Remember our mission song? (Sing together)
Remember last year’s theme as we read through the Bible together? Matthew 6:33 Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you. This is God’s SEEKING mission for His people.
What is this year’s theme as we read through the Bible in Chronological order? God’s SAVING mission for His people.
Lord willing, next year, we will be reading through the Bible again and the theme for next year is: God’s SERVING mission for His people.
Seeking, Saving, Serving! These three key words express and clarify for us God’s mission for us as a church, His people. But these three missional points of focus are driven by and motivated through something deeper, something eternal, something greater than faith and hope. What keeps us alive in Christ? Why is it that some Christians just don’t stay the course? Why do some Christians fall away, go astray, drop the ball, cool off, bail out, dry up, fizzle and finally even die spiritually?
Listen to the words of Jesus in Matthew 24: 9“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
Some think Jesus was only talking about the destruction of Jerusalem in these words, and even if that be the case, history repeats itself, does it not? These words state principles that have always been and always will be true.
Pay close attention to verses 12-13. What happens during the increase of wickedness? What did Jesus say would grow cold? This is the saddest loss of all. Because this leads to the utter ruin of MOST. Then Jesus gives us true words of saving hope in verse 13. Who will be saved?
What does it mean to stand firm to the end? Listen carefully to the context. Leading up to this is persecution, death, being hated by all nations because of Jesus, many turning away, betraying and hating one another, many false prophets appearing and deceiving many, and an increase in wickedness. When all this is happening, Jesus says, “the love of most will grow cold, but… the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” The one who stands firm is the one whose love does not grow cold, right?
The more I read and listen to God’s voice in scripture, the more convinced I am that love, and particularly the love of and for God, is the most important ingredient in our salvation.
It was God’s love for us that drove His saving mission of sending His Son into this world to seek and save us, was it not? Nothing in the New Testament could be clearer than that! Amen?
Now, if God’s love for us is absolutely essential for our salvation, how important is our love for God? What happens to the Christian whose love grows cold?
2 Samuel 11-12 give us a clear Old Testament example of this very danger. David’s love for God seems to have been put on hold during chapter 11. He is king. He is powerful. He has defeated every enemy all around the nation of Israel. The setting is springtime. In the movie, Camelot, Guinevere sings, “It’s May, it’s May, the lusty month of May.” The Bible says that it was time when kings usually went off to war, but David retires at home. He’s resting on his roof in the cool of the afternoon. He gets up and looks down to see a beautiful woman bathing. He sends a servant to find out who she is. Listen to your Bible here in 2 Samuel 11:3-6. Now, let me ask a question:
Where was David’s love for God in these verses? Where is David’s love for anything? This was no act of love, but of lust. God tells us exactly what was going on in David’s heart in chapter 12:7-10.
Listen to David’s words in Psalm 19:7-14. David knew God’s commandments. Why did David do this evil? What happened to David’s love for God so that his wickedness took over?
David was not thinking about God or God’s law. David dismissed the servant’s report that this is the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite. David was lost in his own lust, thinking about what David wanted without regard to the consequences. God said that David despised God’s word, and that David despised God.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, this message must get through to us. Choosing to do evil is choosing hatred toward God. Don’t fool yourself. The most important and greatest commandment is still the same: love the Lord your God… Loving God is our driving motivation for salvation in Christ.
Think of it: Does the devil know God’s commands? Does the devil believes in God? Does he know the scriptures? He even fears God! But, listen: does the devil love God? No! He despises God. All we have to do to look like the devil is simply this: don’t love God. Just don’t love Him. It’s that simple. You can even fear Him. You can believe in God. You can know the scriptures. But to fail to love God is the ultimate human failure. Despising God is the greatest human sin. Jesus said, “You can not serve two masters. You will either love one and hate the other or cling to one and despise the other. You can not love both God and mammon.” Jesus knows.
David repented. Praise God! David humbled himself, confessed his sins and turned his heart back to God. God’s servant Nathan spoke God’s rebuking words to David and David spoke his own sentence in 2 Samuel 12:5-6. Though David’s sin was taken away he still faced consequences and lived the rest of his life with a sword in his house that killed four of his own sons. David’s love for God was restored but his world was never the same again.
2 Samuel 12 concludes with Solomon’s birth and God’s love for Solomon. Twice it tells us in verses 24-25 that the Lord loved him and even named him, “Loved by the Lord.” God loved David too. And God loves you and me. Being loved by God and returning that love is the greatest human experience. That’s our purpose. That’s why God created us. That’s why Jesus died for us. That’s what God desires from us. We are saved through, because of and for God’s love. God will not put up with anything less from us. Rev. 2:4-5. Eph. 6:23-24, Jude 1:21, 1 John 4:16.