#223, COMING TO CHRIST WITH OUR AFFECTIONS
If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha, 1CO 16:22.
Saving faith cannot be measured without measuring the love that we have for Christ. "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha," 1CO 16:22.
What do those words mean? The words Anathema and Maranatha are both Greek words. Anathema means "to ban or censor, to be excommunicated, to be accursed." Maranatha is "an exclamation of the approaching Divine judgment, i.e., Our Lord come!" In other words it is a calling to come to stand before the Judge of heaven and earth.
Our text says, "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema, [excommunicated, let him be accursed.] Maranatha [an exclamation of the approaching Divine judgment.]" Let such a person be censored by the church and be pronounced accursed; then that person is admonished of the coming of the Judge of heaven and earth.
I want to briefly direct your attention to the third chapter of John. "He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God," JOH 3:18-21.
What is it to love Christ? It is to love truth; if we do not love the truth, we are Anathema Maranatha. Any person that looks at the light of the truth of the Word of God, and does not love the truth and cannot come to the light to have his heart revealed, that person is Anathema Maranatha. We may be as generous as we wish, being loving and forgiving, but we must also be faithful. Our text says, "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha."
Those are solemn words. Each one of us must examine our own hearts. Do we love the truth, the Lord Jesus Christ? If we do not love the truth, and claim that we love the Lord Jesus Christ, we are deceiving ourselves. If we feel that the light of the truth is a condemnation to us because our deeds are evil, and we flee from that truth, then we cannot say that we love the Lord Jesus. "But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God."
Our text says, "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha." Let that person be excommunicated and accursed. That doesnt mean from this local assembly. We must understand that we are talking about the congregation of the Lord. In this text the Apostle Paul is cautioning us to be aware that if we think we are members of the congregation of the Lord, of the church universal of Jesus Christ, and we love not the truth, we are excommunicated. We might be coddled and taken into all manner of fellowship of the local assembly, but we are admonished of the approaching of the Divine Judgment, Maranatha.
A natural man may have a Doctors degree in the Word of God, and yet be only a scholar of the letter of the Word, yet remaining totally ignorant of the Spirit of the law. The law commands us to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind, and our neighbour as ourselves. I have said before, and want to say this again. If you say that you love God, and have never been brought to understand the second table of the law, loving your neighbour as yourself, you deceive yourself. "If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?" 1JO 4:20. Such a person does not understand the spirit of the law. Therefore, being only a scholar of the letter of the law leaves one ignorant of the spirit of the law.
JOH 3:7-10 says, "Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?"
Nicodemus was a doctor of the law; he was among the rulers of Israel and one of their top scholars. His question reveals that he did not understand the spirit of the law or the law of love. He did not understand the work of the Holy Spirit in the new birth.
One day I was visiting with a man who was quite excited about having a pastor with a doctors degree come for an entire summer. The fact that the pastor had a doctors degree seemed to be very note worthy. I commented that I knew many people who claim a doctors degree in theology who do not know the truth. Look at all the different denominations; their pastors go to school and come out with doctors degrees, but many have not been taught of the Spirit. When one talks of the things of the Spirit, they would have to say with Nicodemus, "How can these things be?"
Such intellectual scholars may make very impressive teachers, but our text says, "...let him be Anathema Maranatha" because they do not teach charity out of a heart of love for Christ. They dont teach repentance; they do not teach the gospel of Christ, they do not understand " but faith which worketh by love." GAL 5:6.
1TI 1:5-7 says, "Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm." We need the truth, not Doctors of Theology who "understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm." We need the truth which is the Spirit of Christ; we need to teach the love for Christ and the love for truth. After many years of church leadership, I have learned to understand that anything of my religion that is outside the Bible is contrary to the truth. PRO 30:6 says, "Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar."
We must take everything we have ever believed and weigh it on the scales of Gods Word; then it is amazing how much we must leave on the shelf. It is amazing to discover how much of our religion is outside of the Bible. That is what the Lord Jesus means about loving the Truth. He is the TRUTH! In JOH 14:6 Jesus saith, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me [we cannot come unto the Father except by way of the Truth!]."
Until a man has been taught the spirit of the law of love by the working of the Spirit in the new birth (he may become a champion in theology), and yet when it comes to spiritual things, he will ask with Nicodemus, "How can these things be?"
1CO 2:14 says, "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." Notice this Scripture does not say, "the things of God...are foolishness unto him." He may be considered an authority of the highest degree in the things of God, but this Scripture says, "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him." Natural man can become a scholar of the things of God; they can become tremendous authorities in theology, but they do not understand things of the Spirit because "they are foolishness unto him." When it comes to the spirit of the law and the Word, they have not received it.
Many of the most ardent professors of Christianity are the most conscienceless, untruthful, dishonest people who use tactics which many a non-professor would scorn to use. Many non-Christians have no use for religion because the professors of truth, those who profess to be Christians, are among the most unscrupulous. They put on a show of religion; they miss the things of the Spirit of God. They love not Christ or the truth for they discern not the things of the Spirit.
What they lack is love for Christ. 2CO 5:17 tells us, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." All of the untruthfulness and dishonesty disappears; it is purged out of those who love Christ. The discerning of the things of the Spirit is not foolishness to them.
When the Holy Spirit calls a sinner out of the darkness of sin, the love of God is instilled into the soul because they are predestined to conform to the Spirit of Christ. That is the work of grace; it is discerning the things of the Spirit. All of the dishonest tactics are purged out. ROM 8:28-29 says, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren."
Lets consider the calling of the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit calls us out of darkness unto the marvelous light of the gospel. Then we see things working together for good to those who love God. Notice the connecting word For. It gives the reason for the preceding statement. The word foreknow in the original means "to come to an intimate relationship as in a marriage union." It refers to those with whom the Father has had an intimate relationship from before the foundation of the world. Now, we understand that those who love God have the love of God instilled in them by the Holy Spirit. They come to love the truth; they have been regenerated. Things they formerly loved they hate, and those things they hated they now love. They hate sin and love God.
Those who are born of the Spirit have the love and self-sacrificial Spirit of Christ formed in them. It is the work of grace by the Holy Spirit. "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure," 1JO 3:2-3. Those verses show us the work of sanctification and the birth of the new man. It is the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. Can we say we love God and have the love of Christ and still love sin? No. The Lord Jesus Christ is the light, and when the light arises, we recognize sin; we hate sin, we identify sin, we repent, and we turn from sin.
Jesus said in JOH 6:37, "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." Do you see the electing love of the Father? He loved us first. We love God because He first loved us. He loved us, He drew us, and He caused us to come unto His Son.
When saving faith is in exercise, it is the love for Christ which draws the heart of man unto Christ. We see this in HEB 11:13 which teaches that the patriarchs were "persuaded" of the promises, and "embraced them." That term denotes great affection, i.e., "to intimately enfold in the arms-- to embrace." When they embraced the promises, they did so because they loved them. When you put your arms around a loving child, embracing them, you lovingly enfold them in your arms. It denotes love, and that is what we see in the patriarchs hearts.
It was this intimate affection for Christ that moved Moses to "...refuse to be called the son of Pharaohs daughter," HEB 11:24. He loved Christ, and the effect of that love was to be able to forsake Egypt, all its riches, and all he had for that love. "Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season [seeing Christ by faith]; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward," HEB 11:25-26.
Moses had all the honor, fame, and riches of Egypt. However, he chose to suffer with Gods people rather than to enjoy sin for these few short years we spend in this life. That denotes love; that is the effect of love. Now, we must analyze our heart. Is that the effect that the love of Christ has on us? Do we want to come to the light? Do we want to identify the sin in our heart so we can turn from it and have it purged away? That is "Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward." He saw a much greater value in Christs rebukes than he did in the riches and treasures of Egypt. That is love and the work of regeneration. That is an example of coming to love what we hated and hate what we loved. That is the new heart of the new creation.
What was the "the recompence of the reward?" It is the great marriage union on the end; the bride making herself ready so at the end they can come to the blessed marriage union of the Son, the heavenly Bridegroom. He is the Reward. Moses had respect for this reward and was willing to spend a lifetime suffering the reproaches of Christ. He counted those greater riches than all Egypt or the world could offer. Do you see how our affections, or our first love, must be sorted out to establish whether or not we love Christ?
As the Holy Spirit reveals the love of Christ to me, then love unto Him is born in my heart which goes out unto Him in return as we see in 1JO 4:16-17. "And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. [We see that in the electing love of the Father wherein He knew from eternity a burning love for His church to the extent He gave His Son. Then we see the love in the Son, being willing to come down from His throne in heaven to dwell among sinful men, endure the cross, and step into the wrath of the Father against the sin of His people.] God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the Day of Judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world."
When we understand this, we understand Gods hatred for sin. Therefore, you and I cannot cherish sin and say we love God. That is the principle taught here. The knowledge we gain of Christ intellectually by education never fires the affections. It can fire up the emotions. A little child can listen to a sermon of how those terrible Roman soldiers did such horrible things to the Lord Jesus Christ. He can get emotional over it, but it does not generate affection.
One can be emotional over it and not even realize that the Lord Jesus Christ took upon Himself the mission to appease the wrath of the Father. Once one understands that, there is no need to even look at the Roman soldiers. Now, one sees the love of Christ and why He did that. It was for my sins. That fires the affections. The Holy Spirit who reveals the precious things of Christ to us instills the love of God into the heart. Then we realize it was for my sins that the Holy Son of God came down and humbled Himself and became obedient unto death. The obedience of Christ is now imputed to me so my disobedience is paid for by His death. When the Holy Spirit reveals that to my soul, when it becomes personal, the Holy Spirit instills the love of God in my heart.
ROM 5:5 says, "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." It isnt anything that I can do; it is not my decision. It is the love of God; it is free sovereign grace from the hand of the Father. He loved us and sent His Son. He called us unto the Lord Jesus Christ, and now His love is shed in our heart by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. It is all of grace.
It is loudly proclaimed from many a pulpit, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned," MAR 16:16, but how often do we hear the words of our text proclaimed from the pulpit? "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha," 1CO 16:22. How often do we hear the true love of God proclaimed?
To properly preserve the balance of the Holy Spirits teaching between saving faith and love, we must consider ROM 8:28. "And we know that all things work together for good to them that [not only believe on Him, but] love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Teaching that we must believe an act of our own free will is not according to the Truth, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God," EPH 2:8.
1CO 2:9 says, "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." The love of and for Christ must be proclaimed; our affections must be drawn unto the Lord Jesus Christ. 1CO 8:3 tells us, "But if any man love God, the same is known [or approved] of him." How do we know we love God? Moses gave us an example; he chose to suffer with Christ rather than enjoy the riches and pleasures of this world. The love of Christ is deemed of greater value than all the world has to offer.
Those who truly love the Lord Jesus have learned to know Him by the eyes of faith and love His appearing. 2TI 4:8 says, "Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." Now, I want to ask you a question. Are we willing; is it our pleasure, under all circumstances to come under the eye of the all-seeing God? When we are filling out our tax form, is it a pleasure to know the eye of God is upon us and all our thoughts are totally transparent?
Is it a comfort to know that the all-seeing eye of God is searching our heart in all situations? After someone has hurt us, slandered our name, what effect did it have on us? Do we love Christ in His appearing? Is it a pleasure to us to know that God sees us? Can we take any question in our mind to Him to know if this or that is for His honor? Remember that "he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God," JOH 3:21. Do we want the light of Gods Holy Word to reveal every thought and intent of our heart? If we can answer yes, it is loving Him in His appearing.
It is love for Christ that constrains us to resist temptation. JAM 1:12 says, "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him." Notice how often the Lord speaks in His Word about those who love Him. There is such a disparity in todays preaching between believing Him and loving Him.
The Lord has no pleasure in legalistic servitude. The Lord speaks of making the outside of the platter clean while on the inside there is extortion and excess. The inside is not clean, and Satan has so much sport over the idea of legalizing sanctification with long lists of things to do or not to do. Never once do they come back to the Word of God to teach the spirit of the law, i.e., with what attitude we do what we do. They do not understand that the Lord sees every thought and intention of our hearts and that we should learn to love Him in His appearing.
Those who serve the Lord acceptably come to Him by the drawing of the Spirit as we see in JOH 6:44; "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day." It is the Spirit of Christ that draws us to the Lord. It is a spirit of love that attracts people to the Lord; the Spirit of Christ has been instilled in the heart and imputed to them.
The Lord does not whip break His people; He draws them with love. Let me give you an example to show the meaning of that. I saw a man whip breaking a horse. He stood in the center of a round corral calling the horse to come to him. If the horse did not obey immediately he would whip him until he came trembling. Eventually, every time he called, "Come here," the horse came up to him trembling. Then hed pet the horse and let it go. When he called "Come here," hed whip the horse if it didnt immediately come. He never allowed the horse to get beyond the reach of the whip. After he had trained the horse in the small corral, they moved to a larger one. If the horse came when called, hed get petted; if he didnt come, it was back to the small corral training sessions. Yes, the horse learned to come even in large pastures, but it came out of fear of the whip.
The Lord does not whip break His people. He draws us with love not fear. The Holy Spirit opens our understanding to see the love God has for His people, the love He had to send His Son, and the love of Christ in coming. See this in HOS 11:3-4; "I taught Ephraim also to go, taking them by their arms; but they knew not that I healed them. I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love: and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat unto them." That tells us how the Lord draws His people unto Him; it is with cords of love that He draws our soul to love God. We could never love a God who only holds hell and damnation over our heads to scare us into serving Him. That is not the gospel.
This drawing love wins the heart to serve Christ as King through opening the understanding to see Gods wrath upon sin. Now, we are talking about a different thing. Gods wrath upon sin is totally different from His wrath upon me. Now, I see what motivates repentance because I learned to love God. I learned to see how He is so wroth with sin that He would even bring His own Son under condemnation for me. I see now how displeasing sin is thereby working a true remorse over sin in the heart, making Christ precious to the soul. That is how God draws His people unto Him.
1PE 2:7 says, "Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner." Those who refuse to walk according to the exercise of saving faith and remain disobedient are the ones who have rejected Him, but He becomes the head cornerstone. In other words, He sits in the seat of judgment.
As the eyes of faith become fixed upon the beauty and preciousness of Christ, the soul is willing to part with the things of this world that they may win Christ. That is being drawn with the cords of love. The Holy Spirit reveals unto us the beauty and blessedness of Christ. Lets see that in PHI 3:8. "Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ." Notice that he did not say he counted all things a loss because of a fear of hell. Christ becomes attractive and precious which becomes a drawing power against Satan and sin. Therefore, we are able to count those things as dung.
Bringing the Gospel to the ear does not change the heart to love Christ above the things of this life as we can see from the parable of the Great Supper. Hearing the gospel does not change our affections. LUK 14:18-20 says, "And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come." Notice how those who saw not beauty in the Great Supper to which they had been invited made excuses to not attend; there was always something of more value or importance to them. Just a head knowledge does not draw the affections, but when the Holy Spirit reveals the precious things of Christ, there is an attraction. It kindles the affections. The people with the excuses had not had the work of regeneration that alters the affections. We must come to Christ with our affections.
It is the hand Of Christ that opens the door of the heart as we see in SON 5:4; "My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him." It was by the Lord Jesus Christ moving the heart; then there is a yearning after Him and a desire for Him. Until then the yoke of oxen is worth more to the person. A mere intellectual knowledge does not alter affections and desires.
Christ does not burst open the door coming in uninvited when He puts His hand in the hole in the door, but He opens the door by stirring up the affections after Him. There is no compulsion to let the Lord come into the heart; He changes our affections to go out after Him.
"I rose up to open to my beloved; and my hands dropped with myrrh, and my fingers with sweet smelling myrrh, upon the handles of the lock. I opened to my beloved; but my beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone: my soul failed when he spake: I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer," SON 5:5-6. Now, the heart is seeking Him with affections that are stirred up. There was no bursting in to claim him with force. When He withdrew, it proved where the affections were. The heart went out after Him, seeking Him, after He had put His hand into the heart.
It is not merely a knowledge of the truth which saves, but a love of the truth. There is a tremendous difference between those two points. A person can have a marvelous knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ but have no true love for Him. It is a love for the truth that makes the difference. The working of the antichrist is shown in 2TH 2:10; "And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved." Those who perish had the truth, but they didnt love it.
People may say a church has the truth; if they have the Bible, they have the truth. The question is what do they do with it? Is it perverted? How do they teach it? Do they love it? Salvation is found in the love for the truth. One can have, gainsay, or barter the truth, but that will yield only a philosophy of men. Those are the ones referred to in the above verse. It is the spirit of the antichrist because there is no love. One either loves Christ or one is an antichrist regardless of how much truth one knows or the schools one has been through. The affections of the heart must go out to the truth to love Christ.
There are many denominations that have the truth, i.e., the Word of God. Consider JOH 17:17; "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth." Christ is the Word and the Word is Christ. Read that in JOH 1:1-5. Our text tells us that "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha," 1CO 16:22. Those who love not the truth that they might be saved are put out.
To distinguish between those who have the truth and those who received the love of the truth we must proceed to observe their fruit. A persons walk of life will reveal the inner heart. Does a person say they love the truth, but trample upon it in their daily life? They are trampling upon the blood of Christ. To know His will and walk in disobedience is trampling upon it, Cf. HEB 10:26-29.
Those who have the truth but not the love of the truth may highly esteem the doctrines of the Scripture, but not the duties it enjoins. One can be a scholar of the Scriptures but never practice it. LUK 6:46 says, "And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?"
Those who have the truth but not the love of the truth may highly esteem the teachings of Christs Priestly office with a legal motive of seeking a pardon, but have no desire to "...seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness," MAT 6:33. They do not seek first to know the will of God as the highest priority in their lives that they may serve Him according to His will. You are wrong if you think that "...seek ye first the kingdom of God," means one must be on their knees, praying to God to save their soul from hell. Those words mean that one is seeking to come under His kingship, to serve Him according to His will out of love and a desire to walk in the truth.
MAT 6:33 also tells us to seek His righteousness, to seek His will towards our fellow man. Our desire must be to walk in that way. That is the will of God. Those who have the truth but not the love of the truth will not serve Christ when their personal interests come into conflict with the truth as we see in the parable of the Great Feast.
"And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused," LUK 14:18. When a person can forfeit the truth for personal interest, he does not love the truth. Who would you forsake if a friend asked you to go boating on the Lords day, the Lord or the friend? Do you see where ones interests cross with the Lords law of love will prove if there is any true love for Christ? These trials are sent to prove the genuineness of our love for Christ. One must be able to forsake the interests of the flesh to be able to attend the Great Feast!
Jesus said in JOH 14:21, "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." How do you know that you love the Lord Jesus Christ? What is the witness of that love? Love for Him would not want to offend Him if it cost you everything else. That is how one can tell. One will not go against His will; keeping His commandments is not legalism. It is a matter of the hearts affection; it is doing what is pleasing to the Lord. The desire is so fervent that one is able to put their Isaac on the altar; that includes your salvation and everything you have to offer is expendable before you would offend the Lord by disobeying Him.
There are two forms of guiding; one is instruction, the other is teaching by a practical exercise. We see this plainly in "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." We have been instructed, we have His commandments, and we know what He wants. Then it is in the keeping, in the doing, that shows one loves Christ. That is godliness; it is choosing the presence and love of Christ ahead of the things of this world. It establishes whether or not we love Him.
Our text says, "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha." Gods dear children often slip and fall, yet the love of Christ is manifest in their remorse. We are human, but that isnt a license to sin. It means that we have a High Priest that can be touched with our feelings. When we slip and fall, our remorse is our evidence of our love. How much remorse is there when you slip? How much grief does it cause you? Does it bring you back before the Lord to ask Him to take away that sin? Do we want that blemish to be healed with the balm of Gilead?
MAT 26:75 says, "And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly." Do you see his remorse and sorrow in his heart? The amount of grief will measure the amount of affection in our heart. If you really love Christ and have sin brought to your attention, it brings grief to your soul as it did to Peter.
It is because Gods dear children are so prone to fall that the Gospel began and ended with the word repent. We do things we should not and do not do the things we should. It is a constant exercise of our love. It is a test at the time of the temptation, but if we yield to that temptation how much remorse do we have? Therefore, there is a constant call to repent. MAT 4:17 says, "From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
LUK 24:47 is found at the close of Jesus earthly preaching; "And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." i.e., beginning with the church of God.
Any time we find that the power of sin seems to gain control of our heart we are admonished in REV 2:4-5 that "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." We do love the Lord Jesus Christ; He is our first love, but we stray. The call to repent is not condemnation; we are told to think back to the times when the love of Christ was precious to our soul; remember it and repent. If the Lord sees that we have fallen, that is one thing, but if we carelessly walk in sin, it is another. He will remove our "candlestick" unless we repent. We must remember when Christ held first place in our heart and return.
Our hearts may become so cold that we can think of Christs love in the Garden of Gethsemane without a gracious love in response, but when the Spirit renews our love, we can understand ZEC 12:10. "And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn." You see, when we fall short of the love of Christ, falling from our first love, we find coldness in our heart, and then the Lord says He will pour upon us a spirit of grace. That faithfulness of God is precious. Then when He opens our hearts to understand how we have fallen into coldness and sin, He will renew and restore us with a spirit of grace. Then we see how our sins have pierced Christ.
How is our love made manifest? MAT 25:35-37 says, "For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?"
We find the answer in MAT 25:40; "And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." How do we manifest the love we have for Christ? It is to our fellow man. Amen.
These on-lines sermons are a ministry of Gospel Chapel located in Conrad, Montana. We also have a daily devotion. For a list of sermons on cassette please visit our on-line tape catalog. See also, our sermon notes.
We pray this sermon has been a blessing to those who read it. If you share this sermon with a friend, please let us know. Thank you.