The Greater Love (Part One)

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

John 15:12 – This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

This commandment of Jesus was first given back in the Gospel of John chapter 13:34-35, when he called it “the new commandment.” This new commandment is to love in a specific way, “as I have loved you.” Coming to know Jesus from the Scriptures is how we learn how he loved, for his love was and still is the love of God, and it is available today to love as Jesus loved.

John 15:13 – Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Jesus in explaining who has the love of God says “greater love hath no man.” The word “man” is the Greek word for “one,” for “no one” other than Jesus at this time in the Gospel of John had this greater love to apply and enjoy. This is why he said “But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you” (John 5:42). Then, Jesus says that it would take this greater love in order for him to lay down his life for his friends. Have you ever considered yourself as a friend of Jesus? Well he considers himself your friend! This greater love that Jesus was referring to is what is now available from God because of the sacrifice of Jesus laying down his life for us.

John 13:37-38:
-37: Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake.
-38: Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice.

Peter was willing, he considered the task of dying for Jesus, yet Jesus knew that even with all the good intentions of Peter to want to help, if it meant dying, Peter would never be able to carry it through. Human (man’s own) love never really allows one to make that ultimate sacrifice for others. In war, of course it is a different story, for it is kill or be killed. However, Jesus obviously knew that Peter would not be able to lay down his life and would even deny him. No one had the spiritual love to carry out God’s will for the redemption of humanity other than Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12). Today, because of the ultimate sacrifice, crucifixion, and torture that Jesus endured we now have every right into all the love of God that Jesus displayed. I would like to close out this Bible byte by quoting from the Epistle of Romans.

Romans 5:6-8:
-6:  For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
-7:  For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
-8:  But God {who was in Christ, II Corinthians 5:19} commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

God’s Blessings

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

The greatest things in life are free. A man may sell his soul, but he cannot buy eternal life, peace, joy, true inner happiness, or love. These are all gifts of God! We can stand in total awe of these gifts, and thoroughly enjoy them, for they far surpass any monetary value; as Philippians 4:19 reads “my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” The richest people on earth are those who have their needs supplied by God, day to day from the riches of His glory. Conversely, the people with large wallets may not be experiencing all the gifts and blessings of God in their lives. The Scripture in I Peter 1:8 informs us that we can “rejoice with joy unspeakable”; or joy beyond explanation, and this joy is an inner quality of life which is a spiritual manifestation of having God in Christ in our hearts while we are receiving and enjoying heavenly, God-given blessings.

II Corinthians 9:15:
Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.

Although we cannot fully explain our inner joy and the unspeakable gift of God, we certainly can enjoy realizing unmistakable revelations of having these divine gifts. As we begin experiencing the true treasures of life, recognizing from whence they come and Who gave them, then we will be totally unfettered to give freely from our heartfelt inner joy and thankfulness to God.

God desires that we receive and grasp the realities of our heavenly blessings and treasures which He alone freely gives to men and women who are meek and humble to His healing Word and will.

Acts 20:35b-36:
-35b: . . . {The Apostle Paul said that we are} to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
-36:  And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all.

The word blessed means to be happy or to have happiness. These words that Jesus spoke were remembered and talked about by the believers and are not recorded in the Gospels, only here in the Book of Acts. The commentaries have always assumed that verse 36 was narrated back to the Apostle Paul who knelt down and prayed with those he was teaching. However, from the Greek Text verse 36 is a continuation of the words and action of Jesus: “it is more blessed to give than to receive, and when he {Jesus} had thus spoken, he {Jesus} kneeled down, and prayed with them all.” This completes and fulfills the true understanding that Jesus was explaining in the Gospels, and because of the prayer they were experiencing happiness, and thus, they were expressing inner thankfulness to God. We can find nothing to suggest that the Apostle Paul did not also follow through with Christ’s example and prayed with those whom he was teaching in Acts 20. “More blessed {happy} to give than to receive” does NOT negate the blessings of receiving, rather it is in reference to the more we give thanks to God, the more we then can receive to then have to give again out from what He gives.

God always wants His children to be happy, and as we learn to discover His true blessings upon our lives, then happiness follows, and the first, the very first thing that we do is to return thankfulness to God. “. . . a threefold cord is not quickly broken (Ecclesiastes 4:12b).” The threefold cord as it concerns “giving and receiving” is that God first gives divine spiritual treasures to man, secondly man in return gives thankfulness, honor, and respect back to God, then thirdly God again returns to man the spiritual blessings in physical abundant realities. This is a threefold cord that God will honor and continue to reward. This is what Jesus and Paul were explaining by teaching and by example. “Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which he hath given thee” (Deuteronomy 16:17). See how the blessing came first before any giving is even mentioned? This gives us a spiritual mindset on giving based on receiving blessings.

Psalms 146:5:
Happy {there is that word again} is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God:

Let us look at Jacob in Genesis who sought God for his help and who spoke to Him in a way that at first blush would seem to be a little rude if not downright blasphemous (in the way some think, believe, and teach on tithing these days). Nevertheless, what he said to God was in fact following the theme of what we just read about from Acts and Deuteronomy, above, and the theme of God’s Blessings that we are looking at in this study and the reason for Jacob’s happiness that could be ours as well. “And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If {IF, IF} God will be with me, and {IF You} will keep me in this way that I go, and {IF You} will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then {THEN} shall the LORD be my God” (Genesis 28:20-21). Wow, really? Yes ― really, IF God would, then he would ― and God did, and he did.

Jacob went to the source of abundance, “The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof” (Psalms 24:1), he went directly to the LORD God, Who “giveth thee power to get wealth” (Deuteronomy 8:18) and said IF YOU SUPPLY ― THEN I WILL GIVE. “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive” (Matthew 21:22); note, the only thing given here is a prayer, and a prayer is simply believing with thankfulness to God. It is from this request and understanding that Jacob not only lived an abundant life, but he concluded “of all that thou {God} shalt give me {of all things, whatsoever he asked in prayer and received} I will surely give the tenth {of what You give me} unto thee” (Genesis 28:22). See a Bible Byte study titled: Prayer with Thankfulness, which sheds light on this very subject of receiving from God in light of verses such as Matthew 21:22.

Psalms 46:7:
The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

Jacob would contribute only after his receiving, and his life was indeed blessed; he was praying and being honest with God and being true to himself for the prospects of his inner happiness. Since the God of Jacob is still our refuge in today’s world, should we not want to learn from him and follow his example and belief system? Jacob indeed was a principled man and wanted to know why it is more blessed to give than it is to receive, and as he received from God first, he then realized it is also blessed to give in return from out the blessings he received (because they were not his in the first place making his giving much easier, it is like playing with house money). This is the reasoning behind cheerful giving (II Corinthians 9:6-9) because one will manifest happiness! “Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help.”

It is not wrong to think as Jacob did — it is right to think as Jacob thought, it is not wrong to behave as Jacob did — it is right to behave as Jacob behaved, it is not wrong to believe as Jacob did — it is right to believe as Jacob believed, it is not wrong to say what Jacob did — it is right to say to God what Jacob said, in fact, God said of him “Jacob have I loved” (Romans 9:13). Furthermore, God did not curse Jacob for saying what he said, but blessed him. “Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal” (Ezekiel 18:25), in other words God’s way is right and Jacob proved to himself that God’s way was very equal and abundantly pleasing to him. Man’s way is to give first, God’s way is to receive first; man’s way is unequal, God’s way is equal. Man’s way is unbalanced and although God’s way may at first seem unbalanced and narrow-minded in man’s mind, it is actually perfectly balanced, as Jesus stated “strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:14). I ask, have we found God’s way, His equal way? God’s way turns the tables, so-to-speak, and rights one’s course into true godliness, “godliness is profitable {PROFITABLE} unto all things” (I Timothy 4:6).

Truth (which makes one free,― John 8:32) purposely inspires the joy of giving from within the heart; error drains the joy of giving from the heart to become an uninspired, compulsive and legalistic function.

“For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings” (Hosea 6:6). Sacrifice and burnt offerings were based on giving something in the prospect of getting something (i.e., a quid pro quo/tradeoff), while God desires mercy and knowledge which assures more. In fact, Jesus said of Hosea 6:6 “go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice” (Matthew 9:13). Mercy means the withholding back of that which is deserved, like a punishment and condemnation for a past sin, while God gives something so much grander, such as total forgiveness, love, mercy, peace, grace, and an abundant life; “no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly” (Psalms 84:11). These kinds of treasures we can come to know and experience and receive when we understand that it is He Who gives us not simply a tradeoff but more abundance because He “is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20). A nutshell version: When your giving is a sacrifice, it is not what our God of love intended. “Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God” (Micah 6:7-8).

Who would not want to walk humbly with God and know for certain that He is blessing them personally simply because He loves them? “I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn {called} thee” (Jeremiah 31:3). Who would not want to give from their personal God-given blessings with which He has blessed them? We receive blessings in order that we may enjoy an abundant life that comes directly from the ebb and flow of receiving from God and therein we are enabled to enjoy a heart of giving without having shortage or making sacrifices. From a biblical perspective, Jacob’s spiritual joy and physical happiness opened up to him the flowing simplicity of godly abundance, and is the foundation of discovering why it is more blessed to give than to receive because it is the key to more of what is free from God.

It certainly is easier to give out of what God blesses one with than to give out of what you have to start with and just may need to live on in the first place. When God becomes your God as He became Jacob’s, then the true perspective of life with God in your life will become living and real and life becomes a joy worth singing about. It is more blessed to give and receive Jacob’s way, which just happens to be God’s way! Yes, this is why it is thankworthy to pray with happiness and thank our heavenly Father. Jesus and Paul never taught “with effort you have worked, so freely give,” rather they taught God’s children, “freely ye have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8).

Psalms 81:1:
Sing aloud unto God our strength: make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob.

When we, the children of God, live our lives in this perfect harmony of receiving and giving, then the greatest treasures in life become ever more available and real to us. Then God’s Blessings continue coming in and we can experience genuine spiritual happiness living our lives in all the joy God originally intended.

Psalms 35:27-28:
-27: Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.
-28: And my tongue shall speak of thy righteousness and of thy praise all the day long.

“We are justified, not by giving anything to God . . . but by receiving from God, what Christ hath done for us.” ~William Gurnall~

For more on this topic, see: The Seeds of Authentic Abundance (What Is Not in the Scriptures Is so Often Just as Important as What Is in the Scriptures!) and The Fullness of God (The First Principle)

Saved By His Life

The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many- Mark 10:45. You see, the completed work of Jesus Christ accomplished our salvation for us, and because of him, his personal sacrifice, his own works, and his life’s blood offered for us, we are saved (Romans 10:9-10, Ephesians 1:7, and I Peter 1:18-19). We were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life– Romans 5:10.” ~LMJ~

Glory and Praise to God

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

Paul wrote Philippians from prison; he was there simply because he made known God’s Word. We can be so blessed that today we are not cast into prison simply because of our beliefs. Paul was not put in prison just for a stay – they wanted him executed! As we know, he was eventually released to continue his mission of making Jesus Christ known to others so that others could also have the joys of walking with their Savior.

Philippians 1:8 – For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.

God knew the heart of Paul, and when Paul said that God was his record, it is like our saying, “as God is my witness”; Paul’s desire was to preach and make known the Gospel to others even while in captivity. As God was Paul’s witness, God is also our witness today. “The bowels of Jesus Christ” represents their unity within the body of Christ. Paul was positive and hopeful that their standing with God was remaining strong even in his absence because they themselves were witnesses of Christ and Christ leads one to God.

Philippians 1:9 – And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge {of God and His healing Word} and in all judgment {in all discernment};

Paul prayed that their love may abound more and more, yet this was not simply a prayer to continue loving one another. Beyond that he prayed they would learn to love more and more the precious knowledge of God, for this knowledge can help the believers discern between good and evil, between light and darkness, and between that which is truth and what which may be in error. In Paul’s absence he was instructing the believers further into the ways of God so that they could stand together rooted and grounded in the Word.

Philippians 1:10-11:
-10:  That ye may approve {prove} things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;
-11:  Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.

God gives us things that are truly excellent such as the promises of God, yet without the love of the knowledge of His Word, which is the knowledge of truth, believers cannot prove to themselves whether or not it was God Who blessed them, or if they simply were lucky enough to have a good day. The Bible reveals more than nine hundred promises. How many promises do we know, how many promises do we believe for, and how many do we receive? “Sincere and without offence” means that we can know and receive from God with a genuine heart of understanding and sincerity that it is indeed our God Who truly blesses us. We are “being filled with the fruits of righteousness,” by Jesus Christ. “Fruits” represent the product, the result of cultivating. The fruit of righteousness can be savored and enjoyed every day, for Christ is at work within our hearts and lives. As our love abounds in the knowledge of what God has given, and knowing that Christ is at work within, then we can spiritually offer up to our God spiritual fruits of our righteousness in glory and praise to Him, and this will indeed warm the heart of God.

Hebrews 13:15-16:
-15:  By him {Jesus Christ} therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips {spoken by those who are righteous} giving thanks to his name.
-16:  But to do good and to communicate {fellowship} forget not: for with such sacrifices {of glory and praise spoken to Him}, God is {very} well pleased.

The Habitation of God

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

Ephesians 2:18 – For through him {Jesus Christ} we both {believers from Israel and the Gentiles} have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

The word Spirit is in reference to the gift that God has given each believer and the spirit gives us personal access to the Father. Many people think that they have no real access to our heavenly Father; however, we most certainly do.

Ephesians 2:19 – Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

We are not estranged to God, nor are we foreign to Him, for He knows us intimately.  God has already made us one with spiritual unity before Him because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, which gives us genuine citizenship from above – from heaven – from Him Who gave. God has also made us fellow-citizens with every other saint (every believer without exception), and we are also fellow-citizens of the actual household of the Creator.

Ephesians 2:20 – And {we, the fellow-citizens} are built upon the foundation of the {laid by the} apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone:

The Apostles and Prophets are those whom God in His grace has commissioned to lay the foundation by their teaching the truth within the Church Epistles. The Epistles teach us about the true spiritual foundation of Christ, and that the entire Church of God is built upon this.

Ephesians 2:21 – In whom {in Christ} all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:

It is we, the believers, who spiritually grow within the temple, and we are “framed together” to make up the true spiritual temple that is growing in the Lord. You may wonder: How in the world can people make up a temple, and how is it that we are framed together? The next verse continues:

Ephesians 2:22 – In whom {the Lord} ye also are builded {up} together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

We are not only spiritually “framed together” in the temple of God, but we are also being spiritually “builded (up) together” to be the habitation of God. We know where we physically dwell, the place that we call our home, while spiritually speaking we are the place where God spiritually dwells, the place He calls His home, for we are indeed intimate members of His household. Not only do we have continued access to God, not only are we conducting our lives on the foundation of Christ, not only are we growing spiritually within the true temple of God, but we are also the place where the Creator of life has His habitation. We have access to God by the spirit that He gave us, and Ephesians 2:22 shows that God Himself inhabits the believers through or by means of the Spirit, and Spirit is the very essence of God.