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"That Love Which Is Of God"

Chapter IV


The agape of God, being the subject that is "Broader than the scope of my transgression, greater far than all my sin and shame," 7 needed a revelation from God to man. It needed to be from God, because we are told in Isaiah 55:8-9, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." And it needed to be to man because we are told in First Corinthians 2:14, "...the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." Becaue of this, our great Agape (God) sent Himself in Jesus Christ to reveal to the world His agape (love). Now, let us see this unfold out of God's own words.

In II Corinthians 5:19, we know God came in Christ: "To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation." Realizing this, study the significance of I John 3:16: "Hereby perceive (know; same Greek word structure as used in Luke 1:34: Œseeing I KNOW not a man.') 8,9 ...we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren."

Let us allow the Holy Spirit to draw our attention to this "perceiving." Does the reader see what is being said? Hereby, or, by the following, we are able to have an intimate glimpse of divine agape-love. Wow! If there was ever a spiritual subject this writer would like some understanding of, it would be the agape-love of God. Here God is declaring for all to see that He will give clear understanding concerning His agape-love. Whoopee! We're home free now! Now, let us look further.

How do we get this grasp of agape-love? We grasp through studying the crucifixion of God for the sin of man; remember that we are told in I Corinthians 1:18, "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved IT is the power of God." "For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified." (1Corinthians 2:2). "But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world." (Galatians 6:14).

Beloved, some of the problem in modern Christianity could be directly related to the lack of preaching on the cross. There is not as much preaching on the crucifixion carried over into the lives of the saints as there once was. Until the believer (including pastors) are actively following the steps of Christ and crucifying he flesh and mind, how will he grasp the deeper significance of "laid down His life for us?" 10

In Jesus Christ, "giving" agape-love is extended to all mankind. John 3:16 tells us, "For God so loved (agape) the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Every living soul was and is still being "agaped" by God. Every sin man has committed was covered by the agape love of Calvary. I John 2:2 says, "And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."

Every condition man is in, because of his sin nature, was overridden by agape-love. "That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: BUT NOW in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ." (Ephesians 2:12,13).

Agape-love issues from the heart of God, without malice or ill will, though it is not accepted by all or even kindly treated by all. God still gave Himself in Christ, knowing full there would be a hell full of disbelievers, rejecters and God-haters; yet, God agaped each man in particular. Agape-love proved and displayed its true character in the cross. John 3:16 is not a declaration of God "agaping" the world as we so often mistake, rather it is a declaration of the intensity of His agape-love as seen in the little word "so." More about this will be covered in a later chapter.

This revelation of agape-love is a necessity relative to recognizing it and not grieving or hindering it in our lives. Without it, we are nothing before the Lord. In Second Corinthians 13:1-4, Paul declares that to not have (agape) charity, and be busy doing a great variety of "Christian" things is "to be" totally profitless before God. Oh, beloved, if we could just see it: that to work for Christ without agape, love is of no profit and no crowns. Listen to God again in Ezekiel 33:13: "When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it."

Some folks seem to have the idea that we can get all our work and duty done in a couple of years of service, then retire into living a good moral life for self until death or the rapture. Beloved, that is just not so! We are to be growing as II Peter 3:18 says: "But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen." Also, according to Ephesians 1:17, "That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:" (Ephesians 1:17). Notice the "give unto...knowledge." and the " grow in knowledge" of Christ. If followed Biblically, this could only mean that we are to be more like Christ each day than we were the day before. Well, is Jesus Christ not (agape) love in human form? Our example of pure (agape) love is to humanly follow Him. Since He is, and we are to grow to be more and more an imitation of Him, won't we be becoming more love (agape) daily; rather than retiring and having "phileo love" toward ourselves?

What we have today is a perception of Christ just enough to believe on Him for Saviour, but not really seeing enough for continuing service and growth for Him. Beloved, if we would know more of Him ourselves, we could show more through ourselves. Others would perceive more from us and be drawn more to Him through us. This is soulwinning more than any book will teach. Soulwinning is summarized by Paul in II Timothy 2:24-25: "And the servant of the Lord MUST NOT strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;" This is (agape) love soulwinnning: that God gave his "only." 11 Christ came to minister (give Himself in serving others), and the Christian is to go and do likewise, as Christ said to the apostles in John 20:21: "Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you."

Agape-love is only revealed in, through and by the Lord Jesus Christ and only by "sitting down, they watched him there." 12 What difficulty it would be to watch Him from a tavern window, through cigarette smoke or across the dance floor, or from a variety of other places where He does not go. "Let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach (cross)." 13

Has the reader watched Him closely lately? Have you realized the importance of the admonition in Hebrews 2:9: "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man." "For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds." (Hebrews 12:3).

It is so easy to get busy doing things which need to be done, the things which must be done, the things which should be done, that we overlook a greater need to simply "...be still and know that I am God." 14 Beloved, stop and think. We are told that without (agape) love, all this doing is nothing; yet, we spin our wheels "doing" more than anything else. This writer wonders if it is not true that the devil and his demons might not be in the "keeping us enjoying the doing" business. If we can be led astray into the field of putting "this business"15 before the giving of ourselves continually to "prayer"16 (which is communion and fellowship with God - agape), we can be rendered "I am nothing" 17 in all our doing.

What Christianity, what Fundamentalism, what New Testament Baptists need is a fresh filling of Jesus Christ. Perhaps if evry Bible-believing preacher would just take off a week and spend it totally out and off somewhere with nothing but a good old King James Bible and Jesus Christ, America and the world would have a revival. What is needed is a revival of agape-love toward and for Christ and His old fashioned Word of truth.

God has revealed His (agape) love to us in Jesus Christ and to each genuine seeker, that (agape) love can be perceived only by studying Him. But wait! Don't be too hasty to begin studying Him. It could cause heartburn. Notice in Luke 24:27: "And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself." Now follow with verse 32: "And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?" You see, while studying Him, these two got heartburn. Does your heart burn for others, beloved? If not, maybe you are too far from Him. Perhaps what is needed is I John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."