Eden Day 5 Crafted For Community: Digging Deeper

Digging Deeper Days

Finding the original intent of Scripture and making good application to our everyday lives as we become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

Today is 2-for-1 Friday!
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The Questions

1) How does Christian love differ from un-believer’s love? Don’t non-Christians show love and yet are not in God? (verse 7)

2) What does it mean for God’s love to be “made complete in us”? (verse 12)

3) What does it mean to have confidence on the day of judgement? (verse 17)

1 John 4:7-21

In the second year of King Darius, on the first day of the sixth month, the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, the governor of Judah, and to Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest:

“The Lord of Armies says this: These people say: The time has not come for the house of the Lord to be rebuilt.”

The word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai: “Is it a time for you yourselves to live in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins?” Now, the Lord of Armies says this: “Think carefully about your ways:

You have planted much
but harvested little.
You eat
but never have enough to be satisfied.
You drink
but never have enough to be happy.
You put on clothes
but never have enough to get warm.
The wage earner puts his wages
into a bag with a hole in it.”

The Lord of Armies says this: “Think carefully about your ways. Go up into the hills, bring down lumber, and build the house; and I will be pleased with it and be glorified,” says the Lord. “You expected much, but then it amounted to little. When you brought the harvest to your house, I ruined it. Why?” This is the declaration of the Lord of Armies. “Because my house still lies in ruins, while each of you is busy with his own house.

10 So on your account,
the skies have withheld the dew
and the land its crops.
11 I have summoned a drought
on the fields and the hills,
on the grain, new wine, fresh oil,
and whatever the ground yields,
on man and animal,
and on all that your hands produce.”

Original Intent

1) How does Christian love differ from un-believer’s love? Don’t non-Christians show love and yet are not in God? (verse 7)
The book of 1 John is full of descriptions of Christ’s love for His people while honing in on the “lived out evidence” of a person who has been truly saved from sin and transformed by the Holy Spirit. Paul describes some of these markers of abiding in true Christian love as confessing sin (1 John 1:9), recognizing sin (1 John 3:6), following God’s commands (1 John 3:24), confession that Christ is God (1 John 4:2), and listening to the teaching of the apostles (1 John 4:6). After all this, we reach these verses teaching that true love only “comes from God.” (verse 7) Christian love is evidenced by outward actions and speech flowing from the inner knowledge of God and how He first loved us. 1 John 3:16 tells us that because God first laid down His life for us, we love sacrificially by laying down our life for one another (specifically, brothers in the faith). This sacrificial love is to be the Christian’s constant pattern throughout life because we are emulating our Savior. Divine love evidenced in a believer’s life can only flow from an inner, vibrant relationship with God. When this love is lived out toward others, it reflects God’s glorious love back to Him, pointing the world to the unconditional, sacrificial love of the Savior who gave Himself for us. Enduring Word Commentary notes this type of love allows others to “see” God. Yes, non-Christians do show great love at times. They are, after all, image bearers of their loving creator, but only those who have surrendered themselves to the Love of God living inside them can reflect it back to Him!

2) What does it mean for God’s love to be “made complete in us”? (verse 12)
Verse 10, where we dropped off previously, tells us the finale of how God loves us by sending “His Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.” God’s love for us is on display from the beginning of time in the way He created people as bearers of His own image. His love for people is demonstrated through His care for Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, and all who came after. His plan of love extends throughout the Old Testament with the ultimate goal of restoring sinners back into a perfect relationship with God and fellowship with other people. We see God’s love lived out in Christ’s perfect obedience to the Father’s will. (Philippians 2:6-8) The peak of this plan, motivated by love and what is best for us, came to completion through Christ’s perfect sacrifice of Himself on the cross. Just as there is nothing we can add to our salvation, so there is nothing we can add to God’s love. 1 John 3:16 tells us, “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.” Our focus verses in 1 John 4 weave God’s love for us into our love for one another (the “brothers”). This sacrificial love for the benefit of another is an identifier of the Holy Spirit in us. Our ability to love is made complete when we mimic Christ and His demonstration of love through the power of the Holy Spirit working within us.

3) What does it mean to have confidence on the day of judgement? (verse 17)
If we back up to verse 16, John notes how a believer in Christ is deeply familiar with the love God has for us. “In this love,” (the love from God for His people) Christians can have confidence on the day of judgment. There is no mention of our good works or generous donations to boost our confidence in eternal security, rather, it is placing the full weight of our faith in “believing in the love God has for us.” (verse 16) What is this love that God has for us? Paul tells of its radical depth in Romans 5:8, “But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” The Gospel is Jesus, motivated by the love God has for us, taking on our deserved wrath for our sin and offering His perfect righteousness in place of our wretchedness. Jesus did not volunteer to die for people He considered good or innocent; those people don’t exist. Rather, He willingly sacrificed Himself in order to reconcile back to God those who actively fight against God. How terrifying the fullness of God’s presence will be on my judgement day. Yet, Christ wraps us in His love that we may stand confident of salvation because of Christ’s righteous work on the cross.

Everyday Application

1) How does Christian love differ from un-believer’s love? Don’t non-Christians show love and yet are not in God? (verse 7)
“But I know people who don’t profess Christ as Lord and still do loving things.” Yes, most of us do! All people do have a reflection of the Lord within them simply because they are made in God’s image. His image bearers express His compassion and His heart if they follow the pattern they were intended to live out. Enduring Word Commentary notes, “Human love, however noble and however highly motivated, falls short if it refuses to include the Father and Son as the supreme objects of its affection.” How can we tell the difference in our own motivations as believers in Jesus? We can ask ourselves if our love towards someone else is an overflow of Jesus in us, and if it is reflecting God’s glory back to Him. Can I love with feelings and selfless actions? (1 John 3:18) Stopping to consider such questions helps us better understand God’s character, His purposes for the church body, and it provides an opportunity for the Holy Spirit to search our hearts. 1 Corinthians 13:4 describes what love flowing from the Lord looks like. Can I let my personal goals slip so I can patiently and kindly address my child’s heart? Can I set aside my pride and hours of research to see the intelligence and good in my husband when he parents differently than me? Can I find my identity in Christ and celebrate another’s accomplishments while I feel like my wheels are spinning aimlessly? While seemingly trivial, these day-to-day acts of selflessness prove God’s sacrificial love abides in us. These small moments of decision prepare us for more dramatic ones as we practice submitting to the Lord Jesus and His pattern of love. May God use these selfless gifts as opportunities to point others to the God who loves sacrificially!

2) What does it mean for God’s love to be “made complete in us”? (verse 12)
Just a quick internet search of common insecurities people experience is quite telling of our concerns, in general, of how others view us. We carry many concerns in our hearts! Can I holistically provide well for my children? Am I perfect in my work and social life? What will I do if economic catastrophe strikes? Am I serving the Lord according to how others think I should? I may not phrase these questions to myself in these words, but the panic that rises in my own heart relates to each of these. God knew these worries along with much deeper problems than “imperfections” in my heart known as sin. Yes, from the foundation of the world, God made a plan to gently and patiently deal with my heart. He gave Himself for me and will always meet me where I am. He moves the hearts of others to provide for my family where I fall short. He gave me other Christians in the body of Christ on whom to reflect His perfect love. Christ gives me freedom to rest my failings in his great love. He walks alongside me as He allows hardships to flash light into the dark places of my heart. God’s patience and generosity towards me was present before I even knew Him. This new confidence and true humility in admitting I am not enough (rather than shame or false guilt) renews my mind about my Christian brother or sister. I only see them for a glimpse of their life. God is not done with them either. I must set myself aside to join in God’s spirit of generosity towards the person front of me.

3) What does it mean to have confidence on the day of judgement? (verse 17)
Praise God for this promised confidence we have IN CHRIST on the day of judgment because of His work on our behalf! Enduring Word Commentary points out that Christians experience some understanding of God’s mercy on earth. Yet, on our own judgment day when we stand before the Holy God, how much greater we will truly know the depth of our sins and greatness of Christ’s covering for us! Then we will see much more of God’s love as we more fully comprehend the gravity of our sin. But John is not writing this encouragement, for our relief alone, rather the Spirit through John, is prodding us to boldly love others just as Christ loves us. I get excited reading these commands; how beautiful it is to show the world what God is like through His abundant outflowing of love through us! I get warm fuzzies and feel ready to give all I have in loving others. But life happens, and I see the church is actually quite messy and painful. Our pains are real. Pain caused by genuine followers of Christ and harm caused by wolves (unbelievers) hiding amongst sheep (believers). Yet, our love isn’t measured by the level of love shown us by other Christians. John warns that if we “hate our brother (in Christ), (we) cannot love God.” (1 John 4:20) Our love flows from God’s love. In this, we can trust Christ to tend our broken hearts and fuel us to love even those who sin against us. After all, we were sinning against Christ when He gave himself for us! This is not our automatic response and we ought to show patience for each other in the process of mourning and forgiving hurt. May we encourage one another to look to Christ as our help to do what we cannot do without Him!

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Digging Deeper is for Everyone!

1) Take this passage (or any other passage).
2) Read it, and the verses around it,
several times
3) Write down your questions
as you think of them.
4) Ask specific culture related questions and be ready to dig around for your answers. Google them, use www.studylight.org, or look them up in a study Bible and read the footnotes (click on the little letters next to a word and it will show you
other related verses!). (www.esvbible.org)
5) Check your applications with other trusted Christians that you are in community with and embrace the fullness of God
in your everyday!

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Why Dig Deeper?

Finding the original meaning is a huge deal when we study Scripture and can make all the difference in our understanding as we apply God’s truths to our everyday lives.

In our modern-day relationships, we want people to understand our original intention as we communicate; how much more so between God and humanity?!

Here’s a little bit more on why we take Digging Deeper so seriously.

Study Tools

We love getting help while we study and www.studylight.org is one of many excellent resources, providing the original Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament) with an English translation.

Want to know more about a specific word in a verse? Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Discover “origin”, “definition” and hear the original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!

Want more background? Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))

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