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Saturday, September 21, 2019
Baptist Church

Love God And Do Whatever You Please

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 View Comments Comments (0)
 "I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent."   Revelation 2:3-5
 

It was St. Augustine who said, “Love God and do whatever you please…” Now for the person familiar with Augustine’s writings you know that is a partial quote, but please indulge me for a moment. It seems today that many Christians are saying like the Ephesian believers, “Yes, I love God, but I’m going to do what pleases me instead of God.”

Just as the Grand Canyon which is 271 miles long 18 miles wide and a mile deep did not just appear, but rather slowly over time as the Colorado river carved it out through erosion, some of us have experienced a spiritual erosion over time in our relationship with God. It seems that we just woke up one day and wondered where the chasm between us and God came from, but Jesus words to the church at Ephesus give us a clue about not only how this spiritual chasm developed, but also what we can do to get back to where we once were in our relationship with Jesus Christ.

To get back to where we belong in our walk with God we must understand first what it means to love Him. We know from the Scriptures that a person who loves God will want to be with Him. It’s just like a marriage when you love your spouse you want to be with them. The Psalmist writes in Psalm 63:1, “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;” he goes on to say, “my body longs for you, I lay away in bed thinking on you, meditating on you through the night.” Love for a person creates a desire for nearness.

Secondly, if you love God you want to hear His voice and He is speaking to us through His Word which Hebrews 4:12 says is alive and active. Just like a giddy teenager that wants to stay on the phone all night with their love you will say like the Psalmist in Psalm 119:97, “Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day.” If you love God you will love the Bible. I’m not just talking about the object you might hold in your hand, but a desire in your heart to hear the Word of God and read it.

Thirdly, if you love the Lord you will also love His people, as well as, lost people. 1 Peter 1:22 says, “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart.” In John 3:16 we are told of God’s love for the whole world and 2 Timothy 2:4 tells us that God “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Do you love the people around you like God does? 1 John 3:14 says,“We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers.”

Fourth, if you love the Lord you will keep His commandments. Jesus said in John 14:21,“Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” We can’t say we love God and then proceed to break His commandments without any compunction.

If you are beginning to see that there is indeed a chasm that has developed between you and God then the good news is that can change today. Jesus solution give to the Ephesians believers and to us is threefold, “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first.” In other words remember, repent and return.

First, to remember is to ask yourself, “Was there a time when I was closer to God than I am today?” If your answer is yes, then try to remember when that time was. Then he says to repent, turn, return or get back to where you were when that was happening. Third, our Lord says to repeat those things you were doing when that love was at peak.

Just like a marriage where the love seems to have slipped away you’ve got to go back to doing those things you used to do. Tell your wife how much you love her. Tell you husband how much you appreciate him. Take the time to go out on those dates or slow walks even though you may not feel the romance at first you will be surprised at how the romance will return once you start doing the romantic things again.

In your relationship with God if you look back and see that you used to get up every morning and read your Bible, or you participated in worship and serving at church, or you prayed regularly through the day, or you looked for ways to turn the conversation toward Christ because you were concerned about where people were going to spend eternity, then you need to go back to doing those things again. It will amaze you how that flame will begin to rekindle and burn hot like it once did.

If we go back to St. Augustin’s quote, “Love God and do whatever you please…” We know that he was not talking about a license to sin, but in fact he goes on to say, “Love God and do whatever you please: for the soul trained in love to God will do nothing to offend the One who is Beloved.” In other words if I really love God in the Biblical sense I can do whatever I want and what I want is what He wants.

In closing if you read and reflect upon what we have talked about and think to yourself, “Ok, I hear you but I’m just not motivated to change my behavior.” Then listen to the warning from Jesus to you found in our text, “If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.” If you lose your love, it’s only a matter of time until you lose your light. Don’t settle for being an ineffective Christian, if you remember a time when you loved God more than you do today make a u-turn and begin to do those things that demonstrated your love for God again and shine bright for His glory in this dark world.

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