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April 19, 2021 7:00 pm
Dr. Stephen Hankins begins the Seminary Chapel series entitled “Loving God,” with a message titled “Loving God with a Fervent Heart for Ministry” from Matthew 22.
Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina, were beginning a series called loving God preached in seminary chapel at Bob Jones and today speaker is seminary professor, Dr. Steven Hankins Bibles open place to Matthew 22 invite you to turn to that text of Scripture. What can you do in order to love God with a fervent heart while you're in ministry want to answer that question this morning for you will begin by opposing of that question, but direct your attention to logic to people that I've known over the years. Both of them are men well advanced in years now. In fact there really what we would say, kind of in the closing years of their life a minister, but I've known about these men literally now for nearly half a century.
One of them was my officemate as he was an adjunct professor at Bob Jones in pastoral theology would fly in from his ministry out west and he would, teach men, pastoral theology, but before he was a pastor.
He was an evangelist. Then he became the pastor of this large and very influential church ministry, a large Western city for over 35 years and then in the 70s he retired and began traveling as a missionary to Russia and consistently for many years spent a large percentage of his time ministering to pastors and evangelists in Russia right after the Iron Curtain fell right after the Soviet bloc dissolved and freedoms in a new were abounding and he had an opportunity to influence them and he did that he sought to and help tremendously in the production of a distribution of an of a concordance in the Russian language for the Bible had phenomenal impact and then along about after all, probably eight years of this he learned about an opportunity for a church planning ministry again.
Out west in a large city and he took that on in his early 80s and planted the church and develop that church ministry and that church ministry continues today as a thriving ministry. I've since worked with that man on a mission board had many interactions with him and a man well advanced in years next, and yet with a heart that is on fire and fervent in love for God. After well over a half-century in serving Christ. None of the men who was really my primary professor here at the University whose name if I mentioned you would probably know, in a semi-primary professor minima doctoral program in graduate work. His name is actually a plant by one of our rooms here in the seminary. Dr. Stuart Custer. I remember hour after hour after hour listening to this man who was in and of himself by himself, a Renaissance man, a man of tremendous brilliance tremendous recall of the word of God and of the knowledge of Greek man who would stand many times in fact more class times than not, with tears forming in his eyes as he spoke of the Lord Jesus Christ and his love for the Lord Jesus Christ.
This man was the author of books of commentaries and teacher of many many graduate courses.
He then at the age of 52 became the pastor of the Trinity Bible church were Dr. Greg my Zach is the pastor and for over 25 years was the pastor of that church faithfully preaching the word of God. Wednesday morning or Wednesday night Sunday morning Sunday night week after week, in addition to his extensive teaching responsibilities here all the time maintaining this warm and fervent and wholehearted love for God today again in his closing years of life.
He spends most of his time in solitude and in relative ill health, but even today in the place where he lives. He ministers the word of God to the people that are there as he is opportunity. What is it that has allowed men like this to maintain this intense and fervent love for God over the long term over such a long period of time. What is it that will allow you that will help you men and women serving Christ to maintain a full and fervent heart of love for God in ministry. Well, they rested in the promises of God and you have to rest in the promises of God but for God. Men and women. We have no sufficiency for these things.
We cannot possibly maintain a heart of fervent love for God without his help but think of the promise of Hebrews 610 when the Scriptures say that God is not unrighteous to forget your work and to enter labor of love, which you showed toward his name, as you minister to the states and still minister will not forget you.
God will never abandon you as you serve him. As you labor for him. What about the promise of Romans 55 I alluded to this this weekend. At one point in my preaching and hope maketh not ashamed because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts poured out in our hearts by the Holy Ghost who is given unto us. You know this is further confirmed by Ephesians chapter 3 verse 16 and in and following in verses 17 and 19 and the tremendous prayer of the apostle Paul when he prayed for the Ephesian believers and he said that he, God would grant you to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breath and length and depth and height and to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge. If it were not for God.
If it were not for his willingness to minister to us by the spirit we could not maintain a fervent heart of love is your learning as you have learned and you continue to learn every dimension of holy life and service is not only dependent utterly upon God, but faces us with a very serious and sobering human responsibility doesn't were not earning God's favor, but we have an obligation of obedience.
We have the assurance of his assistance when we are obedient when we turn to him.
So we have a human responsibility as we get into the yoke of God to do what we are to do in order to stoke the fires of our love for God. As we continue in ministry.
What should we do in order to keep the fire of our love for God burning hot for him. Always in ministry.
Well, it's this text.
This principle Texas touchstone text that I think really does answer that question we you me can make our love for God, passionate, fervent. If we make it the supreme priority of our life. Looking at the text of Scripture with me. I want you to notice in verse 38 that the Lord Jesus responded to this cynical specialist in the law of God by saying after saying that so love the Lord thy God with all my heart, with all thy soul, with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. We make this the supreme priority by looking at it as the first commandment. You know it was the first commandment in time. What was the concept that governed all that went on in Eden, the very purpose for the existence of Adam and Eve, was to love God and communion with him.
This was divine design and you know that divine design and purpose has never been abrogated. That's never been set aside, but it's more than just first in time in historic cents. It really has to be first daily in our purposes in our thoughts, it should first govern us in every word we say it should be the first thing that determines in our thinking where we go in the relationships that we establish it should be first. The first consideration in all of our acquisitions. What we want to gather to ourselves what we want to possess first in our consideration as how we spend our time, our energies, it is the first commandment was text of Scripture also says that we want to keep.
It is the supreme priority, we need to look at it as the greatest commandment first in time first daily, day by day, but we look at it as the greatest commandment in the sense as that of greatest importance. It has priority over all other commitments the greatest as in broadest in scope. It literally touches everything in the Christian experience or should greatest in its depth.
There is no commandment that is more significant for the human soul than this commandment is the psalmist put in 7325 and 26 and he put it so powerfully, whom have I in heaven, but the and there is none upon the earth that I desire beside the my flash and my heart may fail me, but thou art the strength of my heart and my portion forever. You God. You are the one who is all of my desire all of my soul. All that I wish so what we do to maintain a fervent heart of love we make this first and greatest commandment.
The supreme priority every day, every moment of every day as we walk life pathway. We make at that supreme priority would do something else to write your given text that found several parallel passages. As I mentioned in the New Testament we make love for God are all consuming passion look at this in verse 37 thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart with all thy soul and with all thy strength and if you look at the parallel passage for mine and you look at the parallel passage in Mark 1230. It adds all thy strength as well. All all all all that is suggesting this sweeping all-consuming concern. This keeping of term on terms with all your heart know most of you had some Greek and others of you have had some Hebrew you know the terms Cardia and the term lav these very general terms in the languages of the Bible that communicate all the immaterial part of man, all the immaterial functions of the human soul. Whether it's the conscience. The moral function of the volitional function function of the will or the rational function. The function of thought of thinking whether it is really what we call the spiritual function, which is the part of us that reaches out toward God and worship, and a desire for communion. All these things are interwoven and intertwined, they all make up this immaterial part of us and here the author just keeps term on term to communicate this all inclusiveness of our passion for God.
This is not to be lukewarm. We are not to be halfhearted.
We are not to be lacking in zeal we are not to be partial in this. It is to be an all-consuming passion and we are to guard our heart.
Proverbs 423 tells us to keep our heart with all diligence for out of it are the issues of life. We we understand that this immaterial part of us is is key to us having the right kind of passion for God and anything that cools or art or anything that quenches the operation of the spirit of the living God as he fuels and fires her own soul toward God is something we avoid like the plague. But the text goes on and starts getting more specific when you see a series of words like this that often are overlapping with one another in the New Testament sometimes are used interchangeably as synonyms really need to pose the question, is there anything distinctive that is being presented. Perhaps because they're listed one after another, but I think there is emphasis this overlapping does give us stress to the idea about this all-consuming kind of commitment than what I have but there's something distinctive about these terms in some context. In the New Testament were love God with all our soul.
There are contests with that. That terms okay means the idea of the self. What comprises you your desires, your unique set of giftedness. What makes you the person that you are clearly what's being presented here is that we have a stewardship of who we are our own unique particular giftedness that's been built into us our own inclination that have been building up into us, even for ministry that we train all those desires all all that is ourselves on expressing our love to God through obedience.
What encouragement there is in Philippians chapter 2 verse 12 and 13, where Paul says as you have obeyed in my presence now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure to desire and to do all of your desires that rise out of yourself based on your giftedness and the uniqueness of your person trained them on God as a peon of praise as an act of worship to God, never to selfish ends or purposes, and all your mind. The Texans your reasoning, your thought processes your memory, your imagination, which leads to creativity. Your powers of concentration and yes, even your willingness to subjugate your mind in the face of paradox you intellectually will bow the knee. You will say I see two ideas that appear to me to be. Rationally, the polar opposites. As I look at them here in Scripture.
I see God's divine sovereignty and I see man's human responsibility in so many ways. At so many points in the doctrinal truth of the Scripture. And I cannot harmonize those things I don't understand.
Rather than force those things and go one direction or the other to bring satisfaction to your mind, you will humbly bow the knee and say my thoughts. Oh God, are not your thoughts in my ways are not your ways, and I acknowledge that your mind is the supreme mind and that you think things I cannot think you perceive things I cannot perceive that I acknowledge myself as the preacher and you is the creator the servant and you as the sovereign and this is loving God with your mind where you refuse to make your mind and idol. The satisfaction of it.
The harmonizing of truth that cannot logically be harmonized is something that must be happened must happen in order for you to be satisfied as a believer know my love for God with my mind says keep my mind where it should be. I will diligently use my mind to understand everything I possibly can understand and draw every inference and every logical conclusion I can reasonably draw within the boundaries boundaries of holy Scripture.
But I will not go further. I will not step out about. I will not exclude one to more fully embrace the other. This is loving God with our minds and then with all her strength, all your power all your might.
All your mental and emotional and physical energy.
Do you realize it that getting up early that going at it hard that staying up late but sometimes are often times those 12 to 15 hour days or yes even at times I would recommend this on a consistent basis, but the all nighters in order to to got to the point where you have really reached a sense that you have done all that you can do for the glory of God. Do you know that spending yourselves men and women are really pouring yourselves out in emotional, personal physical strength and energy is a good thing. It's an expression of love for God and yes, what we need to be measured and self-control to be good stewards of ourselves physically. Of course those times of great self-denial are not a wicked thing.
There are means of expression of our love for God wholeheartedly listen to the words of Paul in Colossians 1 2029. After he says that he preached Christ teaching every man in wisdom, that they may all be brought to maturity, he says, whereunto I also labor, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily. He says I labor I labor to the point of exhaustion striving I agonize I strain every nerve as the supernatural power of God works in the in order to do the work that God has called me to do there you have it there, you have the pole listed view and approach to pouring out your energies for the glory of God as God divinely works in you to express your love for God is absent extreme to you does it sound out there to you.
Well, welcome to New Testament biblical Christianity. Yes, it is extreme and it ought to be extreme for who can we be more extreme for and who shall be be more extreme for than the God of heaven. What comfort we find in Psalm 138 three David said in the day when I cried that answer us me with strength in my soul listen to Paul in first with the instructor. 926 and 27 he says. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly so fine I not as one that beat of the air, but I keep under my body. I bring my body into subjection less relevant, preached others, I myself will be a castaway find I use my strength under use my energy to do everything I can with what I have the demonstrated God in this life that I love you. It's my all-consuming passion. It's my supreme priority. The first and greatest commandment under something else in this passage and I I think are to be grateful to God for what he's put forth here in this text of Scripture because also we can do this in order to show a fervent heart of love toward God and ministry. We can make love for God are hermeneutical lodestar, what you mean are hermeneutical lodestar lodestar is a point of reference in the heavens. The Northstar for navigational purposes to know where we are. More particularly, in a metaphorical sense. It's the idea of a guiding principle or guiding ambition, a guiding interest well look again at this text of Scripture. What is it say, after giving the first commandment in the second. This, like unto a docile love thy neighbor as thyself on these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets on these two commandments. The first and second hang all the law and the prophets, Christ, on the one that ever said that no listen to the words of first of the 15 when Paul said to Timothy, now the end of the commandment is love or charity out of a pure heart a good conscience and faith unfeigned. Here's the goal here is the objective here is the thing that should guide you in all of your understanding of the commandments of God and your obedience to the commandments of God love out of a pure heart a good conscience and faith unfeigned. I want to see in that statement here that these commandments the greatest commandment of loving God and the second one. Like unto it really provide order and clarity for all the rest of the commandments. Most of you at one time another driven to a neighborhood in Sina home being constructed.
First, the foundation laid, and then framing was provided to the foundation is laid in the framing happens. You see, stacks of two by fours and Gregson verse of the materials lying about on the property and no particular order, but then the foundation of the frame goes up. Once the foundation of the frame goes up what happens then everything else gets hung on the foundation and the frame. The electrical wiring gets all hung on that frame all the plumbing gets woven through the various parts of the frame and the pipes get placed just so, and all that frame and then all the sheet rock comes on and now we actually have an interior and then the paint comes in addition to paying income the cabinets and they all get on on those 2 x 4 studs on that sheet rock and they get placed and before you know it. Everything that gets hung on the frame makes the place.
Beautiful makes the place inhabitable.
It makes it a domicile, but without the foundation without the frame. There is no house there is no place to live.
There is no shape. There is no form.
There is no order.
Men and women. These great commandments take all the randomness out of the Bible and they give an order to the Bible because every commandment now becomes a means of expressing our love for God and our love for other people as a natural outgrowth of our love for God and were always posing the question, how is this related to how is this an expression of my love forgot how can it be, how can it be as an expression of my love for other people but I want to get a little step further and just say that it brings purpose to all that we see in the word. I think the purpose that we see here primarily is that what we have in Scripture is profoundly relational is all about a relationship with God and it is all about. As an outgrowth our relationship to other we don't simply concern ourselves with the commands of God the Word of God because we just want to know it. We just want to know the facts. We just want to know the details. It is not for us, an academic exercise is not for us, just a duty and obligation is a really really suggestive passage in the New Testament about this is one you should saturate your soul and from Revelation chapter 2 verses one through seven in verses two and four. In this letter to the church of Ephesus we find a fascinating statement when the Lord Jesus says to them. I know thy works, and I labor and I patients and how thou canst bear them which are canst not bear them which are evil, and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles and are not as found them liars. And then he says this. Nevertheless I have somewhat against the because thou hast left thy first love first and priority first in order. Thy great love for God and the outgrowth of love for people. What was characteristic of these people. They knew the commandments of the God of God, they were determined to be orthodox, I mean.the eyes crossed the tees and completely intolerant of falsehood and false teacher. They were in an a and some very positive ways. People who embraced as I mentioned this weekend a theology of antipathy.
They were for some things and they were really against some things, and that's biblical but something had gone awry. Something was wrong. Actually, the Lord Jesus goes on and says to them. Remember from whence you have fallen, and repent and do the first works recognize you've gone from a higher place to her lower place. Why, because in your attention to the word of God, the great hermeneutical lodestar has been blurred by the fault of your own thinking and your own behavior and you're not seeing it as the great guiding principle and you're simply doing what you're doing out of obligation or sense of responsibility to orthodoxy or to your particular group or to your particular church instead of an expression of love relationally to God and for his people. This church Ephesus, we learn of first in Ephesians 19 is great personal holiness. There is incredible evangelistic activity that went on their the Bible says that in verse 10 of that chapter, that they which dwelt in Asia heard the word.
All they which dwelt in Asia. Verse 18 it says in, and many that believe came and confessed and showed their deeds in verse 20 it says. And so mightily grew the word of God and prevailed. That was Ephesus.
Now Christ is saying remember from what you fallen on the remove your candlestick, your influence is going to be gone. Why because they had abandoned the ardor of their first love because their walk with God had ceased to be relational and the outgrowth of their walk with God, it ceased to be relational or relational to other people. You can maintain a fervent love for God and ministry. If you make it the supreme priority.
If you make it an all-consuming passion. If you make it your hermeneutical lodestar. We hope you'll join us again tomorrow at the same time as we study God's word together on The Daily Platform