Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Perfect Love

PERFECT LOVE
 
I Jn.4: 14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.
15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.
16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
19 We love him, because he first loved us.

Rom.5: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

There are many things that are missing in today’s evangelical church. Prayer, humility, truth, purity, and any number of other things are in short supply. There are many things that should not be there as well. But if we are painfully honest one thing that is missing and that the Scriptures make clear should be paramount is love. That word “love” is bandied about and used in so many different ways and contexts. We love the weather; we love our dogs; we love that car; we love her hair; we love that football team; we love our job; and we love that song.

But in Scripture that word love carries with it a far deeper and much more profound meaning. But since we have usurped that word and used it in almost every context its spiritual meaning has all but evaporated. We can quote “For God so loved the world…” and some kind of emotion comes to mind. Without thinking it through we can imagine some kind of saccharine fondness as God looks down on humankind and places His hand upon His heart and smiles lovingly. But that is a self serving caricature which makes God a man and also lowers the love bar for us so low that we need not even jump. Another words as long as we do not hate we assume we are expressing love, and clearly the hate thing often rears its ugly head as well.

Look at the phrase “perfect love”. Wow! What a statement and what an eternal truth. God presents not just love for us, but the Spirit challenges us with a perfect love. And yet we have become complacent, ambivalent, and even haughty in our lack of conviction and pursuit of the perfect love. The church has for so long ignored and neglected the entire concept of love that decades ago it lost any authentic concept of what that love is in the context of Scripture. A once a year Valentine’s banquet now suffices for most churches while the rest of the year can be peppered with all kinds of expressions of hatred, castigations, and a never ending stream of criticisms of any number of sinners and even saints.

The atmosphere within the local church has become toxic with verbal assaults aimed at some politician or some sports figure or people like Rosie O’Donnell and Miley Cryrus. You see our call to perfect love has no caveats. We are not exhorted to love someone if they act right or if they espouse our views of morality or even if they do not wear a covering on their head. Even the world loves those who think and act as they do. But the path for a follower of Jesus is to exhibit love from the heart for the vilest among us or to those who despitefully use us. Not only do we fail miserably in that regard, but the concept is no longer presented as part of the true path that follows Jesus.

But how can we cultivate a genuine thirst for such a love? What is the foundation from which we can launch an honest reflection of that kind of love?

That foundation can be found in two phrases from the verses I offered. “He first loved us” and “Christ died for the ungodly”. I fear we have never fully embraced the horrific depths of our own sin, and in so doing we have never fully embraced the depths of God’s love. I do not say that lightly and I do not mean that our theologies are inaccurate. But unless Scripture enters our hearts and transforms our very beings then our theologies are little more than books about the Bible. If we have a shallow and even limited view of the salvation found only in Christ then we cannot know what it truly means to love people. That kind of love surpasses knowledge and it soars above the carnal mind.

Go ahead and present a list of grievances against a person which are most accurate and still our love should surpass that list. Go ahead and expose the wicked lifestyles of sinners and yet our love should still be perfect toward them. And that kind of love is cultivated within our hearts until it sanctifies our minds and our lips. It should come as no surprise that part of the problem is the paltry prayer lives of so many believers. If you are an intercessor you will not be an accuser. I am not speaking of Biblical correction for heretics, but I do speak of the visceral hatred so many have for a variety of people. And the mark of our high calling in Christ Jesus does not end because we have ceased to hate. Oh no. We have been called to love. In fact, “as He is so are we in this world”. That alone is a massive labor of love.

Oh but where is this love that flows from the knowledge of His unsearchable love for us? He loved us with a love so deep and so rich that He gave His life for His very enemies, and yet we have the audacity to hate and despise others? I fear so many have made themselves the object of their love instead of Christ. You may profess Christ with your words or your baptism but your hearts betray your profession. And when sweet and bitter water proceed from your mouth then we can know you walk in your own flesh and not in the Spirit. But allow me to reveal the true perspective once again, and if you can read and understand this and still be complacent about your lack of sacrificial and self denying love then what hope is there?
 

17 comments:

brcorcoran said...

Thank You!...Excellent Read...

Cherie c. said...

Pastor Rick,

If I set it up, would you be interested in leading a prayer & Word meeting this coming Friday evening?

I can set it up via Go To Meeting and we can have a fellowship, prayer meeting and Bible Study.

If anyone has a computer with audio, you can either get a head set with a mic, about $20 at wall-mart, or you can use a phone. Those interested please email me at cchrinc@gmail.com

If you could Pastor Rick I am sure it would be edifying. It is easy to set up too. I can train you on how to use it.

Please let me know. This fellowship is so needed right now.

Brothers and sisters in the Lord, please let Pastor Rick know if you are interested by posting a comment on this blog. We can have up to 25 attend.

If it works and it blesses the Lord, I would be happy to expand the space to allow more to join.

I know some of you are in different time zones. To allow for those on the west coast to join, those of us in the mid-west, east coast, and over seas would have to be willing to be up a little later. I was thinking of just starting out with a few hours this Friday night. A weekend so those joining from over seas could still join in and still have Saturday or Sunday to get rest.

I was thinking of Friday November 8th at 10pm eastern time.

For Europe it would be Saturday 3am November 9th

East Coast it would be Friday 10 pm November 8th

Mid-west it would be Friday 8pm November 8th

West Coast it would be Friday 7pm November 8th

Australia/New Zealand some areas please check your time zone based upon USA East Coast time of 10 pm Friday November 8th.

This is a great opportunity for us to fellowship, but we need a godly man to lead such an event. A woman cannot do it unless it is women only.

Pastor Rick, please prayerfully consider this and let me know by Wednesday if not sooner so I can set it up and get the information to those who want to be a part of this.

It is my hope that we can do this for the Glory of God and Him only.

Jesus said that faith the size of a mustard seed can remove a mountain. How wonderful it would be to gather together as the body of Christ and pray and fellowship and read the Word. It is my hope it blesses the Lord. I strive to make Him pleased. I hope you all join me. If
more than 25 say they want to join, I will expand my Go to Meeting today. May God's Blessing be upon this fellowship.

James 5:16
Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

Hebrews 10:25
Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

your sister in Christ Jesus,
Cherie c.

Cherie c. said...

The sting of conviction is very painful and very humbling. May God have mercy upon me.

Thank you Pastor Rick for your teaching. I stand convicted today. With a repentant heart I hear and the words of this post are convicting me. At times I complain about my family and fail to love them as God would want me too.

How long am I going to be so fragile when it comes to their words and even though I realize they are speaking to me out of an unregenerate heart, I am still called to love them. Even when I witness blatant sin, I am called to have compassion and I have to be honest, sometimes I do not. And I complain to anyone who will listen instead of praying for them and putting my own flesh aside. To feel like a victim is self righteous even if it is true.

With a repentant heart and a contrite spirit, I am convicted by this post.

Romans 8:18
For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Matthew 5:46
For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?

1 Corinthians 13:1
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity(love), I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

May God have mercy on me.

your sister in Christ Jesus,
Cherie c.

Cherie c. said...

with the Friday night fellow, please forgive me, we can set a time, but we should really let the Holy Spirit lead.

cchrinc@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Amen.

Love can be a hard concept to understand. Human love isn't a picnic. It's up and down and goes sideways. And I know the bible says that God is perfect love. At times in my christian walk, I could really sense his presence and felt this strong 'love' for others, kind of like the "go to Straight Street" and talk to this person, for instance.

Sometimes, I feel that talking and being friendly with outsiders, non-professing christians, is easier to be "real" with. It's been my experience that being "real" with christians gets me intimidated, so I put on a cloak of pious(ness). I shouldn't do it, but they are so hard to get real with.

By being "real" I don't mean being heartlessly honest, or aggressive, or all that, I just mean, if I claim I have a heartfelt love for people with addictions, or if I befriend someone unsaved, or what is considered a "sinner" I am chastised. Now, that I'm not pastored and in a church, I know that my old fellowship friends wouldn't agree with things that my husband and I do. We both still love the Lord, and are every day aware that we need to follow Him; however, we will attend his employer's Christmas party dinners. I would have been ridiculed for going by a lot of christians.

We find that being 'with' people, all people, gives us a chance to show Christ's love, if an opportunity in the conversation comes. And it always does. I can sit next to someone, and we end up talking about the bible. Other times, a couple friend of ours, that we've known for years, invited us over for dinner with another couple friends of theirs, who were a gay couple.

I just thank the Lord He can do so many things that we wouldn't expect.

If we don't fellowship with other christians anymore, for whatever reasons, how can we 'reach' others? It's wherever God places us. At this point in my life, I am home and don't work, but, I'm hoping to someday volunteer in places where people are too addicted or confined to have ever met Jesus.

And if my son plays with his band on 'open mike night' at a club, and my husband decides to go see him play, the boys in his band meet us and we get to know them, pray for them, wait for God to do the rest. My son says he talks to people in those settings about the things of God more than he did when he hung around the bible college kids.

God's love can shine through in those darker places. I realize that we need to live holy lives; and when the world sees that one person doesn't do the drinking/drug scene, but still isn't afraid of getting their hands dirty, God's love shines through. I've seen it happen so many times.

J.

michael said...

Interesting. Perfect Love is discovered by a perfect hatred for our own life also!

Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:25-27 ESV)

Doing some studies awhile ago on textual criticism I looked at Lamsa's Aramaic translation. There's an interesting thing about both Aramaic and Hebraic writing. They are very similar in form. Above you quote from Roman's 5:7. Lamsa points out that the Hebrew word "righteous" in Aramaic is "wicked" and the only thing that is different in these two forms is a jot. One mark over the last letter changes the meaning. When I came to this I began to understand that some verses in Aramaic give a more powerful nuance as is the case here with Romans 5:7!

Perfect love and perfect hatred go hand in hand and I say if you do not have perfect Godly hatred for this world you will not come into His perfect love for one another and the world. You will not be able to overcome the lies the world hides behind! Yes, the world's righteousness is wicked through and through and not until your life yields fully to the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit you will your righteousness will be just as wicked as the world!

These following verses cause me to tremble more and more as I see the day of my departure drawing nigh:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ (Matthew 7:21-23 ESV)

Cherie c. said...

Hi Michael,

These following verses cause me to tremble more and more as I see the day of my departure drawing nigh:

I tremble too.

What do you mean as I see the day of my departure drawing near? The Rapture or are you ill? I hope its the Rapture you're referring to. Not that being with the Lord is a bad thing.

your sister in Christ Jesus,
Cherie c.

michael said...

Cheri, I'm sixty and time flies! Of course I'm with the Apostle Peter "hastening" the day of The Lord:

Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. (2 Peter 3:11-13 ESV)

Though we do not know the day or the hour of His return apparently according to the Apostle Peter we can hasten The Lord's return.

Earth dwellers are building empires and idolatrous lifestyles on earth. Consequently they don't ever want the world to come to an end and so if you are going to have "perfect" love you'll have to grow out of human love into a Divine hatred for the world to inspire the sort of love life living Rick points to with this timely article.

I'm fairly healthy and on my maternal side life expectancy was in the 80's & 90's. If I live to be 90 that's just a short 30 years from now and I've noticed time, days, weeks, months and years are going by at a remarkably faster pace than when I was 8 years old.

Unless you have been convicted of a capital crime with a fixed date for your execution we generally don't know the day we will breathe our last breath on earth?

Cherie c said...

Hey, I'm with ya Michael. I believe we will see His return. I'm 51 and I hope I don't live past 74. The age when this body of mine will be severly weakened. Since the summer this body has alowed me to be somewhat better. I never know when it will attack. I see some signs of something brewing that involve my right hand. All I can do is wait out the next trial. One of my health issues is RA and it can beat the tar out of you, lol. I don't want to be a cripplef old person. Ready to go when He calls although I'm a bit worried about the process. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

Would you like to join the fellowship on Friday? Hope you can dear brother.

Cherie c. said...

Mark 10:29
And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, ormother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's

And today we still put people before the Lord and say it's okay. Not Perfect Love on our behalf, just compromise.

This verse is profoundly sad, and profoundly true. What this is saying is we compromise our faith for family, friends, self, etc., instead of being an example.

Last year at this time was a very sad, lonely and hostile environment in my house because I refused to have a christmas tree. The words were hurtful. The isolation painful, and the ridecule from my in laws, well nothing really new, but more intense then usual, still hurt. I was creating turmoil and forgetting to make peace. I received some very good advice and was able to take it a bit slower. But I stood my ground for the most part, but I still have more to learn. Some people say I was acting "holier than thou", that really hurt me. I wasn't acting anything, I was trying to live as I should, but some brothers and sisters in the Lord attacked me instead if supporting me. Why? Because they were convicted of compromise. How do I know? I have been there myself. I know I can't please Him on my own, but I wanted to stop compromising, not make others feel like I thought I was better then them. What I do or not do has nothing to do with anyone. It's between me and the Lord. If you ask me and it bothers you, do you want me to lie? God forbid! And I won't lie.

Some even say I make them feel bad or they are intimidated, but that's on them. I will continue to live as I should. Do I strive to please man, God forbid.

J said that she and her husband would go to a club to watch their son play in a band. Opportunity to spread the Gospel, no. You go to support your son and the Gospel gets left behind. I love my sons too, but I would not go to a bar to support them. That is not where we should support them. We need to be examples even when they say we don't love them. The love I have for my kids is based upon their salvation and everything else is secondary.

What if i asked some people to take a helicopter ride that had a big hook on it. We will be flying to the Stone Pony in Asbury Park NJ, the home of Bruce Springsteen. We know some people there are Christian. We lift the roof off the building and look down. Can you identify the Christians? I couldn't. So much for being set apart.

Am I being intimidating with this? I hope it offends someone all the way to their knees. I'm not self righteous, I compromise at times too, but i'm willing to accept correction and not view it as intimidation. I know no one will believe this, but I welcome it.

I make a conscience effort to please Him even if I fail. I can't help it, it's a true desire to please Him. Why? Because of His Perfect Love.

your sister in Christ Jesus,
Cherie c.

Anonymous said...

Mathew 7:21-23 are very comforting verses for a true believer, for they are reminded that Jesus will come again to earth as Judge! That good news makes my heart rejoice.

Your responses Michael and Cherie to these verses don't honor God. He commands us to rejoice in the Lord always. He is our joy. These verses are about the unsaved not the saved!
If someone who rrads these verses is unsaved may they heed them and turn to the God of the holy Bible, not Allah of the Koran or any other false god for forgiveness. Truly Lord Jesus is our glorious gracious Savior and righteous Judge.

James

michael said...

Well James apparently your perspective and opinion is what exactly?

Let me ask you who does the revealing "who" Jesus is?

Once you discover that truth no doubt you'll probably want to recant your comment above that Cherie and I have brought dishonor to God?

Cherie c. said...

Huh? You mean this:

Matthew 7:21-23
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

You said this:

"Mathew 7:21-23 are very comforting verses for a true believer, for they are reminded that Jesus will come again to earth as Judge! That good news makes my heart rejoice."

"Your responses Michael and Cherie to these verses don't honor God. He commands us to rejoice in the Lord always. He is our joy. These verses are about the unsaved not the saved!"

What are you talking about James? How can my response be dishonoring to God if I didn't respond at all?

These verse are not for the unsaved but those who profess not possess the Holy Spirit. In other words, those who give lip service but are not truly regenerated. These words are not comforting to hear. It makes me sad that the Lord will say this to people who think they are saved but are not. I wouldn't wish that for anyone, but if they choose not to follow the Gospel, then they will have to face this someday. That is why we pray for people. Especially family and friends.

I don't know what you're talking about. It's a very aggressive way to say hi don't you think? So I will extend my hand in fellowship and say, hello James, nice to meet you.

your sister in Christ Jesus,
Cherie c.

Anonymous said...

Yesterday I met a beautiful little girl that truly knows about perfect love. Her name is Adriana. She is in foster care of which my daughter in law is her care taker for now. When she entered my home she wrapped her arms around my waist and said I love you. After I had talked with my daughter for a while I asked Adriana why she had said “I love you”, because this is the first time we had ever met. She just looked me straight in the eye and said because I know that Sandra and Mikeal and Alex loves you and so do I. Adriana has autism. How can you not love a child like this?

When she saw Mikeal and Alex she went up to them wrapped her arms around them and said I missed you so much today. This little girl was breaking my heart as I watched her bounce around the house. She was happy to be where she was at that time. The reason she is in foster care is that her father killed her mother then killed himself.

No wonder that Jesus always made time for the little ones.

Joel

Anonymous said...


Michael, why should these verses cause you to tremble more and more? God's word is truth. You understand I hope that these people mentioned haven't submitted their life to God. They have a lifetime of being workers of lawlessness behind them. Their punishment is merited because they, as unsaved people, have refused to submit before holy God.

Cherie, in order to help unsaved people we need to stop trembling and desire to gain courage. Can anyone beat a Goliath if they are trembling? Does Jesus tremble at the challenges He sees that we desire to overcome in our family?

The answer is "No" and nor should we. Stop trembling and pray for courage, compassion, increased wisdom, patience and perseverance and then victory on behalf of your family can have a chance of occuring!

James

Anonymous said...

Cherie, these verses are for the unsaved because they concern the unsaved but yes they also for the saved to pay heed to. During their life they gave lip service to God and were never born again.

It isn't about wishing anything on anyone. They never searched diligently enough to be saved. Their search wasn't earnest enough for Almighty God that's why they died in their sins.
They didn't heed Jeremiah 29
11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the LORD, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.

May God bless your life,

James

Anonymous said...

Apologies to Michael and Cherie I had had a bad day at the office! You both put in a huge effort to honor God!

God bless you,

James