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The Measure of Our Love - Part 2

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
March 11, 2024 12:00 am

The Measure of Our Love - Part 2

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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March 11, 2024 12:00 am

Learn what God's commandments are and how we can obey them.

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Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Monday, March 11th. Scripture makes it clear that if we love Jesus, we'll do what He commands. Let's look carefully at Christ's words in the 14th chapter of John to see how our actions reveal the measure of our love. Now it's easy for me to say, God, I love you.

Lord, I love you. It is easy for me to sing that, to pray it or to say it. But the truth is, do we really and truly love God? Many people go to church because they really love God. And they want His Word and they want to be instructed. They want to be challenged. They want to be built up.

A lot of people come to church because it makes them feel better, has nothing to do with their love for God. It has to do with their own sense of need. They need something. They want to feel better. They want to be encouraged.

They want hope. There's nothing wrong with that. And I'm simply saying, you have to distinguish between if it's a matter of loving God or wanting something that God has to offer. The only thing that convinces God that I love Him is that I obey Him. All that other stuff is stuff and empty words unless I am at least attempting to be obedient to God. Because that's the bottom line with Him. We've got all kinds of lines. God has one bottom line.

That's obedience. You and I are responsible for what's in this book. Once you trust yourself to the Lord Jesus Christ as His child, you and I are responsible for what's in the book. And listen, you can have an expensive Bible. Listen, you've got NIVs, NASVs, King James, New King James, Living Bibles. You've got leather covers, hardback covers, limber covers.

You've got all kinds. You know what? It doesn't give you one bit of good until you open it up and say, Lord, what are you trying to say to me? You see, if I'm going to be obedient to God, I've got to get in the Word and I've got to be willing to absorb the Word. Now, you see, He says, if you love Me, you will obey My commandments. Well, how many of them?

Oh, well, you know, some of them I know. Now remember, you can go through the mall and go shopping and you can pick and choose. But when you get in the Bible, you can't pick and choose. You can't say, well, I'm going to obey this and I'm going to ignore that one. Obey this and ignore that one.

You can't do that. You see, if I love Him, I'm going to keep all of them. You say, well, how in the world am I going to have to get a list?

No. Just start reading. I'll tell you something.

If you'll just start reading, God will give you enough that you won't ever have to worry about making your list. I guarantee you that. He's going to bring enough to your mind. And what do you think God's going to do? Here's what He's going to do. He's going to bring to your mind, especially those areas that He wants to work on. Now, you may end up with a list, but you don't have to go through your Bible and get a long list of things you ought to do.

You know, that's not what He's talking about. He says, if you love Me, you'll just obey My commands. Get in the Word, start reading, finding out what He's saying, and He will bring to your mind and heart those things that He wants you to deal with in your life. I'll tell you a wonderful way to transform your prayer life. I challenge you to do it today. Don't start tomorrow.

I challenge you to do it today. Get on your knees. If you can't get on your knees, sit down. Read the book of Philippians. Just don't pray. Don't say anything. Just say, Lord, I'm getting ready to read this and I'm going to trust you to open my eyes.

Just read those four chapters. And then, with your Bible open and your eyes open, you start praying and just asking the Lord. Now, Lord, I want you to speak to me through this book. Whatever you want to bring to my mind about anything, I want you to bring that to my mind. I'm telling you, you know what will happen to your praying?

Man, it'll take on a level like you've never known before. You'll find yourself not praying about all these penny-anny things and diddling things and trying to think up to pray. When you start praying through a book, I don't mean verse by verse. I mean just as God brings things off the page, He will bring things off those pages and those four chapters and you'll find yourself praying.

And you know what will happen? Five-minute praying is over. You who've been worried about short praying, it's over. If you get in the Word and read the Scriptures, here's what He'll do. He'll bring things off that page. You'll begin to pray about that. Then you'll see something here. You'll begin to pray about that. And you'll begin to pray about that.

And you know what's going to happen? Your prayer life's going to get revolutionized, number one. Number two, your love for the Word of God is going to begin to increase. Number three, your love for God's going to increase. Number four, you're going to want to be obedient to what you've been reading.

You can't separate yourself from this book. If you want to be obedient to God, your first commitment is, Lord, I've got to get in your Word. I've got to get serious about your Word. Now, let me answer a question at this point. Somebody says, well, you mean to tell me if I sin I don't love God?

No, I didn't say that. But I do want to say this. I want you to listen carefully. If your heart is bent toward God and you say nobody has to convince you or persuade you that you have a yearning, insatiable, hungering, thirsting desire to be obedient to God. You want to be obedient to Him more than anything else in the world.

You don't have to persuade God. He knows that. On the other hand, He knows that you and I have five senses.

We live in these physical bodies. We live in a world of sin and wickedness and violence and temptation and all kinds of problems. He knows that as good as we are, as best we can be, we're going to stumble, we're going to fall, we're going to make mistakes, we're going to sin.

It is not a question of whether I'll sin or not. The question is, how do I respond? I want you to listen carefully. How am I going to respond?

If I really and truly am committed to being obedient to God, I am going to be smitten with conviction instantly. My heart is going to be grieved. I'm going to be sad. I'm going to be ashamed. I'm going to feel guilty. But the thing I'm going to feel the guiltiest about is that I have grieved the heart of God. I sinned against Him. You see, if the only thing I'm worried about is that I feel guilty about myself, and I've done this to myself, and I've hurt myself and la-da-da, all these things.

If you really want to know whether you're loving God or not, and your heart's bent toward obeying Him, when you disobey Him, you're grieved in your spirit. I got to thinking about when I was growing up what my mom would say to me about obeying God, and she didn't say it the way I would probably say it today, but she would tell me not to do anything that I wouldn't want to be doing if Jesus came, and brother, that put some fear in me. And, but I think about how often in my early years growing up, when I would be tempted to do something wrong as a little boy, and I would think, but my mom. I didn't want to disappoint my mother. And many times I would be tempted and I'd think, but my mom.

I wouldn't want her to think that I didn't love her enough to do what she told me to do. And I can remember on a very momentous occasion in my life, it was something simple for a 16-year-old kid, but it was very important to me. My friends and I, there were about six of us who ran around together, and every once in a while we did what mischievous boys did, and we'd throw rocks and things like that. Drugs wasn't in such things. Drugs, none of us would have thought about smoking or drinking.

Those things wouldn't have crossed our minds of being immoral. It was just mischievous things that we were doing. So we were all going to meet at this particular place.

It was about a mile from where I lived. And I told my mom, I said, you know, I needed some trousers to wear. And so she took the time to stop what she was doing, and she ironed them for me. And so I got down there with them.

And so they decided where we were going, what we're going to do. And I thought, I can't do that. So I said to them, I said, well, I'm not going. I don't think I can do that. Because I also, to disappoint my mom, would have been to disappoint Jesus. And so I said, I don't think I can do that.

Oh, come on, Stanley. And they gave me all these reasons. I said, no, I can't do it. I remember walking away.

They went their way, and I went and I walked back up the street. Now, the reason this was so significant to me, because it's the first time I think I ever really and truly felt that God said something to me personally. And it's like the Lord said to me, you'll never regret this decision.

And I'll honor you for it. You see, I didn't want to hurt my mom's feelings. I didn't want to disappoint my mom.

I didn't want to hurt her. So I couldn't do it. And I didn't want to disappoint Jesus.

So I couldn't do it. I wish I could tell you I've never disappointed Jesus, but I have. But one of the reasons I know I love Him is because when I disappoint Him, I am so deeply hurt on the inside to think that I would do it, that I would disappoint Him. I don't mean disappoint Him by He's expecting something, but I mean that I would grieve His heart, not disappoint Him, but grieve His heart. He said, grieve not the Spirit of God. Grieve not the Holy Spirit.

How do we grieve the Holy Spirit? Disobeying Him. And if I love Him, I don't want to do that. And one of the signals that I know that I love Him is because when I do, what happens to me on the inside?

It's like I crash. That I would do it to Him. Now I'll tell you how you know when you're growing.

I want to go back to this. If when you sinned and you were frightened for the consequences and you felt guilt and you did it to yourself and that's what bothered you most, you were a child. But if you have moved to the point where what hits you first is you did it to Him, then you know you're growing and that your heart really is bent toward being obedient to Him. You see, I don't know how you could have made it any simpler than this when He said, if you love Me, you will keep My commandments. And you see, He said, one who doesn't love Him doesn't keep His commandments. That's so simple. And I'll tell you, the more I studied this passage, the more into conviction I got.

I thought, oh God, would you just surface every little single solitary thing that I may not be aware of? You see, to sin against God and just say, well, Lord, I just want to claim 1 John 1 9, if we confess our sins, you are faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. In Jesus name, Amen. If you don't love Him, OK. But if you love Him, that won't cut it. It's like hurting someone.

It's like saying something to someone that you didn't mean to and you cut them deeply and you say, sorry about that. Move on. You don't love that person. Because when you and I hurt somebody we love, we are grieved.

We are grieved. I know the people that I've hurt, that I've been grieved all that. But I think about hurting Him. If I love Him, I'm going to do my best in the power of the Holy Spirit not to disobey me. And when I do, because we're all human, that's an excuse, but we are and He now understands that.

When we do, it's my response. Listen, it's not whether we sin or not. It's our response to our own sin.

A reprobate is a person who has sinned so long in rebellion toward God, they lose their twinge of conscience and they can no longer even discern right and wrong. Well, it's interesting in this passage something else. Because He says, if I love Him, I'm going to love His Word. Turn back to Psalm 119 for a moment. If you don't know where it is, take your Bible, open it right up in the middle. You're going to hit Psalm 119.

I'm pretty close to it. Verse 47, look at these verses. Verse 47 says, and I shall delight in thy commandments which I love. Verse 48 says, and I shall lift up my hands to thy commandments which I love. Verse 97 says, oh, how I love thy law.

It is my meditation all the day. Verse 113 says, but I love thy law. And verse 119 says, therefore I love thy testimonies. Verse 127, therefore I love thy commandments above gold, yes, above fine gold. Therefore I esteem right all thy precepts concerning everything. I hate every false way. You see, if I love Him, I'm going to love His Word. Now, two last things.

Listen very carefully because this is so very important. When I read these passages, I have to come to this conclusion. Now look at this. When He says keep His law, that means I'm going to obey it.

Now look at this. In verse 21, He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me. And he who loves Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.

Well, now wait a minute. I thought God loved everybody. He does, John 3 16. Well, what in the world does He mean when He says if you and I keep His commandments, He says the Father will love Him and I will love Him. What does that mean?

It means this. God loves everybody as His creations. He loves believers as His children. And He loves obedient ones as His intimate ones.

There is an intimacy level between God and a man or a woman who is walking in obedience to Him. It's their lifestyle. It's what they want. It's their desire.

It's the bottom line of their decisions. It's what motivates them. It's what is the determining factor in their life to be obedient to God. There is an intimacy level between that person and God that is not found in the life of one who is disobeying the laws of God.

And here's the reason. The reason you'll find in the same verse, look at this now, because it brings me to something else. And he who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me, and he who loves Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.

What in the world does that mean? Listen carefully. There's an added dimension in the love relationship between one who is walking obediently before God and one who is not.

There is also an added dimension in our understanding God when we obey Him. He says, and I will disclose Myself to Him. What does it mean with that? He means I will unveil Myself. I will reveal Myself. I will manifest Myself.

You'll be able to see more, understand more, perceive more. And you see, what he's saying is this. The person who walks obediently before Him, God honors that obedience by unveiling more truth, that is manifesting more truth, illuminating that person's mind so that they understand more. Now, you say, well, why doesn't God give me just as much understanding of the Word of God as somebody who's obedient?

Well, let me ask you a question. What in the world did He mean when He says don't cast your pearl before a swine? Why should God unveil His truth, give the deep things of understanding about Himself and the Father, give us deeper understanding of the Word, reveal His ways to us? If all we're going to do is say thank you very much, close the book and walk off, what is God doing but casting precious eternal pearl before people who are treating them like hogs treat pearls?

And He's not going to do it. And when people say to me, well, you know, I want to understand the Word of God, I'll give you a good way to start. Just start reading, but obeying what you read. Now, listen to me, I love you more than I could ever tell you. And nothing in this world so motivates me as to see somebody get excited about the Lord and start growing.

Nothing in the world motivates me like that. And the reason I keep hammering away at these things is because I want you to get it, not listen, not hear it, receive it and believe it, but to obey it, because He'll transform your life. And you'll love Him. And you'll begin to understand Him in ways you've never understood Him before. And what happens is He says, and we will come to Him and we will love Him, we will develop an intimate relationship with that obedient one the disobedient will never experience. We'll unfold truth and give understanding of truth that the one who's disobedient will never be able to understand because we're not going to reveal it.

Now, I don't know about you, but that verse right there motivates me to get in this book and want to stay there and cry out to God to show me anything, everything, all things that displease Him, bring them to the surface, God, that I may repent of them lest I grieve your spirit so that I won't miss any good, great, marvelous, wonderful, exciting, eternal truth that you've got. You want to know the Word? Here's how to learn it. Start obeying what you know. You want deeper understanding? Obey what you know. You want to love God? Obey what you know.

And there's the promise. And He says it is yours and mine for the asking. Now, it's just this simple. If you love me, He said, you'll obey me.

I want to ask you this one question and I close. Does their conduct indicate that we really and truly love the Lord Jesus according to the way He measures love? Father, I pray the Holy Spirit will take this simple message, drive it so deep, dear God, that it can never be escaped, that it will take root and it will root out sin.

It will surface every disobedient attitude and act. And that replacing all of that will be this yearning, thirsting, hungering for yourself, for your Word. God, excite the hearts of people for your Word. Excite us, dear God, about new truth in order to be obedient, not simply to know it or to consider it. I pray for those who are unsaved to walking in darkness, ignorant of the things of God deceived. Would you bring them to a saving knowledge of Christ?

Would you help them to understand that if they're willing to receive the Lord Jesus Christ's death at Calvary for the forgiveness of their sin, He having paid the price, their confession of that sin, their acceptance of His death as full payment brings salvation to them, would you bring them, dear God, in wisdom to that point? And I pray, Father, for all of us who are your children, grant us the wisdom and the willingness and the courage to face up to life and to recognize that we've grieved you so many times, that if you wept tears over our sins, God, you would have filled the Atlantic and the Pacific and the Indian and all the rest of the oceans and the creeks and the lakes and the streams all over this world. Father, my heart's desire is that every hearer, every listener would take upon himself and herself the goal to obey you and discover what you really like.

In Jesus' name, amen. Thank you for listening to part two of The Measure of Our Love. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries, stop by intouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-11 02:12:01 / 2024-03-11 02:20:38 / 9

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