Showing Others Unconditional Love

Showing Others Unconditional Love “But God demonstrated his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Expressing love as God intends is becoming more rare in this self-absorbed world. We tend to, by nature, only want to love others as long as we get something in return. We seem to selfishly always have our needs in the back of our minds, no matter how pure our intentions may seem on the surface. But God calls us to love others as He first loved us. It’s not about warm fuzzy feelings or primarily by how we feel. It’s about sacrifice; putting off one’s self for the sake of others. If that’s not hard enough, we are to do it without expecting anything in return!! Impossible you might say. Humanly speaking… yes! Only by allowing the Holy Spirit within us to refine our hearts, can we begin to love as God first loved us.

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but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Developing Healthy and Appropriate Relationships

Developing Healthy and Appropriate Relationships “Run from anything that stimulates youthful lust. Follow anything that makes you want to do right… enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.”

Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?”

Relationships form the basis by which we live out our God-given purposes. They provide the environment to practice the work of God in our lives; granting us the opportunity to reflect the qualities of Christ. However they also can be a huge stumbling block to our growth as Christians, choking and diverting us away from the path God has called us to travel.

As Christians we are called to spread the good news of Jesus to the ends of the earth (Matt 28:19), so it would make sense that we need to develop friendships with non Christians. However God has also called us to be holy (1Thes 4:7, 1Peter 2:9), being the salt and light of the world (Matt 5:13-14). We must be wise and very careful to stay clear from anything that compromises the work of God in our lives. For various reasons, it’s so easy to allow ourselves to get too close to non Christians under the guise of wanting to lead them to Christ. Although that in itself is a noble motive, we allow ourselves to be blinded to the negative affects those relationships may have on our own walk with God.

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22 So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?

John Piper – “Think Christ”

Why Right Thinking is so Important for Christians

At a recent conference in Germany, John Piper talked about why right thinking is so important for Christians:Study word

1. It is possible to have strong feelings and be lost if the feelings are not based on knowledge (Romans 10:1-2).

2. God has planned that thinking about the Bible is the means he uses to give understanding (2 Timothy 2:7).

3. Paul is given as an example of reasoning with the Bible (Acts 17:2-3).

4. Jesus assumes and requires that we will use logic in understanding both what is natural and what is spiritual (Luke 12:54-57).

5. Jesus refuses to deal with people who use their reason to conceal truth (Matthew 21:23-27). Continue reading John Piper – “Think Christ”

Four Essential Christian Habits

There are four essential Christian habits for spiritual growth. Whenever one or more of these is neglected, the result is a Christian who chooses to stunt his or herDevotion spiritual growth.

1. BIBLE READING…

a. The Word of God is crucial to growing spiritually –  1 Peter 2:2

b. David described the value of God’s Word – Psalms 19:7 – 11

He also illustrated the blessedness and fortitude of one who meditated daily on the Word of God – Psalms 1:1-3

The Christian who wants to grow spiritually must therefore develop the habit of daily Bible reading…

– Such as reading through the Bible each year (about 3 chapters a day). Or perhaps the New Testament one year, the Old Testament the next.

— By feeding upon God’s Word daily, we receive the spiritual nourishment necessary to grow; have you developed the habit of daily Bible reading?
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4 Essential Reasons to Study Doctrine

young man reading small bibleWe live in an anti-intellectual, anti-authority society, especially when it comes to religious matters. Ours is an existential (based on human experience) society devoted to the ‘warm fuzzy’ feel good, self-centered mentality that is so characteristic of the Post Modernist Era which has influenced  our nation—including much of the church.

As a consequence, the terms doctrine or theology are not very popular in Christian circles. In fact, they are often denigrated or belittled. We hear statements like, “We don’t need to know all that theological or doctrinal stuff. We just need to know Jesus.” Or, “Well, I am not a theologian and never expect to be. I just love Jesus.” But knowing and loving Jesus in truth is dependent on the teachings of the Bible. Doctrine is simply another name for teaching and theology means “the knowledge of God.”

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6 Bible Verses Every Christian Should Know

The Human Condition

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Bible Studyb

God’s Gracious Love

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

God’s Adoptive Process

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.

The Believer’s Obligation

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Roman 12: 1-2

Our Security in Christ

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

God’s Eternal Provision

For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

Of course there are hundreds of other great Bible verses that have become favourites of many. How about adding yours?

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,

38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

Why We Believe the Bible

Last month we started in the John Piper series, “Why We Believe the Bible”.

Last Sunday’s message reminded me of a post written by Demian Farnworth in his blog, Fallen and Flawed. I’ve been following Demian for some time and find his posts to be filled with good content. Of course, these are not the only reason one should believe the Bible. But there is a level of comfort in knowing these points.

However, ultimately, its the seventh and thirteenth points that holds the greatest weight for me. If belief in and a commitment to the good news about Christ didn’t change my life and the lives of people I know, I think none of the other points would matter much.The particular post I was reminded of is copied (with permission) below.

16 Reasons Why Christians Must Submit to the Authority of the Bible

1. Manuscript Evidence
Over 24,000 New Testament Greek, Syriac, Latin, Coptic and Aramaic manuscripts in existence. The internal consistency of the New Testament documents is about 99.5% textually pure. And there is dating evidence that suggests the entire New Testament was completed within 70 years. No other book comes even close to this reliability and authenticity.
2. Bible Writers Were Scrupously Honest
The Bible writers were taught integrity and truthfulness and they went to their graves defending what they wrote. This was an earmark of early Christian conviction.
3. Miracles Confirmed
Miracles are definitive confirmation of a prophet’s claim to be speaking for God. This was true for Moses, Jesus, Peter and Paul–Jesus being the only one who didn’t outright contribute to Scripture.
4. Fulfilled Prophecy
Unlike any other book, the Bible offers specific predictions that were written hundreds of years in advance of their literal fulfillment. These fulfilled predictions stand as a testament of the Bible’s unique, supernatural origin.
5. Unity of the Bible
Sixty-six books unfold one continuous drame of redemption. There is one message: Humankind’s problem is sin. The solution is salvation through Christ.
6. Archaelogical Confirmation
Archaeology cannot directly prove the Bible’s inspiration. What it can do is confirm its reliability as an historical document. No archaeological discovery has ever controverted a biblical reference. Scores of findings however have confirmed historical statements in the Bible.
7. Testimonies of Transforming Power
A subjective but supporting line of evidence for the supernatural origin of the Bible is the evidence of a changed life. It’s always been the preaching of the Gospel that’s transformed lives  and gave Christianity its vitality.
8. Paul’s Life Changed
From murderous prosecutor of Christians to zealous evangelist of the Gentiles, Paul’s conversion is a monumental statement to the efficacy of the Gospel. But note, the sheer reading of Scripture–whom Paul claimed to be an expert in–didn’t convert him. It took an act of the Holy Spirit, who comes through reading.
9. Early Church and Councils Confirmed
The early church and councils didn’t confer authority on the canonical books of the New Testament. They simply recognized the books as having the authority.
10. Consensus of the Centuries
Over two thousand years, historic Christian churches have consistently maintained and defended the divine origin of Scripture. This is very impressive and is not to be lightly set aside or despised.
11. Bible Writers Claimed Authority for the Scriptures
What did the Bible writers themselves claim? Moses said he received the law from the Lord. Prophets like Jeremiah introduced their oracles by saying “Thus says the Lord” or “the word of the Lord Came to me, saying.”
12. Certain Characteristics of the Bible Strike Observant Readers
Unity, fulfilled prophecy and relevancy thousands of years later is another line of evidence for the inspiration and authority of Scripture. The Iliad, Shakespeare’s canon, Moby Dick–the world’s greatest literature, including the Koran–lack these qualities.
13. Experience of the Burning Heart
Think about the persuasion that the Bible has had in believer’s lives. In your life. It disturbs the complacent. Comforts the sorrowful. Humbles the proud. Reforms the sinful. Encourages the faint-hearted. Brings hope to the bereaved. Gives direction to those who have lost their way.
14. God Spoke Through Men
The inspiration of the Bible was not mechanical. God made full use of the personality, temperament, background and experience of the biblcial authors, in order to convey throgh each an appropriate and distinctive message. One message shows up despite dozens of styles.
15. Apostles Authority
Paul defended his apostolic commission. John asserted it. And the early church confirmed it. Bishop Ignatius of Antioch said, “I do not, as Peter and Paul, issue commandments unto you. They were apostles; I am but a condemned man.” An apostle–most wrote the New Testament–had the mark of divine authority on him.
16. Christ Endorsed the Authority of the Bible
Perhaps the strongest argument that the Bible is the Word of God is the testimony of Jesus. Jesus claimed of the Bible: divine authority, indestructibility, infallibility, ultimate supremacy, factual inerrancy, historical reliability and scientific accuracy. And if he is the Son of God, then the Bible is the Word of God.

1. Manuscript EvidenceManuscript

Over 24,000 New Testament Greek, Syriac, Latin, Coptic and Aramaic manuscripts in existence. The internal consistency of the New Testament documents is about 99.5% textually pure. And there is dating evidence that suggests the entire New Testament was completed within 70 years. No other book comes even close to this reliability and authenticity. Continue reading Why We Believe the Bible