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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “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.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.

Trevor

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  1. Trevor

    All 613 Laws of the Old Testament

    Hi Becky, I thought it was ironic you mentioned how and the same thing was mentioned in a Bible study I was in this morning. Someone asked the group to pray for them to get discernment about a particular situation they are going through. While we were praying the guy said he thought of an image of a plate of full of food. He said he wanted to eat everything on that plate except for one thing, but it was that very thing he felt God wanted him to eat. After he shared the image, someone else commented, that it made them think about what Jesus said in John 14:26 (i.e. "the Holy Spirit will teach you all things and remind you of everything I said"). I thought that was ironic because it made me also think of a verse in Luke 11, where Jesus said, "...how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" which is in verse 13. So, it seems that Jesus is saying that it is the Holy Spirit's job to help us with understanding His words, if we are sincerely asking : ). I just thought I would share because the guys I was with in the Bible study this morning were discussing discernment too. In peace and Christian love, Trevor
  2. Trevor

    All 613 Laws of the Old Testament

    Hi everyone, This discussion is interesting, but I have to admit, a lot of this discussion is over my head, but this comment did stand out to me. So my question is, are the things that Jesus taught in the 4 gospels important for Christians to follow today? Also, I do remember Jesus saying, "The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached..." Luke 16:16 In Christian love, Trevor
  3. Hi everyone, I am not quite sure whether it is a parable or story, but is there a spiritual application we can get from the passage anyway? I for one, would not want to be the rich man. He seemed to be quite pitiful because he was not on the right side of things and seemed he would have done things much differently during his time on earth, if he had a second chance. In peace and Christian love, Trevor
  4. Trevor

    Disobeying unjust/immoral laws

    Hi Faber, I don’t think it would be wise to use a foundation other than what God has already set in place as a basis to live and act (Matthew 7:24-27). That is all I was trying to encourage you to do in my response because you brought up how tax dollars are being used to fund murder and you seemed indifferent to it because you said you were not sure where to stand, so I pointed out that their is no teaching from Jesus that we are obligated pay our taxes to Caesar, if our true master is God. Our relationship with is God is between us and Him alone, not any of the other people that were introduced. Just to make what I am trying to say clear, what John Brown and the German’s who tried to kill Hitler did is between them and God, just like our relationship and what we do is between us and God. God is going to punish or reward us on the basis of whether we listened to what we did know and do (Luke 12:47). If we refuse to listen to God initially, the best we can hope for is to turn out like Jonah and repent and at worst, well only God knows. So I feel the most important question for us all personally is not, the hypothetical, what would we do in that person’s, but what does God want us to do in our own situation. In peace and Christian love, Trevor
  5. Trevor

    Disobeying unjust/immoral laws

    Hi Faber, I know what you mean when you shared your struggle with the idea of your tax dollars being used to fund murder by abortion. All I really know what to share with regard to taxes is what Jesus said, and maybe that will be some help to you. The two instances I can think of where he refers to taxes is: 1. when he was dealing with the Pharisees in Matthew 22:21 (i.e. “give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, but give unto God what is God’s”) and 2. in Matthew 17:24-27, when Peter told the tax collectors that Jesus did pay a tax, but Jesus later said, “The children of the King are exempt from paying taxes, but so not to cause offense, go get coins out of the fishes mouth to pay the tax”. When taking into account both things Jesus said, it seems that technically Christians are not obligated to owe taxes to Caesar because they are God’s, but it seems that it is not immoral for Christians to pay taxes in certain scenarios. This is far from what I have normally heard though, that Christians are obligated to pay Caesar. Now, if we know the money we are paying in taxes is going to fund murder, is it our Christian duty to refuse to fund it by not paying them? It may be unlawful, but we all know the laws of the land don't necessarily constitute morals in God's eyes. Take the example of Nazi Germany. We can and should protest, but that still doesn't get around the fact that we are funding the problem. Is it worse to disobey a law of man or is it worse to disobey God? I would think Acts 5:29 and Acts 4:19 would apply here. In peace and Christian love, Trevor
  6. Trevor

    Disobeying unjust/immoral laws

    Hi William and Becky, Thanks for all your thoughts and advice. I definitely agree about the praying for your enemies (which I think William mentioned) because that is what Jesus taught us to do (Matthew 5:44). I can’t help, but to think of Paul making his radical conversion after recognizing the errors of his ways. I would think others Christians would have been praying for him as well, when he was giving instructions to persecute and kill them (in fact, I think Stephen did), just like Jesus prayed for his crucifiers. Correct me if I am wrong, but after reading through what everyone wrote a few times, one thing that stood out in my mind was the point about God and money. William said, Now from the very little I know about taxes, I know they obviously deal with money (duh : ). Then William stated, I hope the churches can be America’s conscience too, and do not place "money before God", but since Jesus said their are only two masters and "no one can serve both" (the two masters being "God and money" (i.e. mammon) Matthew 6:24), that seems to be super close to the "red line", if not already over it. And what William said was further backed up by what Becky said, Do you guys today think that we could be in the same situation today that the prophets of old were in and that Jesus himself was in, where the religious leaders of the day have already compromised? I hope not, but the other master (i.e. money) in Jesus' teaching in Matthew 6:24 seems to be right there, possibly leading the way in decision making. With that in mind, I would think it could be difficult for us to unite as The Church, as Becky stated, Is there anyway for us in the congregation to know which master (God or money) the leaders of our particular churches are serving? Probably, the most important thing is to make sure we ourselves are sincerely desiring to follow Jesus, no matter what the costs and not money. It makes me think we probably need to be on high spiritual alert in the days ahead, doing our best to listen very carefully to God's instructions. What makes me feel comforted though is what William quoted Jesus saying in Matthew 16:18, which has to be the true church Jesus was referring to that God set up and which doesn't compromise for money. I just want to make sure I am a part of it. Those are my thoughts for now, so I will leave it there. In peace and love, Trevor
  7. Trevor

    Disobeying unjust/immoral laws

    Hi William, Thanks for your thoughts. Any ideas on how to prepare for something like that now (spiritually and practically) while things are somewhat relatively peaceful in our country? Also, unfortunately it seems like there are Christians out there, even at this moment, that are suffering that same persecution (i.e. the church over in China). Any ideas on what we could do to help them and encourage them through their sufferings? In the article, it was the Islamic religious leaders who made an agreement with the government to socialize their religion and ironically it seemed to be the same scenario in Jesus’ day, where the religious leaders, who had long since compromised on their convictions from God, resulted in them stating their King was Caesar, instead of the loving God incarnate himself (John 19:15) which was standing before them and whom they were sending to the cross. What is to stop the same thing from happening to the Christian religion today, if its religious leaders were to compromise their own convictions from God, for say, money (like Judas), power, or just because they weren't strong enough to make a stand themselves? That would leave professing Christians in a confusing and difficult situation where they would have to make a choice. Either go with the institutionalized religion of the day or go with God. (I hope we all choose the latter.) That does seem to be what happened in Nazi Germany too, where people were in concentration camps down the street from churches singing praises to God on Sunday, but were turning away from the atrocities that were happening close by. Obviously, they weren't "loving their neighbor as themselves", because I am sure they would have wanted someone to do something, if they were in that situation. Although, thankfully some made a stand, but sadly few did. Obviously, this is an unpleasant scenario to think about, but it could happen to us and has happened throughout history (i.e. “separating the wheat from the tares” and God spewing out the lukewarmness (Rev 3) comes to mind) and only the sincere followers of Christ will remain standing strong (Matthew 7:24-27). It would seem that it "would be" (i.e. Premillennialism), "was" (i.e. Preterism), or "is" (i.e. Amillennialism), a band of true believers and God vs institutionalized religion and an unrighteous tyrannical government which seems to be the layout in the book of Revelation. Also, I liked your response to Faber below. When you were talking about praying to the Father: and... Amen to that! In peace and Christian love, Trevor
  8. Trevor

    Disobeying unjust/immoral laws

    Hi Faber, Well, that is straightforward enough and I agree! I guess the challenge will be not compromising on our convictions if/when it starts to cost us a lot personally. Like Jesus said, "For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it." Matthew 16:25
  9. Trevor

    Disobeying unjust/immoral laws

    Hi everyone, I was just reading this thread and I thought about a very recent news article that I came across that has the potential to bring this conversation a little closer to home. It is below. http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1134750.shtml Normally, I don't get into politics, but I was thinking about what a proper Biblical response to this would be, if it happened to the Christian religion within a country? Here is what the article states that most concerned me, "Governing religion is a common challenge faced by all modern countries. The main purpose of China's five-year plan to sinicize Islam is to seek governance that tallies with Chinese practice, and it is not only limited to Islam." Would Christians be right to obey their government (i.e. Romans 13:1-7) in the country in which they live, if they classified "religious extremism" (terminology from the article) as say, posting certain information from the Bible on the web (or really any form of evangelism that could be classified as "soliciting ideas") or would we go with Acts 5:29 because Jesus told us to go into all the world? This is a sincere question that I would appreciate others thoughts on because I want to be able to give others a sound Biblical response as well and most importantly, if the time comes, to act in accord with what God wants and the article makes me think that time may come sooner rather than later, so I want to be prepared. In peace and Christian love, Trevor
  10. Trevor

    Introducing myself

    1. Briefly introduce yourself. My name is Trevor and I am 35 years old. I am married and have a young son. 2. How and how long ago did you become a Christian? Tell us about your conversion experience (if you have one). I have been a professing Christian ever since I can remember. I said the believers prayer when I was very young, but God has used many other other circumstances in my life to draw me closer to Him, so I can't say exactly at what point, I became a Christian. But throughout my life God has always been there when I needed Him, not bowing down to me, of course, but when I was most hungry and open to hear what He wanted me too. For example, when I first went to college and took a philosophy class taught by an atheist, what was taught in one class really challenged my faith, so I prayed God to show me the truth and I opened up my Bible shortly after that prayer directly to Colossians 2 verse 8 which was quite coincidental and then shortly thereafter I read what Jesus said in John 7:17, "Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own." So, those were both a clear answer to prayer there and a clear circumstance that drew me closer to Him. 3. What experiences have shaped you spiritually? The experiences that have most shaped my spiritual walk with God is all the love He has shown me throughout my life, especially the during the time I had cancer and He gave me the "perfect peace" Isaiah 26 talks about. It was that whether I lived or died, I would be okay and I had peace either way. That was almost 20 years ago, so God decided to keep me alive. Also, what I mentioned as an answer to the last question, every time I have a good witnessing encounter with someone, things I have learned about God and his creation, and mainly when I realized what Christ did for sinners and his example. 4. What evidences do you have that you have been given life by God? I think the evidence would be that I try to love to others like myself, although I fall very short, but thankfully Christ covers me with his imputed righteousness as the perfect sacrifice. 5. What does it mean for a person to love God? In what ways do you see true biblical love toward God demonstrated in your life? I think that question is answered best by Jesus when he said, "If you love me, you will obey me" (John 14:15). The way I see true biblical love toward God demonstrated in my own life is when I look at my past and see how my heart's desires have changed and how I don't want to sin anymore, although unfortunately I still do. 6. What activities characterize your evangelistic interest? I enjoy going out on the streets and handing out tracts from time to time, also some online witnessing. 7. What are your specific and regular practices regarding the spiritual disciplines (e.g., personal prayer, Bible study, meditation, stewardship, learning, etc.)? I have grown up in the Protestant Church my whole life, but still I feel like I have so much left to learn which is why I joined this forum, so that I could ask questions and read others thoughts about certain subjects. I have always attended a Baptist church, but some of my favorite preachers in the faith are Presbyterians. 8. Who are your favorite Christian writers, commentators, theologians, etc.? Why? What books have you read in the past year? Really anyone that teaches God's Word. I like to listen to David Platt, James White, R.C. Sproul, Francis Chan. 9. When you're met with opposition, has it been mostly related to your personality, your beliefs, or something else? I think the opposition comes from mainly from my beliefs, although sometimes I engage in debating to much when I am out on the streets, so some of it sadly has to do with my personality, but I am trying to work on that. 10. Any advice for new or other members on Christforums? Not that I can think of right now.
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