Loyal Love...and other Scarce Commodities
Peace [be] to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace [be] with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity...with an undying/incorruptible love. Amen.
I. PEACE is not suppression or avoidance of sources of hostility, but a radical removal of the sources
II. We Need to know the truth and live the truth before we can LOVE others with it
(Love = self-sacrifically desire what is in another's best interest) specifically:
A-to be right rather than wrong ...to be right rather than be liked (accepted)
B-to do what's right on their own initiative rather than be pushed into it ...pursue God directly rather than thru an intermediary
C-to discover that they are on the wrong path sooner rather than later when more damage is done & more error must be undone
D-to reap the consequences of their actions (receive praise for well-doing and rebuke for wrong-doing)
E-to develop Christlike self-control, forbearance, humility, meekness, patience and humor rather grenade whatever offends
F-to exercise self-denial for winning the prize rather than mucking about in the pursuit of finite power, pleasure & possessions
G-to be wounded by a friend rather than kissed by an enemy...to be awkwardly and insensitively told they are about to walk over a cliff rather than sent flowers and a charmingly polite get well card in the hospital
H-to be left in the darkness of their sin rather than exposed to more light for which they will incur more judgement for rejecting
III. FAITHfulness is a consistent sacrificial loyalty to the truth with obvious results
...developing from a conviction that:
1. Jesus is who He said He is and will do what He said He'll do;
Lead me, leave me, or launch me wherever He wants (let's go...sent out disciples...don't go)
Order my every step, thought, value, desire and feeling
Remove or add anything to my life, Rearrange the furniture, Reverse my expectations & experience
Demand the difficult, even my death (but more commonly my life)
2. He has saved my life and I owe it all to Him; 3. There is no better "system or approach" to enjoying this life and the next;
4. I have a responsibility to His: Person (reputation, loyalty, time) Precepts (specific), Principles (general-what would Jesus do or want me to do), Power (not trusting in anything else), Perspective (Vision)
Faithfulness is enhanced by: 1. The experience of God's protection and power toward me; 2. Enjoyment of abandoning myself to Him and finding Him faithful; 3. Exhortation Heb 3:12 Take heed...evil heart of unfaithfulness, in departing 13 But exhort one another
Faithfulness diminishes due to: 1. Satan and immersion in his world system; 2. Forgetfulness/ingratitude; 3. Pride - thinking we can do a better job of managing our lives than God can; 4. Sin/Rebellion - breaks fellowship, begets shame, builds independence.
In order to be faithful I must:
Fix my heart (mind, values, will, emotions) to Follow regardless of the cost
Abandon and Avoid anything or anyone that will hold me back or trip me up
Inquire into Jesus' expectations and desires for me in all things
Trust that if I do my part, He'll do His part in providing all that I need to do His will
Help others along the way as I seek their help and encouragement
Fulfil all His commands and expectations for me (Parable of the Talents)
Unabashed brag about how good my Lord is
Look to the future payoff
IV. Getting GRACE: all-sufficient power
2Co 12:9 ...My grace is sufficient...that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Grace is the coin of the realm of heaven...it enables business to be transacted in the spiritual realm with visible effects on earth
1Co 15:10 grace upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
1. Ask with confidence Heb 4:16 come boldly to the throne of grace...we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
2. Humbly depend upon God Jas 4:6 more grace...God resists the proud, gives grace to the humble. 7 Submit...Resist... 1Pe 5:5
3. Know God 2Pe 1:2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you through knowledge of God...power given to us called to glory & virtue
4. Perceive it by means of the truth Col 1:6 ...heard...and knew the grace of God in (ev) truth:
V. Loyal LOVE is safeguarded from temporal self-centered natural impulses
Beginners Guide to a Corruptible Love:
1. Walk with Worldlings 1Co 15:33 Be not deceived: evil company corrupts good habits/morals
2. Keep an Open Mind 2Co 11:3 I fear...as the serpent beguiled Eve through his craftiness, so your minds should be corrupted...
3. Don't Destroy Desire Eph 4:22 put off the former manner of life, the old man, corrupt according to the deceitful lusts/desires
4. Do What Comes Naturally Jude 1:10 speak evil of...know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts...they corrupt
5. Play with Power, Pleasure and Possessions Re 19:2...He judged the great harlot, who corrupted the earth with immorality...
Questions for Reflection/Discussion/Response:
1. What's the scarcest commodity: peace, loyal love, faith(fulnesss), grace? What's the easiest to increase? The most fragile?
2. If God's the one who gives these goodies, why isn't there more of them around?
3. What would be an appropriate term for someone who says they "love the Lord" but don't live under His lordship nor love others?
4. What's the relationship between unity and the abovementioned commodites?
5. What can you do to foster a heavenly peace on earth and good-will among the saints?