LOVE’S DEMONSTRATION

LOVE’S DEMONSTRATION

Rom. 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

The birth, the life, the ministry, and the death of Jesus Christ are all about demonstration. We know the Bible teaches us that God loves us, after all, how many of us sang “Jesus Loves Me This I Know” or “Jesus Loves the Little Children” when we were just children? But what does that mean? For me, the love of God never became real until my eyes were opened to His demonstration of love. The suffering and death of Jesus Christ for sinners is the ultimate display of love.
Just before I became a Christian I lived in a small shotgun house outside of Slidell. It was meagerly furnished and had a picture on the wall just above the kitchen table. The picture was a display of God’s love, of course it was an image of Christ dying on the cross with Jerusalem in the background. Many times I ate all alone in that house looking at that picture above the table. The Lord was drawing me in, I was being captured by His vast love for me. Charles Spurgeon wrote about this incredible love, have a look at this.

“Before we can have any right idea of the love of Jesus, we must understand his previous glory in its height of majesty, and his incarnation upon the earth in all its depths of shame. When he was enthroned in the highest heavens he was very God of very God; by him were the heavens made, and all the hosts thereof. His own almighty arm upheld the spheres; the praises of cherubim and seraphim perpetually surrounded him; the full chorus of the hallelujahs of the universe unceasingly flowed to the foot of his throne: he reigned supreme above all his creatures. Who can tell his height of glory then? And who, on the other hand, can tell how low he descended? To be a man was something, to be a man of sorrows was far more; to bleed, and die, and suffer, these were much for him who was the Son of God; but to suffer such unparalleled agony-to endure a death of shame and desertion by his Father, this is a depth of condescending love which the most inspired mind must utterly fail to fathom. Herein is love! and truly it is love that passeth knowledge. O let this love fill our hearts with adoring gratitude, and lead us to practical manifestations of its power.”

After several months of looking at that picture, I went to see Jesus Christ Superstar at the Joy Theatre in New Orleans. When the crucifixion scene came on the screen, I was undone. I wept like a baby in the theatre. I finally got it. Jesus’ love was personal, He actually died for me. After the movie, I stumbled upon some Jesus freaks out on the lake front. They witnessed to me about God’s love for my life. What an amazing God, His timing is unthinkable. God’s love was chasing me down.As a result of God’s incredibly personal demonstration of love, that night I knelt beside my bed and turned to Christ.

GOD’S LOVE POURED INTO OUR HEARTS

GOD’S LOVE POURED INTO OUR HEARTS

“Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:5

MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS BAILEY

I made the mistake of running into Lowe’s before church early Sunday. I can’t think of the last time I did this. The store was bustling just like it was an ordinary day. Everyone was getting their usual fixer upper stuff. I became saddened because to them it was just another day.
But except for the “grace of God” I too would be wondering aimlessly lacking purpose, vision and morals. In fact I still remember early on at Bible School my eyes were suddenly opened, realizing that I had been praying to idols before I received Christ. (Frank and I were going to the Krishna temple). It’s amazing how much you see just how deep in the dung land we all were! “For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” (Romans 5:6) Yes, I was totally helpless when it came to doing anything toward Christ. He did it all for me and continues to do it, for He is the will and the do! He fills us with copious amounts of His love, overfilling us and overflowing to others.
Clarke goes onto to say; “Because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts-We have the most solid and convincing testimony of God’s love to us, by
that measure of it which he has communicated to our hearts.
There, εκκεχυται, it is poured out, and diffused abroad; filling,
quickening, and invigorating all our powers and faculties. This
love is the spring of all our actions; it is the motive of our
obedience; the principle through which we love God, we love him
because he first loved us; and we love him with a love worthy of
himself, because it springs from him: it is his own; and every
flame that rises from this pure and vigorous fire must be pleasing
in his sight: it consumes what is unholy; refines every passion
and appetite; sublimes the whole, and assimilates all to itself.
And we know that this is the love of God; it differs widely from
all that is earthly and sensual. The Holy Ghost comes with it;
by his energy it is diffused and pervades every part; and by his
light we discover what it is, and know the state of grace in
which we stand.”
Some of us have no clue what caused us to turn to Christ, others mistakenly think they actually had something to do with it. Spurgeon says, “But by a mysterious agency he fills the soul with the light of glory. The understanding feels it, it is enlightened; the will feels it, it is subjected to the will of God; the heart feels it, it is fired with holy love; the hope feels it, for it looks forward to the day when the whole man shall be made like its covenant head Jesus Christ.”

HE GIVES GRACE

HE GIVES GRACE

Rom. 5:17 For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

Paul was always contending for the unspeakable, somewhat excessive nature of God’s grace. It is as if he was trying his best to describe the indescribable. He uses an interesting word, perisseia, translated abundance in the NASB. It is an attempt to paint the overflowing nature of God’s grace. Zodhiates word book translates this word like this:
Perisseía; an exceeding measure, overflowing, something above the ordinary

The grace of God is the influence of The Lord on His elect, we are never quite the same once we begin to drink from this cup called grace. We face troubles like everyone else, we just don’t have to face them alone. Charles Spurgeon was another of those “wordsmiths” that tried their best to tell of the wonders of God’s love. Here is Spurgeon lost in the grace of God.

“Bounteous is Jehovah in his nature; to give is his delight. His gifts are beyond measure precious, and are as freely given as the light of the sun. He gives grace to his elect because he wills it, to his redeemed because of his covenant, to the called because of his promise, to believers because they seek it, to sinners because they need it. He gives grace abundantly, seasonably, constantly, readily, sovereignly; doubly enhancing the value of the boon by the manner of its bestowal. Grace in all its forms he freely renders to his people: comforting, preserving, sanctifying, directing, instructing, assisting grace, he generously pours into their souls without ceasing, and he always will do so, whatever may occur. Sickness may befall, but the Lord will give grace; poverty may happen to us, but grace will surely be afforded; death must come but grace will light a candle at the darkest hour. Reader, how blessed it is as years roll round, and the leaves begin again to fall, to enjoy such an unfading promise as this, The Lord will give grace.”

Are you facing one of those dilemmas Spurgeon spoke of? Are you being confronted with sickness, financial crisis, family chaos, or ministry woes? His grace is sufficient. Have you lost something or someone precious to you? His grace is sufficient. He is joy unspeakable in your battle with depression. He is the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. He is the Great Physician when you are sick, He is the wonderful Counselor when you don’t have a clue. He is El Shaddai, all sufficient and more than enough for your poverty, and He is Captain of the Lord’s army when you face your enemies. I am convinced, there is nothing that can withstand the grace of God. Maybe you feel like you have fallen in a pit, He is there in the pit with you. Like David, sing to Him in the midst of your troubles, He is not far away and is more than enough for you.

OUTDATED WORDS OR FOUNDATIONAL TRUTH

OUTDATED WORDS OR FOUNDATIONAL TRUTH

Rom. 5:1-2 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

I love the message of the grace of God, Christ died for the ungodly. Jesus bore the sins of the vilest of sinners, that is why He came to earth. He has made a legal agreement with His Father, He became one of us to represent us before His Father. His death makes it possible for us to be declared legally righteous, this is called being justified by faith. How does that happen? The just shall live by faith. This is the foundation stone of the Protestant Reformation. We are declared righteous before God by grace through faith. This is the initial revelation that brings us into the kingdom of God. We catch a glimpse of the availability of access to God, we embrace it, and faith brings us into this life of rest and peace.
Does God’s grace nullify our responsibility to live a godly life? Absolutely not, it empowers us to live a Christ like life. Rather than the misery of trying to do right in our own strength, the grace of God empowers us to live a new life in which we enjoy Him and His new life of purity and holiness.
That brings us to the next bible word, sanctification. Sanctification is the work of righteousness that the Holy Spirit performs in our hearts. Peter teaches that we are sanctified by the Holy Spirit, it is the work of the Spirit in our lives that separates us from the world and makes us more and more like Him. Paul said it like this in 2Cor. 3:18 “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”
The most surprising thing about the Holy Spirit’s work of sanctification is that this is the place that joy begins to come into play. Think about it, what is the attraction of the sins that hold many people captive? The answer is quite obvious, it is the pleasure and enjoyment found in sin that proves to be irresistible. As I learned from Jonathan Edwards, we must fight the pleasurable nature of sin with its own weapon, pleasure. The greatest pleasure available is found in the presence of the Holy Spirit. He is actually the personification of the joy and love of God. It is actually in tasting the pleasure found in the manifest presence of the Holy Spirit that breaks the chains of sin off of our lives. Did you get that? The very thing that the natural man runs from, sanctification, is the very source of supernatural joy.
So, at the end of the day, peace and joy, the very thing that man is searching for, is found in those theological words, justification and sanctification. Rather than removing those “old fashioned” theological terms from our world, we should pursue them with all of our hearts.

HOT PURSUIT

HOT PURSUIT
by Parris Bailey

“And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Romans 5:5

Where would be without God’s love? Especially the love of God poured out over us, in us and through us. I shudder at the thought of it, knowing my own heart. It’s amazing to watch when our love runs out, God’s love takes over. S.D. Gordon says; “The love of God is height less, depthless, shoreless, shall flood our hearts, making us as gentle and tenderhearted, and self-sacrificing and gracious as He. Every phase of life will become intrenched in love. Peace is love resting, bible study is love studying it’s lover’s letters. Prayer is love keeping trust. Conflict with sin is love jealously fighting for its lover. Hatred of sin is love shrinking from that which separates from its lover. Sympathy is love tenderly. Enthusiasm is love burning. Patience is love waiting. Faithfulness is love sticking fast. Humility is love taking its true place. Modesty is love keeping out of sight. Soul-winning is love-pleading. Love is revolutionary. It radically changes us, and revolutionizes our spirit toward all others. Love is democratic. It ruthlessly levels all class distinctions. Love is intensely practical. It is always hunting something to do. Love is not only the finest fruit but it is the final test of a Christian life. When the Holy Spirit takes possession there is love, aye, more than a flood of it. Waters come rushing down, cutting out new channels, washing down rubbish, tearing valuable property from its moorings. It will cut new channels broaden and deepen old ones.”
Augustine: “There, εκκεχυται, it is poured out, and diffused abroad; filling,
quickening, and invigorating all our powers and faculties. This
love is the spring of all our actions; it is the motive of our
obedience; the principle through which we love God, we love him
because he first loved us; and we love him with a love worthy of
himself, because it springs from him: it is his own; and every
flame that rises from this pure and vigorous fire must be pleasing
in his sight: it consumes what is unholy; refines every passion
and appetite; sublimes the whole, and assimilates all to itself.
And we know that this is the love of God; it differs widely from
all that is earthly and sensual. The Holy Ghost comes with it;
by his energy it is diffused and pervades every part; and by his
light we discover what it is, and know the state of grace in
which we stand. Thus we are furnished to every good word and
work; have produced in us the mind that was in Christ; are enabled
to obey the pure law of our God in its spiritual sense, by loving
him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength; and our
neighbor, any and every soul of man, as ourselves.”
Lord, go ahead and pour!

EXPERIENCE LOVE

EXPERIENCE LOVE

Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Rom 5:5

Love is clearly defined in the life, ministry, and death of Jesus our Lord. When we look at His love revealed to us personally at the cross we begin to understand. But His relentless love does not stop there. There is more for us, much more. He wants to bring each of us into the experience of His love, this is where He captures our hearts. Where does this experience become ours, it happens through the outpouring of His Spirit upon our lives. After Jesus died and rose from the dead, He took His place at the Father’s right hand. In that place of incredible glory, He began to pour out His love upon our lives. This loved is poured into our hearts by the precious Holy Spirit. Adam Clarke was a minister working with John Wesley in the revival in England in the 1700’s. Listen to his description of this love.

” We have the most solid and convincing testimony of God’ s love to us, by that measure of it which he has communicated to our hearts. There, it is poured out, and diffused abroad; filling, quickening, and invigorating all our powers and faculties. This love is the spring of all our actions; it is the motive of our obedience; the principle through which we love God, we love him because he first loved us; and we love him with a love worthy of himself, because it springs from him: it is his own; and every flame that rises from this pure and vigorous fire must be pleasing in his sight: it consumes what is unholy; refines every passion and appetite; sublimes the whole, and assimilates all to itself.”

That is it. This is where our life, our real life begins. It is born in the love of God that is poured out abundantly in our hearts through the Holy Spirit. Our world is desperately looking for love. We have looked everywhere, always coming up empty. The fact is, human love can never satisfy the huge need and appetite that we have for love. Nothing less than the love of God will do for us. Today, take another look at our dying Savior, His death on the cross defines His love, as you gaze at this incredible sight, it happens, His love begins to pour down upon us in the person of the Holy Spirit.

LOVE’S DEFINITION

LOVE’S DEFINITION

For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Rom 5:6-8

What does love look like? I have always heard that Jesus “loves” me, but how does that look. What kind of love does He love me with? Actually, Paul tells us in this verse, God demonstrates His love for us on the cross. His amazing death gives us a glimpse of His great love for sinners. The love of God is clearly seen in the death of His Son.
Recently, I went for a run with my dog, Sam. I was listening to music on my iPod, and a Misty Edwards song, “Arms Wide Open” was playing. As I was listening to the song, I heard her describing this very truth, the simple truth which she called “Love’s Definition”.

“And then I saw Him there, hanging on a tree, looking at me
I saw Him there, hanging on a tree, looking at me
He was looking at me, looking at Him, staring through me
I could not escape those beautiful eyes
And I began to weep and weep

He had arms wide open, a heart exposed
Arms wide open; He was bleeding, bleeding

Love’s definition, love’s definition was looking at me
Looking at Him, hanging on a tree
I began to weep and weep and weep and weep

This is how I know what love is, this is how I know what love is”

Love’s definition, we have always been looking for that definition, but words could never describe it, it had to be seen in action. Can you see it now, Christ’s love for you demonstrated at the cross? This is the love that captured Paul on the road to Damascus, this is the love that “strangely warmed John Wesley’s heart, this is the love that brought Mary of Bethany to that place of worship at the feet of Jesus. Can you see it now? Do you understand His definition of love?
When you comprehend love’s definition, you are changed into a worshiper, what else could we do? Our response to this radical love has no other recourse, His love for us requires worship, that is our response to His definition of love. Have another look at Calvary, if you dare. When you see the beaten, broken body of Jesus, looking at you with His eyes of love and His arms wide open, you will be hooked, permanently captured by his incredible definition of love.