INTRO: Our behavior is a dead give away of the condition of our heart. Heart disease is one of the most often cited causes of physical death. What is certainly also true is that heart disease is the root cause of spiritual disease and death in Christian people! If our heart is not healthy, the manifestations of that diseased heart will soon appear in behavior consistent with a diseased heart. Prov 4:23 reminds us that out of the heart are the issues of life.
I. THE SIGNIFICANCE OF LOVING HEART
A. Jno 13:34,35 ... love one another ...
1. these words are found several times
2. each time they form the basis for Christian behavior
3. in this text this mutual love is one of the critical tests of authenticity of discipleship!
B. Gal 5:6,13 ... faith which worketh by love
1. what validates faith, service as Christian?
2. it is love ... mutual love ... love without respect of persons ... love expressed (important)
3. without love, then, the heart is defective
C. 1 Thes 3:9 ...increase and abound in love ...(1:3)
1. a church of people laboring in love (1:3)
2. but notice 3:10 - increasing and abounding in love for one another bears on our holiness
3. can we be unloving and holy - apparently, not ... a loving heart is, therefore, deeply significant
II. SOME CONNECTIONS?
A. Love and benevolence - 1 Jno 3:17
1. note the question of whether or not love dwells in the person - a searching, legitimate question
2. note, too, 1 Cor 13:3
3. benevolent behavior must grow out of love, or is of no significance to/in discipleship ... and love must issue in a benevolent spirit
B. Love and kindness - Rom 12:10
1. kindness is a virtue needed more in this world
2. and here we see that to walk in love would presuppose a kind spirit ... note love and kind in Lk 6:35
3. suppose, though, one behaves in unkind ways? what does that say? defective heart! no love there
C. Love and our behavior - 1 Thes 4:9-12
1. love connects to a quiet, responsible life
2. behavior is a word which encompasses ... love determines behavior (toward God! toward others!)
3. if I walk in love, all of my behavior in all of my relationships will be governed by it
D. Love and our speech - Eph 4:15
1. perhaps the thought here is of speaking as it relates to the word of God
2. but is loving speech, communication not needed at every level of subject, relationship
3. Prov 31:26 the relationship of love and kindness here is ones speech ... if our speech is unkind, not gracious, there is good reason to wonder if one is walking in love!
F. Love and forgiveness - Col 3:13,14
1. how could one forgive without love? how could one love and not forgive?
2. walking in love, then, presupposes a forgiving spirit which really forgives
3. 1 Cor 13:5 love keeps no account of wrongs suffered
CLOSE: Perhaps a summary text is 1 Jno 4:8. Are you really walking in love? Is your heart a loving heart? Without it you cannot, do not know God.
Cecil A. Hutson
18 February 2001
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)