Stay In Love
How do you stay in love with Jesus? Do the things that keep you in love with Him: His Word, His fellowship, His presence, and prayer that connects you dynamically with the power of God.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Everything all right at your house? Well, I hope so. Bless your heart. I think so often of those of you whom I do know, of course there’s thousands of people that I won’t meet until we get together on the other side in the glory. Hey, we’ll have a great radio rally over there, won’t we? Get together and [chuckle] get acquainted. But I think of those whom I do know and some of the experiences through which you have gone and are going, and my heart goes out to you, ’cause it’s not easy. Oftentimes, you have to look up and say, “God, I don’t know if I can stand anymore.” “But He giveth more grace,” says James 4:6. And over in Corinthians, 2 Corinthians 12, “My grace is sufficient.” There’s always enough and then there’s more. He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater. So, look up, beloved. Trust God and He’ll see you through. He always does. He hasn’t brought you this far to dump you now. So trust your Lord.
We’re looking at John chapter 15 and I thought maybe by looking at the text itself, we could get an idea of what our Lord means when He says abide. What are the results of abiding? Fruit bearing is one, answered prayer is another, love is another, obedience is another, joy is another, and permanence is another. And the last time we got together, we got as far as discussing the matter of answered prayer. “We know that if we ask anything according to His will,” says John, “He heareth us and if we know that He hear us, we know we have the petition we desired of Him.” And so how do you pray in the will of God? You trust the blessed indwelling Holy Spirit. Paul says in Romans 8, “We know not what we should pray for as we ought but the Spirit Himself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”
Oftentimes, you don’t know what to say but your spirit is just reaching out to God, and it’s like a groan, really and maybe not audible, but there’s that deep longing for God and for God’s will. The Holy Spirit dwells within the believer and He is helping you at that moment, even though your words may not seem to make an awful lot of sense, but if your heart longs for the will of God, you can be sure that the Spirit of God is gonna see that you get God’s perfect will.
One of the things that has been of great help to me through all of my life is the realization that if you really want God’s will, He will see to it that you get it. And I take that idea out of Proverbs 3:5 and 6, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall,” He, that is, “Shall direct thy paths.” You want God’s will? Ask for it, acknowledge Him, obey Him and He’s gonna see to it that you’re directed into His will.
That’s a great comfort to me because, like you, I think often as we don’t really know what to do. We really don’t know what to do, but we can be guided, because God has said that He would do that. If we want His will, He’ll make sure that we get His will. Would you take refuge in that truth today, dear friend, even though you may be bewildered as to what to do next? You don’t have to know the future if you know the God who holds the future. He’ll see to it that you take the right steps.
I remember the day I stood on the sidewalk in front of the Mayflower Hotel in Los Angeles. There I was, brand new on the job of president of Youth for Christ. This would have been 1948 or 9, I guess. And I didn’t know anybody. I often say with a chuckle, I was so dumb I had not only didn’t know anything, I didn’t suspect anything. [laughter] I didn’t know anybody, didn’t know where to go, and didn’t know what to do but I only knew I had the responsibility for this burgeoning ministry across the world that was depending on somebody to raise enough funds to keep it going.
I remember standing on the sidewalk. I’d made a few unsuccessful attempts to contact people and received nothing but a non-bankable, “God bless you.” You know how that is. And I stood there on the sidewalk in front of the hotel and I said, “Oh, God, please guide me. I need you. I don’t know what to do next. But you said you’d guide me.” And I was praying. And I thought, as I finished that little prayer, there on the sidewalk, I thought, “Oh, well, I’ll have a cup of coffee.” And I went inside, went through the lobby of this dingy little hotel, and went on back through the hallway into the, what they called the coffee shop, that’s a euphemism for a place with a few tables and a counter where they served coffee. Well, as I entered in there, I heard my name called from somebody who was way back in the corner of that room. And it turned out to be one of my old friends from the Chicago area and he said, “What are you doing out here?” “Oh,” I said, “I’ve just been standing on the sidewalk praying that God would guide me to somebody ’cause I’ve gotta raise some funds somewhere.” “Why,” he said, “I want you to meet Deacon So-and-so,” and he introduced me to the man he was with. He said, “I think maybe he might help you.”
Well, the good deacon looked me up and down and decided maybe he could trust me and he said, “Well,” he said, “I have today free. Do you have any free time today?” [laughter] I told him I thought it could be arranged and he took me around that day, dear friends, and introduced me to people into whose home I couldn’t have gotten with a gold calling card. But he had entree because he was good friends with them and the Lord raised up a lot of help for us in those days. That’s back 40 years ago now, but He’s the same God today, He’s the same God today for you. What is your need? Are you bewildered? Are you wondering what to do next? Call on your Heavenly Father. “In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall,” not maybe, not sometime but right away, “He shall direct thy paths.” Hallelujah for that guidance. Answered prayer, God’s intervention in your life. It’s great, isn’t it?
Well, I started out to review the concept of answered prayer as we find in verse 7 and 16, and I got off onto this story about 40 years ago. Well, so be it. I trust it encouraged somebody even now to trust your Heavenly Father. He’ll lead you if you’ll let Him. Now, we come to this concept of divine love. Verses 9, 12 and 17, “As the Father hath… ” Now, this is all an answer to the question what does it mean to abide in Him, you understand? That’s what we’re doing, we’re answering the question, ‘What does it really mean to abide in Christ?’ Greek verb ‘menon’ means to remain, stay put. What does it mean? Well, it means to live in His love. “If you abide in me and my words abide in you, you’ll ask what you will,” that’s answered prayer.
Then you come to verse 9, “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you. Continue ye in my love.” Now, the verb form that he uses there is the John 3:16 kind of love, “God so loved,” agape is the Greek verb. Agapao is the Greek verb and agape is the noun. It means, John 3:16, Calvary love. That’s an easy way to put it so you understand it. Divine, redemptive love. “The Father loved me,” agape. “I’ve loved you,” agape. Now, stay put in my love. How do you stay put in a person’s love? Well, take it from the human point of view. You’re in love, you fall in love, you get married, and let’s say you are now married for… What shall we say? Ten years. All right? You know each other pretty well by now. You’re able to anticipate each other’s moods and all of that. Now, how are you going to apply this word, “Abide in my love,” said Jesus? How are you gonna stay in love? Well, any marriage counselor would tell you, “Don’t get careless about your attitude toward each other. You used to bring her flowers and candy and do some thoughtful things. You used to tell her that you loved her. You used to try to please her. Have you gotten careless about that?” Well, any counselor would remind you of the importance of keeping on.
As a matter of fact, the Bible says the same thing. Revelation chapter 3 says to the church at Ephesus, “You’ve lost your first love. You’ve lost your first love. Repent therefore and do the first works,” says our Lord. “Do the things you used to do.” Do the things you used to do. How do you abide in His love? You do the things that any young convert would do. You devour His Word, you pray your way through the day, you commit your way to the Lord, you witness for your Lord, you feed on His word, you share it with others, you seek to win people to Him, and you try the very best you know how to please your Lord. Every decision is referred to the question, “Will this please my Lord? Will this honor and glorify my Savior?” That’s the first works that are generally done by a new convert, right? Well, He says, “Do that.”
How do you stay in love with Jesus? Do the things that you did when you first met Him. Did your eyes overflow with tears as you contemplated your own unworthiness? Well, better learn to cry again. Did you delight in doing things that would honor Him and glorify His name? Well, better do that kind of things again. Did you abhor that which would grieve His indwelling Holy Spirit? In turn, did you turn away from it? Well, then you better do that again. Do the first works. How do you stay in love with Jesus? Do the things that keep you in love with Him: His Word, His fellowship, His presence, prayer that connects you dynamically with the power of God, carefulness to obey God, a clean conscience cleansed every moment of every day through the blood of Jesus. Oh, the things that keep you in love with Christ. He says, “Abide in my love.”
Now, let me ask you a question, beloved. Where does all this find you and me? Life is a very pressing and practical business and you can’t go around being pious all day long and singing hymns at the top of your voice. You do that and the men in white coats will have you before noon, I know that. You can’t be officially religious in most of the settings that you and I live in. It’s a practical and pressing and pragmatic kind of a life. Lots of burdens and lots of pressures and lots of problems. So how do you stay in love with Jesus if you’re vice president in charge of sales and the boss is breathing down your neck and telling you, as my boss said one time to me, “There’s nothing wrong with this business that more sales wouldn’t cure, now get going.”? How do you stay in love with Jesus when the heat is on, when the pressure is on? When things are piling in around you and the world seems to be falling in, how do you stay in love with Jesus then?
Well, you remember the basics. As it is in athletics, so it is in living the Christian life. Play a basic game and you’re more apt to win. Try to be fancy and you’re more apt to lose. Remember the basics. What keeps you in touch with the Savior even under pressure? Prayer, surrender, obedience. Yes? Pray your way through the day, I often say. Pray your way through the day. Pray when you wake up, pray when you greet the family for the first time, pray for when you start your first job of the day, pray before you answer the phone. Pray before you open an envelope, it could be a check or a bill or whatever. Pray your way through the day. Pray before you sign a contract, because God has already read the fine print. Pray before you go on a journey. Pray, young people, before you go on a date. Pray your way through the day. Give God a chance to intervene. How do you stay in love with Jesus? Keep in touch with Him and let Him lead you and live for His glory. Something, isn’t it? Well, we go on with that the next time we get together.
Father God, today, oh, may we stay in love with Jesus, I ask in His 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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