The Love of Jesus--What It Is--None But His Loved Ones Know
There is a tendency, in the contemplative knowledge of Christ's love, to self-indulgence. Now, there is a tendency, a wrong tendency, mark you, of getting so high and not wanting to get any higher. Even the contemplative life, itself, ought only to be considered as a steppingstone to something beyond. And when we get to the very highest point, we are still to say with Paul, as we sit down upon the milestone, "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but this one thing I do, forgetting the things which are behind, press forward to those which are before."
Now, there is a tendency, when we have been alone and in private, and have had sweet fellowship with Christ, for us to feel—"I do not want to go out from this. I do not want to be disturbed just now. I would rather not do anything just now." I do not suppose there are very many of you who get into this state, but there may be some who think at such times, "I do not want to preach today. I would rather not do anything. It is best that I should be alone." Ah, it is a strong temptation, and you must strive against it and say, "No, I have enjoyments in my religion, but I did not seek my religion for the enjoyment it would give me. I must look higher than that, to the God I serve, and to the Lord and Master whose I am. I love the jewels He gives me to wear upon my fingers, but I love His Person better. I am not to look upon these rings and forget to look into His eyes. I love the sweet couch that He makes for me at night, but I am not to lie there and forget the fields that are to be plowed and the battles that are to be fought. I must be up and doing. The contemplative life must lead me to duty and then shall I know Christ even as I am known.
"I live. Yet not I, but Christ lives in me," said the Apostle Paul, and that is where we must get—when the man ceases to feel himself, the "I"—and only recognizes himself as part of Christ. It is our individuality that we really have to get rid of in this matter. It is our selfish separateness, I mean. We need to feel that we are a part of Christ, a member of His body, flesh of His flesh and bone of His bone.
We have to get to where we have no more desire to act, or think, or feel according to anything that is here—but to send our hearts up to the great heart of Christ in Heaven—only tarrying here while our souls are walking the golden streets with Christ.
When we are lost in God we are highest. When it is not we, but Christ—and we have come to be with Him and His heart is ours, and His love and soul, and wish are ours—then it is that we comprehend the height and depth and length and breadth and know the love of Christ which passes knowledge.
Now, I have not said much tonight to the ungodly. But if I could make any of you feel your mouths a-watering after Christ by what I have said, I should be pleased, indeed. Oh, if you did but know the sweetness of the love of Christ, you would not be careless about it.
The Gospel is—"Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved." Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. To believe in Christ is to trust in Him. That is all it is—to trust in Him. "But I must repent," one says. Repentance is a change of mind, and is a blessed fruit of faith and comes with faith. That repentance which comes before faith is not true repentance, for it is a repentance that needs to be repented of. Where there is no faith, it is impossible to please God.
That repentance which has no faith in it must be displeasing to God, and needs to be repented of. The first business you have, Sinner, is not to feel anything, but to put your trust in Christ. Your business is not to try to make yourselves fit to come to Christ, but to come to Him just as you are. You are to trust Christ and to trust Him now. "Oh but I am a black with sin!" Come and be washed. "Oh but I am a naked sinner." Come and be clothed. "But I am lost." Oh, Sirs, the Master has come to seek and to save that which is lost. You are not to find yourselves first, and then think He will come and find you. He is come to seek you.
I would sound the Gospel trumpet here. Come and welcome! Come just as you are! To come is to trust and simply to fall flat at the foot of the Cross and say, "Jesus, I trust You to save me." That done, you are saved, and your sin is gone. He took it and was punished for it. You are righteous in God's sight, for His righteousness is yours, and you are saved. Christ, the Head, is your Representative. You are delivered. Christ has broken the neck of your foe, and you are emancipated the very moment when you believe.
Some persons dislike instantaneous conversions. Let them read the Bible and see what sorts of conversion are there. There is Saul of Tarsus, there is the Philippian jailer. There are the three thousand on the day of Pentecost—these are all instantaneous conversions. There is a man over there, near the door, who came in here. Perhaps he did not know what for, or to listen to some strange, out-of-the-way matter. That man, if Christ shall meet with him tonight, and lead him in the way of His Grace, may go out of this Chapel as much saved as if it were seven years ago when he first believed on Jesus, for—
"The moment a sinner believes And trusts in a crucified God," he is saved, it is all done! The work is finished and there is no need that anything else should be done. The robe of righteousness has been completed. There is not a stitch to be added to it.
Sinner, this is the glory of the Gospel. Trust Jesus and you are saved and saved forever, beyond the reach of destruction. May God meet with some soul here tonight, and especially may He now stir up you, His people, to grow in Divine Grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen and Amen.
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible