by Pastor John Miller
My office is in my home as you probably know. I am retired and
disabled. I have a house cat that is with me all day long and have grown
especially fond of this animal. He keeps me company and lots of times when I
feel down this cat picks me up. His name is "Kitty" and he is a big fat cat that
keeps me company all day. Kitty got sick the other day and now he's at the
Vets with intestinal problems. The Doctor told me that in order to help Kitty it
would cost over $500.00. I am on disability and $500.00 dollars is a lot of
money, but unless I pay for the Vet's services, there is a very good chance Kitty
would die. I was saddened by the thought that Kitty might die.
God has shown me something through this experience. If I was saddened by the prospects of Kitty dying, how much more sad is God, with the prospects of unsaved humans here on earth that spiritually speaking are also dying?
There is only one way that Kitty might be saved and that is if I pay the price for Kitty. It will mean that I must give more than I can afford. God did this for you and I. He gave His only begotten son. He did it willing and then He watched as His son came to earth to give His life, beaten, whipped, scourged, nailed to a cross and died. He gave all he had for you and me. There was no more to give. He gave it all.
Kitties life was in my hands. He can do nothing for his self. If I didn't pay the price Kitty would die. Think about it. You and I were in the same boat. God could have said; Giving my only Son is to big of a price to save you. He is all I have, I will not put him through all the suffering and pain that he will suffer before he dies for you! But God did not say that, instead he said, "For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten Son, so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life" Amplified Version John 3:16.
How much have we thought about how God must have felt about giving up His only Son? This is what true love is really all about, it's about the willingness of giving all we have to others. A reading of 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 tells us that there is nothing more important in the Christian life than Love. We could have the gift of tongues but if we do not have love we are only like a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. We could know all the unknown secrets of the world and the faith to move mountains but if we do not have God's love we are useless no-bodies. We could give all we have to the poor or give our bodies up to be burned and this would all amount to nothing without God's love. Verses 4-8 tells us what love will be displayed in us if we have true Godly love.
(4)Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
(5)It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
(6)Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
(7)It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
(8)Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
The word love here in the Greek is the word Agape. It is a benevolent affection, it is a dearly love a charitable love. It is this kind of love that God has for us. The love described in verses 4-8 is the kind of love that God has and it is the kind of love that He wants us to have for all others.
A reading of Verses 4-8 quickly shows us how short we fall in having the Agape love. We by our selves do not have that kind of love. I can quickly see how patient I am when some one causes me to suffer for one reason or another. How often are we envious of some one else that has some thing that we always wanted or how much do we boast about having something that others do not have? How many arguments have we had just to prove we were right about some thing? How often has our pride kept us from admitting when we wrong about some thing. It reminds me of Fonzy on the 70's TV show Happy Days. He just could not get the word wrong out of his mouth. He would say, "I was Wrrrrrrrr." I think about the times that I was rude to someone out of my own selfishness, because they might have said something or did some thing that I did not agree with.
When we read through these verses we can quickly see how inadequate we are in so many ways. We can also see that unless we have God's agape love in us we truly are very unloving to the core. It is only when we allow God to command our lives that the agape love can be seen by others. It is this love that draws others towards God through us.
A perfect example of what Godly love is all about is seen in the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37. An expert in the Law asked Jesus, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus responded asking him, "What is written in the Law, how do you read it." That's an important question even for today. How do we read God's laws? Jesus knew what the Law Expert expected, but he wanted the man to say it. The Law expert answered correctly when he said " Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and all your strength and with all your mind and Love your neighbor as yourself." Jesus told him he was right. "He said do this and live." But the Law expert wanted to justify himself and asked, "And who is my neighbor?"
Jesus proceeds then to tell the Expert in the Law a parable about a man who was robbed on the way to Jericho. He was robbed of every thing and he had even stripped of his clothes. Two "Experts of the Law" a priest and a Levite passed by this man that was stripped naked and left for dead. The parable tells us that they not only passed by but they crossed over to the other side of the road. Why would they do such a thing. The answer to that is so that they did not break a law. There were laws that forbade them from touching a dead person or they would be ceremonially unclean. They were probably heading to the Temple to perform ceremonies and wanted to keep there distance from this man they assumed was dead. The Priest and Levite are a lot like how many in the world today act when they are confronted with a situation where someone needs help. They basically look the other way. They come up with all kinds of excuses for not being able to help. On the other hand a Samaritan who the Jews looked at as being dirty dogs, the lower level of humanity, went out of his way to help. He expected absolutely nothing for his help, in fact he took the man that was robbed to an Inn and took care of him. Before the Samaritan left the Inn he paid for the man's keep and said to the Inn keeper, "Look after him and when I return I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have." This is the kind of love that God wants us to have. We are commanded to Love our neighbors in this way. This is Agape Love.
The one thing that jumps out at us in this parable and makes it clear why the Samaritan helped the man and the Priest and Levite did not, is found in verse 32 of Luke 10. The verse says this; "But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him." NIV The King James version uses a different word it is "compassion." The Samaritan showed the man compassion. The Greek meaning for this word is to have inward affection. The Priest and the Levite were Experts of the law but did not have compassion for this man. They let a law blind them to the true love of God. The expert of the law that asked Jesus how to obtain eternal life was told by Jesus to be like the Samaritan. Be ruled by compassionate love for your neighbor. If you do these this you will be keeping God's Laws. After Jesus told the parable to the Expert of the law he asked him, "Which one of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?" "The expert in the law answered, "The one who had mercy on him." Jesus then told him, "Go and do likewise."
Our Lord Jesus Christ loved us so much that he took pity on us. God the Father gave his only son. He did not have to but he knew it was the only way that we men could be saved from an eternity in hell. We were the man that was robbed and beaten and left for dead. The robber was Satan. He stripped us naked and stole every thing we had. He caused us to be separated from God. But because of God's compassion and mercy towards us, we can be saved.
My cat "Kitty" did make it through his sickness. He's home now with me because I paid the price for him. God has done the same thing for each and every one of us. He paid the price for us by his Son Jesus Christ who came to this earth, defeated Satan, was hung on the cross to pay for us, he died and is risen. We can be free now from the penalty of death if we confess our sins to God, repent from them and begin to obey God, love Him and love our neighbors. If you do this today you will be saved.
(8)But what does it say? "The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart," that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming:
(9)That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
(10)For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
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