CODE FOR CHRISTIAN LIVING

 
The Most Often Quoted Verse in the Bible “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.” – John 3:16 If we ever memorize a verse of Scripture, it will most likely be John 3:16. It is the verse most often heard in the simplicity and beauty of a little child’s voice proudly reciting it from memory. It is the one verse showing up on large placards at football games and other major sporting events. Those signs are located where television cameras cannot avoid its message. This is the one verse that has been spoken by many older saints as they breathed their final breath. It is the entire gospel in a nutshell. Angel Martinez, the late evangelist who had memorized the entire New Testament, referred to John 3:16 as salvation’s formula and observed that it contained four very insightful truths. It is the gospel in one verse. It reveals to us salvation’s cause, its cost, its condition, and its consequence. Salvation’s Cause “For God so loved the world” The motivating factor behind God’s redemptive plan for every man and woman is His love for us. He not only loves us, He so loves us! Later, the apostle Paul sought to describe this love by speaking of its “breadth, and length, and depth, and height” (Ephesians 3:18 kjv), “God is love” (1 John 4:16), and this deep emotion is what brings about the possibility of our redemption; knowing Him in the intimate relationship of Father and child. God’s love for you is the motivating cause of salvation. “For God so loved . . .” Salvation’s Cost “that He gave His only begotten Son” Our salvation, the free pardoning of our sin, and the promise of abundant and eternal life in Christ did not come without cost. Freedom is never free; it is always bought with blood. From the early chapters of Genesis, there is a scarlet thread woven throughout the pages of Scripture revealing the blood atonement. It climaxes in the final and complete sacrifice for sin on a Roman cross outside the city gates of Jerusalem. Jesus not only spoke of His love for us, “but God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Our salvation in Christ came at a great cost: God “gave His only begotten Son.” Salvation’s Condition “that whoever believes in Him” Salvation is not spelled “d-o,” but “d-o-n-e.” Many people, however, think their own good works are the pathway to eternal life. Consequently, they do this or do that, or they don’t do this or don’t do that, all in order to earn salvation. But our salvation is done. It is already purchased for us with the blood of Christ on the cross. Our part is to believe, to transfer our trust from ourselves and our own efforts to His finished work on the cross of Calvary. To believe does not mean to simply give intellectual assent to the claims of Christ. It means to transfer our trust to Him alone for our salvation. The most pointed question in the entire Bible is asked of the apostle Paul by a Philippian jailer: “What must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30). Paul’s immediate reply follows in the next verse: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.” I believe in George Washington, but I don’t believe on him; I don’t trust my life to him. Salvation’s condition is through faith–and faith alone–in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Salvation’s Consequence “should not perish but have everlasting life” What a consequence! What a promise! Those without Christ are perishing, but those in Christ have the eternal promise of “everlasting life.” This comes not from our own human efforts, morals, or good deeds, but the promise is to those who realize that God’s love reaches down to us, was made possible through the payment of Christ, and is received by grace through faith alone; believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. An unknown, yet wise old sage once explained John 3:16 like this: For God . . . the greatest Lover
so loved . . . the greatest degree
the world . . . the greatest company that
He gave . . . the greatest act
His only begotten Son . . . the greatest gift
that whoever . . . the greatest opportunity
believes . . . the greatest simplicity
in Him . . . the greatest attraction
should not perish . . . the greatest promise
but . . . the greatest difference
have . . . the greatest certainty
everlasting life . . . the greatest possession As you memorize this old and oft-repeated verse this week, meditate on the fact that love is always something you do and remember that “God so loved the world that He gave.” Yes, God knows you, loves you, and has a wonderful plan for your life. Content drawn from The Joshua Code.
What many see we call a real thing, and what only one sees we call a dream. But things that many see may have no taste or moment in them at all, and things that are shown only to one may be spears and water-spouts of truth from the very depth of truth. From Till We Have Faces Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold. Copyright © 1956 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright renewed © 1984 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

The Quest for Answers – Week of October 19

What are the different kinds of psalms?

Verse: Psalms 3:1-6

There are many ways to categorize the psalms. Some focus on content (trouble or trust, praise or prayer, joy or repentance). Others emphasize the use of the psalms (public ceremonies, private prayers and so on). Still others analyze style and technique (such as parallelism and acrostics). Here are some general categories:

(1) Hymns of praise. Many psalms were used in temple worship and some even include directions for the song leader. Many are still used as the basis for hymns and praise choruses.

(2) Complaints. Life is tough and many of the psalms reflect that fact. People turn to the psalms in times of distress because the psalms dare to be honest and meet them right where they are.

(3) Royal or Messianic. Many psalms revolved around the king and were intended to be used for public occasions in the life of the nation of Israel. Early Christian teachers, however, recognized that these psalms contained prophetic allusions to Jesus Christ, the King of kings.

(4) Occasional. Referred to as songs of ascent (Ps 120–134), these psalms were so named because they were sung by Israelite pilgrims as they went up to Jerusalem for the annual feasts. Other special occasions often had their own psalms as well.

(5) Wisdom. A few psalms illustrate the difference between human folly and godly wisdom, between sinful and righteous behavior.

Other categories could also be listed: historical, repentance, curse and creation.

This devotion is from The Quest Study Bible by Zondervan. Used with permission.

Family Talk Night Light for Parents

MTV MADNESS

Do not love the world or anything in the world. 1 John 2:15

Scripture says that “everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world” (1 John 2:16). That is why we are instructed, “Do not love the world or anything in the world” (v. 15).

Of course, millions of young people who lack a strong faith are very much influenced by the world and its values. MTV, the twenty-year-old cable broadcast, is one of the most dangerous institutions among the young. It is the world’s most-watched cable channel among viewers between ages twelve and twenty-four; more than 300 million people watch it daily. As one of its corporate ads recently proclaimed, “[MTV] is a cultural force…MTV has affected the way an entire generation thinks, talks, dresses, and buys.” That’s a scary thought, considering that MTV and programs like it will do almost anything to attract an audience. One of its “stars,” for instance, was videotaped while being sloshed around upside down in a portable toilet; he ate a live goldfish and then vomited it into a bowl. Sex and violence are its stock-in-trade.

It’s sobering to realize that your kids are the targets of these outrageous programs. That’s why it’s more important than ever to teach them to love God and obey His commands, “for everyone born of God overcomes the world” (1 John 5:4). While you’re at it, you might turn off your TV, too.

BEFORE YOU SAY GOOD NIGHT…

How much are your kids influenced by worldly values?

Have you “locked out” MTV and similar filth from your home?

Do your kids know the difference between worldly and godly values?

Father, we so want our children to focus not on the values of the world, but on Your perfect ways. Help us to put distance between our family and those who would try to manipulate us with evil intent. Amen.

  • From Night Light For Parents, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.

MTV material from Bringing Up Boys copyright © 2001 by James Dobson, Inc. Published by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Used with permission. All rights reserved.