Faith and the Love of GodBro. David Chancellor
5/25/2003 11:00 AM
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 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.
We have been justified by faith and have peace with God. It speaks of our relationship with God and how it is there even through trouble. This experience is built around a hope. These had a battle for the hope that they had. When you set out to live for Christ, there may be some persecutions to go through. Hope doesnt make ashamed because we have the love of God in our hearts by the Holy Ghost. Because of this, we dont need to be ashamed of the gospel of Christ. We dont need to be ashamed because we are changed.
The life of mankind without God is Whats in it for me? When the love of God is there we ask:
- What would God have me to do?
- How can I be a benefit to others?
Paul had a picture of the stoning of Stephen. Stephen prayed Lord forgive them. Coming from that scene, Paul met God on the road to Damascus. After that, he wasnt ashamed to speak up for Christ. He was changed. After weve been changed, were thankful for the difference it has made in our lives.
2 Corinthians 5:12-15
For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance, and not in heart. For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause. For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.
We dont want to commend ourselves, or brag on ourselves. We are what we are because of the grace of God. We want people to observe the change that God has made in us and give glory to God. We need our worship to be to God. If were not careful, when we give our offering to God, we will stop to see if others notice. We need to block others out and aim our rejoicing at God. Whether others notice or not, we need to give praise to God. If the love of God is in your heart, it will regulate your life. If you say your heart is full of the love of God, and your life is unregulated, you need to do some more examination. It will cause us to do what God would have us to do and refrain from what would be ungodly. The love of Christ should regulate our behavior such that it will bring glory to him and lift up his cause.
1 Corinthians 8:9-13
But take heed lest by any means this liberty of your's become a stumbling block to them that are weak. For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol's temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols; And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.
Verse 13 shows how the love of Christ constrains us. We dont live by public opinion, but by how can my life have its greatest effect for God? If my actions would cause someone else to be lost, love constrains me to give up some things for the good of someone else. Our concern is that our lives bring a benefit to someone else. People need rules to restrain them when they dont have the love of God in the heart. What is needed is the love of God. Do we ask, if I do this, will it cause my brother to offend? If it will, we need to hold off for the good of the brother.
We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.
We ought not to please ourselves. If what makes you the most happy is not the most good, why does it make you happy? The grace of God in the heart will cause you to be happy with things that are good and that are edifying. Our concern should be that our lives edify and help those around us. Is it beneficial to know Gods people? If nothing else, they know theyre being prayed for and that they know someone who will pray. We need to accomplish good. You dont have to think about being ashamed if your concern is not you, but those you are trying to help. Being friends with and helping others might not be politically correct, but the ones youre helping will be glad. You may be ridiculed for what you do to help others, but you dont have to be ashamed.
Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.
Earnestly contend for the faith. Our attention and focus should be on having the love of God in our hearts. We dont want the grace of God to be turned into looseness. This is a nation thats supposed to be a Christian nation, but is living loose. It got this way because the love of God was not shed abroad in the heart. The love of God in the heart will regulate the life.
The grace of God was shown to help mankind get out of their sinful condition. Gods unmerited favor wont allow us to live loose before him. It will regulate our hearts and lives to be right. Those who did not follow God were destroyed. Those who do not follow God today will be destroyed. A decadent life is not the grace of God. The grace of God would change the life. The direction of our lives will be set by God. We wont want to please ourselves. When your heart is washed, you wont be pleased by wicked and evil things. The love of God changes your perspective. Christ didnt please himself. We dont want to please ourselves at the expense of others. Trials will come to prove us. We need the love of God in our hearts to constrain us. Let the love of God shine forth. Let others see that it can be different when the love of God is in the heart. Be concerned for others, and do the things that the love of God would show is right. When the Spirit of God speaks, listen. Live a life to lift up Christ.