God puts His love in my heart as the catalyst which brings me successfully together with someone who is quite unlike me but who also loves God.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, my radio friend. How in the world are you? Oh, I’ve just been praying that God would put His blessing and His truth and His love into my voice so that the words I say may somehow be transmuted into God’s own word to your soul. May that be true today.
We’re looking at Ephesians 4:2. Forbearing one another in love, and I was, I wanted to finish that up today and then go on into Verse 3. Forbear. I told you about that. It means bear with, endure, and seven times in the Bible is translated suffer. So you have not only to get along with people, but to get along with them no matter what it costs, for Jesus’ sake. Forbearing one another in love. And he uses of course the great word agape, Calvary love, John 3:16 kind of love.
Well, you get plenty of illustrations of forbearance because of love, in raising children. Here is this little fellow. And he hasn’t been socialized yet, he’s still in diapers, and he’s still sort of a little accident going somewhere to happen, isn’t he? Well, you hear a cry of distress, you learn to distinguish the cries of a little child early. Sometimes it means I need a change of removable seat cover and sometimes it means I fell down and hurt myself and sometimes it means I just want some attention, you know which is which, don’t you? Now, you hear his call, and you come in and he’s in need of some new diapering. Now, are you happy because he hasn’t yet learned to visit the bathroom? Well, of course, now you don’t jump up and down with joy, but you take care of that little guy because you love him.
Isn’t true? Of course, you do. He runs because he’s been able now to take a few rapid steps here and there. And so rapidly he runs in the wrong direction and bumps into a coffee table and jars it enough to knock over the lamp, and it was a nice lamp with a pottery base and the thing falls down and breaks. And you say, “Oh my goodness, look what he did now.” Well now, do you give him away because of that? Or do you abuse him physically? No, you don’t. You try to teach him not to do that but you pick up the pieces and go on with your life because you love the little guy. Well, I’m going a little too far and applying the principle because there’s many a mother or grandmother who’s saying to me, “Alright, Brother Cook, enough already.” [chuckle] Yeah, I know.
But that’s forbearance, because of love. You put up with it because you love him. There’s nobody so odious as someone who is coping with you, because they either want to or have to cope with you. Oh, that’s rough, isn’t it? I’m putting up with you because I have to. Or I’m putting up with this because the Bible says I have to. Oh no, don’t do it that way. That repels people, that offends them. But he says putting up with things, enduring things, even suffering things because you love them for Jesus’ sake.
Lillian Dickson I guess is now with the Lord, isn’t she? Several years, which she used to deal with the leprosy people in the island of Taiwan. And someone asked her, “How is it that you deal with these leprosy people all the time?” And her answer was very simple, because of love. “I love these people.” And you could just sense it in her whole manner. Oh, the love of Christ forbearing one another it means yes, put up with them, endure them, bear with them, but do it because you love them and you love Jesus.
Now somebody’s saying to me quite honestly. Well, Brother Cook, there’s some folks that I just can’t love. There’s some folks I just can’t love and unfortunately they’re my in-laws. That sound familiar to some of you? Well, sadly, it’s true. God seems to allow us to be put with some folk who are just impossible and no matter what you do, as someone wrote me the other day, “No matter what I do, it seems to be wrong.” What then? You bring the whole matter to your blessed Lord and ask Him to fill your heart with love for these people, impossible though you think they are, in love.
See that’s the catalyst, that’s the catalyst. “The love of Christ constraineth us,” said Paul. “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts through the Holy Ghost, who was given unto us,” Paul said in Romans 5:5. “And Jesus onward prayed that the love that thou has given me might be in them and I in them.” Divine love. Were you very attractive when God loved you? No. “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” God loved us when there wasn’t anything there to love, didn’t he? Oh yes.
He said to Israel. It wasn’t because you were such a great nation, but because the Lord set His love upon you, that’s the reason for your prosperity. God loves you without any reservations. And when that divine love is transferred over into your heart and mind, then we deal with people on that basis. Not on the basis of, “You shape up, and I’ll accept you.” Not on the basis of, “do what I tell you, learn to obey, shape up and then we’ll get along.” Oh no, you deal with people on the basis of Calvary love. Does that mean that you become a kind of a human doormat and let people walk over you? Oh, no. God doesn’t destroy your individuality. What He does is to put within you and all around you, the atmosphere of Calvary love, which then becomes the catalyst that brings together dissimilar personalities in unity.
We get at that when we get into this next verse, the unity of the Spirit. God puts His love in my heart as the catalyst which brings me successfully together with someone who is quite unlike me, but who also loves God.
Do you follow that thinking? Now put that to work when you’re dealing with business associates, or family members, or in-laws or neighbors or students with whom you have to deal day by day, or whatever, put that into work. The love of God; see forbearing one another in love, not in just being patient. Patience is used together with forbearance, and a number of times as I mentioned to you early on. But this is not just patience, this is Calvary love being expressed in a situation where there’s the possibility of conflict. Alright?
You’ll find that if people know you really love them, they’re more apt to forgive your mistakes and they’re more apt to accept you as a person although you may differ from them. I’ve had people with whom I dealt in years past at the college, come up to me and say, “Well, Mr. Cook, we always knew you loved us even when we disagreed.” Well, now that’s sweet music to my ears because that was where it’s at. You can get along with people even if you disagree with them on procedures, if you love them.
You wanna pray about that in your own life, your relationship with somebody who’s been kinda scratchy as they say, is kind of abrasive. You wanna pray about that, and approach that abrasive person or relationship now with a renewed outpouring of the love of God. I can assure you that there’ll be a difference.
Now going on, he says, “Forbearing one another in love, then endeavouring.” Now forbearance is your attitude which comes out in conduct, endeavouring is your conduct based on that attitude. So you follow me, forbearance is inside, endeavouring is outside. Endeavouring to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace? The word endeavours; a strong verb, it means to be diligent. The King James uses an expression, “to be forward to.” That means, hurry up and get at it. It means to labor, and it also means to study, diligent in keeping the unity of the Spirit, hurry up to get at it, to keep the unity of the Spirit. Labouring, it means really work at it, and studying the situation and the people to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Now, what is the unity of the Spirit? They were all of one accord it says, in one place when the Spirit of God was bestowed upon the church upon the day of Pentecost. Now, if ever there was the unity of the Spirit it was there… Was it not? They were all with one accord in one place. And the Spirit of God came upon them, they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, began to speak as the Spirit gave them utterance in other languages, and the people said, “How is it that we hear in each one in his own language?” These were messages that were intelligible in terms of foreign languages. And so he said they were all amazed. And he said, “We hear them speak in our tongues, the wonderful works of God.” What is the unity of the Spirit? The unity of the Spirit is that which enables you to praise God. I’m over-simplifying here but that’s what it says. We hear in our own language, the wonderful works of God.
The unity that was there was not one of looks or dress or background, it was that everybody got the message, “God is wonderful.” And then Peter going on spoke on behalf of all of that assemblage and he said, “This is that which was prophesied by the prophet Joel, ‘In the last days, saith God, I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,’” and so on, and so on. “And it shall come to pass that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved, ye men of Israel, you killed the prince of life.” But later on he says, “If you’ll repent, you’ll be saved.” And this promise is not to us only, but unto all of them also that we’ll hear that are afar off. That means you and me.
What’s the unity of the Spirit? Number one, they said God is wonderful. Number two, they said God keeps His promises. The prophecies are fulfilled. Number three, Jesus our Lord is fulfillment of the prophecy. Number four, the fact of sin is there, you killed the prince of life. Number five, repentance and faith leads to salvation, God will forgive you and make you His children. The unity of the Spirit. And we’ll get at this the next time we get together, is not that you agree on what color to paint the boiler room. The unity of the Spirit is that inevitably you point to your blessed Lord and glorify Him and you are straight on the gospel message and you proclaim it. I’ll come back to this the next time we get together.
Father God, may we be one in the blessed Spirit of God given to the believer dwelling within us. May that oneness glorify Thee 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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