“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
“For God so loved the world,
that he gave his only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in him should not perish,
but have everlasting life”
The power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ lies not in the words and the doctrine of it; its true power lies in the Love of it. The Love of God IS the Gospel; more than a message, a doctrine or a teaching, the Gospel is in itself the expression of God’s love to His fallen creation. It is the WHY which caused God to send “His only begotten Son”. Until those who declare it comprehend its true power, it will remain an impoverished message. It must be expressed from the lives of those who bear in their hearts the passion of God’s WHY!
“For the kingdom of God is not in word,
but in power…”
1 Corinthians 4:20
What is this power? What is the flame which enabled men and women of old to turn the world upside down? What is the glory of God which fills the heavens with awe, worship and exaltation? It is the God of Holiness and His undimmed fiery Love. A Love so incomprehensible that Paul had to pray for the Church at Ephesus to be “strengthened with might” in order for them to be able to comprehend the “breadth, and length, and depth, and height” of the Love of God.
A loveless gospel is a powerless Gospel. The Church is not perishing for lack of knowledge; she is languishing from the loss of the dynamic of His love (Revelation 2:4-5). Love is the furnace, the fire and the very essence of God Himself. In the midst of all of our correct doctrine God’s decree stands as the Divine witness against our true state:
“He that loveth not
for God is Love”
1 John 4:8
Those who hold within their hearts even the faintest quintessence of this Love cannot remain untouched in heart. They cannot sit in faithless inactivity or take comfort in a knowledge bereft of the Divine heartbeat. Many would rather discuss the correctness of the words rather than feel the burning power of the God of the message. The world will remain untouched by those who share from the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge rather than the power of the Law of Life in Christ Jesus. The Gospel is not a WHAT, it is a WHO.
The cry of God is summed up simply:
“Let this mind be in you,
which was also in Christ Jesus…”
It is impossible to hold the love of God within your heart and not feel the anguish, the urge and the pulse of the Almighty to express His Light and Life into this world.
“In him was life;
and the life was the light of men”
“There is too much theology in the Church now,
and too little of the Gospel”
“…but the end of the commandment is love out of a pure heart and a good conscience, and faith not pretended, from which having missed the mark, some turned aside to empty talking”
1 Timothy 1:5-6
God’s end is revealed in His beginning, just as the harvest is the manifold expression of the seed sown. The same love that motivated Christ’s incarnation is the same love abiding in those who have loved and received Him. When men and women lose sight of the “end of the commandment”, the words, the works, and the life are empty and vain.
“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 (agape), I am nothing”
1 Corinthians 13:2
The Gifts of God without love: empty and hollow. Deep understanding into mysteries of God: useless. Knowledge without love is meaningless and without value. It is the agape of God which infuses all things with the weight and wonder of Himself; for there can be no growth or development of Love apart from a pure heart. There can be no true impartation of life where the conscience is conflicted by wrong and ulterior motives and unrepented sins. There can be no true and lasting work of God when faith is presented in pretense. The work of God can only be within the lives of those who live in authenticity. These three graces must be the foundation of our growth into the love of God:
Purity of Heart
A Good and Clean Conscience
A Gospel which does not include the ministration of truth and admonition will inevitably produce lives devoid of the fire, intensity, and the power of the Love of God. The reason God is declared a “consuming fire” is that HE IS LOVE. We cannot hold the love of God within our hearts and be void of passion, works, and an energized faith. Love is what breathes life into faith and faith by its very nature must produce His works in and through our lives.
“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision amounts to anything, nor uncircumcision, but faith working (energized) through love”
The legalism of our day rests in declarations of the tenets of faith. It fails to grasp that the END or PURPOSE of God in Christ is to takes us beyond the fact of being justified by faith, into the power of God manifested through lives who have been sanctified. Sanctification brings us into a life of abandonment and surrender unto God as a “living sacrifice”. When such legalism becomes the foundation there will be no pursuit of a “pure heart” or a “clean conscience”. A true and unfeigned faith flows from those who seek only His approval. The horror of this “gospel” of legal declarations is that His people see no need for an ongoing, deep and powerful work of God within their hearts. There is a rest and a complacency in an unfinished work of God. The two and a half tribes of Israel found rest in a land outside the purposed and promised land of God; many today are settling for something far less than the full purpose and intention of God.
When there is a deviation from God’s end, in the estimation of God Himself, the expressions of ministry become vain and empty chatter.
“…from which having missed the mark,
some turned aside to empty talking”
Paul the Apostle, who declared the truth of justification by faith, summed up his life as one who was pressing, pursuing, and desiring the apprehension of the mark of God.
“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded…”
Paul was not resting upon the knowledge of being justified by faith. He was in full pursuit of “apprehending” (laying hold) the mark and purpose for which God had laid hold of him!
A dead faith rests in the acknowledgment of teaching, while a living faith pursues the apprehension and reality of God Himself.
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels,
but have not love, I have become
a sounding brass or a clanging cymbal”
1 Corinthians 13:1
Eloquence and refinement of speech without the fire and love of God are nothing more than clatter. Words and quoting the noteworthy thoughts of others (though true) will not carry the weight and wonder of the original. Love alone is the power of God. Love cares, it sees, it feels the very thoughts of God concerning the lives of those around us. Love does not speak just to be heard; it speaks to bring men and women into their own vital relationship with God. It cares little about the opinion of others for it is fully immersed in the Will and Desire of God Himself. The great need in the Church of Jesus Christ today is people motivated and energized by the Love of God. It is Love that brings the weight of God’s Glory and the inspiration of His Life to this dark and lost world.
Words, apart from the Agape (Love) of God, are powerless and superficial; though they may speak OF God, God is not IN them.
“These are wells without water”
2 Peter 2:17
The pursuit of God is simply the pure desire to know Him. True Fellowship with others is the mutual desire and thirst to apprehend and participate in the Mystery of God Himself.
“The goal of our instruction is the love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and a sincere faith. Some having missed the mark and are turned aside to empty talk”
1 Timothy 1:5-6