Oct 2009

7518 - God Showed Us Love

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Verses 7 through 21 comprise one of the most intimate passages dealing with love in the Bible. Today let’s focus on verse 9. It says:

“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.”

In verse eight we find this forthright statement: “God is love.” That means the very nature of God is love. God must love because that’s His nature.

The beauty and bountiful supply which God showers upon this earth is motivated by His nature of love. Matthew (5:45) tells us that God sends the sun to rise on the evil and the good – upon all mankind.
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7517 - Strangers to God

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In our last study we entered a portion of Scripture laden with definitions and expressions of love: That would be 1 John 4, verses 7 through 21.

This next passage opens by telling us that love comes from God. God is the source of unselfish, sacrificial love. Those who have been born of God and know God have experienced this “agape” love –– unselfishly bestowed upon undeserving people.

Today let’s look at 1 John 4:8: “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

Now those last words affirm what was discussed in the previous verse –– God is the source of love. You see, God’s very nature is love. And the word from which love is translated is “agape”, which in the understanding of people, received a great upgrading from the love demonstrated by God as He sent His Son, Jesus Christ to die for the sins of men and women, boys and girls.

It is true that the Greek word “phileo” is translated by the English word love, but in the original language it expressed a lesser degree. It implies that the one who expresses this love sees some value or worth in the one who is being loved. So “phileo” does not carry the deep meaning of dedication and sacrifice, which the “agape” lover lays on the line as he loves.
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7515 - The Source of Love

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We now come to 1 John 4:7 in our study. This verse begins one of the most revealing passages in the Bible regarding love.

“Dear friend, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.”

Listen, the word “love” in this passage, in every case, comes from the root word “agape” in the Greek.

Let me explain the four commonly used words expressing some idea of love in the Greek language. Two of these, namely: “storge” which carries the idea of family affection, and “eros”, which was used for a sensual, possessive love, never appears in the New Testament. Another word: “phileo”, was used in Greek literature to express friendship, and is the most commonly used word for love in prebiblical Greek; however, the Greek noun “agape” and its verb form “agapao” is the most frequently used word to express love in the New Testament.
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7514 - The Purpose of the Bible

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In a recent program we found that man was created for fellowship with God. We then observed that prayer was afforded as the vehicle of communications between God and mankind. Would it not be plausible that God would give an instruction book to his creature, mankind? Today, let’s examine, “What Is The Purpose Of The Bible?”

The major source of information available to man in his quest for understanding of the God who has proposed a meaningful and full life for him, is a collection of sixty-six books bound in one cover, commonly called the Bible. Although people can see the power and wisdom of God in nature, they must trust the Bible for complete truth. Although God has placed within a person's inner being an innate, elementary knowledge of Himself and a hunger for a full relationship, he must seek the full revelation of a holy, omniscient, and omnipotent God within the pages of the book He has given as His unveiling. In order for man to come to understand the marvelous plan God has in mind for the fulfillment of those who are the crowning act of creation, he must seek out facts, attitudes and relationships which God has purposed.
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7513 - From God

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In our last study we explored 1 John 4:5 which gives a very clear but sobering view of the people who are from the World System. They are from the world and speak the language of the worldly culture.

Today we examine the contrast found in the very next verse 1 John 4, verse 6:

“We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of Truth and the spirit of falsehood.”
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7512 - Rick Leatherwood - Story Telling

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An interview with Rick Leatherwood about his work in Liberia using “story telling” to spread the gospel among the local population.

Rick and his wife have been on the mission field for 25 years, and Rick shares that one of the great needs on the mission field is that many of the unreached people of the world are not literate, and thus are unable to read the Bible in their language. Rick is working through using oral teaching with a society full of illiterate people accustomed to learning orally.

In Liberia there are 16 different people groups with 16 different languages. Perhaps 2% were reading 40-50 years ago, but even after many literacy programs in Liberia over those years, the current literacy rates have only risen to about 5%.

The four main principles in story telling are:
• the story must be biblical with no additions or preaching
• telling the complete story - no stopping to provide explanation, so as not to confuse the listener.
• the story must be in the “heart language” in order to really deeply speak to people’s hearts
• the story must be short enough to be reproducible and spread from person to person

Workshops are run to teach pastors and leaders these stories, so that they can in turn share the stories with others. This enables these Christians to share these stories from the Word of God with others, thus spreading the true message.
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7511 - From the World

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In 1 John 4, verses 5 and 6 we see a contrast between two types of people:

“They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.”

Today lets focus on verse 5, which vividly gives truth about those who have not yielded to the Lord Jesus Christ. They have refused to embrace the truth in order to be saved from death and darkness, and to receive light and life.

Notice this insight into the life of the unbeliever is contrasted in verse 6 with a glimpse into the life of a person who is from God – one of God’s children.

But in verse 5 we return to those who are identified by the word “them.” This reference looks back to those in verses 1, 3 and 4 who are controlled and dominated by the spirit of antichrist – those who are against Christ.
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7510 - Overcoming

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Let’s consider 1 John 4, verse 4, which says:

“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”

Perhaps we first need to identify the players in the drama laid out before us. Those words, “you, dear children”, refer to those who are alive in Christ. If you are a Christian, that’s speaking about you.

Next, notice those words, “[you] have overcome them.” To whom does the word “them” refer? Glance back at the previous verses and you’ll see they are talking about people in the world who are false prophets; people who deny Jesus Christ and war against him by their speech and by their lifestyle. Those who are dominated by the spirit of antichrist.

Then we come to those words, “the one who is in you.” Who fulfills these words within the believer in Christ? The answer is the Holy Spirit, and we’ll talk more about that.
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7509 - The Purpose of Prayer

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One thing necessary in any relationship is communications. Prayer is the name given to the process of communication between God and man.

Biblical prayer is communication with God; it is crying out to God out of the depths of the heart; it’s pouring out your soul before God. Believers’ prayer is the inspiring experience of conversing and sharing with God as our loving heavenly Father, our creator. Few experiences so empower and lift Christian to deal with problems.

Prayer may include a dimension of:
• wrestling with God,
• of pleading with God,
• yes, even of fussing with God.

But prayer also includes praise of God,
• of thanking God in appreciation for every facet of his dealing with us,
• and of celebration and joy
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7508 - Spirit of Antichrists

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In our last study we noted that John bids Christians to be aware of how to ascertain whether the teaching or statement of certain people is indeed a message from God’s Word is so valuable. It’s compared to gold and silver. So, let’s examine the riches of a section of the Word together today.

John was concerned for the young Church, which was about sixty years old and was beset with false teachers. Let’s get a picture of the false prophets, who may sometimes be called false teachers or antichrists.

First, let’s look at 1 John 4, verse 3: “but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.”

Notice that John relates false teaching to the influence of false spirits or evil spirits. This alerts us to the truth that evil spirits from Satan’s domain may influence, come upon or indwell certain men to use them to oppose the Kingdom of God in all its broad extension.

John tells us here that any spirit which does not acknowledge Jesus, is truthfully the spirit of antichrist.
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7507 - Rick Leatherwood - Oral Bible

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An interview with Rick Leatherwood about his work in Liberia working with creating oral bibles in the languages of the local population.

Rick and his wife have been on the mission field for 25 years, and Rick shares that one of the great needs on the mission field is that many of the unreached people of the world are not literate, and thus are unable to read the Bible in their language.

In Liberia there are 16 different people groups with 16 different languages. Perhaps 2% were reading 40-50 years ago, but even after many literacy programs in Liberia over those years, the current literacy rates have only risen to about 5%.

These poor literacy rates have brought significant challenges on the field, and of the solutions that is being utilized, is the embracing of the oral-traditions of these people groups. Rick is currently working towards writing and translating 60 stories from creation to the return of Christ into these languages as an “oral bible”.

These stories are used in conjunction with a Saber hand wound digital player to present these audio stories in the listeners “heart language”

Saber hand wound audio player

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7506 - Test of Good Spirits

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In our last study we noted that John bids Christians to be aware of how to ascertain whether the teaching or statement of certain people is indeed a message from God or whether the declaration is another guided missile from the devil aimed to disturb or shoot down the faith of a weak or lame inquirer about the Son of God. John tells Christians that they are to know how to test the spirits to discern the truth in this matter.

How can we really tell if a statement is true, or whether the declaration is another thought from the intellect of man, which does not have the ring of truth?

Let me read 1 John 4, verse 2; then we can examine it.

“This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit which acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God.”

If this test is positive then we can be sure that the Holy Spirit is the stimulating power behind the utterance or writing of a doctrinal statement.

The test is this: Does the message acknowledge that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh?
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