When Pontius Pilate had interrogated Jesus just before his crucifixion recorded in John 18:36-38, Jesus answered him, " My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here." Pilate then said to Him, "Are You a King then?" Jesus answered, "You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Jesus proclaimed that "Everyone of the truth (who seeks truth) hears my voice." Pilate’s reply "What is truth?" And he immediately left Jesus not staying to hear an answer. (Vs.38). Pilate was staring at Truth incarnate, he was so close yet so very far. He didn’t have time to hear any answer.
Christianity claims to be exclusive in its revelation of God and knowing God. It is not to be mistaken for another religion that one can choose among the many. Nor is it to be integrated into another religion, no matter how close its precepts or teachings may be found to Christ.
Nicodemus is a man intrigued by what he has seen and heard. He slips away at nighttime to see Jesus. Jesus appeals to Nicodemus in his conversation , "For God so loved the world he gave his only begotten Son"…
God sent His son into the world not only to be sacrificed but also to deliver truth. He came to bring truth to mankind as well as to die. But to introduce truth one must be confronted with their falsehood. The concept is the true light of God coming in a world of darkness to transfer people who do not believe in God and those who practiced other religions to be brought into a relationship with the one true God.
The motivation for God sending his son into our world to die for sin is love . But what kind of love is this? When we state God loves everyone unconditionally, it does not mean God accepts all no matter what they do or believe. God hates sin. It is contrary to his nature, so he has provided a way to change us so that we can move from being alienated and enemies to friends of our maker. Unconditional love means whatever you have done God will accept you and forgive you and bring you into friendship with himself, if you believe in his message the good news. Yet we have conditions to be met to be found in a new relationship of his unconditional love. Just as the Good news was delivered by the angel in Lk.2 to the shepherds, it was to those of goodwill, who were willing to repent and receives the message. not to anyone who continues on the same destructive course.
John records later what Jesus said to Nicodemus 3:21"But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God." In other words those who seek to know truth will gladly abandon their wrongs and embrace Jesus as savior.
Today Societies view of love has changed drastically. It now means to be tolerant and go the way of least resistance, to avoid any conflict. However, true love is not helping people be accepted and have them continue in falsehood . Because much of the Churches inability to proclaim the truth with backbone, society has been affected as well as the Church. We have substituted words that have no biblical significance so that people will not be uncomfortable at Church. There is a common cold that everyone has without sneezing. In the end of time scripture states the love of many will wax (grow) cold. People become hardened, it is ingrained in their personality. Marriages barely last more than a few years much less a lifetime which they vow for. Nuptial agreements are made to insure the mate of possible retaliation from their loved one when all goes south. Careers can take priority over family and those you love. Ambition drives people to be the best and have the most, this is what gives one self esteem and satisfaction today. The children suffer because the parents are more focused on obtaining the good things of life. So most of their time is spent in pursuit of the American dream. Parents can’t control their children and end up physically abusing them because of their frustrations. It never dawns on them that when you don’t forge a path from their beginning you can’t have them walk on it when they are growing up. Because biblical living is abandoned everyone suffers. They must hear the biblical message to be rescued from a society that is a candle in the wind .
Today everybody is told they have the assurance of going to heaven as long as they are good people, so who needs Jesus! The narrow road is abandoned for the broader path. Tolerance is just another excuse to cover their sin. The New love preached on TV talk shows reassures everyone of all religions on their deathbed that, everything will be all right, because God loves you just the way you are, your accepted. This is NOT love according to scripture, but is actually "the lie" for those who refused the love of the truth. Millions are being anesthetized into false assurances from those who said I have been to the other side and its wonderful everyone makes it.
Can we leave them on their current destructive course that will eventually bring the ultimate destruction on them in the afterlife . Love that sacrifices the truth is void of real love. It props itself up as the ultimate caring, but all it is, is tolerance in disguise, a fake substitute. We actually exhibit love to correct someone who has gone off course. We are not showing love by being silent and allowing them to continue . It is love coupled with truth that motivates us to speak out because we care for them.
We are so careful not to OFFEND our neighbors , friends and family by THE TRUTH, so we can love them. But are we loving God by doing this? Are we really loving them? Are we so unwilling to endure any rejection that we have become ashamed of Gods words! Its better to do what is right in Gods eyes and suffer the consequences from man, then to do what is right in mans eyes and suffer the consequences from God!
Even for those inside the Church James 5:19-20 "Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins." Essentially we are our brothers keeper. To keep silent James calls it a sin of omission. Jm.4:17 "to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin."
Today the very definition of love has been changed it now means tolerance at the expense of truth. Love must find its source in truth or it is a fake love. John 1:14...We have seen his glory, the glory of the Only begotten, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." This is the one God the father sent because of his love.
Jn. 8:31-32..."If you abide in my word (live in the teachings), you are my disciples indeed; you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free." Jesus did not just say to dwell in his love only, but his truth as well. Love alone will not save anyone from Hell but love with the truth will. Jesus is the truth and told only the truth and we should as well. Not beating it over peoples heads but first present it in a kind but firm way so it can be received.
If you love me you will keep my commandments, his word and precepts. The love Jesus asks has loyalty it means for us to stand against opposition no matter where it will lead. But how can we know his commands and teachings? By staying in his word and acting on it by faith.
Gresham Machen... "The growth of ignorance in the Church is the logical and inevitable result of the false notion that Christianity is a life and not also a doctrine; if Christianity is not a doctrine then of course teaching is not necessary to Christianity. But whatever the causes for the growth of ignorance in the Church, the evil must be remedied. It must be remedied primarily by the renewal of Christian education in the family, but also by the use of whatever other educational agencies the Church can find. Christian education is the chief business of the hour for every earnest Christian man. Christianity cannot subsist unless men know what Christianity is..." (Christianity & Liberalism p. 176-177)
John 13:34-35 " A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
Most Christians interpret this as having unity or to be accepting, but this is not what Jesus is saying . He said to love as I loved you. How did Jesus love? Did he accept everyone for who they were and disregarded what they did ? When Peter received a revelation from the Father and he proclaimed who Jesus is, he was commended. But right after this he was prompted by the Devil to prevent Jesus from accomplishing his mission. Jesus rebuked him openly. I imagine it must have been humbling to have this occur right after everyone thought "right on Peter".
Jesus did not overlook his error because he did something right beforehand. Nor did he say his good outweighed the bad. What was at stake was the truth. Neither did Jesus keep silent and have Peter influence the others falsely.
Can love bring unity? If one wants to disregard the truth it certainly can! But it is not honored by God, only man.
When we read Gods love was shed abroad in our hearts this means we have his heart a new nature that cares differently than before. We were born by an incorruptible seed, the word of truth. When people say we should accept everyone to unite even if they do not believe the same, we compromise the truth. It is not true love to do this. Why? Because neither did Jesus or the apostles do this.
When Jesus publicly condemned the Pharisees calling them whitewashed tombs, dead men's bones, was this unloving (Matthew 23)
Was the Apostle Paul unloving when he rebuked Peter publicly for his compromising with the Galatians? Was the Apostle Paul unloving when he named the name of false teachers and messengers such as Hymenaeus and Alexander several different times in the Pastoral Epistles? Was the Apostle Paul unloving when he forbid women to have authority over men in 1 Tim. 2? What would of happened if he kept silent?
I wonder if we would be comfortable with the apostle Paul in the church today, we love what he wrote but if he came through our door what would he have to say to us? I guess this would be the difference between a real apostle and those that are passed off as one today. I believe we would hear a rebuke as well as encouragement from him . But Paul’s blunt truth would be so offensive some would never come back to church after hearing him, they would say he’s judgmental he doesn’t have love.
Paul wrote in Eph. 4:15 "but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head-- Christ--"
It seems society is still singing the Beatles tune "all you need is love." And it has influenced the Church.
The Climate in the end of timeThe Matthew 13 parable describes the course of the "Church age," from its inception as a progression of moving away from the truth, until it finally culminates in what is called the Apostasy. ("Apostasy" which means to fall away, a departure from the true Faith found only in the word of God, the Bible.) The parable of the leaven, illustrates a woman putting leaven into three measures of meal, " until the whole was leavened. " Leaven in Scripture stands for sin and error (1 Cor. 5:6; Gal. 5:9). The woman is a symbol of the Church, Christ’s bride. This parable tells us that error was introduced by false teachers during the time of the Apostles and afterward. This became fixed inside the church in various degrees until it increases in intensity and affecting the Church throughout the centuries. It ends with all areas of the Church affected at the end. Yet there will be a remnant.
Jesus said at the end of time, that because lawlessness would abound, the love of many will grow cold. What Jesus is describing is Christians will live in a time where society will influence them instead of their being salt and light. Obedience to the Word of God will be affected as well as their care for each other. They will shrink back from telling the truth because their love is cold. They will become self absorbed living like the world.
Today loyalty, compassion, mercy, servanthood is missing even when Church attendance is up as never before. It has begun.
As Israel had their love of God grow cold we can see this currently exhibited by the Church here in America. Jer.7:28 " So you shall say to them, 'This is a nation that does not obey the voice of the LORD their God nor receive correction. Truth has perished and has been cut off from their mouth."
Jer.9:5 Everyone will deceive his neighbor, and will not speak the truth; they have taught their tongue to speak lies; they weary themselves to commit iniquity. That’s our society today and sometimes it can be the Church because we have not kept anchor but have drifted with the tides of the culture. we will either influence society or it will influence us, there is no in between.
We are also told about those in the world in 2 Thess. 2:10-12 ..."They perish because they refused to love the truth and so as to be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness."
The prophet Hosea wrote in 4:6 "My people perish for a lack of knowledge", it never says we perish because of a lack of love.
To judge or not to judgeToday we hear don’t judge! The disease of "don't rock the boatitiss' brings only criticism as well as rejection by the very people that you thought were on the side of Jesus to be truth proclaimers.
"Beware of false prophets!" Jesus said (Matthew 7:15) this is a warning but comes as a command of our Lord. But how could we " beware " and how could we know they are "false prophets" Unless we test what they say? Instead of obeying what Jesus said, we actually support them. How? By saying don't judge! Gods standard by which we are to judge is " To the Law and to the Testimony: if they speak not according to THIS WORD, it is because there is NO LIGHT in them" (Isaiah 8:20). "Ye shall know them by their fruits," Christ said (Matthew 7:16). in judging the "fruits," we must judge by God's Word, not by what appeals to our human feelings. Love is not the answer in this situation, truth is. This can take time to sort through. Many things seem good to human reasoning at first but are false to the Word of God. It appears that scripture makes a direct correlation of false teaching and false prophets affecting the saints and the Church losing its zeal and compassion for the truth at the end of time.
The Apostle Paul commands believers, " Now I urge you, brethren, NOTE THEM (identify) who cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which you have learned; and Avoid them. For those are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple." (Romans 16:17-18). It is the false teachers who make the "divisions," and not those who protest against their false teaching. And these spokesman are not serving Christ, as they profess, "but their own appetites" or their own carnality and selfish desires. An example would be those who preach that saints are to be rich because they want to justify the way they live in extravagance. Smooth words trick the gullible those who will believe anything. Discord is made by those who teach divisions, those who point this out by using the truth are peace the makers.
This apostolic command could not be obeyed if we were not allowed to test what is said by the teachers in question. God wants us to know His Word and not just accept all the teachers that teach it. This does not mean we walk around with a critical eye on everything said. But we are not to be simple and naive. Biblical love for people does not mean that I ignore what they say so that the person can feel comfortable with me. This is not love. To love someone who teaches false doctrine does not mean that I make myself blind ignoring his error and strive to have unity with him despite his false doctrine. To do this gives them a green light to continue to lead people astray and bring ruin to peoples lives. Many who religiously quote, " Judge not, " are doing this in order to protect themselves teaching what is false to God's Word. They don't see their own inconsistency in judging others who want to obey the command about testing what they speak as either true or untrue to the scriptures. They run to an undeserved cover with yet another misuse of the Scripture (don't judge) to cover the others they have misused.
Jude 1:12 These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots;"
(Matthew Henry)."WHATEVER VARIES FROM THE FORM OF SOUND DOCTRINE WHICH WE HAVE IN THE SCRIPTURES OPENS A DOOR TO DIVISIONS AND OFFENCES. If truth be once deserted, unity and peace will not last long."
While we are entrusted to tell the truth in love we should show it more than in our preaching, James 2:14-17 "What does it profit, my brethren, though a man say he bath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister has no clothes, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be warmed and filled; notwithstanding you give them not those things which are needful to the body; what does it profit?"
Many want first century Christianity with its power and miracles to prove God is real but Christ also gave us the commands for the practical, which if examined outweigh the miraculous done by the Church at least 2 to 1 if not more. In Acts 2:45 they sold their possessions and goods and divided them among all to meet the needs. They continued in one accord they were united and the Church was added to daily, (not in attendance) but those being saved.
John the apostle known for his love writes in I Jn. 4:20-21 If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 21And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.
I Jn .3:17-18 But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?18My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth." To turn our back on those in need is to deny ones love for living the truth. James talks about saying be warmed and filled and not meet the physical or emotional needs of the recipient. Jesus said we would be rewarded even for the smallest thing we do for someone in his name, such as giving a glass of water. This means living the life of a servant , to do this is to live in the miraculous. It means all that I have is the Lords to do what he wants. My time money, things and talents.
Phil 2:2-5 "Fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus." If anyone leads you to focus on your self, what you are to have, what God owes you, this is not love but is pride. Love does not concentrate on self but on others.
Many are involved in making bigger ministries, Newer, bigger and more beautiful church buildings are built while all around them people are struggling and suffer. Although this is not wrong if done for a bigger fishnet, if it is done for prominence and prestige for themselves then they are certainly missing the point. Single moms in the church struggle to provide for their children. People are impoverished and are homeless while ministries are being built up to go all over the world. And to do this one must dress the part of success with thousand dollar suits, $500 shoes and a luxury hotel to make their stay the most comfortable. After all they are God’s anointed servants. They then can promise all the success they achieved to their followers if they plant a seed by faith in their blessed ministry. The sky is the limit on the return, from 100 fold, to having your wayward children come home or be delivered from their sinful lifestyle. Prayer requests are piled up in front of the man of faith as he says a general prayer over the 10,000 requests to be answered. All the while the people are ignore the publicity stunt and continue to write their prayers out, sending it with a most generous donation. So the ministry is looked upon as a success. After all he is doing the ministry work of saving souls. Lets not forget every so often the TV minister will make a generous display of giving money to the station that hosts them or do some penance to some individual in need. It will be sure to be caught by the cameras for the audience to assured they are doing what is right. In Matt. 22:16 A man came to Jesus saying " Teacher, we know that You are true, and teach the way of God in truth; nor do You care about anyone, for You do not regard the person of men." How different it is today with those who self proclaim to be his anointed servants.
As the money pours into for their world wide TV and travelling the local churches suffer because all the money that they could use to help those inside their congregation and the community is going out to those who have the most publicity. Is it any wonder our society is so affected. Instead of equipping the Church for hands on ministry it is left to a few on the TV.
Love is not an emotion although it can be expressed as such. Nor is it open mindedness. It certainly is not non-judgmentalism. Neither is it tolerance or acceptance. Biblical love is careful, it scrutinizes. It is based on knowledge and judgment from God's Word. It proves all things, and approves of only those things that are in agreement with the will of God. Love is flexible willing to yield to truth, love grace and peace are a family they, bring health and growth. Gal.5:22 "The fruit of the Spirit is love"... Paul states to love God and man is the fulfillment of the law. Eph. 5:9 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth),
Today's Christianity lacks being fueled by servanthood. Selfless service, mercy, helps are gifts of the Spirit that few want. Most desire a gift that can be used publicly that make an impression. Miracles, and healing crusades certainly bring the crowds and the money, but it doesn’t last. Like a storm that blows in everyone prepares, excited for results. In its wake is left scattered people that have not come any closer to the living out the Churches true mission, nor embraced the truth any more valiantly.
Phil. 1:9-10 "And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ." Love has certain elements, not only is it active it has wisdom and discretion. This is the love we need today, anything less than this will not change the church or our society.