Summary: The love you show is the love you have received. You can’t give what you don’t have.
F. W. Boreham in his book, “Mountains in the Mist” writes,
“Ian Maclaren has a lovely story of John Carmichael that I somehow think would have been very much to Paul’s taste as he thought of Timothy and his peril at Corinth.
Now, Carmichael was like Timothy, very young, very shy, very sensitive, and very shrinking. He entered upon his first charge. But he felt-painfully, acutely, constantly-the awful chasm that yawned between his radiant dreams and his actual achievements. And he felt that the people must be regarding him either with pity or contempt.
One Sabbath, as he was sitting in the vestry, all the elders filed solemnly in. He felt that they had come to tell him that they could tolerate it no longer.
Then the sagest and kindliest of them all addressed him. They had noticed his fearfulness, and nervousness, and timidity, and wished him to be completely at his ease. Was he not among his own people? They would have Timothy among them without fear.
“You are never to be troubled in the pulpit,” the old man went on, ”or be thinking about anything but the word of the Lord and the souls of the people, of which you are the shepherd. We will ask you to remember, when you stand in your place to speak to us in the name of the Lord, that as the smoke goeth up from the homes of the people in the morning, so will their prayers be ascending for their minister, and as you look down upon us before you begin to speak, maybe you will say to yourself, next Sabbath, ‘They are all loving me.’
“Oh, yes, and it will be true from the oldest to the youngest, we will all be loving you very much.
“And that,” Ian Maclaren says, “that is why John Carmichael remained in the ministry of Jesus Christ, the most patient and mindful of ministers.” And I, for one, can easily believe it.”
(Mountains in the Midst – F. W. Boreham)
Theme… The love you show is the love you have received. You can’t give what you don’t have.
The people out in the world, those who are not born again, cannot reflect God’s love. When the world talks about love, sings about love, writes about love, it is basically animal instinct. I know that is a harsh thing to say, but the proof is all around us.
When we are born again, we come into the arena of God’s love. This is where we begin to truly experience the love of God.
And even though this is true, many Christians are living on the “animal instinct” they call love. Few really tap into the resources of God’s love made available to them through the new birth.
One of the last times that Jesus was with his disciples, he challenged Peter (John 21:15-17).
“15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.”
One point Jesus was getting at with Peter was simply, if you love me then out of that love will flow ministry.
“Feed my lambs.” “Feed my sheep.” “Feed my sheep.”
Nobody can truly love the Lord and be passive in their relationship towards other people. I want you to see that the focus Jesus gave to Peter was on “lambs” and “sheep.” This represents the body of Christ.
Our love for God will be demonstrated in our love for brothers and sisters in the Lord. Our love outside of the Fellowship is one thing, but it cannot compare to our love within the brother and sister fellowship.
Very simply put, this true love flows both ways. It flows from God to us and also from us to God. Only the person who has been born again and cleansed by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ is able to send back to God acceptable love.
This is why Jesus said, “I am come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
The question that I put before us this morning is simply how can I truly experience this love from God and how can I give back to God love that is worthy of him?