Robert Houk Hitchcock
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The Time to Love is Now

I Peter 1:22-23 
     Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: 
     Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. 

God instructs us not only to love one another, but to love one another with a PURE HEART FERVENTLY.  That's what could be called a "white hot" love! This is "agape" love- the love of God.  We have to put on this love of God in our minds and then manifest it to others. 

Here God is speaking about loving our fellow believers.  We are to love one another because we are all born again.  No other reason is given. No other reason is necessary. 

On earth, we love our brothers and sisters because we are of the same family.  Sure, there can be a little friction in an earthly family, but we sure love one another when it "gets down to it."  We are to love the brethren with a pure heart fervently.  That's a tall order!  But perfectly clear. 

Despite any differences, weaknesses, cultural barriers, etc. ,etc., we are to love our fellow believers like our Heavenly Father loves them: without condition. 

Ephesians 4:32 
     And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one 
another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. 

As part of that fervent love with a pure heart comes kindness.  Comes forgiveness. Comes tenderheartedness.   

Kindness, of course, is to be actively beneficent (good, a blessing) without regards to being thanked.  It is giving in despite of ingratitude.  Everyone generally appreciates kindness when it's ministered TO THEM.  Why not be the initiator? 

Tender hearts are conditioned to be that way, just like hard ones are conditioned to be hard.  This word, "tenderhearted",  in the Greek means to be compassionate, full of mercy, sympathetic, well-compassioned. 

"Forgiving one another."  That, of course, is also an ACT OF THE WILL.  It's something we do, not something we don't do.  It's not passive. We have to DECIDE  to forgive.  We base that decision on the truth that God has forgiven US  in Christ. We don't base it on the action  that the other person has "righted the wrong." We base it on the action of Jesus Christ who gave himself FOR US and who makes INTERCESSION FOR US now.  

Philippians 2:13-16 
     For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. 
     Do all things without murmurings and disputings: 
     That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without 
rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; 
     Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of 
Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. 

So, here we live in the world.  You knew that already. So, here we are.  How do we ACT? 

We are sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation.  That settles what kind of world we live in, doesn't it?  Why would we want to act LIKE them? Ever seen the famous Gatorade commercial?  I don't want to be like Mike! 
As sons of God, we can love one another with a pure heart fervently.  We can be kind, tenderhearted, forgiving one another. And we can extend that love to all.  That's one of the things that will make us shine!   

The world is so reactive.  Check out the traffic on the freeway.  Ever get any reactions out there?  I'm sure you've seen a few hand signals before, not the directional kind. Instead of reacting, we shine. We hold forth the Word of life. We love with a pure heart fervently. We are tender hearted. We forgive. 

The love of God is so noticeable.  It is as noticeable as a flashlight in a dark room.  We are the flashlight, the dark room is the world. We shine as lights.  Love, kindness, tenderheartedness, and forgiveness are definitely noticeable!! 

The manifestations of holy spirit are noticeable, too.  Miracles are God's calling cards!  Speaking in tongues is a sign!  As sons of God, we shine as lights with the love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation and as we operate the manifestations of holy spirit. God is at work within us!  

It is God who is at work within us to will and to do of His good pleasure.  Well, His good pleasure is LOVE.  His good pleasure is TENDERHEARTEDNESS.  His good pleasure is FORGIVENESS. His good pleasure is that we operate the power of God.  His good pleasure is that we  hold forth the Word of God.  We have every opportunity to shine if we will take it!  

Ephesians 5:8-10 
     For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: 
     (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) 
     Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.  

We use to BE darkness.  Now we ARE light because of the new birth.  Thus we should walk as children of light. We walk in love. We walk with power. We walk shining!  We are the flashlights in a dark room. That's just how noticeable we are in this dark world! 

I John 3:18-19 
     My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. 
     And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our 
hearts before him. 

Lots of people talk about love.  I've seen specials on love on the 10 O'clock News on channel 2!  Everybody talks about love and everybody wants to be loved. 
We knew that. 

Our love is not a TALKING kind of love. Our love is an ACTION  kind of love.  Acts of kindness. Acts of forgiveness. Acts of tenderheartedness. And we're not selective about to whom it is ministered.  We love without respect of persons.   

I John 4:7-12 
     Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one 
that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 
     He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. 
     In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 
     Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 
     Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. 
     No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God 
dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. 

We are to love one another now.  Love is of God.  This love was manifested to us in God's giving of His son.  This love was manifested to us in Jesus Christ sacrificing his life for us on the tree.  

If God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. I think that's pretty simple. I think that is pretty clear.  God loves me, so I love you. It doesn't get any more basic than that.  

No man has ever SEEN God at any time.  If we say we love God whom we haven't seen, then we have to be able say we love those we have seen.  

No person has ever been too loved.  As believers and followers of Jesus Christ, we certainly can shine in this world. As we walk with LOVE, we reflect our Father's nature.

Cortright Fellowship
© Copyright April 1998