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Teaching And Research By: M. E. Arbaugh
Last Update: Sunday, 10-Sep-2017 16:39:26 EDT
Teaching And Research By:
A LASTING LOVE
The greatest love story ever told is not about a man and a woman, but is about God's love for mankind. Thousands of years ago, God created a beautiful garden upon a restored earth. In that beautiful garden God placed His masterpiece, man. Nothing has ever been designed that is more marvelous than mankind. God said, let us make man in our own image, and then designed a beautiful and very complex earth suit, to house the God like perfect spirit and soul of man. God's purpose was to have a loving relationship, fellowship, with man. To have a father-son and father-daughter kind of love between Him and His creation.
Adam and Eve were perfect, but they were not perfected. To be perfected, you must choose life. In order that Adam and Eve might be perfected, God placed two special trees in the beautiful garden that He created. The tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. God said you may eat of all the trees except of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. For if you eat of that tree, you shall surely die. God did not say, He would kill them if they ate of that tree, He said, they would die. A statement of fact and a warning. Two special trees, one for life and one for death. Both in plain view.
One day, trouble entered the garden. Eve was deceived. Right there, within inches of the tree of life, she was tricked, hoodwinked....fooled...conned....DO YOU UNDERSTAND? SHE WAS IGNORANT OF Satan's DEVICES, SO SHE WAS DECEIVED. Adam wasn't deceived (1 Tim 3:14), he chose to enter death with Eve rather than life with God. He had his eyes on the creation instead of the creator. The result was disastrous (Rom 5:12-19), instead of a beautiful god like spirit that communed with God and a mind that was able to think like and understand God; they now had dead spirits and reprobate minds that feared God. Minds that once were filled with light were now dark and without understanding of the nature of God. (Isaiah 1:2)
But God still had His love for mankind. He came seeking the ones who had wronged themselves and Him, with a plan that had been laid even before the foundation of the world. God said, "where are you Adam?" and Adam said, I was afraid and I felt so naked. It was love that called Adam out of his hiding place and into a place of confession and forgiveness. It was love that began to light candles in the midst of their darkness. Both Isaiah and Luke said that those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death must be taught the pathways of peace.
The first light of God's love came with the animal that was slain and the skin for a covering. Because man made the wrong choice, now he had a new ruler. Instead of being a ruler under God, he is now a slave to Satan. As a result, the conditions of life went from good, to bad, to worse. Eventually, because the wickedness was so great on the earth, God had to cleanse the earth. There were a few who hearkened unto God, a minority in the middle of great evil, when the flood came .....there were only eight. The eight came off of the ark, and multiplied. Again there were only a few who hearkened unto the Lord, and so God chose a man out of the main stream of life. Gently, He led this man into a life of faith. A blood covenant was established and a family of covenant people began to grow.
Abraham was called a friend of God and that was good, but God's desire was to have sons and daughters who communed with Him, just as Adam and Eve did at the very beginning. Abraham's family grew, and God loved them. Again, only a few responded. While the family was in Egypt, it grew into a mighty nation. Even though the nation as a whole failed to honor God, He was faithful and provided their daily bread. As their disobedience increased, their blessing decreased, and soon faded away. It appears that when things got really tough, someone remembered the God of their father Abraham and cried out for help. God could have said, "Why should I, the one who you have abandoned, help you?" But He didn't. Instead His love provided a way out of bondage and into liberty. As God led them out of Egypt, there was a cloud during the day and a fire at night, there was manna and most of all there was love and patience. Even so, it wasn't long until most of them returned to their old ways. There were a few who responded to His love, but most turned after other Gods....their minds still dark and their spirits still dead.
Then God made an agreement, obey me and you will not lack for any good thing. I will be your provider, your health, and your redeemer. In confidence they said, "All you have said, we will do." Only to discover that somehow even if they had good intentions, they could not measure up. Even here there were a few, who understood and responded to His love with faith. And God in His abounding love, kept on abounding toward man, the object of His love. Thunder and lightening from the mountain frightened them, Angels frightened them and only a few were able to hear the still small voice......and God in His love, kept right on abounding toward man.
The prophets spoke....unto us a child is born, He shall be called wonderful, counselor, prince of peace.....of His kingdom there shall be no end. There were a few who heard and understood, but not many. Still, God kept on loving.
For four hundred years there was silence, not one prophet's voice was heard in the land. Many wondered, was God still alive? There were only a few who held fast to His words and His promises.
The years went by. Some of the people were seeking God, but they didn't know how to find Him or what He was like. Their minds were still dark and their spirits were still dead.
Nearly two thousand years ago, the Romans were worshiping their emperor...the Greeks were worshiping carnal knowledge...the barbarians were worshiping their superstitions.....the Jews were worshiping their forms and rituals and trying to work their way into heaven by keeping the ten commandments and the hundreds of others they manufactured from the ten ....and still, God loved man.
Then, when the fullness of time had come, the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. He was born where it was foretold. Into Bethlehem, the house of bread, came the Bread of heaven. There isn't anything that is frightening about a new born baby. So God sent His love in tiny human form. Angels came, to those who were awake and watching they said, "fear not" and made the great announcement. A few who heard the announcement said, let us go and see this great thing that has come to pass. Others just wondered. Those who sought Him, found Him. He was in a stable with animals. Some said, would a king be born in such a place as this? The wise ones, laid their gifts at His feet and worshiped.
Even as a child, He knew what His mission was. He grew in wisdom and stature .... in favor with God and man. One day Jesus approached the Jordan and there was John. John was busy preaching repentance and that the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand. When he looked up and saw Him, John could have said, look, here comes my cousin Jesus, but he didn't. Instead he said, look, there is the lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.
Then God said, this is my beloved son, hear Him. There were only a few who responded.
Jesus went about gently touching people and saying to them, this is what God is like. The Father and I, are one. God isn't mad at you, we love you. People hardly knew what to think, in that day the Romans were not gentle, they crushed with military might. The Greeks were aloof, very intellectual, they didn't touch, they didn't want to get involved. The Jews didn't touch, because they didn't want to get their hands dirty. The barbarian only touched in order to hurt. People who live in darkness, under the god of this world, Satan, only know fear and pain.
Gentleness was a surprise to them. No wonder He caused a crowd to form where ever He went. He touched the untouchable with the love of His Father. He's still doing that today. He is the same unchanging expression of God's love abounding toward man.
He isn't interested in what you used to be or what you are now. He says, come let us reason together, though your sins be as scarlet I will wash them, I will make them white as snow. It's not the past or the present that matters, it's the future. Jesus the expression of God's love is still saying, take me into your life, I am the redeemer, I am the healer of broken bodies, broken lives, broken marriages and broken dreams. God loves you. He wants you to have a life that is full of peace, love, joy and abundance. He wants you to spend eternity with Him, beginning now.
The greatest love that the world has ever known, is expressed in John 3:16, "for God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son."
This is not a religion that we are speaking of. The world is filled with religions. This Jesus, the one who paid the penalty for your sins, is not a religion, He is the source of life. Sin isn't what keeps you from entering into the kingdom anymore. The sin problem was taken care of, on the cross at Calvary. God's love sent His Son to pay the debt that you owed. The debt that was bigger than it was possible for you to repay. His life was poured out so you might have life and have it more abundantly.
He offers this life to you, God's love gave, it is up to you to receive. Those who do not trust Him are condemned already. Those who rely on Jesus and trust Him suffer no condemnation and no rejection.
The choice is clear, do nothing and by default, you have chosen death. Choose Jesus and you have chosen life.