The Law of God and the Law of Christ

The Law of God and the Law of Christ

Scripture: John 15:10, Matthew 19:16-22, Galatians 6:1-5
Date: 05/24/2014  Lesson: 8
"Jesus and His Father are united in purpose as they urge the people of God's creation to love as they have been loved, and obedience to the law is foundational to how that love is to be expressed."
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Welcome to Sacramento central Seventh-day Adventist Church. It is by no accident that you have joined us from across the country and around the world. Each week we get together, we study God's Word together, we sing together, we pray together, and soon we will be in heaven together before our Savior and our Lord, Jesus Christ. But until then we will keep studying. We have a special treat for you this morning.

As you can see, behind me are some beautiful, beautiful, lovely young ladies. They come to us from the orangevale Seventh-day Adventist elementary school in orangevale, California. I'm always thrilled - every spring they come and join us and share their ministry with us. This morning they will be singing two songs for us: 'God's love can turn the world' and 'do you love my Lord?' - And they are led this morning by brad davis, who is the principal at the orangevale school. We're as different as night and day but we're the same in different ways and it's true, just look at me and you.

We can change the way we are the power lives inside our hearts. We can be anything we wanna be. If coal can turn into diamonds and sand into pearls if a worm can turn into a butterfly then love can turn the world. Yes, God's love can turn the world. Jesus the God who made you made us all big and little, short and tall and that's fine 'cause it takes all kinds.

If he had made us all alike it sure would be a boring life but he knew what little time could do. If coal can turn into diamonds and sand into pearls if a worm can turn into a butterfly then love can turn the world. Yes, God's love can turn the world. If coal can turn into diamonds and sand into pearls and if a worm can turn into a butterfly then love can turn the world. Yes, God's love can turn the world.

Yes, God's love can turn the world. Amen! Is there anybody here who loves my Jesus? Anybody here who loves my Lord? I want to know, oh, I want to know do you love my Lord? Is there anybody here who loves my Jesus? Anybody here who loves my Lord? I want to know, oh I want to know do you love my Lord? Makes me feel so happy when you love my Jesus. Makes me feel so happy when you love my Lord. I want to know, oh I want to know do you love my Lord? Is there anybody here who loves my Jesus? Anybody here who loves my Lord? I want to know, oh I want to know do you love my Lord? Is there anybody here who loves my Jesus? Anybody here who loves my Lord? I want to know, oh I want to know do you love my Lord? Tell it on the mountain do you love my Jesus? Tell it on the mountain do you love my Lord? I want to know, oh I want to know do you love my Lord? Is there anybody here who loves my Jesus? Anybody here who loves my Lord? I want to know, oh I want to know do you love my Lord? Is there anybody here who loves my Jesus? Anybody here who loves my Lord? I want to know, oh I want to know do you love my Lord? I want to know, oh I want to know do you love my Lord? I want to know, oh I want to know do you love my Lord? Amen! Amen! Were you blessed this morning? If you want to find out more about the orangevale school, they have a website that is 'ovschool.org' and you can check out their website if you're looking for a great place to send your kids to school for great adventist education, that is the place. Let's bow our heads.

Our Father in Heaven, we thank you so much for Sabbath - that we can come before you and worship freely our creator and our Lord. Thank you for the talents that you have given these precious girls. And Lord, I just ask you to bless each one of them as they continue through their life. May they use their talents and their energies for your service - to hasten your coming. Lord, help us all to do our part.

We know you're coming soon. Help us to be ready and help us to shine for you in everything we do and say to others - that we can do our part to also hasten your coming. We look forward to the day, Lord, when we will meet you face to face. Please keep us faithful 'til then. We pray these things in your name, amen.

Our study today will be brought to us by pastor mike thompson. He's the health and outreach pastor here at Sacramento central. Thank you jolyne and thank you also you young ladies from orangevale. They did a nice job, didn't they? They really did. And the parents as well - I guess we have a few parents here this morning.

We're glad that you could be with us too. We're looking - actually, before I begin, there's a special offer. It's offer #715 and it's called 'does God's grace blot out the law?' If you call and ask for offer - call 1-866-study-more or -866-788-3966 - Amazing Facts will send this to you. Written by Joe Crews, originally, who passed away. He was the - he wasn't quite the founder of Amazing Facts but he was the first key speaker.

And it answers questions such as, you know, 'what is the law?' 'What is grace?' 'Why do we need a law?' 'Can we keep the law?' Just a tiny little book, but it's full of very good information. So if you call Amazing Facts, they'll send that to you absolutely free. And to our Sabbath school lesson, we're still looking at 'Christ and his law' and today our topic - we're in lesson #8 already - 'the law of God and the law of Christ'. You might wonder, 'well, is there a difference?' Um...yes, but no. There's not - there's actually no difference at all.

On the first page on Sabbath afternoon, we have our key text from John 15:10. The words of Jesus, "if you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my father's commandments and abide in his love." And I just want to kick off with the last paragraph on Sabbath afternoon's introduction. We read, "as the supreme head of the universe, the creator God has established laws for all his creatures. When Jesus Christ voluntarily transformed himself into human flesh, he gave himself to a life of obedience to his father." And there's a verse you can look up there in Philippians 2:5 through 11. ".

..obedience to his father and to his commandments. Thus, everything that Jesus taught, the perspective that he put on the law - even the new commandment that he gave, was always in full harmony with the law of God." And that is - that is a fact. So I want to go straight to Sunday and - 'the law and the prophets' - I want us to look at Matthew chapter 22, verses 34 through 40 - Matthew 22 verses through 40 - and it says, "but when the pharisees heard that he had put the sadducees to silence," - Jesus was very good at putting pharisees and sadducees to silence - not that he found pleasure in doing that, but they would come against him and he would just say a few words and they would just have to walk away and zip up - "...put the sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him," - they were always trying to trip him up, you see - "...tempting him, and saying, 'master, which is the great commandment in the law?" - Verse 37 - "Jesus said unto him, 'thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.

And the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.'" So, in answering this wily lawyer here, Jesus distilled the law and the prophets into one foundational element, which is love. Love to God, which, when you love God with all your heart you're fulfilling the first table of the law. And Jesus quoted, actually, from Deuteronomy 6:5 in answer to this question. And the second table of the law is the last six commandments, which is to love our fellow humans as ourselves and Jesus quoted this as well, and he was quoting from Leviticus 19:18.

So the whole law is distilled in this one entity which is, of course, love. Now we do well to remind ourselves that love, being the essence of God's law, is the governing principle that applies to every world and every created intelligence in this vast creation - that same principle. And we also do well to remind ourselves that the love that we're looking at here, that Jesus spoke about, 'love the Lord your God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself' - it is a love that transcends all human love because it is a love of divine origin. The same sublime love that was exercised toward us at calvary is the same wondrous love which proceeds forth from the governing principle or principles of God's law. There's a statement in 'desire of ages' page 20 and it's right - it's right near the beginning - obviously, page 20 - I want to read it to you.

"It will be" - try and listen out to what kind of love - we're trying to amplify this so we can grasp it when we say it's not a love of human origin, it's of divine origin - "it will be seen that the glory shining in the face of Jesus is the glory of self-sacrificing love. In the light from calvary it will be seen that the law of self-renouncing love is the law of life for earth and heaven. That the love which seeketh not her own has its source in the heart of God." You could think about that for a long, long time as you try to contemplate the wonder of God's love. This is all the law and the prophets - it all comes from this. So as God's love flows forth from his heart as an expression of three things - what was it? Self- sacrificing love, self-renouncing love, and a love that seeketh not her own - as it said in the passage here, it is the law of life for earth and heaven - just that one law.

This is why, in the great controversy, you can see that satan's charge that God's law was unjust doesn't just concern things down here - it concerns the whole universe and that universe is exceedingly vast. I won't get talking about astronomy because I'll go on forever. I just love it. But this one law of love that proceeds from the heart of God is that one law that governs every intelligence in God's vast creation. So remember, it's only of human origin - so it's only as we are born again and allow God to fill us with this love can our hearts reciprocate and joyfully walk in the way of his commandment.

You know, it says in Romans 8:7, 'the carnal heart is enmity against the law of God. Is not subject to the law of God, neither, indeed, can be.' An unconverted heart it's at war with God. It's at war with his law. It just doesn't want it. So, you see, for us to have in our lives that same love - divine origin that just reciprocates, then divinity has to do something inside of us and that's what God does.

It's - I think I said this in the last lesson, but I'll say it again more than once today - conversion. It all comes down to conversion. If we can experience the new birth and - we can - we all can - everything that seems a little skewed and at odds with us - we'll find ourselves immediately in harmony with it, compatible with it. We'll hunger and thirst for righteousness. We just won't be able to get enough conversion.

And Jesus is waiting there. And the Holy Spirit is waiting to just fill our hearts. You know, once you cross that line - we struggle, I mean, we, you know, I remember in my own experience struggling. I was in a rock and roll band. I knew that kind of a life, but I knew God was calling me to something different.

Some of you are smiling. You don't believe I was in a rock and roll band, but I was. I've come a long way. But I remember being on the - like the Egyptians - on the other side of the cloud where everything looked dark. And finally I thought, 'I can't stand this any longer so' - I said - 'here I come Lord.

' I walked into that dark cloud, I got on the other side and - you know what it was like in the camp of the Israelites? It was all bright and glorious and I thought, 'what kept me so long?' So when we're converted, it all fits into place and God's law is something - something we delight in. But if we still have that unregenerate heart, we can't reciprocate and God wants us so much to do that because the law's there for our happiness and good and we're holding ourselves back from our greatest source of joy and fulfillment. But anyway, let us move on here. So only as we do this can we have self-sacrificing love, a self-renouncing love, and a love that seeks not its own selfish interests. Now, an unregenerate human heart can bring forth very strong demonstrations of obedience to the law of God.

The apostle Paul he said - concerning the law he said, 'perfect' - you know, perfect. But there's more to it, it's not an outward obedience. Well, there is an outward obedience, but it has to spring forth from the right motives. So an unregenerate heart can - I say again - bring forth strong demonstrations of obedience to the law of God, but such obedience, perfect as it might be, will never meet with God's approval or qualify the person to enter the Kingdom of heaven. Only as obedience becomes the outward evidence of Christ's enshrinement within the heart can we know that we are sons and daughters of God.

Now as Seventh-day Adventists we're very - tend to be very wary of emotionalism. And I've said this before and I'll say it again, we need a bit more emotionalism. I'm not talking about pentecostalism. If you are a child of God, you should have the assurance - I don't mean that your feelings are waaaaay up here and, you know, you're on a high. You should have that peaceful assurance in your heart, 'I am a child of God.

' In Romans 8 it says, 'the Spirit witnesses through our spirit that we are the children of God.' So don't be afraid to entertain feelings of assurance. We need that. So we should know - we will know that - as we enter into that relationship with Jesus and then he will count us safe. He will count us as safe to let in - not just into heaven, wonderful as that will be - but to wing our tireless - how's it go? Wing our tireless flight to worlds afar. God will open the door to the universe and say, 'my children, there it is.

You go look around.' So he wants to be sure and the beings on those worlds want to be absolutely sure - they don't want us winging our tireless flight landing on their airports if we're bringing in sin. They want to be sure that we're safe to be let loose out there. And so, this is why the new birth - this love enshrined within us - is that which is an evidence that Jesus lives within. Because it's this - what is it? What did it say? It is the law of life for earth and heaven. And you've read this in 'great controversy' and I think it's in 'steps to Christ' as well.

For somebody with an unregenerate heart to be transported to heaven, it would be torture - it would. Because the atmosphere there is just filled with this selfless love that's an atmosphere of pristine purity - and the person who is not converted - or even half converted, if you can really be half converted - it would be torture. You might stand five minutes and say, 'boy this place is nice but, you know, where's the bar?' Or 'where's the club?' 'We don't have any here.' 'You don't have any here? Well, you know, where's the tv store? You know, I miss my' - what do they call that thing - 'days of eternity' or something like that? - 'You know, we have no soap operas here.' 'You have no soap operas?' 'No, there's nothing like that.' And if you're sitting here or if you're listening somewhere out there in cyberspace and, because there's no soap operas in heaven, and that, therefore, doesn't appeal to you, I can tell you, you've got a little heart problem. But, you know, Jesus, he can take care of that. So instead you will hunger and thirst for righteousness and heaven will be something that you long for and when you get there, totally delight in.

Matthew 19, the rich young ruler - still in Sunday's section - Matthew 19, verses 16 through 22 - it says, "and, behold, one came unto him and said to him, 'good master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?' And he" - that is, Jesus - "said unto him, 'why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.'" - I want to stop right there. If you're violating the law of God, you won't get into the kingdom of God. I just read it, right? So we're not saved by keeping the law, absolutely not, but as law keeping comes as a consequence of Christ within, it shows that we are mind and heart with God and we're safe to be let into heaven so let's understand this: we're not saved by keeping God's law but we won't get into heaven if we don't. And sometimes, you know, people throw this at us, 'oh, Seventh-day Adventists are seven-day wonders, they're all for the law and no grace.' No, law and grace, they go together. Faith without works, as James said, is dead.

Anyhow, I want to move on here. Jesus continues in verse 18, "he saith unto him, 'which?' Jesus said, 'thou shalt do no murder, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not bear false witness, honor thy father and thy mother: and, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." - He's dealing here with the second table of the law because the question that's specifically from this young man was 'who is my neighbor?' There are no questions about God, who he was - he was the creator. Obviously didn't take his name in vain - didn't bow down to idols - that was not an issue. But with the jews the question was 'who's my neighbor?' So this is why Jesus restricts it to the second table of the law here - 'thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.' Verse 20, "the young man saith unto him, 'all these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?' Jesus said unto him, 'if thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.'" - So he'd done all the outward things but there was something more, wasn't there? Jesus said, 'give it all away and come and follow me.' What was this calling for? What were the three facets of love? Self-renouncing love, self-sacrificing love, a love that doesn't seek its own interests - that's what was missing. So Jesus said 'give that all away and have this kind of love and you come and you follow me.

' But what was the response in verse 22? "But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions." Mike, can you pass me 'desire of ages' please? Thank you. I want to read 'Desire of Ages' pages 520 and 521 - there's a little comment here about this rich young ruler. "His claim that he had kept the law of God was a deception. He showed that riches were his idol. He could not keep the commandments of God while the world was first in his affections.

" You see, outwardly he may have done it, but true religion is a thing of the heart, okay? "He loved the gifts of God more than he loved the giver. Christ had offered this young man fellowship with himself - 'follow me' he said - but the Savior was not so much to him as his own name among men or his possessions. To give up his earthly treasure that was seen for the heavenly treasure that was unseen was too great a risk." Too great a risk to follow Jesus. Now listen to this: "he refused the offer of eternal life and went away and ever after the world was to receive his worship." You know life - eternity - can turn on a dime. He was stood on a dime - this young man was stood on a dime right at the Savior's feet.

He said, 'give it up. Follow me.' I wish that he thought for a moment but on that dime he turned and it says, 'ever afterward the world was to receive his worship.' You know, according to the prophet, he sealed his eternal destiny. That young man, one day, he's going to stand outside the walls of the new Jerusalem and he's going to remember that encounter with Jesus and those words of Jesus are going to ring in his ears. He's going to recall it so vividly - he's going to have such clarity, when his love for the world is gone because it's been taken away, and the words of Christ are going to come back and the remorse that he is going to feel will be beyond all human ability to put into words. You see on the - read on the next page "thousands are passing through this ordeal, weighing Christ against the world, and many choose the world.

Like the young ruler they turn from the Savior saying in their hearts, 'I will not have this man as my leader.' Christ dealing with the young man is presented as an object lesson. God has given us the rule of conduct which every one of his servants must follow." It is obedience to his law, yet there's not merely a legal obedience, but an obedience which enters into the life and exemplified in the character - exemplified in that expression of divine love which we reciprocate - and what is that love again? Self-sacrificing love, self- renouncing love, a love that seeketh not her own and it is the law of life for earth and heaven. Deep things, aren't they? Deep things that we need to ponder. Okay, I'm going to move on to Monday. I don't know how far we'll get but we'll give it our best here.

'The rules of life' - now I clearly understand what the lesson means by this heading: love is not genuine unless it means the divine - unless it meets the divine benchmark of the law - as an evidence that Christ is within - but that said, I'd like to take the liberty of offering another heading for Monday's section. Instead of 'rules of love' which is fine, I'd like to change it to 'facets of love'. Let me explain that, if I can. I'd like you to imagine that I'm holding a beautiful diamond in my hand here - it's a beautiful diamond - it's been intricately cut. It's got all these beautiful facets, but it's one diamond.

How many? Just one diamond. But as I hold this diamond to the light and I turn it, all those different facets, they sparkle and they flash and they shine as I hold it at different angles to the light. And so God's love is like that - he manifests his kindness and affection to us in so many different ways and yet, varied as those ways are, they all come from that one great unboundless source - that one heart of our Heavenly Father - that one source - and yet, it emanates this love which has so many facets. Perhaps another illustration we can use of God's love is how it emanates from one great boundless source - the heart of love - is a rainbow. A rainbow is one, right? Or is it? Well, it's - the sun shines and hits the rain and that - those raindrops are like - what's the word? A prism - thank you very much - a prism and so it breaks that light up into a spectrum that we can see.

There's other ends of the light spectrum we don't see - we don't need to. But you see that one rainbow and what - okay, what's the colors of the rainbow? Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. You did good. I had it written down. You did it from your head.

That's really good. In england, as kids, we had a little way of remembering that - it said, 'richard of york gained battles in vain.' A part of british history. I'm from york. Richard the third - so we remembered it that way, 'richard of york gained battles in vain.' So it is red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. But one rainbow, right? And with the rainbow in mind, in connection with God's love, I always liked to think of 1 Corinthians 13 as the rainbow of God's love - this one element of love that flows from his heart - let's turn to 1 Corinthians 13, verses 4 through 7.

This one love and yet it has so many facets. It's like the spectrum of God's love and it's not exhaustive here, by any means. But 1 Corinthians 13, verses 4 through 7 - it says, "charity" - which is love - I'll use the word 'love' - "love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up." - It means it's not rash - that's what 'vaunteth' means. It's not rash and it's not puffed up and proud - "doth not behave itself unseemly," - a Christian who's filled with the love of Jesus - now, let me put it another way, Jesus never acted in an unseemly way. Even to his enemies, who heaped the worse abuse upon him.

He had a way of silencing them with, you know, 'what does the Scripture say?' But it was always in a very dignified fashion and never in a way to - 'I'm going to put you down, buddy.' Never like that. Jesus never behaved unseemly and, as Christians, if his love is enshrined within us, neither will we behave unseemly. Back in verse 5, "seeketh not her own," - well, that's the kind of love, isn't it, that's not self-seeking - "is not easily provoked," - does that prod any of us here? Are you easily provoked? You don't have to answer. You don't have to hold up your hand but, whether it's at home or on the freeway, we can very easily be provoked, can't we? - "Thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;" - I think one of my favorite sayings is - I've said this before, but I'll say it again - I will say this again, there's a test that you can apply to yourself: if you hear some bad news about somebody or some scandalous news - especially about a church member - and you think, 'I've got to tell so and so and so and so.' Stop right there. Stop right there and ask yourself and pray.

Say, 'Lord, why am I in such a rush, right now, to want to share this news with this person or this person or this person?' And right there it will be telling - if there is the slightest little bit of satisfaction - 'I'm going to be the first' - you know what I'm talking about, don't you? 'I want to be the first to tell them.' You've got a little heart problem. You need Jesus to take care of that because love does not rejoice in iniquity or other people's shortcomings. Is the news going to get out? Sure it's going to get out, but let others tell it. You don't have to lower yourself to be the one to rush to your buddy and say, 'let me tell you this.' No, that is unseemly. Jesus never behaved like that.

It's in 'Desire of Ages' - I forget the page - but it says when we come to Jesus with our faults and failings and he forgives us, Ellen white says, 'he doesn't tell all that he might tell to others.' He doesn't. He takes us and he puts his robe around us and he says, 'this,that, and the other - it's between you and me. I'm your friend. I don't gossip about you.' So let's not do that about others. - "Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

" Isn't that a beautiful rainbow? Those are the facets - all the beautiful facets of that one entity from the one heart of that one wondrous and most wonderful being in this whole universe, God himself, your best friend. Is it any sacrifice to want to follow Jesus? Not so. And when we look at the life of Jesus, the love that flowed forth from that central source of his own heart also sparkled and shone in many ways. You see, the light that generated - the light of love that generated from Jesus was divine. After all, he was God - for all he had this mysterious whatever you want to call it - this blend of divinity with humanity.

He was fully, fully, fully divine from eternity. From his humanity he was fully human. He was born - born again - and we can be born again and, we can therefore, with a fallen nature like Jesus had, be on the self-same footing. He had no advantages that we can't have. But, also from his human side, as a man, he equally reflected the light that shone from him - from his divine side - because of earnest and sincere communion with his Heavenly Father.

Jesus spent long hours in prayer. He was a suppliant. We have to supplicate the throne of grace. He had to do the very same thing, especially when he was tempted. Especially when burdens are laid upon him.

You know, the devil was on his track all the time just trying to trip him up. All the time, Jesus, he just had to keep vigilant. He bore upon his shoulders a burden that we will never understand and, yet, he bore that burden in his humanity because he sought the throne of grace. He sought those spiritual needs in his humanity as we need to do. I want to read from Hebrews 5 - I'm still talking about his love for you, but I'm just taking a little sidetrack here - how he reflected that love and he reflected that love as we can if we will seek it - if we will seek God's face.

Hebrews chapter 5, verse 7, "who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears" - that's what Jesus - that's what he went through. But he would always prevail. He would prevail in his humanity and he would come forth charged afresh with divine strength and overflowing with love even for his worst enemies. Now, getting back to a diamond: a diamond will only sparkle in the presence of light. Is that true? You have the most beautiful diamond, but you put it in a dark room, it might as well be a piece of coal, right? A diamond will not sparkle unless it's in the presence of light.

But so mysterious, so deep, so boundless, so intense was Jesus' love, that when it was exposed to the darkness of human hatred, and the abuse of those who tortured, mocked him, and crucified him, the many beautiful facets of Jesus' love still flashed and sparkled and shone forth even in the darkest experiences of his life. And there in Gethsemane, that was a dark, dark place, but that diamond in that darkness still flashed and sparkled because as that cup trembled in his hand, and he saw himself - let me read you this here. I was praying the other morning and this kind of just popped into my head. I tried to write these words down - they're not unique, you'll see them pretty much in 'Desire of Ages' but I kind of did my own version here if I can read it. When he was in Gethsemane - I've got written here 'Jesus felt himself descending into the dark abyss of eternal death, devoid of any hope or expectation of ever ascending upwards and back into the light.

Such was the horror and dread that seized and overwhelmed his darkened, tortured, and anguished mind as he wrestled in prayer and struggled against the powers of evil that pressed upon him to take him captive to eternal death in the garden of Gethsemane.' That was the darkness that he was in. And yet, in that darkness, when he could have wiped the bloody sweat from his brow, where did he stay? He stayed right there because in that dark place, as that cup trembled, rising up before him, he saw the faces of our little children. We all love our kids, don't we? Remember when they were babies? We've got some cute little babies in this church. I think of my little grandsons - when I pray in the morning I see Jesus in Gethsemane and I see him struggling and I see little jack's face coming up before Jesus - little weemo's face - and Jesus saying, 'you know, that's a black hole I've got to go into but I can't leave little jack and little weemo without a Savior.' So he accepted that baptism of blood at any cost to himself - not just their faces - our faces. We've got baby faces in God's eyes.

I know, we get a little old and we get a few turkey necks and wrinkles, but we're still his little children. And it was that that rose before his eyes and he - even though his father had separated - had seemed like it to him - his father had gone and he felt the frown of God upon him and he felt the wrath of God and satan was pressing in and he saw a black hole, he saw us and even though his heart was anguished, his heart could not help itself but to say, 'father, I'm going to stay here. Whatever it costs, I'm going to stay right here.' And he did. Are you glad for that? Yeah, so am i. So there in that dark place that diamond sparkled.

Praise the Lord for that. So that was the kind of love that Jesus spoke of when he told his disciples in John 15:12 and . He said, "this is my commandment, that ye love one another," - a new commandment, really. No, not really, but there's a word there - he says - well, there's one, two - there's five words that follow it: "this is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you." Okay, there's the difference. No new commandment, but it's amplified.

He puts a different - he helps us to see it from a - more of a fuller and a clearer angle. He says, 'to love one another as I have loved you.' And to what extent? Well, a love that is self-sacrificing, a love that doesn't seek its own, a love that is willing to lay down its life - and that comes in the very next verse. It says, "greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." And when those disciples - when they saw that, they became - well, they weren't there at the cross but after the fact they understood the fact. They became changed. They became born again - especially Peter.

And why was it, after the fact, that Peter was willing to be crucified upside down? Because he'd seen a Revelation - not just of love but to see how Jesus had loved him as Jesus had loved him and, in turn, he wanted to reciprocate that. He wanted to love Jesus back as Jesus had loved him. So when they said, 'alright Peter, this is it. We're going to crucify you.' He said, 'please, please, I don't mind dying but' - he says - 'I'm not worthy to be crucified the same way up as my Savior whom I betrayed. Please crucify me upside down.

' They said, 'well, we think this guy's a little crazy but that's - if you want, okay.' So they crucified him upside down. Would anybody in their right mind want to be crucified upside down? Or crucified at all? Now, well you see, when that love of Christ comes into your heart, sometimes to the world you may look a little insane sometimes because you're so unselfish. You're willing to give everything away. You know, in the world's eyes, 'well, be generous. Give stuff away, but keep enough for yourself.

' You know, a day is coming when whatever we have - if we haven't given it away it's going to be taken away. We're all going to finish up with zilch. You know that? And we're told that if we keep our goods upon the altar, God will show us, at the right time, when to sell it, when to give it away. But if we keep in step with God he'll show us how to disperse with these things because we're almost there. But if, like the rich young ruler, we're sitting in church this morning, 'Jesus is coming soon.

' You know, we're having a 'closing events' seminar - I love prophecy, but your heart isn't changed. When that crisis comes and that Sunday law comes and they tell you you have to abide by this law - we're going to take your house, your car, your job, your savings, your - whatever you have - who are you going to be? A rich young ruler or I'm trying to think of an example - or nicodemus? Nicodemus - he gave it all away. Joseph bates - remember the story of Joseph bates? He was a sea captain. He had quite a little nest egg. Pioneer of this movement - gave it all away - he finally comes home one day and his wife said, 'you know, Joseph, we need some flour and a few things.

' - You know she knew he always had some dollars in his pocket - 'can you go to the store and buy some flour and stuff?' He says, 'well, dear, we don't have any money left.' 'What? Where's it all gone?' 'I've given it all away to the cause.' So you can be a rich young ruler or a Joseph bates. The rich young ruler lost his eternal inheritance. Joseph bates may have not had two pennies to rub together but you know what? He'll be in heaven. I know which I would like to be of the two of them. So, and so the disciples they were willing - they were willing - this is why Paul said, in 2 Corinthians 5:14, "for the love of Christ constraineth us.

" The old english word there, it means 'compelled'. It says, 'the love of Christ' - it says - 'it compels me.' And it was the contemplation of the love of Jesus that was demonstrated, in Paul's particular experience, that drove him onward. I mean, he was driven. If it had not been for Paul - I suppose God would have probably raised up somebody else because God is not dependent upon men, yet at the same time he uses them. But here's this unlikely instrument - Saul becomes the apostle Paul and he got this love - he got this glimpse of the love of Christ and he said, 'it just drives me.

' And you read the things that Paul had to contend with as a missionary in the first century for Jesus Christ. We don't have time, but if you read in 2 Corinthians 11, verses 24 through 28. You know, it says, 'I was - three times I was scourged by my own kind.' He says, 'I have been shipwrecked. I've been naked, cold, hungry.' He says all of these things and on top of all this, the care of all the churches. Why did he put up with that? That's what the mind might say, but there was something going on in here, you see.

He'd seen a demonstration of love and, as it filled him, he just couldn't help himself. A love as Jesus loved - and we can look at other Christians as well, who followed all the other apostles. Apart from John, they were all martyred. John was thrown in boiling oil - came out - wasn't his time to die in that fashion. Corinthians 9:19 through 23 - Corinthians 9:19 through 23.

Paul says, "for though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the jews I became as a jew, that I might gain the jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; to them that are without law," - that is the gentiles - "to them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. And this I do for the Gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you." The apostle Paul presents here a very sound and well-tested principle of soul winning because it's of divine origin. We should seek, as far as possible, to meet people where they are without ourselves sacrificing principle, and we can go a long way.

Jesus mixed with the publicans and the sinners yet never once did he violate one principle of the law of God and we can do the same. God will give us wisdom. And in this way we can relate to them and they can relate more to us. You know, to a lot of people out there - Christians, they're a mysterious bunch, you know, and so there's a prejudice out there. There's a suspicion - especially now with the rise - you know, secularism is really, really strong.

And so we've got to find a way of being able to more effectively break down prejudice and barriers that stop people opening their hearts to us. And here we have this broad term here 'the law of Christ' and it's, again, it's this self-sacrificing principle. It is this love that is the key that will gain entrance into hearts which are locked by unbelief, prejudices, suspicion toward religion and especially toward Christians. And if you want to look back at a prime example of how the law of Christ worked and was a key to opening people's hearts, we just have to look at the law of action - at the law of Christ - that operated in the law of Jesus. In 'ministry of healing' page - I wrote the reference down and I couldn't find it in my office.

I found a paperback, but it's not the original paging but it goes something like this: "Christ's methods alone will bring success. He mingled with the people as one who desired their best good. He ministered to their needs. He - you know this, Virginia, I'm sure - he sympathized with them - all these things - then he bade them, 'follow me.' And that's Christ's method and we're told that Christ's method alone will bring success. So the law of Christ needs to be seen, for example, in the tools God has given us.

Our health message - right now we've got a little health program going on at our church and want to build more and more health programs through the years to dove-tail in with other evangelistic events. But, again, the law of Christ - it is to minister to others. And this is what we read in 9 testimonies, 189, "if we would humble ourselves before God and be kind and courteous and tenderhearted and pitiful" - is that - are those facets of love? Yes they are, aren't they? They're facets of a love that doesn't seek its own. They're facets of not a self-seeking love. They're facets of self-sacrificing love.

- "If we would humble ourselves before God and be kind and courteous and tenderhearted and pitiful, there would be one hundred conversions to the truth where now there is only one." Only one - it's a terrible indictment, isn't it? Terrible indictment. Anyway, we can preach a whole sermon there but I'll leave you to think about that. Testimonies, 189 - and ask God - say, 'Lord, is there something you want to teach me from this statement? Do I need to be more kind, courteous, tenderhearted, and pitiful? And work for souls?' I'll leave you and God to work that one out. But again, where do you and I get such kindness from? Well, it's of divine origin and it needs to be implanted within us. But in ourselves we're not naturally like that.

'Desire of Ages' page 20 says, "there is nothing save the selfish heart of men that lives unto itself." Again, we may do good works from a sense of obligation - from a sense of duty - but we need Jesus, don't we? We need him to come in and fill us and make us everything that he wants us to be. Did you know that Noah was present at the birth of Abraham? Okay, maybe he wasn't in the room, but he was alive and probably telling stories about his floating zoo. From the creation of the world to the last day events of Revelation, 'Biblehistory.com' is a free resource where you can explore major Bible events and characters. Enhance your knowledge of the Bible and draw closer to God's Word. Go deeper.

Visit the amazing Bible timeline at 'Biblehistory.com'.

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