Good News Verses (part 29)

The Christian radio station that I listen to daily is WIHS 104.9 FM based out of Middletown, CT. To me, those involved with this station, as in most Christian radio stations, are broadcasting the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world.

A segment that this station has been broadcasting for as long as I can remember is The Good News Verse heardevery weekday. Very early each morning, one thoughtful Bible passage is given for us to consider and to meditate. This is then repeated several times throughout the day.

When I hear each passage, I ask, how is this “good news” for me? How can I apply it? Why did the publishers choose it for me to consider?

With that in mind, I have gathered a few of them that were broadcast over the last few days and posted them here for your review. Underneath each I have listed three ways that the passage is applicable for us to use. Please note that the views and opinions I expressed here for each passage do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of WIHS radio’s staff and management.

As you read them, I am sure you will discover other significant applications than what I have listed.

Below is the collection:

1) John 3:16

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Application:
a) This act of love by the Father of giving up His child is similar to the love He wants us to have toward our enemies who are in the world. Each of us Christians, however, is not the same as Jesus Christ who was told beforehand He is to voluntarily give up his life for the world, but…

b) His act of love toward the world can still be seen when Christians are martyred (example: John the Baptist, the apostle Paul, and others of today) for the testimony of their faith. Sadly, this mostly has happened against their desire to continue being alive.

c) Yet, God, through His children and by the power of the Holy Spirit, is still giving witness to the world of His love. Therefore, I believe God has a special place in His heart and in His kingdom for those who sacrificed their lives in witness to Him (examples: Revelation 6:9; Revelation 20:4.

2) 2 Corinthians 9:7

Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (ESV)

Application:
a) A Christian believing he must give a percentage of his income, (giving 10% of his gross income), after being told he would displease God for not giving that amount of money is an example of giving under guilt and compulsion which is a trademark of legalism.

b) A person commanded to tithe to his church under a threatening umbrella of God’s incurring wrath belongs to a church that practices legalism – no matter if the pastor of it says it is not – it is legalism. “A rose by any other name is still a rose” (quote adapted and revised from Juliet Act 2 of “Romeo and Juliet” by William Shakespeare).

c) This verse is not about tithing a predetermined monetary amount set by an organization. Rather, it is about giving of his resources from the heart by an individual member in the body of Christ under the New Covenant.

3) Psalm 97:10

Let those who love the Lord hate evil,
for he guards the lives of his faithful ones
and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.

Application:
a) How was anyone of the ancient tribes of Israel in the Old Covenant evaluated by God as being “faithful?”

b) Does faithfulness in the New Covenant era mean having faith in Jesus Christ only? Or does it also mean keeping some, if not all, of the laws of the Old Covenant?

c) Was John the Baptist delivered from the hand of the wicked? How about the deacon Stephen (Acts 7:54-59), the apostle Peter and the apostle Paul? Why were they NOT delivered from the hand of the wicked? Explain.

4) Ephesians 2:4-5

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved – (ESV)

Application:
(a) How does the phrase in this verse, “when we were dead in our trespasses,” compare with the verse found in 1 Corinthians 1:18, “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”?

b) How would you explain the answer to the question in application (a) to most Christians of the Reformed Church who uphold their T.U.L.I.P.  theology? [In other words, those who fully abide by Augustinian/Calvinistic teachings].

c) If God has deliberately limited His salvation to only a certain few, as taught by many Calvinists, how can He be truly “rich in mercy” (mercy- full)?

5) 1 John 3:1

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!

Application:
a) We Christians are called the children of God because we are the children of God.

b) Even though we grow spiritually, we always will be His children and never be “weaned” away from Him. Our spiritual weaning, however, is only from elementary spiritual milk to “adult” spiritual food of the Bible (1 Corinthians 3:2).

c) Other Bible translations for the word, lavished, include: bestowed, given and shown.

6)  John 14:23

Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.”

Application:
a) The Greek word here for “teaching” is logos.

b) We love Jesus Christ not only by reading the Bible, but by “listening” to it spiritually.

c) We love Jesus Christ not only by listening to His voice from the Bible (and from other sources) spiritually, but by acting on it thereby loving the Father and others as well.

7)  1 Peter 1:8-9

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Application:
a) Question: How can someone believe, have faith, and love God without ever seeing Him? Answer: By knowing Him.

b) Question: How do you get to know God? Answer: By God first getting your attention in some unique way and then you studying and hearing His Word.

c) Question: Why do many people develop faith and understanding in God while many others do not? Answer: God’s will and Holy Spirit are greatly involved.

8)  Deuteronomy 7:9

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.

Application:
a) This verse, written in Old Covenant times, is about the covenant of love which was greatly expressed by Jesus Christ on the cross.

b) If God kept His covenant of love to the thousandth generation and beyond, is that 1,000th generational person now a Christian in the New Covenant?

c) Are God’s commandments in the Old Covenant the same as the commandments of Jesus Christ in the New Covenant? [Future blog here to be posted early next year, Lord willing].

9)  Deuteronomy 11:1

Love the LORD your God and keep his requirements, his decrees, his laws and his commands always.

Application:
a) The best way to love God is by appreciating, trusting and praising Him from your heart.

b) No matter how hard you try, loving God only by legalistically keeping any of the Old Covenant laws is to always fall short.

c) The decrees, laws and requirements for the New Covenant Christian is Jesus Christ.

10)  Deuteronomy 30:19-20

Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.

Application:
a) Before Jesus Christ came along, all of mankind had no choice but be on death row – condemned to eternal damnation due to Adam and Eve’s fall from grace in the garden of Eden.

b) After the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, all mankind was, to some extent, forgiven (reconciled)  and has (is and will) been given a choice to believe He is Lord and Savior (Romans 10:9).

c) How could the ancient Israelites in the days of Deuteronomy have the ability to listen to God’s voice?

11)  Matthew 22:37-38

Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.

Application:
a) Is this commandment the same as the first commandment given to the Israelites in Exodus 20?

b) A silly question: If this commandment is the first and greatest commandment, what is the second and “less-great” or maybe least commandment?

c) What are some of the other commandments Jesus Christ gave us?

12)  Matthew 5:44-46

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.

Application:
a) These verses were first spoken by Jesus Christ primarily to His disciples.

b) This was spoken before Jesus died and before the historic day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was “poured out” (Joel 2:28-29) onto the disciples first and then continually afterwards to the world. It is through the power of the Holy Spirit that loving one’s enemy began to be highly feasible on a larger scale.

c) It was on that day of Pentecost when the Father in heaven began gaining for Himself more children.

13) John 13:34-35

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Application:
a) Was not loving our neighbor already incorporated in commandments 5-10 in the Old Covenant? How then was Jesus’ commandment in this passage “new“?

b) These sayings of Jesus were given solely to His disciples shortly before His crucifixion. The disciples later would become the foundation and pillars of the church. Therefore , this “new commandment” was given to the church.

c) Can a person truly love another person after being commanded to do so? Would that love be sincere? Would it deeply emanate from his very heart, mind and soul? Ah, but we have the love of the Father, the mind of Christ and the presence of the Holy Spirit within us.

14)  John 14:15-16

If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever… (KJV)

Application:
a) Jesus was not saying this for the church to have an Old Covenant mindset. Those Jesus was speaking to here were already under the Old Covenant Law which contained the Ten Commandments. [This requires a future  blog to be posted early next year, Lord willing].

b) Therefore, the commandments of Jesus Christ that was being addressed here were those commands He has been telling those who follow (past, present and future) Him to obey.

c) The Comforter given to us has the ability to comfort us. Why? Because there often will be times of challenge and persecution when we will need encouragement, strength, wisdom, and perseverance – i.e. comfort.

15)  John 15:9-11

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. (ESV)

Application:
a) Is there a difference between the commandments of Jesus Christ and the commandments of the Father? If so, what are they? [Future blog here to be posted early next year, Lord willing].

b) Keeping your thoughts on Christ and obeying Him leads to fullness of joy.

c) Does the joy you Christians receive from Christ equal the amount of joy Jesus has now or is it to increase in time toward fullness?

 

Holy Bible

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