Following along on our earlier post regarding how the knowledge of the Love of Christ exceeds knowledge for its own sake, there comes this “amen” from Brother Sparks -
May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. (1 Thessalonians 3:12 NIV)
Love for those of our own company may not be so difficult. But the Word adds “and toward all men.” That goes deeper. I have of late felt more deeply and strongly than ever before the force of very familiar words – “Knowledge puffeth up, but love buildeth up” (1 Cor. 8:1), and other words such as “maketh the increase of the body unto the building up of itself in love” (Eph. 4:16). If we are going to be affected by that which is present in other people, all those features in Christians and in Christian work and activity which are repugnant to us, we are going to close up and withdraw in heart and nothing is going to be done in the way of mutual helpfulness and edification. Again and again the very practical question arises – because of this or that which we meet in another can anything be done, is anything possible? And very often, in the acute consciousness of so much that appears on the surface, we have revolted against it; and then, going to the Lord about it and facing it out with Him, we have been enabled to go on, and something has happened and the Lord has wrought, and we have been surprised, and rebuked for our original offendedness. We have to look through all that to the heart, and be reminded every time that the Lord looks on the heart. We are looking on all this which is largely the result of ignorance, lack of proper teaching and so on, and this can offend us. But the Lord looks on the heart; He sees if there is something deep down under all these preponderances, if there is a real heart love for Himself, and He knows if this is really the endeavor to express that love.
There may be misapprehension, there may be ignorance, there may be other causes, but this which offends us is, on the part of those concerned, their way of showing their love for the Lord, and we must not be turned aside – we must get close to them and find what possibilities there are for the Lord. He is going on, He is not giving up; He is making all He possibly can of the least bit of heart love for Himself and for all men. The challenge of this is very practical and very searching for us.
Now the Word has much to say about learning and teaching and instruction and this stands on its own, so we are not against this in any way. Yet against this it sets this whole idea that there is something more important, something infinitely deeper still, and it is the knowledge through expression of the love of Christ. We must remember that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil still stands, and under its shade are many religious people, and its free hanging fruit has poisoned many and divided many from their brethren. This was the error of the scribes and pharisees and so many of us today. We think perhaps if we become Greek or Hebrew scholars, if we memorize verses, if we spent countless hours with the printed word we will enter into the very fullness of God. We raise up teachers over us, guides, experts, professionals who “know” the Word, or suppose they do. And the end result is that Christianity has become more of a classroom than a wilderness trail where life beats back the death all around it. The cross has become little more than a badge, a uni-dimensional symbol rather than a two-edged dividing line between flesh and spirit. Jesus, a teacher (which He most definitely is) rather than a living, animating expression of the life of God within us.
Knowledge alone leads to pride, to an inflated sense of importance and fruitfulness, whereas love builds something – the body, the family of God.
If we persist in uniting around concepts, doctrines, ideas, and not Christ Himself, then the enemy has already won. Lucifer was smart, clever, cunning, ingenious, full of knowledge, and this spirit permeates this world, including so much of the testimony of Christ in our day.
Books, articles, journals, teachings, seminaries, schools, teachers, personalities, stadiums full of stupefied sheep who hang on every word of the clever and charismatic man or woman at the front.
Dear saints – love holds a knowledge and wisdom all of its own. It does what merely knowing things can never do. It enters the heart and the life, not just the head. It penetrates soul and spirit and body, changing everything it touches, deeply and forever. Love builds the house whereas knowledge can only tell you how many rooms and windows it has.
This is a deep matter dear ones – may the Spirit bring it near to our hearts and lives in this dark hour.
With love -
Filed under: Being Ready, Bride of Christ, Exhortation, Jesus Christ, The Fullness of Christ