Bible Studies & Devotionals
From Olive Branch Ministries
By Mark and Tinsley Baker
Get all the Soul Foods online @:http://www.olivebranchministries.us
Love, Faithís Foundation
Galatians 5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.
Faith is one of my favorite topics to teach. I have found that it is the very foundation to our relationship with God the Father. We can not have or sustain any kind of relationship without it. He said in His Word Ö.
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
If we donít believe that He is, we will not come to Him nor seek Him. Because of this we will never receive the reward that diligent seeking provides.
I have learned through Godís Word and by experience that truly the very foundation of our faith is based on love. This love that I am talking about here is agape. Agape is the Greek word meaning the love of God or the God kind of love. It is the highest form of love there is. It is the same word translated love in John 3:16.
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
This is an unselfish kind of love that literally puts others first. Godís Word tells us that God is love. This is not just one of His attributes but what He is.
1 John 4:8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
4:10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.
This is a truly profound statement. The Apostle John had great understanding in this area.
I donít claim to have all the answers but I know first hand that people who have learned to walk in this higher agape form of love have Godís protection and hedge up around them.
This does not mean there are not problems in the world that will try to come against you.
We know that if you are living Godly in Christ Jesus you will be persecuted. (2Tm: 3:12.)
History tells us that the Apostle John was put alive into boiling oil and they could not harm him. Was he special in some way? With this in mind letís go back and read our last verse of
Scripture. 1 John 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.
This is not saying bad things will not come your way, it is saying that if you are truly abiding in Godís love then God will abide in you. How can we fail if we are truly abiding in God?
1 Corinthians 13:8a Love never fails.
This gives us much to reflect upon. Has the body of Christ been walking in the reality of this truth? I am speaking for myself when I say I seek to abide in Him and Him in me in a more profound way. I realize this is an ongoing process that we must all learn to walk in, however I believe we have just barely scratched the surface in our love walk. I know I have, Iím not pointing my finger at anyone.
Letís look on at the Word of God.
1 John 3:23 And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.
A commandment is an edict or a statue. It is true we are not under the law of the Old Testament, however we are under the law of Godís love. This is a higher law that supercedes all the other laws of the entire Bible.
Matthew 22:37. Jesus said to him, " `You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.'
38. "This is the first and great commandment.
39. "And the second is like it: `You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'
40. "On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.''
This is truly an incredible thing. We read right through this as if it were reading the begats.
I believe that if we can learn and understand this holy precept of Godís Word, we as the body of Christ will step into a new area of Godís divine presence and glory. Weíre not going to walk in it any other way. We have to start where we are. Godís Word shows us that the God Himself will teach us.
1 Thessalonians 4:9 But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another;
God has given us this commandment for a very good reason. I donít know if you have ever considered this, but God is on our side, and He wants us to succeed. However He has set up certain rules within His Holy Word that He will not override. When Adam fell He turned the authority that God had given him over to Satan. God could not just go in and override Adams decision. The authority Adam had was real, and he had the legal if not the moral right to do what he did. If God were to override Adams authority that would make him a usurper. A man lost the authority given him and a man had to get it back. God had to send a man to give us back the authority that was lost through Adam. That man was Jesus. This authority has been restored to us through Jesus Christ, but in order for us to walk in the reality of it, we have to do it Godís way. We have to walk in the love of God as He gave us commandment if we are going to walk in this higher reality. He gave us commandments so that we would do that very thing. As any loving father would give direction and instruction to his children our Heavenly Father has given us direction as well. If we will diligently seek Him and follow after His precepts we will see the reward of our effort. It is to our benefit if we do what He has told us to do in His Word.
1 John 2:5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.
This commandment is what will perfect and establish us in the faith. If you want strong faith then you must learn to walk in love and especially toward other believers.
John 13:35 "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.''
Love is the spiritual glue that binds us all together as believers
Colossians 2:2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ,
This talks about having full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God the Father and of Christ. That is where faith starts, KNOWING and having understanding in the mystery of this gospel. You see it starts by us as believers being knit or we might say being bound together in this agape love. Then understanding comes, and from that faith arises in our heart, and in that we will have full assurance.
That is a deep revelation if we will just accept it. This is not name it and claim it Christianity this is walking in the reality of the new creation.
If we as believers wonít walk in love toward each other, how are we going to show Godís love to the world? The truth is we wonít.
As we just read Jesus words in the Gospel of John Ö By this all will know that you are My disciples. It is Godís love that will draw men unto repentance. We must walk in it. Jesus talked about this in detail in the Gospel of John. Lets look.
John 14: 21. "He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.''
22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, "Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?''
23. Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.
24. "He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father's who sent Me.
Do you want Jesus and the Father to manifest themselves to you? This is how it happens. We are given instruction right here on how to walk the deeper walk of faith. If somebody told you they could show you how to walk in such a way that God the Father would manifest Himself to you, what would you say. Jesus said it right here. Lets take heed and begin realize the importance of what is being said. Having said all of this we see how our faith works in such a way that we can ask what we will and we shall have it.
John 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatsoever ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
8. "By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. 9. "As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.
10. "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love.
11. "These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.
12. "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
Let us as believers put aside our differences and begin to walk as the Lord Himself commanded us. Amen
Do you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Do you want to be a joint heir with Christ?
If so, I urge you to earnestly pray the following prayer.
Dear Heavenly Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus. Your word says, "Öand the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out." (Jn.6:37),
So I know You wonít cast me out, but You take me in, And I thank you for it. You said in your Word, "whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.'' (Ro. 10:13).
I am calling on Your name, So I know You have saved me now, You also said, "Öthat if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation." (Ro.10:9,10).
I believe in my heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I believe He was raised from the dead for my justification. And I confess Him now as my Lord, Because Your Word says, "Ö with the heart one believes to righteousnessÖ" and I do believe with my heart, I have now become the righteousness of God in Christ. (2 Cor. 5:21),
And I am saved! Thank You, Lord!
I can now truthfully say, I see myself as a born again child of God!
Glory to God!!!! Amen.