Summary: God enables believers to love and we are called to show it sincerly and earnestly especially to the household of faith.
Everyone hates to be deceived. Once someone realizes that they have been deceived, there exists serious credibility problems with the one who deceived them. A case in point regards the charges laid on Morris Cerullo. The onetime leader of the Inspiration Network, now based in Fort Mill, S.C., is in court next week in San Diego on tax evasion charges. Dr. Morris Cerullo raised the Inspiration Network up from the shambles it was in when owned by Jim Bakker’s PTL Ministry.
On the federal indictment filed against Cerullo in San Diego. In it are claims that Cerullo lied on his income tax returns, omitting more than $500,000.
This, just 15 years after Cerullo’s ministry took over what was left of Jim Bakker’s fallen PTL television network.
Cerullo will get his day in a San Diego court on March 20.
If convicted, Cerullo could spend up to nine years in prison and pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.
On his Web site, Morris Cerullo claims that 2007 will be your year for financial breakthrough, even as he prepares to face charges for lying about his own personal finances.
The Apostle Paul went to extremes to show that sincere brotherly love meant the exact opposite to ministering for money. In Acts 20:33 he showed how:
Acts 20:33 I coveted no oneï¿½s silver or gold or apparel. (ESV)
What God is calling for in 1 Pt. 1:22-25 flows from what we have seen. What we have seen about God in verses 1-12 results in what we are to do in verses 13-25. We move from the indicative, what is, to the imperative, what we are to do. From the vertical, our relationship with God, to the horizontal, our relationship with one another.
The directive in these verses is really a summary of Scripture. When they asked Jesus:
Mt. 22:36-40 "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?" And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets." (ESV)
1 Cor. 13:13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three, but the greatest of these is love. (ESV)
It is pretty obvious that selfishness conflicts with genuine love. When we put ourselves first, we are not able to genuinely serve others. If we claim to be Christians, then how can we love as Jesus loves us? In 1 Pt. 1:22-25 we can see the answer to four basic questions which explain supernatural love: 1) When were believers enabled to love? 2) Who are believers to love? 3) How are believers to love? 4) And why are believers to love?
1) WHEN WERE BELIEVERS ENABLED TO LOVE?
1 Pt. 1:22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart
Scripture repeatedly makes it plain that the unconverted person is far from having the ability to demonstrate genuine love (cf. Job 14:4, Ps. 58:3, John 15:18, 25, Rom. 8:7ï¿½8, 1 Cor. 2:14, 2 Cor. 3:5).
1 John 2:9 Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness.
1 Jn. 3:10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. (ESV)
1 Jn. 4:20 If anyone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar, for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. (ESV)
Please turn to Ez. 36
How are believers able to do this?
It was at salvation that believers received the capacity to demonstrate supernatural love (Rom. 5:5).
Rom. 5:5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (ESV)
Ezekiel looked forward to this spiritual reality when he prophesied of what God would do for believers under the new covenant:
Ezek. 36:25-27 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. (ESV)