Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Running on Empty? Turn on Love

There are a number of reasons why we get beaten down and drained. We are busier than ever- mass communication technology has produced a sprinters pace for a marathon life... it causes even young people to hit the wall quite frequently.
But another reason we often overlook is the toll of sin.... our personal sin... but also the weariness of living in a world of sin. People who care only about themselves: they mock, disregard, and mistreat others.
The Book of Revelation gives us a reminder about God's truth and God's heart... I found some encouragement this morning from the letter to the Church in Ephesus:
EPHESUS was the greatest city in Asia minor. It boasted a population over 250,000 people. But it was a deeply pagan city where people worshipped in the world of the occult and witchcraft. The city was famous for the Temple of Diana. It was 100,000 sq. feet, which is twice the size of a football field! The typical pagan practice in those days combined ‘worship’  with immorality! A church in a city like this needs DOCTRINE and DISCERNMENT. If we look at our Bibles, we will find that  Paul, Timothy, Barnabas, and John had all been there.
Let’s look at what Jesus says to the church in Ephesus!
“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands.

“‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’
I have heard a lot of great talks on ‘finding your first love’… but I think it is easy to miss what Jesus is saying here.
I believe Jesus is exhorting the church to teach the truth in ‘LOVE’.
TRUTH WITHOUT LOVE IS A SERIOUS SIN
I had a great friend of mine, a pastor in Nashville who used to say: “There is a difference in being right and DEAD RIGHT. Don’t kill people with the truth.”
I get sad when I see the poisonous rhetoric in our culture today…..
And the key? You show love by deeds.
My prayer is that we will never shrink back from great doctrine…but we never lose our love for people!
Believe me, I know it is easy to get jaded and worn down when you see people who seem to sin with boldness and treat God with contempt.
We must keep out love for Jesus first…but that love should spill over and flow out of us as well to others. Loving them does not mean CONDONING sin…in fact, IF we love them, we will speak gospel truth..which is HARD.
But Jesus led the way in showing that we are to keep loving others, even if they are headed in a contrary way or show a contrary spirit.
Today- I feel weary over sin... my sin and the sin of others. God tells me to keep loving others... even if they do not love me back.
He never stops loving me, even when I ignore Him. Is it too much for me to do the same?

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