Category Archives: Love for God

Three Loves of Christ’s Disciples

Before His ascension, Jesus told His apostles, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20). The mark of discipleship is obedience to the teacher. If we are disciples of Christ, it is because we have embraced His teaching, and we “observe” or obey what He commands. The preeminent command of our Lord is to love. Jesus said to His disciples, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).

Jesus’ instructions for His disciples to love one another is only one aspect of the call to love. Scripture reveals that our obligation to love is inclusive of all, even those who have made themselves our enemies (cf. Matthew 5:44)! With that in mind, consider the following obligations of love for the disciple of Christ:

Love the Lord: Jesus said that the greatest commandment of the Law was to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). The love for the Father must be present in every disciple, and the same love is required for the Son. The apostle John put it this way, “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him” (1 John 5:1). This love is seen in our worship, and the work that we do for Him in our daily lives.

Too often, we see individuals protest their love for the Lord, and yet refuse to submit themselves to His will and agenda. Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). In that same context, He promised to send the Helper, the Holy Spirit, who He later said would, “guide you into all truth” (16:13). This truth is contained in the holy scriptures, inspired by the Spirit.

The true disciple loves God and our Lord Jesus. He has been given “all things that pertain to life and godliness” (cf. 2 Peter 1:3) by the Holy Spirit, and he diligently obeys those things as a profession of his love.

Love the Brethren: Jesus clearly indicated a love for the brethren to be a mark of true discipleship. “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). John wrote, “He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him” (1 John 2:9-10).

Again, the mere protestation of love is insufficient. Love is seen in our treatment of our brethren. For example, we are to be hospitable, “And above all things have fervent love for one another, for ‘love will cover a multitude of sins.’ Be hospitable to one another without grumbling” (1 Peter 4:8-9). Most importantly, we are to edify one another. This is a primary purpose of our worship assemblies, “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25). The true disciple expresses his love for his brethren by his efforts to strengthen, edify and support them.

Love the Lost: God sent His Son to die on the cross because of His love for those who are lost (cf. John 3:16). Jesus gave up His place in heaven for the same reason (cf. Philippians 2:5-8). His love for humanity should be mirrored in us as His disciples. It certainly was in the case of the apostle Paul, who wrote, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved” (Romans 10:1).

Our love for the lost is properly seen in our efforts to save them through sharing the gospel. May we echo Paul’s words, “So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you … for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” (Romans 1:15-16).

Conclusion: Too many Christians do not properly express their love, either to God, the brethren, or the lost. May we all be diligent to love “fervently with a pure heart” (1 Peter 1:22). Only in this are we truly His disciples. — by Stan Cox

Two Ways To Keep Members Faithful

The first way to keep members “faithful” is to be sure everyone is involved.  Have a project for each member, and make sure that he feels important in his role.  Praise him for the good job he is doing.  Make him feel needed; make him feel that the well-being of the whole congregation rests firmly on his shoulders.  That will keep him “faithful.”

There are two problems with this method.  In the first place, it encourages the creation of projects that are not remotely related to the work of the local church.  One member plays on the church ball team; another member leads the Boy Scout troop; another is an active member of the “Dorcas Society”; another plans the program for the men’s luncheon.  Everybody is busy all right, but in activities that are not authorized in the New Testament as concerning the actual work of the church.

In the second place, members are often given roles for which they are not qualified.  A lady is chosen to teach a class not because she is qualified, but because she needs to be involved.  A man is appointed a deacon to help him to be “faithful.”  Another man is appointed to serve the Lord’s Supper for a month in order to encourage him to be present each Sunday that month.  This method thus places “the cart before the horse,” for no one should ever be assigned any work in the Lord’s service who is not already faithful and qualified for the work to be done (2 Timothy 2:2).

The second way to keep people faithful is to develop within them a genuine love for the Lord.  When people love the Lord, they will be faithful, and it won’t take some kind of “special” project to keep them faithful.  They will also be involved: in worship, in study, in godly living, in sharing the gospel with a friend, in helping the needy.  I have known literally hundreds of Christians who have never in their lives been appointed to any special work, but whose love for the Lord alone keeps them faithful.  There is no superficial faithfulness on the part of these; theirs is a faithfulness that is real.

Special responsibilities are fine for those who are qualified to have them, but the member who requires some special duty to be faithful has never learned what true faithfulness is.

– By Bill Hall

The Object Of Our Love

Peter’s confession was not an idle statement (Matt 16:13-16).  Peter loved Jesus & the One who sent Him.  In this lesson we will probe the responsibility of Peter’s confession.

I.     GOD

A.    Source of love (1 John 4:7-14)
B.    Object of love (Gen 1:26; Deut 6:4-6; Matt 22:36-40)

II.    OBEYING or DISOBEYING GOD

A.    Proof of love (John 14:15, 21)
B.    Failure of love (1 Cor 16:22)

III.    GROWING in LOVE for GOD

A.    Regression (Matt 26:33-35, 40-41, 51, 69-74)
B.    Remorse (Luke 22:61-62)

1.    Hopeless betrayer (Matt 27:3-5)
2.    Penitent denier (Luke 22:62; 1 Cor 13:7)

C.    Restoration (Luke 24:12; John 21:15-19)

This is what Jesus asks of those who have God as the object of their love.

Our love for God exceeds emotion & sentiment.
Love for God is a complete resignation of our wills to Him.

He gave His all.  Will we give our all to Him?

Is Salvation By Faith Alone?

When it comes to salvation from sin, no one is saved by any ONE thing alone.  We are saved by God, Christ, Gospel, Grace, Mercy, Christ’s Blood, Confession, Baptism, Obedience, Works, Hope, Effort, & Enduring Faith.  The New Testament will verify these facts.

I.    ORIGIN: saved by faith alone

A.    Augustine, a bishop in Africa (4th and 5th century).
B.    Martin Luther, a catholic monk in Germany (16th century).
1.    He added the word “alone” (Rom 3:28; cf. Prov 30:5-6).
2.    He said Paul & James were in conflict (Rom 3:38; James 2:20-21, 24-26).
a.    Paul refuted … meriting/earning salvation.
b.    James refuted … salvation without obedience.

II.    INCONSISTENCY: saved by faith alone

A.    Repentance is necessary for salvation (forgiveness, justification, eternal life).
1.    Luke 13:1-5; Acts 17:30-31; Matt 21:28-31
a.    All are sinners.
b.    All must repent.
c.    Regretting sins can result in repentance & doing the Father’s will.
B.    Loving God is necessary for salvation.
1.    1 Cor 16:22; John 14:15; Luke 10:27

III.    FALLACY: saved by faith alone

A.    Everyone in Hebrew 11 did something “by faith”.
1.    They trusted God’s promises (Rom 10:17; Gen 12:2-3; 13:14-17).
2.    The complied with God’s will (Heb 11:20-26).
B.    Justification & Salvation are “by faith” (John 3:16; 3:36; Acts 16:31; Rom 5:1-2; 3:26-28; Eph 2:8).
1.    “Saved by faith” does NOT mean saved “at the point of faith”.
2.    We are saved when we carry out His will by faith (Jas 2:14-26).

Do we live by faith, or are we practical atheists when it comes to God’s commands (Heb 11:24-25; 1 Pet 1:22; Mark 16:16; Col 2:12; 1 Pet 3:21; Rom 6:3-4)?

One who claims to believe in Christ & yet will not obey Him does not have a faith that pleases God (cf. John 12:43).  The Scripture nowhere speaks of “faith only” salvation; salvation is not by “faith alone” (James 2:24). — Boyd Jennings