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Daily Bread - February 22, 2017
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Wednesday, 22 February 2017 11:30
1 John 2:6 - He that says he abides in Him ought himself to walk also just
as He walks .

Part 2: Walking

Christ Jesus has given all men everywhere the invitation to come and abide
in Him (John 15:1-5). There is no salvation outside of abiding in Christ
Jesus (John 6:56, 14:17, 15:4, 6; 1 John 2:27-28, 4:13). If we have
responded to His call and are abiding in Christ Jesus, then we will live
like He lives. We will walk in the light just like He walks in the light;
for if we abide in Him, then we are even as He is in this world today (1
John 1:7, 4:17). If we have been born of God, we don't need anyone to teach
us this. The anointing that we have received teaches us that we must abide
in Him. Furthermore, we delight to dwell in Him (1 John 2:27; Psalm 40:8;
Isaiah 58:13-14 )!

In this modern age, a simple key stroke on a computer will result in all of
the scriptures defining what it means to 'abide in Christ', but men still
choose to define the life that is acceptable to God in their own way. Many
have been deceived to believe that they can live their lives according to
their own insights. There is a way that seems right to man, but when it is
not what the Holy Spirit directs, then it leads to destruction (Proverbs
14:12; Matthew 7:13). We can all be certain as to the direction of the Holy
Spirit because Jesus modeled the consecrated life for us. Worldliness is
not a part of His life. Living for one's own self-interest has nothing to
do with the life of Christ. The life of Christ is living only to do the
will of the Father, as it is revealed in His Word. Any kind of compromise
with sin is not a part of the life of Christ.

The life of Christ is filled with the goodness and purity of heaven, and
God demands that we conform in every way to the image of Christ Jesus
(Romans 8:29, 12:1). He has given us the opportunity to repent, to be
converted, and to learn to walk just as He walks. We are living in perilous
times. Everywhere men live very differently from that life shown to us by
Christ Jesus; and yet, they believe that they abide in Him. In these
perilous times, the voice of Christ Jesus, which cries out against a
rebellious and crooked generation, is regarded as the voice of mad and
angry men. Yet, the foundation of God stands sure. God has not changed, and
He will not be mocked (2 Timothy 2:19; Galatians 6:7). In His abundant
mercy, He has provided the salvation which we need in order to live life
according to godliness (2 Peter 1:3-4). We must take heed that we be found
in Christ (2 Peter 3:14; 2 Corinthians 13:5; Galatians 2:17). If we live in
Christ Jesus, then we keep His word; we walk as He walks; the Holy Spirit
teaches us and leads us; we do not continue in sin, we keep His
commandments, we have His Spirit; we dwell in God; He dwells in us; and the
fruits of His life are manifested in our lives (1 John 2:5-6, 27-28, 3:6,
24, 4:13, 15-16, 5:20).

The way Jesus walked received the Father's full approval as witnessed
definitively when God said, "This is my beloved Son, in Whom I am well
pleased" (Matthew 3:17, 17:5). The whole life and walk of Jesus was found
in one single purpose: to live for and to do the will of the Father (John
5:30, 8:28; Hebrews 10:7). Those who follow Jesus, and live only to do the
will of the Father, walk even as He walks. These are the ones that will
hear the Father say, "Well done, my good and faithful servant", simply
because they are found to exist in the Son (Matthew 25:20-21; 1 John 5:11;
Matthew 12:50; 1 Peter 4:1-2).
 
Daily Bread - February 21, 2017
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Tuesday, 21 February 2017 08:59
1 John 2:6 - He that says he abides in Him ought himself to walk also just
as He walks .

Part 1: Abiding

The gospel message of "being in Him," is one of the most important in the
New Testament and is the chief theme of John 15. The two phrases "to be in"
(Gr- "einai en") and "to abide in" (Gr- "menein en") are, for the most
part, interchangeable as in John 14:10. The importance of being "in Him" is
highlighted by scriptures such as "If any man be in Christ Jesus he is a
new creature" (2 Corinthians 5:17, also John 15:4, 5, 7, 10; 2 Corinthians
5:21; Ephesians 1:4; Philippians 3:9; Colossians 2:6, 7, 10; 1 John 2:27,
28, 3:5, 6, 24, 4:16, 5:20). Similarly, we know that we are crucified with
Christ, yet we still live; but not us, its Christ who lives (Galatians
2:20). Also, we know that if one died for all, then all were dead; that we
should no longer live unto ourselves, but unto Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians
5:15). We have lost our lives that we might find them in Him.

The ability to abide in Him, which is the same as saying "to live the life
of Jesus" or to "behave just like Jesus", comes to us by the anointing that
we have received from Him. In fact, "abiding in Him" and having "the
anointing" are inseparably linked. The promise that God gave to anyone who
would believe was that we would be born of the Spirit, and subsequently,
Jesus would baptize us with the Holy Spirit (John 3:5; 1 John 2:27; Acts
1:8, 8:15-16). He promised us the same Spirit and the same anointing that
He was baptized with (Luke 4:18). The idea of abiding in Him is
communicated in a unique way in John 15 to help us understand how the
supply of His divine life flows into our lives. We learn that we can depend
on Jesus for everything that we need, and that without Him we can do
nothing. The life of God supplied to us by the Holy Spirit flows as the sap
of the vine, and through our intimate union with Christ Jesus, the fruit of
His life in is manifested in us. It is astounding to consider the
interdependency that exists in a vine and a branch. The life of Jesus is
revealed through us, to the world around us, as we abide in Him. In fact,
when Jesus said, "abide in Me and I in you", He was saying, "live My life
and I will live in you". As we abide in Him, the glory of His divine life
and love flows into our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5; Ephesians
3:19; 1 Thessalonians 3:12). The miracle of salvation has supplied us with
an inseparable union with the Lord Jesus (John 15:1-6, 17:22-23; 1 John
3:23; 2 Peter 3:18).
 
Daily Bread - February 20, 2017
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Monday, 20 February 2017 13:17
1 John 2:5 - But whoever keeps His word, truly in him is the love of God
perfected. This is how we know that we are in Him.


The word 'agape' (love) is defined by the love that God has for us. The
usage of 'agape' in Classic Greek is rare. When it is found, it is neither
dramatic nor colorful. It was usually translated, "to like, prefer, be
content." However, when it appears in the New Testament Greek, it defines
the kind of love that the Father has for the Son, and the kind of Love that
the Christian should have because they are regenerated and given the Holy
Spirit (John 13:34, 14:15, 14:21, 14:31, 15:10, 15:12, 15:17, 17:23; Titus
3:5). This kind of love does not have a human origin, but is purely divine,
flowing both into us and out of us by the Holy Spirit. Raymond Brown
writes: "Agape is not a love originating in the human heart and reaching
out to possess noble goods needed for perfection, it is spontaneous,
unmerited, creative love flowing from God to the Christian, and from the
Christian to a fellow Christian." (The Epistles of John, pages 254-255)
Jeremiah writes, that love comes through a circumcised heart (Jeremiah
31:33). Proverbs say that God loves us as a Father loves his son (Proverbs
3:12).

Although, the Hebrew word for love is 'ahav' and is translated in the
Septuagint exclusively by 'agapan', another Hebrew word that expresses the
New Testament meaning of 'agape' is found in the Hebrew word 'chesed' in
Exodus 34:6. The Hebrew word 'chesed' can mean both 'lovingkindness' and
'covenant love', or 'loyal unfailing love'. When God Almighty revealed to
Moses who He was, He said I am "full of covenant love and truth". The
reading would be similar to that found in John 1:14, but instead of, "full
of grace and truth" it would be, "full of covenant love and truth" (Exodus
34:6). I believe that the biggest problem that many of God's people face
today is they do not know how to experience the presence of God which is
fundamental to the love of God flowing into them. The burden is upon the
pastors and leaders to teach people how to yield to the Holy Spirit, so
that they may enjoy the wonderful and all consuming Divine presence of God.

The love of God is perfected in the sense that the believer has come to a
place of complete surrender to the Holy Spirit, and has yielded without
reservation to Him. God's love does not need to be perfected, for it is
already perfect. However, for the Christian, becoming totally obedient to
the love of God is the key to knowing the fullness of God (Ephesians
3:17-19). The perfect love of the Father has been given to us by the
indwelling of the Holy Spirit. As we learn to yield to the Holy Spirit and
walk in love, we find ourselves always doing those things which please the
Father. Keeping His word and walking in love results in maturing in love;
and as a result, we say that His love is perfected in us.
The Greek word for 'perfected' is the past tense of 'teleioun' meaning
'complete, perfect'. The concept of being perfect in the New Testament is
first mentioned in Matthew 5:48 "Be perfect, as your Father in heaven is
perfect", also 1 Corinthians 2:6, 14:20; Colossians 1:28; Ephesians 4:13.
In Hebrews, perfection, or being made complete, was not possible by the
Law; but now has been supplied through Jesus Christ, the One who perfects
(Hebrews 7:11, 19, 9:9, 10:1, 14, 12:2, 23-24). The idea of walking in love
and being perfect are closely related in 1 John. In fact, one may also
understand walking in the Light as He is in the Light as equivalent to both
walking in love and perfect obedience to the Word, thus walking in
righteousness absent of sin and darkness.
 
Daily Bread - February 18, 2017
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Saturday, 18 February 2017 11:23
1 John 2:3-4 - And by this we know that we know Him, because we keep His
commands. The one who says, I know Him, but does not keep His commandments,
is a liar; and the truth is not in him.

John uses several key words and phrases that are shown to be equivalent in
these passages: the truth, the word, the commandments of Christ Jesus which
are equivalent terms in 1 John 2:3-6. The consecration of God's people, who
are committed to Him and keep the commandments of Jesus Christ, is
describing the same thing as those who abide in Christ Jesus and walk with
God.

One of the first messages preached by Jesus was one that tried the heart
and the works of those that would say that they know Him. Jesus said only
those who did the will of the Father, and ceased from iniquity, knew God;
and warned that those who continued in their own way would hear the Father
say, "depart from me you workers of iniquity, I never knew you." (Matthew
7:23).
Jesus spoke a number of different times about the commandment that He
received of the Father to lay down His life (John 10:18, 12:49,50, 14:31,
15:10). Jesus also gave this same commandment and others to his disciples.
These commandments were directed at both their love for God and their love
one for another (John 13:34, 15:12, 14:15, 21, 15:10; 1 John 2:7-8, 3:23,
4:21; 2 John 1:5-6). The only legitimate response to God's love, as
underscored by Him, is obedience (John 14:15, 23, 15:10). Furthermore, the
love that Jesus described was not only a consecration to doing the will of
the Father, but to walking in a love that fulfilled all of the law and the
prophets (Romans 13:8, 10). When we understand that God's commandment to
love one another is to love as He loved us, we should also recognize that
He is describing divine love for which we will need divine power to
fulfill. Such a command to walk in divine love is only possible by being
made a new creation, and then yielding to the leadership and inspiration of
the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 5:17; Philemon 1:6; Philippians 2:13; Romans
8:4; Galatians 5:16).

The key to walking in all the ways of God is to be ruled by divine love.
Divine love is also the means by which we dwell in God; and, in fact, step
into all of His fullness (Ephesians 3:19; 1 John 4:16). The only way to be
ruled by divine love is to first be committed to it, and then to allow the
Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us. If we are determined to obey God, then
the Holy Spirit will supply what we need so that we can obey from the heart
and fulfill God's command. Walking in the love of God should be the focus
and consecration of our hearts, for by doing so, we fulfill the whole Law;
and, obviously, fulfilling the whole Law is important to God (Romans 13:10;
8:4). To walk in love is to walk in the Light, which is the glory of God
being revealed in His people (2 Peter 1:3-4; 1 Peter 2:9; Ephesians 5:1).

The commandments of Jesus are not just a set of rules; but, rather, insight
to a whole new way of life that is possible only through the power of the
new creation. The word of God that created the universe will speak into
those who will receive, and bring forth those things which God demands. The
Holy Spirit that is given to us will then work to establish us in all that
God has spoken (2 Timothy 1:6; Philippians 2:13; Philemon 1:6). The New
Testament believer is called to obey God's commandments, and this obedience
is set forth as the proof of knowing God. There is a higher order of
commandments that goes far beyond the 10 Commandments of the Old Testament.
Through the divine nature, we are empowered to walk in all the ways of God
and fulfill all that is revealed in His Word (Romans 8:4; 2 Peter 1:3-4).
There are those who have wrongly assumed that obeying God's commandments is
somehow equivalent to 'legalism'. They would classify this essential
commitment as the "works of the law", but nothing could be more erroneous.
When we obey the Word of God, we are obeying God's commandments. One may
correctly view the Greek word 'logos' (word) as interchangeable with
'entole' (commandment), which are interchangeable in both the Septuagint
and the New Testament (John 8:51, 55, 14:23, 24, 15:20; 1 John 2:5).
Keeping all the words of the Lord Jesus is the same as keeping all of the
commandments of Jesus (John 14:15, 21, 15:10). The technical name for the
Ten Commandments is "The Decalogue," which means "The Ten Words" (Exodus
20:1, 34:28; Deuteronomy 4:13, 10:4). In Deuteronomy, for example, the
whole of the Law refers to "all the words of this Law," translated by the
Septuagint as "all these commandments." Also, the opening statement of this
verse serves to further equate commandment with word: "But whoever keeps
His words..." We are commanded by God to keep all the words of God, which
are His commandments. These commandments are not a grievous thing to do,
but are the ways of life and communion with God; for how can two walk
together unless they agree (Amos 3:3)?
 
Daily Bread - February 17, 2017
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Friday, 17 February 2017 09:03
1 John 2:2 - And He is the purgating sacrifice for our sins; and not for
ours only, but also for the whole world.

Though some traditional translations render 'hilasmos' as "propitiation,"
this involves a wrong interpretation of the term in question. Propitiation
is essentially a process by which one does a favor to a person in order to
make him or her favorably disposed. But in the New Testament, God is never
the object of propitiation, since He is already on the side of mankind.
'Hilasmos' and 'hilasterion' denote means of forgiveness, not propitiation
(Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament based on Semantic Domains, (New
York: United Bible Societies) 1988, 1989). 'Hilasmos' occurs 2 times in the
New Testament, and both occurrences are in 1 John (1 John 2:2 and 4:10).
The first occurrence in the Septuagint is in Leviticus 25:9, where it is
translated from the Hebrew word 'kippurim,' which refers to "Yom Kippur" or
the "Day of Purgation." An example of a similar use of 'hilasmos' is found
in Psalms 130:4, "There is forgiveness with you, that you may be feared."
Another example is found in Daniel 9:9, "To the Lord our God belongs mercy
and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against him." An argument can be
made that this Greek word could be translated as 'wiping away' because of
its association with the Mercy Seat and Yom Kippur (The Day of Purgation).
Our sins have been forgiven, because they have been erased and washed away
by the blood of Jesus. Jesus is the Sacrifice for sins, Who through His
blood purified all who will come to Him (Hebrews 1:3; 2 Peter 1:9; Matthew
26:28; Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 1:22).

The Hebrew verb 'kipper' ("purgation"/"atonement") is most often rendered
as 'exilaskesthai' in the Septuagint. The Hebrew word 'kipper'
("purgate"/"atone") is found 44 times in Leviticus. It is translated every
time in the Septuagint by 'exilaskesthai,' which does not occur a single
time in the New Testament. Purgation/Atonement is an Old Testament word and
concept that was transitory between the promise given to Abraham and the
New Covenant. The Old Testament cultic ritual of 'kipper' was powerless to
remove sin. This is best understood by the description given in Hebrews
10:4, "It is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats should take
away sin. The "purgation"/"atonement" was only a provision for the
purification of the Holy Place where God dwelt. The Akkadian equivalent is
'kuppuru,' which means "to rub" or "to rub off."

In Genesis 3:21, God made clothing for Adam and Eve so that they could
cover themselves. He made their clothing from skins or hides of animals.
The Hebrew noun 'or' is used 46 times in Leviticus. In each case, it is
used to describe the hides of the sacrificial animals used for
purgation/atonement. In effect, when God made clothing from the animal
hides for Adam and Eve, He was making a temporary covering for their sin
and shame. Finally, it should be noted that purgation/atonement does not
result in the removal of sin. The Hebrew word used in Leviticus for
forgiveness with respect to atonement is 'salach' (Leviticus4:22). The word
'salach' does not really mean 'forgive' in the sense that the transgression
was removed. When God granted 'salach' to Israel at the request of Moses in
Numbers 14:19-20, He did not forgive Israel of their sin, for every one of
them died for their sins in the wilderness (Numbers 14:29-35; Hebrews
3:17). Rather, God reconciled Himself not to abandon them. At best, it
could be understood as a postponement of judgment.
 
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