A LOVE RELATIONSHIP #
Lord, bless me to the extent that I love, share, show mercy and compassion to others, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Can you sincerely pray this prayer?
Unfortunately, for many of us, love is lost today. Christianity is not a religion but a relationship. But without love, Christianity becomes a mere religion. Faith without love is faithless. Jesus Christ came from Heaven to restore the relationship between you and God. Yes, it’s a love relationship. Ask yourself, how many times have you said, I love You to God today? How many times have you said, I love you to your neighbour today? Do you know that as a believer, our lives are measured by the love we have for God and the love we have for our fellow human beings? Love is lost. Without love, Christianity becomes a mere religious practice. And if Christianity is just a mere religious practice, a religious way of talking, walking, behaving, then social divides would divide us, every type of division would divide us. But it is Christ’s love that breaks all barriers, removes all obstacles. It’s that love that made Matthew, a tax collector, leave his booth and follow Jesus. It’s that love that made James, John, Peter drop their nets and follow Jesus. It’s that love that made me 15 years ago, leave my home, my country, my dreams, and follow Jesus. Where? I went to Nigeria to follow Jesus through His servant, Prophet TB Joshua. Nothing could be compared to the power of the words, I love you, when spoken from the heart. When Ruth said to Naomi in Ruth 1:16, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God,” those words changed not just her generation but generations yet to come. They changed her destiny.
ARE YOU KNOWN BY YOUR LOVE? #
Ask yourself today, are you known by your love? Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 1:13 that the greatest in the sight of God is the one who loves his neighbour. Check yourself! Are you known by your love? Or do you find your heart slipping slowly, steadily into being judgmental, into being accusing, into being divisive, into being self-righteous? When you read the Gospels, do you see the picture of yourself in the Pharisees? Or do you see a picture of yourself in the sinner who has found the joy of salvation? Remember what happened to Zacchaeus when he climbed the sycamore tree in Luke 19:1-10. The crowd were judging Jesus when Jesus said, “Come down from your tree, today I will eat at your house!” They said, “This man is eating with sinners.” But Jesus said to Zacchaeus, “Today, salvation has come to your house!” And what did Zacchaeus say? He said, “I will give half my possessions to the poor. And if anyone I’ve cheated, I’ll pay them back four times!” His conscience provoked him to confess the wrong life he’d been living. The Kingdom of God had come into his heart. It’s not the good works we do that make us earn God’s love. Remember, you can never do enough good works. No matter how fine an attitude you have, it cannot earn God’s forgiveness. It cannot earn His love. It’s important for us to remember often that we are sinners saved by grace. And this grace is for everyone. Yes, this grace is for the women as well as the men, for the weak as well as the strong, for the ignorant, as well as the knowledgeable. Remembrance that you’re saved by grace should bring compassion to your heart because you know that you yourself were once a sinner, an enemy of God, before God forgave you. Are you known by your love?
WHAT CHANGED AFTER PENTECOST? #
Ask yourself this question: What was the difference between the apostles, the disciples of Jesus before Pentecost and after the Holy Spirit came? You know, before Pentecost, they were used in great signs and wonders. Jesus sent them out two by two, and they were used to perform signs, miracles. People were healed, people were delivered, people were set free. But after the coming of the Holy Spirit in their lives, what was the greatest difference? They were more like Jesus Christin character, in love, in compassion, in faith, in humility, in the fruits of the Spirit. Because when the Holy Spirit comes, He wants to be Himself in you. When the Holy Spirit comes, He comes into our heart with the aim of producing a holy character. Who’s in charge of your life? Is it the Spirit of truth? Is it the Spirit of faithfulness? Is it the Spirit of humility, love, kindness, self-control? Who is in charge of your life? If you find yourself having slipped into becoming judgmental, remember, were not called to judge anyone. If you judge, who will judge you on the last day?
Remember the Words of Jesus when Jesus came and ate in the house of Matthew, the tax collector (Matthew 9:9-12). Do you know that our God is a God of mercy and compassion? Are you known by your love? What kind of love? Loving those who love you? There’s no reward in that! There’s no difficulty in that! My mentor, Prophet TB Joshua said and he taught us in his daily life: If you want to learn to love better, start with those who hate you. Start with those who see no good thing in you. How many of those kinds of people are on your daily prayer list? Is your love a truly interceding love? That is the kind of love that Jesus demonstrated on the Cross when He said, “Father, forgive them!” That them – the offended and the offenders, the good and the bad. Yes, Father, forgive them. In Matthew 5:43-45, it says that God gives the sunshine and rain to all, His blessings of health and long life to all. He loves everyone with the same infinitive love with which He loves you. To what extent is your love like this?
Remember the rebuke that Jesus gave James and John when He called them the sons of thunder, when they wanted to use the power of God to call down fire from on high and consume the Samaritans because the Samaritans were people that they didn’t like (Luke 9:51-55). There was an age-old division between the people but Jesus rebuked them because His love came to break every division. His love came to break every divide. Jesus cannot give His Spirit to anyone to remain in their heart if love is not there because Galatians 5:6 says that faith works by love. Unless you say the name Jesus in the lips of love of faith, it can do nothing. Faith without love is faithless. That is why if we fail to preach love, if we fail to act love, we find ourselves in religious practice. In a world that’s ever increasingly divisive, do you find yourselves becoming divisive in your heart? Do you find yourself becoming judgmental in your heart? We are called not to get used to the dark but to shine as light. Yes, that is what Jesus said. That is what Jesus wants us to do.
HOW MANY LIVES HAVE YOU CHANGED? #
Remember, Jesus has no hands but your hands to show His love. Jesus has no mouth but your mouth to tell people how He died. Jesus has no feet but your feet to lead men and women to His side. Jesus wants to use your faculties. Jesus wants to use everything about you. You need to understand that it’s not the number of times you go to church. It’s not the number of times you pray and fast. It’s not the Christian names or titles that you bear. It’s how many lives you changed – that’s what matters to Jesus Christ. How many lives have you changed? How many people have you led to love today? We are called to be the eyes and ears of Jesus. And if you look through the eyes of Jesus, you’ll see things that normally you would never see. If you walk down a street, you’ll see people that normally you would never see. You’ll come around people, you’ll see people not who have what you have but who need what you have. Don’t just come around people today because of what you can get, but because of what you can give. It’s all about the Kingdom of God. And that Kingdom is a spiritual Kingdom.
THE HEART OF JESUS #
Check your heart. Do you find yourself, like Jonah, frustrated at the Lord’s compassion for the people of Nineveh, for an unsaved generation who are lost? The heart of God can be seen in Ezekiel 18:21, “But if a wicked person turns away from all the sins they have committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, that person will surely live; they will not die.”
The heart of God is mercy. Yes, mercy triumphs over judgment. (James 2:13) That is the promise of God – He’s not slow as we think that He’s slow but He wants everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9) Think about the ark of Noah. You that have the grace to have the knowledge of saving grace -maybe you have a specific date you remember accepting Jesus into your life. Maybe you always grew up with the knowledge of having a relationship with Jesus. Whatever is your experience of having the knowledge of saving grace, you find yourself in the ark of Noah. You’re saved – you know that you’re going to Heaven. You’re going to meet Jesus on the last day. But now that you are in the ark, you want the flood to come! You want judgment to come! And you want to save yourself! That’s not the heart of Jesus. The heart of Jesus is to reach those who are lost and bring them into the ark so they too, can escape. Are you known by your love? Is your love a truly interceding love? If you read the letters of Paul, you’ll see the great interceding love he had for those that God had sent him to. Remember, Paul was once Saul. He was the persecutor of Christians. He hated Christians. He killed them. And then he had a divine revelation of Jesus on the way to Damascus and his heart changed. That is the greatest miracle. His heart changed. If you read the Book of Philemon in the New Testament, you see the love, the compassion with which he writes. As he grew in his relationship with Jesus, he grew in love. He grew in patience. He grew in compassion. Are the fruits of Jesus Christ evident in your life?
Jesus tells us the compelling force of compassion in that parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). Where would you place yourself in that story? Are you someone who would walk the other side, cross the road, turn a blind eye? Rejecting to help those in need is rejecting to help Jesus Himself. Because Jesus told us that whatever we do or don’t do to the least of our fellow brothers, that we do or don’t do to Him. (Matthew 25:40-45) The Samaritan in that parable, he listened to that compelling power, that voice that told him that no matter who the person was who was in need, no matter what religion, no matter what faith, no matter what country, no matter what race they were, he had to help them. Let Jesus’ compassion check your passion today. Let people see Jesus in your life. Because the greatest sermon you can give is not the sermon of your lips but the sermon of your life. You might ask yourself, what can I give to others? How can I change others? You can change others! How can you change others? The way you love, the way you care, the way you listen, the way you share. Remember that prayer we prayed at the beginning. “Lord, bless me to the extent that I love, care, show mercy and compassion to those around me.” Can you pray that prayer? Whatever you have in your hand right now is a solution to someone in need because everyone is created to be a solution to someone in need. Everyone is created to be a solution to someone in trouble. And the greatest in the sight of God is one who loves his fellow human being. No one is perfect. I know people can hurt you, and I know they’ve hurt you. People can betray you. And I know they’ve betrayed you. People can cheat you. And I know they’ve cheated you. But ask God to give you love to overflow from your heart to others.
VALUE GOD’S LOVE FOR YOU #
Some people ask, how can I go back to the first love I had for Jesus? When I first accepted Jesus Christ into my life, when I first had the experience of the knowledge of saving grace let me tell you, it’s not an emotional feeling. When the love of God is in you, naturally, spontaneously, it flows to others. Love like faith is natural; it comes from the heart. Anything that comes by force is not faith. You need to know how much God loves you. When you know how much God loves you, then you will know how much love you have for others. Just take a moment to appreciate what God has done for you. Think about how much He loves you. Remember when you were outside of His family. You were outside of His fold. You were a lost sheep. What did He do? He sent a pastor to preach to you. He sent people to pray for you. He kept working on you until you surrendered. In the Gospel of Luke 15, Jesus tells the religious leaders how much one life, one soul is worth to God. He compares the value of a lost soul to a prodigal son, to a lost coin, to a lost sheep. And whenever that which was lost was found, such great rejoicing is there! There’s so much excitement, so much joy for a lost soul that is found. In the same way that Heaven rejoices over you, rejoice with Heaven for the salvation of others. Appreciation creates value. When you appreciate what God has done in your life, how God has rescued you, how God has forgiven you, how God has wiped away your past, then that love for others, that compassion for others will naturally overflow from you, from your heart. If you find yourself today realizing that your heart has become slowly judgmental, accusing, self-righteous, remember, as water reflects a man’s face, so a heart reflects a man. The heart of man is desperately wicked. (Jeremiah 17:9) That is why we need God and God is love.
RENEW YOUR COVENENT #
So, if you’ve realized today that you need to grow in love, in God’s kind of love, not love for selfish, classic or material reasons but love for God’s sake, if you realize that today, right now, you can renew your covenant with God. Right now, you can ask God to come into your heart and give you love to overflow from your heart to others. God is ready to give you that kind of love today so that you can be His hands to those in need. You can be His eyes to see those who need what you have to offer. Remember, there’s no greater joy than being Jesus to those around you. Try it today. Who knows? You may discover yourself!
1 Corinthians 13:1 –13 “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love”.
Are you known by your love? Love is the greatest weapon. Remember, let your love be a truly interceding love. Instead of complaining about your country, your leaders, your family, those who have disappointed you, start praying for them. Yes, start interceding for them. Because when the love of Christ is in your heart, the world is under your feet, and the sky is the limit!