by Daniel Rusk
If you don't know Jesus, read no further, this message will be foolishness to you. That said, I pray your eyes would be opened by the Holy Ghost. It is my hope that this message would become power towards your own soul's salvation. Consider your ways, turn to Jesus.
Now that that's out of the way, let us move on to the lesson: the love of God is for the saints.
“By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.” -I John 5:2
Now we know that not all are God's children, but those who have received Him as their Lord and Savior¹, for he who sins is of the devil². We must first love God in a correct manner, then we can love our neighbors as ourselves. This is the reason for much of the lack in the world today; people err in thinking everyone is one of God's children, then they approach loving their neighbor in a humanistic way rather than in godliness. So what is godly love?
Let us look at the Song of Solomon, as well as, as it corresponds with I Corinthians 13:
Love is not vain³, for part of love is humility.
“Look not upon me, because I am black, because the sun hath looked upon me: my mother's children were angry with me; they made me the keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept.”-Song 1:6
Picture a bright summer day trying to see someone with the sun behind them. The brightness of the sun overshadows them making it hard to make out the details of there face. This is the state of mind of someone who has spent time with our Creator. Moses was so bright with glory none could look upon him, yet no one was as meek as Moses.
One side effect of looking towards God is the ability to bless others selflessly. A person with this virtue is often abused. This is why it says the Shulamite tended others' gardens while neglecting her own, yet, God's strength is sufficient to endure this. He will exact justice in due time.
“Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,”-I Corinthians 13:4
True humility comes when we realize, no matter what we accomplish, in our own strength, only the things that were part of His will abide. At this point, we seek to avoid needless strife, confusion decreases in our mind and we become comfortable in our own skin.
The love of God shows us ourselves in light of the new birth.
“He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.”-Song 2:4
“For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;”-Song 2:11
God has shown us, the most unlikely of guests, into His glorious courts! Just as the Shulamite was unworthy, so are we, yet, while we were sinners Christ loved us. Many of us take years to understand this, but it doesn't have to take that long. In fact, today, you could recognize just what it means to be truly born again, to be a saint. Trusting God in each step, we are guaranteed victory, it is only when we take our eyes off of Him that we fail.
God has a way of handling our mistakes that they end up causing us to grow sweeter and sweeter. People will look for fault and find none, while we will call ourselves out, if our conscience is pricked. Because of the great forgiveness we have been shown, we will seek that we may make amends in any way necessary. Understanding this should result in genuine dignity and gracefulness.
“Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;”-I Corinthians 13:5
Love endures the dry times that follow the honeymoon⁴.
“The watchmen that go about the city found me: to whom I said, Saw ye him whom my soul loveth?”- Song 3:3
The Shulamite was so disturbed by the disappearance of her beloved that she went out in the street to look for him. In chapter 5, it happens again and she goes back into the street to look for him, but this time the watchman rebuke her a little more severely. God will do likewise with us. Jesus said, those He loves he rebukes⁵.
There will be times that we will not feel God's presence. We must learn to stay in the place God has provided during these times. It may be that these times come to teach us to depend on His Word, instead of our feelings. Love is not a feeling, but a conscious effort and commitment. God said He would never leave us, nor forsake us. The time spent here should be a time to reflect, self examination is a big part of sanctification. Have we done anything to offend or grieve the Holy Spirit?
“Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.”
As we mature through these dry times, we will have them less and less frequently. Each one should drive us to prayer and even fasting. What we must learn is how to stir up the presence of God. God inhabits the praises of his people. After the dry spell described in the fifth chapter, the Shulamite was singing praises of her beloved; so much so, that she stirred those around her to help look for him. They said to her, “What is thy beloved more than another beloved..?”
God's love comes with divine protection and security.
“Behold his bed, which is Solomon's; threescore valiant men are about it, of the valiant of Israel. They all hold swords, being expert in war: every man hath his sword upon his thigh because of fear in the night.”-Song 3:7-8
“Thy neck is like the tower of David builded for an armoury, whereon there hang a thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty men.”-Song 4:4
The Shulamite had a host of guards to watch while she slept, so it is with the saints. There are angels around every believer and nothing can get through them unless they permit it. Jesus sent His disciples out, two by two, reassuring them that nothing could harm them. Such is our promise if we are walking in the place God has provided us to go.
The Shulamite had many necklaces around her neck, gifts of Solomon, so that when people saw her in public they knew that she was the King's betrothed. In the verse, they are likened to a thousand shields, how much more secure are we who are sealed by the presence of the Holy Ghost?
The text in chapter 4 talks of dangerous places that they will go through unharmed (v.8). Likewise, God will often take us through the dangerous places, in order that we may see the beautiful places. People often grieve the Spirit in this process; unwilling to believe in this divine protection and security, settle for what they call safety. In doing this, they become as Jacob's proclamation of Issachar, who, couched with two burdens, found a place of rest and settled to become a slave⁶. This is not your inheritance Christian, you are likened to the lion of the tribe of Judah. The one who was promised the scepter in the right hand.
“And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”
-I Corinthians 13:13
“How fair and how pleasant art thou, O love, for delights!”-Song 7:6
In this final verse from Song of Solomon, we see Solomon talking to his new bride. To carry that out and apply it to us: that means this is God talking to us. Blessed is the one that overcomes, the one who endures to the end. You are a delight to God. Jesus ultimately told his disciples, that he would no longer call them servants, but friends⁷. Are you a friend of God? If so, you will abide; hoping, trusting in His Word, you will love the brethren and your love will be returned. The love of God is for all the saints.
1. John 1:12
2. I John 3:8
3. I Corinthians 13:1-3
4. I Corinthians 13:7
5. Revelation 3:19
6. Genesis 49:14-15
7. John 15:15
On Christian Perfection
by Daniel Rusk
“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”
There is a common statement spread in the church “nobody is perfect”. It often shows a false form of humility, which is often used to cover the sin of pride. First of all, this saying doesn't hold up well in light of scripture. At the same time, preachers who point this out are often met with so much opposition. The doctrine of Christian perfection is one of the most common sources of 'friendly fire' on the battleground today. It is my hope to lay out just what it means to be perfect, as well as what it does not mean.
The first definition taken from Webster's dictionary is- to be complete or correct in every way, conforming to a standard or ideal with no omissions, errors, flaws or extraneous elements. Let us focus on this definition. The Bible itself let's us know in many places that we are not without flaw, still does this mean we cannot be perfect? If so, why would Jesus command us to do so?
Perhaps, there is another angle to look at this question. Can we be complete? The Bible says you are, according to Colossians 2:10:
“And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:”
Could it be that we are looking in the wrong direction when we speak of perfection? Are we not to let God be magnified? John the Baptist said I must decrease that He can increase. Yes, if it is only to be without flaw, then none of us are able. However, in our striving toward the straight gate do we continue in sin? If not, then have we not been made complete? Are we not through obedience to the Holy Spirit which dwells in us either correct or corrected?
We like to talk of grace and so we should because it is our salvation. Still, Peter said true grace leads to holiness¹. He also called out fruitless works reminding us that we have been purged of our old sins². Question: if God has placed our old sin in a sea of forgetfulness, why do we not do likewise?
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” I John 1:7
To sum this up, it has been shown (as evidenced by the state of the modern church) that this statement, that 'nobody's perfect' produces only excuses for those who remain in darkness. This is one of the largest weapons the enemy is using against Christendom right now. It is not effective to go on and on about man's imperfection, when the question is of God's power and His ability to keep those committed to Him. When we have been found guilty of any trespass it is our duty, as a child of God, to make amends. This is the glory of God; that in spite of ourselves, we can fellowship one with another, by the reconciling power of the blood of Jesus. As we forgive, as we have been forgiven, we show the way, the straight, narrow path, the one that leads to life and that more abundant. Putting the past behind us, we press toward the mark of the high calling of Christ Jesus.
“Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.”- Philippians 3:15
The definition given said, finally, having no extraneous elements. This brings us to the last point: no extras. In other words, everything is useful and accomplishes a purpose. What is the purpose?
We are to glorify God. This is what we strive towards, and to look for anything else is a distraction. Colossians 3 says you are dead and your lives are now hid in Christ. Dead men don't have too many opinions, and dead men don't get offended. If we would be perfected the old man must be dead!
Are you complete? Correct, or willing to be corrected³? Are you forgiving⁴? Are you dead to the world? Alive in Christ?
“...be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”-Romans 12:2b
Job 1:1,8; 9:20 Genesis 6:9: 17:1 I Kings 8:61 II Chronicles 16:19 Psalm 37:37 Proverb 11:5
Isaiah 38:3 Acts 3:16 Romans 12: 1,2 I Corinthians 2:6 II Corinthians 13:11 Philippians chapters 2&3
¹ I Peter 5:12 ²ΙΙ Peter 1:8-10 ³Proverbs 1:23 ⁴Matthew 6:14
“Cleansed and made holy, humble & lowly, right in the sight of God” -Elisha A. Hoffman
I am only a brother...
Can I tell you about my elder brother Jesus?