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Love Fulfills the Law, Part 1 B

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
February 7, 2024 3:00 am

Love Fulfills the Law, Part 1 B

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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February 7, 2024 3:00 am

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You choose to love. I choose to love. I choose to make peace. I choose to forgive. You learn to do that by training your mind to do that under the power of the Spirit of God and a commitment to obey. Welcome to Grace To You with John MacArthur.

I'm your host, Phil Johnson. Think back to your grammar lessons in school, and let's talk for a minute about adjectives. You remember that adjectives are descriptive words, and if there's one overarching adjective that applies to the Christian life, it's ongoing. Ongoing faith, ongoing humility, ongoing prayer, and ongoing love. Today, John MacArthur takes a look at that ongoing biblical love, showing you how to love no matter what.

That's the name of his current study. And as the lesson begins, bear in mind, this series is not just for married couples. It provides guidelines for every relationship you have.

And with that, here's John MacArthur. Now, what is love? How do you demonstrate love? Is it an emotion?

Is it a spiritual goose bump? Is it a warm and fuzzy feeling? What is love? Well, let me suggest what it is biblically, and I'm just going to suggest it briefly. Love, first of all, is teaching others the truth of God.

That in itself, I think, is a supremely important element of love. Paul in 2 Corinthians chapter 6 talks about all the things that he is committed to, all the things he has done for the Corinthians. He has come to them, come through all kinds of stripes, imprisonments, tumults, labors, watchings, fastings. Verse 5, verse 6, pureness by knowledge, by long suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by love unfeigned, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left.

The key thing I want you to see is that he came by knowledge, by the word of truth. Love is a matter of teaching truth. Love is a matter of articulating truth. Love is a matter of saying what has to be said from the word of God. It's Ephesians 4 where it says, speaking the truth in love, speaking the truth in love. I believe that love involves teaching others what needs to be taught. It is not a feeling, it is an act. Secondly, it involves ministering to the needs of others, ministering to the needs of others.

It is not just giving them facts, it is giving them personal assistance, personal help. In Hebrews 6 10, God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love. And what is that? That which you have shown toward his name in that you have ministered to the saints and do minister. Your labor of love and your work of love is your ministry to the needs of the saints.

It is an act, not a feeling, it is a verb, not a noun in its truest form. So loving is teaching others what they need to know. It is coming to them by the word of God and by knowledge.

It is coming to them in ministry. Thirdly, I believe love is serving one another in a way that causes them to grow because of your careful behavior. In other words, setting an example. Love sets an example. Love sets a positive example of spiritual life so that people can grow from it. Paul writes to the Galatians who are in need of this message and he says, brethren you have been called unto liberty only not to use liberty as an occasion to the flesh but by love serve one another.

Now what he means there is this, yes you are called to liberty but not to use that liberty to offend someone else but rather restrict that liberty to serve someone else. So the idea then is love is an act of cautious behavior that stimulates someone else's growth rather than retarding it. It is the kind of life that leads others toward the Lord not towards sin. There's another element of love. Love also covers the sins of others. First Peter chapter 4 verse 8, love covers a multitude of sins.

You remember that passage? Love then is something that teaches people the truth. If you love someone you speak the truth. If you love someone you give them the word of God. Paul said in that 2 Corinthians 6 passage, my speech is candid.

I've been very open and I love you even though you love me less for doing it. Love speaks the truth. Love ministers to the needs of others. Love serves others with cautious behavior that leads them toward the Lord not towards sin.

It doesn't flaunt its liberty. And love covers faults. It is not in a hurry to expose.

It is in a hurry to cover. Another thing love does is love forgives. Love forgives. In Ephesians chapter 4 verse 32 it says, be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. Be ye therefore on the basis of a forgiving heart followers of God as dear children and walk in love. As Christ loved us and gave himself for us, you love others and give yourself for them. As Christ loved us and forgave, you love others and forgive.

You love others and forgive. Say another thing about love. Love endures. It bears all things in terms of 1 Corinthians 13. That passage sums up all these things. But love endures. Love is patient. It says in Ephesians 4 to forbearing or enduring one another in love.

It is taking their foibles and their faults and their mistakes and their errors and the things about them that are not so tasteful. And finally, and I guess in a summary fashion, love sacrifices for others. Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his what?

His life for his friends. Read John 15 12 to 15. And you are my friends, Jesus said, if you do whatsoever I have commanded you. So love, love is an action. Love teaches.

Love ministers to needs. Love sets an example that doesn't lead people towards sin. Love covers their faults. Love forgives. Love endures all of their problems and all of their idiosyncrasies and love sacrifices in their behalf. The whole idea of a self-sacrificing love is of giving someone what it is they need of spiritual truth and help and concern.

It's not a question of how you feel emotionally. We owe this. This is what we owe people. We're not to owe them anything else. Pay your debts and owe them love. That's your debt. And believe me, this love is the heart of Christian living.

It is the magnet that attracts the world. You say, but how can we love like that? How can we do that?

I believe it's because we have a new capacity. The debt of love is linked to a new capacity. Before you were saved you couldn't do it, but now according to Romans 5, 5 you can do it. You remember that passage?

Sure you do. Romans 5, 5, hope maketh not ashamed because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who is given unto us. How can we love like that then? Because the love of God is what? Shed abroad in our hearts.

We have a new capacity. We have a new resource to love the way we ought to love. To love like Epaphroditus loved who loved so much he served Paul and he served the church and he served the Lord until it almost killed him. How can we love like that?

Because the love of God is shed abroad. That means lavishly poured out, more than sufficient. The love beyond description is granted to us. That love becomes the well. That love of God becomes the well that we draw from when we want love to give to others.

And somebody would ask the question I asked it myself, okay, I'm supposed to be obedient. Part of that obedience is to owe a debt of love and to love everybody. In order to love everybody I have to have a supernatural love.

God gives me that supernatural love. That becomes the well out of which I draw the bucket. Now how do I let the bucket down? How do I tap that?

Let me see if I can give you a little list you might want to write down. How do I let down my spiritual bucket we'll call this? How do I get into this love? How do I appropriate it?

How do I make it my own? I think there's a series of several elements. First of all, it's important that you understand the resource. You got to know the well is there, right?

First of all, understand the resource. It is there. It is available. You remember Ephesians 3? Paul's prayer? That you may be able to comprehend.

Know that one? Ephesians 3 18. That you may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth and length and depth and height and to know the love of Christ which passes what? Knowledge. The first thing is you've got to comprehend what's available and realize that there is love for any experience.

There is love for any occasion. The well is more than sufficient. So first of all, you understand it. You understand the resource and you seize that resource and make it your own by faith. Yes, Lord. Yes, God. The love is there that I need for that person and that person and that person and that person and that person and that person.

Whoever they are. First you understand the resource. Secondly, you submit to the Holy Spirit. Comes a point in life when you learn to turn over to the Holy Spirit the control factor in your life. You can carry your bitterness and your anxiety and your hatred and your animosity and your revenge and your vengeance and all the things you feel towards someone.

You can carry them on your own or you can yield them to the Spirit of God and when you submit to the Spirit of God then the Spirit of God takes over your life and bitterness is replaced by love and vengeance is replaced by affection. 1 Thessalonians 4, but as touching brotherly love you need not that I write unto you for you yourselves are taught of God to love one another. You're taught of God to love.

How so? Because the Spirit of God has shed that love abroad in your heart. Galatians 5 22. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, but love first. So the first thing you want to know is that the love is available. You understand the resource. The second thing you want to know is that if you submit to the Spirit of God he'll teach you to love. You are taught of God to love one another. You don't need to be taught by somebody else how to do it.

It isn't a gimmick. You yield to the Spirit of God and the Spirit teaches you. There's a third factor and I'm not sure these are necessarily split like I'm giving them to you or even organized in this particular flow.

Chronologically, I'm just pulling out the elements. The third one comes to us from 1 Peter 1 22. Seeing that you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren. See that you love one another with a pure heart fervently. The third thing is a purified heart.

What does that mean? That means that you're not going to be able to exercise the debt of love until you've dealt with what? Sin in your life. Until you see it as sin. You see your bitterness as sin. You see your vengeance as sin. You see your anger as sin. Your hostility as sin. Any wrong attitude you see in your life, you see it as sin. That's got to be confessed. That has to be dealt with.

So first you understand the resource. Then you submit to the Spirit who teaches you to love. Involved in that is the purification of the heart. And there's another thing in 1 Peter while we're there. Chapter 4 verse 7. But the end of all things is at hand. Be therefore sober-minded and watch unto what?

Prayer. And above all things have fervent love among yourselves for love shall cover the multitude of sins. He indicates to us that is a key thing to pursuing love and that is this. The end of all things is at hand. In other words, dear friends, we live in a sense of urgency, don't we?

That's the fourth point. Realize the urgency of love. It's time for us to drop the gloves, right? And start to love because the end of all things is at hand. It's time for us to live the way we ought to live. It's time for us to attract people the way they ought to be attracted. So we understand the resource. We submit to the Spirit. Purify the heart.

Realize the urgency. Go back to Colossians 3.14. And there's another element in this debt of love, being properly paid.

Colossians, this is very, very basic. Above all these things, above everything else, put on love. Put on love.

Now, you know what that tells me? This is a conscious choice. This is a conscious choice. I choose to love. I was counseling a couple who have been having a difficult time in their marriage and they have been struggling and struggled rather seriously for quite a time.

And they have been having a difficult time in their marriage and they have been struggling rather seriously for quite a time. And I sat with them and just briefly shared with them, you must make a conscious choice to love. You have to train yourself in moments when you feel like being angry, moments when you feel like asserting your rights, moments when you feel like you've been defrauded or deprived, moments when you are interrupted, when you have been treated rudely, when unkind words have been said. You must train yourself to make a conscious choice to love. We had a great talk about that. And I got a phone call two days later after that and the man involved said, I just want to tell you that the difference in the last few days in our marriage has been that both of us, every time something poses itself as a problem, are endeavoring to do all we can in the Spirit of God to make a conscious choice to love.

And to make peace and to show kindness no matter what the price to our own ego might be. That's a conscious choice you make. That's a factor in learning how to pay the debt of love. You choose to love. I choose to love. I choose to make peace.

I choose to forgive. You learn to do that by training your mind to do that under the power of the Spirit of God and a commitment to obey. There's a sixth thing in this matter of learning how to love. And that is, this might sound like it comes really off the wall, that is to be with believers. To be with believers.

You're going to find it very difficult to do this if you're isolated. You say, where did you get that principle? Hebrews chapter 10, verse 24 says, as you well know, forsake not the assembling of yourselves together and much the more as you see the day approaching.

Why? In order that you may stimulate one another to what? Love. There is a stimulation to love that occurs in the dynamics of Christian fellowship and the accountability that it brings to bear on a life. So, how are we going to love the way we ought to love?

Well, we have to understand the resources there. Submit to the Holy Spirit. Purify the heart. Realize the urgency.

We've got to get this on because the end of all things is at hand. Make a conscious choice. Be in the fellowship. And there's two more that came to my mind. Number seven is concentrate on others.

Concentrate on others. This is a real key in Philippians. And you're very familiar with this wonderful passage.

We've commented on it many times through the years. But in Philippians chapter 2, Paul says, if there is any comfort in Christ, any comfort of love, any fellowship of the Spirit, any tender mercy and compassion. In other words, if there's any love in the fellowship, if there's any love at all, let it be the same love. Verse 2, that is loving everyone the same, one accord, one mind.

How do you do it? Let nothing be done through strife and vainglory, but in lowliness of mind, let each esteem others better than themselves. Let not every man look on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. In other words, if there's going to be love in the fellowship, we have to be preoccupied with others, not us, right? I'm not looking to be loved.

I'm looking to love. That's a whole different perspective. Concentrate on others.

And then a last one. Consider the results. Consider the results. That's a marvelous, marvelous reason to live a life of love because of the wonderful results.

Oh, how wonderful the results are. You say, what do you mean by that? Well, we learn from even the life of our Lord Himself. The Scripture indicates to us that He loved and as a result of His love, He was loved in return. John summed it up, we love Him because, what?

He first loved us. There's a dynamic in love that is reciprocal. People are all the time looking to be loved. If they only realized that if they would just look to love, they'd be loved.

You understand that? So, we are to love. That's a debt that we have to pay, the debt of love. How are we going to pay it? How are we going to pay it?

How do we pay the debt of love? Understand the resource. It's there.

It's available. If we don't tap it, there's no fault but our own. Submit to the Spirit and be taught by Him to love. Purify our hearts by the confession of sin. Realize the urgency. Make a conscious choice.

Stay in the fellowship. Concentrate on others rather than ourselves. And consider the effect. Consider the effect. Love given inevitably is love, what?

Returned and received. So, God, by a new creation of grace and saving us, has given us a new capacity to fulfill the debt of love. The reservoir of love is absolutely inexhaustible. It serves to allow us the privilege of representing God in the world by loving as He loved and being loved in return. One ancient writer wrote, by the very nature, by its very nature, love is the duty which when done is never done. Since He loves not truly who loves for the purpose of ceasing to love, by loving love is intensified.

The more it is exercised, the less it can become satisfied. Love, then, should be a deep desire rising from a regenerate heart. It is an element of our obedience.

In fact, it is the supreme aspect of our obedience. And we can do it. We can fulfill the debt of love because of a new capacity. You say, well, how am I going to start? I want to pay the debt I owe, the debt of love.

What should I do? Let me suggest some things, okay? Tomorrow, all right? This is all for tomorrow. This is your assignment. Tomorrow.

You ready? Listen carefully. Mend a quarrel. Search out a forgotten friend. Make a phone call to that friend. Replace a suspicion with a trust.

Replace a suspicion with a trust. Let an old bitterness die by the power of God. Write a letter to someone who loves you and won't expect it. Encourage someone you know very well with how much they mean to you. Keep a promise.

There's a few other ones. Ask God to help you to forget a wrong someone has done to you that you remember very well. Reduce your demands on the people in your house. Say thank you to someone who loves you and won't forget the people in your house. Say thanks. Say thanks. Say thanks all day.

And then tell someone you love them again and again and again. Just three more. Pray for an enemy, any enemy. Take your pick of the list. I don't know how long your list is. Take your pick. Oh, here's a good one.

Send a check to someone you know has a need. And then, finally, ask God to help you to love the way Jesus loved. Love that fulfills the law of God. That's true love, and that's what John MacArthur is helping you put into practice in his current series. John is the Bible teacher each day here on Grace To You.

He's also chancellor of the Masters University and Seminary. John, I'm loving this study called Love No Matter What. It's an extended exhortation to fulfill the second great commandment to love your neighbor as yourself. And, of course, some people are easier to love than others, but loving people who are lovable doesn't completely fulfill our duty to show the love of God, to fulfill the second great commandment. No, it's not about the person.

I mean, this is the point. When you go back to the book of Romans, we read this, that God loved us even when we were enemies. And Jesus said, you're never more like your father than when you love your enemy. So, yeah, there's no virtue, no particular nobility in loving the lovable. And that's established by God loving the whole world that was his enemy, Christ loving the very ones who rejected him, hated him, and turned him over to crucifixion. So we're not talking about anything in that person except the blessing that love can bring to them. That's the challenge. How can I love the people that it's hard to love? I remember when I first came to Grace Church, there were some people who voted against me when there was a vote for me to be the pastor.

Really? Yeah, there was a coterie of people who voted against me, and some of them were pretty cantankerous. They thought I was too young, and they probably were right. So I determined in my life, even in my youth and immaturity in those days, that I was going to love those people. I'm going to pick out those people who are having the most difficult time accepting me, and I'm going to love them, and I'll worry about the others after I get finished with these people. That's not easy to do, is it?

No, I remember going up and putting my arm around one of the guys who had been very vocal about it, and I just said, you know, I want to grow to really love you, and I want you to know that I want to serve you every way I can, and anytime I can do anything for you, please let me know, because it would be my joy to do that. And the shock was pretty severe to him. And really, he melted in that moment. So this is the crucial reality. If you're going to show love, you can't pick and choose, because the model is God, the model is Christ, and that's how you are to love. And again, this takes us back to the book that we've been talking about, Anxious for Nothing. You've got to get past yourself.

That may be the best way to say it. This book, Anxious for Nothing, will have an effect on your life that will be positive. It will lead you to be a confident, trusting, loyal, and loving individual.

You have to think rightly about your own self and about God's promises in your life if you're going to make a meaningful investment in the life of someone else. And I want you to know, this book is so important that we're offering it free of charge to anyone who's never contacted our ministry. If you're already a part of the Grace to You family, you can order it. It's very affordable, and shipping is free. But for those of you who never contacted us, ask for a free copy of Anxious for Nothing.

Thanks, Jon. And friend, when people ask us for help in battling anxiety, we point them to this book. If you're worrying about a difficult relationship, the book Anxious for Nothing can help. Request your free copy if it's your first time contacting us. You can call us weekdays from 730 to 4 o'clock Pacific time at 800-55-GRACE, or you can visit our website,

If you've contacted us before, Anxious for Nothing costs $10.50, and shipping is free. You can order by calling 800-55-GRACE, or visit And friend, an important note before we're finished today. In just two days, Friday, February 9th, we'll be celebrating something very special, and that's John MacArthur's 55th anniversary as pastor teacher of Grace Community Church in the Los Angeles area, which means Grace to You will be celebrating our 55th anniversary as well. And to commemorate that milestone, we want to do something special. On Friday, February 9th, we are going to offer the complete MacArthur New Testament commentary series at the lowest price you'll find anywhere. We're able to make this special offer only for the first 250 orders, and the sale will start on our website,, at 1201 a.m. Pacific time on Friday, February 9th. So get up early on Friday and take advantage of this outstanding offer. Now for John MacArthur, I'm Phil Johnson, encouraging you to join us again tomorrow for another half hour of unleashing God's truth, one verse at a time, on Grace to You.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-07 06:07:05 / 2024-02-07 06:17:26 / 10

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