The Power of God
1 Timothy 1:3-5
As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God's work—which is by faith. The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. (NIV)
I did something a few years ago that hadn't been done before: I went to Salt Lake City and I invited the Professors of Brigham Young University, along with the leaders of the Mormon Church, to attend some meetings downtown at the First Baptist Church. I offered to answer any and all questions on Mormonism they might want to ask. I was coming not as a Baptist minister, but as a full Professor of Comparative Religions, with all the necessary credentials.
You couldn't get near that church for four blocks. It was jammed. Mormon missionaries were there; two Apostles were there. It was a madhouse. I lectured and then I answered questions. No Apostle stood up. No Bishop stood up. The missionaries stood up. The leadership sat there on their hands while the kids got massacred—in love.
Afterwards, two Mormon missionaries came up to me with a guy they were trying to convert. They shook hands with me and said, "We enjoyed your presentation. It was honest. If the church is ever to be destroyed, it will be by what you are doing. You used our own material. How can we say anything against our own material?"
When God destroyed Goliath of Gath, he didn't do it with the stones. He cut off his head with his own sword. The twitching corpse of Mormon theology will lie there one day because its head was cut off by its own archives. It will happen in God's own, dear providence. The next week, those two missionaries came forward in that First Baptist Church and were born again! There is no stopping the power of God.
Something to think about:
God will destroy any Goliath who dares come against Him. Are you willing to be David?
Something to do:
My life, my love I give to Thee,
Thou Lamb of God who died for me;
O may I ever faithful be,
My Savior and my God!
Read about David and Goliath in 1 Samuel 17. What made David unique?
A New Commandment
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." (NIV)
This verse is what I always refer to as the lost commandment. Why do I call it that? Because it's so absent in the lives of Christians. Now, you may say; "I love my fellow Christians. I hug them. I pray for them. I care for them." But just think for a second: Do you love as he loved you?
We need each other in the body of Christ. We need to be fed. We need to share our feelings. We need to be able to confess our faults one to another. We need to learn to love one another as Christ loved us.
I don't mean phony love where everyone hugs you and grabs you and pats you on the back and says, "Glory to God! Hallelujah! I love you!" Sometimes they're patting you on the back just to find a soft spot in which to embed the blade! I've found this to be very true, particularly in some of the circles I've worked in. So, I don't go along with all that "sloppy Agape." But there is nothing wrong with telling someone you love them or giving them a hug or a squeeze on the arm—if you really feel for the person. Don't do it just because it's expected of you. That's hypocritical.
There are some people I like that I have difficulty loving. There are people that I love that I have difficulty liking. There are people who neither love nor like me! We all have our problems, but you can't become an icicle when someone demonstrates some form of Christian love towards you. We have to learn to love each other.
There is a quality of love of which Jesus spoke. It's a quality of love that when manifested, testifies and convinces the world as nothing else can. It is the love of Christ in us for each other; a far greater love than any kind ever before experienced by mankind. That's why Jesus said, "A new command I give you."
How did he love us? He loved us unto death. How did he love us? Vicariously—he was willing to suffer in our place. Do we love each other that way? Do we put other people's interest above our own? Is it what we want or what someone else wants? Is it for the Glory of God or for our own glory? What is the quality of love you have?
If it's the love of Christ, then it will be a selfless love; a sacrificial love. It will be a giving and enduring love. And if it's the love of Christ, it will be an exemplary love. It will not be something that you put on to impress people. It will be something that flows out of you because Christ is in you. Because he loves you, you are capable of loving each other. Love one another in the same manner,says the Greek, as I have loved you.
I believe every Christian—and I know I pray myself to this end—should pray: "Lord Jesus, give me your love, so that I might have that love for the body of Christ."
One of the greatest problems with the Church today is that we can't see any further than our own noses. It's always our own denomination; our own local congregation; our program; our TV show; our missionaries; our this and our that—instead of recognizing that the whole body of Christ is one. We are to help each other for the cause of Christ. True Christian love transcends all denominational barriers. It goes beyond all sexism and beyond the color of skin. It transcends all normal values. True Christian love transforms us.
Something to think about:
What quality of love do you have?
Something to do:
Immortal Love—forever full,
Forever flowing free,
Forever shared, forever whole,
A never-ebbing sea!
O Lord and Master of us all,
Whate'er our name or sign,
We own Thy sway, we hear Thy call,
We test our lives by Thine!
Philippians 2:1-16 teaches us how to love. Study it carefully with this in mind: "Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves."