Nevertheless I have somewhat against you, because you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you are fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto you quickly, and will remove your lampstand out of its place, except you repent. (Revelation 2:4-5 KJ2000)
This is a sobering warning from the Lord Jesus to His church at the end of the first century. This church was doing everything that He wanted of them, but one thing. In their zeal for the Lord, the “things” of “doing church” had replaced their love for Him and for one another. Sound familiar?
But, God is doing something to remedy that problem. How many of you have felt this special move of God in your hearts, lately? It is like a river flowing out of your belly… a river of His great love that seems to have no end and who’s intensity just keeps growing! God seems to have sent His Spirit into us to restore the love we once had in those early days when Jesus first came into and made His abode in us. I have been totally taken by the love of the Lord over the last few weeks! It is so strong and it is flowing out of me for all who He puts me in touch with, even on the internet!
Well, as I have shared this experience with a few others that He put me in touch with in a special way, it turns out that they are also feeling this within them– an artesian force that can’t be contained. Jesus told the woman at the well, “…whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst; the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life”(John 4:14 RSVA – emphasis added). In John chapter seven we read,
In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believes on me, as the scripture has said, out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.” (But this spoke he of the Spirit, whom they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Spirit was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) (John 7:37-39 KJ2000).
Yes, this flow is of the Spirit of God and the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace… I have been experiencing all of these aspects of His fruit flowing out of me and it is exciting, but the most intense of them is His love and with it the joy of the Lord springs up in me as well. This river is His healing power for dry and thirsty souls.
In Psalms we read, “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God will help her right early.”(Psalms 46:4-5 RSVA). You see, with this river of love comes great joy that makes us so glad to be in the City of God and among His people! Now couple this last passage with what David says here, “How precious is thy steadfast love, O God! The children of men take refuge in the shadow of thy wings. They feast on the abundance of thy house, and thou givest them drink from the river of thy delights. For with thee is the fountain of life; in thy light do we see light.”(Psalms 36:7-9 RSVA). Here we see the love of God, the river of God, and His fountain of living water which brings Light and Life! It is all the same flow coming down from the throne of God and flowing out from we who are IN the flow of His Spirit as His individual streams that make up the river.
Ezekiel saw this river (see chapter 47) and John saw this river in his vision of heaven,
Then he showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. (Revelation 22:1-2 RSVA)
So, as I contemplated how this love of God flowed from me to those who were also in the river it was like it was a continuum that replenished itself. The more I let his love flow through me the more I got! My stream of love flowed into them and theirs flowed into me and the love has just kept building and increasing! It has been like Jesus said in Luke, “Give, and it shall be given to you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall be given into your bosom: for with the same measure with which ye mete it shall be measured to you again.”(Luke 6:38 Darby). Sometimes my “bosom,” my breast, feels like it is about to explode if I try to hold it all in!!!
For the first time I am starting to understand the depth of what Jesus was saying here in John…
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you: continue you in my love. If you keep my commandments, you shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That you love one another, as I have loved you. (John 15:9-12 KJ2000)
Where the love of the Father abides in us, His fullness of joy will also be there with it. What is His commandment that we are to keep? “This is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you.” We abide in Him… by abiding in His great flow of love for each other!
While meditating on all these things, I got this picture of a flow that was circular… there are these rivers that flow in a circle in water parks in our area. They flow in a circle and are moved along by large pumps and underwater jets from the pumps. I saw this as the flow of love as I have been experiencing it. The love flows from me to the next person down stream. Did it originate from me? Yes and no. The flow originated from the Father and the Son and the love that they have for one another and it spills forth onto us and then through us to others and then back to them again from our love filled hearts. John in his first letter wrote,
And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love; and he that dwells in love dwells in God, and God in him. In this is our love made perfect… because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love… He that fears is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us.(1 John 4:16-19 KJ2000)
So we see here that the “pump” that makes this river of love flow is the love of the Father and the Son and as WE dwell in the flow of their love we dwell IN THEM and are made perfect in their love. As His body we become like Jesus to this thirsty world by letting the love of the Father and the Son flow to them through us.
The next is one of my most favorite passages in the Bible… Jesus final prayer to the Father,
“… that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. The glory which thou hast given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and thou in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them even as thou hast loved me.”(John 17:21-23 RSVA – emphasis added)
We just read above that we are made perfect in the love of the Father and the Son. Now we see Jesus saying the same thing calling it being ONE. If a pitcher or a cistern is broken it is no longer perfect and good for nothing for it can hold no water (see Jer. 2:12-13). Through God’s love for us, we are being made into perfect vessels of His love from which He can pour us out on the thirsty and loveless world around us. It is in this same love as we abide in it that we are made perfectly ONE. We as the Bride of Christ are making ourselves ready for His soon return by fellowshipping and abiding IN His Love!
Do you want to evangelize the world?
Only as we are in the unity of the love of the Father and the Son will the world know that the Father has sent the Son and how much HE loves them. When our evangelism is just so many empty platitudes and throwing scriptures at people without the love of the Father flowing through us to then, they will never see the Son for who He is and love Him because He first loves them.
So, dear saints of God, pray that God might open up your hearts and heal you of anything in you that blocks the flow of His great grace and love for your fellow members of Christ’s body and for all who are starving for a touch from the Father’s loving heart. And as He heals you of your wounds you will be amazed at the love He pours through you for people that you once hated and disliked.
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you, and persecute you; That you may be the children of your Father who is in heaven… (Matt. 5:44-45)