“Talk Is Cheap”

“Digging Deeper” is an opportunity for you to continue the study of God’s Word throughout the week.

FRIDAY
“Talk Is Cheap”

1 John 3:17-18
But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

Most of us will never be put in a situation where we would be called on to give our lives for another person. However, we can be certain that we will have people around us with needs in their life. How willing are you to help meet the needs of the people around you? Remember, the evidence of genuine love is in doing rather than in dialogue.

Mark Twain said, “Actions speak louder than words but not nearly as often.” Talk is cheap. We are to love people the same way that God loves us… with action.

Donald W. Burdick gives three characteristics of godly (agape) love:

1. It is spontaneous. There was nothing of value in the persons loved that called forth such sacrificial love. God of His own free will set His love on us in spite of our enmity and sin. (Agape) is love that is initiated by the lover because he wills to love, not because of the value or lovableness of the person loved.

2. It is self-giving. [Agape] is not interested in what it can gain, but in what it can give. It is not bent on satisfying the lover, but on helping the one loved whatever the cost.

3. It is active. [Agape] is not mere sentiment cherished in the heart. Nor is it mere words however eloquent. It does involve feeling and may express itself in words, but it is primarily an attitude toward another that moves the will to act in helping to meet the need of the one loved.

CHALLENGE: Say “let me do that for you” to five people today.

“The Ultimate Object Lesson”

Digging Deeper” is an opportunity for you to continue the study of God’s Word throughout the week.

THURSDAY
“The Ultimate Object Lesson”

1 John 3:16
By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.

Jesus gave us the ultimate object lesson on love when He laid down His life for us. Christ, in contrast with Cain, gave his life for us and calls us to give our lives for others. Cain took a life and Christ gave his life. Christ’s actions were motivated by love and Cain’s were motivated by evil.

One of the problems we encounter when we try to understand and show love is that there are many different types of love. There are four different Greek words that were used to define “love.” The Greek word John uses again here is “agape”. One of the reasons things may seem “out of focus” in the lives of many Christians is that we do not have a clear understanding of agape love.

John explained to his readers exactly what love is despite the fact that they may have already felt that they understood love. Love (agape) is being ready to do anything for other people. Even laying down your life.

QUESTION: Are you ready to do anything for other people?

“Character vs. Compliance”

Digging Deeper” is an opportunity for you to continue the study of God’s Word throughout the week.

WEDNESDAY
“Character vs. Compliance”

1 John 3:14-15
We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

When we believe in Jesus Christ for eternal life, we are freed from the penalty of sin and move from death to eternal life. John does not say that someone who hates his brother does not possess eternal life, but rather that he is not abiding in eternal life. This is a very important point and cannot be overlooked without arriving at a wrong interpretation of this passage.

It would be wrong to believe that we as Christians are not capable of hatred or even murder. Further, it is clear in scripture that hatred of another believer is the spiritual equivalent of murder (Matt. 5:21–22), and a lustful eye is the spiritual equivalent of adultery (Matt. 5:28).

God is concerned about our character and not just our compliance. When we simply hate in our spirit, even though we may not physically act, God sees our true character. Our attitude is equal to our actions from God’s perspective. Hate is the seed that leads to murder, as seen in the example of the hatred of Cain for Abel that resulted in murder.

QUESTION: Is there a seed of hatred in your life?

“It Is OK To Be Different”

“Digging Deeper” is an opportunity for you to continue the study of God’s Word throughout the week.

TUESDAY
“It Is OK To Be Different”

1 John 3:13
Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you.

We are all growing. Growth and change is a part of life. Even as you read this, you will grow a few minutes older. If you are a teenager and you are waiting to be old enough to drive, this is good news. But as we grow older, we stop growing up and instead we grow old.

Are you growing in the right direction? 2 Peter 3:18 tells us to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Growing in Christ make you different from the world. It makes you different from your past and different in the future. Everything about who you thought you would be is up for grabs when you grow in Christ.

Don’t be surprised when you meet some resistance. Don’t be surprised when you are alienated, isolated, and misunderstood. Don’t be surprised when you feel pressure and pain. Don’t get distracted… stay on target… STAY STEADY!

When you are hated by the world, remember that you have no real control of anything other than your obedience to God. Be mindful not to take matters into your own hands by following your plan instead of God’s plan. If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.

CHALLENGE: Be different… follow God’s plan.

“Cain and Abel”

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“Digging Deeper” is an opportunity for you to continue the study of God’s Word throughout the week.

MONDAY
“Cain and Abel”

1 John 3:12
We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous.

THOUGHT: Morality flows from the character of God.

Have you ever wondered if you are doing the right things in life? Sometimes it is clear what things are right and wrong and other times it can be more difficult to discover. In this passage, Cain’s deeds are identified as “evil” and Abel’s deeds are identified as “righteous”. When we look back in Genesis, we see that both Cain and Abel brought offerings but the Lord accepted Abel’s and not Cain’s. Why did God not accept Cain’s offering? Whatever the cause of God’s rejection of Cain’s offering, the narrative itself focuses our attention on Cain’s response. Cain’s response shows that he was not a man who wanted to please God.

First, Cain worked for the wrong reasons. God said that if he did well, he would be accepted. Cain did what he thought was right but not what God thought was right. Morality always flows from the character of God. Second, Cain responded with the wrong actions. Instead of trying to make right what he had done wrong, he became angry and murdered his brother. Last, Cain questioned the results of his action. He let his anger and jealousy of his brother bring disaster. Instead of working to better himself, he acted out against someone close to him… his own brother.

THOUGHT: Morality flows from the character of God

“ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER”

“Digging Deeper” is an opportunity for you to continue the study of God’s Word throughout the week.

FRIDAY
“ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER”

1 Thessalonians 5:11
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

“One Another” is a phrase that is used throughout the New Testament by various writers and in numerous contexts. This week, we will look at five “One Another” statements. Biblical encouragement is more than just a pat on the back for a job well done. We should also encourage one another to stay on the right path. When another believer is going down the path of sin, the whole body of believers hurts. If you see someone drifting, get involved. Don’t just pray something, SAY something! Proverbs 27:6 says, “Wounds from a friend are better than kisses from an enemy.” We are not called to be lone ranger Christians… we are all connected to ONE ANOTHER.

Question: Who do you need to encourage today?

“SERVE ONE ANOTHER”

“Digging Deeper” is an opportunity for you to continue the study of God’s Word throughout the week.

THURSDAY
“SERVE ONE ANOTHER”

Galatians 5:13
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

“One Another” is a phrase that is used throughout the New Testament by various writers and in numerous contexts. This week, we will look at five “One Another” statements. When you wake up in the morning, your sinful nature craves someone to serve you. Make it a point, a habit, to wake up in the morning and say, “Holy Spirit, would You show me today how I can live by Your Spirit, and ways that I can see needs and meet them? May I be led by You today, Holy Spirit, to serve other people.” You are never more like Jesus than when you serve.

WARNING: As you learn to follow God, get ready! God is going to lead you in the direction of serving other people. It may never be recognized or applauded. There may never be any gratitude but, when you serve, you do what the Heavenly Father did for you.

Question: Do I serve, or do I serve myself?

“ACCEPT ONE ANOTHER”

“Digging Deeper” is an opportunity for you to continue the study of God’s Word throughout the week.

WEDNESDAY
“ACCEPT ONE ANOTHER”

Romans 15:7
Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.

“One Another” is a phrase that is used throughout the New Testament by various writers and in numerous contexts. This week, we will look at five “One Another” statements. A relationship with God will be characterized by unconditional love and acceptance. In fact, the Bible, God’s love letter to us, reveals some very real people that had real struggles. For some reason, God didn’t choose to clean up everyone and every story in the Bible for us. Instead, He shows us real people dealing with real issues. Because of this, some of the stories in the Bible sometimes read like a gossip column.

Why would God include so many messy stories in the Bible? Perhaps, God wants us to see that no one is “normal” and no one is perfect. Despite people’s messy lives, He still loves them unconditionally. He wants you to accept others the same way He accepts you… with unconditional love.

When you are tempted to reject someone, for whatever reason, reach out instead. When you want to argue with someone, accept him or her instead.

When you experience and understand God’s acceptance, it gives you the ability to accept other people. God will be glorified and, over time, that person will be changed by the power of acceptance.

Challenge: Accept one another, in the same way, to the same degree, with the same intensity as Jesus accepted you… unconditionally.

“FORGIVE ONE ANOTHER”

“Digging Deeper” is an opportunity for you to continue the study of God’s Word throughout the week.

TUESDAY
“FORGIVE ONE ANOTHER”

Ephesians 4:32
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

“One Another” is a phrase that is used throughout the New Testament by various writers and in numerous contexts. This week, we will look at five “One Another” statements. Tony Evans tells a story of a lady who was walking her dog, and the dog was trying to get away from the leash. Every time the dog pulled away, the lady would yank the leash, pulling the dog back, and the animal couldn’t get free. The leash held it hostage, kept it bound, and unable to break away. He couldn’t break the chain.

Many of us today find ourselves held hostage by a leash. The links on the chain are many. There is the link of anger, the link of bitterness, the link of resentment, and the link of revenge. No matter how many links are in the chain, they all boil down to one thing – unforgiveness.

We are forgiving when we let go of offenses and grievances freely and graciously. The reason we should be willing to forgive is that God has forgiven us freely in Jesus Christ. Demonstrating an attitude of regular forgiveness will greatly enrich any relationship. We don’t forgive people because they deserve it; we forgive people because we have been forgiven. The cross is a reminder of these words: “I FORGIVE YOU”.

Forgiveness Is a Choice Not To:
• Bring the incident up and use it against the person
• Gossip about the incident to others
• Allow the incident to come between you and the other person

Question: Who do you need to forgive today?

“LOVE ONE ANOTHER”

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“Digging Deeper” is an opportunity for you to continue the study of God’s Word throughout the week.

MONDAY
“LOVE ONE ANOTHER”
1 John 3:11
For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.

“One Another” is a phrase that is used throughout the New Testament by various writers and in numerous contexts. This week, we will look at five “One Another” statements starting with “Love One Another”. Jesus taught that the greatest command is to love God and the second is to love your neighbor as yourself (Matt. 22:37-40). This two-part emphasis can also be observed in the Ten Commandments.

The Ten Commandments in Two Categories:

1. Man’s Relationship To God (1-4)
• No other gods
• No carved images
• Do not take the name of God in vain
• Remember the Sabbath

2. Man’s Relationship to Each Other (5-10)
• Honor your father and your mother
• You shall not murder
• You shall not commit adultery
• You shall not steal
• You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor
• You shall not covet

JESUS SAID:
“Love the Lord”……………………….Commandments 1-4
“Love your neighbor”………………Commandments 5-10

***THE LAW SHOWS US LOVE***

John MacArthur writes, “Since the beginning of gospel proclamation, love has been a central theme of Christianity. This phrase (Love One Another) highlights the habit of love displayed by those possessing the new nature. Love is not merely an optional duty for someone claiming to be a Christian, but proof positive that one truly has been born again.”

Religion apart from other people may be personal, but it’s not powerful. The health and maturity of our relationship with God can be directly measured by the health and maturity of the relationships we have with the people God has put in our lives. How we treat one another matters to God.

Question: How can you do a better job of “Loving One Another” today?