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"That Love Which Is Of God"

Chapter XI



There is a great truth not seen by many today, but a great spiritual truth just the same. It is a truth this writer calls "promotion without acceptation." I believe that this promotion without acceptation is a full measure of love's resigning. Love (agape) is a supernatural thing, an abnormal, or unnatural thing. It has never supposed to fit into the human reason or into the human will.

This truth is a deep truth which, because of being unseen by many, there have been church splits, broken homes, hurt brethren, broken parents and a host of other dire situations. Here is a truth which, in my opinion, can completely change God's people's relationship with others, their relationship with God, their prayer life, etc. Living for Christ could become a real joy rather than a burden. Even the average Christian marriage could become a courtship almost instantly, in fact, virtually all of their loves could become revived if this truth could be grasped. Notice that David says in Psalm 55:12-14: "For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him: But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company." Here is Christ letting us in on a very heart rending experience which took place, in my opinion, in heaven, and would be re-run somewhat on earth in Judus.

There was a pont in time before Lucifer's fall, that he was an honored servant of God and that through David, God is giving us a picture of God's affection toward Lucifer. If the reader will notice, in most King James Bible, there is a marginal note at verse 13 which states that equal means "according to my rank," or as a Lexicon puts it, "Equal in the estimation I am held, he of like estimation; whatever my rank, I have estimated him equal to me."

Now notice how in some other passages this idea prevails also. Ezekiel 28:14 says, "Thou art the anointed cherub: ...I have set thee so: " Again in Ezekiel 31:3, "...his top was among the thick boughs." And once more, in Ezekiel 31:5, "Therefore his height was exalted above all the trees of the field..."

From all God's Word, it seems very strongly as if God "estimated" Lucifer to a position he was never actually in, but notice in divine truth here in this: Lucifer was promoted by God, but...

Let's look further at promotion without acceptation or love's resigning when pro-moted. This needs to be thought through or it will not be understood. It is not actually deep. It is just too simple and most miss it.

Notice that it is required by God that each saint never look up on themselves. "And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them, When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him; And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room. But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee. For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted." (Luke 14:7-11). Saints are shown more than once that it is not divine-will to exalt oneself; that self-exaltation is pride and "God resisteth the proud..." (James 4:6). Notice again in Matthew 23:5-7: "But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi."

Saints are not to copy the worldly or to fulfill the flelsh's hungers for popularity, position, etc., but are to "...humble [ourselves] under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt [us] in due time." (I Peter 5:6).

Saints are not to accept promotion. Not of man; not of God; not in the sense in which we "normally" think of promotion. Look at II Corinthians 10:12,18: "For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. ...But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord." This is what we generally think of when we think of promotion: set at equal among others; or sit above others in some way. This is not the Lord's promotion for His people.

In our carnal age of worldliness in Christians, it does seem that Hosea is again virtually true, when he states, "...the spiritual man is mad (insane), for the multitude of thine iniquity..." (Hosea 9:7). Saints want what Israel wanted in Samuel's day when they required, "Nay; but a king shall reign over us..." (I Samuel 12:12), and again, "Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations" (I Samuel 8:5). We today are crying for "spiritual" promotions as long as they are like the world's religous and pagan "Christian" promotions.

Let's look still further into this truth. It is also required by God that the elder look up to the junior in rank of maturity. Hold it now! You read right. The junior should look down to the elder. Isan't that backward, especially to our mind set of day where we've come to evaluate spirituality by human concept, rather than by truth? Let's heart it again. It is required "by God" that the elder look up to the junior in rank.

Notice in Psalm 55:13, the "Mine equal" or one who I estimated as mine equal. Here is the Lord looking up or across to one who is not God, not equal. But God does estimate, in His own heart, thrat Lucifer is equal. Of course, even if this is David only and it is his story with no other truth meant, David alone was king and none were equal with him, except in his own estimation.

Follow this thought in Philippians 2:3: "Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves." Here saints are expressly commanded to estimate or esteem other better or above themselves. See, Brethren, it is required by God that the elder, the more mature, the more spiritual, look up to his junior. Another passage to view is Ephesians 4:2: "With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;"

Saints (that is, the more mature saints) are to look up to the less mature from lowliness or a lower position. Again, notice in Romans 12:10: "Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;" Here we see God expressly saying, prefer one another, or elevate others above oneself. And still again, we see in I Corinthians 15:9, where Paul says: "For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God." Paul places himself under or below all other of the apostles of those of his own rank or office.

Preachers and pastors, like laymen, have a strong tendency to elevate themselves above others; striving for the largest, the more "showy" Christian works which, in their own eyes of estimation (flesh often) is height, therefore sought after them-selves. Each saint (don't get me wrong) should be striving after fruitfulness (John 15:8) and interest in God's gifts to us (Matthew 25:27), but the motives must not be for vain purpose. God's servants are all commanded to refuse promotion which elevates one above another. This is a heart-issue, brethren, which you will have to grasp. This truth does not mean no "overseers" or officers above others in function or office, nor does it mean no titles or rank such as pastor, superintendent, doctor, etc., but it does mean that the heart itself cannot accept this such promotion.

Now, hear it out please. You will see this is not a "tang“nt," but a real Biblical, spiritual truth. Read further with Paul in Ephesians 5:21. "Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God."  Here we are told to submit each to other; even husbands to their wives are to submit. The teaching on family is often overbalanced to complete freedom in all or total equality; or, on the other hand, it is the husband as "lord over" wihtout love (agape), i.e., giving of self to wife. He is taught to be a taker; her the giver. That is not entirely Scriptural, but rather fleshly.

"But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." (Matthew 20:25-28). We again hear Christ, Himself, admonish His apostles and teach that His saints, especially the rulers (i.e., apostles and leaders, the more mature) are to refuse, from their hearts, promotion. Their love (agape) is to resign itself and self's own advantage in self's promotion. Though one might well be officially above, one must always refuse to accept within the heart anything less than to be servant of others. The child of God is to look up to those whom he serves and delight in service. Yes, he might be the pastor, but he is to be a serving pastor and never as "lords over God's heritage" (I Peter 5:3) - kind of pastor. Neither is he to be as Ezekiel 34:2-7 stated: "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock. The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them. And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them. Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD;

No saint is to be above, in his heart, any other saint, but ot be servant to or he, in God's eyes, ranks lower. Whre do you rank, in God's eyes, in this matter? Are you a servant of others, "esteeming other (all saints) better than themselves?" This does not mean agreeing with their doctrine or moral sin in their lives, nor does it mean never to reprove, rebuke, or discipline. It does, however, mean "...speaking the truth in love (agape)..." (Ephesians 4:15) and "...the servant of the Lord must not strive: but be gentle unto all men ...patient...in meekness..." I believe that this can be done and God's words can still be defended and we can "...earnestly contend for the faith." (Jude 3).

So far, it has been stated that it was required by God that the elder look up to the junior in rank and maturity, but futher still, it is required by God that the promoted yield promotion. Here is where one's heart is pricked. Here is where the carnal and spiritual part company.

In God's eyes, as previously stated, one who seeks genuine, spiritual maturity and blessing cannot and will not accept promotion. We read in I Peter 2:21, "...follow in HIS steps:.." and again in Philippians 2:5-8 and 3: "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." "...Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves." Here we see Jesus refusing a reputation, though He be God, and He took the form of a servant, both the physical attire and the mind or heart of servanthood.

Again, look at Jesus in Matthew 20:28: "Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." Minister, here is a servant; Jesus came to be a server. Again, look at verses 26: "But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your servant;"

We, likewise,are to follow in His steps and choose from the heart to be under others and servants of others. Friends, this is love (agape) in action. No elder can accept promotion as we think of promotion and still be "following" Christ. In John 13:4-5, we are given an exampale of a servant in the Oriental world, a public display of such by Jesus. All saints who, in the eyes of God, reach maturity, must voice with the Apostle Paul, "Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ." (Ephesians 3:8).

Below all saints, says Paul. Yet, still a preacher and above in service, but never accepted within my heart. Fulfill the duty? Yes! Accept the glory? No! Never! "Unto him be glory..." Paul said in Ephesians 3:21, "...that no flesh should glory in his sight."

How about you, dear reader? Do you hold an office which has exalted your heart above others and now you no longer are the server of others; no longer the giver; but the receiver instead? No mature officer in the New Testament church can ever see themselves as Korah did in Numbers 16:2-3: "...famous in the congregation, men of reknown." Whereupon through Moses, God said these were taking too much upon them.

You see, brethren, real love (agape) is a continual resigning of itself to others. It's promotion in office, duty, responsibility, task, leadership, etc., but without accept-ance of such within the heart. The promoted should have the heart of even lower stature after such promotion. To think that God would use them even greater, and should humble one even further.

To conclude this chapter, let us remind ourselves that Lucifer, when he was held in estimation of equality, did accept that promotion, thereby setting the heart stage for his own destruction. We see in I Timothy 3:6: "Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil." Sometimes we need to stop ourselves in the midst of good performance, praises of others, and promotion to greater use by God, to remind ourselves that we will not accept promotion. Paul said of his state a clear conclusion for us in II Corinthians 12:7: "And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure."

We cannot of our hearts be more than Christ, who was a "chief" ruler. That, brethren, is agape-love in action, as we've afore stated.