Sunday, April 22, 2007

Love

Yesterday, I had the privilege of watching a film called End of the Spear and reading a book called The Hiding Place. Both were stories of Christian sacrifice made for the love of God and man. Jesus said that the two greatest commands were these:

"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, with all thy strength, and with all thy mind." In other words, with everything that you are, love God.

"Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." I don't really think that this should need explanation, except that so many people pretend that they don't love themselves enough. Fact: you never stop loving yourself. Even if you hate what you do, it is because you want yourself to do differently or better--a patent evidence of self-love--that you hate what you do.

But enough of my rant against psychology--see Psycho Heresy Awareness Ministries for more detailed information.

I want to talk about how Nate Saint told his son Steve who asked him if he would use guns against the Waudoni if they attacked him and his fellow missionaries, "Well, they aren't ready for Heaven yet--we are." I want to talk about how Betsie Ten Boom thanked God for fleas and lice and prayed for God's love to be shown to the prison guards that tortured her and so many others in Nazi war camps. I don't ever hear this kind of love shown toward Nancy Pelosi, the latest speaker of the House, or Al Gore, former vice-president, or the ACLU, or anybody else that conservative Christians despise for their policies.

Have we forgotten Paul's words? "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." (Ephesians 6:12) O Christian, that is why we are not to fight with fleshly weapons!

Again, the Apostle Paul: "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; and having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled." (2 Corinthians 10:3-6)

Earthly power says to rely on voting, to blow up abortion clinics (I am not in anyway saying that all conservative Christians want this to happen), to hope that the Supreme Court votes the right way. But Paul says to use the weapons that God has given us for spiritual warfare. And I think that we ought to listen to him (1 Corinthians 14:37).

Here are our weapons: "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

"Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; and for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak."

Does any of this sound like the modern conservative movement? Oh, we pray. We have faith, of some sorts. But do we pray for the bold preaching of the Gospel? But do we truly have faith in God (1 John 5:10)?

Did you notice that the only offensive weapon that auxiliary was the Word of God? Are we preaching that as it is written? Jesus said to the Jews who believed in Him, "If you continue in My Word, then you are My disciples indeed, and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free." (John 8:30-32) Are you truly one of His, by that standard?

So trite is the saying, "They will know that we are Christians by our love." We don't even know what love is! "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins" (1 John 4:10)!! What greater message of love can there be than that God, wanting to spare us His wrath, sent His only begotten Son to take our punishment upon Himself that we might have eternal life? Is this what we are preaching? If not, then we do not have Biblical love.

Objection: "But you can't just call people sinners--that's not loving!" Oh really? Have you read the words of Jesus Himself? Read Matthew 23. Watch End of the Spear--that's what they came to tell the Waudoni, and it changed them forever. It literally saved that tribe from extinction. That the great Creator of the world and mankind would die for us instead of punishing us. That message is what made Nate Saint and his friends ready for Heaven--and it was that message that they went to preach to the Waudoni to get them ready for Heaven, too.

I like to put it this way: This criminal (that means me) has received mercy from God--and he wants his fellow criminals (that means the world) to receive that same mercy. "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen."

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