Summary: A classic sermon by D. L. Moody on the importance, power, and indispensibility of Christian love.
It speaks in Galatians about love, the fruit of the Spirit being love, joy, peace, gentleness, long suffering, meekness and temperance. The way this writer has put it -- and I think it is very beautiful -- is that joy is love exultant, peace is love in repose, and long suffering is love enduring. It is all love, you see, a gentleness is love in society, and goodness is love in action, and faith is love on the battle-field, and meekness is love at school, and temperance is love in training.
Now there are a great many that have got love and they hold the truth. I should have said they have got truth, but they don’t hold it in love, and they are very unsuccessful in working for God. They are very harsh, and God cannot use them. Now let us hold the truth, but let us hold it in love. People will stand almost any kind of plain talk if you only do it in love. If you do it in harshness it bounds back and they won’t receive it. So what we want is to have the truth and at the same time hold it in love.
Then there is another class of people in the world that have got the truth, but they love so much that they give up the truth because they are afraid it will hurt some one’s feelings. That is wrong. We want the whole truth anyway. We don’t want to give it up, but hold it in love, and I believe one reason why people think God don’t love them is because they have not this love. I met a lady in the inquiry-room today, and I could not convince her that God loved her, for she said that if He did love her He would not treat her as He had. And I believe people are all measuring God with their own rule, as I said the other day, and we are not sincere in our love, and we very often profess something we really don’t possess. Very often we profess to have love for a person when we do not, and we think God is like us.
Now God is just what He says He is, and He wants His children to be sincere in love; not to love just merely in word and in tongue, but to love in earnest. -That is what God does. You ask me why God loves. You might as well ask me why the sun shines. It can’t help shining, and neither can He help loving, because He is love Himself; and any one that says He is not love does not know anything about love. If we have got the true love of God shed abroad in our hearts we will show it in our lives. We will not have to go up and down the earth proclaiming it. We will show it in everything we say or do.
VERY NICE TO THEIR FACES
There is a good deal of what you might call sham love. People profess to love you very much, when you find it is all on the surface. It is not heart love. Very often you are in a person’s house, and the servant comes in and says such a person is in the front room, and she says: "Oh, dear, I am so sorry he has come, I can’t bear the sight of him" and she’ll get right up and go into the other room and say, "Why, how do you do? I am very glad to see you! " There is a good deal of that sort of thing in the world.
I remember, too, I was talking with a man one day and an acquaintance of his came in, and he jumped up at once and shook him by the hand-why I thought he was going to shake his hand out of joint, he shook so hard-and he seemed to be so glad to see him and wanted him to stay, but the man was in a great hurry and could not stay, and he coaxed him and urged him to stay, but the man said no, he would come another time; and after that man went out my companion turned to me and said, "Well, he is an awful bore, and I am glad he’s gone." Well, I began to feel that I was a bore, too, and I got out as quickly as I could. That is not real love. That is love with the tongue while the heart is not true. Now, let us not love in word and in tongue, but in deed and in truth. That is the kind of love God gives us, and He wants the same in return.