1 John 4:10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
It is one thing to be given a gift from someone; it is another thing entirely to receive that gift. A gift received is a gift retrieved. Simply put, it does not lie dormant, but has an impact on your life. God Himself is love and in receiving God’s love we are receiving God. It is more that just accepting Christ as your Savior. There are those who have acknowledged the love God has shown to them by calling on the name of the Lord and becoming born again. But more than that once we are saved God desires for us to receive His love in our life as well.
As the scripture above states the love of God is not a love that is shown or given based on us first loving Him. God’s love was given before we ever even knew God personally. That love was personified in Christ Jesus on the cross. Many still see love as a feeling or emotion, but true love, God’s love, is not a feeling or emotion. Again, God is love and God is not a feeling or emotion. God can change your feelings or emotions.
Jesus on the cross revealed the love God has for us. God sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. A big word which simply means that Jesus bore the punishment we deserved because of our sin. Jesus was the atoning sacrifice for our sin. The work of propitiation was that atoning work. If you have ever doubted God’s love for you then you have not received a revelation of what Jesus did for you on that cross. For Him to take not only our sin but also the punishment our sin deserved, is an incredible expression of how much God loves us.
2 Cor. 5:14 For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died;
2 Cor. 5:15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.
The apostle Paul not only knew of the love God had shown to him, he had received that love. It was this love God had for him that compelled him to live his life for God. So many today are teaching that we shouldn’t address the issue of how a believer should live their life, but the apostle Paul did. Realizing that Christ died for us, we should no longer live for ourselves, but for Him who died for us. When you talk to people about what the New Testament teaches in relationship to what God says about how we should live our life, often they think you are putting them in bondage. But I have found out over the years they think this because they have not received the love that God has for them.
1 John 2:15 Don’t love the world and what it offers. Those who love the world don’t have the Father’s love in them.
To receive that love you must first and foremost look to Him as the source of all you need in life. If you are still in love with the world or the things of this world then the love of the Father is not in you because it has not been received by you. If you are focused on and chasing after what the world has to offer to find happiness in your life, then you have not received the love that the Father has for you. You can’t do both. Loving the world and what it offers will continue to lead to a life of discontent and frustration. You will never be satisfied because those things cannot complete you, only God can. 1 John is written by the way to believers. So you could be born again and yet in love with the world.
So when people say don’t focus on how you live your life, just realize that the statement God loves you has some truth to it, but what is missing is the fact that you may have not received the love God has for you and this is why your life has not changed as God does desire for us to be transformed. We are in the world but not to be of the world. God does love us no matter what we do that is a fact, but that does not mean you have received that love.
If you are in love with the world or what it offers you, have your affections set on those things and not the things of God, and therefore God Himself, then you have not received His love. It is there for you, but won’t make a difference in your life. Receiving Christ is a willful choice in which we turn not just from what we have done in the past, but a choice to begin to walk with Christ and let Him change our future. You won’t have the love of the Father in you if you are still in love with the world.
Heb. 12:5 You have forgotten the encouraging words that God speaks to you as his children: “My child, pay attention when the Lord disciplines you. Don’t give up when he corrects you.
Heb. 12:6 The Lord disciplines everyone he loves. He severely disciplines everyone he accepts as his child.”
Unfortunately today much of what is being taught is leaving out verses like these in Hebrews. Many have begun to leave out the teachings that the Lord disciplines those He loves. I want to explain how He does this in a moment because there are some teachings that do talk about this, but are not in line with the Word. But what most ministers teach on about the love of God has nothing to do with the fact that because God loves you He will in fact correct you and discipline you.
The reason this is happening is because most ministers are focused on one thing. They want everyone to like them. Who doesn’t want to be liked, but the calling to preach the gospel is not the calling to make everyone like you. In fact Paul was not a very popular preacher in his day and yet he himself said that he had not shunned too declare the “whole” truth of God. Too many ministers are only preaching what people want to hear, not what they need to hear.
If you as a parent truly love your children you are going to discipline them for their benefit. You will do so because you want them to grow up and mature, and you want to keep them from doing things that will harm their life. Today we are seeing the results of a society that in many cases no longer discipline their children as scriptures teach we should. God knows how to raise children and His Word teaches that if you discipline your children you will drive hell far from them. If you discipline your children biblically you are not doing harm to your child, but they will know what they have done is wrong. You don’t punish your children, you correct them through discipline.
So for us to receive God’s love we must not be in love with the world and what it offers, and we must be willing to receive His correction and discipline for our lives. If we are unwilling to do so we are not partaking of the love He has for us that will help us and protect us from wrong. We will not experience the loving protection of a Father who is trying to grow us up and keep us from doing things that will hurt our life. So how does God correct us?
There are several ways which I will not have time to go into in detail but can be seen clearly in scripture as to how God corrects us. First and foremost realize that God does not correct us through anything that has to do with stealing, killing, or destroying. As I have heard Charles Capps say many times, John 10:10 is the dividing line of the Bible. The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy; Jesus came to give us life and that more abundantly. So realize God does not cause accidents, sickness, disease, etc., to come into peoples lives to correct them or teach them something.
There are four primary ways God corrects us according to the New Testament and you can look them up for yourself. First and foremost God corrects us through His Word. When we come to the Word or hear the Word preached and see things that it says we are to do as a believer and we are not doing so, then we should receive that as a correction from God, not bondage or as some would say, “preaching condemnation”. God is trying to keep you from hurting your life. It is that simple. Those who say obeying the Bible is bondage don’t understand the love God has for them.
A second way God corrects us is through His Spirit. The Holy Spirit has been given to us to show us all things. All things would include when we do wrong. As our Helper He will not only help us in dealing with challenges we face in life, He will also help us to point out things we need to fix and change with His help. He is our teacher and can show us how to have our lives changed as He reveals God’s Word to us.
A third way God corrects us is through our conscience, the voice of our spirit. When our conscience feels guilty that is not a bad thing; that is our spirit revealing something we need to change. And a fourth way God corrects us is through godly leadership who have been given to help grow us up as well. They do so by teaching us the Word of God, all of what His Word says.
So receive the love God has for you by not loving the world, nor the things in the world, and by receiving His correction for your life. God loves you and wants you to experience the power of His love. That love will transform your life and will then in turn help transform the lives of others. It is a wonderful gift that should not lie dormant in our life. Remember a gift received is a gift retrieved!
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker