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"That Love Which Is Of God"

Chapter XIII



One thing that is difficult for love (agape) to do is to receive itself. When real agape-love has taught by example the true act of love by giving itself entirely, expending for others and when its own disciples begin to maintin this visible truth, then love (agape) itslf must also be loved. Genuine love will always be an initiator of affection from its own very nature and character. God, being love (agape) within the heart, will initiate this giving continually from within; outside influence will not affect that which is truly from God. But it is also true that genuine love (agape) roots itself into the hearts of its disciples. Remember I John 4:10: "herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us..." And remember in verse 19: "We love Him, because He first loved us."

Now remember also what happens to this "divine nature," agape-love. Along with Romans 8:10: "...and if Christ be in you.." there is also a thought provoking verse in Philippians 1:6, which says, "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." Is there a good work in you? What work is that? For the anwer look at Gal-atians 5:22: "But the fruit of the spirit is love..."

Now if that love (agape) which is of God comes within when one receives Christ as personal Saviour and it takes root as "His seen remaineth in him," then would not real agape-love become living fruit withint the disciple or child of God? This being true, it is also true of what God says in I John 4:19: "...we love him because..." and again in Ephesians 5:25: "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it." Here we are told that true "husbandship" is true Christ-likeness wherein the wife, representing the sinner, is to submit or respond to her own husband (or to love). Here we see that the lover also becomes the loved. Love has great difficulty relating to this as it is giving of self entirely.

It is a mind-arresting thought to think that God, the great Lover, must also be a love receiver; that God, the ulti-mate Giver of Himself, also receives. This is especially difficult to understand when one realizes that genuine agape-love gives and is never satisfied until it has completely expended its own self in giving. After Christ had given all, only then, He said, "It is finished." Only at His expiring was love satisfied in its gift. (Would it change some homes and churches if this could be also said of the "elders" of each?) God gave Himself then He receives love from His saints; a husband gives himself to his family then receives love from them.

What is receiving love? It is letting them do things which please; it is finding things for them which they can do that pleases. Our Bible is full of little things that God leaves as hints to the searcher in order to please Him. The Jews missed this because they were not love responders as a nation. In Psalm 51:16, it says, "For thou desirest not sacrifices; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offerings" - we find one thing that does not please. This goes along with Isaiah 1:11,"...to what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me?"   and in verse 13 He says,"I cannot away with; it is iniquity..."

But on the other hand, David was looking for what would delight God. "For thou desirest not sacrifice, ELSE WOULD I GIVE IT..." God delights in the good way of Psalm 37:23: "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way." God is please by men who delight in His commandments as in Psalm 112:1: "Praise ye the Lord. Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord, that delighteth greatly in his commandments." God delights in mercy as we arae told in Micah 7:18: "Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritabe? He retaineth not his anger forever, because he delighteth in mercy." He also delights in wisdom and understanding as told in Proverbs 8:30: "and I was daily his delight." Honesty delights God as it says in Proverbs 11:1: "A false balance is abomination to the Lord: but a just weight is his delight" and then there is Proverbs 15:8: "the prayer of the upright is His delight." God delights in prayer. Actually, the word prayer, as the late Dr. John R. Rice so aptly put it, means to ask. There are many things we qcquaint with praying, but in actuality, God delights in the upright spiritually asking for spiritual/material blessings. Remember, God is a giver.

"God is love" and God first loves, that love may draw until its response begins returning service and giving back to God. God then must provide ways in which we might please Him because that is what love loves. Love (agape) loves giving. Giving is its very nature; love produces giving. But love also has not finished its work until giving issues out from where it is penetrating. Then it will wish to know how to please its master in gifts.

Love (apage) as a response will desire to pleasure its source and give itself as a servant to the source of its own origin and it will imitate its originator toward others. As the object of God's love matures or grows in the grasp of God's working of love within the heart, then His response will grow toward God and deepen in quality of affection. It will be-come more like Christ toward God and more like Christ toward others. Here is love's response to love found in John 14:21: "He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me..." and again in I John 2:5: "But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected" (or brought to maturity).

Here is another truth. When an object of love begins responding, the responder becomes an object of special attention of love (agape). Ephesians 2:7: "That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus." Psalm 84:11 "For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly." There are many places that declare God's richest blessings are on those who respond to love; the more the response the more the love. Genesis 6:8: "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord." Acts 13:22-23: "And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfill all my will. Of this man's seed hath God acording to his promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus..."

I believe that this is an undated truth which is just as real today. The reason many saints are blessed so scarcely today is that they just "aren't too loveable."

Brethren, are we loveable? Are we responders? Are we sponges who soak and not give out (carnal) or reflectors which receive and give back all we get, giving it quickly away again? "Freely ye have received, freely give" (Matthew 10:8) is the response of genuine love. Love is not as the Dad Sea which takes in and gives not out, but as the beautiful Lake Gennereth or Sea of Galilee which takes in and gives out equally. This is what love will do within.

Love which does give and give and give sacrificially even in deep poverty, will one day begin to produce lovers or givers who will, as we to God, respond back to the source of love from which they have received. Then brethren, that lover, that giver, must learn how to also be a receive and must, as God has done for us, leave hints of what pleases them. He must never cease being a lover/giver though. He keeps on giving and takes the pleassures he receives and gives them away anew to another in kind, because real agape-love never can be intimidfated to quit giving by having to receive; it will just keep on being a greater giver. Has God ceased giving? Is not that His nature which is genuine love (agape) within the lover? "He that loveth...for God is love" (I John 4:8).

The phoney lover, the professing saint, will only give for awhile at best and will expect response and soon will only be stimulated by receiving. This, my dear friend, is much of Christianity today: phoney!