[SW251] 10/07/2016 message notes by
Reverend Susan J. Wynn ©2016
“What the World Needs Now”
[These notes are brief. Please view the video of this message. The links are to the right of this post, on my blog.]
Texts: John 17:23, 26, 1Corinthians 13, and others, as noted
What does the world need now? Love, but not human love. They need God’s actual love, filling their hearts! But first, it must be done in the hearts of Christians.
It’s what Jesus prayed to the Father, in John 17. Fill them with the same love You have for Me, Father (John 17:26). The world will know that You sent Me when they are filled with the Holy Spirit (the “glory” that He speaks of in John 17:23)!
The world will know! They will know the gospel is true when we are filled with God’s Holy Spirit and His actual love! They will take note that we have been with Jesus (Acts 4:13). They will know He really IS when they really see Him in us!
They will know we are Christians by OUR human love? No, by HIS love which has filled our hearts!
This love was so different from anything the disciples of Jesus had ever felt, that when they were filled with His love, they knew none of the usual words for love could describe it. It was the same love the Father has for the Son — never had they been filled with such love! But there was an old, unused word for it. They took it off the Greek vocabulary shelf, dusted it off, and exclaimed, “Ah! This agape (pronounced ah-GAH-pay) is a great word to describe this love we have never experienced before!!!”
So what does this love look like? First, Jesus — His arms spread on the cross, crucified, taking our sin on Himself, rising again on the third day, ascending, and pouring out the Holy Spirit, who fills us with God’s actual love, so that we are able to be the church! Our flesh, our sinful nature, must be crucified, and then we must be filled with God’s actual love. AND THEN . . . the world will know that the Father sent the Son! They will REALLY see Him in us!
I tell you, no amount of good works, sacrifice, or even using the gifts of the Spirit are worth anything unless you HAVE (are) His actual love (1Corinthians 13:1-3)! You ARE His love when His actual love fills you, when His Holy Spirit fills you. It is a little-known truth! Few believe it, few teach it, and the church suffers because of their lack of knowledge of this truth, beloved. And the name (reputation) of Jesus suffers.
What does it look like, when God’s actual love has filled a human heart? Look at 1Corinthians 13:4-7. We endure persecution and hardship patiently. We have the kindness of God in our hearts — “kindness” means “His goodness!” We do not envy. We do not brag about what WE have done, but we boast in Christ alone. We are not arrogant, we do not bully. We do not behave indecently. We are not self-centered. We do not seek our own (demand our rights). We are not provoked, we cannot be offended — truly! We do not keep track of what wrongs people have done to us. We do not hold grudges (to do so would be sin, and the Father will not forgive us if we do not forgive others). We freely and immediately forgive, completely and entirely. We do not rejoice in unrighteousness by participating in it or encouraging it. We rejoice in the truth of God’s Word, the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and in that truth, we rejoice constantly.
But the world sees something else, when they look at the church. They see Galatians 5:19-21. I expound on that passage in my video message.
And they see the church doing things like this:
— Using Romans 7 (the wretched man) as an excuse to keep sinning. But beloved, Galatians 5:24 says the flesh (sinful nature) with which some say they must always struggle — that flesh that has passions and desires — is crucified. That means dead! It isn’t going to come back to life! The only one who came back to life after being crucified was Jesus, and that was to make the way for you to have your flesh crucified, dear Christian! What good news!
— Watering down God’s Word, taking out the “hard” parts. in his book Erasing Hell, Francis Chan, a famous Californian pastor with a big church, confessed that he had watered down God’s Word.
— Doing nice things that anyone can do. They do not show the kindness (goodness) of God, which would be to speak of what Jesus Christ has done. Instead, these nice things are acts of human love and human kindness. What things? Bake sales, Easter egg hunts, trunk or treat, bounce houses, pony rides. These are nice things that neither show others that we have been with Jesus nor drive them to the cross!
— Church members and board members fearing growth and change rather than celebrating it. These folks may even go so far as to:
— “Starve out” or “blackball” pastors (that is, stop paying them or tell every other church that these men or women are bad pastors)
— Demand that a soft gospel be preached, one with no rebuke or reproof.
I have seen these things firsthand, beloved! When they happen, I know that those who do them are not filled with God’s actual love. They display the fruit of the flesh. Such will be judged. The love of Christ compels me to say this to you (2Corinthians 4:10).
Paul prays for the church (not unbelievers, beloved) at Ephesus (Ephesians 3:18-19), that they may be able to comprehend and know by experience the breadth, length, height and depth of the love of Christ, of God’s actual love, that they may be filled with God, with His Holy Spirit, with His actual love. He prays for them to experience His love filling their hearts. What a vast difference it makes!
When I have spoken to you of exploring and not yet finding the boundaries of that love, I do not mean that I must keep receiving more of His love. He filled me with it, and it does not leak out! But as I go, God puts trials in my path, and I see His love manifested through me. No matter how hard the trial, His love simply flows. Hallelujah!
So repent, if you see yourself in “what God’s actual love DOESN’T look like!” Ask the Lord to fill you with His Holy Spirit, and you will be filled with God’s actual love, and the world will see it, and they will know the Father sent the Son, the gospel is true, and that you have been with Jesus.
You will become an authentic Christian, and that will cause many to want to come to Jesus Christ for salvation AND to be filled with His love. That is your purpose. That is God’s plan for your life — to have His life, His Spirit, His love fill you!
What a world that would be, if the whole world would come to Jesus and be filled with that love! That’s what the world needs NOW. Amen!