Sunday is Mother’s Day. I had the blessed privilege of having a truly godly mother. Her character was like that of the young preacher Timothy’s mother as described by the apostle Paul: “When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother, Lois, and thy mother, Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also” (2 Timothy 1:5).
My mother had a gentle spirit. Though she was a woman of Biblical convictions which she did not compromise, she had a gentle spirit. I have no remembrance of her yelling at me. The seriousness of a matter and the depths to which I was in trouble were made known by the use of my first and middle names. “Jonathan Mark” stopped me in my tracks. There was a firmness about the tone of voice, but not an angry holler.
On at least one occasion this attribute of her gentleness probably saved my life. I mentioned that I have no remembrance of my mother yelling at me, and that is true. But I am told that there was one time when she did yell, but it was at an early age before my active memory. I was running unintentionally into the path of a truck and my mother yelled my name. Unlike children who regularly hear their mother yell, the uniqueness of my mother’s raised voice stopped me and probably saved my life.
In the last decade of her life I had the joy of becoming my mother’s caregiver and the relationship between parent and child was largely reversed. The same gentle spirit was exhibited by my mother in the midst of those new and challenging circumstances. My mother was truly a godly woman and she was the same unhypocritical person in both public and private life. My mother’s testimony is aptly described in Proverbs 31:28-30: “Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.”
“It’s my body! I can do with it whatever I want, and you can’t tell me otherwise!”
“But didn’t you tell me you were a Christian?”
“Yes, but what’s that got to do with what I do with my body?”
How would you answer that person? Let me share with you what God’s Word says: “What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price; therefore, glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (I Corinthians 6:19, 20). “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” (3:16).
Your body is God’s gift to you. He made it and gave it life. And so, as the Creator, your body belongs to God, but is on loan to you for you to use for Him. How you treat God’s property reveals how much you recognize God’s authority over your life. Your body is called the temple of the Holy Spirit. When you received Christ as Saviour, the Holy Spirit came to indwell you. As a Christian, God has made His home in your heart. He took up permanent residency when you gave your heart to Jesus. Because He indwells you, He is therefore in charge. You do not belong to yourself, but to God. He has the exclusive rights as the owner over His possession. Who are we to take what belongs to God and do with it what we want, go where we want, eat what we want, and watch what we want? We have been purchased with the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. He died on the cross to buy our freedom. But freedom is not liberty to take what belongs to God and use it for our own purposes. As His purchased possession, we are to glorify God externally and internally, in your body and in your spirit, both which belong to God.
As I presently write, the web announces that the rapture has been forecasted to happen today. One would think that the late Harold Camping’s grand erroneous predictions and entrance into the false prophets’ hall of shame would have given pause to those following the same path. But, no; looking at the alignment of the heavenly bodies, a new “prophet” has proclaimed that the rapture will occur today.
Yes, the Bible teaches that Jesus is coming again: “Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:1-3). But Jesus also warns us that the day and hour will not be known by any man or angel: “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 24:36). God’s purpose in not informing us of the day and hour includes the engendering of a spirit of wacthfulness in men: “Therefore be ye also ready; for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” (24:44).
Unwittingly, the false prophet himself, though he speaks in error, is a sign of the coming of the Lord Jesus. When speaking of the end times, Jesus said, “And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many” (24:11).As this day draws to a close, the “presumptuous” prophet, with the condemnation of Deuteronomy 18:20-22 resting over his head, should grow increasingly uncomfortable. But in direct contrast, the true believer in God’s Word lives every day in a spirit of expectancy: “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior, Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). Though we have NOT been told the day and hour, and have been warned about setting dates for the Lord’s return, the Bible clearly proclaims JESUS IS COMING
Everyone desires to have a sense of belonging, to know someone cares for them and loves them. The world is full of lonely people who feel rejected, unloved, and unwanted. Families split, marriages break apart, and even friendships fail. But for those who know the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour, we can declare with confidence, “My beloved is mine, and I am his” (Song of Solomon 2:16).
Such a confidence does not rely upon feelings, but upon faith. Our feelings change and sometimes our emotions lie. But faith remains even when feelings change. God’s Word says that “there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). Jesus told His disciples, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are My friends…” (John 15:13-14). The promise of God’s faithfulness to His own is stated in both the Old and New Testaments. Joshua, Moses’ successor, was given these encouraging words: “Be strong and of good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, He it is that doth go with thee; He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee” (Deuteronomy 31:6). “And the LORD, He it is that doth go before thee; He will be with thee, He will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed” (31:8). And lest Joshua forget this truth, the LORD Himself reaffirms to him, “…As I was with Moses, so I will be with thee; I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee” (Joshua 1:5). This truth is also given to the believers in the New Testament: “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5).
When you belong to the King, He will never abandon or desert you. Sin may cause you to question or doubt this truth; your mind and emotions may cause you to think and feel otherwise, but God has spoken and His Word stands. You can say with confidence, “I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine” (Song of Solomon 6:3).
In our first study we noticed that there is much confusion concerning the character and nature of the True and Living God. We observed that the True and Living God is:
One God in three Persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit
Continuing our study, the Bible reveals that God is also:
HOLY AND HE ACTS IN PERFECT RIGHTEOUSNESS AND JUSTICE
The True and Living God commands, “…be ye holy; for I am holy” (I Peter 1:16). God is holy and His holiness is manifested in His righteousness and justice. Because God is holy, righteous and just, man’s unrighteous condition separates us from God. “Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that is cannot save; neither His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you, that He will not hear” (Isaiah 59:1-2). This would be a most hopeless situation for man if it were not for God’s love and mercy.
LOVE, AND HIS LOVE IS EXHIBITED IN HIS MERCY AND GRACE
The love of God is an infinitely wonderful part of His eternal character. It is much more than God simply possessing love; the Bible teaches that God in His very being is love; “…God is love…” (I John 4:16). His love causes God to exhibit mercy and grace toward sinful men. “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (I John 4:9-10).
God is holy and His righteous justice requires that He judge man’s sin. But God is also love, and His mercy and His grace caused Him to personally take our punishment and in exchange offer to us salvation. “That in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:7-8).
The character and nature of the True and Living God is wonderful beyond description. Do you worship the True and Living God?
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Much confusion exists concerning the character and nature of the True and Living God. Since the sinful fall of man in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3), the human mind has been inclined to invent its own conceptions of God. Because our eternal destinies are dependent upon believing in the True and Living God, it is obvious that what we believe about God is very important. The first two of the ten commandments soberly clarify this truth. “And God spoke all these words saying, I am the LORD thy God, who have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before Me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them; for I, the LORD thy God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me” (Gen. 3:1-5).
The True and Living God is:
THE CREATOR (Genesis 1:1-31; Exodus 20:11). “For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is…” (Ex. 20:11). Very simply, the True and Living God is the Creator. The evolutionist’s god is not the True and Living God of the Bible.
ONE GOD IN THREE PERSONS (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 48:16-17). The God of the Bible is three distinct Persons – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. This is often referred to as the “Trinity” or “Tri-unity” of God. The prophet Isaiah declared, “Come near unto Me, hear this: I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I; and now the Lord GOD, and His Spirit, hath sent Me. Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I am the LORD thy God, who teacheth thee to profit, who leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go” (48:16-17). The “Lord God,” “His Spirit,” and the “Redeemer” is “one LORD” according to Deuteronomy 6:4.
Is this the God you worship?
The apostle Paul wanted the believers in Corinth to understand the “Gospel,” a word meaning “good news” (I Corinthians 15:1). The Gospel is the good news about Jesus and is how we “are saved” (15:2). The basic Gospel message is made of three parts. This is how Paul explains it: “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” (15:3, 4).
The Good News of the Death of Christ. Christ didn’t die like a martyr; He freely gave up His life for us all (John 10:18; Romans 8:32). He didn’t die because of any wrong or sin He committed, for He is without sin (I Peter 2:22; Isaiah 53:9; I Peter 1:18, 19). Instead, He died on the cross for you and me, as our substitute (Romans 5:6, 8; Isaiah 53:4-6), “the just for the unjust” (I Peter 3:18). “Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed” (I Peter 2:24). “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.” Old Testament passages which prophetically declared the death of Christ are found in Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53.
The Good News of the Burial of Christ. Christ literally died and was buried (Matthew 27:57-61; Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:50-56). Jesus was not simply unconscious, in a swoon, or in some deep comatose. He died and was buried. This was also prophesied (Matthew 12:40; Jonah 1:17; Isaiah 53:9).
The Good News of the Resurrection of Christ. Christ “rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” (Psalm 16:8-10). Jesus is alive, “alive for evermore” (Revelation 1:18)! And because He lives, we also shall live through faith in Him (John 11:25; 14:19; 2 Corinthians 13:4). He is risen (Mark 16:6)! Christ “was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification” (Romans 4:25). The resurrection of Christ is the key to the Gospel message. What good news!