Love And Obedience In Light Of The Cross – With New Living Translation

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You may download a printable copy of In Light Of The Cross Bible Study Guides- NLT here.

Love and Obedience

 

Brief Overview: The great principles of God’s law are embodied in the Ten Commandments and exemplified in the life of Christ. They express God’s love, will, and purposes concerning human conduct and relationships and are binding upon all people in every age. These precepts are the basis of God’s covenant with His people and the standard in God’s judgment. Through the agency of the Holy Spirit they point out sin and awaken a sense of need for a Savior. Salvation is all of grace and not of works, but its fruitage is obedience to the Commandments. This obedience develops Christian character and results in a sense of well-being. It is an evidence of our love for the Lord and our concern for our fellow men. (Ex. 20:1-17Ps. 40:78Matt. 22:36-40Deut. 28:1-14;Matt. 5:17-20Heb. 8:8-10John 15:7-10Eph. 2:8-101 John 5:3Rom. 8:34;Ps. 19:7-14.)

Why it is important to know the truth about love and obedience: The obedience of faith demonstrates the power of Christ to transform lives, and therefore strengthens Christian witness.

Why it is important to know the truth about love and obedience in light of the cross: “It is not the fear of punishment, or the hope of everlasting reward, that leads the disciples of Christ to follow Him. They behold the Saviour’s matchless love, revealed throughout His pilgrimage on earth, from the manger of Bethlehem to Calvary’s cross, and the sight of Him attracts, it softens and subdues the soul. Love awakens in the heart of the beholders. They hear His voice, and they follow Him.” –Desire of Ages, Page 480.

 

Further study on Love and Obedience

 

What are God’s people to walk in?

How happy I was to meet some of your children and find them living according to the truth, just as the Father commanded.  I am writing to remind you, dear friends, that we should love one another. This is not a new commandment, but one we have had from the beginning.  Love means doing what God has commanded us, and he has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning. 2 John 1:4-6 NLT

 

What warning is given about some Christians?

They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that! 2 Timothy 3:5 NLT

 

What will some last day Christians do?

 For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear.  They will reject the truth and chase after myths. 2 Timothy 4:3-4 NLT

How are we saved?

So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law.Romans 3:28 NLT

 

Does faith abolish the law?

 Well then, if we emphasize faith, does this mean that we can forget about the law? Of course not! In fact, only when we have faith do we truly fulfill the law.Romans 3:31

Faith without works is what?                                                                                               

So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.” You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless? James 2:17-20 NLT

Note: If a child who can’t swim has faith in their father they will jump in the pool when the father says, “jump in and I will catch you.” If the child does not have faith in their father, they will not obey. Likewise we show our faith by our good deeds and obedience. I will not lie on my tax returns because I have faith God will provide for me. I obey Him because I have faith. If I disobey Him, that shows Him I don’t really have faith.

How does faith work?                                                                                                            

What is important is faith expressing itself in love. Galatians 5:6 NLT

faith which worketh by love. Galatians 5:6 KJV

Is more required than “lip service”?                                                                                       

So my people come pretending to be sincere and sit before you. They listen to your words, but they have no intention of doing what you say. Their mouths are full of lustful words, and their hearts seek only after money. Ezekiel 33:31 NLT

Who is fooled and who is blessed?    

But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it. James 1:22-25 NLT

Who receives salvation?                                                                                                       

In this way, God qualified him as a perfect High Priest, and he became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey him. Hebrews 5:9 NLT

What did Jesus say we must do?                                                                                     

 Someone came to Jesus with this question: “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” Why ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. But to answer your question—if you want to receive eternal life, keep the commandments.” Matthew 19:16-17 NLT

What happens if we break even one commandment?                                                               

For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws. For the same God who said, “You must not commit adultery,” also said, “You must not murder.”So if you murder someone but do not commit adultery, you have still broken the law.  So whatever you say or whatever you do, remember that you will be judged by the law that sets you free. James 2:10-12 NLT

Who are the wise and who are the foolish?                                                                         

“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’  But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws. ’Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.  Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” Matthew 7:21-27 NLT

What does Jesus say?                                                                                                              

“If you love me, obey my commandments. John 14:15 NLT

Satan’s Biggest, Fattest Lie Ever!

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I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

In the late 1860s in the United States, shortly after the Civil War, which abolished slavery, a former slave owner is loading sacks of vegetables onto his wagon near the town square. Across the street he sees his former slave and yells out to him, “Get over here and load these bags onto my wagon now, boy!”

The former slave, with flashbacks of being beaten and abused for disobeying orders in the past, runs over to the wagon and starts loading the bags.

The former slave master has no power over the slave now. Yet the freed slave has become a slave again, only because he believes a lie. There is no power or authority behind the former master’s threats or commands. Truth is, the slave is free now, if only he will stop believing in lies.

The former slave should not feel stupid. For 1260 years a religious organization manipulated and controlled most all of Europe, only because the ruling monarchs fell for the lies of this organization.

“If you do not give us your offerings you will burn in hell for all eternity.”

Lie!

“If you do not do what we tell you, you will not go to heaven.”

Lie!

Yes, this organization used force and it tortured and burned people at the stake, but it was only possible because the rulers fell for these lies! Fact is, they had no authority, and thanks to the Reformers, the truth set them free even amidst the torture racks and the stakes.

Satan had to lie to Eve because lies are all he has. He can’t force us to do anything. First he suggests that God has said they could not eat from any tree. “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” Genesis 3:1 Even today, Satan always suggests that God is very strict and won’t let us do anything.

“You can’t have any fun” is what Satan likes to suggest. This is a lie.

Jesus says, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

Satan goes on to suggest that they will not really die for  eating the fruit. This is a twofold lie. Not only does his suggestion lead to spiritualism, it also suggests there are no real consequences for disobedience. Yet Satan’s biggest lie was when he told Eve, “For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods…” Genesis 3:5 Here Satan suggests that God is withholding something from them which would enhance their happiness. The lie implies that God does not really care for their welfare, and maybe Satan cares more about them than God does. That is why he is so “kindly” offering them this forbidden fruit.

If you think about it, most all of our sin and disobedience is motivated by this one lie, that God does not really care for us.

When you really believe God loves you, Satan’s lies have no power!

Let’s take a brief look at the Ten Commandments in the light of God’s love.

“I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.  Exodus 20:2

Fact is we are free. Just like the former slave who fell for the lies of his former master, we are free unless we believe Satan’s lies.

  1. When we believe God really loves us, we will have no need for any other god. We believe God loved us so much He gave us His only begotten son. No rock star, sports team, girlfriend or boyfriend has ever loved us as much as God does.
  2. When we really believe in God’s love we will worship Him. We don’t need to worship anyone or anything else. We don’t need to worship money or a PHD degree. My sense of significance does not come from worldly accomplishments or honors. I am significant because God loves me!
  3. When we really believe God loves us, we will not be Christians in name only, thus taking His name in vain. We will be true Christians.
  4. When we really believe God loves us, we will rest our faith in God’s love and not try to save ourselves by our own works. I don’t need to work on the Sabbath to put bread on my family’s table. God loves me and my family, and He will not let us go hungry.
  5. When we really believe God loves us we will love those who represent God to us. Once when I was ten I was at my grandmother’s house. While there I back talked to my mother. My grandmother told me never to talk that way to my mother, not because she was bigger than me, or the boss of me, but because she would die for me. My grandmother said, “you don’t talk that way to someone who would die for you.” I honor my parents because they love me. They may not always be right, but they always love me, so they always have my respect.
  6. When we really believe in God’s love we won’t be threatened by other people or feel the desire to eliminate them. Daniel did not need God to kill the lions or even remove them. He just needed God to close their mouths. God loves and protects us just like He did Daniel. There was no reason for Daniel to hate the lions or the men who threw him in the den, when he knew God loved him and protected him.
  7. When we believe in God’s love we will be happy with the family God gave us. Just because God gave my friend a beautiful wife does not mean He loves me any less. If God thought a beautiful wife would truly make me happy He will give me one. “No good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.” Psalms 84:11
  8. When we believe in God’s love, we won’t need what is not ours. “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. Psalms 23:1
  9. When we believe in God’s love we won’t be afraid of the truth. We won’t feel the need to live a lie, when we find that the truth is, God loves us unconditionally, and everyone who is of God loves us unconditionally. We won’t feel the need to be something we are not.
  10. When we believe in God’s love we won’t want what other people have. We will want other people to have what we have which is Jesus! When Paul stood in his chains and prisoner clothes, before King Agrippa, in all his worldly splendor, Paul told him I wish you could be like me, except for these chains. (see Acts 26:29) Paul did not need what the king had. The king needed what Paul had which was Jesus!

During the Dark Ages, a religious leader who claimed to represent God on earth made a German ruler stand out in the cold three days, begging his forgiveness before the religious leader finally forgave him. (See Great Controversy, pp. 57-58) This was a gross misrepresentation of God. In Luke 15:20 we see what God is really like, as represented by the father who runs out to greet the prodigal son, while the son is still far away. This religious leader’s claim to represent God, while making it hard for the German ruler to find forgiveness is the greatest of Satan’s lies during the Dark Ages.

Satan’s biggest lie is not about the immortality of the soul. It is not about the change of the Sabbath to Sunday. Satan’s biggest and deadliest lie is that God does not love you and will not forgive you. This is why the first angel takes the everlasting gospel into all the world, and breaks the spell of this terrible lie. Every lie of Satan is founded upon the foundation of the lie that God does not love you. Once this lie is exposed every other lie of Satan falls, which is seen in the second angel’s message “Babylon is fallen!” All of Satan’s other lies collapse when we realize we are loved.

After the three angels comes a fourth angel in Revelation 18:1. When this angel comes the whole earth is lightened with his glory. It is the light of God’s love. Satan’s lies which have caused the world to experience the Dark Ages, have been removed and the world is lightened with the truth that God is love.

 

You can study this week’s Sabbath School lesson here.

The Ten Commandments In Light Of The Cross Part 9

 

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbourExodus 20:16

Here God is promising us that Jesus, Who is the Truth, will be our savior and we will not need a lie to save us from anything. When we trust in a lie we are turning our backs on the cross and putting our faith in lies. No matter how big of a mess I get myself into Jesus can save and deliver me and I don’t need to lie.

“There is no chapter in our experience too dark for Him to read; there is no perplexity too difficult for Him to unravel.” Steps to Christ, Page 100

God gives me a love for people so that I don’t need to hate or murder. He also gives me a love for truth so that I don’t need a lie. I love who God made me and so I don’t need to lie about myself. I love my neighbor and do not need to lie about them either.

The Ten Commandments In Light Of The Cross Part 7

 

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Thou shalt not commit adultery. Exodus 20:14

In Ephesisans 5 Paul tells husbands to love their wives even as Christ loved the church. Christ loved the church so much He gave His life for it. That is what love is-others first, and on the cross Jesus put others first and sacrificed His own life. In Paul’s time many marriages were pre-arranged. Regardless if there was any passion or butterflies in their stomachs when they looked at their wives, they could love them by simply putting their wife’s interest and welfare above their own.

Did you know you can commit adultery without there even being a third party? If you put your own interest or welfare before your spouse you have just committed adultery by loving someone more than your spouse, when you love yourself more than them by putting your interest and welfare above theirs.

Jesus said,  “whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” Matthew 5:28 Did you know you can lust after your own wife and commit adultery with your own wife? How so? Lust is Satan’s lousy counterfeit for love, but it is actually hate.  When we lust after something or someone we are thinking of what they can do for us instead of what we can do for them. In 2 Samuel 13 it says that Amnon lusted after and hated a woman. He lusted after the woman but was putting his feelings above her feelings. There for since love is others first, and Amnon’s lust had him putting himself first, his lust was actually hate. From time to time I have had married couples ask me if it is okay to have sex on the Sabbath. I tell them that if they are doing it please the other person than it is quite appropriate as the Sabbath is a day to think of others and not seek our own pleasure, but if they are doing it for their own pleasure than it is wrong any day of week, as love does not seek its own pleasure. Lust seeks its own pleasure, love seeks for the good of others. See 1 Corinthians 13.

When we trust God’s love, and that He gives us everything we need for our happiness, we will not be lusting after a spouse that is not our own.

The Ten Commandments In Light Of The Cross Part 6

 

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Thou shalt not kill.  Exodus 20:13

The Hebrew word for “kill” is “ratsach” which more specifically means to murder.  Murder includes malice and self serving motives for killing. This commandment is clearly not forbidding capital punishment as that would conflict with the rest of the Bible. Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed. Genesis 9:6

In light of the cross all selfishness leads to murder. In John 8 Jesus says Satan was a murderer from the very beginning. In heaven Lucifer, now Satan, wanted the throne of God. Isaiah 14 The only way you get the throne is to eliminate the person on the throne. Many of the angels did not realize that Lucifer actually had murder on his mind while in heaven, but on the earth, at the cross, he did to God here on earth what he wanted to do to him in heaven-murder Him! The cross is where both Satan’s and God’s characters were manifested. At the cross we see Satan willing to kill anyone who gets in his way of getting what he wants, and we see God who is willing to die and say goodbye to life forever if He can just save someone else.

Self will always try to rise to the top and eliminate whoever gets in its way. This is why Christ took human nature to the cross and crucified self for us all. “God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Romans 8:3-4

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.  Galatians 2:20

Love is being centered on the welfare of others. Hate, which leads to murder is being centered on self. The only way to overcome putting yourself first is to put others first. The only way to overcome hate is to love.  So “Thou Shalt not kill” could actually be translated, “You will not put yourself first.” At the cross Jesus put others first. At the cross Satan put himself first, and showed the universe why he was a murderer from the very beginning, when he first started putting self first.

Glimpses of Our God; God the Lawgiver & Promise Giver

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.  For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.  Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.  Matthew 5:17-19

Over the last 20 plus years of my Bible Worker ministry, I have occasionally heard people try to rationalize away Matthew 5:17-19 and the whole law, by saying that Jesus did away with the law once it was fulfilled. This is where we need to exercise Isaiah 28:10 and compare other verses. In Matthew 3 Jesus goes to be baptized. In verse 15 Jesus says it is necessary to be baptized to fulfill all righteousness. After Jesus fulfilled the right of baptism did He then do away with baptism. No. In Matthew 28:19-20 He is telling the disciples to baptize. So Jesus did not do away with baptism when He fulfilled it and neither did Jesus do away with any of the law after  fulfilling the law.

For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if [there be] any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love [is] the fulfilling of the law.  Romans 13:9-10

I have also had people try to explain to me that we no longer need the commandments because now we have love. Fact is we have always had love. It is because we have love that we do not steal, kill or lie about our neighbor. When we have love we automatically fulfill the law by putting God and our family and neighbors before ourselves. Love is putting others first. The first four commandments show us how to put God first. The last six tell us how to put our family and neighbors first.

The beautiful thing is how it is all brought about. When the Lawgiver gave the commandments, He began by reminding them, “I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” Exodus 20:2 Here the Lawgiver is reminding them that they did not free themselves from the Egyptians, but rather He freed them, while they were totally helpless. He then goes on to explain in Exodus 20 that He will free them from other gods. He will free them from adultery and murder and other sins.  So how is this brought about? The Lawgiver tells us in Exodus 19:3-5, “And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel;    Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.      Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people.”

Again He reminds them that they did not save themselves from the Egyptians but He did.  Likewise we will not save ourselves from the power of sin but He will. He goes on and tells us to obey His voice. My Strong’s Concordance tells me that word “obey” (shama) means to listen and be attentive. He is not demanding a legalistic obedience based on works. Many have the idea that the Old Testament is legalistic while the New Testament is about grace.  Grace is just as real in the Old Testament as it is in the New Testament. God is wanting us to listen to His voice of promises! The Lawgiver goes on and says “keep my covenant.” Again, according to my Strong’s concordance, that word “keep” (shamar) means to guard or protect. Shamar is the same word used in Genesis 2:15 when Adam was told to keep the garden. Did God mean for him to obey the garden? No, He meant for him to cherish the garden. Care for it. Protect it. Also the word “covenant” is a promise. So in Exodus 19:3-5 the Lawgiver is telling us that just as He delivered the Hebrews from Egyptian bondage, He will also deliver us from spiritual bondage if we will only cherish  His promises!

Thus we find in the Old Testament the same grace we see in the New Testament. “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” 2 peter 1:4

“ God’s ideal for His children is higher than the highest human thought can reach. “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” This command is a promise. The plan of redemption contemplates our complete recovery from the power of Satan. Christ always separates the contrite soul from sin. He came to destroy the works of the devil, and He has made provision that the Holy Spirit shall be imparted to every repentant soul, to keep him from sinning.”Desire of Ages, page 311.

To study this week’s SS lesson click here. To download the SS lesson app to your phone click here.

Worship: The Sabbath

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

As we study this week’s SS lesson, we realize we all have our own ideas about Sabbath and worship. That is good! God has too many wonderful ideas to pack into any one human brain. Sometimes our ideas come from tradition instead of the Bible. We need to be careful to follow the Bible. Sometimes people will throw away human tradition which is good, but then they also throw away Bible teachings with it. We must be careful to save the Bible standard of worship while not making human tradition law. In pursuit of this goal, here are some blog posts that I hope you find helpful in following the Bible and your own convictions, placed in your heart not by man, but by the Holy Spirit.

Sabbath Observance myth Busters #1 Sabbath Afternoon Naps.

Sabbath Observance Myth Busters #2 Saved By Grace

Preparation Day: The Other Forgotten Day.

First Day of the Week Bible Texts.

The Sabbath in Light of the Cross.

El Sabado