What’s Love Got To Do With It?

Photo by PENGWHAN: https://www.pexels.com/photo/boy-and-girl-sitting-on-bench-toy-1767434/

Photo by PENGWHAN: https://www.pexels.com/photo/boy-and-girl-sitting-on-bench-toy-1767434/

1 John 4:17-19 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. (18) There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. (19) We love him, because he first loved us.

A Christian is a work in progress. Salvation is entirely a work of God in us. The Scripture says:

Ephesians 2:8-9 For BY GRACE are you saved THROUGH FAITH, and that NOT OF YOURSELVES. It (this salvation) IS THE GIFT OF GOD, NOT OF WORKS, lest anyone should boast.

Salvation is the broken Creature throwing themselves on the Creator and Savior. Salvation is an empty hand, reaching out to God Who is able, seeking fulfillment. Salvation comes to us when God Himself opens our eyes to the Son, and calls us to His side. Salvation comes when we run into the arms of Him Who is not broken, our Savior and Lord Jesus. Once we are saved the Scripture says:

Ephesians 2:10 We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus {to do} good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

We are not saved by works, but by faith. But once saved, we are called to do good works. When we become self absorbed and “me” focused, we walk away from our calling and get into trouble. A believer can fall in the worst trap when we make “I” the center of the universe.

  • The Father of Faith, Abraham, allowed fear to dominate him instead of doing good works. Abraham lied about Sarah, claiming that she was no more than his sister (Genesis 12:13). His lie endangered Sarah, and also caused misery to fall on Pharaoh.
  • The Savior of the early Creation Noah put together an Ark and populated it as God directed. When Noah left the Ark he grew a vineyard, made wine, and got drunk (Genesis 9:20-21). His actions brought a curse on Canaan.
  • Though he was called “Righteous Lot” (2 Peter 2:7), his selfishness caused him to lose everything when God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. He also got drunk, and had incestuous relationships with his daughters (Genesis 19:33).
  • Just as Abraham allowed fear to control him, the Prophet Elijah became frightened when Jezebel threatened his life. Running away from Mount Carmel, Elijah became depressed and suicidal, praying “ It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers” (1 Kings 19:4).
  • The Chief Apostle Peter, being lifted up with pride, promised he would never deny Jesus. A rooster proved him wrong (Matthew 26:75).
  • If King David had continued doing the good God called him to do, he would have never spent time with Bathsheba, nor have murdered Uriah (2 Samuel 12:9).

The Bible is filled with examples of saved believers who – allowing self to lift them up – lost their blessings in Christ. I often think of Moses, that Great Prophet who, in a moment of weakness, allowed self to dominate. Rather than do the good work that God commanded, Moses struck out at Israel, saying:

Numbers 20:10 … Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?

God told Moses, “You did not believe Me. You did not glorify Me in front of the children of Israel. Because of this, you will not lead My people into the Promised Land” (Numbers 20:12). Had Moses done the good works that God ordered him to do, he – and not Joshua – would have led Israel into the Promised Land. Moses was buried by God on a mountain overlooking the goal.

All because he chose to do selfishly, rather than do godly.

The World Runs On Fake Love

“Love” is the subject of nearly every song you hear today. Whether Country Music, Rhythm & Blues, Hip Hop, Rock, Pop, Soul, Reggae, Funk, Folk, Jazz, Disco, New Age, Gospel …. the best selling songs are focused on “love”. Most of the music you hear on the air waves is a twisted shadow of what love was designed to be.

We have one word for LOVE – and that word is far from what God’s standard for love is. The Greeks had four words for love, which is important because our New Testament was written in the Koine (Common) Greek and Aramaic.

Word Study: EROS or Sexual Love. When today’s America talks about LOVE, it is generally referring to EROS or sexual love. Americans place a premium on sexual love. When two people come together sexually, we say they are “making love” or “sleeping together”. Unless those two people are husband and wife, and by this I mean MALE and FEMALE, they are not “making love” or “sleeping together”. They are committing “fornication” (1 Corinthians 6:13, 18). The Bible tells us that the body is NOT for fornication, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. Flee fornication. Every sin that you commit is outside the body. But the sin of fornication hurts the body” (author’s paraphrase). The sexually transmitted diseases we have in America are largely the product of fornication or adultery (sin that violates the bond of marriage”. The Bible says:

Hebrews 13:4 Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

Word Study: STORGE or Family Love. This is the love that is found in a God designed marriage, a love between husband and wife, between siblings, and the loving respect shown parents. The Apostle Paul uses a compound word philóstorgos, {pronounced fil-os’-tor-gos} in …

Romans 12:10 … Be kindly affectioned {philóstorgos} one to another with brotherly love …

as the Church is to be like family in its relationship one toward another.

Word Study: The third Greek word for “Love” is PHILEOS, which is the love that two friends have toward one another. As believers in Christ, we are commanded to be “friends” with Jesus, in

1 Corinthians 16:22 If any man love {phileō} not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha.

Jesus called us to follow Him as “friends” in:

John 15:13-15 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. 15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

Abraham, the father of faith, believed in God’s promises and was saved. Jesus saves us so that we will bind to Him in friendship as Abraham bound to him. We are told in:

James 2:23 … Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

Word Study: The highest type of love is AGAPE, which is SACRIFICIAL LOVE. This is type of love that God wants us to pursue.

1 John 4:17 Herein is our love {ἀγάπη agapē} made perfect {τελειόω teleioō}, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

The love that God calls us to is not an emotional love,
but a DOING love.

We are called to be like Jesus. That’s what the Scripture says. as He {Jesus} is, so are we in this world. The love that Jesus came expressing is not a fake emotional love, but a love that DOES and CONTRIBUTES to those in need. Agape is NOT self serving, but others serving. In the early Church a group of heretics rose up and began to teach that Jesus only came to this earth in the spirit. The Apostle John called this false prophesy or fake preaching. He tells us:

1 John 4:1-3 Beloved {AGAPETOS, you who have enjoyed the AGAPE or Divine Love of God}, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. (2) Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: (3) And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of Antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

When God said “I love you”, He didn’t say this from Heaven and stop at that. What did God do? God CAME IN THE FLESH. God got off of His Throne in glory, and lowered Himself.

God came in the flesh – being born of a virgin.
God came in the flesh – being born in a manger.
God came in the flesh – being born to a common carpenter’s family.
God came in the flesh – being raised in a small town.
God came in the flesh – being raised middle class.
God came in the flesh – healing those who were sick.
God came in the flesh – calling sinners to His side.
God came in the flesh – carrying His Cross to Calvary.
God came in the flesh – being nailed to the Tree for us.
God came in the flesh – dying for your sins and mine.
God came in the flesh – rising from the borrowed tomb.
God came in the flesh – being the Lamb of God.
God came in the flesh – interceding for us who believe to God the Father.

God did not “phone in” our salvation, but lowered Himself to save us, and to keep on saving us. The Apostle wrote:

Philippians 2:7-10 … {Jesus Christ} made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: (8) And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (9) Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: (10) That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

Though He was worthy of worship, Jesus came to this earth not to be worshiped, but to be the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29). Jesus Christ “did good” (Acts 14:17), just as God daily does good toward us. When questioned as to WHY JESUS SPENT SO MUCH TIME WITH UNDESIRABLES, our Lord said:

Luke 19:10 … the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

In the Gospels Jesus always calls Himself The Son of Man, but after His death and resurrection Jesus is called “The Son of God”. Whenever you see Jesus lowering Himself for us, He is “The Son of Man”. Commentator Hugh Ross notes:

The New Testament makes the same type of demarcation for the human followers of Jesus Christ. Jesus’ followers before the first day of Pentecost are always called ‘sons of men’ or ‘children of men’ and never as ‘sons of God’. Jesus’ followers after the first day of Pentecost are always called ‘sons of God’ and never as sons of men”.

It was not until Jesus lowered Himself – showing AGAPE Love – and died on the Cross could our sins be fully atoned. With full atonement comes the Holy Spirit of God indwelling us SO THAT WE CAN DO GOOD AS JESUS DID GOOD.

1 John 4:17 …. as {Jesus} is, so are we in this world

Let me be a little clearer.

A LOST person can be BAPTIZED.
A LOST person can give a TITHE.
A LOST person can PRAY.
A LOST person can be faithful to ATTEND CHURCH.
A LOST person can serve on a COMMITTEE.
A LOST person can even PREACH.

Lost people can imitate anything that we do as Christians. The one thing a lost person cannot do is BE LIKE JESUS in how they love. As Jesus is, so are we in this world. As genuine believers in Christ we have a destiny:

Ephesians 1:5-7 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, (6) To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. (7) In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

You, dear believer in Christ, have a DESTINY. To are ADOPTED into glory. Why? Because God has made us accepted in the beloved. Because Jesus Christ laid His life down for us, we have eternal life. Now WE ARE TO LAY OUR LIVES DOWN FOR HIM. We are not to be like the world, selfish and grasping. We are called of God to be like Jesus.

1 John 4:4-6 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. (5) They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. (6) We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.

The spirit of error gives credence to the world and its ways. The Spirit of truth lives by and heeds the Word of God. The spirit of error says “Me first, and others second”. The Spirit of truth says, “We are Christ’s Body. We work together to glorify Him”.

The Kingdom Of God Runs On AGAPE, Divine Love

God does not want us to have a “hope so” salvation, but a “know so” salvation. This is why we are told:

1 John 4:17-19 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. (18) There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. (19) We love him, because he first loved us.

If you are a Christian, will you stand before God BOLDLY in the Day of Judgment, or with FEAR? The point John is making is this:

Though you are not saved by works,
a Christian will strive to be like Christ in their works.

A Christian will not be ashamed of Christ.

Mark 8:38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.

Like Jesus, we will stand up for our Father, content to be against the grain of the world. We will not be driven about by peer pressure and society’s expectations. Our lives are but a vapor, that appears for a little time, then passes away” (James 4:14). If we love God, we will strive to be like Jesus because this is the right way to be. Jesus loved us before we ever knew His name. We are called to love all – especially our fellow believers in Christ.

1 John 4:20-21 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? (21) And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

I remember years ago at another Church – a sweet assembly like this one – when I was invited to preach revival at a Church in a neighboring county. The Pastor of that Church had – at one time – Pastored the Church that I was now at. When I went to preach at this other Church I had several members at “our Church” upset because of some bitterness they held against this other dear Pastor.

Some of those members left “our Church” because I dared preach at this “other Church”.

This, dear friends, is the spirit, not of God, but of Antichrist. We are called to love as Jesus loved. We are called to love even our enemies. We are called to look to the Cross. Look to Him handing on that terrible Tree. As He hung – struggling to breath, bleeding from numerous wounds – our Lord Jesus prayed:

Luke 23:34 … Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do …

Did Jesus’ words melt the hearts of those who heard Him? No. They “parted his raiment, and cast lots”. They ignored His suffering, and continued in their selfish way of life. This is the way of the lost. The lost are concerned only for themselves. The saved, born again, Spirit filled believer wants to live out their lives for the Lord Jesus.

If you are saved by faith in Christ, your vessel needs to be filled with the love of Christ. If you are saved by faith in Christ, your lips are to speak love, not hate. Your hands are to lift up, not tear down. Your feet are to run toward good and away from evil. This is what God expects of us. We are to be,

Matthew 5:14 … the Light of the world. A city that is set
on a hill cannot be hid.

This is what will change not only America, but our Community and our Church. Let’s be what the Lord has called us to be. Let us be like Jesus in works, not just on Sunday, but every day. For the glory of God. Amen and Amen.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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