Our Greatest Possession is Love

1 John 3:1,11-19
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not…
For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. Not as Cain, [who] was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous. Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not [his] brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. Hereby perceive we the love [of God], because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down [our] lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels [of compassion] from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.

There is no greater possession we can possess than the love of God. We in fact, as believers in Christ, possess that love, because we possess the Spirit of Christ in us. Christ, is in truth and in deed, the greatest definition of God’s love we could ever have before us. While we use the word love in many different contexts, most of us know that in the Greek there are several words that define different kinds of love which I am not going into. Agape is the form of God’s love with which we are concerned with here today. This is the manner of love that the Father has bestowed upon us that we should be called the sons of God. We possess this love because we possess Him. What should define the sons of Gods should be the nature of the love they possess. As we truly possess and manifest this love we will fulfill the law of God. All of the law is fulfilled in His love. Galatians 5:14 says, ” For all the law is fulfilled in one word, [even] in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Normally a person’s first instinct and concern is for themselves, their welfare, safety, needs, wants, desires and well being. The love of God takes this love we have for ourselves and channels it through us to others. We begin to empathize with others, identifying with them by how we would feel in their circumstances. Agape love is totally unselfish, self-sacrificing and treats the needs of others as it would it’s own.
1 Corinthians 13:1-8 tells us, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become [as] sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal And though I have [the gift of] prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed [the poor], and though I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profiteth me nothing. Love suffereth long, [and] is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up; Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Love never faileth: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether [there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away.” It does not matter how many gifts, abilities, works, words or knowledge we have, if we don’t possess the Agape love of God everything else is meaningless. There is nothing in the world or in what God has given us that will do more for conforming us and others to the nature and image of God than His love. That love has to be so much more than ideology or theology, it has to be expressed through us in deed and in truth through our actions and our words. 1 John 3:16 is the revelation of God’s love through us much like John 3:16 is the revelation of God’s love through Christ. It tells us, “Hereby perceive we the love [of God], because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down [our] lives for the brethren.” Did you catch that we are to be the extension and continuation of John 3:16? If we are the sons of God should we be any different than the Son of God in our mission and purpose?
When I view my life, perhaps you, like myself, feel like we come up way short of the kind of love that God wants to express through us. We must remember that this is not the kind of love we can produce in the efforts of our flesh. Romans 5:5 tells us, “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.” So this love is a product that is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost. The way we have more of this love is to have less of us and more of Him. We are constantly maturing in our faith, or we should be, to where the Lord is filling and possessing every part our being. As we walk by the Spirit and have our focus in life fully on Him, His love will be the by-product of the relationship we have in Him. It is not in what we can produce; it is simply letting Him be God in us and through us. We will have His heart, His vision and will be the instruments and channels of His love and grace. We already possess the most precious possession of all. We must just release it and let its fragrance fill the earth.

Blessings,
#kent

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Chasing After the Wind

June 13, 2014

Chasing After the Wind

Ecclesiastes 2:11
But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless. It was like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere.

Solomon, the wisest and richest of kings wrote this book of Ecclesiastes. He was a man who said that he had it all, tried it all and none of the things of earth or the pursuits of pleasure and accomplishment were really worthwhile. They were like, “chasing the wind.”
What are we chasing in our lives? We allow so many things to consume our lives, our time, our efforts and affections, but what eternal value do they possess? What will become of them when our lives are spent and we are gone? In Mark 10:21 Jesus says to the rich young ruler, “Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.”
This man went away sad and unfulfilled because his possessions possessed him, he didn’t possess them. How many things in our lives possess us? Jesus offered the rich young ruler the one thing in life that would fulfill and complete him, but he couldn’t release the natural things for the spiritual. Jesus was letting him know and in so doing letting us know as well, if you want to pursue something more than the vanity of this life and all that it possesses there is only one way to store up treasure in heaven, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Matthew 6:19-21).” Jesus makes it plain to us that wherever our affections are, our values are placed, our importance lies, that’s where our hearts will be as well. Jesus is giving the same challenge to us as he gave to the rich young ruler, “take up your cross and follow me.” We process this with our minds, but not our hearts. We don’t want to, because it means we, like the rich young ruler, we have to deal with our issues, possessions and things we don’t want to let go of, even though they are robbing us of eternal treasure. That young man was no different than many of us. He was a good kid. He loved God and lived a righteous life and no doubt attended synagogue regularly. He thought he really wanted Jesus till he had to count the cost. It would cost him everything. While salvation is free, discipleship will cost you everything. The irony is that in losing everything this life has to offer you gain the riches of eternal heavenly treasure that has value long after your natural possessions have vanished. We don’t want to make the same mistake the rich young ruler did and become offended at the gospel.
Matthew 6:24 says, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” If we are really sold out to Christ then we are willing to surrender all our earthly goods, talents and treasures to follow Christ. That doesn’t mean we all literally go cash in, give it all away to the poor and take a vow of poverty, but we do need to have come to that place in our hearts. If the Lords says sell it all and give it away we are ready and willing. Often we can tell what things mean to us by how tightly we hold on to them. We need to embrace the cross and lightly hold the things of this life for even this is the wisdom of Solomon. At the end of Ecclesiastes Solomon says this of all that he has learned of life, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this [is] the whole [duty] of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether [it be] good, or whether [it be] evil (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).”

Blessings,
#kent

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