before the sun goes down

"Be of good courage, and let us behave ourselves valiantly for our people, and for the cities of our God: and let the LORD do that which is good in His sight" (I Chronicles 19:13).

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Active Application of AGAPE to Annihilate Apathy

Take a look at the front driver door of this Mitsubishi.  It has words that are derived from I Corinthians 13, the passage in the Bible known around the world as the "LOVE Chapter".

Describing LOVE, the sticker says---
"Is not easily angered, ALWAYS protects, trusts, hopes, perseveres: LOVE Never FAILS."

This is evidently a car of those who are willing to profess Christ out in public, to let it be known that they are Christians.  I think that having bumper stickers on one's vehicle, etc., with Scripture, and messages that represent our Lord, the Gospel, and righteousness is a good way to provoke thought in passersby, start conversations, and spread truth.  It is part of being a testimony for Christ wherever you go.  I personally make it a practice to have Christ-honoring messages on my car, and have many brothers and sisters in Christ who do the same.    

Now, you may ask, "Why is Kevan showing us this picture?  We've all seen similar stickers and know their purpose.  What is the point or the problem?"

HERE'S THE PROBLEM...That picture was taken as the family in that car drove into an abortion mill in order to have one of their children ABORTED.  BUTCHERED.  MURDERED.

[It happened in Nashville a week ago, on Saturday, February the 6th, 2016.  The photo was taken by a grieved abolitionist who was there to represent Christ at the gates of death.]

Think of it, a car with words from the Love Chapter went to a child sacrifice center to do the exact OPPOSITE of what LOVE is to their child!

(Sadly this is NOT a rare occurrence.  I have myself seen cars with fish symbols and Christian logos entering these places to murder the innocent.  Dear friends of ours have seen cars with bumper stickers representing local churches down the street, driven by those claiming to be Christians.  We have heard people say, "I will be in church tomorrow!"  More professing evangelicals will go to these baby butcheries as customers this week than as representatives of Christ for those made in His image!)

Please mourn with us over this murder, over the abominations of our people.
Pray for God to bring that family to repentance.
Pray for all professing Christians who participate in or are apathetic to the slaughter of their preborn neighbour.

Christians may be troubled at hearing this, but feel helpless.  But what can we do?  We can do what is right.

What is really needed is for the church of Jesus Christ to awaken from the slumber of ease and compromise, repent, arise, and be present at the gates of death. We are ambassadors for Christ, are we not?   SO, let us be "speaking the truth in LOVE" as He commanded, loving as He loved, demonstrating that LOVE in embracing the "least of these".

The LOVE that is found in I Corinthians 13 is CHARITY (agape LOVE).  We find it described in the passage.  Let us take just a portion!

I Corinthians 13:4-8
4 "Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,"
5 "Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;"
6 "Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7 "Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things."
8 "Charity never faileth..."

Here is the incredible description of Agape love, selfless intentional love, which gives to others needs without motive of personal reward.  The Bible in this passage (as in some others) uses the English word charity, which denotes giving, not in a weak, insipid way (that it may be thought of today, as many words have become shallow in our understanding), but the TRUE meaning of CHARITY.

The Latin root of the word carries the meaning of giving something "dear, costly, and beloved".  The Greek word charis is the word often translated grace in the Bible, giving with kindness to need.  This CHARITY love is not merely a feeling, but an action!  It is the lovingkindness extended to another.  This CHARITY is the love of heroes, who will put aside their own agendas, their own comforts, even their own lives, to take the hit for someone else, to rescue the weak and poor in their distress.  This is compassion with clout.  This actually makes a difference.

This love is the love which God so loved us with, that He gave His only begotten Son (John 3:16).  
It is the love wherewith Jesus Christ loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood (Revelation 1:5).
It is the love that a husband is to demonstrate toward his wife, in giving up himself for her (Ephesians 5:25).
It is the love with which we are to love both our God (in response to His great love for us) and our neighbour (Mark 12:30-31; I John 4:19).

Notice the denial of selfishness in the passage: CHARITY does NOT envy, does does NOT "vaunt (boast) itself" or get "puffed up".  It does NOT allow itself to behave "unseemly" or be "easily provoked", but is humbly harnessed to the task.  NOR does it think evil.  CHARITY "seeketh NOT her own".  Love is not demanding or following "my own way", but holding onto that which is right and true for all.  Another word for selfishness, or going my own way is "iniquity".  See that love "Rejoiceth NOT in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth".  

I fear that one reason that most Christians are not showing this powerful love to the unborn in distress by confronting the culture of child sacrifice with the Gospel, and standing at the gates of death to deliver the weak with our mouths (Proverbs 12:6; 31:8-9), is because we are allowing our own selfishness (iniquity) to abound in our own lives.

The Scripture says, "And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold" (Matthew 24:12).  Thus, our compassion in action to the littlest among us grows shallow and cold.  Oh, we care (at some level), but we don't charis.  We don't stop, and stoop over, and weep, and lose sleep at night in begging God to use us the next day outside Planned Parenthood to rescue lives and souls.  Our love (as the church) for the poorest, most needy, and most vulnerable people has grown cold.  And millions and millions of little ones have been slaughtered as a consequence.  Chilling, isn't it? 

It is called APATHY.  DEPRAVED INDIFFERENCE.  Because we have our own plans for the day, our own cares, that don't include the inconvenience of pleading for our neighbour who is getting murdered down the street.  Being Apathetic is PATHETIC.  

The question is: Will we remain in our selfishness?  Or will we turn from it, and say, "Down Self, Christ is my King!"  Will we cast off our Cowardice?  Our Callousness?  Our Comfortlovingness?  To do what?  To take up the burden for the little ones!  To do as Job, and search out the cause we know not, to rescue the innocent from the jaws of the wicked!  To open our mouths in this generation, and speak for those who have no voice!  To bring the truth of Life and the Gospel with the Clout of CHARITY!  As the church of Jesus Christ, we must repent of loving our own ways, our own building projects, and our own pet peeves over the needs of others.  We must rise and engage for the abolition of this great evil!  This abomination, which is a bomb in our nation, bringing destruction and the judgment of God!

Let us NOT condone this evil by our silence!
Let us be shaken and awakened and go to the battle with the Gospel on our lips!
Let us forsake the slack hand of laziness and be diligent with all our might!


Consider two more characteristics of CHARITY: "Charity suffereth long, and is kind"

What is "SUFFERING LONG"?  To patiently bear a burden for a long time; to persevere in the face of offense and insult for the sake of another or a righteous cause.  To incorrigibly endure till the task is completed.

Suffer long?  That is not quite the description of the aspiration of the American church at large today (I must admit, it's not my greatest aspiration either).  We naturally want to avoid suffering, to get fast food, short checkout lines, easy living, comfortable situations, quick fixes, and answers to prayer right away.  Patience for us is often waiting without complaining for the popcorn to finish in the microwave.

Let us CHOOSE to "suffer long", to TAKE TIME to go to the child sacrifice center, to see the need ourselves.  To INTENTIONALLY do what may be INCONVENIENT, to hold out our hands to offer help and hope as our neighbours are being carried away to slaughter, even when it is cold outside or hot outside, even when those we call to choose to ignore, curse, or mock us.  Why should we not learn to be longsuffering, seeing that God is longsuffering (Isaiah 65:2; II Peter 3:9), and calls us to be as well (Ephesians 4:2; Colossians 1:11; 3:12; II Timothy 4:2).  Let us choose to spend and be spent, showing this LOVE, as Paul did, no matter the response: "And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved" (II Corinthians 12:15).

What about the other characteristic of CHARITY love?

"and is KIND"  What does it mean to be kind?  To put others before oneself; disposed to do good to others, supply needs, and assist in distresses; to see and act.  It was first used in this way during the age of chivalry (circa AD1300), and conveyed the idea of being courteous, doing noble deeds, righting wrong, and aid those in danger.  The word kind is connected to the word kindred, as in family, giving the concept of treating someone, even the stranger beaten on the road and left for dead, "like family."  Being kind is not minding your own business.

How would you pray and plead for the unborn child if he or she were YOUR own flesh and blood? Would you stand idly by if someone was going to kill YOUR child under protection of the "law"?  Or would you plead for their lives as if your own life depended on it?

O, LORD!  Let us not slumber while the weak are destroyed!  Let us not fail to visit the fatherless in their affliction!  Let us not remain apathetic!  Let us win battles for You before the sun goes down on this generation!

Rather than merely having the words of Charity on our cars and in our mouths while we continue our own selfish ways, let us show the world true CHARITY in our lives, by engaging our culture in society and on site for the sake of Jesus Christ and those who bear His image, till human abortion is abolished.

CHARITY "Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things."

"CHARITY never faileth"