This month has been about courageous love. We have tried to connect the fact that when we love, we are compelled to have the courage to risk ourselves for the benefit of those we love. Christ’s entire ministry was conducted with the risk (certainty in His case) that his loving but courageously firm actions would lead to his death. That death was for the world, yet would only spiritually benefit the few who would take advantage of it. Our text for today is Jeremiah 36:1-32. God had warned Jeremiah that his work and teaching would not be well received. In Jeremiah 1:10 that he would root out, pull down, destroy and throw down before he could build up and plant. Knowing his work would not be well received, the Lord told him in Jeremiah 1:16 to “gird up thy loins, speak what I command thee and be not dismayed at their faces…” There was no question about the courage of Jeremiah as he carried out the work of the Lord which led to his imprisonment (Jer. 37:4), his force removal from Jerusalem and some scholars say that he died at the hands of his brethren.
What I am interested in is the love of Jeremiah for these people who treated him so badly. As his love led him to pray on their behalf, God told him not to pray for this people (Jer. 14:11). As he sent the scroll to be read that would send him to prison, his thought was that it might bring them to repentance (Jer. 1:7). Brothers and sisters, courageous love does the difficult work of the Lord with the prayer and hope that it will bring men to repentance. Whether we are teaching the lost, restoring the erring or disciplining the rebellious, our love and courage go together.
Mike Glenn (e-bulletin 1-9)
Our e-bulletin text today comes from Judges 6 and 7 as these chapters record the events which brought Gideon to complete trust in God. As we speak this month about courageous love, we need to be reminded that one of the most important ingredients of courageous love is trust in God. As His children, we are willing to go to war in His army because we trust that He is with us, that He works all things for good and that he hears our prayers, Consider these points from the lessons in Gideon’s life.
- God had work for Gideon to do that would take courageous love including great trust in God. We like Gideon have much to do for God. Not only does it require dedication to persevere in our work, but we also must trust. Seeking God first sometimes involves risking our job or a friendship. But not seeking him first always risks our soul (actually loses it).
- God proved himself to Gideon. When Gideon questioned God about whether it was really Him speaking and wanted to see God’s power manifested, God obliged. God has always been willing to be put to the test (1 Thess. 5:21).In providing us the world as proof of His existence and His Word with all of its many avenues that prove itself to be His word, we can confidently believe and trust God.
- Gideon’s full trust came with experience by proof. Many do not give God a chance. We limit God with our lack of faith and willingness to accept the abundant proofs which he Has made available. God has never asked for blind faith, but he does expect reasoned acceptance of the obvious, i.e. His existence and the truth of the Bible.
- God measures by a different standard. I am sure that from Gideon’s viewpoint, he wanted all the men he had (and more) to fight the Midianites whose numbers were as “grasshoppers for multitude.” Even the souls under the altar in Revelation 6:10 were seeing that they were defeated until God took a hand. But for God, every soul that died for faith was a victory (Rev. 14:13). Let us try to learn God’s word so well that we judge from His viewpoint if we can.
- God plus His army, though small, is always victorious. Man does not always think about the part that God can play in any righteous endeavor and often we think very small. God sees great victories with small numbers. He never forgets that He is the one who make the difference in victory and defeat. Romans 8:31, “If God be for us, who can be against us?”
We can trust that God always takes care of us, in life or death. We can have courageous love.
Mike Glenn (e-bulletin 1-8)
Our text today is from Genesis 6:1-22. As Romans 15:4 teaches, we can learn much from the Old Testament characters. Noah has many great lessons to teach us, but today we focus on his courageous love.
- God records in our reading that the wickedness of man was great and that his thoughts were continually evil. But, not Noah. When men love, they are not wicked. When men consciously try to obey God, they love.
- The earth was corrupt (v. 11), but Noah was just and upright (v. 9). He stood alone, without encouragement from anyone outside his family. When someone is obeying God, those who are not often feel “judged.” This is often because their conscience tells them that those obeying God have chosen the right course (cf. Hebrews 11:7). Nevertheless, to soothe that conscience the ungodly often attack the work and character of the godly. With courage, the godly continue to stand with God.
- When one loves God, they also love the men around them (1 John 4:20-21). When you love those around you, you cannot let them lose their soul with trying to warn them. Noah was the only preacher of God in his day. He stood alone trying to save his fellow man from both spiritual and physical. The record of his preaching is not found in the account we are studying, but in 2 Peter 2:5.
May the wounds that we cause to others always be those which can make them safe before God. The wounds from a friend are true.
Mike Glenn (e-bulletin 1-6)
In Acts 4 and 5, the apostles certainly showed courageous love in their conduct during and in the aftermath of healing the lame man in Acts 3. This event led to greater opportunities to preach the gospel which led to the antagonistic questioning of the apostles by the Jewish leaders. Their courageous answer is burned into the hearts of studious Christians everywhere. Peter and John shared in giving this answer, “Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken to you more than to God, judge ye. For we cannot help but speak the things which we have seen and heard” 4:19-20). Many days, perhaps many weeks later (cf. 4:31-37), the apostles were again arrested for healing and preaching (5:14-18). Being released by an angel of the Lord, they went right back to preaching and were arrested yet again. Once more, their courageous answer to the Jewish leaders has become an encouraging cliché for Christians, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (5:29). I pray that you will take the time to read these two chapters of Acts and consider some possible lessons from these events.
- Our first object of courageous love is God. We must obey God rather than men. Since we know that God only asks of us those things that are good for all souls, we can confidently put Him first in our love and obedience. This confidence gives us the courage to take His will to a lost world.
- There will always be people who try to stop the truth from spreading. It will often be those who consider themselves followers of God as did Paul when he persecuted Christians. When we put on Christ (Gal. 3:26-27), we put on the image of one who courageously battles evil while lovingly trying to draw those overtaken by evil to himself (Matt. 23:37-39).
- Many will not want to hear the truth and will be angered by its preaching (5:33). Love preaches anyway.
- The greatest courageous love is to teach and preach in spite of authorities commanding against it. Souls we do not know but have chosen to love could be sacrificed to hell if we do not teach.
May all who belong to Christ have courageous love.
Mike Glenn (e-bulletin 1-5)
The story of Abigail recorded in 1 Samuel 25:1-44 is shared with many children because of her courage and loyalty to her husband. I think that there might be one or two items we can learn about courageous love from this event.
- Love is not always about a good feeling, but it is always about commitment. Apparently, Nabal was not a man that evoked good feelings toward himself from others. It seems that he was crude, self-centered and inhospitable. Yet, Abigail, as his wife, kept her commitment to his well-being. Courageous love reaches out and is persistent in striving to do the best even when the recipient of that love does nothing to deserve such care or compassion.
- A second thing we learn here is that courageous love acts without hesitation. When we have chosen to love, that commitment becomes part of us. Our mind, emotions and body, without a second thought, moves to perform whatever action is needed. Jesus died for us in anticipation of our salvation (Heb. 12:2-3).
- A third lesson is that courageous love does not consider self when others have a need. Abigail had no certainty that David would respond graciously to her pleas. She was willing to sacrifice herself in her efforts. When we act with such love to defend God’s people, or to teach the lost, we do not know the reaction we may receive. But we are willing to accept the possible consequences in order to achieve the right. Jesus taught this very idea in the sermon on the mount (Matthew 5:10-12).
Let’s each determine to have courageous love. The wounds from a friend are true and faithful.
Mike Glenn (e-bulletin 1-4)