Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
- 1 John 4:7-8
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.
- 1 John 1:5-10
We are getting closer and closer to love being hate. The first Scripture is from the Apostle John’s first epistle, as is the second. In the first, it shows that God is love and that if we do not love, we do not know God. Then in the second Scripture quotation, it talks about sin, and that the worst condition is that when we define what we are doing as not being sin, then we make God out to be a liar. Word to the wise: This is a bad idea.
So, when the woke crowd show up at the church door, what do you do? Do you let them in, celebrate their wokeness, and then move on? Or do you preach from 1 John 1. Do you clearly state what is sin and that you must repent? If you do, the woke crowd will be visiting a different church next week, maybe after they have spread the word about how hateful you are. They will continue to do so until they find a church that says, “You can go to heaven without a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. You can go to heaven without repentance. You can go to heaven regardless of what you believe.” Note: I put those statements in quotes, because the church that says that is lying. We may stumble and fall on occasion, but repentance is required. We must believe in the Jesus of the Bible. We cannot say we believe in Jesus, but with so many exceptions to what the Bible says about Jesus that our confession of belief is meaningless. And the key thing is that without repentance, even as we occasionally stumble, and without a deep believe and trust in Jesus, we can never obtain a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, that relationship that God desires.
So, when we do not celebrate someone’s wokeness, then saying “God is love” becomes fighting words. They will say that God cannot be love unless He loves me just the way I am. But that is another issue. God does love you the way you are right now, even while being a sinner, but once you accept Him as your Savior, there must be change. It is not you changing; it is Jesus, inside you, changing you. You no longer have the desire to do this or do that. Much of the repentance becomes natural in that fashion. But then it comes to the things that are truly hard to deal with. At that point, repentance becomes painful.
But people today do not want anything that is painful. They equate pain to hate. You thrust pain onto me, thus what you said was hate speech. What did I say? “God loves you. I love you. Repent and be baptized, because Jesus’ kingdom is at hand.”
That could be said in my college days, and the other person would drop to their knees and accept Jesus into their hearts. These days, they run to get a policeman to have you arrested for hate speech.
Okay, maybe that is in some countries, but not here. But there are those who desire it for this country too.
But are we not our worst enemy? I read a book by Charles Stanley, The Source of My Strength, and in the book, he talked about how he had preached countless sermons on the sovereignty of God and other such lofty subjects, but he could only remember one sermon on the love of God. Obviously, from early in his ministry. I love an occasional fire and brimstone sermon. If I do not squirm in the pew, you were not forceful enough. But we need to know HOW to love.
Our neighbor mows our lawn for two reasons. First, I would mow every other week or even more seldom. I am allergic to pollen, whatever the brand, and the worst of my allergies is grass pollen. I avoid the direct contact as much as possible. Thus, his first reason is to improve the property value of his home, and then he rarely mows our lawn more often than once every other week. Second, he enjoys the exercise. It is his means of not gaining weight.
My wife is “considerate.” Yes, we had a nasty fight over her definition of “considerate” last week. We got home and the couple next door were fiddling with a power washer, figuring out how it worked. My wife had bought a large bag of candy to give to the neighbor who mows our lawn to keep the pounds off. She wanted me to give him the candy right then, because they were both there. No delays.
Wait. This makes no sense. Candy would be the last thing that we should give him as a gift. But in addition, he and his wife are up to their elbows in trying to get the power washer working. If I arrived with a gift, I would interrupt their efforts and possibly destroy their progress. But I am trying to learn to say, “Yes, ma’am” and do as my wife says even when she is wrong on all counts. Peace is more important than correctness, at times.
I walked over to the neighbor just as they got the washer started and the neighbor’s wife took over the nozzle and started washing everything in sight, except for the humans. Praise the Lord. She did ask if I needed a bath. I think that was a joke, but it might have been a threat.
I handed our neighbor the candy and he gave me a dirty look. He said in irritated tones, “You know this is not necessary, and you know why I mow your lawn.”
I replied, “Yes, I know that, but you know my wife, and you know that it is necessary for her.”
At that, he stared for about two seconds, blinked a couple of times, and then laughed. He thanked me for the gift, tossed it into his garage, and then returned to the power washing. And now a week later, I wonder if the candy is still sitting on the floor of his garage.
My wife and I had opposite ideas of how to show love for our neighbor, and we are both Christians. Both approaches have their merit, under certain circumstances, but are either of the approaches accepted as being a gesture of love? Now throw in the concept of “sin” and “repentance” and non-Christian ideas of what love might be, and you can easily see how love becomes hate.
Rev. David Robertson shared an audio clip of a reporter interviewing Ian Paisley, a Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) politician in Northern Ireland. Edwin Poots had just taken over the government and the media was frantic and obviously from the manner of the interview, scared out of their minds that the world had come to an end. Mr. Poots is not only someone who calls himself a Christian, but he is a devout Christian, and even a Creationist. With that big of a shocking concept, would not anyone think the world had come to an end, at least the government of the country? Paisley said a lot, but he made two statements that were telling. He quoted Frank Skinner who said something along the lines of “You can be anything you like in Britain except a Christian.” And he also challenged the reporter that if Edwin Poots was a Muslim, we would not be having the conversation. That only Christians were being targeted in such a manner, but calm down, the government would strive to do what was best for the people of Northern Ireland.
So, maybe love becoming hate is not ever going to happen, but in much of the world God’s love becoming hate has already happened and the trend is for the entire world to join in that thought.
As for me, I will keep saying that God loves you and I do too … until they lock me up for saying it. Then I suppose that I would have just started a prison ministry. At that point, what could they do?
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.