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?
Hope this makes you think as much as it did me. It is written as if it were from the Lord, and I don’t normally deal with stuff like this, but as far as I can see, each point can easily be backed by Scripture. We are not called to social action, we are called as “Ambassadors for Christ.” A few areas have been re-touched for clarity and Scriptural accuracy.
If you want to celebrate My birth, just get along and love one another.
If it bothers you that the town in which you live doesn’t allow a scene depicting My birth, then just get rid of a couple of Santas and snowmen and put in a small Nativity scene on your own front lawn. If all My followers did that there wouldn’t be any need for such a scene on the town square because there would be many of them all around town.
Stop worrying about the fact that people are calling the tree a holiday tree, instead of a Christmas tree. It was I who made all trees. You can remember Me anytime you see any tree. Decorate a grape vine if you wish: I actually spoke of that one in a teaching, explaining who I am in relation to you and what each of our tasks were.
(If you have forgotten that one, look up John 15:1-8)
If you want to give Me a present in remembrance of My birth here is my wish list. Choose something from it:
1. Instead of writing protest letters objecting to the way My birthday is being celebrated, write letters of love and hope to soldiers away from home. They are terribly afraid and lonely this time of year. I know, they tell Me all the time.
2. Visit someone in a nursing home. You don’t have to know them personally. They just need to know that someone cares about them.
3. Instead of writing George complaining about the wording on the cards his staff sent out this year, why don’t you write and tell him that you’ll be praying for him and his family this year. Then follow up. It will be nice hearing from you again.
4. Instead of giving your children a lot of gifts you can’t afford and they don’t need, spend time with them. Tell them the story of My birth, and why I came to live with you down here. Hold them in your arms and remind them that I love them.
5. Pick someone that has hurt you in the past and forgive him or her.
6. Did you know that someone in your town will attempt to take their own life this season because they feel so alone and hopeless? Since you don’t know who that person is, try giving everyone you meet a warm smile; it could make the difference.
7. Instead of nit picking about what the retailer in your town calls the holiday, be patient with the people who work there. Give them a warm smile and a kind word. Even if they aren’t allowed to wish you a ‘Merry Christmas’ that doesn’t keep you from wishing them one. Then stop shopping there on Sunday. If the store didn’t make so much money on that day they’d close and let their employees spend the day at home with their families
8. If you really want to make a difference, support a missionary who takes My love and Good News to those who have never heard My name.
9. Here’s a good one. There are individuals and whole families in your town who not only will have no ‘Christmas’ tree, but neither will they have any presents to give or receive. If you don’t know someone like that, ask your Pastor. He probably knows someone whom you could not only share some earthly goods with, but also God’s gift of salvation. After all, he can’t take care of everyone.
10. Finally, if you want to make a statement about your belief in and loyalty to Me, then behave like a Christian. Don’t do things in secret that you wouldn’t do in My presence. Let people know by your actions that you are one of mine.
Don’t forget; I am God and can take care of Myself. Just love Me and do what I have told you to do. I’ll take care of all the rest. Check out the list above and get to work; time is short. I’ll help you, but the ball is now in your court. And do have a most blessed Christmas with all those whom you love and remember . . .
I LOVE YOU,
P.S. – Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; John 8:31
By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. John 13:35
A Mother’s Paycheck
When you get discouraged,
About all there is to do;
When chores just seem to pile up high,
And you want to cry “boo hoo!”
Pause a moment and consider,
Before that great big sigh;
Our reward is not of this earth,
Nor does it have wings to fly.
Should not we work all the harder,
Knowing ’tis not of silver, nor of gold,
But was planned for us by the Father,
In bygone days of old?
And one day when we enter,
Heaven’s pearly gates,
We’ll see our pay check was long in coming,
But will know ’twas worth the wait.
For what on this earth can compare,
To the words we long to hear;
Spoken from our Master’s lips
“Well done, well done, my dear!
You took what you were given,
And plodded and worked faithfully,
Well done:, A good and faithful servant,
Thou hast been to Me!”
Angela B. Trenholm on January 24th, 2001
Out of all your gifts ye shall offer every heave offering of the LORD,
of all the best thereof, even the hallowed part thereof out of it.
Words: S. C. Kirk, circa 1912.
Music: Grant C. Tullar
Hear ye the Masterâs call, âGive Me thy best!â?
For, be it great or small, that is His test.
Do then the best you can, not for reward,
Not for the praise of men, but for the Lord.
Every work for Jesus will be blest,
But He asks from everyone his best.
Our talents may be few, these may be small,
But unto Him is due our best, our all.
Wait not for men to laud, heed not their slight;
Winning the smile of God brings its delight!
Aiding the good and true neâer goes unblest,
All that we think or do, be it the best.
Night soon comes on apace, day hastens by;
Workman and work must face testing on high.
Oh, may we in that day find rest, sweet rest,
Which God has promised those who do their best.