What Is Love?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014, 8:00 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song, “Jesus, Lead Me.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Hebrews 13:1-16 (ESV). This writing is taken in part from “The Hard-Liners,” dated November 2013.

What Can Man Do?

Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say,

“The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear;
what can man do to me?”

In showing love to others, and in showing them hospitality, we must never compromise our convictions, our faith, the Word of Truth or our relationship with God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – in order to “make nice” with the world. As the body of Christ, we should not commit spiritual adultery with this antichrist, sinful and ungodly world of ours under the guise of showing them “love” or in order to make them feel “welcome” in the church. Yet, the church has done that, and because of that, this ungodly world in which we now live is in the driver’s seat, and they have inserted themselves as “Co-Head” over Christ’s body. They have quenched the Spirit of God, restricting the believers’ walk of faith in the Spirit - by covering over it with what is of the flesh - and have thus implanted their beliefs and doctrines over and above, and/or in place of the Word of Truth. May that never be!

Yet, in this world filled with evil, hate, deception, lies, manipulations and this forcing of others to comply with this antichrist world’s system or pay the consequences, we must let godly love for our fellow humans continue, even if it costs us our lives. We must continue to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ and show the love of Jesus to the world around us. And, we must remember in our thoughts and prayers those throughout the world who are being persecuted for their testimonies for Jesus Christ and for holding firm to the truth of the gospel, many of whom are then martyred for their witness for Jesus Christ. And, we must remain loyal and true to our marriages and to our marriage relationship with Jesus Christ.

As well, we must face the reality of the times in which we live and that refusal to bow to the beast and to take its mark may mean death, persecution, and will definitely mean that we cannot buy or sell, so we will have to learn to be content with what we have. We will be cut off from society as a whole, and we will be completely dependent on the Lord Jesus (the Living Water) to sustain us. Yet, although our political and even religious leaders, family members, friends and neighbors may forsake us (divorce us), Jesus Christ will never leave us or forsake us. Amen! He is our helper, so we don’t need to fear mankind or what they might do to us. God will see us through whatever difficulties lie ahead for us, and he will take us safely home to be with him in glory when our time on earth is finished (completed).

Do Not Be Led Away

Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them. We have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat. For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy places by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp.

The leaders we must remember here are those who hold to the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ, not those who have compromised with the world and have thus diluted the gospel message to make it more appealing and acceptable to the world. We should only imitate the faith of those who are truly following Jesus Christ with their lives, walking in his holiness and purity, and who are proponents of the true (full) gospel of salvation.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. His word and his gospel do not change with the passing of time, either. So, we must be students of the word of God and not believe everything we hear or read from human teachers and preachers, because not everything that is passed off as truth is really truth. Some is straight out lies, but the most dangerous of all “strange teachings” are those with subtle lies blended in with the truth so that many unsuspecting “followers,” due to lack of knowledge of the word, are led astray to what is false and is misleading.

The most dangerous of all “strange teachings” in today’s church, I believe, is what I call a “false grace.” I think most Christians today, though not all, have fled legalism and works-based salvation, which depends on what is external to save us instead of relying upon God’s grace. Yet, many of these have bought into this false grace instead of believing in the true gospel of salvation. Titus 2:11-14 offers us an accurate summary of the grace of God:

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

This is the purpose of God’s grace, i.e. this is the reason Jesus Christ went to the cross and took upon himself the sins of the entire world. He died so that we who live might no longer live for ourselves, but for Him who died and rose again on our behalf (See 2 Co. 5:15). Jesus said that if we want to come after him, we must disallow our self-life, die daily to sin and self and follow him in obedience and surrender to his will for our lives. He said if we hold on to our old lives of sin, we will lose them for eternity, but if we willingly die to our old lives of sin and self, we will gain eternal life with him in glory (See Lu. 9:23-25).

We are also taught in scripture that the way in which we come to know Christ is by forsaking our former lives of living in sin, by being transformed (made new) in heart and mind of the Spirit of God, and by putting on our new lives in Christ, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (See Eph. 4:17-24; cf. Rom. 6; 1 John; Gal. 2:20, et al). This is true grace, it is the working of the Holy Spirit of God in our lives as we cooperate with that work, and this is the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. So, don’t be led astray by those who tell you otherwise. True grace opens spiritually blinded eyes and turns them from the darkness of sin to the light of truth (the gospel; Christ’s righteousness and holiness), and from the power of Satan to God so they can receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, our Lord (See Ac. 26:16-18).

Outside the Camp

So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

They killed Jesus, not because he was Mr. Nice Guy, but because he told the people the truth about their sin, he called them to repentance and to faith in him, he told them that he was the only way to the Father, and that coming to him meant leaving everything else behind, i.e. it means death to self and sin, and it means following him in obedience and surrender. This is true faith. Many of his followers deserted him because they said his teaching was too hard. His own disciples deserted him, and his own people crucified him. And, becoming his disciple means we will be treated as he was treated.

He suffered outside the religious political system, i.e. he suffered because he did not compromise with the world or with sin (See 1 Peter 2:21-25). And, they hated him because of that. And, when we choose to not bow to the “beast,” and we choose to not compromise with the world of sin, and we choose to maintain our testimony for Jesus Christ, which is “outside the camp” of modern society’s norms, we will face the very reality of death, too. Yet, we should continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, “that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name,” and lips which are never ashamed to tell of him and of his gospel.

Jesus, Lead Me / An Original Work / July 22, 2011

Jesus, lead me all the way.
Be my hope and be my stay.
Gently lead me where I should go,
So Your Spirit, I want to know.
Open up my heart to You.
Fill me with Your love and truth.
Make my heart want to obey.
Be my Lord today. Gently lead always.

Jesus, lover of my soul,
Cleanse my heart, and make me whole;
Be transformed in my heart today,
As I turn from my sin and pray.
Make Your will known to my heart.
May I not from You depart.
How I long to hear You now,
As I humbly bow. Jesus, hear me now.