Love for God

Friday, July 14, 2017, 7:47 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “My Jesus, I Love Thee.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read several scriptures (in the ESV) on the subject of Love for God.

Keep His Commandments (Jn. 14:15, 21, 23-24; 1 Jn. 5:2-3)

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.”

“By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.”

Love for God is not some emotional feeling, or a religious belief or practice. It is not, in and of itself, singing praise and worship songs in a worship service with hands lifted, although if done sincerely, and in truth, this truly is part of how we express our love for God. It is also not merely confessing him as Lord and as Savior of our lives, or going to gatherings of the church, or serving in some ministry capacity within the local fellowship of believers. For, it is possible to do all of these and still not have love for God.

Love for God is to do what he says. If we do not make it our practice to do what our Lord says, i.e. to obey his Word, then we don’t really love him. Yet, we are not speaking here merely of keeping the 10 commandments, although not one of us could keep them perfectly, otherwise Christ would not have had to die for our sins. Obeying God is not just keeping a list of rules, but it is listening to him day by day, following his lead, doing what he tells us through his Spirit, and obeying his instructions to us, which are written down for those of us who believe in Jesus Christ, in his Holy Word.

More Than These (Jn. 21:15; 1 Jn. 2:15; 1 Jn. 3:10)

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.”

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

“By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.”

Love for God is to make him first priority in our lives, but not just that, but to make him truly Lord (owner-master) of our lives. We should love him above all else, which means we should follow him wherever he leads us, even if it means leaving all else behind, including our friends and family. Nothing should be more important to us than obeying our Lord, going where he sends us, and doing what he has called us to do. We should obey him, even if everyone else rejects us, hates us, and abandons us, too.

This also translates to not loving the world (sin, worldliness) with the kind of love we should have for God. In other words, we should not take pleasure in, long for, or esteem the values, morals, philosophies, attitudes or behaviors of the ungodly world. We should not prefer what the world prefers, either. We should not pattern our lives after the ways or the will of the world, as well. We ought not to submit to the culture of our society or to immerse (engross) ourselves in it. Included in this is that we should not be entertained by the world of sin and its values, morals and wickedness, too.

Obeying God results in practicing righteousness. And, righteousness is what God approves, what is deemed right by the Lord, and what is approved in his sight (1). If we do not practice (follow, live out) divine righteousness, then we are not of God. Basically, if we walk (in practice) according to our fleshly desires, we don’t know God, we don’t have the hope of eternal life with God, and we will perish in our sins. But, if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live with Christ for eternity (See: Ro. 6:1-23; Ro. 8:1-14; Lu. 9:23-25; Gal. 5:19-21; Eph. 5:3-6).

Love In Truth (1 Jn. 3:18; 1 Jn. 4:19-20; 1 Jn. 1:5-7)

“Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”

“We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, ‘I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.’”

“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.”

Some people say they love God, but it is lip service only, for their hearts are far from God, they do not do what he says, nor do they submit to him and to his will for their lives. They can get all emotional in a church service, especially as the music gets louder and more intense, and is repeated over and over again, but then they leave, go home, and live just like the world (the ungodly). We can mouth the words “I love you,” but if we are going our own way, living in spiritual adultery and idolatry, and we are not submitting ourselves to our Lord and to his cross, then we don’t really love him. True love, whether between two people or between people and God is not words only, but it is action and it is honest and sincere (not superficial).

If we say we love God, but we don’t love other humans, then we don’t really love God, for God is love, and he lives within those of us who are truly his. And, again, this love is not emotional feelings, but it is action and it is truth. For instance, if a man or a woman cheats on his or her spouse, then lies about it, but then proclaims that he or she loves the other, he or she is a liar. The same applies to our love for God. If we say we love God, but we go after “other lovers,” i.e. worldliness, wickedness, and selfishness, and then we lie to God and to ourselves, and we convince ourselves that God is ok with us living in adultery against him, because of his grace, then that is not love, either, for God or for our fellow human beings.

If we keep on (practicing) sinning, we don’t know God, and we don’t have the promise of eternal life with God (Jn. 8:34; 1 Jn. 3:6-9; 1 Jn. 5:18). But, if we walk (in lifestyle, in conduct) in the light (truth, righteousness), and according to the Spirit of God, not only do we have true spiritual fellowship with other believers in Jesus, but the blood of Jesus, shed on the cross for our sins, cleanses us from all sin. So, if truly we want to love God and know God, then we need to walk in his love, do what he says, follow him where he leads, and surrender to his will for our lives.

My Jesus, I Love Thee
William R. Featherstone / Adoniram J. Gordon

My Jesus, I love thee, I know thou art mine;
For thee all the follies of sin I resign.
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art thou;
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I love thee because thou hast first loved me,
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree;
I love thee for wearing the thorns on thy brow;
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say, when the death-dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ‘tis now.

In mansions of glory and endless delight;
I’ll ever adore thee in heaven so bright;
I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow;
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

(1) http://biblehub.com/greek/1343.htm

Abide in Christ

Sunday, February 26, 2017, 11:40 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Zeal for Your House.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 1 John 2:15-25 (NASB).

Love Not World (vv. 15-17)

Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.

What does it mean to love the world? The Greek word for love here is agapaó, which means to “wish well to, take pleasure in, long for;” “to prefer, to love.” It “preeminently refers to what God prefers as He ‘is love.’” “For the believer, preferring to ‘live through Christ’ (1 Jn. 4:9,10), i.e. embracing God’s will (choosing His choices) and obeying them through His power” – http://biblehub.com/greek/25.htm.

So, we are not to love the world (worldly affairs) in the way in which we are to love God/Christ. We are not to take pleasure in, long for or prefer the world and what the world prefers. We are not supposed to live for or live like the world of sin. We are not to embrace the world’s values, philosophies, attitudes, actions, and behaviors. We are not to follow in its ways, i.e. we are to no longer conform our lives to the patterns of the world. And, we are not to give the world our adulation, praise, honor, passion, and hearts.

If we give Jesus 5 minutes a day in the reading of his Word, but we spend 3 hours a day watching TV, or chatting on social media sites, or surfing the NET, or playing video games, then who or what are we preferring? And, if the stuff we are taking into our minds via these various forms of media is what is contrary to God and his Word, and we are allowing ourselves to be entertained by them, then what or who do we prefer? Whose values are we embracing? What behaviors are we giving our time and passion to? We can’t love God like we are supposed to love him if he gets the leftovers, and the world gets prime time and our thoughts, eyes, ears, hearts and passion.

Basically, if we agapao the world of sin, God’s love is not in us. Why? Because all that is of the world is opposed to God and his Word, so it is not of him. If we want to have eternal life with God, then we need to agapao God, not the world, thus preferring what HE prefers and obeying HIM.

Many Antichrists (vv. 18-23)

Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour… I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also.

So, what or who is an “antichrist”? “Anti” means “against” or “opposite of,” so it is anything or anyone which (or who) is against Christ in lifestyle, attitude, action, words, behavior, and thought, etc. An antichrist can verbally acknowledge Jesus as the Christ but deny him by his lifestyle, actions, and other words. One of the ways in which an antichrist denies Christ is via deceit. We must remember here that Satan disguises himself as an angel of light and “his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness” (2 Co. 11:14-15). His servants will pretend to be ministers of the gospel of Christ, or followers of Christ, only to lead God’s people astray from their pure devotion to Christ through manipulation, deception and trickery.

Many preachers today are followers of humans instead of followers of God. Their ‘bible’ is comprised of various books and articles on how to market their churches (their businesses) to the world, and on how to bring in large crowds of people. And, so they pattern their church gatherings around the pattern of the world in order to attract the world to their churches (i.e. to their businesses). “Worship” services are often nothing more than a cleaned up version of what the world is offering in the way of entertainment. The majority of the church’s time and money seems to be focused on the weekly “big show,” which they present to the world. Thus, pastors have to be entertainers if they want to gain followers for themselves (i.e. customers).

In order to gain popularity with the people of the world, thus, they end up diluting the gospel of Jesus Christ in order to make it more acceptable and appealing to the world. Many of them teach that a mere human belief that Jesus died to free us from condemnation and to promise us heaven when we die, and a verbal confession of Jesus as Lord is all that is needed for them to have salvation and the hope of eternity with God. Yet, where is the heart transformation in all of this? Where is the sorrow over sin? Where is the repentance and submission to the cross of Christ? True faith in Jesus is God-given and is persuaded by God as to his will for our lives, and thus it prefers what God prefers and obeys Him through the Holy Spirit’s power.

Abide in the Son (vv. 24-25)

As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.

This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life.

What they heard from the beginning is not what is being taught in many of today’s modern churches. What they heard was the gospel as taught by Jesus and by his NT apostles. And, it included teaching on sin, repentance, obedience, and submission, i.e. that Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He did not die merely so we could escape hell and go to heaven when we die. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. His grace is not a free license to continue in willful sin while claiming heaven as our future home. His grace, which brings salvation, teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return (Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15).

So, we need to let the truth of God’s word abide (continue, remain) in us, i.e. to continually guide our thinking, actions, and values, etc., to have its way in our lives, and for us to follow it in obedience. This means we need to know what it says, so we need to be students of the Word, and we need to be receptive to the Spirit’s voice giving us counsel, direction, and instruction in godly and holy living. We need to not be following clever lies of deceivers who deny Christ by their lifestyles and by many of their words. So, we need to pray for discernment to know what is true and what are lies, because there are many deceivers. Yet, if the truth of God’s word makes its home in our hearts and lives, then we will also abide (continue, remain) in God the Father and in the Son, Jesus Christ. And, if it does, and thus we remain in Christ, we are promised eternal life with God.

Zeal for Your House
An Original Work / August 1, 2016

Based off Jn. 2:17; Ps. 69:9

Zeal for Your house, it consumes me.
Lord, I love my times with You.
I love to worship You and sing Your praises.
Time in Your Word brings me closer to You,
List’ning to You speaking to me,
Gently guiding me in truth.

Lord, You are my life’s example,
Showing me how I should live.
I love to walk with You where’er You lead me.
No greater joy have I when serving You.
Loving, giving, resting in Your strength,
I’m yielding to Your will.

Zeal for Your house, it consumes me.
See the church turned upside down:
Marketing ventures taking place of worship,
Men of the gospel turning into clowns.
Gospel message made appealing,
So the world will feel at home.

Lord, we need a great revival.
Turn their hearts, Lord, back to You.
Open the blind eyes, turn them all from darkness,
Lord, to the light. May they return to You,
Turn from their sin, forsake idols,
Be restored to God again.