I’m saved! Now What?
Quick refresher on what love is
Let’s take a quick refresher of the different, basic types of love.
The dictionary defines love as affection based on admiration or benevolence, warm attachment or devotion, unselfish concern that accepts others seeking their good, attraction based on sexual desire (eros). It can be to hold dear or express devotion to, have tenderness or devotion for another, like or desire, thrive in or take pleasure in doing.
Here are some of the Greek and Hebrew words used for love, in the scriptures. Phileo (Gr 5368) or Reya (Heb 7453) is the type of love as having affection for or being a friend or having a personal attachment to.
Agape (Gr 26) or dowd (Heb 1730) love is having affection or benevolence towards another.
Philoteknos (Gr 5388) is the type of love we have for our children, eg. “motherly love”.
Philandros (Gr 5362) or ahab (Heb 157) is the type of love a husband and wife share
Philadelphia (Gr 5360) is a brotherly love.
Why review what love is? Because God is love (1 John 4:8)! The many aspects of His love is expressed to us in the bible. You want examples? Read from Genesis through Revelation. God so loved he world that He gave His only begotten Son that we might have eternal life through Him (John 3:16). God always seeks what is best for us (Rom. 8:28). All He wants is for us to love Him in return. So how do we express our love for Him. By living for Him and He even helps us with that by giving us he Holy Ghost to dwell within our hearts (Acts 1:8) so we can know His fullness in our lives (Eph. 3:13-19).
So just how can we love God?
God give us a subtle suggestion in the Ten Commandments “I am the Lord God … You shall have no other Gods before me and you shall not make any graven images of anything in heaven or earth …” (Exod. 20:3-4). To emphasize this, Jesus tells the Jews that the greatest commandment is to love God above all else and our neighbor as ourselves (Matt. 22:36-49). So if we want to express our love for God, we keep His commandments (John 14:15).
In order to do this we must believe that God is (Dan. 2:28, Heb. 11:6, 1 John 2:1-3) and that He will do all that He says that He will (Num. 23:19). His word will not come back void (Isa. 55:11). So, God tells us to live in faith as exampled in Hebrews chapter eleven.
In part, that means to accept Him as a little child (Matt. 18:1-6). The nature of a little child is to accept whatever mom and dad tell him, knowing that it will come to pass. Do not discount the little children for they can be an example as to how we can live in the Kingdom of God (Matt. 19:14).
As we love our children, we correct them to keep them on the right path. God does the same (Rev. 3:19) to keep us on the right path (Psalm 48:19). He also will teach us and remind us of what we have learned (John 14:26).
As we grow in Christ, we realize that God does want us to grow closer to Him. He came down, looking for Adam and Eve. Apparently He was accustomed to fellowshipping with them in the garden in Eden (Gen. 3:8). He desires to fellowship with us (1 Corinth. 1:9, 1 John1:3).
As well as sons and daughters (2 Corinth. 6:18), God also wants a friend. Abraham was called the ‘friend of God’ (James 2:23). Because they obeyed Him, Jesus called His disciples (and us) friends because He shared His heart with us (John 15:14-15).
He wants a relationship with us. Look at how John felt about Jesus at the “Last Supper” (John 13:23, 14:23). He laid his head upon Jesus’ chest. He will come into our lives and dine with us, when we ask (Rev. 3:20).
Jesus loves us so much, that when He died on the cross, the veil separating the holy place from the Holy of Holies was torn in two (Mark 15:37-38). Remember, behind that curtain was where only the high priest entered in, once a year to go before God (Heb. 9:6-7). So, now, through Jesus, we also have access to Father (Heb. 10:19-20).
We love God, through Jesus Christ because while we were yet sinners, He gave His life for us that because we accept Him through faith He will draw us even closer to Himself (Rom. 5:1-8). Have we confessed our Lord Jesus and believed in our heart that Father raised Him from the dead? If so, we have salvation and because we love Him, we have confirmation in our own heart that we will be with Him, eternally (1 John 5:13). And we now that nothing can separate us from the love of God (Rom. 8:35-39).
Living in God’s love
We see why we love God, so just how do we do that?
We continue striving to walk in the Spirit even though we’re in this world, we live in this body of flesh. We endeavor to submit every thought into the obedience of Christ as we shed carnal things in our life. God gives us the strength to cast down imaginations and thoughts that exalt themselves (2 Corinth. 10:3-5) and then we bring our bodies into subjection through our own spirit (1 Corinth. 9:7).
Through the Holy Ghost, God gives us power to live this life and to be a witness for Him in this world (Acts 1:7-8). We begin by seeking the kingdom of God first, for He will give us what we need (Matt. 6:25-34, foc v 33 & Luke 6:20-38). Then we keep His commandments which are to love God above all else and our neighbor as ourselves (1 Kings 6:11-13, Mark 12:30-31, John 14:15-18) and God will do what He has said.
As we read these passages, we need to also keep in mind a few other things. Blaspheme is saying it wasn’t God who did all those wonderful works in the bible. God created all things by sending His Word (God said) out via the Holy Ghost (Gen. 1:1-3) so we don’t blaspheme the Holy Ghost (Mark 3:28-29). If we ‘step out of line’, God will chasten those whom He loves (us)(Heb. 12:5-11). Refuse things that we know have been offered to idols (for our brothers sake) things strangled, fornication and from blood (the life of things)(Acts 15:20). Abstain even from the appearance of evil (1 Thess. 5:22) and fleshly lusts (1 Peter 2:11). Remember how sin is conceived. We are tempted, then drawn by the lust still in our own heart, which results in sin, which results in death (James 1:13-15). And, eventually, that is both physical and eternal.
In living for Jesus, we need to consider the sower. He sowed his seed. Some fell by the wayside, some on stony ground, some among the thorns and some on good ground. We need to be ‘on the good ground’ (Luke 81-15). After all, we are becoming a new creature in Christ Jesus as He has reconciled us to Himself (2 Corinth. 5:17-19). So we should be continually be renewing the spirit of our mind, our thinking, to line up with Jesus (Eph. 4:17-23, Rom. 12:2). As our outward man perishes (ages), our inward man should be continually renewing (in Christ Jesus) because we are no longer focusing on temporary things, but eternal (2 Corinth. 4:15-18). We don’t walk in the “letter of the Law” (10 Commandments – Exod. 20:1-17) but we do walk in the Spirit because we have set aside our old ways and are joint heirs, in God (the Father) with Jesus (Rom. 1:17-32, 8:1-17, Gal. 5:16-26).
Jesus is the true vine and we are branches grafted into that vine so we can continue in His love (John 15:1-9). We havd bdcome one with Him. His love strengthens us so we can endure the troubles which come our way because we know the God-inspired holy scriptures and we move in faith and righteousness to complete the works God has given us (2 Tim. 3:10-17). Because we fight against powers and principalities and wickedness in high places, we put on the armor of God to withstand the attacks of our enemy (Eph. 6:10-18).
As we grow in Christ, we need to be aware of the phonies who creep into our lives. They sneak in as ravening wolves which look like sheep, yet we can recognize them as we watch their lives. Their true fruit will eventually show (Matt. 7:15-23).
John explained to the people that he baptized with water for repentance, but one comes after him who will baptize with fire and the Holy Ghost (Matt. 3:11). We also need to bear in mind the twelve men Paul encountered on the road to Ephesus. As they talked, Paul realized that these men had not received the baptism of the Holy Ghost yet. Effectively, the men said “Er, what’s a Holy Ghost?” Paul then baptized them in the name of Jesus, laid his hands upon them and they received the Holy Ghost (Acts 19:1-7). Also, keep in mind that as Peter preached to Cornelius and his household, Peter asked “How can we forbid water for these who have already received the baptism of the Holy Ghost as we?” (Acts 10:1-47, foc v44-47), before water baptism. Compare with when the disciples received the Holy Ghost in the upper room (Acts 2:1-15).
So, being equipped with all that God has for us, think on these things, that which is true, honest, just, pure lovely, of good report, having virtue and praiseworthy (Phil. 4:8-9).
Read the passages referenced here to get the full impact of what we have been talking about.
Loving our neighbor as ourselves
Because we truly love one another, the world can see that we are disciples of Christ (John 13:35).
How do we treat those around us? Abraham provided hospitality to three ‘men’ who visited him. He treated them as guests and fed them (Gen. 18:1-8). Lot did the same and added protection of his home (Gen.19:1-22). Of course, these ‘men’ were angels and the men were on their way to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah.
Humans have a tendency to be very judgmental concerning those of a different economic class. Yet, we need to self-examine ourselves, before we judge others (Matt.7:1-5). Jesus tells us that no matter how others may treat us, we treat them with dignity, respect and love. God does give back to us according as to how we treat others – good or bad (Luke6:27-38). Consider the good Samaritan. He found a man on the wayside, beaten and robbed. The Samaritan not only helped the man but took him and paid for lodging until the man recovered. How many of us would have even stopped to help, much less paid his expenses until he recovered (Luke 10:29-37)? We learn in the book of James that having faith is a good thing, but how do people know we have faith if we don’t do something with it (James 2:14-26, foc v18)? Along with our good works, yes, we also pray for others so that God will meet their needs (2 Thess. 1:11). Peter and John encountered the lame man at the pool of Shiloam. Peter took the man’s man’s hand, helping him up (Acts 3:1-10). Doing for others and praying for them are good, but when we really want to see something accomplished, we also need to add fasting and follow the lead of the Holy Ghost (Acts 13:1-4).
We know that God is love. We know that Jesus is the physical (in this world) representation of that love. And we’ve read where the prophets and the Law are based in love (Matt. 37-40). Love fulfills the Law (Rom. 13:8), so we fulfill the Law as we live and operate in God’s love. In case we have still missed the concept, we should love our neighbor as ourselves (Gal. 5:14).
As we grow in our love, we need to remember to fellowship with others who follow Jesus Christ. We encourage each other to grow in Christ, especially as the signs of the end times approaches (Heb. 10:25).
Quick summary: live in God’s love and be loving towards not only our brothers and sisters in the Lord, but to all whom we encounter. Let God’s love abide in us and through us as we abide in the love of Jesus Christ!
The dictionary defines prayer as to entreat, implore or ask humbly or earnestly, confess or give thanksgiving, address God with adoration.
I found five Hebrew words meaning ‘pray’. They all implied asking or making supplication. Anna (annah) (H577), na (H4994) and palal (H6419) are very basic which is to pray, entreat or beseech, but challah (H2470) carries the idea of a deeply felt request. Athar (H6279) goes a little deeper and brings in to burn incense, intercede or listen to.
I saw six Greek words for prayer. Again, request, beseech and pray are common to all. Yet deomai G1189) adds in petition. Eroao (G2065) desire (as in interrogate). Ekuchomai (G2172) and Proseuchomai (G4336) specifically add in pray “to God”. Parakaleo (G3870) give some direction by exhorting, invoking or desiring comfort. Poseuche (G4335) brings in ‘with intent’ that is earnestly or worshipfully.
Jesus’ disciples thought enough of prayer to do it in one accord (agreement) (Acts 1:14).
So why do we need to pray? It is communication with God, All Mighty, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. God came down to the garden of Eden to be with Adam and Eve. To talk with them (Gen. 3:8-10). Having given the apostle John instructions for writing seven letters, Jesus says that He stands at the door and knocks and He will come in and be with anyone who lets Him in (Rev. 3:20). The same John, tells us in his letter that we should have confidence that He (Jesus) hears us and will give us our request (1 John 5:14-15). Jesus tells us to pray so that we don’t enter into temptation (Luke22:40) and that God’s will be done in our lives (Luke 22:42).
God’s power, in this world, are expressed through our lives and are accomplished through our prayers and actions(Matt.17:20-21, Acts 1:8, James 2:14-18). We need to meditate on His Word, the book of Psalm is a good place to start to learn how to do this. The church prayed, without ceasing for Peter and saw their prayers answered (Acts 12:5-11). Paul tells the Thessalonians to pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17). So are we to stay on our knees 24/7365? Of course not! But we should always maintain an attitude of prayer every day. That is ask God for direction when a choice is not obvious or thank Him for even the little things He does for us – daily. We need to pray for our enemies. As Jesus hung on the cross, what was one of the prayers He offered up? “Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they do” (Luke 23:34). Understand, the people who sent Him to the cross were His enemies, yet He prayed for them. We don’t seek vengeance because God is our avenger (Romans 12:18-21).
We pray so that we don’t enter into temptation (Matt. 26:41). Our enemy is subtle and we need all the help we can get to stay out of his clutches.
Don’t refuse prayer to those who may be young in the Lord, for the kingdom of God is like a little child (Matt. 19:13-15). Through faith and prayer, people might receive healing as the woman with the issue of blood or Jairius’ daughter (Mark 5:23-43).
Prayer makes me feel good so do I make a big ‘show’ about my prayer life? NO! Jesus says that when we pray, we should enter our prayer ‘closet (a quiet place with no distractions) and there God knows our heart, man to God (Matt. 6:5-6). And there, we can focus on Him.
Jesus gives us an example of how we can pray. Things we need to include:
Lord’s Prayer (Matt. 6:9-13)
v09 to acknowledge. God for who He is, His greatness, His love
v10 to acknowledge that you understand the extent of God’s authority (over all that is)
v11 For our physical needs (health, direction, financial)
v12 that He forgives our sins (we need to bring those unconfessed sins)
v12 for others (immediate or extended family, friends, neighbors, etc.)
v13 we should ask for direction/protection (specific requests for specific answers)
v13 now, let’s close by Glorifying God for who He is
Let’s look at our attitude as we are in prayer.
We should ask God that our words and meditations be acceptable (Psalms 19:14).
As I pray, I need to believe that God will deliver (Matt.21:21-22).
Little children accept, without a doubt, what mom and dad say. We come to God as a little child (Luke 18:15-17).
We bring our prayer before God with thanksgiving (Phil. 4:6).
If the gentile, Cornelius always prayed to God, should we do any less (Acts 10:1-2)?
Because the fervent prayer of a righteous man brings results (James 5:15-16).
Remember that Husbands and wives should be in agreement when they fast and should pray together as often as possible (1Corint. 7:2-5).
We should pray earnestly before God, in the Spirit (Matt. 6:6, Eph. 6:18). For the Spirit intercedes for us and knows how to bring our supplications before the Lord (Rom. 8:26)(1 Corinth 14:14-19).
Suggestion - we do need that alone time – just God and me. We need to pray with our spouse for true prayer strengthens the marriage – no secrets. Families need to pray together so children have a mentoring effect on prayer in their lives – they won’t forget. And lest I forget, we should pray for and in the church - a praying church begins with the family whether we have a position of responsibility or not.
Daniel prayed three times a day (Dan. 6:10). This habit is what got him tossed into the lion’s den. The high priest of the Jews went into the Holy of Holies once a year to offer sacrifice (prayer) for the people’s sin (Heb. 9;1-7). Today, Christians usually attend church once a week on the Sabbath. “Good” Christians may go at least once more during the week (or more, depending on denominational practices). Paul tells the Hebrews (us) not to forsake getting together (Heb. 10:25). I strongly recommend, for the individual, daily time with the Lord and then gathering with other Christians once a week (anyway). I would also suggest once a week for family time with the Lord and as often as needed with your spouse. The bottom line is that you need to ask God what will work best for you and your family – remember, being in agreement.
So, do I have to go to the church to pray to God? Only if you plan on living there. Obviously, individual and family time should be in the home. Remember, God created the heavens and the EARTH. God is everywhere! Individual and family prayer should not be neglected just because we are on vacation. Look at the significance when Jesus spoke with the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:5-25, note v29). Samarians worshipped in the mountain and Jew worshipped in Jerusalem. I’m not saying to forsake fellowshipping. Prayer is talking with God - just as you would with your parents, children or friends. We can pray anywhere, anytime, formal or informal, indoors our outside, even walking down the sidewalk. As long as our heart is right with the Lord, God honors honest and fervent prayers.
Tithes and Offerings
The dictionary says a tithe is giving or paying a tenth part. There are basically two Hebrew words meaning tithe. the first has three forms: maaser, maasar & maasarah (H4643) which is translated as tenth. Asar (H6237) is translated as giving a true tenth.
The Greek words are similar but carry a slightly different context: apodekatoo (G586) tithe (as a debtor), dekate (G1181) is a tenth (as a percentage) and dekatoo (G1183) is to give or receive a tenth
God gave Moses a command for us to tithe for it is holy unto Him (Lev. 27:30-34). Jacob asks God to be with him and vows to give a tenth of all God gives him (this is even before God gave Moses the commandments) (Gen. 28:20-22). For delivering his nephew, Lot, safely, Abraham gives a tenth of all that he had to Melchizedek, the ‘high priest of God’ (Gen. 14:18-20, Heb. 7:1-3). God tells Israel that our tithe should be from our increase, what we’ve gained since the last time we tithed (Deut. 14:22).
So why do we tithe? As God told Moses, a part of the tithe goes to support the Levites (the church) because they had no part in Israel’s inheritance (Num. 35:1-8). They were also told to take care of the widows and orphans (Deut. 24:19, James 1:27).
So, where does the tithe go? God tells us to tithe (a 10th) because it belongs to Him and to take care of those who need it. Amen?
Will a man rob God? Yes, in tithes and offerings (Mal. 3:8-12).!
What is an offering?
The dictionary defines offering as an act of one giving, something given, or a course of study (aka class in college). It also include something sacrificed ceremoniously offered to God. An offering is not the tithe, but it is something beyond our tithe.
The Hebrew gives us a number of words translated as ‘offering’: asham (H817) sin offering, minchah (H4503) gift, present, bloodless sacrifice (freely given), alah (H5927) lift up, raise, recover, restore, aleh (H5930) (go u- with) burnt offering, asah (H6213) accomplish, bestow, bring forth, qurban (qorban) (H7133) bring to the altar, present, ruwmah (H8641) heave offering (spec. shoulder of sacrifice). The gist is something freely given, possibly as a ‘thank You’ (to God) for something He has done for us.
Two Greek words for offering are prospero (G4374) present, bring to and prosphera (G4376) bloodless sacrifice. Again, to bring something but, as prosphera suggests, we don’t have to sacrifice an animal to do this.
Among our offerings are what the bible calls our ‘first fruit. First fruits are the first and the best of whatever we have to bring. Cain slew Abel because of this concept (Gen. 4:1-8, Heb. 11:4, 1 John 3:12). The implication is that Cain did not give his best as his brother Abel had.
God tells us to bring our first fruit (Exod. 23:19) because, in part, this is how we honor Him (Prov. 3:9).
Israel brought tithes and offerings to the Lord (2Chron. 31:12). Whose example do we follow, Cain or Abel?
Why tithes and offerings
As e already mentioned that tithes and offerings support the work of the church (Num. 18:21, Ezek. 44:30). God requires it (Heb. 7:15). God will bless us more than we give (Prov. 3:9-10, Mal. 3:9-12, 2 Corinth. 9:6-8). We need to remember that as we give, we give not for our own benefit but for the glory of God. Also remember that no matter what we do, we do as if we are doing it for God (Col. 3Z:23). As Jesus said “as you have done to the least of my brothers, you have done unto Me (Matt. 25:40).
In a nut shell, a ltithe can be money, talents/skills, time … think of all the good God has brought into our lives. He gives liberally to us. Can we do any less for Him?
I’m saved! I have my ticket to heaven so now what do I have to do?
Learn to show our love for God by putting Him first in everything in our lives. This means learning how to live in His love, which is to respect, appreciate and abide in His rules, which includes loving others as ourselves. Giving others the same respect and attention we desire. We learn to communicate with our Lord. Not just asking for our needs, but listening to what He has to say (you may be amazed!). And we show our love for Him by supporting His work in this world. His body (all believers) need our support and we need theirs to operate in unity and communion with our Savior.
This is the sixth element in coming to the understanding that creation didn’t “just happen’, but a loving, intelligent being formed it millennia ago. He created something He could love and hoped his creation would love Him in return. That’s why He gave us free will, to choose whether to love Him or not. He has formed all that is and He has set into motion both natural and spiritual laws as to how things should operate. He will help us to live for Him through blessings and instruction and when we choose to do things His way, He will bless us (in so many different ways) that we can’t even begin to imagine.
There are four more components to this work, but these six are of utmost importance. God loves us and our need to learn to operate within the parameters of that love.
Yes, this has been another long one and there is so much more that can be said about this and each of the other areas. We can (and will) spend a lifetime learning all that God has for us but, by His grace, my prayer is that what we have presented here has whetted your appetites to draw closer into a living relationship with an eternal, loving God.
This is the foundation for LIVING IN Christ Jesus! God almighty, came into this world over 2000 years ago, to help us come back into His fold (kingdom).
Let’s live for Him!