Bible Studies & Devotionals

From Olive Branch Ministries

By Mark and Tinsley Baker

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1 Co.8:3. But if anyone loves God, this one is known by Him.

1 John 4:7. Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.

The apostle Paul said that if we love God, we then are known by Him. The apostle John said if we love, we are born of God and know God. Loving God and knowing God go hand in hand. If you donít love God, you can not know Him, and if you do not know Him you can not love Him. You might say well, I love God. But the Word tells us what loving God is.

Jn:15:12: "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

Jn:15:17: "These things I command you, that you love one another.

If we donít love one another we donít love God. Jesus said in Johnís gospel;

Jn.14:15. "If you love Me, keep My commandments.

And what is Godís commandment?

John 15:9. "As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.

10. "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love.

11. "These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy

may be full.

12. "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

Jesus said this is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you, He didnít say this is on my wish list for you to love one another. NO, He said this is my commandment! One dictionary says a commandment is a law, an edict, or statue. In other words we donít have wiggle room. He made it a commandment so that it would be that strong. This is how important this is to the Father, it is a command. If it wasnít a commandment we wouldnít pay as much attention to it. You see, it is in our best interest if we obey, when we obey we are walking in love, when we are walking in love, we are walking in Him, and can have true fellowship with Him only when that happens.

Jn.14:7. "If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.''

9. Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, `Show us the Father'?

Jesus could say, if you have seen me you have seen the Father, the reason He could say that is because He walked in perfect fellowship with the Father. He was the manifestation of Godís love toward us. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. God loves us so much that he redeemed us when we were still in sin. He loved us and wanted us to be His children, and to actually get to know Him, and love Him of our own free will. But, to actually get to know someone takes time. You may meet someone and get a first impression, but that doesnít mean you know them well, or are real good friends with them. That takes time and effort. To get to know God is not different in that respect. God is not going to come down into our pig pen and fellowship with us, we have to do what His Word says to do in order to truly get to know Him, and in order to truly get to know Him we have to walk in love toward each other. You might say how does walking in love with my brothers and sisters in Christ effect my fellowship with God? We donít have to understand all mysteries, but we have to follow His commandments, getting out of love with a fellow Christian is breaking Godís commandment, and breaking Godís commandments breaks our fellowship with God.

That is truly, too high a price to pay. I want to stay in fellowship with Him and to know Him better all the time, this is the highest privilege we can have, to know God and have true fellowship with Him. There is no greater privilege, than to know and be known of God, and to experience the love and peace of God that passes all understanding. Nothing else compares.

The apostle Paul said in the great love chapter, 1 Co.13:

-- Living Bible

1 Corinthians 13:4. Love is very patient and kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud,

5. never haughty or selfish or rude. Love does not demand its own way. It is not irritable or touchy. It does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when others do it wrong.

6. It is never glad about injustice, but rejoices whenever truth wins out.

7. If you love someone you will be loyal to him no matter what the cost. You will always believe in him, always expect the best of him, and always stand your ground in defending him.

8. All the special gifts and powers from God will someday come to an end, but love goes on forever.

12. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

Youíve got to see the connection between the love of God and knowing God. Knowing God is walking in the love of God. The other things will pass away someday, but the love of God will not, these other things have their place, and are part of the working ministry of the Holy Spirit on the earth at this time, thank God for them, but they will disappear in time. Love will last eternally, so you better make up your mind to walk in it.

The New King James Bible says vs. 8. this way,

8. Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.

Paul saying by the Holy Spirit, love never fails. Thatís because God is love and God never fails, if you are walking in love you are walking in God, and that means you are walking in victory.

As long as you stay in the Love of God, you will not fail. I would like to point out something else in this passage of Scripture. Paul said, and if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. He is saying you can have the ministry gifts of faith, and prophecy, the word of wisdom and the word of knowledge operating in your life, even give all your money to feed the poor, but if you are not walking in love, you will not profit from it. It did not say others would not profit from it, it said you would not profit from it. If you gave all your money to the poor, the poor would surely profit from getting all your money wouldnít they? If you were to prophecy over people and give them words from God, they would profit from that wouldnít they? If you were to speak words of wisdom and knowledge over people they would surely profit from that wouldnít they? Sure they would, to all these things! God is saying regardless of what we do, we have to do it in love. God looks at our heart and at our motives, He knows why we are doing things. If we are doing something to be seen or to draw attention to ourselves or if we have an ulterior motive, then we are not doing it out of a pure heart; sure, others may profit from these things, but you will not! Thatís a pretty sobering thought isnít it? I donít know about you, but I want to profit from the things I do. Most people do, if they are truly honest, and arenít walking in some sense of false humility. God wants us to profit. He wouldnít be telling us these things if He didnít. Heís telling us to walk in love so that we can profit, and have others profit as well. Thatís truly the way the love of God works, He wants us all to profit. He wants us all to walk in the knowledge of His love.

If you donít know God and would like to meet Him, and experience the love and peace of God for yourself, then I would like to invite you to pray this prayer.

Dear Heavenly Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus. Your word says, "Öand the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out." (Jn.6:37), So I know You wonít cast me out, but You take me in, and I thank you for it. You said in your Word, "whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.'' (Ro. 10:13). I am calling on Your name, So I know You have saved me now, You also said, "Öthat if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation." (Ro.10:9,10). I believe in my heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I believe He was raised from the dead for my justification. And I confess Him now as my Lord, Because Your Word says, "Ö with the heart one believes to righteousnessÖ" and I do believe with my heart, I have now become the righteousness of God in Christ. (2 Cor. 5:21), And I am saved! Thank You, Lord!

I can now truthfully say, I see myself as a born again child of God!

Glory to God!!!! Amen.