The Who Of Love
What a delightful experience to be able to love people without expecting anything in return -- just because God loves you.
We’re in First John, we’ve just been talking about the love of God and the effect that God’s love has as it grows in our lives, the more you love God, the less you’ll be afraid to meet him. The less you love God, the more you’ll be afraid to meet him. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear because says John fear hath torment, he that Feareth, is not made perfect in love. The point at which you back off from God’s will is exactly the point where you don’t love him enough. Isn’t that an interesting insight? The point at which you say, “ha-ah not that” is the point at which you don’t really love God enough. He that feareth, is not made perfect, mature grown up, finished in love. I have found that my battles are not with procedures that I disliked so much as it is in terms of a surrender to a person, my battles in terms of the will of God through the years of my life have not been, shall I go here, or shall I go there, shall I do this, or shall I do that? But the problems that have faced me in the battles I’ve had to face along this line have resolved themselves when I yielded that area of my life to a person, the blessed Lord Jesus Christ.
I can remember back in 1961 when having been invited to assume the responsibilities of President of the college. I was praying about four or five different job options that I had, at the time, and I didn’t really want to consider this option for a number of reasons, which I won’t detail now, but I just didn’t wanna consider it, but I was praying about it because it was one of the possibilities and I remember so clearly the day when… As I was praying in my little downstairs office that I had in our home in Wheaton, Illinois, I finally just broke into tears. And I said, God. I guess I don’t have to be a success, I guess I don’t have to be anything, except say yes to you. I’ll just do whatever you say Lord. And at that point, having surrendered the area of resistance in my heart to my blessed Lord, I was suffused with a feeling of peace and joy. And the tears that had been falling, now became tears of joy, and relief and love as I professed once again to my living Lord the fact that I really did love Him and I really did want to serve Him.
Most of our battles are fought, because we don’t love God enough. Would you work on that today, beloved? Oh, how he wants you to know that He loves you. Let me tell you, once again, a story that I’ve told you, maybe a year ago, but it illustrates the point. So, clearly at least for me, it does. When I was a little boy, I would suppose about five or six or seven around in there, somewhere. I had a time when, for a period of months, nearly a year, I suppose as I look back everything seemed to go wrong, everything seemed to go out, I did everything wrong. If I threw a ball it would curve through a window if I went out on the street, I would stub my toe and fall down and tear my best pants or stockings. If I was bringing home a dozen eggs, I would be certain to drop them. Everything seemed to go wrong. Add to that my natural proclivity for getting in trouble. I’ll give you one illustration. We were a very poor family, and so candy was a treat almost unimaginably delightful. We never were able to buy any.
I never had a stick of chewing gum that I can remember or any store bought candy, so to speak. We were poor but some friend had made some homemade fudge, I think it was Miss Severn was her name, people who went to the same church We did… And I used to play with Beth and Olive and Jodi Severn on Sunday afternoon. Somebody would go to their house for dinner. And so, this dear lady had made some homemade fudge and sent us a box of it. Now we each had a piece of it, and it tasted so delicious, the remainder of that candy was placed on a plate on the kitchen table. Five or six pieces there. Oh, how I coveted another piece, but I didn’t dare take a whole piece, so I hit on the following expediate. I thought to myself, if I just take a little piece out of each one. They’ll all look alike and nobody will know the difference. [chuckle] So, I very carefully took a bite out of each one. Oh yes, I did. Well, you know, my theft was soon discovered and the board of education was applied to the seat of knowledge, and I thoroughly regretted that petty larceny of mine in taking a bite out of each of the pieces of candy.
Well, it went so that I began to feel as though everything was against me and nobody loved me and I walked around like a little sourpuss feeling very down, and discouraged indeed. One wintry day my father called me, he said, “come boy,” always called me boy, as Victor Borge says he never could remember my name. Well, he said, “come here boy” and he called me outside of the little basement apartment that was part of his compensation as a janitor at the Spencerian Commercial School in Cleveland outside of the door that opened into our little basement flat. There was a long locker room where the students there at the school would keep their outer garments, or coats and hats on a wintry day and so he called me out into this long room, and he pointed down clear to the other end of it, and he said, “Look there.” But what I saw was the most beautiful flexible flyer, sled in the world. It wasn’t new, it was used, but to me, it was the most beautiful thing I had seen on a wintry’s day to have a sled that you could actually steer and all that. And so I looked at him with questioning in my eyes, and said, “Is that for me?” he said, “Yeah, that’s for you boy. Go get it.”
So I walked down the length of that long room and picked up that sled as tall, really as I was or maybe a little longer and carried it back to where he was and set it down, propped it up against the wall and then He scooped me up in his big strong arms and held me tight, and he said, Now my boy do you know that I love you now, my boy do you know that I love you? Well, I’ve always remembered that, with a pang of gratitude in my heart for a loving father but I see in it the reflection of a far greater heavenly love our Heavenly Father. Points to Calvary. There are three crosses there and on the center cross hangs his only begotten son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Bible says God hath made Him, Christ, to be sin for us, He who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him, and salvation and pardon and forgiveness and a place in heaven and home is offered to us freely by the redeeming grace of God and it is as though the Heavenly Father would pick us up in his strong arms and hold us tight and whisper, “Now Do you know that I love you?”
God commendeth his love toward us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us, and so we come back to our text in 1 John 4, 19, we love Him because He first loved us. Oh, I trust that the love of God is strong and growing in your heart, and if there is some consciousness of lacking and love for God wait in his presence, until the faithful Spirit of God has reminded you of those things that stand between you and your Lord, and when all of the floodgates have been opened, and all of the barred locked up rooms have been unlocked when God has access to all of your life, then perhaps through falling tears you’ll be able to say God. I do love you, I really do, love you. Now John seemingly changes the subject. He says We love Him because He first loved us, and then he says If a man say they were back to his phrase if we say… Do you remember that in First John 1, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and walk in darkness, we lie and do not the truth, if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and nobody else of course and the truth is not in us.
If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar because our track record testifies against us and God knows the facts His Word is not in us, He that says, “I know Him and keeps not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him, “He that says he abideth in Him out himself, also so to live every day, even as he lived.” You got all of those passages, if we say in first John chapter one and two, now we come here again. He… The, “if A man, say I love God, and hateth his brother, he’s a liar, for he that loveth not his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he hasn’t seen and this commandment we have from Him, that He who loved God love his brother also”. Now, why does he change the subject? Simply this: The proof of whether I love God is founded my attitude toward the people around me, if I really love God, that it’s gonna spill over in my relationships with people around me, if I have some enclave of bitterness and resentment toward God, it’s going to spill over into harmful relationships with people.
But if I really love God, the proof of it says John, is the way I have an attitude toward other people. It’s not an option. He says this a commandment we have: He who love God, love his brother also. But the proof of my love for God, according to John’s word here is my feeling toward another human being, so it works both ways. Tarry, in the presence of your blessed Lord, until your heart is warmed with His love and you’ll find that as you go out to face the world of people around you, your attitude toward them is also one of Calvary love, what a delightful experience to be able to love people without expecting anything in return, just because God loves you.
Blessed father make us the kind of people that can be believed in because Jesus our Lord is real in our lives. 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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