It’s Love That Makes the World Go ‘Round: Part Two

Colossians 2: 1 – 3

Jesus said, “If you love Me keep My commandments.” (John 14: 15) He then said, “By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, that you love one another.” (John 13: 35)

Satan is a counterfeiter. Christ says we are to love. Satan runs in a substitute and redefines love. A counterfeit is intended to look like the original. A counterfeit of what Christ meant will for a time pass for love?  Emotions or feelings answer the call.

The Greeks had a word for the kind of love of which Christ spoke, it is “agape,” meaning selfless love. The prototype is the love Christ has for us.

The Greeks had a word that is somewhat definitive of emotions and feelings. It is “eros.” It is used for sensual or emotional feelings.

When the Scripture says, “Husbands love your wives,” it is not an appeal to have a warm fuzzy feeling regarding them. It means to be committed to them as Christ is to us.

Feelings change. In the matter of feelings most marriages have highs and lows. Surprise, if you thought yours was the only one that did. 

In marriage and all relations there are times when the flavor has faded. Then from a feelings standpoint it is difficult to comply with Christ’s command to love. When you, the subject don’t “feel” in love, that is time for your love for the object, Jesus Christ, to take over. Then your desire to please Him is stronger than your desire to fulfill your own feelings.

The challenge is complicated by ours being a sensate society in which we are taught directly and indirectly that the most important thing in life is our own feelings.  “If it feels good, do it!” is the mandate of the moment. The problem is feelings change. Christ doesn’t. Therefore, for balance and stability we need to live to please Him.

Love is not dependent —
on the nature of the one loved,
but on the nature of the one who loves.

Love is not contingent —
on the beauty of the one loved,
but on the appreciation of the lover.

Love is not conditional —
on the constancy of the beloved,
but on the faithfulness of the one who loves.

In an office I saw this on the wall:
“Someday after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides,
We shall harness for God the energy of love,
And for the second time in history man will discover fire.” T.R. deJordan 

Go now and start some fires.

‘Till He Appeared 12/6/98

I John 3:5, 8 & 4:9
Page 1777 Come Alive Bible

Jesus Christ laid aside His robes of eternal glory and became enshrouded in swaddling clothes for a purpose. This was the greatest extraterrestrial rescue mission ever attempted. It had more peril programmed into the mission than Apollo 13 multiplied a thousandfold. There was no escape vehicle for the cosmic Christ.

His mission had been pre-programmed and chronicled over a period of 1500 years. More than 330 exact details were penned by Old Testament prophets. There was to be no lack of understanding of the mission.

After the accomplishment of His mission to liberate and extricate doomed human beings one of His earthly companions wrote of the reason for it. John, who shared His earth walk gave three reasons for this daring undertaking.

“And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin.” The word “manifested” or “appeared” translates the Greek word PHANEROO, which means to remove a lid, or pull a curtain. It speaks of divine revelation. That is what happened in Bethlehem. God was unveiled and revealed as never before.

John 1: 1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

Persons who master more than one language know that in some languages you can say things you can’t say in certain other languages. There are no words by which certain words can be translated.

Literally, the Greek structure says, “Before time began to begin the Word was…” Time was a part of creation. Creation involved time, matter, and space – all three. Before time began to begin Christ existed.

The word “Word” translates the Greek word Logos. “In the beginning was the Logos.” Or, “Before time began to begin was the Logos.”

To find the meaning of a word look to see how it was used during the time it was employed. At the time of John’s writings “Logos” was used of Philo meaning, “all that is known or knowable about God.” John used it as a reference to Christ meaning, “All that is known or knowable about God is in the person of Christ.”

When the virgin Mary pulled back the cover and let persons see her new born baby she was manifesting, unveiling God.

There is a complex rule of Greek grammar when applied asserts emphatically that Jesus is God. The rule is: When two nouns in the same case are connected by the Greek word “and” and the second noun is not preceded by the article, the second noun refers to the same person or thing as the first noun, and is a further description of it.

Titus 2: 13 refers to “the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ.” The rule of grammar identifies Jesus Christ at God.

This is further emphasized by the fact the Greek word for “and” can be translated “even.”

II Peter 1: 1 also refers to Christ as “God and our Savior Jesus Christ.” He is God.

When applied to Titus 2: 13 it is even clearer: “the great God even our Savior Jesus Christ.”

In Bethlehem the unveiling began.

The purpose of this unveiling of God was to take away sins.

He did this for every infant that dies before reaching an age of reasoning. We are all born with an old sin nature variously called our Adamic nature. Jesus Christ being born of the virgin had no old sin nature. Therefore, when He died on the cross He acquitted all of us of our old sin nature.

He lived without any personal sin. We all have personal sins. He died without any personal sins for our personal sins. For His gift of salvation to be applied we must respond to Him in loving acceptance.

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (II Corinthians 5:21).

He came to – – – – –

“He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil” (I John 3:8).

The word destroy means “to render ineffective, to rob of power.”

A missionary in Africa returned to his house to find in it a large python. He retreated to his truck and got his 45 pistol. Quietly he got as near the snake as possible and fired a mortal round right between the snakes eyes. The python didn’t die instantly. The missionary ran outside as the monstrous snake began to thrash around. The missionary heard things crashing, falling, and breaking. Soon all was quiet. Upon returning to the house he found the place in a mess. In dying the snake had caused a lot of damage. Christ mortally wounded Satan on the cross but he continues to do damage. Christ wants to repair that.

Is there a work of Satan in your life presently that you need to enlist Christ’s help in destroying? In these moments I want to deal with the one considered by some to be the number one sin of church going Christians. It is bitterness.

Guilt is what we feel when we hurt someone.

Bitterness is what we experience when someone hurts us.

Bitterness comes from within us. If a container of sweet water is jolted sweet water comes out. If a container of bitter water is jolted bitter water comes out. What is within is what comes out of us.

If you keep bitterness inside you it will make you sick.

If you vent it on others it will make them sick —– of you.

Get rid of it.
Admit you have been wronged.
Concede the person who wronged you deserves to be punished.
Resolve to release the offender of his or her debt.

You get rid of bitterness unilaterally. It doesn’t matter what the other person did or that they don’t seek forgiveness. Don’t concentrate on the offender. What he or she did is her problem. What you do about it is your problem. When you refuse to rid your life of bitterness you are the puppet of the offended. That person controls your emotions. Let Christ control them instead.

If you were to competitively run a race for a prize had you rather run alone or strapped to the leg of another as in a three legged race. When you refuse to get bitterness out of your life you are strapped to the offender and limited by that person.

Let Jesus destroy the word of Satan in your life. Get all bitterness out.

“In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him” (I John 4:9).

He gives us strength by which to live.
He gives us peace in which to live.
He becomes the object for which to live.
This life is a reference to the fullest development of our highest powers, both of understanding and enjoyment.

Life with Christ gives even adversity purpose. Cripple such a person and you have Sir Walter Scott. Put him in a prison cell and you have a John Bunyan. Nearly bury him in snow at a place like Valley Forge and you have a George Washington. Have him born in abject poverty and you have a Lincoln. Put him in a grease pit in a train roundhouse and you have a Walter Chrysler. Make him second fiddle in an obscure South Africa orchestra and you have a Toscanini. Hardships with Christ as our companion don’t crush us they challenge us.

Christmas is not just the story of a baby born. It is the story about the person into whom the baby grew, who came to redeem us from our sins and to call us into partnership with His great and mighty purpose. That’s living.

It’s Love That Makes the World Go ‘Round: Part One

Colossians 2: 1 – 3

Jesus said, “If you love Me keep My commandments.” (John 14: 15) He then said, “By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, that you love one another.” (John 13: 35)

Loving our kind is easy.

Then Jesus made sure we knew just how big the envelope was by saying, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you …If you love those who love you, what credit have you? For even sinners do the same.” (Luke 6: 27, 28, 32)

Then we are pressed to the wall by a divine definition of love being given in I Corinthians 13. Let’s pull back this veil very slowly for an understanding of all that is said on the subject is dependent on our understanding of what love really is. First, insight as to what love is, then what it isn’t.

Husbands and wives, persons who are dating, and children in relating to friends should not compromise on these facets of love.

WHAT LOVE DOES: It is patient… acts kindly… rejoices in truth… bears all things…believes all things… hopes all things… endures all things.

WHAT LOVE DOES NOT DO: behave rudely… seek its own…get easily provoked…thinks evil…rejoice in iniquity… envy… get proud and puffed up. Having considered this subject just briefly we are already pretty deep.

First, Jesus said if we love Him we will keep His commandments. Then He said a sure sign to others that we are His disciples is that we will love one another. If He had only stopped there! No, He continued by commanding us to love our enemies who hate us and despitefully use us so much that we by doing good to them, blessing them even when they curse us, and praying for them. How?

We must decide that our truths are objective truths. That is, truths coming from an object outside ourselves. That object is Scripture as personified by Jesus. Our truths are not subjective. That is, I as the subject will not base my own beliefs and feelings on my own individual opinions.

Now simplify and apply that. Jesus said love your enemies. That command is difficult to comply with in light of those who despitefully use you. Right? 

That which makes it possible to comply is not merely the cold command to love, but our love for Jesus Christ. If we love Him properly we will want to please Him, the object, from which comes our objective truth, not our own subjective feelings. In effect, we love Him so much we would rather please Him than satisfy our own emotional response. By loving Him, keeping His commands is made easier.

Expressing love for those like us, and those unlike us, and those who don’t like us is made easier if we do so out of loving obedience to Jesus Christ. Such love makes all other forms of love better.

How to Develop New Vitality in Living: Part Two

Colossians 1: 9 – 11

Jesus in praying for us set the standard we should follow in praying for one another. A pattern for such prayer is recorded in Colossians 1: 9 – 11.

Three things are noted as being needed in verse 11b.

Patience, under trial (hupomone). This is a reference to being patient with things and circumstances. This is the ability to deal triumphantly with any thing life throws at you. It is not the kind of patience that just sits with head bowed and lets life roll over you like a tidal wave.  It is the ability to turn them into your good and His glory. It is not passiveness. It is active performance with the ability to endure. 

Second, we are to be longsuffering, under provocation (makrothumia). In effect, this is patience with people. This is the ability to bear people’s maliciousness and bitterness. It is the mental ability not to give vent to passionate violence.  It is brave patience. Romans 5:3,4 describes it. “…we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance character; and character hope.”

Hope is kept alive by this process. It isn’t an instantaneous thing, it is a consequence of the process.

Third, we should show joy. This results from a heart at leisure with itself because of a preoccupation with Christ.  It refers to a buoyant sense of mastery.  It is a sunny heart.

Many people can tolerate and forebear difficulty, but often sadly.  The Christian is to be patient and longsuffering with JOY.

On the eve John Bradford of Newgate was to be burned alive for his faith, he danced in his cell and sang: “Rejoice, for tomorrow is my wedding day.”  He rejoiced saying, “Fine shining we shall make tomorrow when the flame is kindled.”

I saw a young lady recently who some years ago was unjustly fired from her very public position for sharing her faith. The firing was followed by inappropriate ridicule. She reminded me her entire being was changed when I told her she should rejoice in that she was counted worthy to suffer for her Lord. Thereafter, she responded beautifully and victoriously. Her ministry became larger and far more productive.

Colossians 1: 14 explains how this is possible. The reference is to Jesus “in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sin.”

We who know deliverance from the horror of the domain of darkness and have been saved from the wrath to come, and brought into the kingdom of God’s dear Son in Whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins have reason for joy.

We have been bought with a price, the precious blood of our Savior Jesus

Christ our Lord. He has not only redeemed us from a lost eternity, but in doing so has empowered us with the capacity to be patient with circumstances and people. Furthermore, He has empowered us with the ability to experience and share joy amid difficulty. The grace of God in the hearts of believers is the power of God; and there is glory in this power. Oh joy!

Thanks Mom!

Happy Mother’s Day. 

Mother’s Day is designed to be a happy day around your dwelling. Grievously there are all too few happy mothers today. Resolve to make your mother happy daily.

Technology has enabled there to be 38 ways to produce a human child. They range from the old fashioned way to cloning. There is only one way to make a mother and that is spelled W-O-R-K.

I have had a formula for happiness I have applied all through life. Happiness is a beautiful byproduct of a job well done. Faithful and fulfilled moms are happy.

General Napoleon was conversing with Madam Campagna on what might make theirs a better system of education. Suddenly, he exclaimed, “I have it. Better Mothers will make a better system of education.” Mothers, don’t undervalue your role.

One of our former presidents commented, “All my virtues I learned at my mother’s knee. All my vices I learned at other joints.”

A contributing cause for failure in the role of mom is our children are having children. Many young females are developing a strong uninhibited sex drive at a younger ages. Some are so young they haven’t developed a motherly instinct. One school principal told me some want a baby so they will have someone they can love and by whom to be loved. The problem with these young mothers is they try to love an infant like a doll. That is, when they feel like it and put it down when they are tired of it.

A classic mistake by some mothers is to assume their children will develop character, manners, interpersonal skills, social graces, as well as moral and spiritual values on their own. Read this real slow: “THEY DON’T.” The human being is the only animal left with parents after being weaned. The reason is that values might be transmitted by the older generation that will spare the younger pitfalls and teach values. Parents are to mentor and model for their children. All too many are leaving it to TV characters and music icons to fulfill these roles.

One young mother asked me to help her children realize she was more than a mother. All are but nothing more important than being a mother. Her problem is one shared by too many moms. She wanted to be too many other things than a mom and did not allow enough time to be a sharing mom. Some of the best moms I have known have been some of the busiest people I have known. Some are single moms. They simply have their priorities in order. They discipline themselves and unselfishly give the office appropriate attention.

There is nothing more delightful than to watch a young mother enjoying her children. I watched my wife model this as our children grew up. Now she and I are blessed to see our daughters absorbed in and enthralled by their children.

Mothers, hang in there. There is a wonderful surprise awaiting those who are faithful in their role regardless of how hard it might be. Here is the pay off, one day the door will open and in will walk your best friend, your child. It is all worth it.