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Loving God, Part 4: Inflaming Our Love through Prayer

Loving God, Part 4: Inflaming Our Love through Prayer

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By: Pastor R. W. Glenn
June 06, 2004
Selected Scriptures

More messages in this series:
http://www.solidfoodmedia.com/messages/seriesview.php?id=4
By: Pastor R. W. Glenn
June 06, 2004
Selected Scriptures

More messages in this series:
http://www.solidfoodmedia.com/messages/seriesview.php?id=4

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Published by: Redeemer Bible Church/Solid Food Media on Jan 14, 2010
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Loving God, Part 4: Inflaming Our Love through Prayer © 2004 by R W Glenn
1
 
Redeemer Bible Church
Unreserved Accountability to Christ.
Undeserved Acceptance from Christ 
.
Loving God, Part Four:Inflaming Our Love through Prayer
Selected Scriptures
Introduction
I think that we all intuitively understand that love involves our emotions. Whatkind of father would I be if I showed no affection for my kids? Would you think that Iloved them? What kind of husband would I be if a showed no affection for my wife?Would you think that I loved her? What kind of pastor would I be if I showed noaffection for the brethren, for the sheep under my care? Would you think that I lovedyou? If all that I did in all my so-called love relationships was respond to people out of asense of duty, if I took no delight in what I did for them, you would question whether ornot my profession of love was genuine. Your experience would tell you that I wasn’t avery loving father, husband, and pastor.And yet, if it were our experience
alone 
telling us that love involves ouraffections, then we would be on shaky, shaky ground. For the truth value of aproposition is not determined by our experience. Rather, it is the objective revelation ofScripture that should define our experience, especially when it comes to how we relateto the Lord and to one another. So the critical question here is this: What does the Biblesay about our love for God? Should it have an emotional component?Well, in Scripture, Christ commands us to love the Lord with all our heart, soul,mind, and strength. And when the word “heart” is used in distinction from other faculties(as with this command), it means the emotions. We are commanded to love the Lordwith every human faculty, mind, will, and emotions.Paul’s famous description of love in 1 Corinthians 13 also indicates that ouremotions are involved if our love is to honor the Lord. He says that love is not jealous,that love is not provoked, that love does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices withthe truth, and that love hopes all things. What is jealousy? It is a feeling. What isirritation? It’s a feeling. How about joy? It is a feeling. How about hope? It is afeeling. Love entails our emotions!And in case we were thinking that our love can be reduced to performingsacrificial deeds for others, the Apostle Paul says: “And if I give all my possessions tofeed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profitsme nothing.” In other words, he is saying that we can perform even heroic acts of self-sacrifice and be without love. Love, therefore,
must 
be more than what we do.
 
 
Loving God, Part 4: Inflaming Our Love through Prayer © 2004 by R W Glenn
2
 
As we continue to search the Scriptures we see that God’s love for us isemotional, so it follows that our love for him should be the same. Isaiah 62:5 says, “Foras a young man marries a virgin, So your sons will marry you; And as the bridegroomrejoices over the bride, So your God will rejoice over you.” And Zephaniah 3:17 says,“The LORD your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will renew you in his love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy” (Zephaniah3:17).The Bible teaches us that God’s love for us is exuberant—he rejoices over us inhis love for us; his love for us cannot be measured. And if this is how God loves us,what kind of return of love to him would be appropriate? He loves undeservingwretches like us with this kind of abounding love. How much more ought we to love theall-deserving, all-delightful One with emotions appropriate to him?God’s word also says that it is our love for the Lord makes every duty a delight.Therefore we can know that we are lacking love for the Lord if we do not enjoy obeyinghis commands; if they are a burden to us. 1 John 5:3 says, “For this is the love of God,that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.” Iflove for God simply meant obeying him, then it wouldn’t matter whether or not weperformed our duty with delight. But from God’s perspective, drudgery is the sign of alack of love. This means that love for God involves our emotions.And then, if we look very closely at the Scriptures we see that the words that Godhas inspired for love involve our emotions.The most common word that is used for love is the Greek word
avgaph 
. Here ishow the standard Greek lexicon—the one that is used by every preacher andcommentator and Bible translator in the world—here’s how it defines the word: “thequality of warm regard for and interest in another,
esteem, affection, regard, love 
.” Theverbal form of this term is used in Christ’s command to love the Lord with all the heart,soul, mind, and strength that we mentioned earlier.The second term that is used for love in the NT is the word
filew 
; it means, “tohave a special interest in someone or something, frequently with focus on closeassociation,
have affection for, like, consider someone a friend 
.” This term, too,involves the emotions. And it is the very one that Paul uses in 1 Corinthians 16:22,which says, “If anyone does not love the Lord, he is to be accursed.”So, then, even the terms that the Bible uses for love make it clear that loveentails our affections. So your experience (in this case)
does 
comport with biblicalreality: the reason you would wonder whether or not I loved my kids, my wife, and mysheep if I had no affection for them is because biblical love involves our affections. It istrue that love for God cannot and must not be reduced to our affections, but it is
equally 
 true that our love for God cannot and must not be reduced to the cold performance ofduty.
 
 
Loving God, Part 4: Inflaming Our Love through Prayer © 2004 by R W Glenn
3
 
The love that the Lord demands from us must be emotional; it must be warm; itmust be affectionate; it must be delightful. Henry Scougal’s definition of love is drippingwith Bible. Listen:
The love of God is a delightful and affectionate sense of the Divineperfections, which makes the soul resign and sacrifice itself wholly unto him,desiring above all things to please him, and delighting in nothing so much as infellowship and communion with him, and being ready to do or suffer any thing forhis sake, or at his pleasure.
1
 Notice that Scougal is careful to bring together our acts of obedience and ouraffection for God in his definition of love. Our delightful and affectionate sense of thedivine perfections works in us the desire to please him in every way. Both the affectionsand the resignation to sacrifice oneself are essential components of love for God. If oneor the other is missing, love is not present. If you delight in God without obeying him,then you also are failing to love him.
And 
if you obey God without delighting in God,then you are failing to love him.Perhaps the best example from Scripture of truly biblical love is found in 2Corinthians 8-9. First, let’s read
8:1-4, 8:
Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God whichhas been given in the churches of Macedonia, that in a great ordeal of afflictiontheir abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of theirliberality. For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, theygave of their own accord, begging us with much urging for the favor ofparticipation in the support of the saints...I am not speaking this as a command,but as proving through the earnestness of others the sincerity of your love also.
Look with me closely at verse 8. Paul is encouraging the Corinthians to imitatethe Macedonian Christians:
I am not speaking this as a command, but as provingthrough the earnestness of others the sincerity of your love also
. Perhaps themost important word in this verse for our purposes is the word
also
. If the
earnestness
 of the Macedonians is being used to prove
the sincerity of
the Corinthians’
love
 
also
,then it means that what the Macedonians had done itself was a powerful example of
love
. If Paul did not see what they had done as a loving deed, then he would not betelling the Corinthians to manifest
the sincerity of
their
love
 
also
.So, then, what did the Macedonian churches do that exemplified biblical lovesuch that the Apostle Paul holds them up as worthy of the Corinthians’ imitation? Afterall, he wrote the chapter on love to the Corinthians in an earlier piece ofcorrespondence. So we ought to expect that Paul knows what he is talking about whenit comes to love.Verses 1-4 tell us that the Macedonians had given their possessions to feed the poor—the very thing that Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 13:3. The only difference is that in 1
1
Henry Scougal,
The Life of God in the Soul of Man 
(Scotland: Christian Focus Publications, 2001reprint), 53.

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