WHY TRIMMEST THOU THY WAYS TO SEEK LOVE?
Biblical love is a heavenly and holy attribute of God. One of the greatest statements in the inspired Scriptures is found in I John 4:8 where the apostle John simply and succinctly states that “God is love.” In turn, God’s saints are exhorted to demonstrate this divine love in their lives both in their genuine concern for lost sinners—II Cor. 5:14 and living saints-I John 4:7.
Today, however, many professing saints are “trimming” [adapting/customizing/cutting] their ways to seek a false love. Some believers are (a) courting/seeking the love of the Christ-deniers (apostates). Via the “emergent” church and ecumenical endeavors, they are knocking at the door of the papacy.
Several decades ago, we would have never conceived that the so-called evangelical NAE and the apostate National Council of Churches would seek relationships with each other, or that the World Evangelical Fellowship would seek ties with the World Council of Churches, but that is exactly what is occurring today.
Other saints are (b) courting/seeking the love of the Compromisers (accommodators). New-Evangelicalism is perfectly described in II Tim. 4:10 as the love of this present ungodly world. New-Evangelicalism is a “shifting” camp that involves a four fold alteration/swing in several key areas: (a) a shift in mood; (b) a shift in method; (c) a shift in message and (d) a shift in morals. We should also include (e) a shift in manuscripts and (f) a shift in music as characteristic traits of this compromising movement. Unfortunately, many professing Fundamentalists are now courting prominent scholars and shepherds in this accommodating movement.
Sadly, some believers are actually (c) courting/seeking the love of the Charismatics (adders), primarily via the adoption of their unscriptural worship practices with “worship” teams, unscriptural CCM [rock] music and Charismatic songs. The new 2008 SBC Hymnal that includes 78/100 top Charismatic songs is a classic example of this unscriptural concession.
However, genuine Biblical love that saints should exhibit stands in stark contrast to the pseudo-love delineated above.
I. Genuine Biblical Love is DOCTRINAL in its Nature. The word doctrine simply means Scriptural instruction or teaching. True love has to have some boundaries and guidelines. Authentic love has some Biblical boundaries that guard its precious treasures, the most important of which is TRUTH. Real love is a divine circle that is bordered all around its perimeter by truth.
In II John, the apostle declares that he loves the “elect lady and her children” “in the truth.” In fact John combines the twins of “truth and love” in the same verse (II John 3) and then delightfully states that he “rejoiced greatly of thy children walking in truth” (II John 4). This walking in truth is described in II John 6 as walking “after his commandments,”
It is a Biblical axiom that God never loves at the expense of truth. From the Scripture we learn that love and truth don’t contradict but that they coincide. Biblical love is instructive, illuminating and inspirational, I John 2:5, 10; 3:18, 4:16.
II. Genuine Biblical Love is DISCERNING in its Norm. In Phil. 1:9-11, Paul prayed that the love of the Philippian believers would “abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment [discernment]” so that they would be able to “approve things that are excellent” and “be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ.”
According to Psalms 97:10, true love does not accept everything that comes along for the Psalmist there declares that those that truly love “the Lord, hate evil.” In I Cor. 13:6 the apostle Paul states that love “rejoiceth not iniquity,” but that it “rejoiceth in the truth, “ while in James 4:4, James reminds believers that “the friendship of the world is enmity with God.”
There are three Koine Greek words for love: (a) agape-the highest form of love; the love that seeks only the highest benefit of another; (b) philos-the desirable human love that includes admiration for one’s person and (c) eros-physical love. When eros is sought strictly for itself, outside of marriage, it become sensual and is prohibited by God. This third word is never used in Scripture to describe genuine love.
Genuine love is thus never unwholesomely sensual, strictly sentimental, or standardless in its manifestations. Biblical love does not remain silent when naïve saints/souls are being led into unscriptural error. A Christian leader once stated that “the greatest love you can ever demonstrate to anyone is to tell them the truth of God’s Word.”
Love is (a) pure—I John 3:3, (b) patient—Gen. 29:20, perceptive—Phil. 1:9-11 and (d) provocative—Heb. 10:24. Someone has aptly said that “You can serve God without loving Him, but you cannot love God without serving Him.”
III. Genuine Biblical Love is DISCIPLINARY in its Nurture. For Christians in general and children in specific, discipline is never punitive, but purgative. Biblical discipline is designed to remove that which is negative and undesirable and replace it with that which is positive and wholesomely desirable.
The classic Scriptural passage dealing with discipline and its intrinsic relationship to love is found in Heb. 12:5-11 where we learn that chastening’s great purpose is that we “might be partakers of his holiness” and yield the ‘peaceable fruit of righteousness” in our lives. In Job. 5:17, the Scripture perceptively states that the man “whom God correcteth” is a “happy” individual, and therefore we should not “despise the chastening of the Almighty.”
In Ps. 119:71, the Psalmist discerningly wrote that “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.” Concerning genuine love in parents, the Scripture declares in Prov. 13:24 that “He that spareth his rod hateth his son; but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.” True love knows when to say “yes,” and love knows when to say “no.”
IV. Genuine Biblical Love is DEVOTIONAL in its Necessity. A so-called love that possesses no passion, tenderness or warmth in it is not true Biblical love, no matter by what name it may be called. God’s saints should manifest (a) love for the SAVIOUR—I John 4:19; (b) love for the SCRIPTURES—Ps. 119:97; (c) love for their SPOUSE—Eph. 5:25, Titus 2:4;; (d) love for all the SAINTS-Heb. 13:1; (e) love for SHEPHERDS—I Thess. 5:12-13; (f) love for SINNERS—II Cor. 5:14 and (g) love for the SANCTUARY—Ps. 42:2-4.
Also in this issue:
|Editorial; February, March 2009 The Fundamentalist Digest; Permission granted for reprint, so long as proper credit is given.|