Maybe you can’t love all the saints, but Jesus can. Let Him love through you.
Alright thank you very much, and hello again dear radio friends. How in the world are you? Doing Alright? I’m so glad for the privilege of ministering the Word of God with you, day by day. It’s a kind of a give-and-take thing, isn’t it? I know that you, when I pause, some of you answer back. It’s like a conversation rather than someone shouting at you. At least I hope that’s what it is. Most of you hear this broadcast in the morning, and in the morning you want don’t anybody yelling at you, do you?
But if we can sit down as it were, either have me across the kitchen table from you or sitting beside you in the car as you drive to work or whatever it may be, and we can talk about the things that will still be important a million years from now and eternity, and that’s good, isn’t it?
Well, thanks for your prayers. The Lord helps me, day by day, and blesses me so that I can pass along something to you in these precious few moments that we have. We’re looking at Colossians the first chapter where Paul says, “We give thanks to God for you, praying always for you”. The last time we talked together, we emphasized the fact that you ought to be thankful for people, and realize that God has brought people into your life for His purposes. He has. The folk you have met, some of them agreeable and some disagreeable admittedly, but the people who have been dropped in your life are God’s Provision.
I think one of the best illustrations of that is found in in 2nd Timothy where Paul is talking about different people. His final words to Timothy written, I guess, shortly before his own execution. Paul said, “I’m now ready to be offered. The time of my departure is at hand”.
He was going to have his life taken away from him by the executioner, but then he talks about people. Faithless people, “Demas hath forsaken me”. Hard-working people, “Crescens gone to Galatia, Titus gone the Dalmatia, Tychicus, I sent to Ephesus”, so on, but helpful people, “Luke is with me, and take Mark and bring him with thee for he is profitable to me for the ministry”. The quitter who was salvaged and who became helpful, and then the even the critics, “Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil, may the Lord reward him according to his works”.
By the way, you don’t have to try to get even with people. You don’t have to get even with people, “Vengeance is mine and I will repay” sayeth the Lord. Let the settling of the score be God’s business. You just be sure your heart is right and that you’ve done everything you can to be a good, loving Christian in your attitude and your actions toward other people. And then he talks about Priscilla and Aquila.
In another place it said, “People who have laid down their necks for the work and for me”. Erastus and Trophimus, Eubulus and Pudens, Linus and Claudia, all of these different people. So there were helpful people, faithless people, quitters who had been salvaged, people who were there to help along, even the critics. They’re all part of God’s provision in your life.
Small thought here; don’t fight you critics, learn from them. You never learn anything when you’re shouting at another person at the top your voice, trying to win an argument. You don’t learn anything. Learn from you critics. They’re not always right, that’s for sure, aren’t you glad? What if all the critics were right? No, they’re oftentimes mistaken.
But, you can learn from the criticisms that you receive from other people. Admittedly, criticism has a bite to it and it hurts, but if you can keep your cool, as the young people say, if you can keep from blowing your top, if you can just keep quiet long enough to think about what it is that people are saying and why they say it. See, a person may not always be correct, but the way he feels is true for him, and so you need to understand why he feels that way, and perhaps adapt your behavior so as to change that feeling. Learn from you critics, don’t fight them.
Well end of detour. So he says, “I’m giving thanks to God for you”. Take time to thank God for the people whom He has dropped into your life, will you? Then he said, “I’m praying always for you”, and we’ll get into the stuff of that prayer a little later on, because the detail of his prayer begins in verse nine, “Pray that you might be filled with the knowledge of His Will. Pray that you might walk worthy of the Lord. Pray that you might be fruitful in every good work and increase in the knowledge of God. Pray that you might be strengthened with all might and so on. Pray that you might be thankful and that you might to continue to realize you’ve been delivered from the power of darkness”, and so on. Quite a prayer. So, we’ll get into that when we get down to verse nine.
Right now he says, “Praying always for you since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love which you have toward all the Saints, for the hope that’s laid up for you in Heaven, were of you heard before in the Word of the truth of the Gospel, which has come unto you as it is in all the world and bring forth fruit, as it does also in you since the day you heard of it and knew the grace of God in truth”. Now he says, “I’m praying for you since I heard about you”.
Do you know that God gives you news of other people so that you might pray for them? When you hear that someone is going through a trial or conversely, someone has had great blessing, don’t just say, “Huh, very interesting”, and dismiss it from your mind. Whisper a prayer for that person. This is unusual. I find very few people who do that, but Paul the apostle followed that procedure all the time. When there was news of some believer, either good or bad, he prayed for them.
I have followed the procedure for many years. In conversation with people, when the name of somebody else came up, and we were talking about that someone else, very frequently I would say, “Now, we talked to each other, let’s talk to the Lord”, and I would say, “Lord you’ve heard our conversation, you know what we said and we want to pray for this brother or sister, whoever it maybe. We want to pray the You’ll bless and You’ll help and You’ll solve this problem, lift this burden and correct this relationship, or whatever it maybe”. Instead of just talking with people about people, pray with people about people. Does that make sense to you?
You see, what we say to each other doesn’t really have too much eternal significance. Oh, God listens and records it. Jesus said, “For every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment”. So, God listens and records our conversations to be sure, but much of the subject matter is inconsequential, but when you been talking with someone about a subject and you say, “Let’s pray about this”, oh, then you link that subject or that person or that relationship with the very power of God. Learn to pray for people when their names come up in conversation, when you get news, either of a great need or a great blessing, whisper a prayer for them. Good idea, wouldn’t you say?
“Praying for you since we heard”, now what had he heard? “Your faith in Christ Jesus, the love you have to all the Saints, and the hope laid up for you in Heaven”. Faith, hope, and love. The triad that Paul uses so often, you’ll find it in his letters, you’ll find it of course formally spelled out in 1 Corinthians 13, “Now abideth faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love. Love never fails”. “We’ve heard of your faith and love and hope”, he says.
The news value of Christianity is not what you do, but what you are in your relationship with God and with people. Look at these verses from that point of view, momentarily, will you? “We heard of your faith in Christ Jesus”. When people truly trust, truly that is, trust the Lord, the word gets around. “The sound of your faith”, Paul says in a different place, “The sound of your faith”, oh here it is in Romans 1:8, “I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world”.
When you really risk situations on God, when you really turn things over to the Lord, while doing your human best, the word gets around. “We heard of your faith”. “Your faith”, Paul said to the Romans, “is spoken of throughout the whole world”.
You don’t have to advertise, you don’t have to hire a public relations firm to make known the fact that you are really serious about trusting the Lord Jesus Christ. That gets around because it’s so unusual. True faith is in short supply, religiosity and formalism and professed religion is in plentiful supply. Lots of that around, but true faith that risks a situation on God, is in short supply, and so people talk about that. The word gets around.
Then he says, “The love which you have to all the Saints”, key word is all. Some people are easy to love, aren’t they? There’s some people that just warm your heart. I have some friends concerning whom I must say. I’m just glad when I can see them because they warm my hearts and make me glad I know them, and glad I’m alive to see them. Some people are easy the love, but others let’s face it, are a little more difficult, aren’t they?
Some people not only are difficult, they put thought into being impossible. I’m reminded of the lady who gave her husband two neckties for his birthday, you know that one? Gave him two neckties for his birthday, so he hurried on upstairs and put one on, came down probably wearing it and smiling, beaming. She’s says, “You didn’t like the other one, huh”? Some people are that way. You just can’t please them, but they’re Saints. They’ll be in Heaven with you someday, saved by the grace of God.
What are you going to do with them? Love them. Oh you say, “I can’t”. Well of course, maybe you can’t, but Jesus can. Who lives within you? The Lord Jesus Christ by His blessed Spirit lives within you. The secret of the Christian life is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Maybe you can’t love all the Saints, but Jesus can. Let Him love through you.
Will Houghton used to like to have us sing the chorus, “Love this world through me Lord, love this world through me”. Oh, Jesus can do it, Jesus can forgive where you humanly cannot. Jesus can love someone, where you humanly find it impossible. Jesus can be helpful and forgiving and kind. Yes He can.
The love you have to all the Saints, it’s His love, Romans 5:5, “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost was given unto us”. So it’s faith that’s heard about in love that extends to all the Saints, miraculously because Jesus lives within your heart. We’ll get at some more of this the next time we get together.
Dear Father today, make us people who love other people, 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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