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Archive for the ‘love of God’ Category

Andree Seu is consistently good in her writing and consistently convicting. “Being in Hate” appeared recently in World magazine. Let him who has ears, hear. Or, you might say, if the shoe fits, wear it.

You have heard of being in love. Have you heard of being in hate? People who are in love generally know they are in love. People who are in hate, not so.

People in love are emotional and realize it. People in hate think they have never been so rational.

We speak of being in love as a state. One can often identify the onset of the condition (and sometimes the expiration of it). We say of a starry-eyed couple, “They are in love.” It is an acknowledgment that something real has overtaken their brains.

There is no comparable common expression for people in hate, because few acknowledge that hate is mind-altering.

But it is. Scripture gives a host of examples. Here we learn that hate invades the mind of its practitioner in very particular ways. Cain hated his brother, and it was suicidal. God tries to rescue him by posing searching questions: “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? … sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it” (Genesis 4:6-7). Cain will not have it. As Screwtape observes, “There is always something they insist on keeping, even at the price of misery”(C.S. Lewis).

So consumed with hatred for the children of Israel is Pharaoh that he destroys his own country trying to harm them, crying, “Victory!” as he staggers, mud-splattered, son-bereft, and half insane, among the wreckage. His descent from reason to bestiality alarms even the royal court, who had joined him at first but disembarked from obsession a few exits earlier when they discerned the hand of God: “Do you not yet understand that Egypt is ruined?” (Exodus 10:7).

Haman’s hatred led him to a noose of his own making (Esther). Absalom was not the same man right after Tamar’s rape as two years later, when hate had bored like a cankerworm into his soul. It issued in the murder of his brother Amnon—with Absalom’s own royal aspirations also the casualty (2 Samuel 13).

People who are in hate don’t know what they have lost. What they have lost is their very humanity. Micro-choice by micro-choice it seeps away—like Pinocchio and his friends, who begin to sprout donkey ears, a tail, and hideous guffaws unawares, as the wages of debauchery; like the depraved man of whom the Scripture says, “gray hairs are sprinkled upon him, and he knows it not” (Hosea 7:9). He imagines himself to be still his old vigorous self—physically, mentally, and spiritually. But he is deluded. He thinks of hate, “I got this!” Hate says of him, “I got this!”

In the final, drawing room scene of the 2001 movie Conspiracy about the fateful Wannsee Conference of Jan. 20, 1942, that produced the “final solution” for the problem of European Jewry, Gen. Reinhard Heydrich relates to two other SS officers a story told him by Friedrich Kritzinger during the break:

There was a man who loved his mother fiercely but hated his father. The mother had always been kind, but the father had been cruel. When his mother died, at the funeral the man tried to cry but could not. The father lived much longer, but when he finally withered away at an old age, the man was inconsolable.

“I don’t understand,” said one of the officers. “No?” said Heydrich. “The man had been driven all his life by hatred. When the mother died, that was a loss. When the father died—when the hate had lost its object—then the man’s life was empty, over. … That was Kritzinger’s warning.” “What? That we should not hate the Israelites?” “No, that it should not so fill our lives that when they are gone we have nothing left to live for.”

Our politics in America have become hate-driven. But there will be a cost for those who practice it: “Whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes” (1 John 2:11).

This is no analogy or metaphor, but the actual condition of the person “in hate.” It robs the sight of him who wields it.

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Psalm-136

Psalm 136:1 ends with the phrase “for his steadfast love endures forever.” It’s repeated at the end of every verse – all 26 of them! One of the most basic rules of interpreting the Scriptures is to pay attention to what’s repeated. So if something – a phrase in this case – is repeated that many times, the Lord wants us to pay attention to it.

The author of Psalm 136 makes statements about who God is and what He’s done in the first half of every verse. Then, in the second half, his repeated reminder is stated – “for his steadfast love endures forever.”

God’s love for His people is constant, consistent, and steady. It never fails, ends, or runs out. We can count on that, absolutely and without reservation.

Why would the psalmist repeat “for his steadfast love endures forever” so many times? Because we forget it, especially when we’re in the middle of a trial. Because we don’t really believe it, or we have a hard time believing it. Whatever the case, we need to hear it over and over again. Praise God for His indescribable gift!

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3659771b-39e5-4e20-afc2-3cd212fac8a1

I had the privilege this morning of preaching on John 17:20-26. Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: The Lord Jesus prays for unity, presence with Him in heaven, and faithfulness to His mission for His church.

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love-one-another

I had the privilege of preaching on John 15:12-17 this morning. The following is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: “Love one another” is a command that is simple to understand, but very hard to put into practice.

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JC-Ryle

Several weeks ago, I preached a sermon on John 13:1-5 (part of a verse-by-verse study of the Gospel of John).Verse 1 reads, Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. This comment by J.C. Ryle didn’t make it into the sermon.

The love of Christ to sinners is the very essence and marrow of the Gospel. That He should love us at all, and care for our souls – that He should love us before we love Him, or even know anything about Him, that He should love us so much as to come into the world to save us, take our nature on Him, bear our sins, and die for us on the cross – all this is wonderful indeed! It is a kind of love to which there is nothing like it, among men. The narrow selfishness of human nature cannot fully comprehend it. It is one of those things which even the angels of God “desire to look into.” It is a truth which Christian preachers and teachers should proclaim incessantly, and never be weary of proclaiming.

But the love of Christ to saints is no less wonderful, in its way, than His love to sinners, though far less considered. That He should bear with all their countless infirmities from grace to glory – that He should never be tired of their endless inconsistencies and petty provocations – that He should go on forgiving and forgetting incessantly, and never be provoked to cast them off and give them up – all this is marvelous indeed! No mother watching over the waywardness of her feeble babe, in the days of its infancy, has her patience so thoroughly tried, as the patience of Christ is tried by Christians. Yet His patience is infinite. His compassions are a well that is never exhausted. His love is “a love that passes knowledge.”

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John-11-1-17

This morning I had the privilege of preaching on John 11:1-17. Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: God’s ways are mysterious, but His delays should never be interpreted as a lack of love, but rather as a demonstration of His love.

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psalm-136-header

This morning I had the privilege of preaching on Psalm 136 (“The Great Thanksgiving”). Here is a one-sentence summary of my sermon: We ought to give thanks to God at all times, in all places, and in all circumstances, because of His character, creation, redemption, and provision.

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