A wonderful word written by brother Josef Urban -
Fellow preachers of the Gospel,
I feel inspired to write an exhortation that we be overflowing with the love of Christ in our everyday walks. It is the love of God that far surpasses all understanding; the love which forgives and keeps no record of wrongs, holding no bitterness; it is the love of Christ which is the fulfilling of the Law; the bond of perfection; the earnest expression of the Spirit overflowing from our hearts and spilling over into a lost and dying world who knows no hope. It is this great love that worketh by faith according to the effectual working of the mighty resurrection power of Christ which dwells within the sanctified heart of the sons of God. This love is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which God has sent from Heaven in the name of His dear Son, whom we love, if we hold fast to the sound doctrine which was once and for all delivered to the saints by the holy apostles and prophets of old, according to the Scriptures. Let us hold fast to the Apostolic tradition and love one another, even as Christ has loved us. Beloved brethren, let us lay down our lives for the sake of the Gospel, and for the sakes of one another, for there is no greater love than that of self-sacrifice. As Christ has given His life for us, so let us give our lives for Him and for His people.
The Lord is raising up a revival army; but this is no army of violence, contention or bitterness. This is an army of love. Those who do not unconditionally love their neighbor will have no part in the last days moves of His Spirit. The unconditional agape love which the Lord has shown to us is the same love that compels us to reach out and minister the healing touch of our Lord to the hurting wounds of the worlds wounded sheep as they wander aimlessly as without a shepherd. Let us point them to the True Shepherd by our love. Let it be by love that we bind up their broken hearts with the bandages of the Gospel, rather than further wounding them by the sharpness of cold condemnation. Christ did not come to condemn the world, O preacher, but that the world might be saved through Him. Remember where you came from, and how the Lord first showed His love to you and compelled you to repentance both by the fear of Him on one hand, and the love of Him on the other.
There must be no appearance of hate. Whoever hates his neighbor is a murderer and does not have the seed of eternal life abiding in Him. Anger, though not evil in itself, is many times a manifestation of hate and bitterness. Love casts out all forms of hate and roots out all the deep and embedded bitterness of the inner crevices of the heart and results in an overflowing loving-kindness with inner peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. Do you possess this fruit of the Spirit of God? If not, and if it is not evident in your witness; in your preaching; in your daily walk; then I say to you of a truth that you do not belong to the God of love and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. Anger is a manifestation of the flesh, and those who sow to the flesh constantly in their witness after this manner shall reap destruction by the hand of the Lord of glory who judges all men without respect of persons. Yet His hand is still outstretched, pleading with you to come to the everlasting fountains of His great love.
Remember Moses, who was ordained of God as a holy prophet to deliver the nation of Israel from the bondage of Egypt. Though the Lord many a time became very angry with His people Israel because of their stubborn rebellion, Moses had no justification for his own anger. In fact, it is the anger of Moses that caused him to strike the rock and rebel against the Lord, causing him to never see the promised land before his death. Moses was a humble man of compassion, in fact, the most humble man on earth as the scripture says. He oftentimes stood in the gap and pleaded with the Lord for compassion and mercy, and because of this, the Lord was gracious to Israel's transgressions. Let us learn from the mistakes of Moses and follow his example of godly humility and love.
Preachers, if love is not your motive then you are a reproach to the name of Jesus and putting Him to an open shame in your witness. Whatever you may endeavor to do for God; if it is not rooted firmly in love then it is rooted in some form of sin; for in not being rooted in love, it misses the mark of Gods standard of holiness; an inner holiness that works within our hearts and is perfected by love. I plead with you to dwell in His love; make your abode with Him by it. Every time you preach the Gospel, let it be by the motive of love and you will do well. True love is this: obeying Christs commandments. And He commands us to love one another as He has loved us. And remember, He demonstrated this love when He shed His blood for us upon the cross; willingly putting Himself to severe torture and open humiliation because of His love. Let this love guard your hearts and minds by faith.
I write this open exhortation to you all because it is plainly evident that some have forsaken the way of love and instead have embraced the ways of religious elitism in a spirit of pride. Rather than reproving and instructing sinners in the ways of righteousness in the Spirit of love, they have instead openly shamed and condemned those who live in the error of sin, forgetting that they too were once without hope and alienated from the life of God. If your soul does not bleed in brokenhearted anguish over the transgressions of men, then you have no right to reprove them for their crimes against God. It is Christ who is the hope of the world, not the condemnation of it.
O preacher, I am not saying that you should not thunder forth the mighty threats of Gods holy Law in all soberness and sincerity when led by the Lord, but be sure that love is your motive. And do not ever fail to preach Christ and Him crucified. It is the foolishness of preaching the cross that God has chosen to save them that will believe. So in closing, I plead with you to return to the ways of love, for he who dwells in love dwells in God and God in him. He who does not dwell in love has never seen God and does not know Him. Do not be unbalanced in your approach to sinners, overemphasizing the justice and wrath of God over the truths of love and holiness; but pray and earnestly seek the Lord for understanding, diligently in all humility, and He shall give you understanding of this great truth and the wisdom to discern it.
You who call yourselves preachers and teachers of men, beware of your every word, for those who are teachers shall receive the greater condemnation of judgment. If any man will preach, let him preach as an oracle of God or else hold his tongue in wisdom lest he fall into condemnation.
Sincerely in Christ -- Josef Urban