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Devotionals

The True Gospel of the Love of God

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828ministries.com H3'ed 3/13/13

Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God's love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. -- Ephesians 3: 17-19 (NLT)

 

The world and the devil have done a masterful job of perverting love. Within the world system we have denigrated love to something akin to a bear trap that we "fall into" and we can't get out of. We use love as an excuse to stay in abusive situations. We assign disabling terms to love such as blindness and think that it is romantic. When it is no longer convenient for us we claim to then have magically "fallen out" of love as well -- wanting our cake and eating it too. Our concept of love is largely conditional. As long as the other person meets those conditions we seek in the relationship we stay "in love" but the second we think we have unmet needs our eyes start wandering. God's love is positional. It stems from His position as our Creator. Look at these Ephesians verses! Christ doesn't just want to be alive in our lives but in our hearts! His love is so great that we will never fully understand it. We couldn't imagine speaking nicely to someone who cuts us off in traffic, let alone loving them, yet while we were still sinners Christ went to the Calvary for us! The shape of love is not a heart -- it's a cross.  

 

The second teaching point in the key verse is that God so loved the world beloved. Not America. Not just the people in the pews next to us. Not just republicans or democrats. Not just white people or black people. God does not have our prejudices. We are supposed to love everyone as God does! We are supposed to love the homosexual. We are supposed to love the Muslim. We are supposed to love the unlovable. Jesus loved the sinners. He loved the lepers. He loved everyone. Take the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Jesus purposefully made the hero of the story someone who was reviled by the Jewish people in that time. Samaritans were considered half-breeds and were contemptuously looked down upon as such. Yet in this story -- religion walks by the bloodied man twice in the forms of the Levite and Temple Worker.   The Bible says they even crossed over to the other side of the road! But the Samaritan stopped and helped. He showed love. Remember, the reason Jesus told the parable was someone was asking who his neighbor was when Jesus said we must love our neighbors. We hear a lot about the love of God from televangelists but rarely within this context.

 

Thirdly in the key verse we see that God gave us the gift of His only Son. I say this because too often churches can abuse people and make them feel as if they are under constant condemnation. While many churches have embraced grace alone teachings, which is a distortion of the Gospel, many then contradict themselves by strictly enforcing emergent church theories which demand service to the church. The danger again is that false teachings lead many to the broad path because people believe they are saved when they are not. There has been no serious discussion of sin and repentance. Why after all did God give His Son? The verse following the key verse explains:

 

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. -- John 3: 17 (NIV)

 

I read recently where a popular pastor felt that we needed to stop using the term, "saved", because people were not understanding it. That is where seeker-friendly and emergent church theories of growth end up. People do not understand the term saved because they are not being taught the word salvation. They are not being taught why God gave His only Son and why they need saving. They are not being made to examine their own sin sick soul. We then ask them vacuous questions like "do you want to go to heaven"; call them up to a compromised altar and make them recite a three sentence prayer in order to "welcome them to the family." It doesn't work like that beloved. The falsely converted then embark on their service to the church and essentially live out a salvation based upon works:

 

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--   not by works, so that no one can boast. -- Ephesians 2: 8-9 (NIV)

 

This is how people will come to the last day only to say "Lord Lord, didn't I do this and that in Your name" only to be turned away. The gift of salvation is free but without the presentation of the uncompromised Gospel it stays unwrapped.

 

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828ministries.com

Credentialed Minister of the Gospel for the Assemblies of God. Owner and founder of 828 ministries. Vice President for Goodwill Industries. Always remember that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to (more...)
 

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