Sunday May 20, 2018
Title: Ruth 4:8-12. Final chapter - Our home with Christ in the word “abide” - loving your brother.
1JO 2:9 The one who says he is in the light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now.
1JO 2:10 The one who loves his brother abides in the light and there is no cause for stumbling in him.
1JO 2:11 But the one who 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.
As we continue looking at the home that Christ has prepared for us, focusing on the word “abide”, we learn that God’s love is a key component of its foundation.
One cannot say that he has this love and not love his brother. One cannot say that he loves God while he hates his brother.
I think all of us conclude that there are levels of hate. The fact is stated without a detailed description. I would say that hate is the absence of God’s love, whether it is to a fellow believer or a neighbor. What would God be if He was everything He is, minus love? Someone to be greatly feared. What is a man without love? How much he should be feared depends upon how much power he possesses.
The question then begs, “Is there a middle ground? Can I be neutral or indifferent and have neither love nor hate?” Strictly, we would have to conclude that we either possess the love of God or we don’t. So, we would have to conclude that neutrality is impossible for mankind.
That truth can help us to understand the difficult statement made by Jesus, LUK 14:31 “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.”
Without love I cannot know the need of my fellow man or my fellow believer, nor can I know the heart of God. Therefore, without love I live in a made-up world.
Without love I cannot know the heart of man or God. Therefore, without love I am blind. The Pharisees were full of knowledge, but without love they were nothing. Think of the world that the Pharisees lived, which they created in their own minds; it was all a made up fantasy world in which men were justified before God based on their obedience to the Mosaic Law and they were the privileged class of thinkers and do-gooders, and in which Jesus deserved to be justly executed. They were blind.
JOH 11:47 Therefore the chief priests and the Pharisees convened a council, and were saying, "What are we doing? For this man is performing many signs. [just days prior He raised Lazarus from the dead]
JOH 11:48 "If we let Him go on like this, all men will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation."
JOH 11:49 But a certain one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, "You know nothing at all,
JOH 11:50 nor do you take into account that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation should not perish."
JOH 11:51 Now this he did not say on his own initiative; but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation,
The Holy Spirit gave this man prophecy and he still didn’t see. They had a worldview in which Jesus of Nazareth must die in order to save the people and themselves. How right they were and how wrong they were. Without love each of us lives in a fantasy world made up of darkness.
JOH 11:52 and not for the nation only, but that He might also gather together into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.
JOH 11:53 So from that day on they planned together to kill Him.
1CO 13:1 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
1CO 13:2 And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
1CO 13:3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
1CO 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,
1CO 13:5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,
1CO 13:6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;
1CO 13:7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1CO 13:8 Love never fails [is eternal];
Look at each word that describes love in relation to seeing with the eyes of the heart. What do I see if I am patient as opposed to impatient, kind or unkind? What do I see when I am jealous, bragging, or arrogant?
In each one of these behaviors, if I don’t have love, I am blind to so many things. Without love, I live in a made-up world.
Just like I can have a god of my own making, an idol, I can live in a world of my own making.
Therefore, without love I cannot know the good - I am blind to it. Good is an absolute and it is defined by God. If I define good on my own, I live in a fantasy world.
ROM 13:8 Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.
ROM 13:9 For this, "You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet," and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
Paul lists the commandments of the Ten that are directed towards people. One wonders if Paul left out EXO 20:16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor,” purposefully so that he could replace it with “love your neighbor” for impact.
ROM 13:10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; love therefore is the fulfillment of the law.
ROM 13:11 And this do, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation [deliverance] is nearer to us than when we believed.
ROM 13:12 The night is almost gone, and the day is at hand. Let us therefore lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
ROM 13:13 Let us behave properly as in the day [light], not in carousing and drunkenness [sins against your own body], not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality [sins against your own body and another’s], not in strife and jealousy [sins against another].
ROM 13:14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.
Living in Rome, the capital of the known pagan world and the center of power, the way of darkness was practiced on every street corner and down every dark alley. The Christians in Rome were surrounded by it and always pushed to conform to it by the hatred of the pagan mind.
Love sees others and God in the proper light and therefore can discern truth. If all events, people, and even God are only seen with yourself in mind, then you will be blind to the truth in all of them and you will stumble.
God speaks through Isaiah about what He considers to be called fasting - loving your neighbor.
MAT 6:16 "And whenever you fast [love your neighbor, as we will see], do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance in order to be seen fasting by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.