Sunday, February 26, 2017

A True Proverb


For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. They are illustrations of this true proverb: “A dog returns to its own vomit,” and “A sow, after washing herself, wallows in the mire.”  2 Peter 2:20-22

kit: Barney's Barnyard by Kristmess Designs

Heavenly Father, We know that what you have freely given us in our salvation by your infinite grace, mercy and love is more valuable than anything we could ever hope for in this world and your promises are greater than anything we could ever possibly deserve or even dream of for the future.  Thank you for knowing us and making yourself known.  Thank you for loving us first that we could love you in return.  These passages about falling away have the potential to strike fear in our hearts, but we take comfort in the fact that we have a healthy fear of your power, holy righteousness and justice.  While that knowledge has sadly not been enough to cause most people to obey you in the past, we combine it with the utter sense of awe we feel at the great love you have shown us in sending your only Son to pay for our sins by dying on the cross.  Our response to your great love inspires us to obey you out of undying love, unending gratitude and immeasurable respect.  We know that these frightening passages are directed to those who love themselves more than you and desire more to have their own way than to please you.  Your Spirit within us assures us that we are secure in your love.  We have no desire to deliberately disobey you, turn back or run away from you and your love.  We do not want to rebel against you or fail to appreciate the unimaginably precious gift you have given us and the promises you have made.  All of our peace, hope and joy come from you.  We find happiness, delight and satisfaction in the same things as you do, because we are one with Jesus our Savior in spirit. We are incredibly blessed to belong to Him now and forever.  We love you.  We praise and thank you for all that you are, do, have done and are going to do according to your perfect will, ways, plans and purposes.  In Jesus' glorious, beloved and exalted name above all names, Amen.

For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.  For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God.  But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned.  Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation.  For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do.  And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end,  so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. Hebrews 6:4-12

Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.  For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.  For, “Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay;  but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.”  But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls. Hebrews 10:35-39

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever! Psalm 111:10 

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7 

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. Proverbs 9:10

See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven.  At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.”  This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain.  Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,  for our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:25-29

Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away.  But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory.  None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.  But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.  For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.  Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.  And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. 1 Corinthians 2:6-13  

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part,  but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.  When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.  For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.  So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:8-13  

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.  Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.  In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.  In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.  By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.  And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.  Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.  So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.  By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world.  There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.  We love because he first loved us.  If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.  And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. 1 John 4:7-21  

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.  And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.  Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.  They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.  But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.  I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth.  Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.  No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.  Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father.  And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life.  I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you.  But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.  And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.  If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him. 1 John 2:15-29  

But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. 1 Corinthians 6:17 

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.  Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.  Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.  I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.  If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.  If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.  As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.  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.  These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.  This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command you.” John 15:1-14

I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.  The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one,  I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” John 17:20-23

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.  But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.  If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.  So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.  For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.  For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.  For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”  The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.  For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.  For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. Romans 8:9-19  

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.  And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.  And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.  For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.  And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. Romans 8:26-30 

Be at peace among yourselves.  And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.  See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.  Rejoice always,  pray without ceasing,  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  Do not quench the Spirit.  Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good.  Abstain from every form of evil.  Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:13-24  

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.  Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.  Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work,  to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.  For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.  But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,  so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.  The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.  But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.  As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him,  knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned. Titus 2:11-15, 3:1-11