IS OUR LOVE DIFFERENT?

IS OUR LOVE DIFFERENT?

“And if ye salute your brethren only,
what do ye more than others?
do not even the publicans so?”
MATTHEW 5:47

The Greek word for “salute” would best be translated here to embrace or literally as Thayer’s Greek Thesaurus translates this word, “to draw to one’s self”. It is translated “embraced” in Hebrews 11:13. In the verse preceding this one Jesus states that if we love {agapao Grk.} only those that love us, how do we differ from the publicans? May the weight of these things impact us as we look around and see this love displayed to varying degrees throughout the church today. Does this not vividly describe the condition of the sectarian ways to which we have fallen? We see churches and various groups holding on to the close confines of those that “fellowship” with them and the common definition of the church or body today has mistakenly come to mean the ones that we meet with.

To add weight and importance to the above verse Jesus follows with…

“Be ye therefore perfect,
even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect”
MATTHEW 5:48

In other words our Father in Heaven is nothing like this. His Love knows no bounds; He does not show impartiality nor is He a respecter of persons. He sends the rain on the just and the unjust and His Son died for the sins of the world. We speak of “our” church, “our” pastor and “our” ministry as if we owned something or that because of our goodness these things have become ours. In Corinthians Paul states…

“For who makes you differ from another?
And what do you have that you did not receive?
Now if you did indeed receive it,
why do you boast as if you had not received it?”
1CORINTHIANS 4:7

If we seek only to meet with those of like mind we remove from us the wonder of His mosaic and the richness of the variations of His Wisdom. When we exclude or diminish another for differing from us we reveal the love of this world. We wonder why the world has not seen the Glory of our God in our midst while we live divided and walk in a love that loves only those that love us.

Peter, one of the Chief Apostles, started to segregate himself from the “gentiles” in his midst and was strongly rebuked by Paul and rightly so. The carnal man seeks to distinguish himself from others thus elevating one’s self. The need for recognition and distinction is at the core of that fallen nature. Jesus HAS broken down the middle partition between Jew and Gentile, between “Baptists” and “Pentecostals” and whatever other walls may be added through the “names” of teachings and doctrines. The gathering of the people is to be unto Him and Him alone.

Sadly the Proverb speaks to our day with such clarity…

“Only by pride cometh contention”
PROVERBS 13:10

Ω

“Division has done more to hide Christ from the view of men
than all the infidelity that has ever been spoken”
G. MacDonald

Brian Troxel

DIVINE LONGINGS

“DIVINE LONGINGS”

“Let us pass over unto the other side…”
MARK 4:35

The life of a Christian is to be one of movement and quest. It cannot remain static and unchanged. There is something about the Spirit of Christ in us that is ever pressing us to move on, to cross over and to know the life of continual growth in Him. All of creation shows us this; constant growth is the revelation of life. Growth IS the evidence of life and a life unchanged reveals a life unlived. In the wonder of our living God there is no point of arrival, there is no end, there is only growth and discovery. The glory of Him is unsearchable, His wisdom past finding out. His love surpasses knowledge and words such as “infinite” and “perfection” are inadequate to convey the matchless mysteries of Him. How can we not as Paul be caught up in the pressing toward that mark (Philippians 3:14), or as David spoke of in Psalm 42…

“As the hart panteth after the water brooks,
so panteth my soul after thee, O God.
My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God”
PSALM 42:1 – 2

This is the whisper of the Spirit of God within the hearts of His own. This is the glorious restlessness of His Life in us. It is not a disturbing restlessness; it is the restlessness of His Life in us to grow and become all that we have been called to. It is the restlessness of life that causes the young man to leave home and walk and grow and explore what life is to be for Him. It is the life that breaks open the egg shell; it is the life that births the struggle of the butterfly coming forth from the cocoon. It is the force of rivers causing them to flow back to the great ocean from whence they came. It is the longing of life that drives the salmon to swim upstream against all the barriers and obstacles in its way. Let us not quench that cry within us.

“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness:
for they shall be filled”
MATTHEW 5:6

Ω

“The yearning to know what cannot be known,
to comprehend the incomprehensible,
to touch and taste the unapproachable,
arises from the image of God in the nature of man.
Deep calleth unto deep,
and though polluted and landlocked by the mighty disaster
theologians call the Fall,
the soul senses its origin and longs to return to its source.”
AW Tozer

“Let us pass over unto the other side…”

Brian Troxel

THE LAMP OF LIFE

THE LAMP OF LIFE

“And her lamp does not go out by night”
PROVERBS 31:18

Literally in the Hebrew language “does not go out” is best translated “not extinguished or quenched” (see Song of Solomon 8:7). In the New Testament we find that the Lamp of God is not merely an understanding of the intellect, it is in fact the VERY LIFE OF THE SON living and shining within our hearts.

“In him was life;
and the life was the light of men”
JOHN 1:4

We see clearly here that it is HIS LIFE that is the light of men. His Life in me is Eternal Life not a doctrinal statement that I ascribe to, not some formula that I recite, but the very reception rather the very conception of Him within my heart. It is this “Light of Life” (John 8:12) that we hold by the precious faculty of Faith to illuminate our way, to hold us to the path and purpose of God, and to keep us pure in a dark and contaminated world. The lamp spoken of here is a light that the darkness ever seeks to extinguish, pervert and stamp out. The stratagems of the darkness are many and powerful and come at us in a variety of attacks; bitterness, unforgiveness, temptation, compromise, weariness of the way and disappointments to name but a few. However, the Word stands true “HER LAMP DOES NOT GO OUT BY NIGHT”!

It is as we face these things that we are made OVERCOMERS. The lamp burns in the night seasons, the lamp burns in dry places and the lamp burns in and through the storms of life.

We live in dark and ominous times and the Word tells us the “…love of many, shall grow cold”. Religion, traditions, the programs and the institutions of men seek to replace the simplicity of relationship with the Lamb of God and adherence to doctrines seeks to replace the life of obedience. We have ceased contending for the faith and have succumbed to a life of passivity and impotence. Men like John the Baptist are considered uncouth, the zeal of Paul untactful and the burning statements of James, Peter and Jude out of touch with the “seeker friendly” atmosphere being presented today. It is in such an hour as this that we must be held by the precious LIFE of Him.  His Life never fails to keep us safe and secure within the cords of His Love and because of this…

“…her lamp does not go out by night”

Ω

“He who breathes into our hearts the heavenly hope,
will not deceive or fail us when we press forward to its realization”
Anonymous

Brian Troxel

SUCH LOVE

SUCH LOVE

“Wherefore in all things
it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren”
HEBREWS 2:17

Love always seeks to identify with the object of its desire. We read here of the astounding truth that there was a necessity within the heart of the SON to be made like unto us! There was an obligation for Him to leave the splendor of heaven to come and become a MAN, so identifying with us in our weaknesses, our temptations, and our limitations that HE would BECOME a merciful high priest for us unto God the Father.

“Therefore, in all things He HAD to be made like His brethren,
that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest
in things pertaining to God… For in that He Himself has suffered,
being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted”
HEBREWS 2:17 – 18 NKJV

It is IN HIM identifying with us, becoming us, becoming our sin that we are to become the righteousness of God in Christ (II Corinthians 5:21). The reason that He was compelled to be “made like unto His brethren” was because of LOVE. It was the LOVE of God sending His own Son into this world that we might know, walk and live in the power of His Eternal Life.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life”
JOHN 3:16

That same Love that precipitated the giving of His only begotten Son to whoever calls upon His Name is the same love that initiates within us the desire to identify with Him, that we may be made like unto Him. Teachings, religious concepts and human desire will all fail to bring this to pass. Rather it is that same “agape’” love working within us, inspiring us to identify with Him in all things.

“…that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection,
and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,
if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead”
PHILLIPIANS 3:10 – 11

Love is the fulfillment of God’s purpose in man. His Love. It is not only the end of His purposes; it is the WAY into His purposes. Without Love being the only motivator within our hearts our motives are wrong, selfish and fragile. For only God’s Love “endures all things”, “thinks no evil” and wonderfully “NEVER fails”.

“God is love;
and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God,
and God in him”
I JOHN 4:16

God’s love in us cannot be known apart from Him; it is only in HIM dwelling in us that we know and live within the sphere of that Love. The measure of our love for Him is revealed in the desire to seek, to live, to participate and identify with Him in this journey of life. The power of His Love will naturally produce abandonment to Him. It is in us discovering the “the pearl of great price” that we gladly sell all that we have in order to procure its loveliness.

“And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart,
and with all thy soul, and with all thy might”
DEUTERONOMY 6:5

Brian Troxel