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise." Luke 10:36-37
As Jesus explained to the lawyer, "Go, and do thou likewise." We are to be the good neighbor who helps all who have fallen among the thieves of this world. As Jesus, we need to pour in the healing oil and wine to all we have opportunity to minister to. When God's Word states we are to love our neighbor as ourselves, we come to realize love becomes an all-encompassing word expressing God's manifested and committed agape love. As Paul related to the church at Rome:
"Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law." Romans 13:8-10
Today we have those individuals and groups who try to bring us back under the law. If they would read the Word, they would know that love fulfills the whole law. When we truly love, then love works no ill to those who are close to us. Paul related to all the churches in Galatia:
"For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shall love thy neighbour as thyself." Galatians 5:13-14
We are to use the liberty we have in Christ to serve one another in love. And if we love our neighbor as ourselves, then we have fulfilled the whole law of God.
Paul knew the value of love. Paul had persecuted the church. He had people thrown into prison and condemned many to death. After Paul's conversion on the road to Damascus, he had to face the children of those whom he had persecuted and killed. Paul had to learn, not only to love others, but he had to learn to receive love from those he had wounded.
Jesus also gives us insight into our relationship with the law when the Pharisees and Sadducees gathered together. One of their lawyers tempted Jesus by asking him:
"Master, which is the great commandment in the Law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." Matthew 22:36-40
By Jesus' words we know that we only have two commandments to live by. We are to love the Lord with our whole being, and we are to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. When we commit to love our neighbor, we not only fulfill all the old law, we come into a place in God where we can receive all the promises God made through His prophets. The apostle James spoke of another law we are to follow:
"If ye fulfil the royal law according to the Scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, ye do well:" James 2:8
The royal law is the king's law. Our King is Christ Jesus. When we fulfill His royal law, then we will love our neighbor as ourselves. If we do this, we will be accepted in the eyes of our Beloved. When Jesus spoke the sermon on the mount, He related others whom we must love:
"Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, and do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." Matthew 5:43-44
Jesus stated we are to love our enemies. First we must determine why our enemies are our enemies? Are they our enemies because we treated them badly or because we spoke ill against them or because we cheated them? If these are the reasons they are our enemies, then we need to repent, and go make it right with them.
If these are not the reasons they are our enemies, then we need to ask, "Why are they our enemies?" As we come to the understanding as to why they are our enemies, we realize the reason they are our enemies is not physical, but spiritual. The spirit in them rebels against the Spirit in us. God wants us to know who He is referring to as our enemy, and why we should love them. The beloved John inform us:
"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." I John 4:4
Greater is the Spirit of Light in us, than the spirit of darkness in the world. The worldly people are aware of this, and it is why they have become our enemies. They are enemies of the light. The word enemy Jesus used in this verse is the Greek word ECHTHROS and means "to hate, to be hostile, to oppose God." We need to come to the realization that the world hates us and is hostile toward us because they oppose the God in us. By the Spirit, and unknown psalmist reveals:
"Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against His anointed, saying," Psalm 2:1-2
God calls those who hate us, heathens. Why are they raging? The word rage means "to conspire or plot against." The heathen imagine vain things in their minds against God's people. The kings and rulers of this earth take counsel together against the Lord. The kings of the earth are those who have made this world their kingdom. These kings do not necessarily sit on thrones as governmental leaders, these are those who oppose God, and do not want Him to rule over them. Jesus spoke a parable concerning those who refuse the lordship of Christ:
"He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come. But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us." Luke 19:12-14
Christ Jesus is that nobleman who went into a far country. While in this far country, He sent His Spirit to prepare a Kingdom people to rule and reign with Him. When He returned, He gave gifts to each person He called, and told them to occupy until He came again. The citizens of the world hated Him and declared: "We will not have this man, Christ Jesus, rule over us." They also hate those whom he has called into His Kingdom. What can the worldly people expect when the Nobleman returns?
"But those Mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before Me." Luke 19:27
Those who refuse to become part of God's Kingdom will become part of God's judgment and wrath. As the Psalmist revealed, it was not only the kings of the earth who took counsel against Him, the rulers also took counsel against Him. These rulers are the government. The government has counseled against the Lord in every area of our lives. They legalized the murdering of our unborn. They took prayers out of the school. They outlawed the nativity scene. They have labeled the Bible as obscene in government financed libraries. They allow the A.C.L.U. to persecute any Godly activity. Now the government is funding stem cell research. The stem cell is the beginning of life. It is the life and Spirit of God.
The government not only takes counsel against our God, they also take counsel against His anointed. They have become our enemy, and the enemy of God. We know by God's Word they have sealed their fate and the fate of this nation. What does God direct us to do about the kings of the earth and its rulers?
"Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us." Psalm 2:3
Once we come to the realization they have become the enemies of righteousness, then we need to break the bonds that bind us to them, and cast away their bondage from us. We are to be free from all worldly and governmental controls in our lives. When we realize we are part of another Kingdom, and we serve another King, then we know we must be set free from those who have become our enemies and the enemies of God. By Jesus' words we know:
"If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me before it hated you." John 15:18
The world hated Jesus because He convicted them of their sin. They hate us because they hate all righteousness. Then we should ask, "Why, then, do those in the organized church hate those who are not part of their organization?" The answer is very simple. They hate us because of their religious spirit. The religious spirit cannot accept anything or anyone who disagrees with them.
It was not the government who accused and condemned Jesus. It was the organized, religious system. It was not the Roman soldiers who were shouting, "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!" It was the religious system. The Roman government washed their hands from the whole affair.
As we recognize who our enemies are, and why they are our enemies, then we can understand why Paul related:
"(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)" II Corinthians 10:4
Our Spiritual weapons are for the breaking the bands of the heathen, and not allowing them to have dominion or any influence in our lives whatsoever. When Jesus confronted the religious system of His day, He stated:
"I speak that which I have seen with My Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father." John 8:38
Jesus stated He spoke what He saw His Father (the Holy Spirit) doing, and the religious system did what they saw their father (the spirit of religion) doing.
"They answered and said unto Him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham." John 8:39
The religious system proclaimed to be the offspring of Abraham, but as Paul declared to the churches in Galatia:
"Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ." Galatians 3:16
Abraham had only one seed, and that seed was Christ (the anointing). Matthew recorded Jesus was the son of Abraham, Matthew 1:1. Matthew could state this because Jesus had the anointing. Therefore He was of the seed of Abraham. All God's anointed are the seed of Abraham, the father of faith.
Jesus informed the religious system if they were of Abraham's seed (having the anointing), they would do the works of Abraham. Instead they sought to kill Him. Jesus informed them:
"Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to Him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love Me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of Myself, but He sent Me." John 8:41-42
The religious leaders accused Jesus of being born of fornication because they knew Mary was with child before her and Joseph were married. How like the religious system of today who accuse all works of God that are not of their denomination as being of the devil, or works of the flesh. As Jesus stated:
"Why do ye not understand My speech? Even because ye cannot hear My word." John 8:43
Jesus asked the religious leaders why they did not understand His speech. It was because they could not hear His words. Why couldn't they hear His words? By Jesus words we know:
"It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are life." John 6:63
Only the Spirit quickens (makes alive). Fleshly religion can profit nothing (be of no benefit). The religious system could not understand, nor hear Jesus' words because His words are Spirit and life. The dead, religious systems can only teach their precepts and doctrines of their founding fathers. They have no further revelation. Jesus informed the religious leaders:
"Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it." John 8:44
"Ye are of your father the devil." What a condemnation of the religious system! As Jesus continued, He stated the devil was a murderer from the beginning. As we look at the creation of man, it is easy to see that when the serpent tempted Eve, and Eve seduced Adam to sin, the serpent did not kill Adam or Eve. So how was he a murderer? He was a murderer because he killed Adam and Eve's relationship with God. Nothing has changed. If we allow the spirit of darkness in our lives, he will steal our relationship with God also, and we will die spiritually. Paul warned the church at Ephesus:
"Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil." Ephesians 4:26-27
Anytime we become angry, we are giving place and access to the devil in our lives, and he will steal our love, joy, and peace. We also need to look at anger as a form of insanity. When we are angry, we cannot think straight. When we are angry we operate out of pure emotion with no logic or reason. When we are angry we need to know who we are serving. Paul warned us if we do get angry, we are not to allow anger to cause us to sin. It is easy to get angry at those who have become our enemies, because they serve the spirit of darkness. But we cannot allow their spirit to hinder our walk in God's love. Paul goes on to explain the results of anger:
"And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:" Ephesians 4:30-31
When we allow the spirit of this world to affect our walk, this grieves the Holy Spirit which we are sealed with. When Jesus told us to love our enemies, it was not for our enemies' sake --- it was for our own well-being in Him.
In his letter to the Hebrews, Paul warns us:
"Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:" Hebrews 12:14
We are to be at peace with all men. When we allow the world and the worldly people to steal our peace, then we are allowing the world to steal one of God's most precious gifts. This is His perfect peace which passeth all understanding. Paul continues to warn God's people:
"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." Hebrews 12:15
If we allow those who hate us to cause a root of bitterness to spring up, it will consume our time and our thinking processes until we are defiled. When this happens the root of bitterness has been allowed to violate our Spiritual walk, and we become reprobate in the sight of God. The word reprobate means "rejected by God."
Roots grow from seeds we plant. When we plant a seed we do not expect one seed back. We expect a multitude of seeds in return for the one we planted. This is a horticultural fact. The same is true in our walk with God. If we allow a seed of bitterness to be planted in our lives, it will produce a multitude of seeds, until we become so embittered, nothing seems right. We lose our love, our joy, our peace, and every other fruit of the Spirit. We also lose our relationship with our God. Peter informs us:
"For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them." II Peter 2:21
The holy commandment delivered unto us is to love our neighbor as ourselves. When we allow the worldly people to steal our love, joy, and peace, then the spirit they serve will kill our relationship with God, and the murderer from the beginning will have the victory. Jesus knows if love does not permeate our whole being, then the enemy will gain the victory. Only then do we realize that loving our enemies is for our well-being in God. Jesus did not stop by telling us to love our enemies. He continued:
". . . Bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you:" Matthew 5:44
We are to bless them who curse us. The word curse means "to pronounce evil upon us." These are those who attempt to use the power of darkness against us. This is why it is so important we understand the power God has given us in the Spiritual realm. We are informed by Paul:
"For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; II Corinthians 10:4
God has given us every weapon we need to overcome the spirit of darkness. When God tells us to bless them who curse us, this becomes a supernatural act. The most natural thing to do is to revile back, get even, make them suffer as they want us to suffer. But we must always remember the words of Jesus:
"Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake." Matthew 5:11
When we are cursed of men and we do not revile back, then we are blessed of God. Paul was the most cursed man of his time. He was vastly misunderstood by those of the faith. Even Peter stated:
"And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction." II Peter 3:15-16
Peter was a man who walked with Jesus for the three and one-half years of Jesus' ministry. He was one of Jesus' right hand men. He was with Jesus when He was transfigured on the mount. He heard every word Jesus spoke, and yet he said of Paul, that in all of Paul's epistles, he spoke things hard to understand. Paul was given insight that no other man received. Paul suffered all his life for his commitment to his God. If any man had the right to revile back, it was Paul. Paul was cursed by those he spoke the words of life to, and yet Paul suffered their wrath. As Paul asks:
"Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty strips, save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches." II Corinthians 11:23-28
Paul suffered more than any man for the cause of Christ, and yet he did not revile back at those who cursed him. Paul is an example to all who are called into the suffering of Christ.
Jesus continues to inform us as to how we are to react to those who hate us. His words were, "Do good to those who hate you." The word hate is the ugliest word in the English language. The Greek word hate used by Jesus is MISEO and means "to detest, to be hated, and to pursue with hatred."
Those who hate us are sick with sin. They have no hope in this life or the life to come. Their bitterness towards us is because we display the fruit of the Spirit. It is not so much us they hate, as it is they hate the hope we have in our God. Yet they are unwilling to pay the price to obtain this same hope of glory, so they are eaten up with hatred until their souls dry up and all they have left is their despite for all righteousness.
Jesus goes on to state, "We are to pray for those who despitefully use us and persecute us." Again, this is a supernatural act. The phrase despitefully use means "to harass, trouble, molest, maltreat." As Peter stated, Jesus was given as an example we should live by. Speaking of Jesus, Peter related:
"Who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not; but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously:" I Peter 2:23
When we are truly walking with God we do not trouble ourselves with what others say and do. We are only interested in what the One who judges us righteously thinks. This is our Lord and Saviour, Christ Jesus. Jesus tells us to pray for those who despitefully use and persecute us. At that time He did not tell us how to pray for them or what we are to pray for, but when He hung on the cross, He prayed for the Father to forgive those who had put Him there. We are to have this same determination.
David certainly fits the pattern of those who were despitefully used and persecuted. It was King Saul's total intention to kill David. Saul pursued David with his whole army for months, and perhaps years. Over one-half of David's prayers (Psalms) were for the Lord to deal with his enemies which were also the Lord's enemies. David wrote:
"For they speak against Thee wickedly, and Thine enemies take Thy name in vain. Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate Thee? And am not I grieved with those that rise up against Thee. I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies." Psalm 139:20-22
David knew, even though he was a man of war, that he could not deal with those who despitefully used and persecuted him. God is the righteous judge, and only He can deal righteously with those who profane His name and His people.
When we pray for those who despitefully use and persecute us, we need to put them in God's hands to deal with. When we attempt to deal with their actions against us, it can only harm us Spiritually. We have God's promise concerning this:
"Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer." Psalm 101:5
This is also a Psalm of David. David was a man who was after God's own heart. David knew it was God who would fight his battles. If anyone slandered his neighbor, God would cut him off. The word used for neighbor means "friend, companion, or fellow citizen."
God also stated He would not allow a high look and a proud heart. So when we pray for those who despitefully use us and persecute us, we need to take our hand off them, and put them in the hands of God. When we pray goodness and mercy upon them, we get in God's way of dealing with them. We must remember the words of Jesus:
"No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day." John 6:44
After we have prayed, and placed those who despitefully use and persecute us in God's hands, then we need to pray for the Holy Spirit to draw him to salvation. Only God can change the heart.
When Paul was despitefully used and persecuted, he proclaimed:
"We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised. Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace; And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day." I Corinthians 4:10-13
Paul knew when he did not revile back the world would think him a fool, but God, through Paul, wanted to teach us to deal with our "get even attitude." Paul's time of suffering was much longer than even the suffering Jesus went through. Paul suffered much and long, yet he reviled not back. In his letter to Timothy, he disclosed:
"This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme." I Timothy 1:18-20
Paul delivered those who verbally and physically abused him into the hands of satan. Today the church uses satan (the devil) as a crutch, blaming all their failures on him. Satan is a tool in the hands of God to bring mankind into repentance. Satan has no power except that which we give him.
John knew without a doubt:
"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." I John 4:4
If we are of God and have become overcomers, then we know the Spirit of Light in us is much greater than the spirit of darkness the world serves. Those who are of God have nothing to fear from the spirit of darkness. The apostle Peter wrote:
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:" I Peter 5:8
Peter tells us to be sober (calm and collected in the Spirit) and to be vigilant (giving strict attention to and overcoming); because our adversary the devil seeks whom he may devour. The word adversary means "opponent." An opponent is the one who keeps us vigilant and on our toes, seeking God in every action. Our opponent is a tool in God's hand to make us champions. God desires us to overcome all the devil's wily ways.
The devil comes as a roaring lion to put fear in our hearts. A roaring lion is looking for prey to devour. Those who quake and fear him are his perfect prey. The lion never picks on the strong. He always attacks those who are weak and are lagging behind. He knows those who are weak because when he roars they simply submit to his temptations and follow the crowd. The strong pick the high ground above the din of the world.
The beloved John informs us:
"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." I John 2:15
We live in a day when the world has been magnified in the eyes of God's people. They have brought the world into their homes, cars, and work place. Everywhere they look they see the world. The television, radio, cassettes, CD's, videos, all we call entertainment is of the world. Check out lines in the grocery stores are lined with worldly trash to feast our eyes upon. These contain sensational headlines which tempt God's people to purchase these smut ridden, garbage filled publications.
John warned us not to love the world and the things in the world. Today, more than ever, it is hard to be separated from the world. There is so much to wet the worldly appetite. When we go to a grocery store, the shopping center or a nice restaurant, rock and roll music is played until the mind becomes so confused, it becomes hard to think of why we are there. It is no wonder our young people can no longer think. They have been taught and trained to love the things of this world, and by the Word we know the love of the Father is not in them.
We wonder why suicide is rampant in the teens and preteens. The answer is very simple. The government has legislated God out of their lives. The A.C.L.U. and other satanic organizations have put fear in the hearts of those who have the oversight of the public school systems. Anything that has to do with God cannot be tolerated for fear of a lawsuit.
What has been the result of prayer and Christianity being taken out of schools? It is no longer safe to send our children to school because of the children who have no hope, who carry guns, knives, bombs, and perform other acts of terrorism against the teachers and students.
Those who love the world become "macho maniacs" who must have the biggest, the best, and will do anything to get what they want, especially notoriety.
When God told us to love our neighbor and our enemy, this was to be an unselfish love. As God's people we are to display God's love in everything we do and say. We are to love with a supernatural love, the kind of love the world does not know.
As stated before, the world thinks love is an emotion. Love is not an emotion, love is a commitment. As God's people, we need to be committed to love because God is love. When we are committed to love, then we are pleasing in the sight of God because He commanded us to love. When we love our neighbor and our enemy, it displays our love for God who is love. Peter realized what God commanded us to do was not possible through the flesh. By the Spirit, he reveals how we are to love:
"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:" I Peter 1:22
The soul is the heart of man. When our hearts have been purified by obeying and becoming the Word of God, then can obtain unfeigned love through the Spirit. The phrase unfeigned love means "without hypocrisy, undisguised, and sincere." This is love that can be seen and witnessed by our neighbors, and even our enemies can feel this love of the Father.
Peter especially admonishes us to love one another fervently (earnestly and intensely). The world does not know this kind of love. Their sensual love is only temporal. They only love as long as it pleases their desires and serves their lust.
If we are to be pleasing in God's eyes, then we must love through the Spirit. By the Word we know where there is no love there is no Spirit. We are warned by the words of John:
"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world." I John 4:1
We are not to believe every spirit. Some profess they have the Spirit of revelation, yet what they proclaim is not in God's Word. We are admonished to try the spirits. This is why God gave us the gift of discernment of spirits, I Corinthians 12:10.
Today there are many false prophets standing in the pulpits, seen on television, and writing books and articles, who do not have the Spirit of God. Their works sound good, but as Peter related:
". . . there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not." II Peter 1:1-3
When a word comes forth, we not only need to discern what is being said, we need to discern why it is being said. Is it being said to aid God's people in their walk, or is it being said to make merchandise of others? Is the person speaking looking for a following, or seeking money and financial gain, or simply looking for notoriety? We need the gift of discernment to know their spirit.
Jesus was given as an example for us to follow. By Jesus' words we realize how important the discerning of spirits becomes. When Jesus had set His face to go up to Jerusalem, by the commandment of the Father He sent messengers before Him. When His messengers came to a Samaritan village, they refused to receive Jesus into their village:
"And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?" Luke 9:54
James and John wanted Jesus to call the fire of God down from heaven and consume the people, just as Elijah the prophet did on Mt. Carmel. As we relook at this miracle of God on Mt. Carmel, we come to a different understanding as to why James and John wanted Jesus to call down the fire of God. After Elijah had ordered twelve barrels of water to be poured upon the sacrifice, he prayed:
"Hear me, O lord, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the Lord God, and that Thou hast turned their heart back again. Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The Lord, He is the God; the Lord, He is the God." I Kings 18:37-39
It would seem reasonable to James and John for Jesus to call down fire and consume those who rejected Him so that all who heard would turn back to God. Even though their motives were good, their ways were wrong. Jesus turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of, Luke 9:55.
Today many do not know what spirit they are of. A spirit of murder has pervaded this nation. When this nation served the One True God, the rights of all men were defended. Now this nation is no longer a defensive nation, they have become the aggressor. When U. S. troops were sent into Kuwait, in what was termed Desert Storm, the President of this nation was informed that there were four hundred and seventy thousand Iranian troops in Kuwait. His statement was, "Let them show themselves, and we will annihilate them." We certainly need to ask what kind of spirit was speaking? These foreign troops were made up of young men, the same as our troops. These young men had no choice, and nothing to gain by putting on their government's uniform. The same is true of all aggression all over the world. We need to hear Jesus' words:
"For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. . . " Luke 9:56
We cannot destroy men's lives under the guise of doing right. Man calls this attitude one of passiveness. It may be, but if we are called by God's name, then we must live by His Word. One of the Ten Commandments is, "Thou shalt not kill." Peter also informed us:
"But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters." I Peter 4:15
We are not to allow ourselves to suffer (be vexed, be affected or experience) as a murderer. As we read on we are not to suffer as a thief, evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's affairs. The founder of this nation, George Washington declared this nation to be an isolationistic nation, minding our own business. The word busybody means "one who takes the supervision of affairs pertaining to others and in no wise to himself, a meddler in other men's affairs." This nation justifies their actions, claiming they are defending other's human rights. At the same time, they are stripping the freedom from their own people in the name of progress and governmental protection.
As God's people, we need to know what spirit we are of before we lend our support and amen (so be it) to the aggressive actions of a godless government. If we are going to defend the right, let us begin by defending the right of our children to be taught to worship God in our public schools. God has been legislated out of our public life. Each time Congress or the Supreme Court meets, their decisions are made against God and His Word.
Today there is much teaching about the Kingdom of God. As we come to the end of the age, we know we are witnessing the prophecies of the Bible being fulfilled daily. When Jesus was addressing the Sadducees, one of the scribes asked Him, "Which is the first or great commandment?" Jesus answer was very simple:
". . . the first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment." Mark 12:29-30
The first commandment to all God's people is that there is one God. The popular teaching declares there are three Gods. They declare the Father to be God, Jesus to be God, and God the Holy Spirit. Yet the apostle John, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit stated:
"For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one." I John 5:7
The word bear means "to witness or give testimony." These three - - - the Father, the Word (Jesus), and the Holy Ghost are one, not three. The word one means "one," and we are to love our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. This is His first commandment.
"And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment than these." Mark 12:31
Our love for our neighbor is only to be exceeded by our love for our God. To love our neighbor as ourselves was one of God's original commandments to His ancient people. The scribe answered Jesus by stating:
"And the scribe said unto Him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but He: And to love Him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices." Mark 12:32-33
Because he was learned in the Word, the scribe knew there is one God and none other. He knew we must love our God with our whole being. He was also aware we must love our neighbor as ourselves. When we love our God with every fiber in our bodies, and love our neighbor as ourselves, then we know by Jesus words:
". . .Thou art not far from the Kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask Him any question." Mark 12:34
When the scribe answered Jesus wisely, Jesus informed him, "Thou art not far from the Kingdom of God." But what was the scribe lacking? The answer is simple. He was still a Sadducee. It should be noted that Jesus did not tell him he had entered or would enter the Kingdom. Many today, like this scribe, know the right answers, but they hold on to their old, religious doctrines of men. The scribe is an example to all who live in this last hour of time. They become what Paul described to Timothy:
"Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." II Timothy 3:5
All religious systems have a form of godliness. The word form means "mere semblance." They look good and talk right, but when they deny the power (the Holy Spirit), then God instructs us to turn away from them. Many religions claim they have the Spirit --- and most do --- but it is the spirit of religion, not the Spirit of God.
If we truly love God with our whole being, then we must look only to Him. As Jesus stated:
"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me" John 10:27
Today many are following the big name ministries, hanging on their every word. These do not hear the Father's voice. They only know and believe their Christian guru. Jesus warned the people of this when He related:
"I am come in My Father's name, and ye receive Me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive." John 5:43
God is drawing His sold-out ones to Himself. As stated before, love is the most powerful tool we are given to overcome the world, and all the worldly lusts. When we love, we give praise unto our God. Supernatural love is a fruit of the Spirit. We can only obtain this kind of love when we allow the Spirit free access to our lives.
By commandment of God, we are admonished to
" Love thy neigbour as thyself !"
The following is an outline of the contents of this book for Further Discussion
Love is a Commitment
God is Love
The Good Samaritan
Love Worketh No Ill To His Neighbor
By Love Serve One Another
Fulfill the Royal Law
Love Your Enemies
The Religious Spirit
Be At Peace With All Men
Roots of Bitterness
Bless Them That Curse You
Do Good To Those Who Hate You
Pray For Those Who Despitefully Use and Persecute You
A Get Even Attitude
Try the Spirits
Discern the Spirits
The Spirit of Murder
Let None Of You Suffer As A Murderer
1. What is love?
2. How can we acquire God's supernatural agape love?
3. What must we do to inherit eternal life?
4. Who is our neighbor? Luke 10:27-29
5. In Luke 10:31-32 who do the Levite and the priest represent?
6. We only have two commandments to live by. What are they?
7. Why does the world hate us?
8. Why do those in the organized church hate those who are not part of their organization?
9. Who is the religious system's father?
10. What is the only thing the dead, religious systems can teach?
11. The devil was a murderer from the beginning. How did the devil murder Adam and Eve?
12. How does the devil murder man today?
13. When we are angry who are we serving?
14. What is the ugliest word in the English language and what does it mean?
15. David knew, even though he was a man of war, that he could not deal with those who despitefully used and persecuted him. Who is the only one who can deal righteously with those who despitefully use us and persecute us?
16. When we pray for those who despitefully use us and persecute us, why do we need to take our hand off them, and put them in the hands of God?
17. Today the church system uses satan, the devil as a , blaming all their on him.
18. How does the Lord use satan in our lives?
19. What has been the result of prayer and Christianity being taken out of schools?
20. How do we discern words that are being said in the church today?
21. Why are we instructed to turn away from the religious church system?
22. What is the only way we can receive God's supernatural love of the Spirit?
Vital Words to the Body of Christ
Freely We Have Received, Freely We Give