1 Peter 1:22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:
We have talked about Purity last week but I forgot to mention that The Holy Spirit is the agent who purifies our soul, motivates us and makes us effective in living the Christian life. Now that our souls are purified, it is possible to love one another without the selfish desires and ambitions of the flesh, enabling us to sacrifice our lives for our brothers and sisters (Jn. 15:13). “Love one another with a pure heart fervently” is the command here in our text. Our relationship with our fellow-Christians should be characterized by a mutual love, one for the other, love that is sincere, genuine, and lasting. Our lesson today is about Love, fervent love. Love is a very important, critical, and broad issue especially now that the term love is being misused by ecumenical movement.
I. What the word fervent means:
A. The Greek word means “without ceasing”.
B. American Heritage Talking dictionary defines it as great intensity of feeling, enthusiasm, fervency, fire, passion, zeal.
C. The word “without ceasing” is used in reference to prayer in Acts 12:5.
D. Similarly, as the disciples were praying non-stop, persistently, for the release of Peter, so our love for one another is to be “unceasing”.
I. Seven Bible Facts about Love:
A. Love is God’s nature (1 Jn. 4:8,16).
B. Godly love is giving, sacrificial love (Jn. 3:16; 1 Jn. 4:9; 3:16-17).
C. Love is the greatest thing (1 Cor. 13:13).
D. Love is an evidence of being Christ’s disciple (Jn. 13:35).
E. Love is the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Ga 5:22).
G. Love is the first thing the Apostle mentioned concerning Christian living (Eph. 4:1-6).
H. True Christian love cannot be separated from truth and holiness and obedience (Phil. 1:9; 1 Jn. 5:3; 2 Jn. 1-13; 3 Jn. 1-4).
Illustration: Unconditional Love
There is nothing you can to do make God love you more!
There is nothing you can do to make God love you less!
His love is Unconditional, Impartial, Everlasting, Infinite, Perfect!
Illustration: Agapao and Phileo
There is not much difference lexically between agapao and phileo. Both involve a voluntary (I’ve decided to love you) and involuntary (I can’t help but love you) response.
One point: there is no command to love in scripture that ever uses phileo.
II. What love is:
A. “Love,” to human thinking, is a warm feeling or a sensual romantic thought.
B. “Love,” to this ecumenical generation, is broadmindedness and non-judgmental acceptance of any one who claims to know the Lord Jesus Christ. This is not what the Bible says about love.
C. Biblical love is obedience to God and His Word. Take a look at the following verses:
1. John 14:23 Jesus answered and said unto him, IF A MAN LOVE ME, HE WILL
KEEP MY WORDS: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and
make our abode with him.”
2. Philippians 1:9-10 And this I pray, that your LOVE MAY ABOUND YET MORE AND
MORE IN KNOWLEDGE AND IN ALL JUDGMENT; That ye may approve things that
are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ
3. 1 John 5:3 For THIS IS THE LOVE OF GOD, THAT WE KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS:
and his commandments are not grievous.
4. 2 Thessalonians 3:4-6 And we have confidence in the Lord touching you, that ye
both do and will do the things which we command you. And the Lord direct your
hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ. Now we
command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw
yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the
tradition which he received of us.
D. In the last verse cited we see that the love of God is sandwiched between two verses
which emphasize obedience to God’s commandments, including separation from
disobedient brethren! It is not a feeling.
Love is not a blissful romanticism. For a woman to love her husband means she submits to and
serves him according to the Bible. For a man to love his wife means he treats her in the way the Bible
commands. For children to love their parents means they honor and obey their parents as the Bible
commands. Love is obedience to God’s Word.
E. Love is not an emotion. It is not broadmindedness. It is not non-judgmentalism. It is
not non-critical acceptance. Biblical love is careful. It is based on knowledge and
judgment from God’s Word. It proves all things, and it approves only those things
that are the will of God.
F. Was the Lord Jesus Christ unloving when He called Peter a devil (Matt. 16:23) or
when he publicly condemned the Pharisees (Matthew 23)? Was the Apostle Paul
unloving when he rebuked Peter publicly for his compromise (Galatians 1)? Was the
Apostle Paul unloving when he named the name of false teachers and compromisers
such as Hymenaeus and Alexander ten different times in the Pastoral Epistles? Was
the Apostle Paul unloving when he forbade women to preach or to usurp authority
over men (1 Timothy 2)?
Biblical love for people does not mean that I ignore things that they do that are wrong and injurious.
This is true both in the physical and spiritual realms. For example, to love a murderer, in a biblical
sense, does not mean that we ignore his crime. It means that we put him to death for his horrible
trespass against the image of God (Genesis 9:5-6). Likewise, to love a false teacher does not mean
that I turn a blind eye to his error and strive to have unity with him regardless of his doctrine. It
means that I obey the Bible and mark and avoid him (Romans 16:17), that I expose his error publicly
to protect those who might be led astray by his teaching.
III. The direction of Love
A. Ecumenists talk much about love of man, but they talk very little about the love of
God. According to the Lord Jesus Christ, though, what is the greatest
commandment? . “Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matthew 22:35-39).
The first and great commandment is not to love one’s neighbor. That is the second commandment. The first and great commandment is to love the Lord God will all the heart, soul, and mind.
B. Ecumenists point their fingers at the Bible-believing fundamentalist and charge him with a lack of love toward men because he exercises judgment and discipline and separation.
The Ecumenist tells us that we need to love all the denominations regardless of what doctrine they teach. We reply that we need to love God and His Truth first, and that means that we will obey the Bible, and that means we will measure, mark, and avoid those who are committed to error. A genuine love for God requires that we care more about His Word and His will than about men and their feelings and opinions and programs.
C. THE DIRECTION OF LOVE NOT ONLY MUST BE TOWARD GOD BUT IT MUST BE TOWARD THOSE WHO ARE IN DANGER. The ecumenical crowd tells me that I need to love the Modernist and the Romanist, etc., but they are practically silent on the subject of love for those who are deceived by the Modernists and the Romanists. We are charged with being unloving, for example, when we expose the fact that John Paul II or Mother Teresa teaches a false sacramental gospel. This is nonsense. The fact is that we love people enough to warn of false gospels so they will not be led astray to eternal hell. A shepherd who loves wolves more than the sheep is a confused and wicked shepherd. (Way of life Encyclopaedia by David Cloud)
Loving our bothers in Christ fervently have boundaries which we have to follow and guard. Christ loves us all sinners, but not our sins. Christ love the false teachers also but not their false doctrines. Will you obey Christ and warn others also about the false doctrines and practices which other religious leaders do? We all have a responsibility to God and to those people being led astray.