LOVING GOD IN TRUTH
“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. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things
that are pleasing in his sight. And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.” 1 John 3:18-24
Dare we insinuate or vainly imagine that even one person in all of history who doesn’t choose to love the LORD Jesus will be in His holy Heaven?
Who is it that determines if someone loves God or doesn’t love Him? Us? Or the Almighty? If a person doesn’t love God, is he saved from hell?
Who did the very Door to Heaven tell us loves Him and who did He tell us does not love Him?
“And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.” 1 John 2:3-5
According to the clear and overwhelming testimony of Holy Scripture, the proof of truly loving Jesus and knowing we are “in him” is obedience to Him. Right?
Notice the last words of this passage - “hereby (by this) know we that we are in him.” There is a very important truth in this statement. “Hereby” simply means “by this.” It is by allowing His love to be perfected or matured in us while keeping His commandments that we have a clear conscience and know of a surety that “we are in him.”
The Bible reveals to us that there are those who have a “form (outward show) of godliness” and yet are in reality “lovers of their own selves…lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God…denying the power (authority) thereof” and “from such turn away….these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.” (2 Tim. 3:1-8)
Some pastors foolishly spend much of their time trying to convince people’s conscience against itself. These deluded men seek to comfort people who are living in the sin of self love, denying Christ first place in their personal lives, which is idolatry – “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” (Exod. 20:3) Some leaders even misuse Scripture to teach people to love themselves, something the Bible shows to be Luciferic (Isa. 14:12-15).
The unchanging God requires that a man who will follow Him “deny himself.” (Lk. 9:23) God’s holy Word is void of any statement that men are to love themselves or build their own self-esteem or sense of well being. The LORD does such in those who authentically love Him in deed and in truth. These misled leaders spend much of their time seeking to comfort people who have not or will not repent and fall afresh upon the mercy of the one, true God who is Judge of all. When an individual is not loving and obeying the LORD in his personal life, there is a divinely-incurred shame of the human conscience that is designed to minister/transmit guilt and discomfort in order to lead that person to Christ in repentance – which assures the washing away of sins and the cleansing and comforting of the conscience (Acts 3:19, 9:31; Heb. 9:14; 1 Jn. 1:9). This is the LORD’s way of blessing and assuring His beloved people and any other way is a counterfeit that only leads to false hope and destitution.
Did not our LORD tell us that the Holy Spirit has been sent to “reprove the world…of sin?” (Jn. 16:8) Is not the LORD greater than our hearts? Does He not desire to bring us to full repentance?
“Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient (better) for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter (the divine Person of the Holy Spirit) will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove (convince) the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” John 16:7-8
The Holy Spirit convinces the hearts of men that they are either in “sin” or in His “righteousness”, and of “judgment” to come.
The second ministry of the Holy Ghost listed here is what I want us to look at. He actually convinces the human conscience of those who love and are in obedience to God that they are in His “righteousness” or in right-standing with Him.
There is the truth that the LORD who is “greater than our hearts” and “knoweth all things”, is present for us to turn to him and be comforted with clean and assured conscience, yet this too is tied to obedience to Him.
“For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.” 1 John 3:20-22
This inspired passage informs us that because we “do those things that are pleasing in his sight” we can have “confidence toward God” and receive “whatsoever we ask” of Him. The first thing He would lead us to ask and receive of Him is forgiveness for the sin of worshipping at the altar of self – idolatry. This we have done in lieu of loving Him with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. We are in desperate need of His forgiveness (Matt. 22:37-39). Help us Jesus! Grant Your gift of repentance to our impoverished hearts O LORD!
As you read the following passage, the words of our precious LORD, please perceive the love of the Savior. This is the purest love letter this man has ever read. See the depth of tenderness and profound grace in these gracious words proceeding from the One who was about to give His sinless life for your precious soul.
“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.…If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode
with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.” John 14:1-3, 14-24
Losing One’s Life - Gaining God’s
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.” John 12:24-26
When we love Him enough to seek His face and die to self, being consumed in His love, He promised here that His presence will fill our lives (Jn. 14:15-23). Jesus told us He and the Father would come and make their abode (dwelling place) in the one who loves Him in truth. Christ also told us:
“Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.” Luke 17:33
“He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.” John 12:25
The individual chooses to either crucify the flesh out of his life so Christ can live, or the self-life will crucify Christ out of that person! Some entity is reigning in each of our lives today. Is it God or us? See Romans 6:16.
When we love self instead of Jesus, we lose our place with the LORD and forfeit all of the rich blessings He has designed for us, including the grace and power to live holy instead of in sin (Rom. 8:12-14).
“Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.” John 14:23-24
“Love” is the key. Who do we really love? The answer to this question can be seen in whom we obey in this body.
“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” Romans 6:16
Overcoming sin is all about who we really love. Those who really love Him will really obey Him. Though they stumble at times, they will bounce back and resiliently walk with Him (Ps. 51). These are they who truly have a heart after the LORD. Like David who sinned, they delight to willfully repent and return to Jesus, their first love.
“O Israel, return unto the LORD thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity. Take with you words, and turn to the LORD: say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips.…Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the LORD are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein.” Hosea 14:1-2, 9
The divine system has been intentionally set up to disqualify any person who does not truly love the LORD. An obedient life is the only ironclad earmark fruit of those who genuinely know and love the LORD.
“For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.” 1 Corinthians 11:19
In God’s kingdom everything works through faith, love, and relationship, and not rote, mechanical obedience (Gal. 5:16). God’s economy operates by heart-intensive, spontaneous and volitional love. The delighting and willing obedience of the individual is required (Deut. 30:19-20; Ps. 37:4; 40:8; Isa. 1:18-20). Heart participation is what the LORD desires (Ps. 34:18; 51:17).
The LORD is always faithful to draw and yet has granted each person the option to accept or reject His offer of salvation which includes a life of faith – “The just shall live by faith.” (Heb. 10:38)
According to the biblical revelation, either we have a heart that is “engaged” in faith and love with the One we claim to know, or, we – like the Pharisees of Christ’s day - have a mere outward form of knowing Him and are not pleasing to His heart (Matt. 23).
Of His covenant people who were in a backslidden condition, the LORD said:
“…I will cause him to draw near, and he shall approach unto me: for who is this that engaged his heart to approach unto me? saith the LORD.” Jeremiah 30:21
Notice the question He asks to us here – “who is this that engaged his heart to approach unto me? saith the LORD.” I must ask myself: Are the affections of my heart engaged in love toward my Savior?
“Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked.” Psalms 97:10
When I live in sin, I am considering myself more important than the One who made me. This is the epitome of self-idolatry and always leads to spiritual death. When we love the LORD in truth, we “hate evil” and are preserved as His “saints” and delivered from the “hand of the wicked” one.
“When Ephraim (Israel) spake trembling (humble, broken), he exalted himself in Israel; but when he offended in Baal, he died. And now they sin more and more, and have made them molten images of their silver, and idols according to their own understanding, all of it the work of the craftsmen: they say of them, Let the men that sacrifice kiss the calves…O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help.” Hosea 13:1-2, 9
When we tremble before the LORD in brokenness and humility, He exalts us to the state of vital relationship with Him. Yet, idolatry of self or anything else brings spiritual death.
“13:2 THEY SIN MORE AND MORE. The Israelites suffered spiritual death when they turned to Baal worship; they in turn engaged in ever-increasing sin and idolatry. Kissing the golden calves was a picture of the false worship of the LORD that they had mixed with their worship of idols. The threefold picture of dew, chaff, and smoke (v. 3) emphasized that God’s judgment would soon come and the people would disappear. Those who try to pervert the worship of the LORD by allegiance to the ways of the world make their worship worthless, and they cannot expect God to help them.” Life in the Spirit Study Bible. P. 1291
Submitting to God – Resisting Satan
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” James 4:7-10
As we draw nigh to God, He draws close to us with His presence and deliverance from sinful living. Truly loving God is the key.
Is it not a myth to believe that obedience without love glorifies God? (Joel 2:13; Mk. 7:7-8) Is it not also self-deception to believe we love God while we live in disobedience? (James 1:22; 1 Jn. 2:3-5)
Will He not remove our taste for sin as we delight in knowing and loving Him? Will that intimacy we have with Him not cause us to begin to hate the sins we once partook of?
Watch closely the sequence of events that expire when the LORD draws His people to come to fresh repentance and graciously restores them:
“O Israel, return unto the LORD thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity. Take with you words, and turn to the LORD: say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips. Asshur (false gods) shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses: neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, Ye are our gods: for in thee the fatherless findeth mercy. I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him…Ephraim (Israel) shall say, What have I to do any more with idols?” Hosea 14:1-4, 8
When we “return” to our God in repentance, He restores our hearts and we reflect upon our past sins and say - “What have I to do any more with idols?” It’s like we in brokenness after being brought back to a sound relationship with Christ, say “Whew LORD, thank You so much for granting me a new heart – a heart of flesh – and taking away the stony heart that was a result of my sin! What was I thinking to live in sin against my holy LORD! Father, thank You so much for restoring me! I love You Jesus!”
The following passage is another which wreaks of the graciousness and restorative love of our LORD and His affect upon our hearts as we continue to return to and abide in Him:
“Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them…Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations…” Ezekiel 36:25-27, 31
Please catch verse 31 here in Ezekiel 36 – “Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations.”
Jesus speaks to the believers at Ephesus and to us today:
“Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” Revelation 2:4-5
Beloved, it all boils down to love. Who do I love? Self? Jesus? If I love self, I will serve self. If I love Jesus I will serve Jesus. Holy Father, we beg You to grant us the beauty of Your love and the beauty of Your holiness!
PRAYER: Jesus I love You. I love You more than my self-comfort, gratification and pleasure. Manifest Your life to me LORD. Deliver me from the iniquities that currently prevent me from fully pleasing You. Break every yoke LORD and make me free to love and serve You freely and enti
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