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?
Are you or I really willing to do whatever God wants us to do? Really willing …. whatever …. anything …? If He called you to be a missionary (or wife to one), an evangelist’s wife, Pastor’s wife, etc….Would you answer the call? If He called your child to the wilds of India, would you tell him/her – “If it’s God’s will for you, then you’d better do it”, supporting them every step of the way? Are we REALLY willing to do God’s will? Then why didn’t we hand a Gospel tract to that cashier the other day? Why did we ignore the Spirit’s leading to witness to that “friend” or neighbor? Why didn’t we read our Bible today or pray, but instead chose another book or an extra ½-1 hour sleep? Ouch! If we will not be “faithful in that which is least”, why should we think that God will give us a calling unto “greater things”?
He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. Luke 16:10
Still, the Lord may never call us for services such as those mentioned above, but whether we are willing or not to do God’s general (day to day stuff) and specific (our life’s calling) wills for our lives is the whole point. 1. But just who does God think He is that He can tell us what to do? What right does He have?
He is King of kings and Lord of Lords! Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; 1 Timothy 6:15 These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful. Revelation 17:14 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. Revelation 19:16
God is our Creator and created us for His pleasure.
Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. Revelation 4:11
He is The Creator, we are the creature, therefore He is in command:
Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? Romans 9:20-21 If we are saved, He owns us, we are His servants: For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. 1 Corinthians 6:20 Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men. 1 Corinthians 7:23 This reference to “men” would also mean not to be servants to ourselves.
Now, does God own part or all of me? You? 2. Misapplication Too often, I’ve heard the following verses misquoted from the charismatic and liberal crowd:
And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. 10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? 12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? Luke 11:9-12
“See, see, I just have to ask and He’ll give me whatever I want” ….But lets look at the next verse….
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? Luke 11:13
“But, but… (we ask) don’t I get a say?” 3. Are we so foolish as to think that God does not know what is best for us and what will make us happy? The Lord wants us to have an abundant life, but He knows what we need better than we do. He knew us even before we were born and is interested in the smallest of matters of our life.
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. John 10:10 Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? 7 But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows. Luke 12:6-8 Thou puttest my feet also in the stocks, and lookest narrowly unto all my paths; thou settest a print upon the heels of my feet. Job 13:27 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Psalm 37:4
Plus, the Holy Spirit that He has given each child of God, knows how to intercede for us, even when we don’t know what we need.
Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Romans 8:26
4. Why do we have to be so stubborn and foolish that God often has to use drastic means to get our attention and get us to do what’s best for us anyway? It was during the miscarriage of our 4th child that the Lord taught me the importance of being willing, and I know my illustration is a sensitive issue, but it is what the Lord used in my life. I had always said I wanted 3 children and THAT WAS IT! I was even going for surgery to ensure that we would not have anymore, but through the difficult time of our miscarriage, the Lord showed me His will, and I learned to submit. Losing that baby was one of the hardest, yet easiest, trials I have ever gone through. Those of you who have gone through this know what I mean. The emptiness of my womb was terrible, but in my heart reigned “…the peace of God, which passeth all understanding…´Philippians 4:7 Here’s what the Lord taught me:
1. I really did want more children. 2. He owns me, therefore has complete control over my life, and I am to yield to what His will is, not somehow try to fit my will in His.
I took the loss of our child (but the Lord’s gain) as a gentle rebuke for wanting to have my own way rather than God’s way. It wasn’t that God was saying “You ARE going to have 20 kids….” it was more like I just needed to be willing to have as many as He wanted to bless me with, whether He ever intended to give me any more or not: I just had to be willing. I am NOT saying this is the case for everyone’s miscarriage, but I know this to be at least one of the purposes God had for our miscarriage, as well as for comforting others. Many of you know that God used that trial as a springboard for my poem “Our Little One” but it also got me back into poetry writing after not having written for over 10 years and I know I could not have done “My Prayer For His Will”.
I want to quote one of the first lines of my lesson: If He called your child to the wilds of India, would you tell him/her – “If it’s God’s will for you, then you’d better do it”, supporting them every step of the way? I do know what this feels like. I gave the Lord all our children even before they were born, and yes, two of our children thought they were called to the mission field, and I did give them that charge and another: as long as they answer God's call on their life (whatever that might be, whether a housewife, single Christian woman, missionary, etc. whatever), then they will be under God's hand of protection and nothing will happen in their life that God does not allow for His glory. They are safer in God's will in the wilds of some foreign field than out of God's will in our home town. All they need to focus on is doing God's will for their life, just like each and every one of us has to.
Lord, help us to be willing, for you! – Angela Trenholm
Not Ashamed of Christ
As I sit in my pew during church,
It’s easy to agree with what’s said
To repeat “Amen” and “Praise the Lord”
Or simply agree, by a nod of the head.
Yet, leaving the church building,
My resolve just melts away.
What did cause my withdrawing?
Why was I in such a fray?
I thought I had all I needed
To fulfill the great commission,
But instead, working by myself
Was a cause for a great omission.
I was ashamed of my Lord that day –
And, oh, how many times in between –
I have denied the one who bought me,
As I perform my daily routine.
The boldness I needed so badly,
Was surely lacking from my effort.
I hadn’t the strength to sustain me;
In my spirit there was no comfort.
As I feasted on God’s Word at home,
I read of the Apostles’ boldness
And saw God’s power, and not their own,
Was the reason for their adeptness.
I saw how spending time with Jesus
Was what wrought such great victory:
Power to boldly speak forth God’s Word,
Regardless of government decree.
How I need to get alone with God,
And beseech Him for His power.
Without the strength He alone gives,
I can’t live for Him even an hour.
I don’t want to be ashamed of Christ –
The one who gave His all for me –
I want to live for Him day by day!
I want that great victory!
Going forth, but not on a whim,
To go out boldly and to proclaim;
Spending my life witnessing for Him,
That eternal life, others may gain.
So day by day, as I seek to please,
The one who died and rose for me,
I must spend time with Christ my Lord
If not ashamed of Him, I am to be.
Not Ashamed of Christ
December 29, 2003
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ:
for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth;
to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John,
and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men,
they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them,
that they had been with Jesus.
And now, Lord, behold their threatenings:
and grant unto thy servants,
that with all boldness they may speak thy word,…
…And when they had prayed,
the place was shaken where they were assembled together;
and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost,
and they spake the word of God with boldness.
And for me, that utterance may be given unto me,
that I may open my mouth boldly,
to make known the mystery of the gospel…
According to my earnest expectation and my hope,
that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness,
as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body,
whether it be by life, or by death.
So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper,
and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.
More Like the Master
Words: Charles H. Gabriel, 1906.
Music: âHanford (Gabriel),â? Charles H. Gabriel, 1906
More like the Master I would ever be,
More of His meekness, more humility;
More zeal to labor, more courage to be true,
More consecration for work He bids me do.
Take Thou my heart, I would be Thine alone;
Take Thou my heart, and make it all Thine own.
Purge me from sin, O Lord, I now implore,
Wash me and keep me Thine forevermore.
More like the Master is my daily prayer;
More strength to carry crosses I must bear;
More earnest effort to bring His kingdom in;
More of His Spirit, the wanderer to win.
More like the Master I would live and grow;
More of His love to others I would show;
More self denial, like His in Galilee,
More like the Master I long to ever be.