How God’s Love Transforms
Being an example of God's love chooses Christ's love to control us rather than bitterness. He cares about us enough to give us His love that will cause us to be a victor over the painful circumstances of life.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again radio friends. How in the world are you? Yes, that little greeting establishes the fact that this is indeed your good friend Bob Cook. And you and I are back together again — hallelujah for that — back together again with the Word of God. I love these times when we can just share from God’s Word, don’t you?
We’ve been looking at 1 Timothy 4 as an illustration and in a commentary on what Peter told us in his fifth chapter, where he said, “Examples to the flock: You feed the flock, you take the oversight of the flock, and you’re an example to the flock,” three things that anybody in any kind of leadership needs to do. The last time we got together, we talked about the fact that you and I need to be examples in the matter of having our heart filled with Calvary love.
I suppose one of the classic illustrations comes from the life of Corrie Ten Boom. Did you ever hear her speak while she was with us? She’s now gone to be with the Lord. But this stalwart Dutch lady who went through the, the war times and was interned along with her sister; interned in a concentration camp to endure unspeakable harassment and, and actual torture, and hardships so much so that her sister died as a result of the cruelty of one of the guards. She came out of that experience scarred — as you could understand — scarred for life with the memories of the awful days and nights when physical starvation was just a crust of bread away, and when the cruelty of her captors was, was indescribable. And then with the heartbreak of seeing her beloved sister die under those circumstances.
Well, she was able to cope with it as time went on, working through her grief and sorrow and anger. Except she never forgot the cruelty of that one particular guard who’s treatment of her sister had resulted in the lady’s death. That was a memory that, that just simply wouldn’t go away. But she walked with the Lord day by day, and prayed her way through the day, and practiced, thankfully practiced the truths that she was busy teaching others from the Word of God.
And then she said — one time when she told this story — she said that in a meeting in, in Germany, she gave the message from the Word of God. And afterwards, people came up to shake hands with her. And here came a man whom she instantly recognized as that guard who’s cruelty had resulted in the death of her sister, yonder in the concentration camp. And he came up and extended his hand, he said, “I’m the one who mistreated you so in the concentration camp. But I’ve repented of my sins, and I’ve received Jesus as my Savior. Will you forgive me.”
Now, unless you’ve gone through those bitter experiences, you and I won’t ever fully understand the, the depth of feeling and revulsion and, and human resentment, not to say hatred that would rise up at the thought of, “Here is the man who killed my sister!” We wouldn’t fully empathize with it because we haven’t gone through it. But you can imagine, can’t you, that as this man stood before her, all of the scenes — the horrible scenes and memories of what she went through in those days and nights in the concentration camp — would flash before her mind.
And she said, she thought to herself, “This is impossible. I cannot, I cannot, I cannot do this.” The man, standing before her, pleading for forgiveness. Her own heart filled with the memories of horrible treatment. And she said as she stood there she prayed, “Dear Jesus, help me now; help me to forgive this man.” And she found her mood changing momentarily. She found herself reaching out her hand to him looking him in the eye and saying, “Yes, I do forgive you, and I love you for Jesus’ sake.” That’s Corrie Ten Boom Calvary love in action.
Now beloved, you and I don’t have experiences quite that stark and, and heart-rending… Although some of you’ve been through some pretty bitter things. Somebody’s had a relative who was always cruel and who broke your heart; someone has had a prodigal son or a wayward daughter that in spite of your best training has, has drifted away into sin and, and has in the process hurt you terribly; some husband has had a wandering wife, and some wife has had a prodigal husband; and some employee has had a boss that just was impossible, and it ended up in, in your losing a position for which you had worked for years, and all of that — and there’s a deep hurt there. The life is full of hurts, isn’t it? (Laughs)
You know, if you wanted to be bitter, that, that most certainly would be, would be a source of, of real bitterness. And a lot of people succumb to it at that point. Life isn’t fair, and it’s full of hurts. The philosophers — especially those who have had no faith — have concluded that the whole world is unfair, and it’s, it’s just a, just a package of, of sorrow and bitterness, and unfairness, and hurts. That’s what the philosophers of the world have decided. To live is to suffer — that’s what they say.
All right, you come now with your Christian faith to such a scene. And you’re listening momentarily to Bob Cook. And you’re thinking maybe bitterly, “What does that man know about what I feel? Has he gone through what I’ve gone through?” No. He hasn’t had it that hard.” You know, maybe your body is sick and you think, “Well Cook, he’s well. He’s able to get up and get around. He’s getting older, but he’s still active. And yes, he’s lucky. Look at me. I’m anchored to a wheelchair with arthritis,” or whatever, you know.
And you’re thinking, “What does he know?” And you know, of course, you’re right. I don’t know all about you. But I do know this: Hallelujah for this! I do know this: That God knows, and God understands, and God cares! And God is able to put in your heart His love instead of human bitterness. See, the, the — not to say the normal — but the usual atmosphere of the unsaved heart is, is bitterness. Paul says so in, in Titus 3: “We also were foolish, disobedient, hate-filled, and hating one another.” That’s the usual atmosphere of the unsaved heart. Resentment, hatred, bitterness, because of what you’re going through in life and what people are doing to you. That is human, it’s usual. But God has an answer. The love of God can fill your heart and mind.
Now, what do you do about this? Some of you are getting a little impatient with me because you, you, you, you realize I’ve told you the truth about your own feeling. And you, you understand also that I cannot ever feel just exactly as you do, because I haven’t gone through it. And so you’re ready to discount the whole thing. Stop a minute and see where we’re headed. Where we’re really headed is to recognize the fact that life does hurt us — life and people hurt us.
Second, that God cares about us, and that He wants to give us something so great that it completely overrides and nullifies the natural resentment and bitterness that we would have as human beings. Can you take that in? Instead of being bitter about life, God can fill your heart and life with His love so that you not only cope with it, you are victor over it. “Thanks be unto God which always causeth us to triumph in Christ and make manifest the perfume of His knowledge by us in every place.”
God takes the pressures, and the troubles, and the hurts, and the heartaches, that come your way. He makes you a victor over them. You don’t get to be a victim. You get, you get to be a victor over the hurts and troubles of life. And in the process, He makes you like wonderful, heavenly perfume, to other people. That’s what the Bible says. Would you take that in today?
I don’t know who needs this, but somebody needs this. Please take it to yourself. Please apply to yourself the fact that Jesus, by the Holy Spirit working in your life, can take away the bitterness, nullify it entirely, and instead leave His blessed perfume, the perfume of His presence and His love. And you’ll be responding to unlovely people with the love of God filling your heart, through the presence of the Holy Spirit. How does it start? Spend time with your Lord.
“We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are change.” — God will change you as you spend time with Him and with His Word. “Wherewithal shall a young man change his way by taking heed thereto according to Thy Word.” Spend time with God and in His Word, and let Him fill your heart with His love. And then, you’ll be a loving example to other people. Love begets love; hatred spreads hatred.
“Looking carefully,” says the writer to the Hebrews, “looking carefully lest a root, root of bitterness springing up and thereby many be defiled.” Hatred is contagious. Worse than anything, contagious disease you could think of. Love also is contagious. You can spread the love of God among people around you, if your life is an example of Calvary love. It’s good stuff, isn’t it? Well, he said, “You’ll be an example in Calvary love.” Then he said, “You’ll be an example in Spirit.”
Now of course, obviously if you’re a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit of God came to dwell in your life. The moment you were saved, the Spirit of God came to dwell in your life. And it is your privilege, and duty, to open all the doors in your heart-house to the blessed Spirit of God so that you can be filled with His presence. That’s something you do. He’s willing to fill you when you open up to Him. Paul says in Ephesians 5, “Be not drunk with wine wherein is excess, but be filled with the Spirit.”
So it’s your job, and mine, to open the doors of our, the rooms in our heart-house. I use that expression because it gives you the right picture in your mind of the areas of your personality that God wants to fill. Open by faith, all the doors in the house, and let the Holy Spirit of God fill you. Because He’s there, He came to dwell when you trusted the Lord Jesus Christ. That being so, we go to the consideration that for every human being there is an atmosphere around you that is the spirit of a person.
Paul speaks of that to the Corinthians. He says, “Who knoweth the Spirit of him, the things of a man save the Spirit of man which is in him. Even so,” he says, “no man knows the things of God save the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God, that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” So you have dwelling within you the Holy Spirit of God, which fact affects and, and controls your human spirit. There’s an atmosphere of influence around each person, humanly.
“Now the believer, filled with the Spirit of God, finds that that atmosphere can be a heavenly reality; that when people sense the presence of your life — when you walk into a room, in other words, people will sense the presence not simply of your human spirit, but of the Holy Ghost filling our life. I’ll come back to this the next time we get together
Dear Father today, may the spirit of our lives really be the Holy spirit of God. I ask 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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