“A new command I give you: Love one another.
As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
12 / 06 / 08
(Comments in parentheses and emphasis are mine – NIV used)
• I have always wondered why so many people think that Yahshua (Jesus) gave a new commandment to us that we must “love” … as if it had not existed prior to him. I have even been told that we no longer need to follow any of the Old Testament Laws today, but only need to follow Jesus’ command to love one another. Where did they get that, I wonder?
• Okay, okay … many of you may be thinking, “Kyle, just look at the verse you chose to open with”. Ohhhhhh … that is where they get it from … it is because Yahshua (Jesus) said it is a new command. But I thought that God commanded even in the Old Testament for us to love each other.…even before the Son of God appeared to us!
- “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am YHWH.” (Leviticus 19:18)
- “The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am YHWH your God. “ (Leviticus 19:34)
- “The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am YHWH your God.” (Deuteronomy 10:19)
• I don’t want to be disrespectful, but what is Yahshua (Jesus) talking about? How can this be a new commandment? Did He forget that He already commanded us to love each other back in our forefather’s time in the desert?
• HINT: Look at the last two verses regarding WHO they were commanded to love. The natural born Israelites were commanded to love the “Alien” that was living among them and to treat them as an equal. What was new when Yahshua was talking was that we Gentile believers were no longer “aliens” living among them, but equal to the natural born Hebrew believers. THAT is what Yahshua has accomplished! That was one of His purposes!
- Paul explains this to the Ephesians (non-Hebrews) in Ephesians 2:19 … “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household.” Recall from above that they were told to love the aliens among them. So, the notion of a Gentile believer being equal among them is NEW.
- “For He Himself is our peace, who made the two (Hebrew and Gentile) one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility (there were actual walls in the Temple built to keep the Gentiles separated), by abolishing in His flesh the law with its commandments and regulations (These are the dogma laws, or man-made laws that made it hard for not only the Gentiles to come near to God, but the common Hebrew, as well). His purpose was to create in Himself ONE new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which He put to death their hostility.” (Ephesians 2:14-16) Did you catch that? “HIS PURPOSE” was to create in Himself ONE man out of the two (Jew and Gentile). THAT is the part that was new, and therefore we both are told … LOVE one another.
- “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body – whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free – and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.” (1 Corinthians 12:12-13) (The body is Israel … made up of many parts of which our Messiah is the head!)
- “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all ONE in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, THEN you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28-29)
- “For there is NO difference between Jew and Gentile – the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on Him.” (Romans 10:12)
- Yet to ALL who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God – children born NOT of natural descent, NOR of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” (John 1:11-13)
THE ONLY THING THAT IS NEW IS “WHO OUR BROTHERS ARE”:
• Now, when we read passages about “loving your brother” we must not think about it being a new command, but that our thought of “who” our brother is to include the Hebrew believers, as well as the Hebrew believer must include us, Gentile believers as their thought of family. Together, we make up Israel.
• “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2) I am to carry not only the Gentile believer’s burden, but the Hebrew believer’s, as well. You know what? We should probably STOP referring to each other according to our physical identification, as well … such as being a Jew, Greek, or Italian believer. Once someone is part of the family of Israel, there is no longer a PHYSICAL identification … but a Spiritual one. I am no longer a Gentile and a Hebrew is no longer a Hebrew. These things are of the world and not of God. For it is written about the children of God:
- “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23-24)
- “I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.” (1 Corinthians 15:50)
VERSES RELATED TO THOUGHT:
• “This is my command: Love each other.” (John 15:17) NOW we know that this is not replacing God’s Laws (as many think), but it is revealing that He (Yahshua / Jesus) commands both Jews and Gentiles within Israel to love each other as brothers (It is like a twin brother being taken at birth by mistake and being raised by someone else for 20 years. Then, one day, they meet and realize that they have been brothers all along. Now the brother who had been raised by their true parents has to share them with his new-found brother … who had been a brother all along.)
• “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 a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.” (1 John 3:10) Notice that we are to obey God’s Laws (do what is right … some translations say “do righteousness”) AND love our brothers.
• “If 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. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.” (1 John 4:20-21) Now that it is clear what our Savior actually is speaking of, we know that this is NOT eliminating the Laws as given through Moses, but that He is bringing the Jew and Gentile together … and then commands them to love one another.
• “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.” (Romans 13:8) What Law? Ohhhhhh … the law that Jews and Gentiles must love each other as brothers!
• John seems to hint that it really is not new, but has sort of been hidden and spoken of before. They (The Hebrews) KNEW that they were to love the aliens that were ALWAYS welcomed into Israel. But they always thought that being an “Israelite” was their right alone (recall the twin brother example. The one brother thought that he alone was an heir.). So John is clear in 1 John 2:7-9 … it is actually not so new. Those living at the time of Yahshua (Jesus) simply had never heard it: “Dear friends, I am NOT writing you a new command but an OLD one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard. Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining. Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him.”
• “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” (Ephesians 4:2)
• “Now about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other.” (1 Thessalonians 4:9)
• So … who are our brothers? Anyone who believes in Yahshua (Jesus) as their Savior.
• Is the command to love each other replacing obedience to God’s Laws as given through Moses? Of course not.
• We are told that there is no Jew, Gentile, slave, free, male, or female within Israel. It also makes sense that the priests, who are the brothers of the High Priest, Yahshua (Jesus), are from every tribe, language, peoples and nations. These are all who hold firm to the testimony of Yahshua (Jesus) and obey the Law and teach it.
WHAT MIGHT THIS LOVE LOOK LIKE:
• Those of us who are attempting to obey God’s Laws as He gave them to His children MUST love those who have not come to that point in their walk with Him. We must show the same mercy that we received for so many years from the Lord.
• Those of us who are attempting to obey God’s Laws as He gave them to His children MUST love those who do the same, yet interpret and live out the commands differently from us, others, or the majority. (NOTE: We are all, most likely, incorrect in some points. Good thing we are not saved by our obedience!). Division comes when we do not love each other as He commanded and accuse each other for doing things differently.
• Yes … we must love one another … or it all means nothing.
“… What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?”
2 Corinthians 6:15b
11 / 18 / 06
“So, How ya been?”
“How’s the family?”
“Oh, good, thank you.”
“How about that game yesterday, huh? I can’t believe they won.”
“Yea, it was great.”
(Long pause … as they both reach for other things to talk about)
You can sure tell when there is little, if anything, in common between two people. How shallow and worldly the conversation! We’ve all been there. There is NO difference between someone who loves working on cars talking to someone who has not idea of how cars run and a believer speaking with an unbeliever. Both try to force a conversation, but have nothing in common. (Yes, even trying to force a conversation with someone who says that they are a believer, yet they do not want to talk about God). There is just nothing in common. Without God as a base, what is there to talk about? It’s like: What do we have in common without the Lord? I don’t love what you love, I don’t live to gain what you are striving to gain. What do we have in common with unbelievers? Yet there are many among us who seem to love both God and the things of this world … it just doesn’t make sense! “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial ? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore come out from them and be separate, says YHVH. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” (2 Corinthians 6:14-17)
LIGHT is the work of God and His true children … obedience, what is good, truth.
DARKNESS is the work of Satan and his followers … disobedience, what is evil, lies.
Let us start from the beginning … and when some believe Satan and His followers fell from grace: “God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness.” (Genesis 1:4) Even during creation, God separated good and evil, light from the darkness, the work of His Son from the work of Satan!
My friends, you can NOT love both the world and God. If the world loves you, most likely, you look like the world! If those in the world love you, most likely you are not looking like the light. If you live in obedience to God’s commandments, the darkness will hate you … period. For you will be exposing their darkness by simply being a light among them! “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you OUT OF THE WORLD. That is why the world hates you.” (John 15:18-19) and again “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1 John 2:15) Can you see? These are NOT my words, but our Master’s. How can you love God and also the things He is against? How can you love evil (disobedience) people and righteousness (obedience) at the same time? They have nothing in common with each other. I am not talking about hating the people, we are to have a passion to save the lost, but hate the life they lead!
BEFORE WE GO THROUGH THE VERSES, KEEP IN MIND …
LIGHT is the work of God and His true children … obedience, what is good, truth.
DARKNESS is the work of Satan and his followers … disobedience, what is evil, lies.
“Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be completely lighted, as when the light of a lamp shines on you.” (Luke 11:36)
Those who are walking in obedience to the light have come to realize the frustration of those walking in disobedience. They just don’t seem to understand why we obey God! On the other hand, we cannot forget either that neither did we understand before we simply obeyed out of faith!
- “The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” (John 1:5)
- “He was in the world and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him.” (John 1:10) (Remember … He is the ultimate light and we get our illumination from Him!)
“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil (disobeys God) hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. (Light … obedience … exposes the darkness … disobedience) But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” (John 3:19-21) (It is ONLY through the sanctifying work of the Spirit that we can now shed sin, obey God out of a pure heart, thus being a light to the world!)
“When Yeshua (Jesus) spoke again to the people, He said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12) (Can you see the sanctifying work of the New Covenant? If we walk in HIM, we are able to shed sin. We will never walk in the darkness (disobedience), for we are now able to obey the commands of God (not perfectly, but hopefully, we will not be sinning intentionally!).
“Therefore do not be partners with them. For you were once darkness (sinners), but now you are light in the Lord. (He is able to take away our sins … so:) Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” (Ephesians 5:7-14)
“… to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” (Acts 26:18)
“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Yeshua (Jesus), his Son, purifies us from all sin.” (1 John 1:5-7) (There is NO sin, or darkness, in God … Are you one of His children? Then you will be like Him … 1 John 3:9 … Go ahead, look it up!)
LAST THOUGHT … (This is nothing new! Hasn’t it always been this way? )
Isaiah 2:5 … “Come, O house of Jacob, let us walk in the light of YHVH.”
2 Samuel 22:29 … “You are my lamp, O YHVH; YHVH turns my darkness into light.”
Isaiah 5:20 … “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” (Woe to those who call God’s Laws evil and their disobedience as though it were ordained by God!! Woe to those who call the obedient children evil for obeying the truth as commanded by God!)
Let us just think about it? What do we enjoy? Who are our friends (are they saved or are we “trying to witness to them” while we enjoy their companionship? Just like our words show what is in our hearts, those we enjoy show what we truly believe!
08 / 19 / 05
(Comments in parentheses and emphasis are mine)
“He has revealed His word to Jacob, His laws and decrees to Israel. He has done this for NO OTHER nation; they (The other nations) do not know His laws. Praise the Lord.”
• Because of a conversation I had last week (mostly one-sided …mostly the other person telling me how wrong I was, in living according to God’s Torah by obeying the Sabbath, celebrating God’s Holidays, eating according to God’s dietary laws, etc… (Basically how wrong my family is by living according to God’s “Old rules”).
• “Why Lord?” Why are so many people determined not to live according to the way your Son did? (1 John 2:6)
• My wife and I have been doing an ongoing study about God’s Law. This devotion, sparked by that conversation I had, is in line with our study. So allow me to share with you at this time, some of our search.
• REMINDER: This is NOT a conclusion, but merely what we have been studying. We are open (WIDE open) to hear comments (out of love) and discuss with anyone about our love … God and His Words.
• Keep your mind open and your heart moldable. Flee from “phrases” and “interpretations” that seem to contradict God’s entire Word.
QUESTION: Is God’s Law for ALL people, or just given to His children?
• I had a discussion about this topic with one of the men that I hold in high esteem as a “man of God”, “one who has godly wisdom”, and who holds me accountable. Because of that conversation, I am going to approach this topic a little differently.
• Keep in mind the question and concerns:
o Is God’s Law for ALL people, or just His children?
o Why are so many determined not to obey God’s Law? Is it really a burden and done away with?
• A phrase that I feel is used way too flippantly is … “God’s gift of salvation is for ALL men.” Although there is some truth to this, in actuality, NOT all men are saved. So God’s gift, which is free, is AVAILABLE to ALL men … they simply have to have faith in the Messiah as Lord. Now God desires all men to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4), but not all men are saved. (Read carefully what that says). Salvation is basically ONLY for the children of God, but available for ALL men who call on the Lord.
• Okay … now let’s take that SAME idea and apply it to God’s Law. (REMEMBER … “Torah” actually means instruction, even though our English bibles translate it “Law”). I am going to give you some verses that prompted this thought, but first, we must remember:
o God’s picture of salvation, as He used physical Israel as His example, shows that they received the Law (God’s instruction for righteous living) AFTER they were redeemed from Egypt. The Israelites (and the aliens conjoining themselves to God) who lived by faith, were God’s children BEFORE they received this Law … keep that in mind.
o ANYTHING that God SAYS is Truth and is to be obeyed. Adam sinned and that was before the Law was given … or was it? I mean, God gave him a command and he disobeyed it … therefore, he sinned.
VERSES THAT PROMPTED OUR STUDY:
• 2 Timothy 3:16-17 … “All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for … so that the MAN OF GOD may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (An un-believer is NOT a man of God. So, Scripture is NOT useful for the un-believer in the ways it is for the believer … although it COULD be and it IS available for him. Yet an un-believer chooses to live according to HIS ways, not God’s)
• Romans 5:13a … “for BEFORE the law was given, sin was in the world.” (Again, sin is disobeying God’s commands. There is more to the “Law” than a bunch of rules … it is the very voice of God and who HE is. It is God’s heart revealed. It is God’s justice and mercy woven together and given to His children as a gift!! To obey God is to UNDERSTAND who HE is!! To obey God is to love Him (John 14:15, 14:23-24, and 1 John 5:3))
• (This one is awesome and was the clincher to our thought. And to think that the mainstream church is teaching their parishioners NOT to obey God’s Law as found in the “Torah” … what are we really showing the world around us? By observing God’s Laws we are showing the world around us that we understand and have wisdom!!) Deuteronomy 4:6-8 … “Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.” What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to Him? And what other nation is so great as to have such RIGHTEOUS decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today?” (WOW … that is awesome! By obeying God’s entire Word the way our Savior did … in complete obedience … we show the unsaved how awesome our God is!! Now … these very Laws are available for THEM, as well. They simply must believe and become a child of God!! Then God’s Spirit will start writing them on THEIR hearts, as well!)
• Can you see how it seems that God’s children (who are to look differently from the world around them!), have rules to live by? Those rules are God’s Torah (the first five books of Moses and AFFIRMED by our Savior as He lived them out perfectly, giving us an example! (1 Corinthians 11:1 1 and Peter 2:21-22)).
• Example: My children have rules to live by (we will call them “Dad’s law”). If they want to please me and have Dad’s favor upon them, they had better live according to “Dad’s law”. Now I know that the younger ones cannot obey them as well as the older ones. I do not hold the younger children to the same standards as the older ones (although the older ones may grumble at this and say this is not fair … it is) I am ALWAYS showing my children mercy when they mess up (I know when they obey out of love for me, and when they try to get away with things, as well), but they remain my children. When we go out, I want them to show the world around them that they belong to a Dad that loves them so much, that I protect them with rules. I teach them how to truly live by giving them guidelines, and so forth. Now, someone else’s child does NOT have to obey “Dad’s law”!!! Why? They are not my children!!! Although, I DESIRE that ALL families would adhere to training their children according to “Dad’s law”. MY rules are only for MY children. But if a child comes to me and wants to be part of my family (this is an example, okay) because that child saw how much I love my children. How I talk with them and listen to them, not wavering in my rules, caring enough for my children as to set boundaries by not letting them go off freely, and this “alien” child wants to be part of my family … “Come, I say … enjoy life. Enjoy the same love.” Upon attaching himself to my family, that new child of mine does not know my rules. Obeying them is NOT why he is welcomed in. He desires to live as my child, because he believes in my plan. Eventually, over time and in love, I will guide him or her (as a loving father does) … (This is a picture of our loving Father and how any of us can become part of Israel … His family)
• Let us stop the aversion to God’s Law. They are NOT like the world’s traditions and frail imitations (but do you really expect them to be?). You will no longer look like the world around you (but, again, did you expect a child of God to?).
• Here is a thought … Romans 7:9-10 … “Once I was alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. I found that the very commandment that was INTENDED to bring life actually brought death.” (Which side of the law are you on? The side that brings death (by obeying or NOT obeying it to gain salvation)? Or the side that brings you closer to God? When one obeys the law, or eliminates the Law, in order to try and gain salvation, it brings death. When they find life in the Messiah, this same law is now righteousness for this child of God. Remember … sin is “Law-LESS-ness” … or … sin is “without law”. So what have many churches done because they could not obey the Law? They say there is no law to obey. But YOU know that the Messiah came to take away our sins … by putting the law on our hearts and minds, so that we CAN obey them (When one knows and obeys the law, he obviously is not sinning against that law! God took the sin away!). Obedience is a delight for those who allow God’s Spirit to do His job … (Hebrews 8:8-11)
SHOULD WE BE AFRAID OF OUR FATHER’S GIFT … HIS LAW?
• If you are trying to obey it (OR ignore it) to save yourself, yes. Look at the Law as a double edged sword (Hmmmm … isn’t that our Messiah?). The Law can either condemn you (before you are saved) or is your righteousness (after you are saved).
• BECAUSE we are His children, the Law is for US. Listen to God’s Word as it is penned by the Apostle Paul, and the way that he describes it (we obey BECAUSE we believe … “Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? NOT AT ALL! Rather, we uphold the law.” Romans 3:31)
• The world does not understand this foolishness (1 Corinthians 1:18a … “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”). God’s power is the one transforming us from the inside out … that is ONLY through what Christ accomplished on the cross. The world does not want a law to live by. But of course, we are told that in Romans 8:6-7 … “The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is HOSTILE to God. It does NOT submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.” By saying we are free from God’s perfect Law and that HE must understand our disobedience … we seem to be telling a loving Father, “We don’t like the rules of the house”. Even though our words SAY we love His Son, by our very action, we are denying Him, for HE is the very Word of His Law made flesh!! He is the movie of the book … or the example for us how to live out God’s Word!!
• Let us embrace God’s entire Word and instruction Book. Will it make those around us feel good? Of course not!! Our obedience will be revealing their sin. They are under the Law (controlled by the Law that SAYS that what they are doing is a sin). Not us!! WE are under the control of His Spirit. His Spirit supervises us … no longer the written words on stone, but on our hearts!! We now have the power to overcome our sinful nature and obey God’s Holy and perfect Law (As each Law is revealed to us and the truth of the knowledge is known).
• My children desire to please me … they want to obey me … why? They love me and that is how they show their love for me.