The Things that Quench Our Love

By John Thiel, mp3


 

This series of messages has to do with falling in love with the Creator of the universe, with Jesus. All religion in Christianity is for this objective, that we would love God; but to love Him we need to get to know Him. And when you really know Him you will not be able to hold back your love to Him, unless you push Him away. This is our subject now, that there are people who actually reject God’s love. So we want to understand the things that quench our Love.

But there comes a thought straight away to my mind, Is there such a thing as love being quenched? Can you quench love?

Song of Solomon 8:7 Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if [a] man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned.

Here we are told that love cannot be quenched. Love is an indomitable force that cannot be conquered. And the Scriptures actually say that God is love. That opens up the understanding a little. If love is qualified by the God of the universe, then can He be quenched? Can He be conquered? No; He can’t. The devil himself wanted to conquer Him, but He was completely conquered himself by love. So love cannot be quenched.

This is how indomitable love actually is:

1 Corinthians 13:4 Charity [or love] suffereth long,

If love is brought to suffer, does it become quenched? No; it suffers long.

1 Corinthians 13:7 [Love] beareth all things,

What does love do? Can it be overpowered? No; it bears all things.

1 Corinthians 13:4 [Love] believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 8 [Love] never faileth:

Here is a second witness in the Scriptures that love cannot be quenched. This is an interesting meditation for us. Love cannot be quenched by anything. It suffers all things, it hopes all things, it endures all things. Nothing can be done to quench it.

Yet, if you come to the words of Jesus, you find a seemingly contradictory statement. This is why many people have said to me, The Bible contradicts itself. But I want to tell you it doesn’t, although it appears that way. Here it appears as though the Bible contradicts itself:

Matthew 24:12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

That word wax is the old English word for growing cold. It grows cold. So love can grow cold? But we have read that love cannot be quenched, that love is not affected by anything that would cause it to be quenched. So let us try to understand this. If love cannot be quenched, why is it that Jesus said, Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall grow cold? Jesus speaks here to the early Christian church about A.D. 100, and He has something against them:

Revelation 2:4 Nevertheless I have [somewhat] against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.

Here is the early Christian church, and we know how on fire they became with Jesus Christ. The disciples, after His death and resurrection, were on fire, and many people were added to the church because of the love that vibrated in their hearts towards Jesus. But as the church grew and multitudes joined the church, there came a point in time where that love began to wane. So He says, I have this against you, that you have lost your first love. And the very wording helps you to understand. Does love fail? Love doesn’t fail. But what fails? You, the church, you have lost that love; that’s the problem.

This change is represented as a spiritual fall. {7BC 957.3}

The losing of the first love is specified as a moral fall. {7BC 957.4}

For those people who have loved and who had the love of God installed into their hearts, that love is there, but it can be lost because people lose their focus upon the spiritual overtures that God had communicated with them through Jesus Christ. Love was not the problem; it cannot be quenched, it never faileth. The problem lies with the human vessel. The vessel, which is you and me, receives something poured into it, and it is in there.

2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to [give] the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

Let us ponder these words for a moment. Here is the ability of God who is love. He who created this world out of darkness, spoke and said, Let there be light. And what happened? There was light. God can speak light and bring light out of darkness. God can do that. And in our heart, which is black, dark with sin and corruption and with everything that confuses the mind, God shines. We saw it in the story of Saul of Tarsus. When Jesus came into his presence his darkness was revealed, and he went blind. This is what sin actually produces. It produces darkness, and when the light of God shines upon it, the darkness becomes prominent, and then that darkness can be impregnated with the knowledge of the glory of God. The knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ is brought into the heart that is dark with sin. So we have this treasure, this love, this glory of God, poured into the vessel, an earthen vessel. But now that earthen vessel is not the love. It is God that is love in the face of Jesus Christ whom we receive into our conscious life. And then what can happen? Does love die out? No. It is the vessel that loses it. It is the vessel that lets other stuff pour in.

If you have oil in a vessel and you then pour water into it, the oil floats to the top; and if you keep on pouring, eventually the oil flows out over the top and it’s gone. This is a very good object lesson because the Holy Spirit of God’s love is represented in the Bible as oil. The oil of the Holy Spirit is in the vessel, and with all the other rubbish that is being poured into it, the oil comes to the surface and flows out. And as a consequence, the love is lost.

It is our work to know our special failings and sins, which cause darkness and spiritual feebleness, and quenched our first love. {7BC 957.1}

It is our work, because this love has been lost by many Christians. The true love of God is lost by many Christians, and the task that is portrayed here, our work, is to know what these things are, these special failings and sins which cause darkness and spiritual feebleness that quenches our first love. And the word quenching here is not to be understood in the sense that love itself is dying out in itself; it is simply taken out of our hearts.

This is the purpose of this meditation, to understand the special failings in the Christian’s heart and life which cause darkness and spiritual feebleness for the love to go. For those who have been watching the world and Christendom in general, isn’t this what has happened to Christendom? Go to the First and the Second World War and find what Christendom has done. Go back to the Dark Ages and see what Christendom has done. It has totally lost the love and the true nature of God; yet they claim to be Christians.

2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to [give] the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

This is how the love is to flood into the heart – the glory of God. What did Jesus say was the glory of God? This is the glory of God that Jesus wants us to appreciate; here is Jesus speaking to God in prayer:

John 17:24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am;

Why does Jesus want them to be with Him?

John 17:24 …that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me:

Now notice how He qualifies that. He wants them to see His glory, which the Father had given Him. What was that?

John 17:24 …for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.

The glory that existed between Father and Son was His love.

John 17:26 And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare [it]: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.

It is the task of Jesus Christ to bring to the human heart the love that existed between the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, the three persons of the Godhead. There was a relationship between them that the human race does nothing of. And it was Jesus who came down and is pleading here. Notice how He is pleading earnestly and how He is labouring to get this across to the human believers, that they might know the glory of God which was His love that existed between these three persons of the Godhead.

Our dark, sinful hearts had no love of that nature because sin is self-absorbed. The only love that we know of is a love of a wonderful sensation. Through sin we love somebody petting me. You know what it’s like when young couples first fall in love, one feels nice about the other because the other is nice to them. Is that the kind of love that God is? You can see what the problem is on this planet – people have selfish love. They want to be loved, and when they are loved then they will love again. There is a big confusion in the world today in regards to love. There are shattered sensations and hopes, nothing nice any more. They start off well and then, when romance wears off after marriage, bang. There are arguments, there are fights, and wherever you look today: divorce, divorce, divorce. Not only that, but warfare, attacks, nastiness, because selfish love is ruling. But true love, which comes from God in the face of Jesus Christ, that is something totally different. Let us spend some time in beholding that love.

Behold the Love of God

He is writing here in Jeremiah to the Jews who had become totally bereft of God’s love. They were beginning to worship other gods. But He was loving them and still wanted to help them. This was just before Babylonian captivity. Here is Jeremiah speaking to them, and he says:

Jeremiah 31:3 The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, [saying], Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.

These words are echoed by Jesus. He said, “I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me”, because there is something in Jesus that is so totally unselfish which begins to work on a heart that is bereft of happiness. You know, we love because somebody is showing us love. And that is the avenue by which God comes to the human sinful heart. You can understand love when someone gives it to you. And here I am, says God, I am giving you a love. It is God loving us with an everlasting love, even though these people were so bereft of love. They had become enemies of God. And this is the love of God, that while we were yet enemies, God gave us His Son. While we were yet enemies, that’s the love.

Jesus would have us understand the love of the Father, and He seeks to draw us to Him by presenting His parental grace. He would have the whole field of our vision filled with the perfection of God’s character {AG 99.4}

Jesus is really trying to help us understand this love. He says, You loved me, Father, before I came to this planet, and now I want them to see that love.

A plan has been devised whereby the wondrous grace and love of Christ shall stand revealed to the world. {AG 99.3}

In the heavenly counsels a plan was devised so that they could understand this love.

In the infinite price paid by the Son of God to ransom man, the love of God is revealed. This glorious plan of redemption is ample in its provisions to save the whole world. {Ibid.}

Remember the words of John 3:16? God so loved who? The world. That includes every individual living on this planet from the time of the beginning to the end. God wanted the whole world to visualise this love and save the world.

Sinful and fallen man may be made complete in Jesus through the forgiveness of sin and the imputed righteousness of Christ. {Ibid.}

Imputed means it is applied to the heart of everyone who would believe. This unspeakable love is a love that cannot be quenched. It is a love that comes and reveals a selflessness to forgive the person who has done God a dirty deal; because this is what Adam and Eve did, and that is what the human race has done. But He comes close to them and says, I want you to appreciate My love; I am prepared to forgive, and it is going to cost Me something. Let’s go to par. 2, it says:

The Lord of life and glory clothed His divinity with humanity to demonstrate to man that God through the gift of Christ would connect us with Him. {AG 99.2}

He wanted to connect the whole world with Him, so He brought Jesus Christ and connected the divine personage to the human and made a human out of Him so that the human God-man could demonstrate this love.

Without a connection with God no one can possibly be happy. {Ibid.}

Hasn’t that been demonstrated? You ask people, Are you really happy? and they say, “Oh yes, because of this and that.” “But just a moment, are you really happy? With all the fun you have when you go out to do this and to do that, deep down inside are you really happy?” We can’t be; it’s impossible, because disappointment is around the corner for every person. We know it, we have experienced it, we have looked back at history, and it’s just disaster.

Without a connection with God no one can possibly be happy. Fallen man is to learn that our Heavenly Father cannot be satisfied until His love embraces the repentant sinner, transformed through the merits of the spotless Lamb of God. {Ibid.}

We saw an illustration of that in our study this morning. Saul of Tarsus, angry and annoyed at the Christians, after them, killing them, all these ugly characteristics of his own personal pride and devotion, thinking he was doing God a favour when he was not demonstrating God’s love at all; that person was confronted by Jesus, and Jesus could actually transform him through this amazing demonstration of His love. This is what God wants to do for every human being if they will respond.

Christ came to manifest the love of God to the world, to draw the hearts of all men to Himself. {AG 99.5}

Why did He love them? So that they could enjoy the love that He had.

What follows now is a very important statement. What is the first step that you must take if you want to be saved?

The first step toward salvation is to respond to the drawing of the love of Christ. {Ibid.}

People say, What must I do to be saved? Look at the love and respond. It is as simple as that. This is what the early Christians did; they responded to it, they opened their hearts to it, and they were rejoicing in a happiness and a love that was out of this world. Here is how love is gained. God’s love is gained through this representation of Christ.

Let us reflect a little longer to really appreciate this love. We have already touched on it, but we want to see more. Let us linger in God’s loving presence. We read that “God so loved the world that He gave,” and He dressed Himself in the human body. That is easily said; but have a closer look at it. Really understand what this love is.

Christ, at an infinite cost, by a painful process, mysterious to angels as well as to men, assumed humanity. {UL 90.2}

He was God, divine. And by a painful process (that even the angels were watching taking place) He assumed humanity. How did Jesus assume humanity? The story of Christmas as the people use it today, Jesus was born of Mary, was He not? Before the birth, what takes place? Conception. That was when the angel came to Mary, saying, That holy thing in you is the Son of God. What? God would be constrained into a tiny little microscopic item and joined together with the ovum of Mary, and there was a conception. Can you comprehend what it cost the second person of the Godhead, Jesus Christ the Son of God? What did it cost Him?

…an infinite cost, by a painful process, mysterious to angels as well as to men, … Hiding His divinity, laying aside His glory, He was born a babe in Bethlehem. In human flesh He lived the law of God, that He might condemn sin in the flesh, and bear witness to heavenly intelligences that the law was ordained to life and to ensure the happiness, peace, and eternal good of all who obey. {Ibid.}

What did Jesus come to earth for? To demonstrate the love. Here is the beginning of the demonstration. Just place yourself if you can in your imagination as a living being up there in heaven; you are conscious of all your surroundings, the angels are worshipping you, and all of a sudden, by a choice that you have made, you are submitting yourself to the scientific constriction into an unconscious state. That seed that was conceived and then was born was unconscious. It was not knowing what was going on. And for Christ to come out of consciousness into unconsciousness was a painful process. Many people look at the cross of Jesus as the only thing that Jesus suffered, but the suffering started when He was constricted into an embryo. That’s God’s love. Then began a journey that was indescribable.

This is the mystery of godliness, that One equal with the Father should clothe His divinity with humanity, and laying aside all the glory of His office as Commander in heaven, [should] descend step after step in the path of humiliation, {UL 90.3}

A path; there was the beginning of it. And after He was born it took Him twelve years to become conscious of who He really was. Then, after living in the home of Mary and Joseph and being a carpenter up to the age of thirty, when His brain was fully developed spiritually, physically, and mentally, He became a minister for the human race. This was a step after step in the path of humiliation.

…enduring severe and still more severe abasement. Sinless and undefiled, He stood in the judgment hall, to be tried, to have His case investigated and pronounced upon by the very nation He had delivered from slavery. The Lord of glory was rejected and condemned, yea, spat upon. With contempt for what they regarded as His pretentious claims, men smote Him in the face. {Ibid.}

Did you ever realise that the cross of Jesus was just the bottom of the pit? It happened long before. Step by step down He came and suffered humiliation with the human race right to the enth degree. What was it that He suffered when He became man and came to the cross? What did God the Father do to Christ?

2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Whoever believes in this will discover that God had become man, and even before the cross, in the wilderness just after His baptism, He suffered the sin of the human race. He was made to be sin itself, so that you and I who are sinful beings might be transformed to be like Him.

We are here contemplating a love that can only be generated from the One who is love. Here Jesus had just been baptised by John the Baptist, and

Upon coming up out of the water, Jesus bowed in prayer on the river bank. A new and important era was opening before Him. {DA 111.3}

This is another step.

He was now, upon a wider stage, entering on the conflict of His life. Though He was the Prince of Peace, His coming must be as the unsheathing of a sword. The kingdom He had come to establish was the opposite of that which the Jews desired. {Ibid.}

What did the Jews desire? They wanted to conquer the Romans to set themselves free from Roman bondage. But Jesus came with something different.

He who was the foundation of the ritual and economy of Israel would be looked upon as its enemy and destroyer. He who had proclaimed the law upon Sinai would be condemned as a transgressor. He who had come to break the power of Satan would be denounced as Beelzebub. No one upon earth had understood Him, and during His ministry He must still walk alone. {Ibid.}

How do you feel about walking alone? Do you like it? Nobody to understand you. That is often how we feel, isn’t it? “Nobody can understand what’s really deep inside of me.” Jesus went through that.

Throughout His life His mother and His brothers did not comprehend His mission. Even His disciples did not understand Him. He had dwelt in eternal light, as one with God, but His life on earth must be spent in solitude. {Ibid.}

As one with us, He must bear the burden of our guilt and woe. The Sinless One must feel the shame of sin. The peace lover must dwell with strife, the truth must abide with falsehood, purity with vileness. Every sin, every discord, every defiling lust that transgression had brought, was torture to His spirit. {DA 111.4}

This is God, this is Jesus, this is love. Does not your heart burn within you if you believe this? Does not the heart burn with a desire to respond to this love? That is the first step in salvation. Love is stirred into position here. This is how it is received. And Jesus said to the people who had received that, I have somewhat against you in that you have lost your first love.

You know, I often observe this. I have studied with people for the last fifty years out of the Bible, like I am sharing with you now, and I have seen people melt under this beautiful story. But depending on circumstances, this beautiful thing that has touched their hearts has over the years in many cases become quenched. Why? How can something that is so precious as what I have just shared with you here be lost? How is that possible? Remember, this is what we need to understand.

It is our work to know our special failings and sins, which cause darkness and spiritual feebleness, and quenched our first love. {7BC 957.1}

It is important that we understand this. Now comes an important point. Follow carefully what it is, after your heart has been touched with this love, that causes it to be lost.

Our Responses

Remember that you and I are vessels. And Jesus, knowing our problem, gives us a parable in the Bible to know how this love is lost. It is first gained by the descriptions of the word of God, and as it falls upon our hearts it meets with different responses from us, which Jesus describes here:

Matthew 13:3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; 4 And when he sowed, some [seeds] fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: 5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: 6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. 7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: 8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. 9 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

The word of God comes down and it is love; it is a seed which is to fall into our hearts and is to germinate. Love is to germinate. There is one kind of people that it falls upon and the heart is pretty hard, it’s like a wayside that has been trampled underfoot. The seed falls on there and it just bounces. The love bounces on a hard heart. And what happens? The birds come along and pick it up. Jesus then enlarges that:

Matthew 13:19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth [it] not, then cometh the wicked [one], and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.

We are being shown by the Lord that if I am a person that is hearing this and I go, Wow, but because my heart has become so hardened, I find it difficult to even understand what this is all about, then I am a wayside hearer. The word bounces on that heart and we go home after hearing something like this, and what happens? The devil doesn’t like what we have heard and he goes along and quickly takes that out of there.

This does not mean that we are lost just because we have got a hard heart. Do you know what can happen? The minister of God can come and study with you and break that hard heart. When a farmer sees that the wheat goes onto hard ground, he can actually make sure that there is no hardness of the wayside; he can start cultivating that soil and turning it over. This is often my experience in my ministry. I have come across some pretty hard people. But as I keep working with them it turns over, it starts to get soft. They have a hard heart to start with, but after a while, when the beautiful seed of truth starts falling in in its love pattern, it can take root. But if the heart does not want to become softened, it is snatched away, the love is lost. I heard the love, it was beautiful, but it’s lost.

Matthew 13:20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;

“Oh, it’s beautiful! I love it! It’s wonderful!”

Matthew 13:21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while:

So yes, it’s nice. I take it home; I meditate upon it during the week. Maybe I can keep it for a month, but then something begins to happen.

Matthew 13:21 …for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.

That beautiful love that has been stirred becomes an offence because “I didn’t know I was going to go through persecution because of this. I didn’t know this and that was going to happen. Forget it.” And we forget the amazing love.

Matthew 13:22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.

So there the love grows amongst the weeds and thorns. But as the thorns grow, they grow faster than the Lord’s beautiful love in the heart, and it overwhelms it, it chokes it. What is it? The cares of the world, the negatives of experience of pursuing things that take pre-eminence over the love that we have contemplated. Oh yes, people hunt riches, but to hunt the wealth and the treasure of Jesus, that is second place, and so it becomes choked.

As you hear and appreciate this, all of us who are sitting at the feet of Jesus now can actually say, Right, if this is how it’s done that I can lose this beautiful love, I know now what to do. That is what I am hoping we will pick up here. Don’t despair if you might be a wayside hearer, a stony-ground hearer, or a thorn-surrounded hearer. Don’t despair! We are getting the answers of how to clean up the mess so that I can keep this love.

Whatever attracts the mind from God, whatever draws the affections away from Christ, is an enemy to the soul. {COL 53.2}

Are we looking for happiness? are we looking for true love? Where did the love come from? It came from God through Jesus Christ. And whatever it is that distracts us away from the source of this love is an enemy to my soul. So these are the items that can lead us to lose this love: tribulation, persecution, the cares of this world.

Especially today we have been surrounded by so much compacted concentration on issues of life that we have no time to contemplate Jesus. When you go home, remember, there is something very important – to stay focused while we still have to care for the responsibilities of life. It is possible.

Distractions

We will now spend some time in appreciating the detail of what Satan throws into our pathway so that we can identify it and deal with it so we don’t lose this beautiful love. This was the answer to my soul when I was 21; I was ready to give up my Christianity and here was the answer, and I said, Yes! This is what’s going to keep me going.

When the mind dwells upon self, it is turned away from Christ, the source of strength and life. {SC 71.2}

The love is the source.

Hence it is Satan’s constant effort to keep the attention diverted from the Saviour and thus prevent the union and communion of the soul with Christ. {Ibid.}

He seeks to prevent the appreciation of the actual love that Jesus came to impart to me. What are his distractions?

The pleasures of the world, {Ibid.}

If you are wrapped up with the pleasures of the world, can you think about the love of Jesus? It doesn’t work, does it? That is Satan’s work.

…life’s cares and perplexities and sorrows, {Ibid.}

Are you surrounded with them? This is what Satan does to obliterate this beautiful picture.

…the faults of others, or your own faults and imperfections—to any or all of these he will seek to divert the mind. {Ibid.}

You’ve seen this beautiful love, you see what Jesus has done for you, you think, I love it! But then you go home and in comes all the floods, the thorns, the thistles, the perplexities, the burdens, and it floods me, and Satan says, Come on! You’ve got to face it! You’ve got to battle it! Keep on holding on to your problems; keep on thinking about them; keep on letting them destroy your focus on Jesus, this is what I want you to do.

Do not be misled by his devices. {Ibid.}

How conscientious are you?

Many who are really conscientious, and who desire to live for God, he too often leads to dwell upon their own faults and weaknesses, and thus by separating them from Christ he hopes to gain the victory. {Ibid.}

The love of God is poured into our hearts by the beautiful word that penetrates, and then He says, I have something against you; you’ve lost it. Why? What went wrong? You have permitted the pleasures of the world, the cares and perplexities and sorrows, the faults of others and your own faults and imperfections to get in front of your vision. Don’t let Satan do this. They are his devices.

You are really conscientious? you desire to live for God? Satan too often leads you to dwell upon your own faults and weaknesses, and thus by separating you from Christ he hopes to gain the victory. Examine yourself in the light of this. I did that, and I said, Right! I’m not going to let this happen; I’m not going to let this take root in my life. This is what happened to the early Christian church. Why did they lose their first love?

…the early Christians began to look for defects in one another. {CCh 44.1}

Is that hard? You can see plenty of faults in people around you. And those of you who first come here, you might say, Oh what a wonderful church this is! But when you get closer and closer you see faults. People here are still faulty; but don’t think about it, don’t look at it.

Dwelling upon mistakes, encouraging suspicion and doubt, giving way to unkind criticism, they lost sight of the Saviour and of the great love He had revealed for sinners. They became more strict in regard to outward ceremonies, more particular about the theory of the faith, {Ibid.}

When someone is contradicting the theory of the faith, you stand up there and you are ready to combat. This is what many ministers do, and I was nearly drawn into that myself, but I could see the danger and I said, No.

They became more strict in regard to outward ceremonies, more particular about the theory of the faith, more severe in their criticisms. In their zeal to condemn others, they themselves erred. They forgot the lesson of brotherly love that Christ had taught. And, saddest of all, they were unconscious of their loss. They did not realize that happiness and joy were going out of their lives, and that soon they would walk in darkness, having shut the love of God out of their hearts. {Ibid.}

How was it done? The faults of others, the perplexities and problems. What happens in your mind when you become surrounded by these dreadful things? Because iniquity abounds, the love of many grows cold. Here is the simple answer. What were the people doing who were letting their love grow cold? They were beholding the horror, the corruption and the evil; they were thinking about it; they couldn’t sleep at night; their mind was occupied with it – this wrong and that wrong and I’m so bad too, I might as well give up also. Have you ever gone through that at night time? “I might as well give up; I might as well go and take my life.”

I am here to testify to you that that love of Jesus has continued to follow me because I made a decision to hold onto Him. As He unveiled to me the progressive revelations of His love, I came to a point in life where I said, That’s it, Lord, I don’t want to ever lose it, whatever happens. I decided to keep my face like a flint no matter what people would say about me or do to me or to those around me, no matter how much evil I would be looking at; I would not look to hold it in my heart. I would dismiss it. This is what I want to conclude with.

We have legitimate reasons to become distressed about things that happen around us. We really believe, That is legitimate! I can get angry here! I can think about it! We may think that. But didn’t Jesus have legitimate reasons? More than any one of us. He was the God of heaven, He could have said, Two hoots about you, I’m not interested in you anymore. You’ve given me too much trouble, I’m back! But what did He do?

1 Peter 2:23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed [himself] to him that judgeth righteously:

“Father, into Your hand I commend My spirit.” This is what He said at the cross. “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” Wasn’t that love? He prayed for His persecutors. He had legitimate reasons, and He shows us and demonstrates to us a love, and says to you and me who are bombarded by iniquity around us:

1 Peter 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

Follow the love; let that be the steps.

1 Peter 2:19 For this [is] thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. 20 For what glory [is it], if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer [for it], ye take it patiently, this [is] acceptable with God.

Hasn’t He demonstrated it? That is what He was like. This is the love of God. This is what makes my heart pulsate. As I see the darkness and the corruptions around me, as I see battles in my own home life, I do not countenance this to let it continue to multiply around me in my mind and in my heart.

Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: [and] again I say, Rejoice. 5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord [is] at hand. 6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

This is the love, the peace.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things [are] honest, whatsoever things [are] just, whatsoever things [are] pure, whatsoever things [are] lovely, whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue, and if [there be] any praise, think on these things.

Don’t think about the iniquity. Because iniquity abounds the love of many will be thrown out, so don’t think about it! Only think of all those good things; and there are heaps of things to think about every time the evil wants to come in and Satan throws it at your face.

We should bring the attractiveness of Christ into our Christian service. {TMK 136.2}

This is what it means to look at those beautiful things.

The soft beams of the Sun of Righteousness should shine into our hearts, that we may be pleasant and cheerful and have a strong and blessed influence on all around us. The truth of Jesus Christ does not tend to gloom and sadness. . . . We must look away from the disagreeable to Jesus. We must love Him more, obtain more of His attractive beauty and grace of character, and cease the contemplation of others’ mistakes and errors. {Ibid.}

Did you get that? Please, wives, husbands, it is so hard to live in close range with one another, isn’t it? Cease to contemplate your husband’s or your wife’s errors and mistakes. Don’t contemplate it. It drives you insane, it drives you to such insanity that you don’t even behave like a proper, sensible person any more.

We should remember that our own ways are not faultless. {Ibid.}

One looks at the other and says, Urgh! and the other says, Yeah, but look at you! The pot calling the kettle black. It’s true! We are not faultless.

We make mistakes again and again. . . . No one is perfect but Jesus. Think of Him and be charmed away from yourself, and from every disagreeable thing, for by beholding our defects faith is weakened. God and His promises are lost from sight. {Ibid.}

The love is lost from sight. Aren’t you happy we have some answers? This makes my heart throb with joy in the midst of the iniquity that abounds around us. The iniquity with its baleful impact upon our tender senses abounds; it’s in your face! You cannot help but see it. But don’t stop to look and think upon it; that’s all. This is God’s servant, the one who has opened his heart to the Lord; and what will he do?

Isaiah 42:19 Who [is] blind, but my servant? or deaf, as my messenger [that] I sent? who [is] blind as [he that is] perfect, and blind as the Lord’s servant? 20 Seeing many things, but thou observest not; opening the ears, but he heareth not.

You can see things and you can hear things, but they don’t have to penetrate. You can be blind to them. Convenient amnesia. I am conveniently not listening. I am conveniently not looking, because my convenience is found in Jesus Christ. I don’t want to see, I don’t want to hear, although I look, and I am looking for what Jesus is doing; that’s all. I see lots of things in the world, but I don’t think, Oh, yuck! I think only on that which is good. You look straight to Jesus and it’s gone. And because you are looking at everything through the eyes of Jesus, you see souls who can be helped. This cruel Saul of Tarsus had something inside of him. You look, as a servant of God, and see what Jesus is doing.

I studied with one person for two years and the minister of the church that was together with me said, Why do you waste your time with that man? He’s not making any decisions. I said, I can see something there. And that man was recovered from brain damage from alcoholism because I stuck with him. This is what God can do. Don’t give up on yourself; don’t look at the darkness; look at the power of God. And when you will be counted in these last days in which we live, in which iniquity abounds and the love of many is growing cold, what will be your experience?

Matthew 24:13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

What is that enduring? Love endureth all things. In other words, the love of God is held onto and you will endure all things to the end. It will get more horrendous than it is now, and as the world is crumbling down around us we want to practice what I have shared with you here. God’s love will not be quenched out of your heart.

May God help us to put it into practice so that none of us need to be lost. My heart goes out for every human being no matter where they have come from, no matter what they have done, and especially those in the church that may have fallen; they may have made serious mistakes, they may be cursed in my mind because of the evil they have done to me, but Jesus didn’t curse them. Remember that. While the soul comes for mercy, no one has the right to shut them out. May God help us to hold on to that, is my prayer.

Amen.

Posted on August 31, 2012, in Divine Service Sermons, Sermons by John Thiel, The Love of God. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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