Sunday 26th May 2024Lighthouse

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“Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.”

Romans 5:1-5 NRSV

 

 

Introduction 

 

The love of Christ is true love, it's a gift worked in us by God’s Spirit. God is love, and when we have God we have love conversely without God, love is not possible. Love has its work in us, even in our suffering we wear love as a badge, it is one with our DNA and love rules in our hearts and motivates us. Love transforms us and love never fails us. Love is part of our daily walk and speaks to us and through us. Love makes us see things differently. Love has been poured into us through the Holy Spirit.

 

 

  1. Suffering has its work

 

A NEW kind of Love was brought to the world by Jesus. This is through the Holy Spirit. The idea that love is poured into us, helps us have hope. So when the trials of life, our suffering produces in us endurance and character, we can still have hope. Hope is like spiritual vision, hope means we can see what others perhaps can't see.

 

If we are suffering and we don't see hope, could it be that we need endurance and the development of our character? Someone said to me recently their suffering was a gift, I didn't understand this, so why not do everything to avoid suffering? 

 

God isn't in the business of making us suffer. How we respond and how we come through the other side is a testimony to the goodness of God. Maybe he meant he saw it as a gift because he had experienced the love of God, in hope rather than disappointment.

 

But when we suffer for his sake we endure, James writes so that patience may have perfect work in us and we may be completely lacking nothing.. (Jas 1, 4) Peter it's when you suffer for doing good you are blessed, and be patient and kind while you go through it. 1 Pet 3.14)

 

2. God is love

 

As we understand this God kind of Love, is a God-initiated love. But it's more than that because God's love is a metaphysical reality, a meta love if you will. God is love, the apostle John writes. God is the embodiment of love because, without God, there is no love. We don't say we belong to God, without love, that is the God inside us love.

 

God doesn't just love you, God, is the very thing that makes love possible. God pours that love, which is himself into you by his Spirit. This is like God's word is not just a truth it's the truth that makes all truths possible.  we realise there never was any Love before. The thing the world has called love has been the sexual attraction. 

 

Jesus brought a new thing in the sense that God was coming to us, by this we know true love because God loved us and gave himself for us. 

 

“Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God's love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

1 John 4:8-10 NRSV

https://bible.com/bible/2016/1jn.4.8-10.NRSV

 

3. Love is our ID badge

 

The Greek word has been translated as Charity or Love in our Bible. The Greek word is Agape which needs an explanation. When we are Born Again we are born in Love.

 

We have found out that God is Love and so the New Birth is the impartation of this Nature of the Father. We become children of Love. It is a Love Family into which we have been born. 

 

Paul speaks in Rom. 5:5 says, "The love of God has flooded our spirits"; absorbed us; taken us over. (Weymouth.) 

 

This ‘Love Nature’ is the law of the New Creation. 

 

John 13:34-35, "A new commandment I give unto you that you love (agapa) one another, even as I have loved (agapaed) you, that ye also love (agapa) one another. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love (agapa) one to another."

 

It was to be the stamp, the brand, if you please, that should differentiate us from the world. Paul said, "I bear branded on my body the marks of Jesus." He meant the scars and wounds that had been given to him in his persecutions. 

 

But the believer bears the marks, the brand of Love upon his spirit. Rom. 12:5-6 says that every man when he comes into the Family, has a measure of faith given to him. He is to cultivate that faith and develop it. The same thing is true about this new kind of Love. When we come into the Family, a measure of that Love is given to us. It comes with a New Nature, the Love of Nature.

 

4. Love is in our DNA

 

This Love Nature must be developed as you develop your faith life. As you give Love the freedom to grow and act as it naturally should, it will gain control of your whole being.

 

It must be fed by the Word of God; it must express itself in action. 

 

Matt. 4:4, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God." 

 

You see, the real being of whom He is speaking is your spirit. Your spirit hunger and your spiritual needs are just as great as your mental or your physical needs.

 

Your spirit must have the privilege of meditation in the Word. You must learn to feed upon it just as Jeremiah did, "He ate it." (Jer. 15:16.) Now you feed and exercise this New Thing that has come into you by practising Love. Exercise makes it strong just as exercise makes your body strong. 

 

Col. 3:16 says, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly," gaining the ascendancy over all your faculties. This Love Life makes you gentle, Jesus-like. It makes you strong and vigorous like the Master. It makes you fearless in your walk with the Lord. 

 

5. God's love never fails

 

I Corinthians 13

 

Love never fails. It is the Master-ruler. It will lead us out of selfishness, out of weakness and failure into the very strength and ability of Christ. 

 

There is no force in the world that it cannot dominate. It makes us want. It makes us a blessing. It enables us to take Jesus' place. 

 

As Love takes over, then that wonderful passage in 2 Cor. 5:14- 15 becomes a living reality: "For the love of Christ constraints us (or better, For the love of Christ has gained control, has taken us over), because we like this judge, that one died for all, therefore all died; and he died for all, that I whom he has made alive, should no longer live unto myself but unto him who for their sakes died and rose again."

 

Paul's very being was saturated with the passion that drove Jesus to the cross. Now you can understand 1 Cor. 10:24, "Let no man seek his own, but each his neighbour's good." 

 

6. Love transforms us

 

When Love is at white heat, selfishness stops reigning. 

 

What an unhappy thing it is for selfishness to have any part in the government of this New Creation. Selfishness is as deadly as poison. It is poison to the spirit. It is poison to the Body of Christ.

 

1 John 4:15.21 is one of the hardest scriptures that we ever face. Is it possible that we could ever enter into it?

 

“God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God.”

1 John 4:15 NRSV

 

Here are three great facts, we have come to believe in Love. We believe it is best to let it govern our life. We have come to believe that it is the best method of ruling a home, a business, or a government. 

 

Your home is in Love. Whenever you step out of Love, you step into darkness and unhappiness, and so you have learned to stay in the Love way. You found that living in Love is living in the highest, sweetest fellowship with the Father. It is living with Him. He has come into your body to make it His home. 

 

“So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.”

1 John 4:16 NRSV

 

The next verse can seem difficult especially when we first discover this Love Law and this Love Way. 

 

“Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world.”

1 John 4:17 NRSV

 

7. Love rules

 

What does he mean by that? Love is perfect in itself, but it must gain perfect control of me. When Love becomes the rule of my life, I grow up with it until my life is dominated, ruled, and governed by it, and that gives me a quiet fearlessness in His presence.

 

He is Love and I am a Love child. Now I am walking in the realm of Love. I am thinking in terms of Love. I am acting according to the rule of Love. My whole life is pitched to the key of Love. Then you can understand that there is no fear in Love. There is fear in everything else. When you are out of Love, you say and do things that you would be afraid to face. You think things out of Love that you wouldn't want to become public property.

 

But this Perfect Love casts out fear, for fear has punishment.

 

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love.”

1 John 4:18 NRSV

 

Now you can understand that if we walk the Love way and the Love Life controls us, we will say nothing; we will do nothing; we will resolutely refuse to think anything outside of Love. 

 

We can see what a fearless life that would be. No matter what happens, you know you are walking in Love. When you speak you know it is in Love. 

 

8. Love speaks

 

Eph. 4:15 illustrates this: "But speaking truth in Love may grow up in all things into him, who is the head, even Christ." 

 

Speaking out of Love is speaking out of tune. It is off the key. It breaks harmony. It jars on the ears of the men and women who walk in Love.

 

 So our whole life swings into the orbit of this new kind of Love; this New Creation Life. 

 

What Christian we would make if Love melted us into that cast! What Jesus-believers we would be! What soul winners! What mighty men and women of God! 

 

9. Love is motivation 

 

You see, the Gospel comes first. The lost must be reached; they must know this new Life. In Rom. 15:1-2, there is another challenge of the believer to his brother believer: "Now we that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves." In the third verse he cries, "For Christ also pleased not himself." There is a battle line laid down for us. That is where we must begin our fight with the reign of selfishness. This is a Love affair and we must not live outside of it. This is a Love realm and to live outside of it is to destroy our usefulness.

 

The New Law that was to take the place of the old Ten Commandments, was given by Jesus in John 13:34-35. You remember, He fulfilled the Old Covenant and established a New Covenant in His blood. And now He said, "A new commandment I give unto you (or a new law), that ye love one another, even as I have loved you." The men who live in this realm, under that New Law, will never sin. Hear that again, "Even as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples if ye have love one to another." 

 

Take with that Rom. 13:10: "Love works no harm to his neighbour; love, therefore, is the fulfilment of the law."

 

9. Love is a daily walk

 

We are in the Love Family and walk in Love, and as we walk in Love, we harm no one. That will make the most beautiful type of life. Never any more harsh, bitter, unkind words spoken by us. No cruel insinuations, nor biting sarcasm. All our words would be soaked in Love before they were uttered, literally saturated with Love. Those words would need no artificial perfume. They would have the sweet fragrance of Heaven itself. What homes it would make!

 

Jesus never stepped out of the realm of Love. He was living the Life. He was walking in the New Way. He built the New Way. You see, this is the new order for the full-grown man in Christ. It is the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. This would create a revival of Jesus' life among us.

 

 It would be good for us to read daily the 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians, at least the first eight verses. We would then suffer along with people and be kind while we suffer.

 

Love would gain such control of us that there would be no envy. We would thank the Father for the success of others. We would never be elated over our success, for it says, "Love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up." Our conduct before the world would be one of restraint, Love's restraint, and we would be as kind to the outcast as we would be to the wealthy. We would never behave ourselves unseemly. No one would ever hear a harsh word from our lips, nor an unkind criticism. The Love Life would govern us. It says, "Seeketh not its own." 

 

And if others need what we have, we share it with them. We would never go to law; we would never quarrel or parley even over what belongs to us. 

 

This new kind of Love makes us so big that selfishness is utterly eliminated. You see, in the New Creation, we were given a new self, a Love self, a self born of God, a self like Jesus' self that He had in His earth walk.

 

We are not seeking our own. They cannot provoke us, and we refuse to take any account of evil. We never rejoice in unrighteousness, we only rejoice in the Truth, in the things that are real. That seventh verse startles us. The margin reads, "Covers all things." The text reads: "Bears all things," but Young translates it as "Covering closely." Thayer translates it as "Cover over with silence."

 

When we suffer and we bear it silently it's different to telling everyone about it, when we are offended and we share that offence it grows. However, when we love and forgive it dies in us. Jesus bore our sins and it died in him. He prayed to Father to forgive them they don't know what they do. If we asked him he has nothing to say or accuse us of. Bringing up our hurts and offence continually hurts us. If someone offended me, yet I forgive them their sin dies in me, I can't bring a charge against them, there is no more hurt.

 

If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? Who will bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? 

 

His conclusion 

 

 ...nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 8:31-35, 39 NRSV

https://bible.com/bible/2016/rom.8.31-39.NRSV

 

What are they talking about? Oh, it is a scandal. It is something that has happened that is unseemly; something that if it were known would injure perhaps a lot of people; might cause a division in the assembly; might break up a family. What do we do? We cover it closely with silence. 'We never mention it, and the thing dies there and no one is injured. Hear this: "Love believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." And then the climax-"Love never fails."

 

We should remember this. Agapa, this new kind of Love, never goes into bankruptcy

 

John 4:4: "You are of love, my little children, and greater is love in you than hatred and bitterness that is in the world."

 

10. God’s love works

 

The New Creation is created out of Love. It is created in Christ Jesus. It is the workmanship of God in Christ. God made the first man out of the dust of the earth. The second man He makes out of Himself. The first human is of the earth, earthy. This last human that He has made was created out of Righteousness and Holiness and Reality, out of the very nature of the Father Himself. You see, this is the greatest thing in the world. Why? Because it is God's Nature imparted to us.

 

It is God working in us.

It is God working through us.

 

It is God building Himself into our spirits until our spirits dominate our sense knowledge and reasoning faculties and bring them into harmony with His knowledge. It makes us more than well-pleasing. It gives us Love's creative genius that fills the very heart of the Father with joy. We become so Jesus-like, that the Vine and the branches illustrate our union. We become a mirror in which the Father sees Himself. 

 

This new Love has given us a new self, a Love self, a Jesus self. 

 

11. Love sees things differently 

 

We see each other through new eyes of Love. It is a new kind of Love that has given us new eyesight. We can only see the good things. You remember that translation we mentioned before about Love, that Love bears all things. It covers closely or covers over with silence all that is unseemly. There is no scandal. There are no old sores to uncover. Love can see only God in us, and God can only see Himself in us. 

 

We see others' struggles so that we may bear them. We see their infirmities that we may share with them. We see their weakness so that we may give our strength. We see their poverty so that we may give them our money.

 

We become Jesus men and women. As a battery is charged with electricity, we are charged with Love. We stay in His presence feeding on the Word until our whole being is saturated with Him. Then as we go out and minister to the people, we are lights, little luminaries blazing a path in life where sin has no part and the misery that comes from sin can never enter. Now we understand what it means to walk in Love; 

 

Conclusion 

 

The love of Christ is true love, God is love, and without God love is not possible. Love has its work in us, even in our suffering we wear love as a badge, it is one with our DNA and it never fails. Love rules in our hearts and motivates us. Love transforms us and love never fails us. Love is part of our daily work and speaks to us and through us. Love makes us see things differently. Love has been poured into us through the Holy Spirit. 

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