All Scripture quotations are from the Authorized King James Version of the Bible unless otherwise indicated.
June 30, 2009
HANDS FOR JESUS
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2009 by Merle E. Koepke
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This is Part 2 of a series of Mini-books on "God is Love." This series is not the same as the larger book titled "God is Love." The larger book focuses upon "why God created man in His own likeness and image."? The larger book is available by downloading from our Web sites at:
This series of Mini-books will focus upon "God and His love for mankind." If we do not know God by His love, we do not truly know God. "...For God is Love" (1 John 4:8).
There are two god's in this world. There is the God of all creation (mentioned all throughout the Bible from Genesis through Revelation). Then there is also the "god of this world" mentioned specifically in 2 Corinthians 4:4, where it is speaking of Satan, the Devil, who is a god also.
The word "god" means "any of various beings conceived of as supernatural, immortal, and having special powers over the lives and affairs of people and the course of nature." Man is not a "god" in the true form of a god. Man is mortal and does not have supernatural powers over the affairs of people. Only God and Satan have power to operate in the spiritual realm beyond that of the ability of man.
Mankind is subject to either GOD or Satan, depending upon which one man submits to. Romans 6:16 explains this the best by saying, "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?" It has always been man's choice as to whom he will submit to, GOD or the Devil?
Christians need to know the true God of all creation. Until Christians know the true God, they will easily be deceived by the god of this world, and taken in his snare. Christians who truly know the God of this creation, can walk in love and receive from God the things needful in this life. Jesus was speaking of Christians when He said in John 14:13,14, "And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son...If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it." God loves to answer the prayers of Christians who walk in love and keep His commandments.
Therefore, let us get to know the God of all creation, and follow Him, and serve Him all the days of our lives. He is God and there is none other like Him (Isa. 46:9,10).
GOD IS LOVE
Christians who do not know God by His love, do not truly know God, they only know about Him. This is sad, because there are so many people calling themselves Christians, without knowing God by His love.
The Apostle John made it clear that "God is love." In 1 John 4:8 it says, "He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love (agape)." The English versions of the Bible do not give us a good understanding of the love of God. In the Greek, the word used for love in 1 John 4:8 is "agape." This word "agape" is only used when it pertains to the love of God in a person or the love of God Himself. This Greek word "agape," is not speaking of human love. The Greek word used for human love is "phileo." Agape is unconditional love.
God's love is unconditional love. It can only operate when and where God is involved. It cannot operate independently without God being involved in some form or other. It is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22,23).
To help identify this love of God we see a description of it in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. In the New King James Version it says, "Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up...does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil...does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth...bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."
This is the way God's love manifests in God and in Christians who are walking in love. When these attributes are not manifesting in the lives of Christians, we should know there is something wrong.
The first thing mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13:4 is "Love suffers long and is kind..." God does not force anyone to receive Jesus and become born again. God loves everyone, but draws people to Jesus, waiting until they receive Him. Jesus said in John 6:44, "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him..." By this we know that God keeps drawing people to Jesus until they respond and receive Jesus as their LORD and Savior.
In my life, I knew God was working in my life, protecting and delivering me from many situations. I could have been killed, or at least injured in automobile accidents a number of times. Yet, I never recall of ever being injured in any one of the accidents I had been in. God loved me, even before I received Jesus into my life as my LORD and Savior.
From the age of six, I knew God was doing things in my life, but I never knew why. I had sickness and diseases in my body. My parents took me to many doctors, but they did not find out what the cause of my condition was. It wasn't until I was about twenty-two years old that a Doctor found out what the cause was for my condition. All of those years, the LORD was protecting me and keeping me from major problems in my life.
God is love and He loves mankind whom He created in His own likeness and image. "Love suffers long and is kind..." When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden and ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, the LORD did not come against them. The LORD still loved Adam and Eve, and promised them He would come into this world Himself, born of a woman and defeat the Devil for us. In Genesis 3:15 the LORD said, "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel."
The LORD Himself, Who created mankind and all that we see today loved Adam and Eve and promised to come into this world Himself and pay the price for their sins with His own precious blood. The LORD did not do that just for Adam and Eve, but for all of mankind whom He created in His own likeness and image. The LORD could have started over by destroying Adam and Eve and creating someone else to take their place. But, because of the love of God, Jesus became our Savior from sin and death.
The religious spirits today still want to condemn and destroy those whom they say sinned. God is love, and "Love suffers long and is kind...," while waiting for sinners to repent and receive forgiveness of sins. There is not one person alive today who has not sinned against God.
God "is kind," even to those who come against Him. For everyone who repents, God forgives them and cleanses them from all sin. In 1 John 1:9 it says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." What God does for us, Christians should also do for others.
I have seen God heal people whom I knew they were living in sin. If God can forgive those who have sinned, why cannot Christians also forgive those who have sinned? God desires for His Children to walk in the likeness and image of His Son, Jesus Christ. In 1 Corinthians 15:49 it says, "And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly." We are to bear the image of Jesus Christ, in whom we live and have our being after we are born again into the family of God.
When Christians walk in love as God is love, we can draw many to the LORD, and see God manifest in their lives also. God wants to manifest Himself in the lives of everyone who will receive Him. It is by His love that He does manifest in the lives of those who love Him.
Even Christians will not truly know God, until they know Him by His love. Our natural mind cannot understand God and His love. Some people like to imagine things in their minds. Their imagination gets them to think things that could seem to be out of this world, so to say. Try this, just try to imagine a God who created all things, including mankind in His own likeness and image (Gen. 1:26-28). He formed man's physical body of the dust of the ground, and then said that man should reproduce after his own likeness and image (thereby, multiplying mankind into unnumberable, countless individuals). This is awesome, almost unimaginable in our minds.
Now that goes beyond our imagination. But did you ever consider in your imagination that this same LORD God, who created mankind in His own likeness and image would then become man Himself (born of a woman and the Holy Spirit)?
God loved mankind so much that He became man by being born into this world in the likeness of man, whom He created in the beginning. As the Son of Man, the LORD God took upon Himself all our sins, iniquities, infirmities, sicknesses, and diseases and defeated the Devil for us. Jesus Christ, who became man in the flesh did this for us, because of His love for those whom He created in His own likeness and image.
As the Son of Man, after taking all our sins, iniquities, and infirmities upon Himself, He died for us. He defeated the Devil and took from him the keys of hell and death. Then He arose again from the dead to give to us eternal life in Him.
Can your mind imagine such love? How that the One who Created all things, including mankind, would become man Himself, and take upon Himself all that is not pleasing to God. Not just take away that which is not pleasing to God, but at the same time make it possible for us to become like Him, in His likeness and image. Not only that, but that through the new birth, we become one with God in Christ. God dwells in us and we dwell in God.
Oh, what love that God has for man whom He created in His own likeness and image. Now, can you image this? Through the new birth we are one spirit with the LORD. The LORD Jesus Christ has become one with us and we have become one with Him. That is awesome, too great to even conceive in our own understanding.
Now stretch your imagination further, for when we receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit comes into us, in our spirit to become our Helper, Guide, Comforter, Leader, and Teacher in all things. It is not just God the Father and the Son that indwell us, but also the Holy Spirit, giving us the power to be witnesses of Jesus. Jesus made it all possible for us to be united with God, not just in this life, but for all eternity.
God's love goes beyond our imagination. When the Scriptures talk about God's love, it reveals the true love of God. It says in 1 John 4:19, "We love him, because he first loved us." God loves mankind so much that He came down from heaven to live with us, in our spirit.
When we truly love someone, we want to be with them, wherever they are. That is the way it is with true love. God loves us so much He wants to be with us wherever we are. God never wants to leave us. God wants to be with us forever.
Jesus, who is God with the Father and the Holy Spirit said to His disciples just before He was taken up to be with the Father, "...lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen" (Matt. 28:20).
When Jesus prayed to the Father in John 17:20-23, He said, "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word...That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me...And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one...I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me."
Over and over we are told how much God wants to be with us. The Love of God desires to be with those who love God. Jesus said in 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." Therefore, Jesus said the Holy Spirit, which the Father will send to those who love Him will abide with us for ever. That is love at the highest degree. God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit never want to leave those who love them.
Even concerning those who love Jesus, He said, "...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). This is not talking about some time in the future. Jesus was talking about today, Christians everywhere will experience God dwelling in them here on earth. Yes, God will be with us in heaven, but even before we go to be with God in heaven, God comes down here on earth where we are and makes His dwelling place in us.
In Colossians 2:8-10 it reminds us, saying, "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ...For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily...And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power." In God, we are complete, the fulness of the Godhead dwells in us. That is the love of God, how much He loves us.
God loves us, and He wants us to love Him also. Whatsoever God wants us to do, He gives us the ability to do it. Therefore, the love of God is given to us when we become born again of the Word and the Spirit. It is not our love. It is the love of God in us. It is God's ability to love us, that He gives us to enable us to love Him.
Without the love of God abiding in us we cannot love God the way He loves us. How do we know the love of God is in us? We know because we also love God with the same love He first loved us.
Those who love God love His Word, for God and His Word are one (John 1:1). Love is a relationship, which brings fellowship. By the love of God within us we have relationship with God and desire at all times to have fellowship with God. By daily studying the Scriptures, we have fellowship with God. We love God so much we do not want to stop studying the Scriptures.
In fellowship with the one we love, we want to praise and thank God for all that He has done, and is doing in our lives today. We love to pray to the Father and the Son, knowing how much they love us. We love praying in the Spirit (having communication with the Holy Spirit). The Holy Spirit dwells in us, therefore, in the spirit we pray and continue our fellowship with God.
It is sad to see Christians who no longer express their love for God. They go about life almost as though God does not exist. They do things the way the world does things. They believe in their own ability to accomplish what they desire for themselves.
What they do not understand is, that is a work of the Devil in their lives. He is taking them in his snare, at his will. They have neglected their time with God in the Word and in prayer, and the Devil has a place in their minds.
Satan is the Devil and he is "the god of this world" (1 Cor. 4:4). The Devil does have power over mankind, when people submit to him and obey him. The world is under his authority as a god, controlling everyone who permits him to operate in their lives.
Satan becomes "as a slave master" to those who do not understand his power and authority over them. Satan's power "as a god" controls everyone who does not resist him, and come against his deception, whereby he takes them captive at his will (2 Tim. 2:25).
We were all under his power at one time in our lives. Ephesians 2:2,3 says, "Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience...Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others."
When Christians no longer love God the way God loves them, the Devil starts working in their minds. He takes Christians in his snare, using his devices of placing thoughts in the minds of those who no longer love God as they did when they were first born again into the family of God.
Satan gained control in the lives of people when sin entered into the human race. Jesus came to set us free of Satan's control over us. To be free, and stay free, we must do what Jesus told us to do. Jesus gave us a commandment of love. There are two commandments in the commandment of love. These are listed in Mark 12:30,31, which says, "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first command-ment...And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these."
When Christians stop obeying these two commandments, they give a place for the Devil to have control in their lives. In Romans 6:16 it says, "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?"
Christians should reconsider their ways when they are not flowing in the love of God. They need to come to the understanding of what happened? How did they let themselves get into a position where the love of God is not manifesting in their lives?
Too often, Christians get caught up in "... the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things..." (Mark 4:19). These are the beginnings of the works of the Devil. These things take our attention away from the plan and purpose of God in our lives.
God still loves us, but what happened to the love we had for God? In our first commandment, Jesus said, "...thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength..." If we are still following this first commandment, then we should be walking in the love of God.
Satan uses the teachings of men to get Christians under his control. Many enter into the Churches and claim they have spiritual power and authority to control what other Christians do. They teach from the Bible, things pertaining to the Law of Moses, and claim they are teaching the will of God for His people. These teachings put Christians back under the Law of Moses, which Jesus fulfilled for all those who are in Christ.
The Law of Moses was only a schoolmaster given to the Children of Israel until Jesus came and fulfilled the Law for us (Gal. 3:24). When Jesus took the curse of the law upon Himself, He set us free of the law. The use of the law to control Christians is not of God, it is a work of men, not knowing the love of God for those who are Christians.
For those who have been listening to the teachings of men, they need to repent, turn back to listening to the Holy Spirit, whom God has sent to be our Helper, Guide, Comforter, Leader, and Teacher in all things. The Holy Spirit will bring us back to where we belong.
It was the love of God that sent Jesus into this world to set us free of the bondage of sin and death that came upon mankind in the garden of Eden. In Luke 4:17-19 it says, "And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written... The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised...To preach the acceptable year of the Lord."
When Jesus was teaching on the kingdom of God, in John 8:31,32, it says, "Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed...And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." Jesus knew the Jews were not free. They were under bondage, trying to live by the Law of Moses rather than understanding the love of God.
It was the love of God that sent Jesus into this world. And Jesus read from the book of Isaiah, why He came. Christians should know that Jesus did what the Father sent Him to do. Christians should be free of all the doctrines and teachings of men that put them back into bondage to the law. In John 8:31,32, Jesus also revealed to Christians how to be free and stay free. It is the love of God that will set us free and keep us free of all the works of the Devil.
Already at the time of the Apostles, and the writing of the Scriptures of the New Testament, men had entered into the churches, teaching things that should not have been taught. Jude wrote of these things, on how that men "having not the Holy Spirit," came into the churches and taught things which should not be among Christians.
Christians need to return to the teachings of the Holy Spirit, whereby He inspired men to write the New Testament for our understanding. The Love of God is still important in the lives of Christians. We should be careful that we do not let the love of God wax cold as Jesus mentioned in Matthew 24:12. We should not so love the world, that the love of God the Father is no longer in us (1 John 2:15-17). We should not leave our first love as it was mentioned concerning the Church at Ephesus in Revelation 2:4.
Eternity is still ahead of us. Spending eternity in the wrong place is not good for anyone. We should do as we are told in Colossians 3:2, where it says, "Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth."
It is when Christians start looking at, "... the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things...," that our focus is turned from the love of God to the love of other things.
If Christians find themselves drifting away from the love of God, which has been given to us in the new birth, we should repent and be cleansed from all unrighteousness. In 1 John 1:9 it tells us, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." It is not good to love the world and the things of this world more than we love God. Anything that is not of God is not good for us. God is righteous, and God is love. When we walk in the love of God which He has given us, we will also walk in righteousness.
True righteousness is of God. Righteousness is obtained by believing all that God says concerning His Children. As Children of God, we must be cleansed from all unrighteousness.
In 1 John 1:6,7 it says, "If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth...But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." As we walk in love and continue in fellowship with the Father and the Son, we are cleansed from all sin by the blood that Jesus shed for us (1 John 1:7).
God is love. God wants to be our God, and be the source of everything we have need of. In Matthew 11:28,29, Jesus said, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest...Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls." Because that God is love and Jesus is the Son of God, He made it all possible for God to dwell in us and be our God. Now, more than ever God wants to be our God.
God wants to supply all our needs. Whatsoever we have need of, He wants to supply it. As we enter into the reign of God in our lives, God will give us peace and joy. For the kingdom of God is the reign of God in our lives. The kingdom of God is "righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" (Rom. 14:17). Wherever we go, and whatever we do, God wants us to have "peace and joy." Jesus said in Matthew 6:10, that we should pray, "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." In talking about how things are in heaven, Revelation 21:4 says, "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." God loves us so much that He wants things to be done here on earth as they are in heaven.
God is well able to do what He has promised to do. He created all things, and is well able to take care of all who will come to Him and let Him be their God. We need to understand the love that God has for those who receive Jesus Christ as their LORD and Savior.
There isn't any love greater than the love that God has for those who will come to Jesus and receive Him as their LORD and Savior. Once we receive Jesus as our LORD we should continue to love Him and serve Him. We should turn away from anything that will draw us away from the love of God that He has poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 5:5).
Eternity is a long time. Let us make sure we spend eternity in heaven with God. Satan doesn't want us to serve God. But, we can resist the Devil and hold onto eternal life in Christ Jesus. We must, "Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life..." (1 Tim. 6:12).
If you need help in your walk with God, you can write to Hands For Jesus, Inc. at the address on the first page of this Mini-Book. We will do what we can to help you.
For more information on this subject, get all the other Parts of "GOD is LOVE." Watch for this series on our Web sites and download as many free books as you desire. All books on our Web sites are free. Go to: