All For Love Or Not At All

All For Love Or Not At All

Good Afternoon Everyone,

Don’t you love how God works?  I just finished posting something that we have talked about before, but from a different translation.  It wasn’t the Scripture Of The Day, but it actually goes along with what IS our Scripture Of The Day, and the topic of the Christlike Ministries NWA Daily Devotional for Tuesday February 10, 2015.  So, I’m going to post them both and then we’ll get into the message, Amen!?!  How many of you know there can never be too many Bible verses in a devotional message!?!  Today…there happens to be two, and here they are…

“For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.” – 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 (NASB)

And our actual Scripture of the Day is…

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 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 charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” – 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (KJV)

Here’s another song by Steven Curtis Chapman to accompany the message as you read let God transform us so that our motives would be “All About Love”.

What is it about love that makes it the most important characteristic, the most important of motives, and what ought to be the driving force that compels or controls us?  Is it just because Jesus said the world would know His disciples by the love that we have for one another?  Is it just because the Bible is clear that those who love people know God, and those who don’t love people don’t know God?  What is it that requires love to be the foundation of everything we do, and when love isn’t our foundation then how can it render whatever we do (even if they are noble or good deeds) worthless?

It may surprise you that this message isn’t going to be really deep or complex, but rather the reason and answer to what I just asked is very simple.  Here’s the answer…are you ready?  

Love is how the world identifies us as the Lord’s disciples because love isn’t what we do…love is supposed to be who and what we are…because Love is Who and What God IS.  The Bible talks a great deal about love and us being in His image or being conformed to His image or being made after His likeness, and I don’t know about anyone else…but as a parent I can see certain attributes of myself in my daughter…and the reason this isn’t really deep, complex, or complicated I am her biological father.

So, now this message is about to get good because it stands to reason that if we’re made in the Father’s image then His love should be one of our most recognizable attributes (don’t look at me crazy the Bible says in Romans 5:5 that we have the love of God shed abroad IN OUR HEARTS by the Holy Ghost)…then the world should be able to look at those of us who claim to be His disciples…and we shouldn’t even have to identify ourselves as a disciple…they should be able to identify us as a disciple without us even saying a word…we should have the love of God as a visible sign that we are one of His disciples.  That’s not complicated or complex or deep…it’s basic.

Come on friends.  I have some attributes that remind my mother of my biological father.  Let me break it down for you folks…every single one of us has some of the Father’s DNA in us, that DNA that we all have is His love, and that DNA is put there by the Holy Ghost.  So, when we are out among the world, and if God is truly our Father then the world should be able to identify us as a disciple without us having to tell them “I’m a disciple” because Jesus (this is God speaking to us through Jesus) said that we would be recognizable to the world by the love we have for one another.

Guess what that means!?!  If you have to tell people that you’re a Christian or a disciple and folk raise their eyebrows at you, and give you the once over trying to see it…you may want to check your attitude and motives because if you have to tell folk you’re a disciple and they don’t see it…you aren’t a disciple.  I don’t mean to be blunt here, but the Bible says it a lot more blunt and to the point than I just did.  The bible says if you say you love God and don’t love people you are a liar.  The world will know us as God’s people by the love we put on display to it, and if they raise an eyebrow when you tell them you’re a disciple…then you may want to ask God to show you what you are putting on display for the world to see.

In these devotional messages we have had a central theme for a while now, and that theme is that all of the attributes of God aren’t His attributes because they’re something He does…but because they’re something He IS.  I mean the Bible cannot get anymore clear than it does in 1 John 4:8 when it says that…

“He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” 1 John 4:8 (KJV)

God IS love.  That’s why the Bible makes such a big deal about us loving one another as God in Christ loves us, and tells us not just to love in word but in deed also.  Listen, don’t you think that if there was anything greater than love Jesus would’ve said it when He said the world would know His disciples by it?  We want to put words in Jesus’ mouth by claiming that the holier we are the better a disciple we are, but Jesus said love is the earmark of a disciple.  Never missing a church service doesn’t qualify one to be a disciple…loving people does.  I didn’t say it…Jesus did.

Friends if Jesus Himself said the world would know God’s people by love, and we know that Jesus spoke those words because they’re written in red.  And, as a review we know that Jesus never spoke anything that the Father didn’t tell Him to say, and so the red letters where Jesus is talking is not just for the disciples…but it’s God speaking to us Himself through Jesus.  He said that the world would know us as His disciples by the amount of love (His love) that we share with it.  If Jesus said it…that settles it, and there’s no more arguments or discussions to be had.  If the world cannot recognize the love of God in us then we need to be asking God what it is the world can identify in us because (and we say it all the time) the world doesn’t care how much you know until it knows how much you care, and the world isn’t looking for lip service.  It’s looking for real, authentic, genuine love…God’s love.  So, when Jesus is talking about the love the world sees that’s the love they want to see, and that’s why the Bible talks about loving in word AND in deed (or action).  Love doesn’t just say…love does. Amen!?!

So then, family, it doesn’t matter what it is you are doing whether you are serving in a soup kitchen line, volunteering to help at a nursing home, or writing messages like this on social media it’s important to examine your heart and your motives as to why you are doing what you are doing.  Because if what you are doing isn’t being done out of a heart of love then it’s the wrong motive, and the rewards you receive will only be temporary…and maybe enjoyable here.  Deeds done out of love not only reap rewards here because God sees and blesses your actions…but it also stores up rewards in Heaven.  So, not only do you get to reap the rewards of feeling good because you do things out of a right heart and motive, not only do you receive God’s favor and blessing because you’re doing all that you do out of a right heart and motive, but your rewards in heaven will be greater because you do things out of the right heart and motive.  By the way…if you do things to receive a reward either here or in Heaven…that’s the wrong heart and motive for whatever it is you’re doing.  Love is the only right motive and heart for anything and everything we do.  Why?  Because it was and still is the motive behind everything that God did through Jesus, and is still doing through Jesus AND through us today.

In closing, we know that Paul wrote reminding us that whatever we do we ought to do for the glory of God and not ourselves, and that is the ultimate test of why we’re doing what it is we’re doing.  If we are doing anything to bring glory to ourselves than it’s not being done out of love, and even if we get a reward it won’t be as great as it would be had we done it out of love.  So, let’s remember to check our heart and motives behind whatever it is we’re doing (even if they’re good things), and just be sure we’re doing it all for love, Amen!?!

Let’s Pray:

Loving Heavenly Father, thank You so much for Your demonstration of love in Jesus. Help us, Lord God, to love others as Jesus did – selflessly, sacrificial, and consistently so others may know of Your love through our actions. In Jesus Name we pray. Amen.

In Closing:

Love! We getting close to Valentine’s Day, and so we want to remember the real meaning of love. Without the motivation and expression of love, all “Christian” activities are more “activity” than Christian. Love is the expression of Christ’s character and presence in our lives through deeds done for others.

So friends, don’t get lost in the annual trip down sentimental lane. Too many of us forget the needed daily dose of love that so often gets lost in the grit of day-to-day relationships. Let’s be loving year round and thus show ourselves to be Jesus’ disciples. (cf.John 13:34-35)

We here at Christlike Ministries NWA love you, and by we I mean my wife, my daughter, and of course myself.  If you would and can give to help Christlike Ministries NWA financially we now have the ability to offer you some kind of free gift in return.  So, whether you can give us $5.00 or $100.00 even though we can’t offer you a tax deduction we can offer you a free gift…and it’s yours for any amount that you can give.

Well, friends, thank you as always for your time reading these messages, and for your support. I’d love to hear from you, and from now on will have a contact form at the end of each message. There’s a place to put your name, email address, and a drop down menu with the reason for your contacting us. I will never ever use your information, and I most certainly will never share your information with anyone.

Blessings & Grace to you.

Pastor B