Teaching Sermons For Pastors and Laymen

6/11/2008


THE DRAWINGS OF LOVE


“The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved the with an everlasting love; therefore, with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.” — Jeremiah 31:3. This passage primarily refers to God’s ancient people, the Jews, the natural descendants of Abraham. He chose them, and separated them from the nations of the world. Their selection fills a large chapter in history, and their history shines with the glorious luster of fulfilled prophecy. There was a period during which they experienced unexpected divine intervention and became the recipient of heavy punishment, and acquired a bad reputation for their disobedience and hardheartedness. Yet a future glory awaits them when they will turn back to the Lord their God and again be restored to their land, and acknowledge Jesus of Nazareth as the King of the Jews, their own anointed King. TODAY, every believer, both Jews and Gentiles, may hear the voice of the Holy Spirit whispering these words in their ear, “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore, with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.” There are two things I will speak briefly about this afternoon —the unspeakable benefit found within these words, “I have loved thee with an everlasting love” and the unmistakable evidence contained in these words, “therefore, with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.” What a great and precious blessing it is to be embraced with the everlasting love of God? Our God is a God of infinite generosity. He shows His goodwill and tender mercies through his works. He wishes well to all mankind and with great force and with loving feeling he declares it! He said, “As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live” (Ezekiel 33:11). And whosoever will, may turn to Jesus, the Savior of sinners, to find in Him pardon for the past and grace for the future. This general truth, which we have always believed, and never saw any reason to doubt, is not at all inconsistent with the fact that God has a chosen people who were loved by Him, foreknown to Him, and ordained by him, before the foundation of the world, to inherit all spiritual blessings. The Bible calls us “an elect people,” since we are the special objects of His love. The covenant of grace was made on our behalf; the blood of Christ was shed at Calvary for us; and the Spirit of God works successfully for our salvation. He is speaking to us when He says, I have loved the with an everlasting love.


Now think for a little while about the enormous benefit we have because of His love for us. Let’s examine this verse word by word. It begins with “I have loved thee.” Who is the speaker? It is none other than the great “I am,” Jehovah the Lord. We live in him, move in him, and have our being in him. It is impossible for us, with our finite minds to comprehend what God is. Yet we understand this one thing, because His voice has reached our ears from heaven: “Yea, I have loved thee.” If you are a believer in Christ, you have heard it? The love of any creature, whether human or animal, is precious but nothing even comes close to the thrill of being loved with the love of God. Who is loved? The Lord says, “I have loved thee.” Drink that in if you can. Repeat the words to yourself with fitting emphasis, “Yea, I have loved thee.” Isn’t it a wonder that the Mighty God should love any of us— so insignificant, so short-lived, so soon to pass away? It is right for us to love God; but for the eternal God to love a finite man is a marvel of marvels! And yet if he loved all men everywhere, except me, I would not be as amazed as I would be when I grasped the truth that he has always loved me. Certainly there is nothing about me that merits God’s love. I can imagine Him saying to anyone of us, “I have despised thee!” Perhaps you were a drunkard at one time, yet he loved you; you cussed, yet he loved you; you had a furious temper, yet he loved you; and even now you have imperfections that make you loath yourself and feel ashamed. You may be weary of life, and tired of fighting, day by day, against the urge to sin. You may have evil thoughts and evil desires, so disgusting to yourself, and so dishonoring to your God. Still, He says, “Yea, I have loved thee.” Friends, if you believe in Jesus, even though you are poor, obscure, illiterate, sick, and you despise yourself, nevertheless he who cannot lie has stated, “I have loved thee.” These words have been spoken to Mary Magdalene; they have been spoken to one possessed with seven devils; they were whispered in the heart of the dying thief. Blessed be the name of the Lord, that you and I can hear the voice of His Spirit, as He bears witness with our spirit, “Yea, I have loved thee.” God loves those whom he has saved from their sins, and delivered from the wrath to come. Between that great heart in heaven and this poor throbbing, aching heart on earth love has been established — love of the dearest, truest, sweetest and most faithful kind. In fact, a mother’s love, the love of a spouse, and the love of a child are like water; but the love of God is like the best wine; these are just things of the earth, but the love of God is heavenly. Your heavenly Father has chastened you, because you forget Him so often, and offended Him constantly, yet He loves you. You know what it is to love. Reflect on the love you have for your closest friend or for your children, and look at it and say, “God loves me better than this.” Let’s observe that there is incomparable strength, as well as inexhaustible sweetness in this assurance, “I have loved thee with an everlasting love.” That word “everlasting” is the very core of the gospel. The love of God is “everlasting.” The word “everlasting” has three ideas within it. First, it has never had a beginning. God never began to love his people when Adam fell from grace, when man was made or when the mountains were fashioned. Before the blue heavens were stretched abroad, there were thoughts of love in His heart for us. He began to create, and He began to redeem mankind, but he never began to love. It is eternal love which glows in the bosom of God towards every one of his saved ones. God’s love didn’t materialize yesterday, nor will it perish tomorrow; but, like the eternal hills, it stands firm. You were loved by your God before he had shaped Adam’s clay, before He made the world, and before the stars began to shine. There was a time, when God dwelt in eternity all alone, but he loved you then with an everlasting love. The second idea is that he loves his people without ending. It would not be everlasting if it ever came to a halt. The love of God is not like that. It swells and flows on like the mighty Mississippi; it never pauses. Christian, your God always loves you the same. He cannot love you more; he will not love you less. And, since His love is everlasting, the third thought is, it never ends. You may grow grey soon, if you haven’t already; you might die soon, but the love of God will not expire. God’s love will never desert you. God never began to love you, nor will he ever cease to love you. You are His, and you will still be His when the world ceases to be. There is infinitely more comfort and satisfaction here than I can bring out. The love of God towards us is an everlasting love that is revealed personally in Jesus Christ.


Now we come to the second point, which is: —THE UNMISTAKABLE MANIFESTATION, the manifestation by which this love is made known. Good people are often puzzled about the doctrine of election. They sometimes ask, “How can we know whether we are the Lord’s chosen, or find out if our names are written in the Lamb’s book of Life?” You cannot look at that mystic book, because only Jesus can open it. He is the only One who can read what God has written in His book. The Lord knoweth them that are his. However, there is a way of knowing if your name is listed on that glorious roll, and it is this: “Therefore, with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.” Were you ever drawn? Have you been drawn with loving-kindness? If so, then there is evidence that the Lord loved you with an everlasting love. You can ask yourself this pointed question: Were you ever divinely drawn? Have you ever experienced that attraction that causes you to desire Him more than anything else? Were you ever drawn away from sin toward holiness? There was a time when you loved sin; you found a great deal of pleasure in it; there were even some forms of sin, which were very dear to your heart. Have your tastes been changed and your life changed by His divine Loving-kindness? Can you say, “The things I once loved, I now hate; and what gave me pleasure, now causes me a pain”? I don’t want to know whether you are perfect and upright. But I do ask, if you do hate sin in every shape, and desire holiness in every form? Would you be perfect if you could be? If you could live in any way you wanted to, how would you choose to live? Would your answer be like this: “I would live like it was possible for me to serve God day and night, without a sinful thought or a rebellious wish”? If you have been drawn in this way, away from sin to holiness, then there is no doubt about it; He loved you with an everlasting love Friends, it is as impossible for any of the elect of God to come to Christ and lay hold on him without divine drawing, as it would be for devil to feel compassion of heart and repentance towards God. If you can say from your heart: —“Nothing in my hand I bring, Simply to thy cross I cling.” – Then His drawing may be enough to prove that He loved you with an everlasting love. There is another question for you to think about: Are you, being drawn from earth to heaven? Do you feel like there is a magnet up there drawing your heart, so that when you are facing a problem, you cannot avoid sending a prayer up to your heavenly Father? Do you ever feel like there is an impulse that impels you to have fellowship with God through prayer? If this is so, then you can rest assured that it is Christ that draws. There is a link between you and heaven, and Christ is that link. However, if your heart is here below, then your treasure is here; but if your heart is up there then your treasure is obviously there. Friends, I tried to show you that those who are drawn to Jesus may be assured that they are loved with an everlasting love. And now I want you to see that they are drawn with lovingkindness. Some people are frightened into religion. Beware of any religion that plays upon your fears. Some people’s religion consists entirely of doing what they think they must do, even though they don’t like it. They are either afraid that God will punish them, or they are anxious for a reward. This is not the religion of Jesus Christ. The genuine Christian serves God because he loves him; not because he fears hell, for he knows that he has been delivered from condemnation by being washed in Jesus’ blood. He does not expect to earn heaven by his poor inadequate works. And besides, heaven is his inheritance, since Jesus has given it to him. But he serves God because he loves him. He is drawn by an awareness of the love of God for him, to love God in return. Who is the best servant? It is certainly not the man who only does what he is paid to do; and who would betray your interest to benefit himself; rather it is the servant who would faithfully serve you through all your misfortunes. Some of the old-fashioned servants were so attached to their masters, that they were regarded as members of the family. Those that are the true servants of Christ love Him, and serve Him, because they love him so much that they could not leave Him or deny Him. So now, are you drawn with loving kindness? “Loving-kindness” is such a lovely word! There is such a charming sweetness about it. The loving-kindness of the Lord is communicated by His helping hand, as it creates a desire in our Heart to do our duty to Him, and restrains us from falling into sin. How can I carry out this great sin, how can I sin against such a Friend, who is so kind and generous to show “loving-kindness” to me? Listen as I read this old poem or Hymn, I don’t know which. “Now for the love I bear his name, What was my gain, I count my loss; My former pride I call my shame, And nail my glory to his cross.” “Yes, and I must and will esteem All things but loss for Jesus’ sake. Oh! may my soul be found in him And of his righteousness partake!” It is true; you can know if you are God’s chosen or not. Are you drawn, and how are you drawn? Is it with loving-kindness? Now, I wish you would check your own experience. Can you truthfully say, “I was drawn by divine grace, and today I am constrained by that grace. From now on, I freely yield myself up to Christ to be his servant, his disciple, his friend, his brother, for ever and ever. The Lord has appeared unto me, saying, “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love.” If you can’t say that, it could be that you are not one of His and your name has not been written in the Lamb’s book of life! But it could also be that the drawing has begun, and now you crave God’s loving-kindness. If you desire Jesus, you can depend upon it, Jesus desires you. No sinner was ever with Jesus before he was drawn to Him. When you are willing to have Him, he is evidently willing to have you. You have not put out one hand towards him, unless He has first put two hands on you. If you believe in Him; believe that he can save you, and then trust in him to save you, because you have already been drawn. This is proof positive that God has loved you from before the world’s beginning. Today, I have touched on the doctrine of election, because the doctrine of “election” and the doctrine of “free will” are both contained within the Word of God. I don’t believe that anyone really understands how they co-exist, but one thing I am sure of, is that anyone can be saved. The Holy Spirit has stated in the Bible that “Whosoever will (or whoever wants to) may come to Jesus;” that means that anyone can. He also says that if we will confess Jesus before men and believe that He is God the Son, then we will be saved If you trust Jesus now, ‘it’s done! You’re saved. The moment a sinner believes and trusts in Christ, he is Saved—saved for ever. In that moment he is accepted in the Beloved. From that moment he might sing this song: — “‘Tis done, the great transaction’s done; I am my Lord’s, and he is mine; He drew me, and I followed on, Glad to obey the voice divine.” May the Lord appear to you, speak to you, and bless you, saying to you, “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore, with loving-kindness have I drawn you.” Amen.

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