Love the Brethren

Posted by Jerry White on Jul 28, 2014

Jesus Christ is God’s love revealed through a human life. In Him we see the amazing love of God made flesh, a love so high and so pure that no sacrifice is too great for the object of His love. To friend and foe alike this love is given. No resistance diminishes its intensity. No sin is too deep for its reach. The highest obstacle is still submerged in its flow. The farthest point is love’s mere beginning. Even beyond the measure of time and the immensity of space there still dwells love, for God is love. The magnitude of His love is seen in His infinite caring about our finite needs. Even the hairs of your head He has numbered. Out of love He created you; out of love He redeemed you; and out of love He sustains you.

He gave to you the highest purpose of all His creations—-to be the expression of His own holy life. He made you uniquely to be the temple of His Spirit. Through you He desired to express His own matchless glory. In you He chose to deposit the treasure of His character, and through you He planned to show forth His radiant love.

In the latter days of His life, Jesus said to His disciples, All men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another (John 14:35). The distinction of His people would be their love, not a love like any other in a world of selfishness, but a love that is different because it is sacrificial. A love that forgets self in its concern for others. A love that is patient during the stumblings of a brother. A love that forbears when a friend fails you badly. A love that forgives in the face of great sin. A love that can cheerfully take the lowest place in preference of another. A love that sees others’ needs and joyfully seeks to meet them. A love that is compassionate, gentle, and kind. A love that, indeed, is God’s love.

No man has seen God at any time, but when they see Christian brothers love each other in this way, they will see God. When they see a family love one another in this way, they will see God. When children see parents love each other in this way, they will see God.

Jesus said, A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you so you must love one another (John 14:34).
This comes from a book I was asked to write forty years ago.

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Confessing Truth

Posted by Jerry White on Jul 21, 2014

A small rudder directs a large ship. With this picture James vividly illustrates the power of the tongue (James 3:4). What one says affects the direction of one’s life. James then adds that a small fire can set a whole forest ablaze (James 3:5). The tongue has the power to set on fire the entire course of one’s life (James 3:6). This small organ of speech destroys or blesses, and this depends on what controls it, sinful flesh or God’s Spirit. We normally think of this effect on others and do not realize that our words also affect us.

Confession means, “to say the same thing.” We usually think of confession as confessing sin. Indeed, confessing sin is vital for spiritual health and should be a regular practice for God’s children. This means that we say to God out loud what God says about our sin. We call specific sin what God calls it—-in all its ugliness—-and repent with godly sorrow (sorrow towards God). However, the Bible also speaks forcefully about the need for Christians to confess God’s truth (Hebrews 10:23). Just as important as confessing our sin to God is the practice of confessing out loud, with thankfulness, God’s Word which tells us that we are forgiven and cleansed from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). This is freeing and allows the Holy Spirit to make it real in our heart.

Note: Confessing God’s truth means speaking it, not merely reading it or thinking it. Romans 10:9-10 speaks of believing with the heart and confessing with the mouth that Jesus is Lord. Abraham believed God that he would become the father of many nations, even though in his old age he did not yet have a son, and he grew strong in faith as he gave glory to God (Romans 4:18-20). Surely this indicates that he believed in his heart and spoke it in praise to God all those years as he waited for Sarah in her old age to become miraculously pregnant with a son.

Speaking God’s truth so you hear it is strong spiritual nourishment and healing. For example:

Because of God’s grace I am in Christ Jesus (1 Corinthians 1:30).
In Christ I am forgiven by God for all my sin (Colossians 2:13-14).
In Christ I possess God’s righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21).
In Christ I am loved as much as the Father loves His Son (John 15:9; 16:27).
In Christ I will be presented before God as holy, blameless, and above reproach (Colossians 1:21-22).

Speak what God says to cleanse, renew, and nourish your soul, and to stir your heart to worship.

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Love Made Perfect

Posted by Jerry White on Jul 14, 2014

I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.
John 17:26 (ESV)
“This they obtained at Pentecost, and this we must have if we would know perfect love. And the question comes to us, What does it mean to have the love of the Father in us; the love wherewith the Father loved His Son? What does God aim to accomplish in us? ‘That the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them’! First of all I must understand that the love of God is going to be within me. How is the love of God, possessing and ruling and filling my inmost being, to be in me? Just as thinking and feeling and willing is in me, and it is most easy and natural for me to think and feel and will; even so, when the love of God really fills my heart, love will flow out spontaneously and continuously. Instead of it being a duty, as it is in the earlier disciple stage, with its effort and failure, it becomes a delight, and there is a love that cannot help loving, because God’s love has been shed abroad and has taken complete possession. Up to this time there has been an inward life of self continually getting the mastery. The love of self and of sin has been very deep in me. What Christ’s prayer asks and promises is, that we are now to have an inward life of love; in the place of sin and self the love of God to Christ is now to fill the heart. Instead of having to try to love always, and so often failing, love comes in as an indwelling Divine power, constituting the very life of the soul, and loves spontaneously, continuously, and most joyfully. Love has filled the heart. Think of this. My heart, MY heart, MY heart becomes the habitation of the holy love of God to Jesus in its Divine joy and blessedness, it’s infinite power, it’s everlasting glory! ‘That the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them’! That love is to be in us, our second nature, our new self, our very selves.

And then, note further, this love is to come through the Holy Spirit.”

Andrew Murray
Love Made Perfect, 59-61 (1894)

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Distracted or Choosing Correctly

Posted by Jerry White on Jul 6, 2014

Martha was distracted with much serving…. Mary has chosen the good portion.
Luke 10:40, 42 (ESV)
Distractions draw us away from a right focus. It is not necessarily bad things that distract us. Martha was preparing a meal for her Savior, but her ministry for Him drew her from “the good portion” which Jesus valued and commended. This caused her to have anxiety, a troubled soul, and a critical attitude towards her sister. Furthermore, she even questioned the Master’s care for her and told Him what to do about Mary. Martha was obviously a take charge woman absorbed in her work, and I’m sure she did not anticipate a gentle rebuke from the Lord Jesus at this moment. Jesus contrasted her soul’s condition with Mary’s correct choice. Mary was peacefully attentive to the Lord; Martha was not. Please note: Jesus was not rebuking Martha for preparing dinner. It needed to be done, and someone had to do it. Jesus was not suggesting Martha should quit preparing the meal and come sit at His feet like Mary. He was addressing the focus of her heart. She could have prepared dinner without being distracted from the Lord, or else Jesus would not have corrected her. The issue was not her activity but what occupied her heart.

Myriads of distractions confront us daily in this modern culture with an intensity not known in previous generations. With all the media and electronic gadgetry for communication in our day, it is easier than ever to be occupied with external matters so that we live distracted and drawn away from a heart focus on the Lord Jesus. Many find themselves whisked along by busyness, engulfed with overloaded schedules, and constantly bombarded by relentless communications. How different this present day is compared to just fifty years ago when an average family had one land line house phone, one television with only three or four channels, and hand written letters sent by regular mail.

Is it possible to live in this generation of excessive communications and demanding schedules but still maintain a heart focus on the Lord Jesus so that one is not distracted and drawn away by so much external stimuli? Of course it is. What Jesus said to Martha still applies today. It is a matter of the heart and a choice of the will. We can control where the focus of our heart will be. We can be busy about our tasks and still commune with the Lord in the quiet sanctuary of our soul. It is possible to live on the external level and also on the inner heart level at the same time. Brother Lawrence did so by practicing the presence of God. Others have learned how to do this. If the Lord Jesus lived a human life among us today, He would live out of the depths of His being just like He did then. He would say the same to us as He did to Martha. Circumstances with all the modern distractions make no difference if our heart really wants what Mary enjoyed. It is a matter of the heart. It is learning to commune with Jesus Christ who has taken up residence inside us by means of the Holy Spirit. He is not a guest in our house, but rather He is now the owner who purchased our body to be His temple by His bloody death (1 Corinthians 6:19). It is possible to be busy with external affairs and still enjoy His presence within like Mary at His feet.

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