John 1:1-5, 14 prove Christ’s deity, that he was God in the flesh. Don’t try to understand how that can be, just accept that God said it and that settles it. Some things are too high for our finite minds. Jesus was with God in the beginning (Gen. 1:26-28). He left the splendor of heaven to be born as an infant, suffer childhood ailments, rejection, heartache, bullying, etc. for our sakes. He chose to allow himself to suffer as we do so he could identify with our sufferings. And we, in our prideful audacity, think we have the right to change His word, even though in at least four different places in the Bible, God tells us not to alter His word.
The Bible is not a buffet from which we can choose what to believe and what to throw out or ignore. God’s standards don’t change with the times or circumstances.
God is the supreme intelligence. He knows how to use words. He says what He means and He means what He says. The Old Testament is the history of the Jewish people and the nation of Israel in respect to their relationship with God. It is filled with prophecies of the coming of Christ, the Messiah (which means anointed deliverer). It has been given to us to show us God’s character. It also gives us the Ten Commandments (not suggestions), which show us God’s righteous standard. It also shows us how unable we are to keep them. It shows us that we need God’s help and intervention in order to live a life that pleases Him. We need a relationship with God, which only comes through faith and trust in the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross of Calvary.
God’s rules (statutes, commandments) are not arbitrary. They were engraved by His mighty hand in stone tablets.
But when we treat His word like a smorgasbord, picking and choosing what we want to believe and what to dismiss, we incur His wrath. We lose His blessings. We lose His fellowship. God’s word is full of promises and blessings for those who choose to live by His rules. Both Old and New Testaments show us the consequences for ignoring His rules and trying to have fellowship with Him by our own means, we exalt ourselves above Him. That’s what Satan did before he got kicked out of heaven. He tried to dethrone God. It didn’t work for him and it won’t work for us.
Malachi 3:6 says, “For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.”
Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.”
A God who stays the same, who doesn’t change, is a God we can trust. He is not arbitrary. He is steadfast, immovable. If it was wrong yesterday, it’s still wrong today. If it was right yesterday, it’s still right today.
God warns us repeatedly not to change His word, yet we have, many times over with all of the new “versions” of the Bible. I refuse to glorify them by calling them Bibles. They are Satan’s imitations of God’s word, designed to create confusion and controversy.
Rev. 22:18, 19 says, “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”
Deuteronomy 4:2 says, “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.”
Deuteronomy 12:32 says, “What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.”
Proverbs 24:21,22 says, “My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change: For their calamity shall rise suddenly; and who knoweth the ruin of them both?”
Proverbs 30:5, 6 says, “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.”
So what are God’s standards? What they are not is situation ethics!
I Corinthians 6:18 says, “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.” Fornication is any sexual activity outside the bonds of marriage. Adultery refers to sex with someone to whom you are not married, even though you are married to someone.
Colossians chapter 3 gives us a list of things Christians are not to participate in, or have as part of their character. If you are a Christian and have not had these teachings before, be patient with yourself. Ask God to help you overcome the things that pertain to you, and ask Him to tell you or show you what He wants to work on first.
I Corinthians 7:10-16 talks about God’s attitude toward divorce.
I Corinthians 13:1-8a is often called the love chapter, but the KJV uses the word charity, which is a stronger word. Love can fade, become stale, or get buried under hurt and bitterness. Charity is unselfish, completely others-oriented, sacrificial denying of self for the benefit of others. Charity never fails, and can only be implemented by the Holy Spirit living in us. We only get the Holy Spirit when we ask Jesus to forgive us our sins and invite Him to take over our lives.
Ephesians chapter 4 gives us a lot of information about how to have a good relationship with God.
Here is an important note: You cannot earn your way to heaven. You cannot do enough good things, be charitable enough, volunteer enough to get into God’s good graces. The only way to have a relationship with God is to accept His free gift of salvation through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Ephesians 2:8, 9 says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. “ If you could earn it, then it isn’t a free gift. The only thing you have to do to have a relationship with God is accept Jesus’s sacrifice for you. Everything else, every good deed you do, if you do it for the Lord, comes in response to your love for Him, because He first loved you.
What happens if you mess up? What if you commit adultery after you’re saved? Or if you get mad and cuss somebody out? What if you take God’s name in vain? (That doesn’t just mean saying it like a curse word; it means saying “God” or “Jesus” or any form of Jesus’s name as if it is just another word, with no purpose or meaning.)You tell God you’re sorry, ask Him to forgive you, and ask Him to help you change. You need to apologize to whoever heard you say those things, and the person you said them to, and explain that you are a new or baby Christian, still trying to change your old habits.
What if I’m in a situation where I have to live with someone of the opposite gender and we’re not married?
The answer is: Ask the Lord to show you some alternatives. Could you live with a relative, a friend of the same gender? What if you love that person but living together is more economical than marriage? Phil. 4:19 says, “My God shall supply all of your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Trust God and do what is right. He has never broken a promise to anyone. You need to be in constant prayer in order to learn to trust Him, but when you read the verse out loud it encourages your faith and sets things in motion that you have no control over: God does. When do things our own way we rob ourselves of God’s blessing because it means we are not trusting Him.
I strongly suggest reading one chapter of Proverbs every day and begin reading the gospel of John (the fourth book in the New Testament). If you don’t have a Bible, ask a pastor if he can get one for you. I know some of the language in the King James is archaic (very old) and we don’t talk that way today, but if you take the time to think about each sentence in segments or phrases, it will become easier to understand. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand. That’s His job. Remember to thank the Lord for His blessings, and thank the Holy Spirit for helping you.
Next segment on Monday afternoon.