Faith, Hope & Love

(Chapter 11)

Fred R. Coulter—October 30, 2004

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As we're going to see, Hebrews 11 is really also a key for our times because the book of Hebrews was written to prepare people for the tough times ahead. It was written in 61A.D. and sent to Jerusalem and all the churches in the area of Judea and all the churches wherever the Churches of God were; it got to all of them. We know that it was written at that time because there is no mention of the death of James, the brother of Jesus, which if he had died, would have been mentioned here someplace in Heb. 11 with all of those who were the ones who died by faith in overcoming.

The just shall live by faith; Hebrews 11:1: "Now, faith is the substance of things hoped for…" This has to come from the Spirit of God because it is one of the fruits of God. In another place it says, 'have the faith from God.' We will see there is a faith that people have because God made us to believe. Just like Jesus said to those He healed, 'Be it according to your faith.' They didn't have the Holy Spirit at that time so it was the faith that they had. God made us to believe, and the thing that is true is that we all act upon our beliefs.

Verse 1: "Now, faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the conviction of things not seen." This is so important, but let's take a look at believe, because before you can have faith, you must believe. Belief is something that you have as a choice, which then leads to having faith, which then leads to having the faith from Christ, and it's not something that is just instantaneously transfused into your mind or your being.

BELIEF

Let's see something very important concerning belief. Lots of times when we go over these Scriptures, and we read them over and over again—and I find this absolutely amazing because it happens all the time—whenever you read the Scriptures and you read them again and study them, the more you study them and go back to them, the more you understand those verses. By the time you get back to studying them with other studies that you have had between the first time you read and studied it and the time you come back, you have learned more.

So, you bring more of God's Word back to where you're going to study it again. That's why when you study them over and over again, you learn more and more because it says it's 'line upon line, and precept upon precept' and so forth. Likewise, when we read these Scriptures here, we're going to see how important this is.

John 5:37: "And the Father Himself, Who sent Me, has borne witness of Me. You have neither heard His voice nor seen His form at any time."

This is absolute proof that the One Who was the Lord God of the Old Testament was the One Who became Jesus Christ. Did not Adam see God? Noah? Abraham? Moses? Yes! So, if the Lord God of the Old Testament was only the Father, then this Scripture could not be true. It says of the Father, 'You have neither heard His voice nor seen His form at any time.' What did the children of Israel hear from the top of Mount Sinai when the commandments were given? They heard the voice of God! That was the One Who became Jesus; therefore, this is another proof that there are two in the God family—the One Who became the Son and the One Who became the Father, both called Elohim in the Old Testament.

Verse 38: "And you do not have His Word dwelling in you, for you do not believe Him Whom He has sent." This tells us another thing: In order to really believe in Jesus, you have to know about the Word of God!

Let's go one-step further, v 39: "You search the Scriptures, for in them you think that you have eternal life; and they are the ones that testify of Me. But you are unwilling to come to Me, that you may have life. do not receive glory from men; but I have known you, that you do not have the love of God in yourselves" (vs 39-42). Pretty profound!

What is the love of God? This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments! And He said in another place, 'You have the Law of Moses, but none of you keep the Law of Moses.' Most people think that, yes, the Jews back in that time kept the Law of Moses. Well, the religious leaders didn't, they had their form of Judaism which rejected God and that's what Jesus said. There is a lot contained in all these verses.

Verse 43: "I have come in My Father's name, and you do not receive Me; but if another comes in his own name, you will receive him. How are you able to believe, you who receive glory from one another…" (vs 43-44).

Sit down and turn on a religious channel, if there is one around your way. Out here in California we don't have too many, but when I go back to the Midwest and down South, boy, they've got religious channels everywhere. I kind of go through and check out and see what these guys are doing. If you go on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, you have ministers sitting down there glorying in one another, stroking one another, saying what good things that they do, and then they sprinkle a little bit in there, 'Well, we give God the glory.' If you don't have His Word dwelling in you, how can you do that? It's not possible!

"…and do not seek the glory that comes from God only? Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you…" (vs 44-45). That's very interesting because in the Greek it is present tense, accuses. Why would it be written that way?

"…even Moses, in whom you have hope" (v 45). What does this tell us about what Moses wrote? It's as if he is still speaking it personally, he accuses you! That's referring to his writings.

Verse 46: "But if you believed Moses, you would have believed Me; for he wrote about Me. And if you do not believe his writings…" (vs 46-47). There it is: The writings are the living Word of God, which is still accusing the sinner.

A lot of people think that faith is faith without doubting, but faith has to come from the Word of God first and it's no doubt in what God has said. Not that you do not have some doubts that need to be resolved. Just like to the man who, when Jesus was healing his son who was possessed of a demon, Jesus said, 'All things are possible if you believe.' The man said, 'Lord, I believe but help my unbelief.' It shows that he had some doubt.

Verse 47: "And if you do not believe his writings, how shall you believe My words?" What does this tell us? Jesus endorsed everything Moses wrote! Therefore, only Jesus can make any changes to the Law of Moses, which He did in the sacrifices and the offerings, washings, oblations, etc. That's why I've got here Appendix H: How Did Jesus Fulfill the Law and the Prophets? Very profound!

Why is it that the supposed professing religions of this world do not understand the New Testament they claim? and Do not understand the plan of God? They haven't begun with the basics! They didn't begin with believing Moses, so therefore they really don't believe Jesus.

You try that, if you have a religious channel, just sit down and do a little Sunday-surfing one time and see how much they really believe in God. It is going to astound you. Some will be closer than others. I saw Charles Stanley when I was over in Goshen and he was really giving a good sermon, going right down the line: Scripture, Scripture, Scripture; then he said, 'That's how we're going to get to heaven. All you have to do is believe in your heart and Christ will enter in right now.' Yet, he is a Baptist and he doesn't believe in baptizing. Amazing! Right here! It is right here! If you don't believe in Moses, you won't believe in Christ! Quite a terrific key.

Let's learn something about belief. Everyone wants to do something for God and here, after Jesus had fed the 5,000, then they're all coming after Him, because they found Him. If you got a free meal and you saw all this food miraculously being produced; I mean, can you imagine what General Mills would do with something like this? General Mills: true manna from heaven! 'We don't even have to grow more crops; we have a special loaf back here in a secret safe that every time we break it off, we get more and more and more.' Well, that's how people are.

After they found Him they said, 'How'd you get here?' John 6:26: "Jesus answered them and said, 'Truly, truly I say to you, you do not seek Me because you saw the miracles, but because you ate the bread and were satisfied.'"

Let's think on this for a minute. How many people are really converted because they saw miracles? Very, very few! People like to see miracles because it's more like magic to them and they want the benefit of that. Christ healed many, but how many really believed? Very, very few! That's why when they came to Jesus and said, 'Master, we want a sign. You've got to convince us with a sign.' He said, 'You are a wicked and an adulterous generation, you aren't going to get any sign. The only sign I'm going to give you is the sign of Jonah. Because Jonah was in the belly of the whale for three days and three nights, so shall the Son of man be in the heart of the earth, three days and three nights,' and they turned around and walked off.

We have the same thing here, so He doesn't answer their question, but He gives them the truth of what they should do in order to come to the answer—and Jesus does that many, many times.

Verse 27: "Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures unto eternal life, which the Son of man shall give to you; for Him has God the Father sealed.'" Then He talks about the meaning of His flesh and blood, which ties into Passover.

Verse 28: "Therefore, they said to Him, 'What shall we do, in order that we ourselves may do the works of God?'…. [everyone wants to do something for God] …Jesus answered and said to them, 'This is the work of God: that you believe in Him Whom He as sent'" (vs 28-29).

So, the truth is: You can't do anything for God unless you first believe in Jesus Christ and when you believe in Him, that means you believe everything—not pick and chose as so many do today.

Belief comes before faith! The verb to believe actually means to faithize. In other words, believing is faith in action, but you have to believe first, then you can have faith in action. This is why He told the disciples:

John 14:1: "Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in Me." What does this also tell you? Jesus was God in the flesh!

Otherwise what would He be doing—He would be causing people to commit idolatry, because He would be telling them to believe in something that was equal to God, and if He were not equal to God then He couldn't tell them to believe in Him. Quite an amazing thing! That's why when we go through and study the Bible and study the Word of God, that's how we grow in grace, grow in knowledge and grow in understanding.

Verse 6: "Jesus said to him, 'I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; and no one comes to the Father except through Me.'" So, regardless of what the world says, regardless of what people may teach; there is only one way and that's through Christ.

TRUST

Let's look at a synonym of belief, which is called trust, and trust becomes very, very important. Trust is putting into action what you believe. Trust is also something that God gives us in the way of choice. Trust is what God gives to those who are His teachers in the way of stewardship. We're also told in the Bible, 'Trust no man.'

Now remember what was happening when there was 'perestroika' in the Soviet Union and Mikhail Gorbachev. Some people said, 'You see that mark on his forehead? He's the beast.' What did Ronald Reagan say over and over again? 'Trust but verify.' So, it's the same thing when it says, 'Trust no man,' especially in relationship to the Word of God, you verify it by proving from the Word of God that what He says is true or not.

Let's look at some trust here. What is the most devastating thing that happens in people's lives? You believe what people tell you! Let's look at it from a husband and wife point of view; you can look at it from a business point of view; you can look at it from many, many things. What is the heart and core of a marriage relationship? Trust bound by love! What happens when the trust and the love is violated? Say, by adultery? Devastating! Why? Because people are not only to be believing, but they are to be trusting! In this world with other human beings, you trust but verify. If you enter into a contract with somebody, you read the contract, you understand it before you sign it, because the contract verifies the trust and belief of the agreement that you entered into, and read the fine print.

This shows where our trust is to be, Psalm 25:1: "To You, O LORD, do I lift up my soul. O my God, I trust in You… [that's where our trust has to be, in God.] …do not let me be ashamed, let not my enemies triumph over me" (vs 1-2).

If you are trusting in God, they won't. Jesus said in another place, 'Don't fear those who are able to kill the body, but they can't kill the life,' We're going to see that the hope of the resurrection is greater than anything that there is in this life.

Verse 3: "Yea, let none who wait on You be ashamed; let them be ashamed who deal treacherously without cause."

Here is what happens when you trust God. A lot of people say, 'Well, I'll believe in God when I can understand why He does not prevent war.' or 'How can He let little children die?' Have they ever opened the Bible? No! First of all, you have to believe in God and trust in Him and He will give the answers, but He is not going to show anyone His ways, or teach them His laws unless they trust in Him. They can read them, but to believe what they mean, that's a whole different game.

Verse 4: "Show me Your ways, O LORD; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your Truth…" (vs 4-5). Notice how the whole emphasis here—this is what it always needs to be—is your relationship with God. Trust is belief and faith in action!That's why it says 'The just shall live by faith' (Heb. 10).

Verse 5: "Lead me in Your Truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; on You do I wait all the day long. Remember, O LORD, Your tender mercies and Your loving kindness, for they have been of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions; according to Your loving kindness remember me for Your goodness sake, O LORD" (vs 5-7).

What does this also tell us? If you're trusting in God, He'll forgive your sins! Sometimes we end up 'in a pickle jar' with a lot of the things that we do, but God rescues us out of that.
If you want another study, just get out your handy-dandy concordance and look up trust or trustworthy. Upon true repentance and baptism, God gives you His Spirit, because now you are going to be worthy of His trust—God trusts you! Think of that!

Psalm 118:8: "It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man." You're always going to be disappointed. Someone was saying to me, 'People are losing trust in you.' And I said, 'I don't want them to trust me, so we're not going down that road.' We are going to trust God, because God holds me responsible that if I'm not trustworthy enough to teach the Word of God, then He is going to take care of me; it is just that simple. You'll see that all through life. You don't have to stand up and beat people over the head with it; God is perfectly able.

Verse 9: "It is better to trust in the LORD than to trust in princes."

Here is a promise. Psalm 125:1: "Those who trust in the LORD shall be like Mount Zion which cannot be removed, but remains forever."

Very few people really understand what the temple mount was originally like when David drew the plans and gave them to Solomon to build the temple. There is the Valley of Kidron, which comes down on the east. On the east of the Valley of Kidron is the Mount of Olives which looks right down in to where the temple area was, which is called Mount Zion. The slopes of Mount Zion were nearly perpendicular, an almost impregnable fortress. When it talks about Mount Zion that cannot be removed, that's what it is talking about.

If you picture yourself on Mount Zion—that's where the temple was—it's going to be very hard to get you. That's why when you read Josephus about the first and second destruction of the temple, only God could have opened the door and the way for them to come in and conquer it and take that area. That's why even Titus said when he got up and looked on the wall looking south into the temple area from Fort Antonia after he had conquered it, 'Only God could have helped us.' So, he knew the truth of it.

Now let's transfer that to a spiritual reality because, Mount Sion, with a 'S' is in heaven above; that is absolutely impregnable because Christ is there directing our lives and guiding us and nothing can get us if we are right and faithful to God. That doesn't mean that we go around and we are arrogant and tempt God. Satan would love us to do that because then we would fall into the same trap that he tried to get Jesus to do: jump off the tower here and the angels will bear you up, and He said, 'No, You're not going to tempt the Lord your God.' We don't need to get arrogant; we don't need to get lifted up; God is just there and that is just a fact and we can claim the promise.

Let's see a little bit more about trust. Trust is a tremendous thing. As you go through and study it and you think about it and when you understand how profound trust is and how devastating it is when that trust has been broken—it ruins lives, marriages, children, adults, political parties, businesses, etc., etc., etc. Because all true relationships with human beings and relationship with God is based on trust. Then with God it's based on belief and faith, which adds to that trust.

Notice how Paul wrote of it, after he shows what they went through and suffered and that God comforted them:

2-Corinthians 1:8: "For we do not want you to be ignorant of our tribulations, brethren, even the trials that befell us in Asia; we were exceedingly burdened beyond our own strength, so much so that we even despaired of living"—which shows you the things that Paul went through, and some of the things that we may even go through.

Verse 9: "For we had the sentence of death within ourselves, so that we would not trust in ourselves but in God, Who raises the dead… [it also tells us the purpose of trials] …Who delivered us from so great a death, and continues to deliver; in Whom we have hope that He will even yet deliver; while you also are laboring together for us by supplication to God, that the gift to us from many persons might be the cause of thanksgiving by many for us. For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience, that in the simplicity and sincerity of God (not in carnal wisdom, but in the grace of God), we had our conduct in the world, but more abundantly toward you" (vs 9-12). That pretty well summarizes everything about how the trust is.

Jeremiah 7:8[transcriber's correction]: "Behold, you trust in lying words…"—that's the way it is in the world. Who is the one who is deceiving the whole world? Satan the devil! And what is he? He is the father of lies! God doesn't want us to believe in lies. Just stop and think! Just look at the world, look at things, look at life! How many lies do people believe? How many people live by those lies? Yet, they think good can come of those lies—don't they? It's an amazing thing!

WALK BY FAITH

You have heard me say over and over again, so we're going to emphasize this: in order to live by faith—which is a general parameter—we are to walk by faith, believe in hope and live in love! That's how we are to do it, while we're believing and trusting in Christ.

2-Corinthians 5:7: "For we walk by faith, not by sight." Just take that one Scripture and think on that and apply it and what you will do in life is you will experience that; you will see it happen.

We have a living example right here. The doctor's looked at Richard and said, 'He's not going to live.' I came up and anointed him and prayed for him and asked God to heal him and raise him up, and God did! But to look at him you would have to agree, when he was there in that hospital the first night when I came up to see him, it could be very easy to conclude that, yes, he was not going to make it, as the doctors said. The doctors don't live by faith; they live by sight. We live by faith and we prayed for him and here he is!

Let's see how all of this ties into hope, because as it said, 'faith is the conviction of things not seen…' the hope which God gives us. We'll talk a little bit about conviction a little later, but let's look at hope.

HOPE

1-Timothy 1:1: "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ according to the commandment of God our Savior, and of the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is our hope." We're going to see once we get through Heb. 11 and get into chapter 12, it really emphasizes that Christ is our hope

  • no man
  • no scheme
  • no plan
  • no secret formula

Christ! That ties right in with what we read there in John 14:6: "I am the Way the Truth and the Life..." He is our hope!

Titus 2:13: "Looking for the blessed hope… [that refers to the hope of the resurrection] …and the appearing of the glory of our Savior and great God, Jesus Christ… [What does this do? This tells us Jesus is God!] …Who gave Himself for us, so that He might redeem us from all lawlessness, and might purify for Himself a unique people, zealous of good works. Speak these things, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you" (vs 13-15).

Let's look at Abraham's example concerning hope. This is just a little expounding on walk in faith, believe in hope and live in love. Rom. 4 talks about Abraham. There are a lot of practical things concerning believing in hope when it applies to Abraham, because you know that Isaac was not born until Abraham was 99-years-old—actually in his 100th year, and his wife Sarah was 90. God was going to show that what was impossible for men to do, He could do. That's why Isaac is called the son of promise. And remember, he was promised beginning when he was 75-years-old, so it took him 25 years before it came to fruition.

Romans 4:16: "For this reason it is of faith, in order that it might be by grace, to the end that the promise might be certain to all the seed…" Remember, everything depended on that promise from God: one man, the promise; one child, Isaac.

"…might be by grace, to the end that the promise might be certain to all the seed—not to the one who is of the law only, but also to the one who is of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all" (v 16).

What I want us to know and to understand is this: faith and hope are connected together just like hope and love are connected together. Many times when you read about faith, immediately follows hope just like it did there in Heb. 11: 1.

Verse 17: "(Exactly as it is written: 'I have made you a father of many nations.') before God in Whom he believed, Who gives life to the dead… [and that's what He did to Abraham in order to have Isaac] …and calls the things that are not as though they are."

Hebrews 11:1, because we see this in action: "Now, faith is the substance of things hoped for… [we have faith and hope connected together] …and the conviction of things not seen." That's what Abraham had. If he walked by sight and not by faith—which the incident of Hagar was, by sight—trying to help God fulfill His prophecies, God does not need any help in fulfilling His prophecies, thank you, He is perfectly able of taking care of His own promises. Here in Rom. 4 we see Heb. 11:1 in action.

Romans 4:18: "And who against hope believed in hope… [that's where I have it: walk in faith, believe in hope] …in order that he might become a father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, 'So shall your seed be.'" That's how we are to believe in hope.

Let's look and see some more concerning hope, what this hope is to do, and how it all works together. The reason that the Psalms and the New Testament are so connected is because a lot of the things concerning the New Testament were first written down by David, who was in that special covenant with God. Plus David was also, as it was said in another place, a prophet and he prophesied many of the exact words and thoughts that later would be experienced by Christ when He was in the flesh. Here we are also going to see something very important, too: faith and trust and hope all connected together:

Psalm 71:1: "In You, O LORD, have I taken refuge; let me never be put to shame. Deliver me in Your righteousness and cause me to escape; incline Your ear unto me, and save me. Be my strong Rock of refuge to which I may always go; You have commanded to save me; for You are my Rock and my Fortress" (vs 1-3). That sounds like Mount Sion that I talked about earlier.

Verse 4: "Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, out of the hand of the unrighteous and ruthless man, for You are my hope, O Lord GOD, my trust from my youth" (vs 4-5). We have faith and hope and trust all combined together.

Always remember this: When things look the darkest, that's when to:

  • hope in God
  • believe in God
  • have faith in God
  • trust Him

for His deliverance!

Psalm 31:23: "O love the LORD, all you His saints! The LORD preserves the faithful, and fully repays the proud doer. Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who hope in the LORD" (vs 23-24). There it is! Really quite a thing!

God gives all of this to inspire us, to help us, to encourage us. The most important thing that we need to realize and understand is that God has given us the free-moral agency and the choice, and He trusts us with His Word and Truth and Spirit and He then is our Hope—regardless of what the circumstances may appear to be! This is why Paul was writing the Epistle to the Hebrews because he was preparing them for the worst circumstances that they were going to face in their whole lives, and we may very well be facing the same thing somewhere down the road in the not too far distant future, too.

Our hope has to be in God!We have to believe in the hope that God has given, and that's what it all about: Those that hope in the LORD.

When something happens, don't get all down. God will use every circumstance to work out His will! Even though circumstances when you are down and depressed and despaired, and normally if you didn't have hope in God, you would have no hope! That's why Paul said there, concerning the ones who have died who are in the world, 'Don't despair like those in the world who have no hope.' Always look to God!

Psalm 146:1: "O praise the LORD. Praise the LORD, O my soul. While I live I will praise the LORD; I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being" (vs 1-2). You talk about loving God, dedicated to God, there you go right there.

Verse 3: "Do not put your trust in princes…" We see how trust, hope and faith and so forth all work together.

"…nor in the son of man in whom there is no salvation…. [because their day comes]: …His breath goes forth; he returns to the earth; in that very day his thoughts perish. Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God" (vs 3-5). That's why we are to believe in hope constantly.

Let's see this in action. We'll see how this works in a spiritual sense for those of us who have God's Spirit.

Romans 5:1: "Therefore, having been justified by faith… [we believe, we trust God] …we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Isn't that something? The carnal mind is always fighting against God.

Verse 2: "Through Whom we also have access by faith into this grace in which we stand… [this puts us in a special relationship with God] …and we ourselves boast in the hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also boast in tribulations, realizing that tribulation brings forth endurance, and endurance brings forth character, and character brings forth hope. And the hope of Godnever makes us ashamed because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, which has been given to us." (vs 2-5).

Isn't that something? That's why we are to believe in hope and we have the greatest things to believe in. Let's see how this works. As I said, regardless of the circumstances, remember, you can claim this promise and this is something that God expects. It is a promise and we can claim it.

Think of it this way, as William Tyndale said, which is true, 'Every word of God is a covenant.' I think that is pretty profound! In other words, every word of God can be trusted—that's why you can believe it and live by it. We've seen it happen down through the years.

Romans 8:28, here's what we have to come to: "And we know… [that's a matter of conviction and understanding] …that all things…" I want you to think about that!

  • It doesn't say some things
  • It doesn't say most things
  • It doesn't say the important things

It says: "…all things work together for good to those who love God… [now then, we're coming from hope in action to the love of God] …to those who are called according to His purpose."

That's pretty profound! Everything works for good, even those things that appear to be utter disasters! We can see that over and over again when any of us get in trouble, or have difficulties, or need healing, we look to God for that; we pray for each other, God intervenes. All things! If you have difficulties between husband and wife, between one and another, all those things will work together for good if you love God, because all of those things can be worked out, and all of those things can be made to work for good.

That's why He doesn't want us to be down or discouraged or drug into the pit; even if you find yourself in a situation that feels like it. Remember the Psalm that says, 'I was in the mire, yet, God delivered me.' So, always remember this: If you walk by faith and believe in hope, the physical circumstances around you God can always change!

I've also seen that I've had many people oppose what I teach and preach, because I teach and preach the Bible and I teach and preach against their hierarchy and teach and preach against their merchandising and things like this. I've had enemies come after me, and I just put them in God's hands and God takes care of them. He takes care of them in His own way.

Since God is a heart-knowing God, which He is; since God is greater and more powerful than anything we are, which He is; He can do things greater and above and beyond what we do, which He does, the ultimate reality in dealing with enemies who are against us is what? That they may repent! That's why it says, 'Pray for your enemies.'

The greatest good you can pray for your enemies is this: Put them in God's hands and ask God to do with them according to His will, and if it's possible, to lead them to repentance! That's to the greater glory of God. You don't have to go around with hatred and bitterness. What does hatred and bitterness do?

  • If you believe in hope you're always looking to the future!
  • If you walk in faith, you're always trusting in God!
  • If you're living in the love of God, that is the cement which holds all of this together!

The long and short of it is, of all things working together for good, that if it works to repentance and change and salvation, that's terrific! That's what God would want it to be. Who was one of the worst enemies of Jesus Christ? Saul, the one who became the Apostle Paul! So, even though he was responsible for martyring the saints—look, they'll be resurrected; God will take care of them—God was able to convert him and use him and was responsible for a little over 50% of the New Testament. Quite a testimony to 'all things work together for good."

LIVE IN HOPE

Let's look at live in hope. Let's see how this all ties together and how it's put together with love. Love is the concrete or the cement that puts it all together; that makes it work.

After He is asked which is the great commandment, Matthew 22:37: "And Jesus said to him, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.'"

If you do that, that's how God wants it to be: all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind! In other words, God wants your full attention—doesn't He? He wants your whole life. Most people like to give God a little bit and continue doing what they want to do. They're really not loving God this way. This is something you grow into. You don't all of a sudden—when you discover about God—wake up one morning and say, 'Boy, I love you with all my heart and mind and soul and being,' And God says, 'Okay, that's fine.' As you live your life—walking in Christ, walking in faith, believing in hope and living in love—then you learn how to love.

I have often said that when people pray—and I've experienced it so I know what it's like—'O God, I'm really lacking in love; please grant me more of Your love through Your Holy Spirit.' And immediately you get up and you are confronted with a trial, and you think, 'O God, I asked for love! And I ended up fighting!' If He would answer you He would probably say, 'Well you asked for love so I gave you a trial to see how you are going to do.' Likewise in whatever we do, we are going to have these things come along because in order to receive eternal life God is going to prove us and test us. Just like we prove and test God. He is going to do it for us.

Jesus said, v 38: "This is the first and greatest commandment." That's toward God. what about everybody else on earth? You can go look up the parable where the lawyer said, 'Well, who is my neighbor?' Anyone you are in contact with is your neighbor.
Verse 39: "And the second one is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'" There it is! How do you get along with people? That's how you do it; you love them as yourself. God expects you to love yourself enough to take care of yourself, to do for yourself the things that you know you need to do. As I mentioned before with exercise that that tells you how 'self' wants to destruct; it really doesn't want to do it.

Verse 40: "On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets." Everything that God has done for man, toward man and man toward God is based on the love of God; yet, people consider God hostile and mean and all this sort of thing, because they don't know God.

Let's see what he says concerning how we need to implement that. I've already covered some of it but let's go ahead and read it here.

Matthew 5:43: "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'…. [sounds like a campaign speech] …But I say to you… [if you're going to follow Christ, if you're going to do what is right] …love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you and pray for those who despitefully use you and persecute you" (vs 43-44).

When you first hear this and you first read it, that's a tough bill of goods to swallow, because we've all been taught love those who are yours, that's good. Hate your enemies, yes. So then, as I was explaining, how do you love your enemies? You put them in God's hands! Sometimes you do something that is really nice and then your neighbor is surprised that you've done it. Maybe you've got an old dilapidated fence and he won't tell you you've got an old dilapidated fence and he really doesn't like it and he really thinks it's kind of two inches on his property. So, he huffs and puffs and fumes and steams and gives you dirty looks and so forth. If you build a nice fence where that dilapidated one is, lo and behold, he looks out there and he comes over and makes friends with you. Is that not loving your neighbor as yourself? Sure it is! Each of you are surprised that you're really kind of nice. That's the way it works. Why? Because that is emulating a character of God, a characteristic that comes from God! It says, 'God so loved the world…' that's everybody in it.

Here is the reason, v 45: "So that you yourselves may be the children of your Father Who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good…"

How pretentious would it be to get up in the morning and go pray and you see the sun coming up and you think you are so righteous and you say, 'O God, I'm so glad that you gave us sunshine today because I am so good.' Look out Job, it's on its way. The one who is evil gets up and says, 'Oh, I'm glad it's not raining today.' God gave the sunshine to both. God is able to handle the evil and handle the good, too, so don't worry about it.

Verse 45: "…and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not the tax collectors practice the same thing?" (vs 45-46).

Those were the most hated, and that's true wherever you go down in every society, the tax collector is the evil man. Even in the story of Robin Hood, and I like the cartoon version best, the Sheriff of Nottingham coming in and taking the very last penny.

Verse 47: "And if you salute your brethren only, what have you done that is extraordinary?…." Think about this with all of these: the social clubs that they have like the Elks, the Moose or the Masons, they are all good to their own.

"…Do not the tax collectors practice the same thing?…. [here is the reason why God wants us to do everything this way]: …Therefore, you shall be perfect…" (vs 47-48). That's the ultimate goal, that's the whole reason for faith and hope and love:

  • to be perfected
  • be perfected with the mind of Christ
  • be perfected with the character of God

After all: what is there in life if you don't do that? God gives you all the tools to do it.

Verse 48: "Therefore, you shall be perfect, even as your Father Who is in heaven is perfect." Quite a thing! I tell you, that's something!

John 15—the King James Version does not have it translated the way that I do, but I translated it this way because this is the closest to the Greek. The Greek verb 'meno' means to abide, to live, or to dwell. So, in John 15 He is saying 'He is the vine, you are the branches.' You have to dwell in Him.

John 15:6: "If anyone does not dwell in Me, he is cast out as a branch, and is dried up; and men gather them and cast them into a fire, and they are burned. If you dwell in Me, and My words dwell in you…" (vs 6-7). Doesn't that come full circle right back where we started? The words of God dwelling in us that He told the Pharisees?

"…you shall ask whatever you desire, and it shall come to pass for you. In this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit; so shall you be My disciples. As the Father has loved Me, I also have loved you; live in My love" (vs 7-9). Not just abide or dwell, but live, so that's why I have walk in faith, believe in hope and live in love.

"…live in My love…. [then He shows how to do it]: …If you keep My commandments, you shall live in My love; just… [showing how we are to walk] …as I have kept My Father's commandments and live in His love…. [What is the reason for all of this?] …These things I have spoken to you, in order that My joy may dwell in you, and that your joy may be full" (vs 9-11). That joy comes and is fulfilled when we walk in faith, believe in hope and live in love!

Let's see how all of this works together. 1-Cor. 13 is the love chapter, and I think it's very interesting as you go through and you analyze all of the problems that they had at the Church of Corinth. He had to name all of the problems and then what was it that he gave as the final solution?

1-Cor. 13 is very important from this point of view: it touches on everything that is important to human beings—their intellect, their vanity, their willing sacrifice and all of these things—when compared to the love of God.

1-Corinthians 13:1: "If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a sounding brass or a clanging cymbal." Not as; you become one.

Have you ever heard anyone speaking and it sounds hollow, and vain, and empty and meaningless? They mouth the words, but they don't mean it. Or they say the words and they have never experienced what they are saying. I remember hearing a man give a sermon on Psa. 51 and it was given in such a bland way that after he was done, I thought to myself: I don't think you've really experience repentance like Psa. 51, because you can tell there was not the conviction in what he was saying. So, he was just like this, a sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.

Verse 2: "If I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing." That's profound!

That's why God has called the weak of the world. If you have the love of God, you have more than all the world has. You don't have to be smart, you don't have to be intelligent, you don't have to be wise; you have the Spirit of God and He'll give you the smarts, and He'll give you the intelligence and He'll give you the wisdom which comes from Him. This is more important than anything else.

Verse 3: "And if I give away all my goods…" Let me just say something here about the King James to clarify something. 'If I give all that I have to the poor…' That isn't what it is; the poor is not there. A lot of rich people give a lot of things that they have and they don't give it to the poor, they give it to many different causes. You can give it to any cause it's not just giving to the poor. Although every Thanksgiving and Christmas we see it come up and the 'trumpet is blown' and the television cameras are sounded and drums roll and here's 'Mama So-and-So' giving turkey to all of these that need it—whatever.

Verse 3: "…and if I deliver up my body that I may be burned, but do not have love, I have gained nothing."

I never will forget, this has always been one of these things that every once in a while you see something that just sticks in your mind. I remember seeing one of these Buddhist priests in Viet Nam when they were protesting the war, and it showed the whole thing. He sat down in the lotus position and dowsed himself with gasoline, and lit a match and burned himself. To me that was the epitome of giving your body to be burned that accomplished nothing—gained nothing!

The other thing concerning the King James is this: They translate the Greek word: 'agape'—which means love—as 'charity.' Why did they do that? On the different committees with the King James Version translation, they had secret Romanists and Latinists. They liked Latin, and the committee that had 1-Cor. had a Latinist on there because the Latin word for love is 'charity,' whereas charity today means some sort of thing to give money or food or things to the poor. That's how that came about.

Here is what we are to grow into, v 4: "Love is patient…" If you don't have patience, you have to grow in to it. You say, 'Oh God, give me patience.' Then you'll have a trial come along where you need to exercise patience and you lose your temper, and you wonder why'd you lose your temper. Well, you had a trial to learn patience. Just go repent and ask God to help you, that's all.

"…and is kind; love envies not…" (v 4). Notice this is all how we are converted; these are all points and steps of conversion.

"…does not brag about itself, is not puffed up" (v 4). Channel-surf the 'religious' channel, check them out by what is said here.

Verse 5: "Love does not behave disgracefully, does not seek its own things, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil, does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the Truth" (vs 5-6). There is the goal we are to reach for. This is how we live in love.
Verse 7: "Love bears all things, believes all things… [obviously that are right; pertaining to God] …hopes all things… [so here we have faith, hope and love; and this chapter ties it all together] …endures all things. Love never fails…. [a perfect, absolute guarantee] …But whether there be prophecies, they shall cease…" (vs 7-8).

That's referring to prophecies of men. The reason it has to refer to prophecies of men is because Jesus said, 'Heaven and earth shall pass away but My words shall not pass away.' Therefore, any of His prophecies cannot fail. This is the prophecies of men that he was correcting them for there a little later in 1-Cor. 14.

"…whether there be languages, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away" (v 8). That's human knowledge. We'll gain greater knowledge when we become the sons of God at the resurrection.

Verse 9: "For we know in part, and we prophesy in part; but when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part shall be set aside. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I reasoned as a child; but when I became a man, I set aside the things of a child" (vs 9-11). He is projecting forward now to the resurrection.

Verse 12: "For now we see through a glass darkly…" That's how we view everything today. We don't have perfect vision of what's going to happen. Let's go back and look at all the prophecies even heard in the Church of God? Did they set the date when Christ is going to return? Every one of them has failed! Why? Because they are prophecies of men! God has His time schedule. We don't quite understand everything; He'll reveal it in His time.

Verse 12: "…but then… [at the resurrection] …we shall see face-to-face; now I know in part, but then I shall know exactly as I have been known."

What we are experiencing in this life is very much like what a baby experiences before it's born. Very little, but give him the tools so when he's born he can survive. Now we are given the tools so we can survive, we can live forever so how much more important that this is.

Now then when all else fails, v 13: "And now, these three remain: faith, hope and love… [walk in faith, believe in hope and live in love!] …but the greatest of these is love."

I wanted to go through and cover this before we started going through Chapter 11 so we won't have to stop and dwell every time it says, by faith. It brings up faith in that chapter 18 times, and gives us examples so that we can look at those and know and learn so when we're confronted with things in our lives and our existence, that we can also have the same faith and have the same endurance.

All Scriptures from The Holy Bible in Its Original Order, A Faithful Version

Scriptural References:

  • Hebrews 11:1
  • John 5:37-47
  • John 6:26-29
  • John 14: 1, 6
  • Psalm 25:1-7
  • Psalm 118:8-9
  • Psalm 125:1-2
  • 2 Corinthians 1:8-12
  • Jeremiah 7:8
  • 2 Corinthians 5:7
  • 1 Timothy1:1
  • John 14:6
  • Titus 2:13-15
  • Romans 4:16-17
  • Hebrews 11:1
  • Romans 4:18
  • Psalm 71:1-5
  • Psalm 31:23-24
  • Psalm 146:1-5
  • Romans 5:1-5
  • Romans 8:28
  • Matthew 22:37-40
  • Matthew 5:43-48
  • John 15:6-11
  • 1 Corinthians 13: 1-13

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • Hebrews 10
  • Psalm 51
  • 1 Corinthians 14

Also referenced:

  • Appendix H—How Did Jesus Fulfill the Law and the Prophets? (from The Holy Bible in Its Original Order by Fred R. Coulter)
  • Book: Josephus

FRC:bo
Transcribed: 5/25/11
Formatted/Corrected: January/2017

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