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FAITH REWARDS BASED IN LOVE

By Donald P. Moss

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Series Introduction

Foreshadows Introduction

Volume 1 -THE GARDEN OF EDEN - Adam's Creation and His
Spiritual and
Physical Environments

Volume 2 - NEW BEGINNING AND NEW WORLD ENVIRONMENT

Volume 3 - JOSEPH, EPHRAIM AND MANASSEH - A Foreshadow of God's Agenda for Jew and Gentile

Volume 4  - CROSSING THE JORDAN RIVER - A Foreshadow of Salvation for Jew and Gentile

Volume 5 - THE BOOK OF REVELATION - God's Agenda for the End Time

Volume 6 - THE SEVEN LETTERS TO THE SEVEN CHURCHES

Volume 7  - CHRIST IN THE TABERNACLE - A Foreshadow of Redemption

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Bible Lessons


This quick study is a sub-topic support for the foreshadows in Volume 5 - THE BOOK OF REVELATION - God's Agenda for the End Time.

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The most powerful and meaningful word in the Bible is the word "love". Not love based on human definition, but based on God's love (agape). Love is a most unique virtue because it flourishes in a heart that is free! Free from things that inhibit expressions of love. Love is unique because the power of love requires expression. If love is not expressed it loses its power. Love is the driving force in the ministry of the gospel to those who need to know God's love for them. Every person desires to be loved. People will open their hearts and trust those who love them. Faith and trust in God is energized by a person's understanding of God's love for him. Love for God, Christ Jesus and others is an eternal life line connection. Love is unique, if unhindered it establishes emotional connections to others and expands the horizon of life and interpersonal joy of all who are connected to each other. Love fulfills God's Word in our hearts. Love is from God, our Father. God is love!

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The importance of love in Christians' transformational growth is emphasized in the following scriptures:

Matthew 22:37-40 (KJV) - Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. (38) This is the first and great commandment. (39) And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (40) On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. Jesus states the most important scripture in the New Testament is love, upon which the entire Word of God hangs (depends). Therefore, our faith which "comes by hearing and hearing by the Word" is energized by our wholehearted love for God and for those whom God loves - Galatians 5:6 (KJV) - For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.

1 Corinthians 13:12-13 (NIV) - Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. (13) And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. When we get to heaven we will fully know God and Christ, even as they fully know us. This full knowledge of them will be made known to us by our faith, hope and love. The greatest of these is love, because faith is energized by love and hope is based in love. Love for God and for those whom God loves is the revealing factor of our hearts - "Each tree is recognized by its own fruit". - Luke 6:44 (NIV).

Accepting God's love empowers the heart to forgive others, freeing the heart free to receive blessings from God. Love is the power of God for casting down self-serving attitudes and vain philosophies.

Matthew 5:46-48 (NIV) - If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? (47) And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? (48) Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. If Christians only love those who love them, it will affect their reward in heaven. Even pagans love those who love them. To be like Christ, Christians need to love others as Christ loves them, even our enemies!

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The Heart Is the Storehouse for Christ's Testimony - The Gospel. The love of God stored in the heart of His children. Whatever is stored in the heart will determine the reward for each Christian.

Romans 10:10 (NIV) - For it is in your heart that you believe and are justified.

I Samuel 16:7 (NIV) - "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at, Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."

Hebrews 4:12 (NIV) - For the word of God....judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Matthew 5:8 (NIV) - Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.

Looking at the ministry of the gospel and the Judgment Seat of Christ throughout God's end time agenda, and realizing the tribulation events increase in intensity from the pre-trib judgment of the house of God into the first half of tribulation, one begins to see the calloused hearts of carnal Christians and Jews. Calloused hearts are judged and moved from pre-trib judgment into the first half and from the first half into the last half of the tribulation period, as a greater intensity of tribulation fire is required for separating hard hearted covenant people from their worldliness. 1 Corinthians 3:14-15 (NIV) - If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. (15) If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.

Go to Volume 5 - THE BOOK OF REVELATION - God's Agenda for the End Time for a deeper study of the end time harvests and ministries of the gospel.

It is apparent that the heart plays a vital part in a Christian's readiness for the end time harvests. Love prevent hearts from becoming calloused and allows the Holy Spirit to fully reside. Love casts down self-righteousness and legalism.

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Love Fulfills God's Word

Romans 13:8 (KJV) - Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

"Owe" (Strong's Concordance / Greek) #3784 - opheilo (of-i'-lo); or (in certain tenses) its prolonged form opheileo (of-i-leh'-o); probably from the base of #3786 (through the idea of accruing); to owe (peculiarly); figuratively, to be under obligation (ought, must, should); morally, to fail in duty.

Use in KJV - behove, be bound, (be) debt (-or), (be) due (-ty), be guilty (indebted), (must) need (-s), ought, owe, should.

#3786 - ophelos (of'-el-os); from ophello (to heap up, i.e. accumulate or benefit); gain.

Use in KJV - advantage, profit

"Opheilo" literally means to be in debt to other men. Figuratively, opheilo means each Christian has an moral obligation (debt) to Christ that he should love his fellowman. The prolonged form of opheilo is ophelos which means love is spiritual gain, benefit and profit.

The apostle Paul also emphasizes that love for personal gain is futile in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (NIV) - If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. (2) If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. (3) If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Romans 13:10 (NIV) - Love worketh no ill to his neighbour; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. The entire Word of God is fulfilled in our hearts and minds by unconditional love. Faith and hope will abound!

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Love Overcomes Self-righteousness

Sermon on the MountThe Sermon on the Mount was Jesus' first recorded sermon. He was speaking to Jews who were bound by a form of self righteousness rooted in their belief that a right standing before God was based on their observance of the Law.

Matthew 5:17-20 (NIV) - "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. (18) I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. (19) Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (20) For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, you will not certainly enter the kingdom of heaven."

In this passage of scripture Jesus contrasts the righteousness of the Pharisee to the fulfillment of the law through love. The righteousness of the Pharisee is self-righteousness, because he sees his own works of obedience to the law as evidence of his righteousness before God.

Romans 9:32-10:4 (NIV) - Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the "stumbling stone." (33) As it is written: "See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame." (10:1) Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. (2) For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. (3) Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness. (4) Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

The Jew's efforts to establish their own righteousness through the law is self-righteousness, which hinders receiving God's love.

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Overcoming Pharisee Type of Righteousness Through Love

The Jews were attempting to fulfill the Law through obedience and sacrifice.

Romans 2:28-29 (NIV) - A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. (29) No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit not by the written code (Law).

Matthew 22:34-40 (NIV) - Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. (35) One of them, and expert in the law, tested him with this question: (36) "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" (37) Jesus replied, "`Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' (38) This is the first and greatest commandment. (39) And the second is like it: `Love your neighbor as yourself.' (40) All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments."

Christ came to fulfill the Word of God, not abolish it. For the Christian, fulfilling the Word of God will depend on the Christian's love for God and love for his neighbor. This is why Christ stated in verse 40 that "all the Law and the Prophets (the entire Word of God documented at that time) HANG on these two commandments." Meaning, the entire gospel as it works in the Christian's life depends on his unconditional love for God and for his neighbor. (For a capsule perspective of love study 1 Corinthians 13:1-13.)

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Love is the fulfillment of the law - Romans 13:10 (NIV).

If the word of God is fulfilled by love, then faith which comes by hearing the Word must also be fulfilled by love. Therefore, one must come to a place of loving others as Christ loved the church.

Romans 10:17 (KJV) - "Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word."

Galatians 5:6 (KJV) - ...Faith worketh by love.

Therefore, love fulfills the Word of God. Then the work of God for us is to have faith in the Son of God - "to believe in the one He has sent" - John 6:29. Faith is given power when we know beyond a doubt that Jesus died on the cross because He loved us. Jesus' love for God the Father and for us, empowered Him to become obedient unto death, even death on a cross.

Daniel 9:26 (KJV) - And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself. Jesus was cut off (crucified), but not for himself. He was cut off for the church because He loved the church! Ephesians 5:25 (NIV) - Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. Why should we doubt Him when He loved us so much? How we perceive real love will determine our thoughts and attitude and impact active faith.

Hebrews 4:12 (NIV) - For the word of God is LIVING AND ACTIVE. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Galatians 5:6 (KJV) - For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.

The end time judgment of the Christian will be based on the living and active Word that abides in his mind and heart.

The truth of God must abide in the heart and mind of each Christian. Then judgment is good and agreeable with the abiding word.

A LIVING Word because the righteous will live by faith (Habakkuk 2:4 & Romans 1:17) in things unseen (2 Corinthians 4:18). He walks by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).

An ACTIVE Word because faith by itself, without action, is dead (James 2:17, 26).

James 2: 20-2(NIV) - "You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is dead? (21) Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? (22) You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did."

Love and faith cannot be separated. The work of God through the gospel is to transform the mind of man to be like Christ. Christ gave himself over to death for the good of mankind. Therefore, the work of God is complete when Christians offer themselves in love for the good of others, without personally expecting anything in return. Love is selfless.

Galatians 2:20-21 (KJV) - I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (21) I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

Overcoming Pharisee righteousness can only be attained through love. Apart from love the Christian will end up in religious rituals and legalism. At best, he will become a Pharisee. Righteousness cannot be attained through observing the law. Deeds, apart from love, will be dead works.

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The overview of the book of Revelation reveals Christ's salvation, sanctification and harvest of the church. At the end of each ministry (pre-tribulation and mid-tribulation), if additional sanctification is needed, the Christian is moved into the next ministry and the fires of tribulation are increased, evidenced by the progressive intensity of events under the seals, trumpets and bowls of wrath.

This pre-tribulation precept is validated by the presentation of the letters to the churches. Those outside the church of Philadelphia Christians will be moved into the ministry of the first half of tribulation under the seals. Those who fail to repent under the ministry of the seals will be moved into the next ministry under the trumpets. Those who fail to repent under the trumpets will be moved into the time of wrath under the bowls of wrath.

We can see why Jesus gave the church another commandment - Galatians 5:13-14 (NIV) - The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself. Then your reward will be great in the kingdom of God.

 

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