The normal condition of a Christian's heart is overflow. Overflow. There's a difference between cistern and a spring.
Alright. Thank you very much and hello again, my dear radio friend. 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 together again for these precious moments that we can invest in the Word of God.
We’ve gone through the list of things that you and I can add by faith to our own life and personality. You’ve taken the Lord Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. The Holy Spirit of God dwells within you because of that fact. And now, God is saying to you, you can do something about the kind of person you are. You can take by faith some of these things that you know you need. Add to your faith virtue, the quality of making right choices. Knowledge, the quality of a personal experience with God. Temperance, inner power. Patience, the quality of staying down instead of giving up or blowing up. Godliness, the quality of God in your everyday life. Brotherly love, the unqualified personal regard and acceptance that you exercised toward other people because they belong to your Lord. And then finally, this word “Calvary love,” agape, John 3:16 love. “You can add that,” said he, “by faith.” And that’s what we were talking about the last time we got together. “The love of God is shed abroad in our heart by the Holy Ghost who is given unto us.”
What else does God’s love do? Well, it motivates us. II Corinthians 5:14 says: “The love of Christ constraineth us.” The word “constrain” means makes us do what we do. It makes us do what we do, “because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead; and that He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves but unto Him who died for them and rose again.” The love of Christ constraineth us, makes us do what we do, motivating power by faith.
You want to think about that in the framework of your own life and needs? Now, if you’re anything like me and I am pretty sure that you are because we’re all human beings, there are some things about which you know that you’re really not all that eager to do. You know that it’s right; you know it’s a will of God, but you’re not all that eager to get at it and you tend to put it off and say, “Well, I’ll get at that one of these days.” Do you ever have that experience? Yes, you do because we all do. Now, what do we need? We need something to motivate us and he says, “The love of Christ constraineth us, because with thus judge that if one died for all then were all dead,” and they which live divinely given life, eternal life, “they which live should not henceforth live for themselves but for Him.”
What is the motivation for a Christian to do what he ought to do in obeying God? It simply is that you owe your whole life to the one who died for you and that the rest of your life won’t be long enough to express how grateful you are for that gift that those who live, that’s a divine life, Ephesians 2:1 says, “You hath He quickened, He made alive, you hath He made alive who were dead in trespasses and sins where in time past ye walked.” The very lifestyle that you experienced was a dead, spiritually dead lifestyle, and he says, “You hath He made alive.” So when you received the Lord Jesus as your Lord and He became then by faith your Savior, your life was given to you, divinely given life to one who had been spiritually dead before. They which lived who were spiritually dead before but who are now miraculously alive through Jesus, that kind of people should not live for themselves but for Him who died for them and rose again.
Do you see the idea? What’s going to motivate me? If I really love the Lord Jesus then I can take love for him by faith. We just went though that, Romans 5:5, “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts.” If I really love the Lord Jesus then I’m going to want to honor Him because I owe the whole bundle to Him. “If you love me,” Jesus said, “keep my commandments. Without me you can do nothing.” And the realization that I really need Jesus comes from having opened my heart to the love of God. Those two things go together. And the realization that I really need Jesus comes from having opened my heart to the love of God. Those two things go together. And all of the urging — you know, I was a pastor 18 years and I found out that all of my urging of people, I preached some pretty decent sermons now and then, you know. They weren’t all that bad. But I found that my exhorting of people didn’t really make them change. You know what made them change? When they got down before the Lord and their heart was melted and was filled with love for God, then they began to change.
The love of Christ motivates us. Why? Because when the Holy Spirit of God fills you with God’s love, with love for God, love for your savior, you take that by faith just as you took salvation. And when that happens, oh, you’re going to want to honor Him. You’re going to want to live for Him. You’re going to want to thank Him and a whole lifetime of serving Christ isn’t going to be long enough to express your gratitude for the one who died for you. “Christ died for our sins,” we often say glibly. You put that into a framework of reality. Christ died for our sins. That means up the hill of Calvary, bearing the cross until He collapsed because his body was already weakened by all the scourging and loss of blood. Then in placing His body on the cross, bending the knees as they kneeled ankles and wrists to the cross, and it’s cross the upright and it’s cross member. And then lifting it up upright vertical and dropping it into the socket in the rock there to hang through the hours of agony where every breath required that He lift His body so as to make room for the diaphragm to expand His lungs. Agony and darkness when God the Father hid His face from His only son as Christ became a sacrifice for sin. “God hath made him to be sin for us, he who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him,” Paul says in II Corinthians.
In that dark hour and finally the work was done and the Lord Jesus cried, “It is finished.” And He died. He dismissed His spirit. When the job was done, He said “That’s it,” and left the body. Now, you put that whole concept of Christ died for our sins. You put that into the framework of stark bloodcurdling reality and you know that you owe a lot to your Savior. “The love of Christ constraineth us.” Do you follow that reasoning?
Now, none of my urging is going to make you love God any more or act any different. I know that. But if you just take a moment and get down before your Lord and by faith trust the Holy Spirit of God to fill you with love for Christ, I know that your lifestyle will be different as a result. And love results in service. “Brethren, you’ve been called unto liberty,” Paul says in Galatians 5:13, “Only use not your liberty as an occasion for the flesh, but by love serve one another.” Familiar word, that word “serve,” Greek word that is a verb form for “slave.” Serve like a slave. “Douleuo ” serve like a slave. By love serve and you serve like a slave. You don’t think of your own gain, of your own ideas, or your own priorities, or your own rights. You think of the need of others. He says you’ve been called to liberty but don’t use that liberty as a reason for getting your own way and living in high, wide, and handsome. He said, “By love serve one another.” Love serves.
You want to try a little experiment for one day? Just do it one day at a time. See how it works. Take a whole day and every person you meet, don’t say anything, don’t talk about it, but just in the back of your mind think to yourself, “How can I help this person? How can I serve?” Now, there would be some people that you won’t do anything or say anything because there isn’t any occasion for service, but there would be other people as you ask that question prayerfully, “Lord, how can I serve in love?” You’d be surprised how God will put you in touch with people who need what you can say or do to help and to encourage. You take a whole day, will you? And just every person you meet pray that little prayer, “Lord, how may I serve this person in love?” Don’t say anything. Don’t make a federal case of it. Nobody is more apt to be avoided than the person who is officially helpful and religious. “Brother, I’m going to be a blessing to you. How can I help you?” Oh, come on. You know, people stay away from a folk like that. So don’t make a federal case of it. Just pray and say, “Lord, help me to serve today. How can I serve?”
Love serves and love abounds. He said, “This I pray,” we’re looking now in Philippians 1:9, “This I pray that your love may abound more and more in all knowledge and understanding.” Abounding love. Abounding. That means overflowing. Small thought here: the normal condition of a Christian’s heart is overflow. Overflow. There’s a difference between cistern and a spring.
I was given the privilege of living on a farm with my aunt and uncle during some years of little boyhood. I remember those days. We had a well. We had to pump the way and you had to prime the pump actually. You had to bring some water and pour it down the gullet of that hand pump and then by and by the plunger would expand enough to bring the water up. There was a well. There was also a cistern that collected rainwater and that rainwater, of course, was not drinkable. They used it for washing purposes and oftentimes little wigglers, tadpoles, and other things would get into it. So you didn’t drink that.
But then sometimes we take a drive over to Green Springs, Ohio, where there were springs of what was supposed to be healthful water. It was full of sulfur, smelled like rotten eggs actually. If the wind were right, you could tell when you were getting within smelling distance of Green Springs, Ohio. Now, I have nothing against them. I’m using them as an illustration right now of the fact that spring water keeps on overflowing. That water was icy cold and every spring time, my Uncle Frank and Aunt Esther would say, “Time to go over to Green Springs, boy.” And we’d get in the old 1924 Maxwell touring car and go on over to Green Springs and they would have me drink some cupfuls of that icy cold sulfur-laden water. “Good for you, boy.”
Well, I it was overflowing. It never stopped. And God’s norm for you is to overflow. Overflow. Spill over with the love of God. Oh, may it be so for you and for me today.
Dear Father, today, help us to overflow with your love. In Jesus’ name I ask this. Amen.
Until I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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