Jesus who said “Neither do I condemn you”

Posted by admin on 20 June 2021 in Exodus, Galatians, John, Matthew, The Book of Romans |

Lying is an act of hatred

Posted by admin on 13 June 2021 in 1 John, 1 Timothy, John, Proverbs |

Proverbs 26:28 A lying tongue hates those it hurts, and a flattering mouth works ruin.

Today, let us study one verse from the Proverbs, which is called the Book of Wisdom. It is the middle book of the Old Testament because it is the 20th book among 39 books in the Old Testament.

Based on Proverbs 26:28, if someone lied to you, that person hated you. Without reading this verse, we can hardly figure out the relationship between lying and hatred. But the truth of this verse shines the light on the darkness of our ignorant mind, which we can experience while reading the Proverbs.

Garrett [1] comments on this verse as below.

“Lying is an act of hatred. In one way or another, lies destroy those whom they deceive. Therefore the liar despises not only the truth but his victims as well.”

God is love (1 John 4:16). The word of God is the truth.  He wants all people to know the truth (1 Timothy 2:3-4). Therefore, Jesus asked Peter, “Feed my sheep” (John 21:17). Nothing is more important than sharing/teaching the truth to people in the darkness of ignorance and deception.

References

[1] Garrett, D. A. (1993). Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of songs (Vol. 14, p. 215). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

Verses on Holiness & Purity

Posted by admin on 6 June 2021 in Holiness & Purity |

Luke 1:67–75 67 His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied: 68 ‘Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them. 69 He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David 70 (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), 71 salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us— 72 to show mercy to our ancestors and to remember his holy covenant, 73 the oath he swore to our father Abraham: 74 to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear 75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
1 Corinthians 6:9–10 9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
2 Corinthians 7:1 Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.
1 Thessalonians 2:10–12 10 You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed. 11 For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, 12 encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.
1 Thessalonians 4:3–8 3 It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honourable, 5 not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; 6 and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. 7 For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 8 Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.
1 Thessalonians 5:23–24 23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.
Hebrews 12:14–17 14 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. 16 See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. 17 Afterwards, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done.
James 3:17–18 17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
1 Peter 1:13–16 13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’
2 Peter 3:10–13 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. 11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.
1 John 3:3–10 3 All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure. 4 Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. 5 But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. 6 No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. 7 Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. 8 The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. 9 No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. 10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.
Revelation 21:8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practise magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulphur. This is the second death.’
Revelation 21:27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
Revelation 22:14–15 14 ‘Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs, those who practise magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practises falsehood.
Matthew 5:27–30 27 ‘You have heard that it was said, “You shall not commit adultery.” 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
Genesis 3:17–19 17 To Adam he said, ‘Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, “You must not eat from it,” ‘Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. 18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.’

References

[1] The Holy Bible: New International Version (Anglicised Edition, 2011). (2011). (Revised and updated edition). London: Hodder & Stoughton.

Logos Bible Software was used to search, compile, and export the above list).

Christ’s Sacrifice for our Sin & Resurrection foretold

Posted by admin on 30 May 2021 in Isaiah |

Isaiah 53:1-12

The sacrifice of Christ for our sin was foretold in verses 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 11, and 12 in Isaiah 53, underlined as below. His resurrection was foretold in v10 and v11 marked in bold.

53

1 Who has believed our message

and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?

He grew up before him like a tender shoot,

and like a root out of dry ground.

He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,

nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

He was despised and rejected by mankind,

a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.

Like one from whom people hide their faces

he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

Surely he took up our pain

and bore our suffering,

yet we considered him punished by God,

stricken by him, and afflicted.

But he was pierced for our transgressions,

he was crushed for our iniquities;

the punishment that brought us peace was on him,

and by his wounds we are healed.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray,

each of us has turned to our own way;

and the Lord has laid on him

the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed and afflicted,

yet he did not open his mouth;

he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,

and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,

so he did not open his mouth.

By oppression and judgment he was taken away.

Yet who of his generation protested?

For he was cut off from the land of the living;

for the transgression of my people he was punished.

He was assigned a grave with the wicked,

and with the rich in his death,

though he had done no violence,

nor was any deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,

and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin,

he will see his offspring and prolong his days,

and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.

11 After he has suffered,

he will see the light of life and be satisfied;

by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,

and he will bear their iniquities.

12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,

and he will divide the spoils with the strong,

because he poured out his life unto death,

and was numbered with the transgressors.

For he bore the sin of many,

and made intercession for the transgressors.

References

[1] The Holy Bible: New International Version (Anglicised Edition, 2011). (2011). (Revised and updated edition). London: Hodder & Stoughton.

Our materials for the beginners

Posted by admin on 23 May 2021 in Uncategorized |

Creation or Evolution?

https://comnc.org/links/first-bible-lessons/

 

John 1:1-18

John 1:1-15: In Him was Life

John 1:6-13: The true light that gives light to everyone

John 1:14: The Word became flesh (Part 1)

John 1:15: The Word became flesh (Part 2)

John 1:16-17: The Word became flesh (Part 3a)

John 1:17b:

Grace and Truth through Jesus Christ
Grace
Defining ‘Truth’
The Importance of ‘knowing’ truth
The importance of ‘listening to’ Jesus

What spirit do you have? How to accept Jesus?

John 1:18: No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son has made Him known

 

Our Guilt of Uncleanness

https://comnc.org/our-guilt-of-uncleanness-jesus-died-for/ [1]

 

References
[1] The sin of ‘not teaching the unclean and the clean’

 

The Beatitudes

Posted by admin on 16 May 2021 in Uncategorized |

Matthew chapter 5, 6, and 7 are called “The Sermon on the Mount”.

The opening part of the Sermon is called “The Beatitudes”. Beatitude comes from the Latin adjective beatus which means happy, fortunate or blissful. The beatitudes are 8 blessings as written in Matthew 5:1-12. Poor in spirit (Matthew 5:3), mourning over our sins (Matthew 5:4), meek (Matthew 5:5), righteous (Matthew 5:6), merciful (Matthew 5:7), pure (Matthew 5:8), peacemakers (Matthew 5:9), and bearing disgrace for Christ (Matthew 5:10-12). Today, let us study the last one.

Matthew 5:10-12

10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

First, persecution is the sign that we are the citizens in the kingdom of heaven.

2 Timothy 3:12, 13 says

12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.

Second, persecution is the sign that we have great rewards in heaven and the sign that we are the true prophets.

Luke 6:26 tells us about false prophets, who are spoken well of by everyone.

26 Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you,
for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.

2 Timothy 4:3 tells us about what people want to hear from false prophets.

3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

People speak well of them because false prophets say only what sinful people are pleased to hear.

On the other hand, the true prophets speak God’s word and rebuke people for their sins. When God’s will is contrary to their love toward darkness, some might turn to be persecutors.

Therefore Persecution is the sign for the true prophets. Let us rejoice and be glad when people insult, persecute and falsely say all kinds of evil against us! And let us continue to seek first his kingdom and righteousness in Sydney and Australia and the world.

Paul who received many persecutions while he preached the gospel said in Romans 3:16,

“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.”

Amen! The gospel is from God. Even though we face some unbelief and persecutions, we know powerful is the gospel, and great is our reward. Amen.

In Romans 8:18, Paul confesses his faith in surpassing glory after sharing Lord’s suffering.

18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Amen.

Our future glory surpasses any present sufferings we may have. Even “not worth comparing”!

Therefore let us confess the faith that Moses had, as written in Hebrews 11:26.

26He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.

Moses refused the treasures of Egypt and chose disgrace for Christ instead. By faith, he knew disgrace for Christ is of great value than the treasures of Egypt. Do you bear disgrace for the sake of Christ?  Let us look ahead to our reward in heaven by faith! Jesus says to us, “Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven.” (12a) Our reward in heaven is of greater value than any treasures in the world. Amen.

In 2 Timothy 4:7, 8, Paul confessed his faith that there is the crown of righteousness for him.

7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. Amen!

Jesus said in Revelation 3:11.

11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.

We have been doing good jobs to let others know Jesus. God knows our labour. And He never forgets what we did for Him. But the devil wants to disqualify us and take the crown away. The devil knows our weaknesses and attacks them through temptation and deception. We are in the spiritual war. Let us not lose the crown that we are qualified for. Amen

Let us pray!

Lord, thank You for Your Word today.

Thank You, Lord, for teaching us 8 blessings in Matthew 5:1-12. Let us live the most blessed life today and every day according to Your Word, Lord. Let us be poor in spirit (Matthew 5:3), mourning over our sins (Matthew 5:4), meek (Matthew 5:5), righteous (Matthew 5:6), merciful (Matthew 5:7), pure (Matthew 5:8), peacemakers (Matthew 5:9), and bearing disgrace for Christ (Matthew 5:10-12).

We regard disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of the world, Lord. We rejoice and are glad over persecution because we look ahead to our reward. Help us all continue to fight the good fight, finish the race, keep the faith and receive the crown of righteousness awarded by You on that day.

We pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

The actual meaning of ‘Love your neighbour.’

Posted by admin on 9 May 2021 in Luke |

Luke 10:25-37

25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he asked, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’

26 ‘What is written in the Law?’ he replied. ‘How do you read it?’

27 He answered, ‘ “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind”; and, “Love your neighbour as yourself.”’

28 ‘You have answered correctly,’ Jesus replied. ‘Do this and you will live.’

29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbour?’

30 In reply Jesus said: ‘A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half-dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he travelled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. “Look after him,” he said, “and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.”

36 ‘Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?’

37 The expert in the law replied, ‘The one who had mercy on him.’

Jesus told him, ‘Go and do likewise.’ [1]

An expert in the law tested Jesus by asking, ‘What must I do to inherit eternal life?’ (25).

Jesus answered by asking back, ‘What is written in the Law? How do you read it?’ (26). Here we can learn that asking back is the best way to answer those who want to test or trap us.

The expert in the law answered: ‘ “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind”; and, “Love your neighbour as yourself.”’ (27)

Jesus replied, ‘You have answered correctly. Do this and you will live.’ (28)

This revealed that the expert of the law knew the answer. Therefore he didn’t have to ask Jesus for the answer. He wanted to justify himself and asked another question so that Jesus might answer. His question was, ‘ And who is my neighbour?’ (29).

Jesus told him the parable of the good Samaritan. See v30-35.

‘A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half-dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he travelled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. “Look after him,” he said, “and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.”’

We could think that the person in need in this parable was ‘my neighbour’. However, Jesus taught ‘my neighbour’ was ‘a Samaritan’. Two among three (a priest, a Levite, a Samaritan) didn’t become a neighbour in the parable. Jesus asked, ‘Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?’ (36)

By answering this question, we realise

  • Being a neighbour is not determined by a physical distance as a priest, and a Levite didn’t become a neighbour when they came close to the person in need.
  • We can be a neighbour to the person in need by ‘deliberately (or actively) becoming a neighbour’.

Then we realise ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ has a new meaning.

That is, ‘Love the one actively becoming your neighbour as yourself.’

The expert in the law replied, ‘The one who had mercy on him.’ (37a)
Jesus told him, ‘Go and do likewise.’ (37b)

37a and 37b give us, ‘Actively become a neighbour to a person in need by having mercy on the person.’

In this parable, a priest and a Levite avoided the man victimised by robbers despite their religious responsibility in society. It is ironic, but such irony is repeated throughout the books of the Gospel. Those who were against Jesus and tried to kill Him were also priests and religious leaders. Also, ironically the true neighbour was the Samaritan[2], who other Israelites most despised for their religious standards compromised by the influences such as the Assyrian culture. What did the Samaritan do for the man who met robbers?

The Samaritan

  • took pity on him.
  • provided him with first aid.
  • provided him with transport.
  • provided him with hospitality.
  • took responsibility for the future cost.

In summary, let us put down our titles. Based on the books of the Gospel, it is obvious that Jesus wants us to put them down. It is not about whether we have the title like ‘Christian’. But it is about the truth, about love, and about being a true neighbour.

[1] The Holy Bible: New International Version (Anglicised Edition, 2011). (2011). (Revised and updated edition, Lk 10:25–37). London: Hodder & Stoughton.

[2] The Samaritan region was invaded by the Assyrians and mixed with them. As a result, Israelites in the region lost their pure blood and were called the Samaritans.

Love one another

Posted by admin on 2 May 2021 in 1 John, Matthew |

1 John 4:1-21

       1Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3but 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.

    4You, 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. 5They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. 6We 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.

    7Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

    13We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. 16And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
      God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 17In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. 18There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

    19We love because he first loved us. 20If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 21And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.

I. Test the spirits (1-6)

See v1a.

1aDear friends, do not believe every spirit,

We know that faith and trust are important. But this time, John warns us, “do not believe every spirit.” Why John asks us, “do not believe”? See v1c.

1cmany false prophets have gone out into the world.

Many false prophets pretend they are from God and actively look for people to deceive (1c). They look like prophets and sound like prophets. We are very used to believe based on what we see and hear. So we may easily be deceived by lies from these false prophets if we ignore this warning sign -  do not believe every spirit. But as mature Christian, we shouldn’t rely only on what looks and sounds. Instead, we should carefully verify the spirits behind it. We must train ourselves to see behind the scene. We must train ourselves to see behind the words. What is behind the scene? What is behind the words? There are spirits behind. As we know, the spirit is invisible and inaudible. Then how can we know whether the spirit is from God or not? See v1b.

1bbut test the spirits to see whether they are from God.

V1b teaches us to TEST the spirits to find out. v2-6 teach us the guidelines of the test.

Test 1. Does the spirit acknowledge Jesus?

See v2.

2This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God,

The fact that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is the essential part of Gospel, which shows God’s love toward us. This truth is what the devil wants to deny or alternate. See v3.

3but 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.

So every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God but the spirit of the antichrist (3).

Test 2. Do they speak in the viewpoint of the world, and does the world listen to them?

We have overcome the false prophets because God who is in us is greater than the devil (4). The false prophets are from the world and speak from the viewpoint of the world and the world listens to them (5).

Test 3. Do they listen to us or not?

Whoever knows God listens to us, but whoever is not from God does not listen to us (6a).

II. Love one another (7-21)

We learned how we could test the spirits to see whether they are from God. We find there are three ways to test the spirits. Now John teaches what we ought to do as people who have the Spirit from God. See v7-8.

    7Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

Whether we love one another shows whether we know God (7c) and whether his love is made complete in us (12b). Love comes from God (7b), and God is love.

John reminds us of how God showed his love among us between v9 and v10.

9This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Here we find many things about love.

  1. The action of love was initiated by God, not by us (10a). This means we can love others because we received love from God first. So when we love others, we must initiate to love them with the love we received from God. We love others not because others showed love first.
  2. God gave us his one and only Son. We know one and only Son is so precious to the Father. So we learn to love others with what is precious to us.
  3. God sent his own Son into the world in the likeness of sinful man (Romans 8:3). We are human beings. So we can understand another human being well. Especially we understand others who are in similar situations that we have already gone through.
  4. God made his own Son an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Jesus took over our sins instead of us. Even though Jesus was not responsible for our transgressions, he bore the consequence of the sins instead of us. So we can learn to forgive others’ mistakes and take care of others.

No one has ever seen God, but when we love one another, people can see God through us (12).

Again, John repeats and emphasizes that the origin of love is God.

God gives us his Holy Spirit (13b) when we acknowledge that Jesus is the Son of God (15). So we know and rely on the love God has for us (16a).

Therefore it is important to refresh our faith in Jesus.

John emphasizes love again in v16b. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him (16b).

Now John talks about judgment and fear in relation to love.

See v17-18.

17In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. 18There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

Fear is the factor to test whether we are made perfect in love. Also, v17b says confidence comes from the fact that we are like Jesus in this world.

V19 repeats the fact God initiated love. See v19. We love because he first loved us.

We love God because of his love and forgiveness. So we confess to God, “I love you”. What can make this confession a lie? See v20.

20If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.

This verse teaches us that, in fact, we don’t love God if we don’t love our brother.

Even though we are saved by God, not by brothers, Jesus died for them. And Jesus considers them as himself.

Jesus said in Matthew 25:45,

‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

It is Lord’s command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother (21). Amen.

Discipleship

Posted by admin on 25 April 2021 in Luke, Mark |

Luke 9:18-27

18Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?”

    19They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.”

    20 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
      Peter answered, “The Christ[a] of God.”

    21Jesus strictly warned them not to tell this to anyone. 22And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”

    23Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. 25What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? 26If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. 27I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.”

After Peter confessed his faith on Jesus as “the Christ of God” (20), Jesus predicted his death & resurrection (22). Then Jesus taught them “discipleship”. See v23.

23Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

Jesus didn’t entice them for a comfortable, easy-going & happy life. Discipleship is not such an easy way. We just heard Jesus saying about His passion, death & resurrection at v22. Therefore we must put down any preoccupation about discipleship. Do you attend the church just to find friends? Read v23.

What is ‘denying himself’ & ‘taking his cross’ daily?

 

Denying himself

‘Denying himself’ means denying own thought & emotion. I will speak on this in more details because it is important, easy to forget and easy to misunderstand.

For example, someone hates you just as enemies of Jesus hated Him whom God sent to the earth. We usually will like to hate back. But as Jesus asked to deny self, we got to stop responding our usual way. Such response is from our own thought & hurt emotion.

 

Taking his cross daily

Jesus was completely a human being as true as he was completely God. He didn’t want such a painful death on the cross[1]. But he took it because it was ‘the cross’ God gave Him so that all sinners can be forgiven when they believe him. When someone hates you, what is your cross? Read Luke 6:27 “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,” “To love & do good to that person” is the cross we should take. Yes, you may be upset for the hatred but should deny such emotion; otherwise, you would not be able to take the cross. Now we know what it means by denying self & taking the cross.

How about your study? As a student, is the study your cross? If you believe the study being God’s will for your life, yes, it is your cross to take. In this world, studying is the default, but not every student thinks about whether the study is God’s will. Pray & ask God. He will answer you & give you a direction.

What is your cross? Ask God. You will know what it is. Whatever God gives you to do is your cross.

 

The example of Peter

In Luke 5:4-7[2], Simon, a professional fisherman, denied his thought, experience, knowledge, tiredness, and common sense when Jesus asked him to put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.  And Simon obeyed His Word (took the cross). As a result, Simon experienced the miracle.

 

See v24.

“For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it”.

Let us meditate on this verse. In previous verses, Jesus was talking about taking the cross. Let’s think about what ‘the cross’ really means? The cross, in fact, is a large wooden structure where a convict is nailed & killed shamefully, painfully & slowly. When your cross is ‘taking care of someone who has hated, malice or anger’, you may want to avoid the cross. Jesus expresses it as “wanting to save one’s life”. If you avoid your cross, that is, if you don’t lose your life,

  1. You will not be raised to life in glory
    In other words, you do not have the guaranteed salvation. Jesus expressed it as “will lose one’s life”.
  2. You still die one day in shame.

 

 “Whoever loses his life for me will save it” (24b)

Here, we can know “losing one’s life” means “taking the cross” (up to death). But this time Jesus added “for me”. This makes it clear that “taking one’s cross” means “following Jesus” itself.

“will save it” means salvation is guaranteed.

See v25.

25What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?

What is “gaining the whole world”? Why did Jesus talk about this? And what is losing one’s very self? As we know, “gaining the whole world” would take a lot of efforts. Through this Word, Jesus made it clear that “gaining the whole world” is not the cross Jesus mentioned. Instead, this is the aspect of “wanting to save one’s life”, which equals to “avoiding one’s cross”. Now it is clear that the cross is not just “hard work”, or “doing lots, lots, lots of works” if the work you do is for gaining the whole world or saving one’s life. One’s cross means more the cross Jesus took! -  obeying God’s will. “The real cross” is “following Jesus”.

Losing one’s very self is losing one’s life – no eternal life, no salvation.

Note that here Jesus contrasted the whole world and one’s very self in ownership & possession perspective.

He emphasized that saving one’s very self is more important than gaining the whole world. Life is more important than the entire world.

It is an important fact that Jesus taught this after disciples’ mission trip (Luke 9:1-9) & confession of faith (Luke 9:20). Through mission trip, they exercised divine authority to heal diseases & expel demons. So the authority & the cross both should be acknowledged by us (not only authority!).

See v26. This time Jesus deals with the same issue. If we don’t gospel others because we feel shame, as Jesus said in this verse, He will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. Such shame is utterly unjust because this world is adulterous and sinful (Mark 8:38[3]). Therefore we must be ashamed of this world instead. Do you feel shy because you are the first to speak about Jesus in front of others when no one talks about Jesus at that moment? Is it because talking about Him is not related to ‘earning money’ or ‘passing the exam’ type of stuff that everyone looks forward to doing?

I want to tell the truth & the reality based on His Word & what we know. This world is adulterous & sinful! Therefore we should feel honoured when we represent Him, preach His Word, and testify about Him & what He did for us.

In v27, Jesus says some will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God. Jesus is reminding us of the existence of the kingdom of God. In fact, the disciple John is one of the people who didn’t taste death before seeing the kingdom of God. John wrote the book of revelation because he saw the kingdom of God.

Now I review the whole paragraph & summarize the points and conclude as below.

Imagine the situation that Jesus was in. If we are in such a life-threatening situation, it may shake us. Then what Jesus said in this paragraph lead us to keep our faith. Amen.

[1] Mark 14:36 36"Abba, Father," he said, "everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will."

[2] Luke 5:4-7 4When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch."

5Simon answered, "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets."

6When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

[3] Mark 8:38 38If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels."

Extending Mercy Without Limit

Posted by admin on 11 April 2021 in 1 John, James, Luke, Matthew |

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