Let Us Provoke unto Love.
X.—24. And let us consider one another, to provoke unto love and good works.
We have had the fulness of faith in which we are to draw nigh, and the confession of hope we are to hold fast; now follows the third of the sister graces: Let us consider one another—let us prove our love and care for each other in the effort—to provoke unto love and good works. These three thoughts form tho subdivisions of the practical part of the Epistle. Chap. xi. may well be headed, The fulness of faith; chap. xii. 1-14, The patience of hope; and chap, xiii., Love and good works.
And let us consider one another. He that enters into the Holiest enters into the home of eternal love; the air he breathes there is love; the highest blessing he can receive there is a heart in which the love of God is shed abroad in power by the Holy Ghost, and which is on the path to be made perfect in love. That thou mayegt know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of Ood—remember this, Faith and hope shall pass away, but love abideth ever. The chief of these is love.
Let us consider one another. When first we seek the entrance into the Holiest, the thought is mostly of ourselves. And when we have entered in in faith, it is as if it is all we can do to stand before God, and wait on Him for what Ho has promised to do for us. But it is not long before we perceive that the Holiest and the Lamb are not for us alone; that there are others within with whom it is blessed to have fellowship in praising God; that there are some without who need our help to be brought in. It is into the love of God that we have had access given us; that love enters our hearts; and we see ourselves called to live like Christ in entire devotion to those around us.
Let us consider one another. All the redeemed form one body. Each one is dependent on the other, each one is for the welfare of the other. Let us beware of the self-deception that thinks it possible to enter the Holiest, into the nearest intercourse with God, in the spirit of selfishness. It cannot be. The new and living way Jesus opened up is the way of self-sacrificing love. The entrance into the Holiest is given to us as priests, there to be filled with the Spirit and the love of Christ, and to go out and bring God's blessing to others.
liet us consider one another. The same Spirit that said, Consider Christ Jesus—take time, and give attention to know Him well—says to us, Consider one another — take time, and give attention to know the needs of your brethren around you. How many are there whose circumstances are so unfavourable, whose knowledge is so limited, whose whole life is so hopeless, that there is but little prospect of their ever attaining the better life. For them there is but one thing to be done: We that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Each one who begins to see what the blessedness is of a life in the full surrender to Christ, should offer himself to Christ, to be made His messenger to the feeble and the weary.
Consider one another, to provoke unto love and good works.—Love and good works: These are to be the aim of the Church in the exercise of its fellowship. Everything that can hinder love is to be sacrificed and set aside. Everything that can promote, and prove, and provoke others to, love is to be studied and performed. And with love good works too. The Church has been redeemed by Christ, to prove to the world what power Ho has to cleanse from sin, to conquer evil, to restore to holiness and to goodness. Let us consider one another, in every possible way, to provoke, to stir up, to help to love and good works.
The chief thought is this: Life in the Holiest must be a life of love. As earnest as the injunction, Let us draw nigh in fulness of faith, Let us hold fast the confession of our hope, is this, Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works. God is love. And all He has done for us in His Son, as revealed in this Epistle, is love. And Christ is love. And there can be no real access to God as a union with Him in His holy will, no real communion with Him, but in the Spirit of love. Our entering into the Holiest is mere imagination, if we do not yield ourselves to the love of God in Christ, to be filled and used for the welfare and joy of our fellow-men.
0 Christian! study what love is. Study it in the word, in Christ, in God. As thou seest Him to be an ever-flowing fountain of all goodness, who has His very being and glory in this, that He lives in all that exists, and communicates to all His own blessedness and perfection as far as they are capable of it, thou wilt learn to acknowledge that he that loveth not hath not known God. And thou wilt learn, too, to admit more deeply and truly than ever before, that no effort of thy will can bring forth love; it must be given thee from above. This will become to thco one of tho chief joys and beauties of the Holiest of All, that there thou canst wait on the God of love to fill thee with His love. God hath the power to shed abroad His love in our hearts, by the Holy Spirit given unto us. He has promised to give Christ so dwelling in our heart by faith, that we shall be rooted and grounded in love, and know and have in us something of a love that passeth knowledge. The very atmosphere of the Holiest is love. Just as I breathe in the air in which I live, so the soul that abides in the presence of God breathes the air of the upper world. The promise held out to us, and the hour of its fulfilment, will come, when the love of God will be perfected in us, and we are made perfect in love. Nowhere can this be but in the Holiest; but there most surely. Let us draw nigh in the fulness of faith, and consider one another. While we are only thinking of others to bring God's love to them, we shall find God thinking of us, and filling us with it.
What a difference it would make in the world if every believer were to give himself with his whole heart to live for his fellow-men! What a difference to his own life, as he yielded himself to God's saving love in its striving for souls! What a difference to all our Christian agencies, suffering for want of devoted, whole-hearted helpers! What a difference to our churches, as they rose to know what they have been gathered for! What a difference to thousands of lost ones, who would learn with wonder what love there is in God's children, what power and blessing in that love! Let us consider one another.
1. It is the very essence, the beauty, and the glory of the salvation of Christ, that It is for all. He that truly receives it, as the Holy Spirit glves It, receives it as a salvation for all, and feels himself impelled to communicate It to others. The baptism of fire is a baptism of redeeming love, but that not as a mere emotion, but a power at once to consider and to care for others.
2. How impossible to love others and glve all for them in our strength I This is one of the real gifts to be waited for in the Holiest of All, to be received in the power of the Pentecostal Spirit —the love of God so shed abroad in the heart, that we spontaneously, unceasingly, joyfully love, because It is our very nature.