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LOVE IS THE WAY HOME

This paper has to do with God’s promise for that heavenly home and what He requires of us to receive that promise.  After you read what I have written, if you have any questions or comments, on the left side of this page you can “click here” to contact me by email.  

If that does not work for your operating system my email address is, johnnyrogers07@gmail.com

We will begin by looking at what God told Abraham when He confirmed His covenant promises to him.  He told Abraham that, I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you.  I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.” (Genesis 17:7-8)

We know that God’s true promise was for that heavenly home because God’s covenant was an everlasting covenant and its promise was for an everlasting possession and this earth is not everlasting. 

That old covenant with its promise of that earthly land of Canaan was never the true covenant.  It was just an earthly copy of God’s spiritual covenant with Abraham’s descendants by faith.  His covenant promise to them is for an everlasting heavenly land. 

We can know that is true because God promised to give that land to Abraham and to his descendants and Abraham never received any part of that earthly land.  Abraham would come to know that earthly land was not God’s true promise because of what the Hebrew writer said about Abraham and what he was looking for. 

Scripture says, “By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” (Hebrews 11:8-10)

When God made His covenant with Abraham He was giving him both the true covenant and an earthly copy of that covenant at the same time.  In other words, that old covenant story was caused to happen as an earthly copy of our spiritual salvation story just as Christ spoke in parables while He was on earth.  

That old story was not fiction, however.  It was a true story that God caused to happen as it did.  He caused it to happen for our instruction.  

We read about how Abraham lived like an alien in that earthly land but he was looking for a heavenly city.  The writer will then speak of Abraham’s descendants of promise who followed and how they all died in faith without receiving the promises but they welcomed them from a distance. 

He speaks of those who died in faith and says, “But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.” (Hebrews 11:16)

Abraham’s earthly descendants who died in faith never received that earthly land as an everlasting possession but they will receive that heavenly city because that was always God’s true promise. 

Everything about that old covenant earthly story happened as an earthly copy of our spiritual new covenant story and that includes their worship. 

That old covenant worship began at God’s tabernacle in the wilderness.  After God brought His people out of Egyptian slavery He gave Moses the plan for that dwelling while He was on the mountain.  

It had two holy rooms.  An inner veil of many colors served to separate the two rooms.  The inner room was called the Holy of Holies, or the Most Holy Place.  The outer room was called the Holy Place.  God was enthroned within the inner room as the priesthood served daily in the outer room of God's holy tabernacle. 

The tabernacle would later be replaced with the temple in Jerusalem but its basic design and worship requirements were unchanged from what God had commanded for the tabernacle.  Worship at either location was to comply with what the Law of Moses specified because the Law required them to do the earthly copy of our true worship.  

Speaking of our worship, the Hebrew writer tells us that Christ is our true High Priest (Heb. chapter 7).  He then tells us, “Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a minister in the sanctuary and in the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man.” (Heb. 8:1-2)

Christ is our true High Priest but not in that old earthly tabernacle.  He is seated at the Father’s right hand in the true tabernacle pitched by God.  If He is at the Father’s right hand then Christ is in the inner room “Most Holy Place” of God’s true tabernacle. 

If Jesus is serving in the inner room of God’s true tabernacle, where is the outer room of that tabernacle and who is serving there?  Remember, those old covenant earthly priests served daily in that old outer room. 

The church on earth is the outer room Holy Place of God's true house.  Peter tells us that we are living stones in a spiritual house and a holy priesthood offering spiritual sacrifices (1 Peter 2:5). 

Paul speaks of our worship and tells us to "present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship" (Romans 12:1). 

He is speaking of that spiritual service of worship when he later says that we must "Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor" (verse 10).  

He is speaking of how we are to offer our sacrifice of love at God’s house.  I must respect and honor the holy place where God's Spirit dwells and lay down my life for the brethren.  

Remember, the command to love was the greatest commandment under the Law of Moses.  When a Jewish lawyer once asked Jesus what the great commandment in the Law was, Jesus told him, “ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the great and foremost commandment.  The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40)

Those commandments were not listed among the Ten Commandments but anyone who observed those two commandments would keep the Ten Commandments.  One cannot love God and his neighbor without doing the things that are commanded in the Ten Commandments. 

Those two commands were the greatest under the Law of Moses and they have been passed on to us under the new covenant.  There is, however, another love commandment that has been given to us.  It is the new commandment that Jesus gave to His disciples just a few days before He was to die on the cross.

 Jesus told them, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:34-35). 

That commandment was new because it is the command to love Christ’s disciples like Jesus loved us.  Jesus loved us enough to sacrifice Himself to redeem us from sin.  We must love the brotherhood like that.  We heard Paul tell us how we do that when he said that we are to present our bodies a living and holy sacrifice, which is our spiritual service of worship.

John is speaking of that spiritual service of worship when he says, “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has the world's goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth" (1 John 3:16-18). 

We have been commanded to love the brethren like Jesus loved us.  We ought to follow Him and lay down our lives for the brethren.  We do that when we serve the brethren who are in need with deeds of love. 

Remember, my brother’s body is God’s house and when I serve the brethren who are in need I am offering my sacrifices of love at God’s house.  We must show our love for the brethren in deed and in truth. 

When we show love for the brethren like that we will have kept the new commandment and scripture says, “For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints.” (Hebrews 6:10)  

We are saved through our faith but love is greater than faith.  Paul says that, Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

He ends with, "But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love." (Verse 13)

We are saved through our faith but it must be a faith that believes what Jesus says about love.  We must keep the new commandment and love the brethren like Jesus has loved us.  I am to offer my sacrifices of love at His dwelling place by doing works of love for those needy brethren.

Paul spoke of how we have been set free from the old Law and said, "do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another" (Galatians 5:13). 

Paul speaks of the day "- -when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus." (2 Thessalonians 1:7-8)  

Those who do not know God and have not obeyed the gospel will pay the penalty. 

Speaking of those who know God, John says, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.   The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” (1 John 4:7-8)  

John then tells us what love is.  He says, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.” (1 John 4:10-12)

That would fit with what he said about loving the brethren earlier.  He said, “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death.”    (1 John 3:14)

John is speaking to the brethren.  He tells them how they have passed out of death into life because they love one another.  Some others will abide in death because they have not loved the brethren.  Remember, love for the brethren must be shown with deeds of love. 

We heard John tell us that we know love by Christ having laid down His life for us and “we ought" to lay down our lives for the brethren and show that love in deed and in truth.  The word "ought" in that verse comes from the Greek word "opheilo".  Strongs definitions tells us that it means to, "be in debt for".  

We must pay our debt of love.  I "ought" to pay my debt of love and lay down my life for the brethren by doing deeds of love for them when they are in need.  I "ought" to stoop down and wash my brother's feet if he can’t bend down to do that for himself. 

Our ministering to the brethren includes our support to those who carry the news to others.  

Paul received support from the Philippians (Philippians 4:15 -19) and he told them that he did not seek that gift itself, “but I seek for the profit which increases to your account”.  

They were laying up treasure in heaven.  Their gifts were “increasing” profit to their account.  Paul also told them that what they had given to him was “a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God”.

We must show love for all people but priority number one is to do deeds of love for those who are of the household of faith.  As Paul says, “while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith” (Galatians 6:10). 

Above all else, we must pay that debt.  We can see an example how the early church did that when we look back at the church in Jerusalem.  

Scripture says, “And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them” (Acts 4:12).  

There were no needy ones among them because some who had land sold it and gave the money to the apostles so that it could be used to provide for those among them who were in need.

In the years that followed, the saints in Jerusalem sank into poverty and needed assistance from their Gentile brethren.  Paul wrote to the church at Corinth and encouraged them to help those poor saints in Jerusalem.  

He tells them, “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also. On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come” (1 Corinthians 16:1-2).  

God is telling us what should be a top priority in our church budgets.  We must make a special effort to do the required maintenance to God’s house.  His house is not an earthly building of bricks and stone.  His house is found in the church brotherhood.  Above all else we must take care of our needy brethren throughout the world. 

We have many brothers and sisters in South America and Africa (And here at home) who are living in poverty.  We should be more concerned about them rather than about our earthly structures (Like grand meeting halls and fellowship buildings).  

We can't work our way to heaven.  Love is the way home.  We must know how to love in deed and truth.  If we obey God and love one another as He has loved us, then we will be more considerate and tolerant of our brother and there will be less dissention and division in His holy place.  We must treat Him as holy in His holy place.  

We must worship God and not man but we must worship Him at the place where His Spirit dwells and where He has placed His name.  His Holy Spirit dwells in my brother.  I must offer my sacrifice of love at that holy place. 

Remember, final judgment of the nations will be based on what deeds of love one has done for Christ’s brethren.  Jesus tells us about that judgment in Matthew, chapter 25. 

He will gather the nations before Him and separate them to the right and to the left, like a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  

He will tell those on the right they are blessed of the Father, "For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in - - -" (Verses 31-35)

When they can’t remember having done those things for Jesus He will tell them, "Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me".  

Those on the left will be cursed for not having done those works of love for Him, meaning they did not do them for His brothers. 

Our goal is that home with God in glory.  That home is the Most Holy Place of God’s true tabernacle.  The only way to get there is to follow Jesus through the outer room Holy Place of God’s true tabernacle, which is the church on earth.  

We must follow Him and offer our worship in that holy place just as Jesus offered His worship there.  We must lay down our lives for the brethren and serve them with deeds of love because love is the only way home. 

You will notice that I have used the New American Standard translation for the copied scriptures.  You may wish to also read the same scriptures from the translation that you normally use.  

Johnny Rogers 7-26-06

Revised 1-30-16


Image of the cross is from FreeFoto.com

Link For cross - http://www.freefoto.com/preview/05-08-10?ffid=
05-08-10&k=Cross+at+Sunset

 

 

"Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible®,
Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973,
1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation
Used by permission." (www.Lockman.org )