Sunday, October 29, 2023

Complete Dedication isn't Enough

 Complete Dedication isn't Enough

Well praise Jesus today everyone.  We praise Him in the morning, we praise Him in the midday, we praise Him in the evening.  What I wanted to speak about this morning is the fact that just being dedicated is not enough to get us to heaven.  A lot of people are very dedicated to their sport, they're very dedicated to education, or they're very extremely dedicated to their religion.  We know right now that there are extremist groups that are willing to blow themselves up for the sake of their religion.  They've been so indoctrinated by their state, by their religion, by their religious order or their leaders, that they're even willing to sacrifice themselves to the flames for the sake of their belief.  But even if we're willing to blow ourselves up, that is not enough to get us into heaven.  

Now there's also a lot of Christians that are very dedicated. My grandfather was very dedicated, people in my family were very dedicated to the faith.  But that is still not enough to get us into heaven if we don't have one thing, and that is true love, the love of God with all our heart, and the love of our neighbor. And that is one thing that a lot of Christians are also missing.  They're dedicated to reading their Bible, they're dedicated to believing doctrines, they're dedicated to preaching, to street preaching, to evangelizing, all these things they're dedicated to, but they don't really have the love of Jesus in them.  If they did, they would be much different. This is what is recorded in 1 Corinthians chapter 13 about true love that comes from the Holy Spirit.  “1Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.”  

You know there's a lot of Christians that believe that if you are just speaking in your new tongue, then you must be eternally saved.  If you just receive that supernatural prayer language, if you can pray in tongues, then you must be saved.  And they're seeking after this gift with all of their might. And then if they do receive it, they're so convinced that they're saved, they go around boasting, telling everyone that they're saved, and how other people have to speak in their specific prayer language.  And if they're not, then they're not really a true Christian.

So let's keep reading about true love.  “2And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”  There are also a lot of Christians that believe if they have the kind of faith that can lay hands on the sick and they'll recover every time, they believe if they can do these great miracles or be in touch with others that can work these sorts of miracles, then they will be true Christians.  And they belittle other people who are not doing such sort of faith miracles before men to see.  But they also don't have true love.

“3And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.”  There are also Christians who try to appease God by giving a lot of money to their church.  They call it tithe. Or they give money to homeless projects.  And they think that by giving away a lot of money that in essence they're buying a way into heaven.  It appeases their conscience because they feel like they're doing good things. But still they don't have the true love of Jesus Christ in their hearts.  They don't love God with all of their heart and their neighbor as themselves.  

“4Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth.”  There are a lot of people that say that they are prophets, they say they're Christians, they say they're men of God, but they're very rude to other people.  They're always mocking others. They're always hating on others, belittling others, speaking evil of others.  They're always gossiping. These sorts of people do not have the love of Jesus in them even if they believe themselves to be good doctrinal Bible believing Christians.  

But love, it “7bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10But when that which is perfect has come,” that being perfect means Jesus Christ and the gift of His Spirit to cleanse us and give us these true gifts from Him.  “10But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. 11When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. 13And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

Now I know one question some of you may have, and one thing that has been misconstrued in the Christian church, is the idea of tongues and prophecy and all these gifts ceasing and what it means to cease.  Now what the Apostle Paul is speaking of here, is when we have entered into the Kingdom of God, entered into Heaven, and when we see Jesus Christ face to face.  Jesus now is our hope, and we have faith in Jesus, because true faith is being able to believe in or trust what we do not see.  Now the reason why love is greater than faith and hope, and the reason why these two, faith and hope, will cease in the end, or be done away with in essence, is because when you are in Heaven, when you are face to face with Jesus, you do not have to hope that one day you will see Jesus.  You do not have to have faith that one day you will see Him face to face. You will be with Him face to face.  You have overcome this world through your faith, and therefore hope of seeing Jesus does not have to exist anymore.  You are already with Him. Prophecy does not have to exist. All the prophecies have already been fulfilled.  

There are a lot of people that put prophecy above love. They put faith and hope and all these things above love.  And it makes you wonder, when they are in Heaven with Jesus, will they just be full of pride that they are a better prophet, that they had more hope?  Because the greatest of all these things is love, because even after we are face to face with Jesus Christ, we will still be in His love.  We will still be experiencing His love. There will be no need to do away with love or for love to cease.  But there will be no need for a prophet in Heaven. There is no need to be hoping that one day we will meet God and be with Him in Heaven.  All those things will cease. But there are some Christians that are so proud and arrogant, they are so puffed up with their Bible knowledge, that they think when they get to Heaven, they are going to be better than others, because they knew the Bible better, they are going to be able to tell Jesus how many verses they have memorized, how many people they brought to the Lord.  They think that their spiritual gift is greater than love, and they are wicked, because they are full of pride and arrogance.  

We need to make sure that we put the true love of Jesus Christ first. Do we have His love in our heart?  Or are we similar to radical Muslims? Are we similar to the radicalized Christians who want to go around bashing their Bible and telling other people that everyone is going to hell, but they don't have the love of Jesus in their hearts themselves?  If we truly fear God, then we will obey Him. And the greatest commandment is to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourself.  If you leave out either one of those elements, you are in trouble. There are some people that say they love God, but they hate their neighbor.  We know that happens with some of these radical terrorist groups.  They love God with all their heart, so they say. They love their scriptures, but they hate their neighbor.  They are willing to kill for the sake of their religion. They have absolutely no love.  They have murder in their hearts.

Likewise, if you just love people, if you have this loving, caring, you want to be able to dote on people, but you don't really love God, you become like anyone else in the world who is willing to give a lot of money to homeless people, but you don't have any direction that comes from Jesus Christ.  So you are willing to get people off the street, better people's lives, but in the end, you are not concerned about their soul, because you can't see clearly the things of Jesus Christ.  I've had people in my family, I've had friends, and I have had employers who are like this.  They were completely godless. These sorts of people would curse God. They would mock God and speak evil about Jesus Christ all the time.  But they were the sorts of people who would want to see the betterment of society. So they would dote on me, they would give me money, they would help me buy things, they'd be willing to get me a hotel room, they'd be willing to get me all these things because they loved me in the flesh.  They loved the economy doing well. They loved all the things of this world, but they did not love God.  

So either one of these elements that you leave out, if you leave out loving God, or if you leave out loving your neighbor, you will be in the wrong.  So the question I have is, do we really have the love of Jesus Christ in us?  Or are we speaking evil of people? Are we doing what is evil in the eyes of God?  Are we belittling others? Are we hating on others? Or really, are we loving the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength?  And are we loving our neighbor as ourself? Well I hope this encourages someone to walk in love and in purity, to check your own heart, to make sure that you're right with Jesus Christ and filled with His Holy Spirit.  Right now I'm going to pray for those of you that want prayer, for those of you that want to be filled with the Holy Spirit, and that want to be separate from the world and ungodliness and all the lies that are in the world.  

“So Lord Jesus, I pray for your true church, that you fill us with your righteousness, your love, your glory, that we may honor you and please you with all of our heart, that we may live for you and not be concerned with the things of this world.  And as the song says, that the things of this world grow dim in the light of your glory and grace.  May we put our faith in you, may we have true love that comes from your Holy Spirit, and may we not be like the religious order of the world that only loves their own.  May we really have your love in our hearts, loving our neighbor as ourselves and encouraging others to truly come into the faith, that they may be washed clean of sin and come into the newness of life with you, where they may eat your flesh and drink your blood and take part in your new covenant. Lord, I pray this in your name, Lord Jesus. Amen.”