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RobertW
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 The 'Unnatural' Love ("The Betrayal of the Ages" Continued)

THE OUTPOURING OF GOD'S LOVE INTO THE HEARTS OF MEN (Part 1)
[size=xx-small]By Robert Wurtz II[/size]

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. (Romans 5:1-5)

Our passage begins with our justification, a foundational truth that makes the rest of the passage possible. [i]Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.[/i] Where once we were lost and without hope and God in this world, doomed to everlasting destruction and perdition, now we have been justified by faith and have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

There is a love that when perfected in us casts out all fear. Many people struggle with unnatural fears, but as we will learn God's unnatural love with cast our ALL fear. In times of trouble we need prespective. And that begins when we realize that no crisis can rival the condition we were in before we were saved. Nothing is remotely as fearful and troubling as to know that we were once without Christ and at enmity with God.

Paul, in dealing with several issues at once is giving us a right perspective for our trials, temptations, and tribulations. He wants us to keep in mind the terrible condition God has brought us from. Not just that we were wrecking our lives, but that we were dead in trespasses and sins. He then points to the person and means by which we survive every trial. He writes, [i]By [u]whom[/u] also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.[/i]

The ‘whom’ is Jesus Christ and the ‘what’ is grace. We can define grace as God looking favorably towards us and helping us in a time of need (Hebrews 4:17). It is similar to the Hebrew term [i]Shalom[/i]. We do not deserve God’s favor; it is an expression of His [u]nature[/u] without regard to our worth. We are ‘standing’ in that grace. The phrase “this grace wherein we stand” is the means by which we have our patience (lit. perseverance).

We stand firmly and safely during trials and temptations because we are upheld by the power of God; as Ephesians 6 tells us “having done all stand”. We stand as soldiers that keep their ground, not worn down by the power of the enemy. It is this recognition of [i]God’s keeping power[/i] during trials and temptations; abilities that we know [u]we[/u] do not possess in ourselves, that ultimately leads to the ‘hope’ that does not disappoint (KJV ‘maketh not ashamed’). God is working in us and we begin to 'see' it.


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Robert Wurtz II

 2006/4/26 9:19Profile
RobertW
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 Re: The 'Unnatural' Love

In The World Ye shall Have Tribulations (Part 2)

In James 1:12 we read, [i]Blessed is the man that endures temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.[/i] Notice that a direct connection is made between enduring temptation and loving God. The passage indicates that temptations are ultimately a ‘test’ of our love for God.

This directly relates to our original passage in Romans 5. Paul writes, [i]And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience (perseverance); And patience (perseverance), experience (character); and experience (character), hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.[/i]

Notice that the progression is tribulation, perseverance, character (proof), and then hope. This is a process similar to refining silver. Fire is applied and the silver is refined and if ‘approved’ (dokimos) is given the stamp of approval. Here our word for 'approval' has been translated as ‘experience’; but it means the “state of mind that has passed the test.”

What test? To pass the test is evidence that we truly love God. But is the love referred to here just 'any' type of love or is it a special kind of love? We will answer that question later. Notice again James 1:12, [i]for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.[/i] This seems to be the point that Paul is driving at in our text. The evidence that the 'love of God' has been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost is that we can withstand the 'test' of our love for God when it comes.

Jesus told us, [i]In the world ye [u]shall[/u] have tribulations.[/i] Tests of your and my love for God are going to come and come often. Will you remain loyal? Often folk want to know if they are ‘really’ saved; and the answer to that is known to a great degree by whether or not you and I are passing the ‘tests’ of our love for God when they come. Are we remaining loyal to God? Are we ‘enduring’ (abiding or persevering) in His love?



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Robert Wurtz II

 2006/4/26 10:53Profile
RobertW
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 Re:

THE PROVING OF OUR LOVE (Part 3)

If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God [i]proveth[/i] you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. (Deut 13:1-4)

To summarize what we have learned so far; it is evident that various trials are going to come to prove or 'test' our love for God. Perhaps we can take this a step farther and say that temptations come and by their coming reveal to us whether the love of God has been [i]truly[/i] shed abroad in our hearts or not.

Job is a prime example of a man who remained faithful to the Lord in spite of the firey trial which was to try him. The great accusation against the Saints from our enemy towards God is the same as Job, "Doth Job serve God for nothing?" You must bear this in mind in any trial you go through. The enemy says that we only love God because He will do us good. We serve Him for what we can gain from the relationship. His argument is that if God were to withdraw the blessings- man will withdraw His love.

If you look closely at the Hebrew words for 'curse God' (as the enemy told God Job would curse Him to His face) there is an underlying meaning that Job would 'dismiss' God from His heart. Imagine the implications of such a statement, "Yea, skin for skin, touch his body and He will dismiss you from the throne of his affections." That, indeed, is a powerfully painful accusation. The enemy argued that there was a point in which Job would stop loving God with all his heart. He believed a scenerio could be created that would cause Job's love for God to [i]collapse[/i]. Yet, this writer believes that there was something more to this relationship with God that nor the enemy or even his wife understood. Job had tasted of the love of God and that love endures [i]all[/i] things.

Since the 'love of God' (agapE) is not the same as we would generally understand love (phileo, stergos, eros) we will take a moment to define it. Vines Greek NT dictionary states that, "(agapE) Love or "the love of God" can be known only from the actions it prompts. God's love is seen in the gift of His Son (I John 4:9,10). But obviously this is not the love of complacency (self-gratification), or affection, that is, it was not drawn out by any excellency in its objects (Romans 5:8). It was an exercise of the divine will in deliberate choice, made [u]without assignable cause[/u] save that which lies in the nature of God Himself.” (Vines)

This is God’s love and it flows from His nature independent of any good thing in us. God loves because it is his [i]nature[/i] to love. The old timers often use the term [i]benevolence[/i] as a way of describing this love. I Corinthians 13 describes it in detail. It is the highest form of love. This agapE love is what is poured into our hearts when the Holy Spirit comes in. We as born again believers have a [i]nature[/i] to love and keep on loving [u]in spite[/u] of the many challenges to that love because the Holy Spirit resides in us.


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 2006/4/27 8:31Profile
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 Re:

THE EXPRESSION OF AGAPE LOVE (Part 4)

AgapE love or ‘Christian love’ has [i]God[/i] for its primary object. We express agapE love first of all by obedience to Christ’s commandments (John 14:15,21,23; 15:10; I John 2:5; 5:3; II John 6).

A predominant attitude of ‘self-will’, that is, ‘self-pleasing’, is evidence that God’s love (agapE) is [u]not[/u] present. God’s love, whether exercised toward the brethren, or toward men generally, is not an impulse from the feelings (as would be phileo, eros). AgapE love does not always run with the natural inclinations and affections (stergos), nor does it spend itself only upon those for whom you may have a relationship.

AgapE love (God’s love) seeks the welfare of all (Romans 15:2), and works no ill to anyone (I Corinthians13:8,9,10). AgapE love seeks opportunity to do good to [i]all men, and especially toward them that are of the household of the faith[/i] (Galatians 6:10). This is a love expressed by God causing it to rain on the just and the unjust.

We get a picture of this love expressed in Matthew 5; [i]But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.[/i]

Notice what this passage says, [i][u]That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven[/u]: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? [u]Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect[/u].[/i]

The word for 'perfect' here is Teleios. It carries the idea of [i]completeness[/i]. Our love should be expressed even as God expresses it. This is the thing that distinguishes true Christians from non-Christians. The appropriation of benevolence by unbelievers is hit and miss and thoroughly 'incomplete' in its distribution. If we distribute benevolence like everyone else we are no different than them. However, with the love of God (AgapE) poured out in our hearts we are enabled to distribute good-will to all as if we were 'blindfolded' to our relationship to them; good, bad, or non-existent. God's Love desires the best for [u]everyone[/u] and does not delight in the ills of others.


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 2006/4/27 16:42Profile
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 Re:


THE CONSTRAINING INFLUENCE OF THE LOVE OF GOD (Part 5)

In II Corinthians 3:5 we gain insight into the constraining influence of the love of God as it has been poured out in our hearts. Paul writes, [i]We are not again commending ourselves to you but are giving you an occasion to be proud of us, so that you will have an answer for those who take pride in appearance and not in heart. For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are of sound mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. [/i](NASU)

This is a powerful statement! The Greek word for ‘control’ gives us a picture like unto a narrow road walled in on both sides like a tunnel or a channel. The love of Christ would not allow Paul to turn to the right hand or the left. It was this love, poured out in His heart, that kept him 'on track' and doing what God wanted him to do.

Paul is also stating that what he does is not for ‘appearance’ but is done out of the love (agapE) that’s in his heart. He did not do things to be seen. He did not do it for the praise of men. He did it because it was his new found born again nature to do it and he could not [i]help[/i] but do it. The love of Christ was the inward motivating factor in his ministry. It was not something he had to 'force' any more than we would be motivated by love in the natural.

Moreover, there was an additional truth that kept Paul thankful, even cultivating the desire to be filled and filled, over and over with God's love through the Spirit. Paul had come to the sobering conclusion that if [i]one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all.[/i] Now we are back to our survey of the wondrous cross. John said it similarly, [i]Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.[/i] (I John 4:11)

So what were these men saying? Men that had experienced the fullness of the love of God shed abroad in their hearts? They were looking through the eyes of love and were constrained to love, in spite of the circumstances. And in that fullness they were [i]fully equipped[/i] to fulfill the two great commandments upon which hang [u]all[/u] of the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 22:40).


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Robert Wurtz II

 2006/4/28 8:15Profile









 Re:

From my favorite Psalm below that applies to these posts. God is GOOD and His mercies endureth forever and so does His Word.

"Psa 119:103 How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!"


LORD Bless you Robert.

 2006/4/28 8:24
RobertW
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 Re:

AGAPE THE "UN-NATURAL" LOVE (Part 6)

You will recall that we stated in an earlier section that [i]Love worketh no ill to his neighbour[/i]; the end of that passages states, [i]therefore love is the fulfilling of the law[/i] (Romans 13:10). The word ‘ill’ in this passage is generally translated as ‘evil’ and should be understood to mean the [i]outworking[/i] of that selfish, murderous, destructive and hateful spirit of Satan himself. It is the opposite of agapE love and flows from the Sinful nature.

Simply stated, ‘love works [u]no[/u] injury to his neighbor.’ This is the supreme summary of the Law of Moses. The Jews had eventually codified that law into 248 "Do's" and 365 "Don'ts" (one for each day of the year), a total of 613 Commandments. But the fact is, you cannot [i]legislate[/i] AgapE love. Reason being is that man must have the intent and spirit of the Law front and center as his objective in obeying it; and that objective is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and our neighbor as ourselves. When that objective is lost a host of means can be employed to carve up the Law till it is of none effect. Simply put, the Law just as well as told the people you don't really love God or your neighbor in of yourselves. You have a nature of hate and are of your father the devil. This is the reality that makes John 3:3 make sense.

AgapE love will put down the emotions and constrain a person who is filled with the Holy Spirit. The Law could not do that in it was weak through the flesh. The nature of humanity is contrary to the spirit of the Law. And the Law does a wonderful job pointing that out. As we look into the perfect law of liberty, the Law that shows us a God of perfect love, who causes it to rain on the evil and the good, and we [i]see ourselves[/i], we see what manor of men and women we are. And apart from Christ; apart from the love of God poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit we are destined to sin, because sin is cultivated in the absence of AgapE love.

Before you were born again you would defend your family to the death for the same crimes you had put your enemies to death for; why? Because your love was not [i]perfect[/i]. You would prefer your friends and make provisions for them regardless of whether they were right or wrong. Why? Because you phileos them. You would sacrifice and sacrifice for Sin and this world to the destruction of your own life and soul, but would not as much as walk across the street for free [i]salvation[/i]. Why? Because you sacrifice for that which you love, and you loved Sin more than your own best interest.

But when you were born again you found a new love. This love was demonstrated by our Lord as He was being taken to the cross and crucified. Here we read, [i]But Jesus was saying, "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing."[/i] (NAS) I have chosen the NAS version because it accurately translates the Greek verb as ‘was saying’. This means that He not only said it once, but was ‘saying’ it [u]over[/u] and [u]over[/u] again. Had man seen such a perfect expression of love? It is certain that this had [i]never once[/i] happened before in the history of humanity. That a man wrongfully condemned would pray forgiveness for those who were putting Him to death and mocking Him? Not after there was time for the wounds to heal and after reflection and much thought and feelings of mercy may begin to flow. Oh No! The love of Christ was in the "while we were yet..." tense (if you will). This is completely UNNATURAL LOVE. It was an expression of God’s love in the midst of tremendous trial and temptation. It was a demonstration of that same love which has been shed abroad in our heart by the Holy Spirit.


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 Re:

THE RENEWING OF YOUR MIND (Part 7)


[u]And[/u] be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:2)

In a previous study we looked at Romans 12:1 where Paul calls our attention to the previous 11 chapters with the term, ‘therefore’. Romans is the closest thing we have in the New Testament to a systematic theology on the subject of salvation from Sin and sins (R.B). In verse 1 of chapter 12 he draws attention to the great ‘survey’ of the cross that he had afore explained to the readers. Paul expounded upon the length and width and breadth and height of God’s plan of redemption and the tremendous sacrifice and love that God demonstrated to us while yet sinners.

With chapters 1-11 as his backdrop he opens chapter 12 verse 1 with [i]“I beseech you therefore brethren…”[/i] He closes the verse by saying, that our presentation of our bodies is our 'reasonable' service. This word in the Greek is logicos and is where we get the English word logic. He was saying, essentially, that anything ‘other’ than our full presentation of ourselves to God, in light of all He has done for us, simply would not make sense; it would [u]defy reason[/u].

We then have the conjunction ‘and’ that couples the thoughts of verse 1 with 2. This means that the passage in verse 2 [u]also[/u] is part of the ‘therefore’ of verse 1. He is beseeching us of two seperate things that are coupled together. The one is dependant on the other. We are 'urged' to 'present our bodies' and we are 'urged' to renew our minds. If we understand this rightly it would be as if Paul [i]also[/i] said, [i]“I beseech ye therefore brethren by the mercies of God… to be not conformed to this world but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…”[/i]



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 2006/5/1 8:44Profile
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 Re:

THIS WORLD: AT ENMITY WITH GOD (Part 8)

We must begin this section by affirming God’s total enmity with this World. In I John 2:15-16 we read, [i]“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”[/i]

There are only a relative 'handful' of occasions in which the word ‘agapE’ is [i]not[/i] used in relationship to Christian Love (the Love of God). Our passage is one of them. Its use in I John 2 is similar to other passages where we are told that things such as, [i]men agapE (love) darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil[/i] (John 3:19). We read in II Timothy 4:10, [i]For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world…[/i]. other ways it is used include 'love' as in one that ‘loved’ the nation of Israel (Luke 7:5) and the Pharisee’s that ‘loved’ the chief seats (Luke 11:43). Even sinners are said to ‘love’ (agapE) those who ‘love’ (agapE) them (Luke 6:32).

In every case we have an incomplete 'version' of the perfect agapE love of God as described in our previous study. In the afore mentioned examples the word is used to denote a love willing to [u]sacrifice[/u]. Truly the love of God also is one of sacrifice, but the difference is in the perfection of God’s love. The agapE of God is ‘self-less’, the ‘agapE expressed by the unsaved is ‘selfish’.

We are told to love [u]not[/u] the world, neither the things that are in the world. Then we are faced with an ‘if’ leading into John’s second thought… [i][u]If[/u] any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.[/i] You cannot have the love of God shed abroad in your heart by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5) and love the world at the same time. It is impossible. It is an axiom of this passage that if you love the world you do [u]not[/u] have the love of the Father. This is a ‘one or the other’ question; it cannot have an answer of 'both'.

The ‘World’ is this temporal age headed by the spirit of disobedience- bent on selfish rebellion against God. It is the domain of Satan where the expression of his nature is increasing with each passing day. The ‘things’ that are in the world are, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. These are the only three ‘tools’ in the devil’s kit (Reidhead). With these three things he has damned the race of men. They answer to the Old Testament gods that Israel stmbled over when they came into the promised land of Baal, Asteroth, and Molech.

[u]Baal[/u] represents the procurement of ‘things’. [u]Asteroth[/u] represents ‘forbidden and illicit experience’. [u]Molech[/u] ‘ascendancy over ones fellows’ (See Danger of third Generation Religion; P. Reidhead).


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 Re:

CONFORMITY TO THIS WORLD (Part 9)

Be not ‘conformed’ is an interesting phrase. Paul is telling the people that there is a danger that after all God has done the effects of His work would be made void by neglecting this truth. What travesty! What an injustice? That God would take a sinner from a sinful world, forgive their sins, give him/her a new nature, pour His love in their hearts by His Spirit, put them back into the world for the purpose of their being a ‘peculiar people’ (in the midst of a perverse and crooked generation), and that person pattern their life after the world that God sent His Son to save them from.

A sober mind sees this as utter madness. [i]Be not conformed...[/i], that is, do not 'pattern yourself' after. The word ‘conformed’ has the Greek root, [i]sun[/i] (soon) and it means to 'walk together in union as companions.' James said it this way;

Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

Those members of the church that have befriended the world are figuratively regarded as unfaithful spouses to God. Why? Because their affections have turned away from Him and have turned to this World, His enemy. This is the pure definition of [u]whoredoms[/u]; to take the love that belongs to the one and give it to another.

The enemy is always wanting to steal away our affection for God for himself. What’s the solution? [i]But be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.[/i]


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 2006/5/2 8:19Profile





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