No Greater Love
In the Apostle Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, Paul said, “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to Salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (Romans 1:16).
- The gospel of Christ is a gospel of power because it is a gospel of love.
- Therefore, our love walk must come first!
It was Christ Jesus Who said, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13). That is exactly what Christ did and it is the example that all believers in Christ must follow.
“When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He (Jesus) said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the Gospel’s will save it” (Mark 8: 34 & 35).
For those who refuse these words, the message of the gospel will be to them like the stench of death; but to those who receive them, the gospel message will well up from within, coming forth as the aroma of life – causing many to be brought into the kingdom of God and into eternal life in Christ.
“For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ”.(2 Corinthians 2: 15-17)
Many Will Stumble at These Words
Many will not accept the terms of this address, for the Apostle Paul also said, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.’ Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know Him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles” (1 Corinthians 1:18-23, NIV).
The Prophet Jeremiah had forewarned, “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah —” (Jeremiah 31:31).
This New Covenant is not law-based, but based on the grace of God. It is an established work. It has already been established through the New Testament of Christ’s blood. Christ’s blood testifies to (or speaks of) Christ’s death on the cross as being a completed work, fully available to all who believe. When speaking of Christ and this New Covenant, the writer of Hebrews says, “Therefore, when He (Christ) came into the world, He said: ‘Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you have prepared for Me; In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin you had no pleasure’ (See Psalm 40:6-8). Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come—In the volume of the book it is written of Me—To do Your will, O God.’ Previously saying, ‘Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them’ (which are offered according to the law), then He said, ‘Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.’ He takes away the first (covenant) that He may establish the second (covenant). And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all’” (Hebrews 10:5-10).
Because of the New Covenant, by grace, we have already been made holy in the sight of God to whom we must give account. When partaking of the Passover feast with His disciples on the night that He was betrayed, Jesus took the cup saying, “For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:28). The word ‘remission’ means ‘to cancel a debt.’ It means we lay aside the debt (permanently), or we pass it by (as the Lord did when He saw the blood upon the lintel of the houses of Israel in Exodus chapter 12). In laying aside the offences of the past, we treat others AS IF the offences had never occurred. The Apostle Paul said, “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the lord’s death until He comes’” (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).
Paul made a significant choice to identify with the death of Christ. He put aside his own will to fulfil the will of Christ. By doing so, he also identified with the life that Christ would bring, not only into his own life but into the lives of others as well. This is the hope and power of the resurrected Christ! Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
Because of the shed blood of Jesus Christ, there is no more remembrance of sin!
Instead, every time we partake of the communion emblems (the bread and the wine) we remember the strength of Christ’s sacrifice for all sin. Through Christ’s blood, not only do we receive forgiveness for our sins, but we also choose to forgive the sins of others (those who have trespassed against us – see Matthew 6:12 and Luke 11:4). For if we do not forgive others, neither will Christ forgive our sins (see Matthew 6:14 & 15). Forgiving others is a pre-requisite for healing. We cannot properly heal unless we choose to forgive. For this reason, many still remain in torment (see Matthew 18:21-35).
When speaking of the need for perseverance in the truth of this New Covenant Gospel, the writer of Hebrews reminds us, “Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, You will receive what he has promised. For, ‘In just a little while, He who is coming will come and will not delay.’ And, ‘But My righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back’ (see Habakkuk 2:3 & 4). But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved” (Hebrews 10:32-39, NIV).
Hope as an Anchor for the Soul
Again, when warning against falling away from the foundational truths of Christ, the writer of Hebrews exhorts, “But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany Salvation, though we speak in this manner. For God is not unjust to forget your work and labour of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (Hebrews 6:9-12).
In this full assurance of hope, Christ gives us a greater hope as an anchor for our souls. For the writer of Hebrews goes on to say, “For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, ‘Surely blessing i will bless you, and multiplying i will multiply you’. And so, after he had patiently endured, he (Abraham) obtained the promise. For men indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all dispute. Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 6:13-20).
In Christ, we are blessed! We are blessed! We are blessed! Hallelujah!!!
We Speak a Far Better Wisdom From God
When we proclaim the truth of the Gospel, we do not speak out of our own carnal wisdom, or the faculties or reasoning of our own minds, but we speak a wisdom that comes direct from the throne of God. This is what Paul describes as “the hidden wisdom” or “The wisdom of God in a mystery.” This wisdom (of Christ’s blood shed on the cross for the remission of all sin) was hidden from man until Christ chose to make it known. Paul said, “Your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory” (1 Corinthians 2:5-7).
It is for this reason also, that the message of the Gospel remains an affront (an action or remark that causes outrage or offence) to those who have “not yet” “Taken hold” of it by faith. In His wisdom, God purposely uses the foolish things to shame the wise. “For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble (high born), are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things (things of unknown origin, ignoble or of humble descent) of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, That no flesh should glory in His presence” (1 Corinthians 1: 26-29).
Be On Your Guard
Because the message of the fullness of the Gospel is such an affront to the works of the enemy – for it is the very means by which he is defeated. The moment we set foot on enemy territory, we will come under enemy fire! The moment we begin to declare Christ’s name (to speak the words He gives us to speak) and to preach the gospel of Christ, the enemy will send military devices against us to distract us from prayer and to undermine the call of God on our lives. He will employ enemy tactics in an attempt to cause division in our ranks and to sway many from proclaiming the Gospel of love and of power.
The Gospel of Love
When encouraging Timothy to stir up the gift of God imparted to him through prayer, the Apostle Paul said to Timothy, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).
The fullness of the Gospel carries a great message of love for all mankind. This message of love (acted out in actions not just in words) is the most powerful Military weapon we could ever use against the tactics of the enemy. For through the truth of the Gospel we have access to His grace. “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:1 & 2).
Through the truth of the gospel we have access to His Holy Spirit. “Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’” (Acts 2:38).
Through the Holy Spirit, we are born-again of his Spirit. Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again’” (John 3:5-7).
Through the Holy Spirit we have access to God’s love. “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit Who was given to us” (Romans 5:5).
Through the Holy Spirit we receive a baptism of fire. “For John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now” (Acts 1:5).“When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:1-5).
Through the Holy Spirit we are endowed with power from on high. “But you shall receive power (‘Dunamis’ – meaning ‘force’; ‘miraculous power’; ‘might’; ‘miracle’; ‘strength’; ‘violence’; ‘mighty (wonderful) work’ – Strong’s Concordance) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
Through the Holy Spirit we obtain spiritual gifts. “For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues” (1 Corinthians 12:8-10).
Through the Holy Spirit the dead are raised to life. “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit Who dwells in you” (Romans 8:11).
This is how vitally important the message of the Gospel of love is. The great strength of the Gospel is that, “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
The Apostle Paul said of himself, “Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name, among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:1-6).
Now WE, being partakers of this same Holy Spirit, like Christ, are now declared to be sons and daughters of God, with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead!!! Hallelujah!!!
Not Just a Gospel of Words
- The gospel is not a gospel of words only, but a gospel of power!
- But oh, what power and reassurance there is, contained in its message of love!
Paul said, “For our Gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance” (1 Thessalonians 1:5).
In his signature address, Paul prays for the Ephesians, “That He (God) would grant you according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:16-19).
Again, when speaking of Christ’s equipping of the saints that they may obtain to the fullness of the measure of Christ, Paul says, “And He Himself (speaking of Jesus) gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we ALL come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, To the (full) measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, Speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head – Christ ” (Ephesians 4:11-15).
For this reason, Paul speaks to the Ephesians, saying, “This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you PUT ON the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:17-24). AMEN.