Posts Tagged ‘Commandments’

19
May

Do You Know the Lord?

   Posted by: Larry Vaughn    in Bible Study

Jesus Christ Knocks the door
Image by angelofsweetbitter2009 via Flickr.

Jesus said, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20)

I used to think that Jesus was saying that he is at the door of the lost person’s heart, waiting to come into his life. And, I also thought that since I had received him as my Lord and Savior, that was the end of the matter.

I knew that I was a Christian, and when I died, I would go to heaven. I didn’t want to go to hell, and I wanted to make sure that none of my children go there. That was pretty much all that I knew.

I didn’t know the Bible, and I didn’t know the Lord.  I wasted years of my life because of my lack of knowledge. I didn’t know that our eternal salvation is not the end, it is the beginning. God gives us the gift of Eternal Life up front.

Now that I know the Lord, I see this verse as his appeal to Christians who don’t know him. He wants to fellowship with all of us, and be a part of our lives—to counsel and comfort us, to help us, deliver us, and empower us.

Knowing the Lord has been the greatest experience of my life. Just like the song says, he does “walk with me and talk with me, and he tells me I am his own.” It is the best part of being a Christian. This is how you get the love, and joy and peace that God supplies. You can experience this for yourself.

How do you get to know the Lord? Show God that you love him, by keeping his commandments. Spend time with him in his word. Read the Bible for yourself. Start with the following verse.

“If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” (John 14:23)


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12
May

My Testimony

   Posted by: Larry Vaughn    in Bible Study

A 6th century mosaic of :en:Jesus at Church Sa...
Image via Wikipedia

I had worked for Uncle Sam for thirty years before I became a disgruntled postal worker.  God rescued me from that situation. My wife, Marie, got me to the Doctor. The Doctor told me, “Don’t even think of going back there. You are through.”

He diagnosed me with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and said that it is common among us veterans of the VietNam war.

That was when I hit the bottom in every way possible—mentally, emotionally and financially. I was sick and broke and in my fifties. I kept beating myself up over every decision I had ever made thinking, “If only I had done this, if only I had not done that.”

What about Romans 8:28, I thought? All things were supposed work together for my good. I was a Christian. Why had God allowed  these things to happen to me? And why wasn’t I seeing the promises of God fulfilled in my life?

I asked God to tell me what I was doing wrong. I asked him to show me what he wanted me to do, so I could do it. Then I started reading and studying the Bible for hours every day.

Reading an author’s work makes you feel like you know him, because he reveals himself through his work. This is especially true of the Holy Spirit, the Author of the Bible. I spent a lot of time with him in his word. I got to know him and his ways. I was pigging out at God’s spiritual buffet and I was loving it.

When I wasn’t reading the Bible, I was thinking about it. I was meditating on the word day and night, just like it says in Psalm One. And that’s when the miracle happened.

I used to be angry all the time. I was very impatient with people and rude to them. I was mad when I when I got up in the morning, and I was mad when I went to sleep at night. But God healed me of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

During this time that I was delighting in the Bible, I woke up one morning and my anger was gone. I went to bed crazy as a loon, and woke up perfectly sane. The anger that had been my constant companion for thirty years was gone. It’s still gone, and it is so wonderful to be normal. Now, I am happy all the time because Jesus healed me, and I will never stop thanking him for it.

I am a recipient of God’s love and it is the greatest thing on earth.  Jesus knows me personally and he has changed my life forever. I was broken and he repaired me. He took away my anger and filled my heart with love, and joy, and peace, and self-control. He has equipped me to be patient and kind to others.

All I did was show God some love by spending time with him in his word. He responded to my love by intervening in my life and doing something to help me. That is how good our God is.

It was just like Jesus said in John 14:21,”He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.”

So that is what I was doing wrong all those years. I was violating the Love Commandment, by not loving God and by not loving my neighbor as myself. And that prevented God from showing me his favor.

Our eternal salvation is a free gift. But God’s other promises are contingent upon obedience to the Love Commandment. If you want to receive what God has promised, you have to love him. You have to love him with all your heart, all your mind and all your strength. And you have to love your neighbor as yourself.

You might think that you love God. But if you have never spent any time with him in his word, then you are not keeping the Love Commandment.

Look at the completed thought that is found in Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God. . .”

And look at the last part of Psalm 91, where God promises to protect us from all evil. God says, “Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.” (Psalm 91:14-16)

I could fill a book with the things the Spirit of God has taught me since the time I got to know him. In fact, I have filled a book with them.

First, I selected a thousand Bible verses and organized them into topics. Then, I explained how to apply them to your life. The title of the book is The Bible Believer’s Handbook. God helped me write it, and it was published in 2008.

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14
Apr

The Same Spirit That Raised Up Jesus From the Dead

   Posted by: Larry Vaughn    in Bible Study

When you become a believer in Jesus Christ, the Spirit of God does three things for you. He regenerates you, he baptizes you into the body of believers, and he seals you unto the day of redemption. When you love the Lord, he can do more for you, and you know that he is alive in you.

In John 14:15-18, Jesus said, “If you 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. Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

Look at what the Bible says about the Holy Spirit in Romans 8:11, “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”

This is not just any old Spirit. He is the same Spirit of God that raised up Jesus from the dead, and he is alive in you. He is the most powerful Spirit in the Universe, and He is alive in you. You have access to him 24 hours a day. He will never leave you nor forsake you. He will teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance.

All of the promises of God apply to you. That’s why you can say with confidence. “Greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world. I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me. My God shall supply all your needs, according to his riches in glory.”

You don’t have to be afraid of anything, because the greater one lives in you. He will protect you, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

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24
Mar

God Rewards Everyone Who Loves Him

   Posted by: Larry Vaughn    in Bible Study

So I finally found the answer to the question, “What am I doing wrong? Why am I not seeing the promises of God fulfilled in my life? I had done a lot of things to gain God’s favor, but I had left out the most important thing of all, which is to love God. That is what he has commanded us to do.

I had to read through the Bible several times, and study my core of Bible verses, before I saw it. The Holy Spirit had to reveal it to me. But when he did, I saw it everywhere I looked. Of course! This is what I had missed. Look at what Romans 8:28 actually says. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that LOVE GOD . . .”  This promise does not apply to everyone, but it does apply to everyone who loves God. This is one of God’s most amazing promises, that he will intervene in the circumstances of your life.

In Psalm 91, God has promised to protect you from all kinds of harm. But this promise is conditional too. Look at what God says in verses 14-16. “Because he hath set his love on me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath know my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.”

God’s promise of divine protection is contingent upon your obedience to his commandment. That commandment is to love him by loving your neighbor as yourself.

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27
Jan

How to Obtain God’s Favor

   Posted by: Larry Vaughn    in Bible Study

I thought that all I had to do was to believe in Jesus and what the Bible says about him. Then, all the promises of God would be fulfilled in my life. But, I didn’t realize how shallow my “belief” was. It was just mental assent to the truth of God’s word. You really couldn’t call it “faith,” which is belief in action.

I was expecting to see good things—peace. and joy, and prosperity, but I wasn’t receiving them. I knew that something was wrong, but I had no idea what it was. I had a desire to please God, but I didn’t know how.

I took my family to church every time the doors were open. I was a tither. I sang in the choir, passed the collection plate, and worked in the nursery. I did everything I could think of to obtain God’s favor. But I had missed the most important thing of all.

Eventually I found out what I was doing wrong. I want to pass it on to you, so you can benefit from my mistake. When I was doing all those things, I wasn’t motivated by love for others. I was doing them for me.  I was crying out to God saying, “Lord, bless me, bless my family, prosper me, prosper my family.” I wasn’t really doing anything that benefited anybody but myself. I didn’t dislike other people, I just didn’t notice they were there. I wasn’t loving my neighbor, I was just loving myself.

I was violating the Love Commandment, and that prevented God from blessing me. How could God bless the people who were obeying him, and then bless me while I was disobeying him.

I was sinning and I didn’t even know it. But God delivered me from it. That’s when I began to learn the value of the Love Commandment. God showed me that it is appears throughout the Bible. For example, Romans 8:28, “For we know that all things work together for good to those who love God . . .”

So, this promise doesn’t apply to everyone. It applies to those who love God. We know that loving God means keeping his commandments, and by keeping the Love Commandment, we fulfill them all.

Look at what God says in 2 Chronicles 24:20, “And the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada the priest, which stood above the people, and said unto them, Thus saith God, Why transgress ye the commandments of the Lord, that ye cannot prosper? because ye have forsaken the Lord, he hath also forsaken you.” God cannot possibly bless you while you are violating his Love Commandment.

The Love Commandment is not optional, it’s mandatory. It’s the main thing that he requires. If you want to obtain God’s favor, you have to observe the Love Commandment.

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16
Dec

God’s Definition of Love

   Posted by: Larry Vaughn    in Bible Study

The first Bible verse that I ever learned was “God is love.” The first song I ever learned to sing was “Jesus Loves Me.” These ideas came from the Bible, and they are simple, yet profound. They help us to understand some important truths that everyone needs to know–that Jesus loves us, and that Love and God are the same Spirit.

Jesus is God’s definition of love, and he is everything that God wants us to be. First Corinthians 13:4-8 is a excellent description of what Jesus (Love) is like. It is God’s will for every one of his children to be like him:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices  with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. . . .”

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11
Dec

Jesus Fulfilled God’s Law

   Posted by: Larry Vaughn    in Bible Study

The penalty for breaking God’s law is death. Everyone breaks it and is dead in their sins. The Good News is that Jesus paid the death penalty for everyone who puts their faith in him, and he has raised us from the dead to walk in newness of life. We are new creations in Christ.

I have to marvel at the genius of God. He established a covenant in which He promised to bless those who obey him, and gave us the Ten Commandments to teach us what He wants us to do. Jesus didn’t eliminate the Ten Commandments. He showed us how to keep them. He said, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.” (Matthew 5:17)

He fulfilled God’s Law with the supreme act of love in laying down his life for us.

“Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled 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 neighbor as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” (Romans 13:8-10)

And he became the mediator of a new and better Covenant.

“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts; and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.” (Hebrews 8:10)

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4
Dec

Jesus Explained God’s Law

   Posted by: Larry Vaughn    in Bible Study

Let’s look at the Ten Commandments that God gave to Moses on Mr. Sinai.

“And the Lord said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel. And he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.” (Exodus 34:27-28)

God’s law hasn’t changed. But we have a better understanding of it because of Jesus. He explained that man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart. “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24)

God wants you to worship him in your mind and in your heart. If the Word of God is alive in you, God’s law is written on the fleshy tablets of your heart. And you have the desire to please God and obey him.

Jesus’ commandment  to “love God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind” covers the first three of the Ten Commandments–to serve the true God, to honor his name, and to remember the Sabbath day and keep it separate.

His commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself” summarizes the rest of the Commandments–honor your father and mother, don’t murder, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal, don’t bear false witness, don’t covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his possessions.

So far, Jesus has consolidated Ten Commandments into two, and they don’t seem impossible to keep. But this next part shows the genius of God and his great generosity toward us. These two commandments can be combined into one, Jesus’ new commandment to “love one another as I have loved you.”

The Bible tells us that the definition of loving God is keeping his commandments. “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments; and his commandments are not grievous. (1 John 5:3)

So what is God’s commandment? To love your neighbor as yourself. Therefore, when you are loving your neighbor as yourself, you are loving God. You are multi-tasking, or killing two birds with one stone. Jesus made it possible for you to fulfill God’s Law. But it is impossible without him.

Loving God=Loving Your Neighbor

QED

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27
Nov

The Greatest Commandment

   Posted by: Larry Vaughn    in Bible Study

“But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were astonished together. Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the greatest commandment in the law?

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”  (Matthew 22:34-40)

All that God requires of is that we obey these two commandments. By fulfilling two commandments, we fulfill them all, because the others are based on them. When we love our neighbor as much as we love ourselves, we won’t be deceiving him, cheating and stealing from him, or hating and killing him.

Observing the letter of the law is not enough. We must observe the spirit of the law keeping God’s commandments from the heart.  Because God knows our hearts. “Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

Jesus said, “But the hour cometh and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23-24)

But what about all that other stuff?  Jesus said, “Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoreth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.

Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrine the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.

And he said unto them, full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.” (Mark 7:6-9)

Make it your highest priority to love God and to love your neighbor as yourself.

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20
Nov

The Love Commandment

   Posted by: Larry Vaughn    in Bible Study

Jesus has commanded us to live a life of love. “A new commandment I give unto you, That you love one another as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:34-35)

Jesus set this example for us.  “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

While he did literally lay down his life, you only have to do it figuratively.  You are laying down your life for your friends by overlooking their shortcomings, and forgiving them when they hurt you. You are “crucifying” your old fleshy nature that seeks to punish them.

Keeping  the Love Commandment is pretty much all that God requires of you. “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.”  (1 John 5:3)

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