Your love towards Christ will control your actions towards those around you.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? You doing all right today? Oh, I’m fine, praise God. No complaints. Happy to be alive and able to open up the Word of God so as to share it with you. I think the nicest thing the Lord has done for me these past years is to give me a daily contact with thousands of my friends by way of God’s Word. I try to put a handle on it so that you can get hold of it for yourself. God’s Word, the Bible, is forever true, infallible, inerrant, eternal, whether or not anyone reads or believes it, but it becomes a value to you when you apply it to your own heart.
We’re looking, you and I, at 1 Timothy 4:12. “Let no man despise thy youth but be thou an example of the believer in word, in lifestyle, in Calvary love, in spirit, in faith and in purity.” You be an example of the believer. The importance of living a life that is in itself proof of what our Lord Jesus can do, that is something we must never, never forget. “Let no man despise thy youth.” The fact that you’re young does not militate against effective Christianity.
I’m just looking now at one of my commentaries that said, “At age 22, Gladstone was a Member of Parliament. At 24, he was Lord of the Treasury. Sir Robert Peel entered Parliament at 21 and was Lord of the Admiralty at 23. Charles Fox became a legislator at 19, an age when young men are given to breaking rather than to making laws. Bacon graduated at Cambridge when he was 16, was called to the bar at 24. George Washington was a distinguished colonel at 22. And Napoleon commanded the army at 25.
Before he was 17, Shelley was already an author, he had translated half of Pliny’s Natural History and written a number of successful things.” Well, that’s just one of the rundowns in an old book I have here, goes back a ways, doesn’t it? It makes an effective point that just because you’re young, doesn’t mean you can’t be a successful, spirit-filled, effective Christian.
He said, “You be an example of the believer in what you say and how you live.” That’s as far as we’ve gotten. Now we, come to this word ‘charity’ which is our word ‘agape,’ Calvary love, God so loved the world, same word. “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts.” Calvary love, the same word that is translated ‘charity’ here in 1 Timothy 4:12. “The love of Christ constraineth.” Same word, ‘agape.’ It’s a motivating force. “You be an example of the believer in the element of Calvary love in your life.”
Now, how does that come about? Well, you can’t fake it, that’s the first thing. There are so many roots and reasons for interpersonal resentment in the process of everyday living that you simply cannot fake genuine love in a situation where, ordinarily, you would show impatience or resentment or disappointment or discouragement or all of the above.
What is this business, then, of being an example of the believer in the quality of Calvary love in your life? I think it has to begin with your own experience with God Himself. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and soul and strength and mind,” Moses said as he gave the commandments from Almighty God. The Lord Jesus reiterated the importance of that command. He said, “That’s greater than the burnt offerings and the sacrifices and everything else.” He agreed with the Jewish leader who said those words, He said, “Thou hast well spoken.”
Now, what about this matter, then, of love? It has to start with your experience with the Lord. I think we can say this, it sounds like a cliche or a truism, but it’s pretty accurate. “You will love people in direct proportion as you love your Lord.” The closer you get to God, the more loving and patient you will be with people. Show me a person who is impatient, irascible, demanding and unkind, and although there may be a perfectly correct set of doctrines in that person’s life, I’ll show you a person who hasn’t had any real recent experience with God.
You want to think seriously about that in your own life, beloved? See, I can’t do anything about it. All I can do is refer you, gently, to the procedure that will reveal to you where you are spiritually. Do you want to think about that? Do you have any kind of a working relationship with your Lord? How long has it been since you wept over your sins? Yours, that is. How long has it been since you waited in the Presence of God until you could look up and say sincerely, “Oh, God, I do love you.” Huh? See, that takes time, doesn’t it? And it takes a dreadful kind of honesty that shatters the built-in hypocrisy with which we so often approach the Deity.
There is where it starts, beloved; to wait on God until your heart is tender and broken before Him. “To this man will I look,” said God through Isaiah, “To him that is of a broken and a contrite spirit and that trembleth at my Word.” You start with your relationship with God, that takes time. “Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, He shall strengthen thine heart.” Wait on the Lord. How do I go about this?
Number one, you must commit yourself to the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior. Some of my listeners, I am confident, have never done that. You may be religious enough to listen to this broadcast instead of turning it off in favor of some other secular program. Religious, but never have you really committed the control of your life to the Lord Jesus Christ, that’s the start for you. But then once that has been done, as I said, it’s a matter of waiting on God and walking with Him and worshiping Him, and confessing your sins to Him until your heart is tender and humbled before Him.
And when you do that, you will find the blessed Spirit of God praying through you in terms of real love for God. No longer now do you fear Him as the judge, although He is that. But now you have come boldly to the throne of grace and you’ve found mercy and obtained help in time of need, and you can look up and say, “My Jesus, I love Thee. Father God, I love Thee.” And you can mean it, that’s where it starts.
What else? Well, as I say, your relationship with people around you is directly proportional to the reality of your relationship with the Lord. And once your heart has been made tender toward the Lord, you’ll find yourself much more patient and long-suffering and loving and kind toward people. I have never come from a time when I sought the Lord truly and had my own heart broken again before Him, never come from a time like that without feeling a great love and concerning for the people around me.
Love. Now, then, what? Trust by faith the fulfilment of the promises that say what God does. You see, you’re saved by faith, aren’t you? “By grace are you saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Not of works lest any man should boast.” Saved by faith, you’re kept by faith, you who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, you are kept by trusting God. And the fulfilment of God’s promises to you does depend upon the faith. “According to your faith be it unto you,” Jesus said to the needy people in His day. “Believe all things are possible to him that believeth.” So you take the promises of God and you act upon them in faith, that’s the next thing.
And so, take, for instance, the verse that we’ve quoted, I think, just a few moments ago in Romans 5, “The love of God is shared abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost who is given unto us.” God says that when you make Him the Lord of your life, the Holy Spirit of God does, just radiates God’s love in your life. The Calvary love, the John 3:16 kind of love that we’ve been talking about, the Holy Spirit places within your life.
Now, then, what’s the next step? Ephesians 5:18 says, “Be filled with the Spirit.” And that is a command to which you and I need to give obedience. How do you do this?
By faith, you invite the Holy Spirit of God into every separate sector of your life. OJ Smith used to call it the rooms in your heart-house. And by faith, you invite Him in to all of those different areas in your life and you trust Him to fill them. And when you do and as you do, the Spirit of God produces in all of these different areas of your life, evidence of the love of God. Then you follow the constraint of that love, you do what love dictates. 2 Corinthians 5:14, “The love of Christ constraineth us, because we thus judge that if one died for all, then we’re all dead and that He died for all that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves but unto Him who loved them and gave Himself for them.” Your love for Christ is going to control your actions concerning others.
See, you don’t start with people. I was walking down a street in Kolkata with Hubert Mitchell, my precious friend of many years, who at that time was living with Rachel, his wife, and some of his family in Kolkata as a representative of Youth for Christ. This was years ago.
And I was there as representing Youth for Christ in this country and holding meetings all around that section of India under the leadership of our brother Mitchell. Now, those of you who’ve been to Kolkata, you know that it’s a dreadful contrast of indescribable beauty and riches on one hand and indescribable misery and poverty on the other. People every morning were being picked up from the sidewalk, people who had died during the night and they were carted off in the cart.
And other multiplied thousands living on the street and on the sidewalks, no home except that little square of sidewalk where they call that their home. And the concentrated misery in many lives and the careless riches in other lives, it just got to me. As we walked down Chowringhee Avenue, I said, “Hubert, how in the world do you stand it out here? It just gets too me,” I said, “It breaks me up. I don’t know if I can stand it.”
Well, he looked at me, we stopped walking just for a moment. He turned to me, looked at me, and he said, “Well, Bob,” he said, “In the natural,” he said, “I don’t think I would stay here very long,” but he said, “God’s love is in my heart and I love these people.” His eyes filled up and you knew, then, that God had done in that missionary heart, the missionary miracle of constraining love. And he and Rachel, and others of the wonderful people with whom I worked were working every day with far too little funds, not even with enough personal support to keep them going oftentimes. Working every day, pouring out their love on people because of Jesus.
So number one, get right with God. Number two, trust the Holy Spirit to fill you with God’s love. Number three, obey what love dictates. We’ll get at this again the next time we get together.
Dear Father today, may Thy love direct our living in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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