"THE LOVE OF GOD"
I. WHAT IS MEANT BY "KEEP YOURSELVES IN THE LOVE OF GOD?"
A. Keep yourself so loving and kind, sweet and generous that God cannot help but love you?
1. If that were so, most of us would be left out in the cold.
B. God's love for you is unconditional.
1. When did God start loving you?
2. The minute that you responded to the altar call and went forward?
3. When God saw you walking forward to be saved, did He then say, "That is so sweet, I think I will start loving them."
C. What does the scripture say?
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
Even when we were dead in sins.
D. The scripture teaches that God's love for you is unmerited, undeserved, and flows forth from His nature, for God is love.
E. Then what is meant by "Keep yourselves in the love of God."
F. Love desires to express itself.
1. These expressions are usually in the form of gifts.
a. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.
b. Greater love has no man than this than he will give his life for his friends.
2. Because God loves you, He desires to give wonderful gifts to you.
a. The gift of eternal life. (This is the record.)
b. The gift of salvation. (By grace are you saved.)
c. The gift of the Holy Spirit. (And you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.)
3. Keep yourself in the place where God may give to you all of the wonderful gifts that He desires to give to you because He loves you so much.
4. It is possible for you to remove yourself from the place of blessing.
II. THREE ILLUSTRATIONS OF THOSE GROUPS WHO REMOVED THEMSELVES FROM THE PLACE OF BLESSINGS.
A. The children of Israel. (5)
1. God delivered them out of the bondage of Egypt.
2. God desired to do much more, He wanted to give to them the beautiful fertile land that He had promised to the descendants of Abraham.
3. They failed to keep themselves in the love of God and thus perished in the wilderness, rather than enjoy the land that God wanted to give to them.
4. How did they remove themselves from the place of blessing?
a. When they came to the border of the land, they sent in 12 spies.
b. 10 came back with a negative report. It is a land that eats up its inhabitants. The walls of the cities reach up to heaven, and the cities are inhabited by giants.
c. Two came back with an encouraging report. They carried a huge cluster of grapes on a stave between them. They urged the people to go in and take the land.
d. The people listened to the ten spies and fear gripped their hearts and they requested to be led back to Egypt.
e. Their failure was the failure of faith. They did not believe that God could do what He promised to do.
f. How many times your lack of faith keeps you from all the blessings that God desires to give to you.
5. So many of you have been delivered from the bondage of sin, but you are wandering in a spiritual wilderness. God has so much more for you, but your lack of faith in His promises keep you from entering in.
B. The angels which kept not their first estate.
1. These are magnificent created beings who knew the wonder of being in the very presence of God.
2. They experienced first hand the glory and love of God. Today they are in everlasting chains under darkness as they wait for the great day of judgment.
3. It is possible that some of you have gone so far as to know the glory of God's presence in your life. You enjoyed beautiful fellowship with Him, but are now far removed from the place of blessing.
4. What removed them from the place of blessing?
a. Rebellion against the rule of God over their life.
b. Lucifer said, "I will ascend into heaven; I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will be like God."
c. This was the exercise of his will against the will of God.
d. There is a verse of scripture that suggests that as many as one third of the angels took sides with Lucifer.
e. The inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah.
1. They had known the natural blessings of living in a very fertile valley.
a. It was very easy to grow their crops in such a lush environment, and as a result they had a lot of spare time.
2. They however experienced the judgment of the eternal fire as the cities were destroyed by God.
3. What was it that removed them from the love of God?
a. Their giving themselves over to the lusts of their flesh, fornication and homosexuality.
III. JUDE NEXT LISTS THREE MEN WHO HAD REMOVED THEMSELVES FROM THE PLACE OF BLESSING.
1. We know that Cain killed his brother Abel.
2. In Genesis we are told that Cain hated his brother.
3. In 1 John we are told that Cain killed his brother because his works were evil and his brothers were good.
4. You remove yourself from the love of God any time you allow hatred to master your life.
1. This man is an enigma to me.
a. He was a witch doctor of sorts. He used enchantments and divinations. He cast spells and curses.
b. Yet God spoke to him, and he prophesied.
c. That oft quoted passage of scripture was spoken by him. NUM 23:19
God [is] not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do [it]? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?
2. Balak the king of Moab sent messengers unto Balaam who was in Mesopotamia to come and curse the people of Israel who were passing through his land. He offered him a handsome reward for this service.
a. The warning of God to Balaam.
b. The second warning by the angel.
3. When Balaam came he found that he could only by the Lord pronounce blessings.
4. Balak the king became angry with Balaam, and declared, "I intended to make you a rich man, but your Lord has kept you from those riches."
5. Balaam could not stand the thought of those riches slipping through his hands so he instructed the king on how to bring a curse on the people.
6. Balaam did just what God warned him not to do. NUM 31:16
Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD.
7. When you allow greed to master your life, you have removed yourself from the place of God's blessing.
1. He was of the priestly tribe of Levi and he stirred up others against the leadership of Moses.
2. He claimed that they all had the right to offer sacrifices unto God, not just the family of Aaron.
3. They came to Moses with their grievance.
4. Moses told them to come down the next morning with their incense censers and they would let the Lord decide.
5. The sin that removed Korah from the place of blessing was Jealousy of another man's ministry.
6. When you allow jealousy to master your life, you remove your self from the place of blessing.
IV. HOW TO KEEP YOURSELF IN THE LOVE OF GOD.
A. Building up yourselves in the most holy faith.
1. How is that done? "Now faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God."
a. It is hard to trust someone you don't know.
b. Through the word, you come to know God well.
B. Praying in the Holy Spirit.
1. Ask the Spirit to guide your prayers.
2. Paul teaches:
Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what [is] the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to [the will of] God.
C. Looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
1. I believe that he could be referring to looking for the Lord's return for us.
2. As we look for the Lord's coming at any time it gives us an incentive to holy living; a proper attitude toward our material possessions; and an urgency to getting out the gospel to the world.