In August of 1987 Pastor John went through a 5 part series on loving on another. The weeks leading up to this series he had been talking about how to be led of the Spirit and the various places the Spirit will take us if we are in fact led of the Spirit. We talked about how the Holy Spirit reveals the lordship of Jesus and how He gives us the understanding by placing the Word in our hearts. The Lord makes us part of His body to accomplish His tasks.
1 Corinthians 13 talks about the agape love commitment and how relationships manifested in our hearts and released by the Holy Spirit were the only way that things would work well, by moving in the love of God. Pastor John talked to us about how the Holy Spirit leads us not only to face the issue of love, but also to surrender our hearts giving ourselves to the love that He wants to place within our hearts. When we read in the Bible we find the Lord commands us to love one another. In John 13 Jesus has commanded us to love.
Part one in this series on love is one of those times, as Pastor John would say is where we need to eat our peas. It is not some fancy gourmet meal but something that we need or we are not going to go on from here into the things of God until we get this message down. Pastor John will be drawing inspiration for his message from Philippians 1:9:
9And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight,
Paul was being emotional to these people and talking about healthy emotions of love and caring in the Church. He wanted their love to increase more and more to actually abound in insight and understanding. He goes on to explain their agape love should grow through knowledge and depth of insight.
In other words we should learn about love. If there is anything we should pursue to be good at it would be lovers. If there is anything we should get good at is loving and I believe that God wants us to increase our love commitment until it literally abounds.”
According to Pastor John there are a lot of people that don’t love the Church this way. They don’t agape the Church, they don’t agape Jesus. There is a relationship between the body and Jesus that is a very spiritual thing and a lot of people don’t love the Church. They are angry, upset, they are angry at the Church. The Church doesn’t meet their expectations. The problem with this is that the Church is us therefor we are truly upset with ourselves.
Pastor John believes that we would do better if we started loving each other and committing ourselves to one another. The Holy Spirit is leading us to the kind of love that looks at a group of a people and decides to lay down its life for their benefit and blessing. The issue now is not if He is leading it, it is if we are going to go.
Pastor John believed the issue at hand was how to lead Grace Chapel into the agape relationship. What happens once we enter into an agape relationship? We will know what is best.
The Lord is saying there is a whole bunch of stuff hidden from us both in understanding and in experience until you begin to make this obedient direction of our lives towards His love.
I pray that God would give you power in your inner man so that being rooted and grounded in love you can comprehend and grasp and you can understand what you can’t in other ways. You can understand the love of God enough to know this love so you can be filled with all the fullness of God.”
God wants us to make a commitment to love Him unconditionally and to love each other. God is trying to raise our love not just brotherly love, but the agape commitment. We need to follow the agape way.
In part one of this series on love Pastor John spoke to us about the agape commitment, the decision to love the body. He had been speaking about the levels of love and how God wants us to come up a little higher. He also talked about the consistent command of scripture to the church regarding loving one another.
Pastor John will begin by picking up in Philippians 1 so we can continue with the thoughts we began to develop in part one of this series. We have already learned that the Bible teaches that when we are saved and come to the Lord we are brought into a regeneration by the Holy Spirit. This same Holy Spirit cleanses and brings forgiveness to us placing within our hearts and lives a love for the Church. This begins as brotherly love which the Bible calls Philia love. As we receive this love it begins to grow into a deeper love that responds in a commitment towards the body and each other called the agape love of God.
These two great apostles Peter and Paul knew the command of Jesus and not only knew it they believed it, lived by it and sowed it deeply into the fabric of the Church.”
Pastor John feels the Lord has been telling him to go back to his roots and teach again what he began teach when he first began the church 18 years ago. That we should go back to our foundations and lay them again. The Holy Spirit has directed Pastor John back to his roots to simply learn about this command of love.
In the second part of this series on love Pastor John is going to look at three reasons why most of us never enter into the commitment of agape love and seem content remaining in the Philia love. He will also go through the teaching of Jesus regarding loving our neighbors.
Father we come to you, forgive us for our unbelief that has caused us to be satisfied with the Philadelphia relationship with your people and even you. Lead us into the agape love.”
18 years ago to the day Pastor John and his wife Marguerite began services in their home on a Sunday night with some of the friends still among those attending this recorded service.
It was a very interesting time, we didn’t know where we were headed and nothing has changed. We still are not awfully sure where we are going in the future we just want to follow the cloud, follow Jesus where ever He is going.”
Last week in part 2 of this series we went through the teaching of Jesus regarding loving our neighbors. He dealt with some of the obstacles that conservative people have regarding loving people. The problem was at that time that the people weren’t sure who to love and what were the dimensions and stipulations on how to love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus simply said, which one loved, which one was neighbor to him, it was he who showed mercy.
The issue Pastor John was talking about is how it becomes difficult for those of us who are trying to please God miss the priorities that the Lord has laid.
Pastor John wants to continue his message from the first two parts of this series on love by looking at the difference between loving the Lord and loving the world. He will talk about the priorities that we sometimes miss from the Lord and he will explain the verse from 1 John where he speaks about he who loveth the world hath not the love of the Father in him. He will also talk about how the relationship of things, loving our work, the relationship of being given to our vocations and how a Godly a thing it is to rejoice in our labors.
Love cannot be held it must be given. To renew for the feeling of love to come it must be given. We must break down these barriers to love.”
This is the fourth message on the series of loving one another. We have been looking over the commandment to love the Lord our God with all our strength, with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind. We are also learning about loving our neighbor as ourselves.
It’s amazing that everything else in scripture, everything else that we do depends upon these two principles. They are not only the greatest in importance but they enable us to fulfill the rest of the Word, loving the Lord. This is why we worship.”
Worship is one way to enter in to the love of the Lord. Worship is not preliminaries to a service; worship stands on its own. For love to really be working in our lives it must be received and returned. We must love the Lord with our emotions and learn to release it. When we come to the Lord we don’t come to twist His arm and get our way, but we learn to worship in surrender to Him. The love that is expressed begins to fill His house and Jesus appears in our midst.
There is a power in praise. There is a joy in praise. There is a strength in praise. There is a victory in praise, but there’s such sweet communion in worship.”
Loving Him is that relationship of love that comes through worship and many things. It is the laying down of our lives that releases the love of God in us. We receive His love, we accept His forgiveness and come into the holy place. We then are able to love each other, not with our own limited affection but with His agape love.
Love is a commitment, a doing, an exercise; it is a lifestyle. It is spiritual but it is also willful. It is something you make up your mind to do. It is a decision. But one thing is clear, loving the Lord involves every bit of ourselves.
John said how can you say you love God if you hate your neighbor? We find all the problems with obedience and faith come from learning to love the Lord.
In his message for this fourth part in this series, Pastor John is going to talk about loving the Lord with the four dimensions of all our hearts, soul, mind and strength. We will learn to love the Lord with all our personality and being.
The Will of God is not some time in the future it is right now in front of you. And loving the Lord is getting a hold of that and serving with zeal and enthusiasm…I believe that as believers there is loving the Lord this way. Loving the Lord in what we do. If we do this in our jobs witness will happen.”
Pastor John has been endeavoring to take us through a series of messages on the subject of God’s love, the process of loving the brotherhood, and agape love. Early in his message Pastor John had talked about the Lord marrying us, giving us an unconditional covenant and a vow of loving us forever. He talked about how many of us have not responded to Him in an unconditional manner but our love is somewhat conditional. That the Lord wants to bring to us to that agape commitment and have that same commitment to one another.
Pastor John also tried to establish the priority of love as far as the Bible is concerned. He talked about how easy it is for all of us to become concerned more about the outward signs of our religion than keeping our hearts in a condition for the Lord to really use us as well as the key to understanding where our hearts really are.
5And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. -Romans 5:5 NIV
One of the fringe benefits of the Holy Spirit is the precious love of God that it carries into our hearts and gives unto us. It deposits His love into us so that our loving is not a matter of our ability to love because we are giving His love to give.
I believe worship is the best way to enter into loving the Lord with heart and soul because it is an act of my will and an act of my emotion.”
In the fourth part in this series Pastor John talked about loving the Lord with the four dimensions of all our hearts, soul, mind and strength. We learned to love the Lord with all our personality and being.
For his final message in this series on love, Pastor John will be reading from 1 John about accepting and loving one another and believing in a God incarnate. The Word became flesh and dwelled among us so that we could understand that as the Holy Spirit comes upon us we can live like Jesus did by the power of the Spirit.
John the Apostle says that he doesn’t want us to love in word alone, but in deed and in action. When we give out of loving one another some great things happen. We need to lay down our lives for our brethren.
God has showed his love among us by sending His one and only son into the world so we might live through Him. This is love. Not that we loved God but that He loved us. If we love one another God lives in us.
It is time that we start laying down our lives for those who can do nothing for us. It is time we start serving in places where it doesn’t do anything great for us, but is an issue of loving…this is how we need to be in the house of God. This is what this is about, a new way of living, a new way of loving.”