Staying Tender Hearted in a Cruel World
Love is the greatest of all the manifestations of God at work in the life of His children.
That is why Jesus warned His disciples that it would be increasingly harder and harder to maintain that strong and healthy love, in this ungodly world.
As we open to Matthew 24, we are watching Jesus sit down near the end of His earthly ministry and paint a vivid picture of what the world would look like as it neared its final days. We have studied that message in Matthew 24 many times. But today I would like you to look at just two verses in that chapter with me—v. 11-12.
Matthew 24:11-12 "Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.12 "And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold." NKJV
Note the two indicators Jesus mentions:
False Doctrines Increasing and
Genuine Love Decreasing
Jesus warned that: as the end of days approaches, false doctrine would increase and that real love would decrease. The word "grow cold" is not an adjective describing a condition, it is a primary verb describing that the active display of love will be radically decreased.
Of course, to prepare for such an onslaught facing Christ's church, God had a plan. That plan is the fifth of the Titus 2 qualities that God wants to be lived out in the godly older men. We find it in that second verse of Titus 2:
Titus 2:2 "that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience;" NKJV
Notice the proximity of "sound faith" (vs. the false doctrine) and "sound love" (vs. the defective love) in this passage. Paul was addressing a current and future need in the church.
God wants His love lived out in the personal lives of saints in Christ's church throughout all of its history.
· He wants each member of Christ's family to see soundness of love in action—starting with the older, godly men who are models and examples to the flock.
· Then, the Lord wants sound or healthy love experienced by each member, lived out each day, before a watching and often loveless world.
So, as we come to this fifth quality of godliness: how sound is your love? How tender is your heart? How full of Christ-like compassion are we? Do we have the healthy love that God says should always characterize us as believers?
Jesus told His disciples as He neared the end of their formal training that LOVE would be their identification badge in the world. His words are so clear. Look at Christ's expectations of us as we turn to the Gospel by John 13:34-35:
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
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