Originally publshed May 8th, 2010.
This has been in my thoughts very much lately. God’s love is so great, so immeasurable, yet it seems elusive in many Bible believing churches today.
First, let me clearly state that I am unequivocally a Bible believer who stands firm on separation & holiness. The love I’m talking about is not the unscriptural, modern, wishy washy eceumenical – join with everyone regarless of doctrine, love everyone & their sin type love.
I’m talking about the kind of love that will graciously – with the compassionate, understanding heart of someone who sees their own sin- show the sinner their sin, and then lovingly show them the Saviour!
These verses clearly demonstrate the key:
Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. Jude 1:21-23
We cannot show God’s love if we do not keep ourselves in His love! Notice verse 23 says we are to hate “the garment spotted by the flesh.” not the person themselves!
Here’s some points to ponder:
A. Examples of Christ dealing with the lost:
1. When Christ confronted the woman at the well, yes, he showed her her sin, but spent far more time directing her to himself. John 4:7-42
What portion of time do we spend on “badgering” people about sin, instead of directing them to Jesus? When they see their sin, it’s time to show them the Saviour!
2. When the woman “caught in adultery” was brought to Him, she had obviously already dealt with her sin, so He showed her Himself. John 8:3-12
Are we walking close enough to Jesus that we can tell when a sinner is already convicted of their sin and can simply be shown the Saviour?
3. Jesus didn’t even tell the tax collector Zachaeus his sin. Christ’s very presence brought him to repentance and He took him in. Luke 19:2-10
4. The woman who washed Jesus’ feet with tears had already dealt with her sin and given Him her heart so He didn’t humiliate her, but for the sake of others hard-heartedness, He publicly acknowledged her sins were forgiven. Luke 7:36-50
Is Christ visible enough through us that others can be convicted of their sin without a word and be drawn to our precious Saviour?
Let me make it clear that I am not teaching people should not repent. There is no salvation without repentance:
“I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” Luke 13:3&5
Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. Acts 20:21
B. God’s love hasn’t gone anywhere or changed:
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. Hebrews 13:8.
Too often it is the vessels the Lord wants to use – us – that have become unusable. We cannot spread His love because we have become corrupted with a pride that exalts us so high we can no longer see where we have come from.
Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: 2 Peter 1:1-10
Sadly, we are the ones that God says have become hard-hearted and He has to be longsuffering with.
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9
C. Questions to ask ourselves to help measure our degree of love:
What is my first thought when I see:
– the drunk or druggie on the street
– the prostitute on the street corner
– the single mom on wellfare with a car load of kids
– the teen/young man with his pants hanging so far down you can see his underwear
– the illegal alien you or your spouse just lost your job to
– the new immigrant who is struggling to learn how it all works in this foreign land
– the homosexual/lesbian, etc.
– the prisoner or the ex-con
– the gang member
Does my heart break for their condition, or is my heart elevated in pride? Do I think I’m too good to bring myself low enough to show them the love of God? Okay… maybe I’ll show thew how to get saved, but I really don’t wan’t them in “my church”…. Really? Is that Jesus? No. Not by any means and it cannot be me!
We cannot hope to reach a lost world for Christ if we no longer remember the state in which Christ saved us, nor where we would be were it not for the grace of God.
The great apostle Paul said: “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” 1 Corinthians 15:10
He knew he was nothing without Christ, as we are.
D. Christ as our example of humbleness:
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Philippians 2:8
E. God’s commands to the believer:
Notice that Colossians 3:12-13 are in the imperative (or commanding) form.
Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. Colossians 3:12-13
Being merciful, kind, humble in mind, meek, longsuffering, forbearing & forgiving are not requests. They are commands!
F. What our message must be::
If we go to the lost world with this genuine humbleness of heart and a genuine love for the Saviour and the sinner, only then will they see & believe the greatest love of all:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16
But God commendeth (proved) his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
I’d like to finish this devotional with a song from the Marshall Family that really expresses this whole idea so well:
How Can We Reach a World we Never Touch?
With Canada Day (July 1st) having just passed, and Independance Day (July 4th) for the USA tomorrow, I began to think about the birth of these two nations. They began as Christian nations, but have generally degraded into nations that only have a vague semblance to Christ. Worse than that, there is little difference between the world and many who claim the name of Christ.
The Bible talks about this happening to the world in the last days.
2Timothy 3:1 ¶ This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
It is vital that each and every one who is a blood-bought, born-again, child of the living God, daily make a conscience decision to follow the Saviour who gave all for us. Like the Apostle Paul who spoke of submission to Christ, we must also say: “…I die daily. 1 Corinthians 15:31
Titus 2:11 ¶ For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
The above texts may seem to have little to do with the title of this devotional, but they were meant as a reminder. Although the hour in which we live becomes consistently more wicked, the peace and assurance that can only come from God can remain steadfast in the simple knowledge of our redemption! Our God has not changed!
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. Hebrews 13:8
Titus2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
I Stand Redeemed!
The Heirloom of Salvation
By faith Noah,
being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear,
prepared an ark to the saving of his house;
by the which he condemned the world
and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
Do you have a treasured possession/heirloom that was given you by someone dear to your heart? Maybe it was passed down through several generations, or maybe itâs a recent gift, or perhaps you have a sentimental object you hope to pass on to your own children, grandchildren, treasured friendâ¦
A necklace? A photo? A ring? â¦.
Doesnât the mere thought of it invoke precious memories, and by passing it on to someone else, is it not the same goal? There is nothing wrong with keeping mementoes around as reminders. We are forgetful people and those simple objects are an easy way to jog our memories and to help maintain special bonds.
My husband has a beautiful, large, cobalt blue cup that his mother gave him. It is trimmed in gold and emblazoned with the official insignia of his favorite car manufacturer. When she died August 2004, he took it out of common use and placed it on a shelf as a reminder of the precious woman who gave him physical life. The cup isnât really valuable, but the memories it triggers are priceless. I am sure he hopes to pass it on as an heirloom to one of our children some day, and I am sure it will be precious to them too as they love their grandmother.
The Bible has many references to heirs in the physical and spiritual sense, but for the purpose of this lesson, letâs focus on the spiritual applications. As you read, keep the following in mind:
What kind of spiritual heirlooms
do you want to leave behind for your family?
Heirs to the Promise:
And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3:29
Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oathâ¦ Hebrews 6:17
Heirs According to the Hope of Eternal Life:
That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:7
Heirs to the Grace of Life:
Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. 1Peter 3:7
Heir of Righteousness:
By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. Hebrews 11:7
Here is the text that really struck me as I prepared this lesson:
â¦.prepared an ark to the saving of his houseâ¦
Noah spent 120 years focused on one task: Building the ark to save his family from the flood. He endured ridicule from all around him, yet he pressed on, and to quote a familiar saying, we know âthe rest of the storyâ?. Not only did he save his family, but the Bible also says he âheir of the righteousness which is by faith.â?
The Heirloom of Proper Training
It is important to spend some play time with our children, keep a clean house, make sure the schooling is in order, but it is so easy to get so side-tracked on these other things that we sometimes forget the main goal we should be focusing on: that each of our children be âan heir of the righteousness which is by faith.â?
We cannot see our childrenâs heartâs for the certainty of their salvation, but we can put a full effort into making sure they have been taught and trained in the Word of God.
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Joshua 1:8
And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. Deuteronomy 6:7
And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4
And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates: Deuteronomy 11:20
I would love have verses displayed all over the house, but have never been able to invest in frames. Iâm beginning to think that even a piece of paper would do fine, especially since thatâs all they had in OT times anyway. Better some than none! The more we can have Godâs Word before our children, the better.
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6
The Heirloom of Time
I did not grow up in a Christian home, but my parents did teach me some important truths about families needing to spend time together. We went camping and played lots of games growing up, and when I look back, those special times smooth over some of the very difficult and hurtful times.
As I watch our children grow into their teens now, I know I have not spent as much personal time with them as I should have. I cannot change the past, but I can strive now to do all I can to build precious memories that will become a storehouse of heirlooms to smooth over any of the mistakes I have made along the way. So as I write this, do not let Satan convince you that I have not been through this. I am going through it now, and I struggle daily to get the right balance. It is my hope that I can be a help and encouragement to others struggling with this.
Time in Godâs Service:
As children of God, we are commanded to be witnesses and help draw others to the Saviour. Satan would deceive you into believing that being a stay at home Mom (SAHM) and a soulwinner do not go hand in hand.
Tell me, why not?
Soulwinning time can be the greatest family time you have ever had! Imagine working together to see that bus kid (and family) get saved, or your husbandâs boss, the neighbor, the sweet little old lady or man down the street!
What a glorious spiritual heirloom to leave to our children!
I understand, it is hard to get everyone gathered up for church soulwinning and it doesnât often seem to work, but how about bringing your children grocery shopping instead of leaving them home with Dad? 12 years ago, I would have Sarah (2 yr old) in the cart and would pull the twins stroller. For a few years, I used that to Godâs advantage as I realized something very important: Twins attract attention! So I used that as a witnessing tool too. But then I got tired, lazy, backslidden really, and for several years, did everything I could to go shopping alone to have some âquietâ? time. I hated taking them out as I had had âmy fillâ? of âdraggingâ? wee ones around trying to get groceries done by myself. I realize now how wrong I was and now I love having my girls with me. They are thrilled to be able to hand out Gospel tracts and will now witness as well, even to those whom adults would sometimes cringe at. Iâm saddened by the memories of my eldest, Sarah, begging me as a small child to go hand out tracts, but felt we did not have the time. I had lots of time, but I was being selfish with it. When my precious children are gone, I will have more âquiet timeâ? than I will ever want.
The lesson, in particular the last part, has been a big eye opener to me of some of the areas I was lacking in and, with the Lordâs help, I hope to rectify many errors. I hope it has been a challenge to you as well.
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. James 1:22
I re-itterate the question given:
What kind of spiritual heirlooms do you want to leave behind for your family?
This last thought does not fall into my outline, but I know I canât leave it out.
Are we preparing an ark to the saving of our homes, or are we leaving them out to be swept away by the flood of corruption and ungodliness that this world has to offer?
Angela B. Trenholm
Count the Cost
To those who put off God’s gift of salvation,
His own precious Son for their soul’s redemption
– Though despised, rejected, and hung on the cross,
God’s cry of love still reaches out: “Count the Cost!”
To those who have refused Christ’s sacrifice of love,
Who have wandered through life without any thought of hereafter,
Like the Rich Man in hell, with all hope gone from above,
How you’ll wish you had taken the time to “Count the Cost!”
To the Christian whose focus is on wordly pleasures,
Who lays aside His Lord’s command to seek the lost,
Who has no concern in winning souls for heavenly treasures;
The Rich Man in hell doth pleadingly cry, “Count the Cost!”
To those whose riches are stored down here on earth,
Whose focus in life is on vain things of no worth,
Whose works will be burned up with the rest of the dross;
The Saviour to you doth cry out: “Count the Cost.”
To the faithful servant, fulfilling his Master’s commands,
Taking the time to strengthen saints’ weary hands,
Witnessing to all, whether they will hear or forbear,
The Master smiles with pleasure as you “Count the Cost!”
After you’ve faithfully plodded through the Christian life
– Many times gasping for air on the hills of strife
– And you kneel at Jesus’ feet to hear “Well done”,
You’ll be glad you decided to “Count the Cost!”
Angela Trenholm December 2003
And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:27-33
I Gave My Life For Thee
Lyrics: Frances R. Havergal Music: Philip P. Bliss
I gave My life for thee, My precious blood I shed,
That thou might ransomed be, and raised up from the dead I gave,
I gave My life for thee, what hast thou given for Me? I
gave, I gave My life for thee, what hast thou given for Me?
My Father’s house of light, My glory circled throne
I left for earthly night, for wanderings sad and lone;
I left, I left it all for thee, hast thou left aught for Me?
I left, I left it all for thee, hast thou left aught for Me?
I suffered much for thee, more than thy tongue can tell,
Of bitterest agony, to rescue thee from hell.
I’ve borne, I’ve borne it all for thee, what hast thou borne for Me?
I’ve borne, I’ve borne it all for thee, what hast thou borne for Me?
And I have brought to thee, down from My home above,
Salvation full and free, My pardon and My love;
I bring, I bring rich gifts to thee, what hast thou brought to Me?
I bring, I bring rich gifts to thee, what hast thou brought to Me?