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 The More Excellent Way ~ John Hames

[b]The More Excellent Way[/b] by John Hames





"But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet show I unto you a more excellent way." -- 1 Cor. 12:31



Someone has said, "The thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians consists mostly of 'nots.'" Let us notice some of the "nots" contained in this chapter.



LOVE "envieth not."



Envy! That unpleasant something shut up in the heart like a secret fire that feels greatly grieved at the sight of its superior's happiness and prosperity! The peculiar thing about envy is that it is found in the heart of the unsanctified. It dwells on the faults and failures of others rather than their gifts and virtues. This kind of a spirit, like a burning acid, eats the very sweetness of the Christ-life out. There is something that belongs to a sanctified life that is a thousand-fold beyond orthodox theology; a tenderness and a sweetness and holy fragrance like the breath of Heaven and the perfume of the Rose of Sharon. But the envious spirit strikes through this inward purity and Divine sweetness like the touch of gall, until all one has left is the hull of the outward form of a religious profession. An envious preacher finds great pleasure in criticizing the successful preacher whom the Holy Ghost is using and Heaven is honoring. If he fails to find anything in his past life, then his pulpit manners and methods are criticized.



Envy was at the root of some of the darkest crimes mentioned in the Bible. Joseph was envied by his brethren because of his spotless life, his loving disposition and winning ways. Alas for the Josephs of today that fall among envious souls! The Scripture says Saul eyed David. The eye is an index to the soul. David could see from the dry, cutting look in the eye the volcano of hatred and jealousy raging in his breast, therefore he fled for his life. There is no disposition of the soul which will more quickly destroy the spirit of love than envy. Oh, this scorpion-headed, green-eyed monster; this ulcer of hell! If you find this in your heart, do not stop short of a complete cure. The baptism of the Holy Ghost and fire destroys carnality and gives us a love that "envieth not."



LOVE "vaunteth not itself."



One has translated this, "Divine love paradeth not itself." Love never tries to show off its gifts and learning, but shines just as brightly at home as it does at the camp or big gathering.



Another rendering of the word, "Love acteth not rashly." It never passeth judgment on anyone in any unkind, harsh way. It can be contradicted, misunderstood, misrepresented, and still keep calm and sweet under the pressure.



LOVE "is not puffed up."



All puff and strut leaves the heart in which perfect love dwells. One of the worst dangers of the human family is that of pride. It is dangerous for one to have too many gifts; they are likely to become puffed up over success. Many a young Christian worker started out humble and little in his own eyes. Finally he got where he could preach and was in demand, and, instead of staying little and humble, became so self-conceited that the Spirit failed to use him. If there is any grace that must impress Heaven, it is the beautiful grace of humility. Such a person can be overlooked and not feel sore. He is thinking so little of himself that he hardly knows when he is slighted.



LOVE "does not behave itself unseemly."



Perfect love in the heart makes a perfect lady or gentleman out of any one. Love is so refining that one filled with pure, humble love could mingle in the highest society and not behave himself unseemly. It gives one good manners, sweet politeness and winning ways. It has been defined as love in trifles. Some workers may wonder why they are not in demand when, if the truth were known, their coarse, harsh, rough manners have closed many a door against them. We do not have to tone down nor compromise to be nice, gentle and polite. Jesus never did anything in a rough, rude way.



LOVE "seeketh not her own."



The heart in which perfect love reigns is not only saved from selfishness, but self-seeking and wire-pulling in every form. It, in honor, prefers others. The Holy Ghost strikes a death-blow at the taproot of carnality, which is concrete selfishness, until one can rejoice with a sincere, heartfelt joy at the prosperity and success of others.



LOVE "is not provoked."



All the gun-powdery nature and that hot flash of temper has been burned out, and there is nothing in a truly sanctified heart to get stirred. Anger is looked upon by many as a harmless something that is permissible with a Christian life. According to the Bible, it springs from the same root as does murder and adultery. The same thing that makes one commit murder makes another give way to anger. Sanctification burns out all anger and evil tempers and fills the heart with a love that is kind and gentle.



Reader, do you ever feel the stirring of anger when some one has said something unkind about you or your work? When some one ignores and sets aside your ideas and cuts your tender heart to pieces with unkind words, do you keep sweet on the inside?



LOVE "thinketh no evil."



Not only will love save us from evil speaking, but mistrusting and implying wrong motives to our brethren. We will put the best construction on things, and refuse to believe an evil report until it is known to be a positive truth.



A clean heart will manifest itself with an open face and honest look in the eye. Did you ever notice, when thrown in an atmosphere of suspicion, you unconsciously close all the shutters of the soul and seem to shrivel up; but when in the warm atmosphere of love all the powers of the soul seem to expand like the rose does in the summer sun. Love's fire is too hot for uncharitable suspicion and evil surmising to live in.



LOVE "rejoices not in iniquity."



Love rejoices not in the downfall of an enemy, not even a bitter enemy, but is like David, who wept at the news of Saul's death. No wonder he was called a man after God's own heart. There is nothing that will test our piety like our attitude toward our foes and those that oppose us.



Let us notice the positive side of this beautiful experience:



LOVE "suffereth long, and is kind."



It suffers all that men or devils may inflict upon it. A spider will get poison out of a flower and turn all it eats into poison, while a honey bee will get sweetness out of the same flower and turn all it eats into honey. ''The same trials, bereavements, losses and sorrows which make one kind of life grow in melancholy or bitter and open rebellion, will make another kind of life grow in meekness and patience, perseverance, and an inexpressible charity and sweetness of spirit. Everything depends on whether or not the self-life or the Christ-life has possession of us.



Some people can suffer, but they are not very kind. God's plan can so clean the heart of evil tempers and fill it with meekness, gentleness and patient love, until, out of our sorrow and suffering, we can grow some of the sweetest flowers of paradise.



LOVE "beareth all things."



The trouble with an unsanctified heart is that it can bear only so much, but after so long its patience gives out. Boundless love is the true condition of bearing all things in the spirit of Jesus and taking the advantage of our crosses and making them a means of grace and enlargement of all our soul faculties.



LOVE "believeth all things."



A heart filled with perfect love knows not what it is to doubt. It knows that Jesus is Divine. Such a heart not only believes all the written promises of God, but all the secret ones whispered to the inner spirit by the Holy Ghost. It believes in the providence of God, and knows and feels with a certainty that all things in earth and Heaven are working together for its good.



LOVE "hopeth all things."



Hope has to do with the future world. A soul full of hope refuses to live on the dark, bitter past, but ever looks on the bright, sunny side of life. Hopeful persons are cheerful and filled with inward, Divine gladness. They are as bright as the spring morning with budding trees and singing birds. There is no room for blues and despondency, but they have caught a vision of coming glory and the resurrection morning.



LOVE "endureth all things."



What a beautiful spirit! It never runs from the battlefield or complains amid hardships and pressure. It endures with "unwearying patience anything God can permit, or men or devils inflict.



Finally, it "never faileth."



Thank God for something that abides in a world of changes, where death robs us of our loved ones. Friends may grow cold and cease to love us; riches take to themselves wings and flee away, but that sweet-featured, soft-voiced, gentle-spirited, long-suffering love that is kind, "never faileth."


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Christopher Joel Dandrow

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 Re: The More Excellent Way ~ John Hames

[b]LOVE[/b] by W.R. Inge

HE who has found this way of love, seeketh no other. He who turns on this pivot is in such wise a prisoner that his foot and hand and mouth and eyes and heart, and all his human faculties, belong to God. And, therefore, thou canst overcome thy flesh in no better way, so that it may not shame thee, than by love. This is why it is written, Love is as strong as death, as hard as hell. Death separates the soul from the body, but love separates all things from the soul. She suffers nought to come near her, that is not God nor God-like. Happy is he who is thus imprisoned; the more thou art a prisoner, the more wilt thou be freed. That we may be so imprisoned, and so freed, may He help us, Who Himself is Love. (30)


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 Re: The More Excellent Way

[b]True Christian Love[/b] by A.W. Pink




Love is the Queen of the Christian graces. It is a holy disposition given to us when we are born again by God. It is the love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. True spiritual love is characterized by meekness and gentleness, yet it is vastly superior to the courtesies and kindnesses of the flesh.

We must be careful not to confuse human sentimentality, carnal pleasantries, human amiability and affability with true spiritual love. The love God commands, first to Himself and then to others, is not human love. It is not the indulgent, self-seeking love which is in us by nature. If we indulgently allow our children to grow up with little or, no Scriptural discipline, Proverbs plainly says we do not love them, regardless of the human sentimentality and affection we may feel for them. Love is not a sentimental pampering of one another with a loose indifference as to our walk and obedience before the Lord. Glossing over one another's faults to ingratiate ourselves in their esteem is not spiritual love.

The true nature of Christian love is a righteous principle which seeks the highest good of others. It is a powerful desire to promote their welfare. The exercise of love is to be in strict conformity to the revealed will of God. We must love in the truth. Love among the brethren is far more than an agreeable society where views are the same. It is loving them for what we see of Christ in them, loving them for Christ's sake.

The Lord Jesus Himself is our example. He was not only thoughtful, gentle, self-sacrificing and patient, but He also corrected His mother, used a whip in the Temple, Severely scolded His doubting disciples, and denounced hypocrites. True spiritual love is above all faithful to God and uncompromising towards all that is evil. We cannot declare, 'Peace and Safety' when in reality there is spiritual decay and ruin!

True spiritual love is very difficult to exercise because it is not our natural love. By nature we would rather love sentimentally and engender good feelings. Also many times true spiritual love is not received in love, but is hated as the Pharisees hated it. We must pray that God will fill us with His love and enable us to exercise it without dissimulation toward all.


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 Re: The More Excellent Way

[b]"The Fruit Of The Spirit Is Love "[/b] by Andrew Murray





I want to look at the fact of a life filled with the Holy Spirit more from the practical side. I want to show how this life will reveal itself in our daily walk and conduct.

Under the Old Testament you know the Holy Spirit often came upon men as a divine Spirit of revelation to reveal the mysteries of God, or for power to do the work of God. But He did not dwell in them then. Now, many just want the Old Testament gift of power for work. But, they know very little of the New Testament gift of the indwelling Spirit, animating and renewing the whole life. When God gives the Holy Spirit, His great object is the formation of a holy character. It is a gift of a holy mind and spiritual disposition, and what we need, above everything else, is to say:

"I must have the Holy Spirit sanctifying my whole inner life if I am really to live for God's glory. "

You might say that when Christ promised the Spirit to the disciples, He did so that they might have power to be witnesses. True, but then they received the Holy Spirit in such heavenly power and reality that He took possession of their whole being at once and so fitted them as holy men for doing the work with power as they had to do it. Christ spoke of power to the disciples, but it was the Spirit filling their whole being that worked the power.

I wish now to dwell upon the passage found in Galatians 5:22:

"The fruit of the Spirit is love."

We read that "Love is the fulfilling of the law"' (Romans 13: 10), and my desire is to speak on love as a fruit of the Spirit with a twofold object. One is that this word may be a searchlight in our hearts, and give us a test by which to try all our thoughts about the Holy Spirit and all our experience of the holy life. Let us try ourselves by this word. Has this been our daily habit, to seek to be filled with the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of love? "The fruit of the Spirit is love." Has it been our experience that the more we have of the Holy Spirit, the more loving we become? In claiming the Holy Spirit, we should make this the first object of our expectation. The Holy Spirit comes as a Spirit of love.

Oh, if this were true in the Church of Christ, how different her state would be! May God help us to get hold of this simple, heavenly truth that the fruit of the Spirit is a love which appears in the life. Just as the Holy Spirit gets real possession of the life, the heart will be filled with real, divine, universal love.

One of the great causes why God cannot bless His Church is the lack of love. When the body is divided, there cannot be strength. In the time of their great religious wars, when Holland stood out so nobly against Spain, one of their mottoes was: "Unity gives strength." It is only when God's people stand as one body, one before God in the fellowship of love, one toward another in deep affection, one before the world in a love that the world can see-it is only then that they will have power to secure the blessing which they ask of God. Remember that if a vessel that ought to be one whole is cracked into many pieces, it cannot be filled. You can take one part of the vessel and dip out a little water into that, but if you want the vessel full, the vessel must be whole. That is literally true of Christ's Church. And if there is one thing we must pray for still, it is this-Lord, melt us together into one by the power of the Holy Spirit. Let the Holy Spirit, who at Pentecost made them all of one heart and one soul, do His blessed work among us. Praise God, we can love each other in a divine love, for "the fruit of the Spirit is love." Give yourselves up to love, and the Holy Spirit will come; receive the Spirit, and He will teach you to love more.

GOD IS LOVE

Now, why is it that the fruit of the Spirit is love? Because God is love (I John 4:8).

And what does that mean?

It is the very nature and being of God to delight in communicating Himself. God has no selfishness; God keeps nothing to Himself. God's nature is to be always giving. You see it, in the sun and the moon and the stars, in every flower, in every bird in the air, in every fish in the sea. God communicates life to His creatures. And the angels around His throne, the seraphim and cherumbim who are flames of firewhere does their glory come from? It comes from God because He is love, and He imparts to them part of His brightness and His blessedness. And we, His redeemed children-God delights to pour His love into us. Why? Because, as I said, God keeps nothing for Himself. From eternity God had His only begotten Son, and the Father gave Him all things, and nothing that God had was kept back. "God is love."

One of the old Church fathers said that we cannot better understand the Trinity than as a revelation of divine lovethe Father, the loving One, the Fountain of love-the Son, the beloved one, the Reservoir of love, in whom the love was poured out-and the Spirit, the living love that united both and then overflowed into this world. The Spirit of Pentecost, the Spirit of the Father, and the Spirit of the Son is love. And when the Holy Spirit comes to us and to other men, will He be less a Spirit of love than He is in God? It cannot be; He cannot change His nature. The Spirit of God is love, and "the fruit of the Spirit is love."

MANKIND NEEDS LOVE

Why is that so? That was the one great need of mankind, that was the thing which Christ's redemption came to accomplish: to restore love to this world.

When man sinned, why was it that he sinned? Selfishness triumphed-he sought self instead of God. And just look! Adam at once begins to accuse the woman of having led him astray. Love to God had gone; love to man was lost. Look again: of the first two children of Adam, the one becomes a murderer of his brother.

Does that not teach us that sin had robbed the world of love? Ah! what a proof the history of the world has been of love having been lost! There may have been beautiful examples of love even among the heathen, but only as a little remnant of what was lost. One of the worst things sin did for man was to make him selfish, for selfishness cannot love.

The Lord Jesus Christ came down from heaven as the Son of God's love. "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son" (John 3:16). God's Son came to show what love is , and He lived a life of love here on earth in fellowship with His disciples, in compassion over the poor and miserable, in love even to His enemies. And, He died the death of love. And when He went back to heaven, whom did He send down? The Spirit of love, to come and banish selfishness and envy and pride, and bring the love of God into the hearts of men. "The fruit of the Spirit is love."

And what was the preparation for the promise of the Holy Spirit? You know that promise as found in the fourteenth chapter of John's Gospel. But remember what precedes in the thirteenth chapter. Before Christ promised the Holy Spirit, He gave a new commandment, and about that new commandment He said wonderful things. One thing was: "Even as I have loved you, so love ye one another." To them His dying love was to be the only law of their conduct and fellowship with each other. What a message to those fishermen, to those men full of pride and selfishness! "Learn to love each other," said Christ, "as I have loved you." And by the grace of God they did it. When Pentecost came, they were of one heart and one soul. Christ did it for them.

And now He calls us to live and to walk in love. He demands that though a man hate you, still you love him. True love cannot be conquered by anything in heaven or on earth. The more hatred there is, the more love triumphs through it all and shows its true nature. This is the love that Christ commanded His disciples to exercise.

What more did He say? "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another" (John 13:35).

You all know what it is to wear a badge. And Christ said to His disciples in effect: "I give you a badge, and that badge is love. That is to be your mark. It is the only thing in heaven or on earth by which men can know me." Do we not begin to fear that love has fled from the earth? That if we were to ask the world: "Have you seen us wear the badge of love?." the world would say: "No, what we have heard of the Church of Christ is that there is not a place where there is no quarreling and separation." Let us ask God with one heart that we may wear the badge of Jesus' love. God is able to give it.



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 Re: The More Excellent Way

[b]"The Fruit Of The Spirit Is Love "[/b] by Andrew Murray




[i]con't...[/i]






LOVE CONQUERS SELFISHNESS

"The fruit of the Spirit is love." Why? Because nothing but love can expel and conquer our selfishness.

Self is the great curse, whether in its relation to God, or to our fellow-men in general, or to fellowChristians, thinking of ourselves and seeking our own. Self is our greatest curse. But, praise God, Christ came to redeem us from self. We sometimes talk about deliverance from the self-life-and thank God for every word that can be said about it to help us, But I am afraid some people think deliverance from the self-life means that now they are no longer going to have any. trouble in serving God. They forget that deliverance from self-life means to be a vessel overflowing with love to everybody all the day.

And there you have the reason why many people pray for the power of the Holy Spirit. They get something, but oh, so little! because they prayed for power for work, and power for blessing, but they have not prayed for power for full deliverance from self. That means not only the righteous self in fellowship with God, but the unloving self in fellowship with men. And there is deliverance. "The fruit of the Spirit is love." I bring you the glorious promise of Christ that He is able to fill our hearts with love.

A great many of us try hard at times to love. We try to force ourselves to love, and I do not say that is wrong; it is better than nothing. But the end of it is always very sad. "I fail continually," many must confess. And what is the reason? The reason is simply this-they have never learned to believe and accept the truth that the Holy Spirit can pour God's love into their heart. That blessed text has often been limited!-"The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts" (Romans 5:5). It has often been understood in this sense: It means the love of God to me. Oh, what a limitation! That is only the beginning. The love of God is always the love of God in its entirety, in its fullness as an indwelling power. It is a love of God to me that leaps back to Him in love, and overflows to my fellow-men in love-God's love to me, and my love to God, and my love to my fellowmen. The three are one; you cannot separate them.

Do believe that the love of God can be shed abroad in your heart and mind so that we can love all the day.

"Ah!" you say, "how little I have understood that!"

Why is a lamb always gentle? Because that is its nature. Does it cost the lamb any trouble to be gentle? No. Why not? It is so beautiful and gentle. Has a lamb to study to be gentle? No. Why does that come so easy? It is its nature. And a wolf-why does it cost a wolf no trouble to be cruel, and to put its fangs into the poor lamb or sheep? Because that is its nature. It does not have to summon up its courage; the wolfnature is. there.

And how can I learn to love? I cannot learn to love until the Spirit of God fills my heart with God's love, and I begin to long for God's love in a very different sense from which I have sought it so selfishly-as a comfort, a joy, a happiness, and a pleasure to myself. I will not learn it until I realize that "God is love," and to claim and receive it as an indwelling power for selfsacrifice. I will not love until I begin to see that my glory, my blessedness, is to be like God and like Christ, in giving up everything in myself for my fellow-men. May God teach us this! Oh, the divine blessedness of the love with which the Holy Spirit can fill our hearts! "The fruit of the Spirit is love."

LOVE IS GOD'S GIFT

Once again I ask, Why must this be so? And my answer is: Without this we cannot live the daily life of love.

How often, when we speak about the consecrated life, we have to speak about temper, and people have sometimes said: "You make too much of temper."

I do not think we can make too much of it. Think for a moment of a clock and of what its hands mean. The hands tell me what is within the clock, and if I see that the hands stand still, or that the hands point wrong, or that the clock is slow or fast, I say that something inside the clock is not working properly. And temper is just like the revelation that the clock gives of what is within. Temper is a proof whether the love of Christ is filling the heart or not. How many there are who find it easier in church, or in prayer meeting, or in work for the Lord-diligent, earnest work-to be holy and happy than in the daily life with wife and children. How many find it easier to be holy and happy outside the home than in it! Where is the love of God? In Christ. God has prepared for us a wonderful redemption in Christ, and He longs to make something supernatural of us. Have we learned to long for it, ask for it, and expect it in its fullness?

Then there is the tongue! We sometimes speak of the tongue when we talk of the better life, and the restful life, but just think what liberty many Christians give to their tongues. They say:

"I have a right to think what I like."

When they speak about each other, when they speak about their neighbors, when they speak about other Christians, how often there are sharp remarks! God keep me from saying anything that would be unloving. God shut my mouth if I am not to speak in tender love. But what I am saying is a fact. How often sharp criticism, sharp judgment, hasty opinion, unloving words, secret contempt of each other, secret condemnation of each other are found among Christians who are banded together in work! Oh, just as a mother's love covers her children and delights in them and has the tenderest compassion with their foibles or failures, so there ought to be in the heart of every believer a motherly love toward every brother and sister in Christ. Have you aimed at that? Have you sought it? Have you ever pleaded for it? Jesus Christ said: "As I have loved you that. ye also love one another" (John 13:34). And He did not put that among the other commandments, but He said in effect:

"That is a new commandment, the one commandment: Love one another as I have loved you" (John 13:34).

It is in our daily life and conduct that the fruit of the Spirit is love. From that comes all the graces and virtues in which love is manifested-joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness-no sharpness or hardness in your tone, no unkindness or selfishness, meekness before God and man. You see that all these are the gentler virtues. I have often thought as I read those words in Colossians, "Put on therefore as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering" (Colossians 3:12), that if we had written this, we should have put in the foreground the strong virtues, such as zeal, courage, and diligence. But we need to see how the gentler, the most tender virtues are especially connected with dependence on the Holy Spirit. These are indeed heavenly graces. They never were found in the heathen world. Christ was needed to come from heaven to teach us. Your blessedness is long-suffering, meekness, kindness; your glory is humility before God. The fruit of the Spirit that He brought from heaven out of the heart of the crucified Christ, and that He gives in our heart, is first and foremost-love.

You know what John says: "No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another; God dwelleth in us" (I John 4:12). That is, I cannot see God, but as a compensation I can see my brother, and if I love him, God dwells in me. Is that really true? That I cannot see God, but I must love my brother, and God will dwell in me? Loving my brother is the way to real fellowship with God. You know what John further says in that most solemn test, "If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar; for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?" (I John 4:20). There is a brother, a most unlovable man. He worries you every time you meet him. He is of the very opposite disposition to yours. You are a careful businessman, and you have to associate with him in your business. He is most untidy, unbusiness-like. You say:

"I cannot love him."

Oh, friend, you have not learned the lesson that Christ wanted to teach above everything. Let a man be what he will, you are to love him. Love is to be the fruit of the Spirit all the day and every day. Yes, listen! If you don't love that unlovable man whom you have seen, how can you love God whom you have not seen? You can deceive yourself with beautiful thoughts about loving God. You must prove your love to God by your love to your brother; that is the one standard by which God will judge your love to Him. If the love of God is in your heart, you will love your brother. The fruit of the Spirit is love.

And what is the reason that God's Holy Spirit cannot come in power? Is it not possible?

You remember the comparison I used in speaking of the vessel. I can dip a little water into a small vessel, but if a vessel is to be full, it must be unbroken. And the children of God, wherever they come together, to whatever church or mission or society they belong, must love each other intensely, or the Spirit of God cannot do His work. We talk about grieving the Spirit of God by worldliness and ritualism and formality and error and indifference. But, I tell you, the one thing above everything that grieves God's Spirit is this lack of love. Let every heart search itself, and ask that God may search it.




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 Re: The More Excellent Way

[b]"The Fruit Of The Spirit Is Love "[/b] by Andrew Murray


[i]con't...[/i]






OUR LOVE SHOWS GOD'S POWER

Why are we taught that "the fruit of the Spirit is love"? Because the Spirit of God has come to make our daily life an exhibition of divine power and a revelation of what God can do for His children.

In the second and the fourth chapters of Acts, we read that the disciples were of one heart and of one soul. During the three years they had walked with Christ, they never had been in that spirit. All Christ's teaching could not make them of one heart and one soul. But the Holy Spirit came from heaven and shed the love of God in their hearts, and they were of one heart and one soul. The same Holy Spirit that brought the love of heaven into their hearts must fill us, too. Nothing less will do. Even as Christ did, one might preach love for three years with the tongue of an angel, but that would not teach any man to love unless the power of the Holy Spirit should come upon him to bring the love of heaven into his heart.

Think of the Church at large. What divisions! Think of the different bodies. Take the question of holiness, take the question of the cleansing blood, take the question of the baptism of the Spirit-what differences are caused among dear believers by such questions! That there are differences of opinion does not trouble me. We do not have the same constitution and temperament and mind. But how often hate, bitterness, contempt, separation, and unlovingness are caused by the holiest truths of God's Word! Our doctrines, our creeds, have been more important than love. We often think we are valiant for the truth, and we forget God's command to speak the truth in love. And it was so in the time of the Reformation between the Lutheran and Calvinistic churches. What bitterness there was in regard to communion, which was meant to be the bond of union among all believers! And so, through the ages, the very dearest truths of God have become mountains that have separated us.

If we want to pray in power, and if we want to expect the Holy Spirit to come down in power, and if we indeed want God to pour out His Spirit, we must enter into a covenant with God that we will love one another with a heavenly love.

Are you ready for that? Only that is true love that is large enough to take in all God's children, the most unloving and unlovable and unworthy and unbearable and trying. If my vow-absolute surrender to God-was sincere, then it must mean absolute surrender to the divine love to fill me. I must be a servant of love to love every child of God around me. "The fruit of the Spirit is love."

Oh, God did something wonderful when He gave Christ, at His right hand, the Holy Spirit to come down out of the heart of the Father and His everlasting love. And how we have degraded the Holy Spirit into a mere power by which we have to do our work! God forgive us! Oh, that the Holy Spirit might be held in honor as a power to fill us with the very life and nature of God and of Christ!

CHRISTIAN WORK REQUIRES LOVE

"The fruit of the Spirit is love." I ask once again, Why is it so? And the answer comes: That is the only power in which Christians really can do their work. Yes, it is love that we need. We want not only love that is to bind us to each other, but we want a divine love in our work for the lost around us. Oh, do we not often undertake a great deal of work-just as men undertake work of philanthropy-from a natural spirit of compassion for our fellow-men? Do we not often undertake Christian work because our minister. or friend calls us to it? And do we not often perform Christian work with a certain zeal but without having had a baptism of love?

People often ask: "What is the baptism of fire?"

I have answered more than once: "I know no fire like the fire of God, the fire of everlasting love that consumed the sacrifice on Calvary." The baptism of love is what the Church needs, and to get that we must begin at once to get down on our faces before God in confession, and plead:

"Lord, let love from heaven flow down into my heart. I am giving up my life to pray and live as one who has, given himself up for the everlasting love to dwell in and fill him."

Ali, yes, if the love of God were in our hearts, what a difference it would make! There are hundreds of believers who say:

"I work for Christ, and I feel I could work much harder, but I do not have the gift. I do not know how or where to begin. I do not know what I can do."

Brother, sister, ask God to baptize you with the Spirit of love, and love will find its way. Love is a fire that will burn through every difficulty. You may be a shy, hesitating person, who cannot speak well, but love can burn through everything. God fills us with love! We need it for our work.

You have read many a touching story of love expressed, and you have said, How beautiful! I heard one not long ago. A lady had been asked to speak at a Rescue Home where there were a number of poor women. As she arrived there and passed by the window with the matron, she saw a wretched woman sitting outside, and asked:

"Who is that?"

The matron answered: "She has been into the house thirty or forty times, and she has always gone away again. Nothing can be done with her, she is so low and hard." But the lady said: "She must come in."

The matron then said: "We have been waiting for you, and the company is assembled, and you have only an hour for the address."

The lady replied: "No, this is of more importance"; and she went outside where the woman was sitting and said:

"My sister, what is the matter?"

"I am not your sister," was the reply.

The the lady laid her hand on her, and said: "Yes, I am your sister, and I love you"; and so she spoke until the heart of the poor woman was touched.

The conversation lasted some time, and the company was waiting patiently. Ultimately, the lady brought the woman into the room. There was the poor, wretched, degraded creature, full of shame. She would not sit on a chair, but sat down on a stool beside the speaker's seat, and she let her lean against her, with her arms around the poor woman's neck, while, she spoke to the assembled people. And that love touched the woman's heart; she had found one who really loved her, and that love gave access to the love of Jesus.

Praise God! there is love on earth in the hearts of God's children; but oh, that there were more!

O God, baptize our ministers with a tender love, and our missionaries, our Bible readers, our workers, and our young men's and young women's associations. Oh, that God would begin with us now, and baptize us with heavenly love!

LOVE INSPIRES INTERCESSION

Once again. It is only love that can fit us for the work of intercession.

I have said that love must fit us for our work. Do you know what the hardest and the most important work is that has to be done for this sinful world? It is the work of intercession, the work of going to God and taking time to lay hold of Him.

A man may be an earnest Christian, an earnest minister, and a man may do good, but alas! how often he has to confess that he knows little of what it is to tarry with God. May God give us the great gift of an intercessory spirit, a spirit of prayer and supplication! Let me ask you in the name of Jesus not to let a day pass without praying for all saints, and for all God's people.

I find there are Christians who think little of that. I find there are prayer unions where they pray for the members, and not for all believers. I pray you, take time to pray for the Church of Christ. It is right to pray for the heathen, as I have already said. God help us to pray more for them. It is right to pray for missionaries and for evangelistic work and for the unconverted. But Paul did not tell people to pray for the heathen or the unconverted. Paul told them to pray for believers. Do make this your first prayer every day: "Lord, bless Thy saints everywhere."

The state of Christ's Church is indescribably low. Plead for God's people that He would visit them, plead for each other, plead for all believers who are trying to work for God. Let love fill your heart. Ask Christ to pour fresh love into you everyday. Try to grasp, by the Holy Spirit of God: I am separated unto the Holy Spirit, and the fruit of the Spirit is love. God help us to understand it.

May God grant that we learn day by day to wait more quietly upon Him. We must not wait upon God only for ourselves, or the power to do so will soon be lost. But, we must give ourselves up to the ministry and the love of intercession, and pray more for God's people in general, for God's people around us, for the Spirit of love in ourselves and in them, and for the work of God we are connected with. The answer will surely come, and our waiting upon God will be a source of untold blessing and power. "The fruit of the Spirit is love."

Have you a lack of love to confess before God? Then make confession and say before Him, "O Lord, my lack of heart, my lack of love-I confess it." And then, as you cast that lack at His feet, believe that the blood cleanses you, that Jesus comes in His mighty, cleansing, saving power to deliver you, and that He will give His Holy Spirit. "The Fruit of the Spirit is love."




[i]End[/i]


_________________
Christopher Joel Dandrow

 2007/4/22 1:23Profile
ADisciple
Member



Joined: 2007/2/3
Posts: 835
Alberta, Canada

 Re:

Chris,

During a season in my live a number of months ago I came across in my readings a number of testimonies of different ones over the centuries who experienced "a baptism of love." I wish I had written them down so as to rememer them... but I didn't.

But these ones, God visited them with an outpouring of His love, a "baptism" of His love, so much so that invariably they asked the Lord "to stay His hand." It was simply too much.

I have never had this experience, but-- maybe not knowing what I ask-- I desire that if God should be pleased to grant it to me, I wonder, would a person be able to find the grace to NOT ask Him to "stay His hand"? And what then would be the fruit of that?

There is a chapter in George Warnock's latest writing, The Vision and the Appointment, on pursuing "the more excellent Way" of love. You can read it at www.georgewarnock.com.

The vision of Love, to me, after so many years, seeing this vision of LOVE, recognizing that this, after all, is what God is really after, ALL He is really after, it turns everything else to dust.

AD


_________________
Allan Halton

 2007/4/26 0:21Profile
ChrisJD
Member



Joined: 2006/2/11
Posts: 2895
Philadelphia PA

 Re:

AD,


"...what God is really after"



_________________
Christopher Joel Dandrow

 2007/4/26 7:38Profile
Tears_of_joy
Member



Joined: 2003/10/30
Posts: 1554


 Re: The More Excellent Way ~ John Hames

A Communist officer told a Christian while beating him: "I am almighty, as you suppose your God to be. I can kill you." The Christian answered: "The real power is all on my side, for I can love you while you torture me to death."

[i]-taken from Where Christ Still Suffers by R.Wurmbrand[/i]

 2007/4/26 8:51Profile
ChrisJD
Member



Joined: 2006/2/11
Posts: 2895
Philadelphia PA

 Re: The great idol

The great idol!

(John Angell James, "Christian Love" 1828)

"People will be lovers of themselves." 2 Timothy 3:2

Selfishness is the cause of all sin--the opposite of all
holiness and virtue.

The essence of man's sin, the sum of his moral depravity,
is to love himself supremely; to seek himself finally and
exclusively; to make self, in one shape or another, the
center to which all his busy thoughts, anxious cares and
diligent pursuits, constantly tend.

Self-love is the most active and reigning principle in fallen
nature! SELF is the great idol which mankind are naturally
disposed to worship; and selfishness the grand interest to
which they are devotedly attached!

Selfishness is contrary to the habitual temper of our Lord
Jesus Christ. "For even Christ did not please Himself."

The perfection of all virtue lies in unselfish love. The nearer
we approach to this state of mind, the nearer we come to
sinless moral excellence. "Love is not self-seeking."

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in
humility consider others better than yourselves." Phil. 2:3


_________________
Christopher Joel Dandrow

 2007/4/30 20:03Profile





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