That's exactly what we say to other believers. "If you love Jesus, I love you too." And then there is that open, free, uncalculated, non-scheming kind of love that doesn't try to affect the other person at all – it just receives him or her with open heart, because of love for Jesus.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Are you doing alright today? Well, I trust so. Bless your heart. For some of you, it’s very early in the morning, that’s one reason why I do these broadcasts in the early morning hours, so I can feel like you do. It’s terrible to have somebody, they’re shouting at you, or overly cheerful, or whatever it is in the early morning when you’re staggering around. I try to be a friend that can sit down at the table and talk with you. And then others of you, I know listen around the midnight hour, and you’re just finishing up your day, and you’re tired, and drowsy, and all different kinds of circumstances have contributed to how you feel at this minute. I know that. So I pray every day that God might put His love, and concern, and tenderness, and hope, and inspiration in my heart, and in my voice, so that some of that can come across to you, beloved. I hope that’s so.
Well, we’re looking at John Chapter 15 and I began thinking about, what does it really mean to abide in Christ? What are the concomitance, to use a big word? What goes along with abiding? Well, there’s fruit bearing. Some fruit, more fruit, much fruit. You got that progression of thought? I remember speaking about it with you. And the much fruit, and the more fruit have to do with abiding in Christ, and being pruned by the Father. “Every branch that beareth fruit, He,” that’s the Father, “purgeth.” That means prunes it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
They told me just yesterday about a lady who was evidently not too tightly wrapped, as we say in Brooklyn, but she had this idea about growing plants and flowers. And in one particular locality, she went, and pinched back all of the different plants that weren’t doing too well, almost down to the roots. And someone who discovered what she had done, took great offense at it, and said, “Don’t you come around here anymore.” So she was restricted from that area at all, but in a matter of days, these plants began to grow, and then to bloom profusely. The pruning had done them good and they began to be more fruitful. And so the dear lady was vindicated in what she had done.
Well, God looks at your life and mine, He says, “Oh, that’s a fine branch there, but it’s not gonna bear any fruit.” He lops it off, and I don’t like it when He does that, nor indeed do you, and we tend to complain. I think of the different times I’ve complained to God. I’m ashamed of them now, because every time, in my life, at least, every time I’ve complained to God, He was in the process of doing something wonderful for me, through the very experience about which I was complaining. How patient God has to be with His children. I’m thankful that He doesn’t give up on us, aren’t you? Well, there’s that truth about fruit bearing. Some fruit, more fruit through the pruning, much fruit through abiding. “He that abideth in me and I in Him, the same bringeth forth much fruit.”
And, of course, there is the dismal concept of no fruit. If you’re all talk and no reality, it says, “Men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they’re burned.” The less you abide in Christ, the more you become the victim of circumstances and people. The less you abide in Christ, the more you become the object, and the victim of circumstances, and people. You wanna be unflappable, unsinkable? Well, then stick close to the Lord Jesus Christ to keep you calm and he’ll keep you productive. Amen? [chuckle] It’s a great truth, isn’t it?
Then we talked about answered prayer for a while, that part of that is the essence of abiding in Christ, a contact, a constant, we might say a constant contact with the Lord Jesus Christ by faith. I used to tell the young people at the college, “Pray your way through the day. Pray when you wake up. Pray before you greet your roommate with a loving snarl. Pray before your first class. Pray before you make a decision. Pray before you answer the phone. Pray before you open a letter. It could be a check from home or a bill, there is a difference. Pray before you go on a date. Pray before you make the great decisions of life. Pray your way through the day, and when you finish the day, you can turn out the pocket full of memories, and say, ‘Thank you, Jesus, for leading me all the way.’ ” Annie Johnson Flint ended one of her hymns by these words, “This, my song through endless ages, Jesus led me all the way.” Prayer.
Then we talked about love, ‘agape,’ Calvary love, John 3:16 kind of love, and that is found in Verses Nine, 12, and 17. “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you. Continue ye in my love.” I stopped long enough, if you recall, to just chat with us about the fact that your relationship with the Lord Jesus is the same in essence, not in extent, because He’s infinite and we’re finite, but it’s the same in it’s essence. As the relationship the Son has, the Lord Jesus has to the Father. “The Father loved me,” He said, “I have loved you. Now, continue in my love.” And so I have the unspeakable privilege today of enjoying with my Savior, the same relationship that obtains in the very Trinity itself. Oh, something that we can’t fully understand, ’til we get to the other side. But hallelujah, we can enjoy it, can’t we? Yes, we can.
And then, of course, the outgrowth, and that brings us then, to where we left off the last time we got together. The outgrowth of your love relationship with Jesus is a love relationship with His people. There was a mother, whom I overheard speaking with her daughter, and the daughter had just met a young man with whom she had fallen in love. Now, she came home, I guess from college or wherever it was, she said, “Mama, I met this boy, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.” You know how it is when you’re in love. And after she got through describing him, and said that she wanted to bring him home, so that her mother could meet him, this mother said, “Well, dearie, I love you with all my heart, and if you love him, I’ll love him too.” I thought that was beautiful. But you know, that’s exactly what we say to other believers. “If you love Jesus, I love you too.” And there is that open, free, uncalculated, non-scheming kind of love that doesn’t try to affect the other person at all, just receives him or her with open heart, because of love for Jesus. That’s the essence of Christian fellowship.
One of the reasons that you need to sell out to God completely, and what the old timers used to call ‘entire sanctification,’ do you old timers remember that? Someone used to ask me, “Have you been wholly, W-H-O-L-L-Y, sanctified?” [chuckle] I remember Professor Leedy wasn’t quite sure that that was true of me. He was one of the profs at Wheaton College, when I was there as a student, and he befriended me, and spent some time with me, and prayed for me, especially in this matter of my life being completely yielded to the Holy Spirit of God. Finally, he sort of gave up on me, and he heaved a sigh one day, and he said, “Well, Cook,” he says, “I don’t think you’re wholly sanctified, but I’ll tell you what you do. Preach holiness, ’til you get it.” [laughter]
Well, now, the point I’m making is, your heart and mind needs to be really surrendered to the Lord Jesus, so that the love we show to God’s people is not a calculating manipulative kind of thing, but it’s absolutely free, open, untrammeled, unconditional. The psychologist calls it ‘unconditional positive regard.’ Agape love, John 3:16 love. “God so loved the world. Herein is His love manifested, that He loved us, before we loved Him. God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” The love of God takes in the individual as he or she is, not as we wish they were. “Love,” He said, “This is my commandment, these things I command you. It’s not an option.”
Now, we’re up against the stubborn fact that some people are ugly, and some people are disagreeable, and some people are opinionated, and some people are calculating, not to say scheming. By nature, Jacob couldn’t help scheming, that was his nature, wasn’t it? God changed him, by and by, and made him Israel, a prince with God. But by nature, we are how we are. And sometimes, the disagreeable edges of our personalities show far more visibly, than anything that might commend us to people. Isn’t it true? And so you come up against someone who has the rough edges in his or life. Now, what are you gonna do about it? You can avoid them, you can snub them. You can rationalize it and say, “Oh, well, I’ll put up with it. I’ll cope with it.” Or you can face, honestly, Christ’s command that we love each other, “That ye love one another.” And this is something that you don’t drum up within the recesses of your heart. This is part of the miracle of God’s redeeming grace.
Go back to Romans Five again, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost who is given unto us. You wait in the presence of God, day by day, beloved, until your own heart is tender toward God. And I can guarantee you that you’ll have far less difficulty loving other people, even though they do have some rough edges, okay? Now, we come to this matter of obedience. And the minutes have gone by, and I shall not be able to finish it, but we’ll start. “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love, even as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in His love. As I have, ye keep as I have kept.” Does it ever shake you up to realize the tremendously high standard that the Lord Jesus Christ sets for you and for me, His followers?
“As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you,” He said to the disciples. What was involved in sending the Lord Jesus? Laying aside the trappings of deity, and humbling Himself, emptying Himself, and coming down the stairways of the stars, being born of a virgin, and living in a carpenter’s home, and ministering in poverty. So much so, that he said, “I don’t have any place to lay my head. I don’t have any place I call home.” Jesus was sent. He said, “I send you the same way.” Now, here you have this one, “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you. As I have kept my Father’s commandments, I abide in His love.” Well, we’ll talk about that the next time, the standard that Christ sets for you and for me.
Father God, oh, may we keep your Word, your will, and abide in your love. In Jesus’ name, I ask it, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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