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3:16.8 The Power of Love (1 John 3:16), part 4
One of the most annoying commercials I’ve heard was from a preacher yelling “IF YOU WANT TO HEAR ANOINTED PREACHING AND HEAR ANOINTED SINGING you should come to this church." Now, with all due respect to that minister and his church, I’m pretty sure he’s got it all wrong. He’s trying to say that his preaching and the singing of their church has a special “anointing” from God’s Spirit. But, that’s not how it works. As I read the Bible, How much we love is the true yardstick that God has given us to measure how much of His Spirit dwells within us.
The churches the Apostle John was writing to, were being challenged by certain individuals who were telling them they didn’t have, the “anointing,” because they lacked some special knowledge or experience. As John wrote to them he said: “I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. 27 As for you, THE ANOINTING YOU RECEIVED FROM HIM REMAINS IN YOU, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as His anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit — just as it has taught you, remain in Him.” 1 John 2:26-27.
I recently spoke with a man who told me he “prayed in tongues.” It became obvious during the conversation, he believed, that how much a person prayed in tongues was the “gauge” concerning how much of the Holy Spirit a person had within them. I explained to him that the Bible never used tongues (or any other spiritual gift, as important as they are), as a measuring stick of spirituality, even after the Day of Pentecost.
As the Apostle John, who was among those in the upper room on the Day of Pentecost, teaches us, the “measuring stick” of how much of God’s Spirit we have in our lives, is LOVE, nothing more, nothing less. Again, this is not to devalue to importance or value of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit or any of the Spiritual Gifts – but to highlight the absolute importance of love.
So, how can I tell how much I love? Well, look again with me at 1 John 3:16-18: “This is how we know what love is:” (This is our example) “Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And…” (so, we ought to follow His example) “… we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.”
Practically, how do we do that? “17 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” That is what Christ taught His disciples and His earliest followers. Now, by contrast, RELIGION teaches, that, doctrine and worship are the highest priorities. Anything that interferes with doctrine or worship for “religious people” is set aside.
Diet Emam (author of Things We Couldn’t Say) told the story about a rail line that ran nearby and was used by the Nazis to transport boxcars jammed with Jews and other “undesirables.” They were on their way to the death camps in the east. Many times, the trains were sidetracked for hours while the miserable people begged pitifully for food, water and mercy. There were no bathroom facilities for the journey, which could last four days or longer.
Nearby, I’m told, was a small church located close enough to the rail line to hear the cries coming from within the boxcars. The church people attending services were deeply disturbed by these mournful “distractions,” and so, they began singing more loudly so they wouldn’t have to hear them. I would submit that, these were “religious” people.
Medication: A Merry Heart
After having dug to a depth of 10 feet last year, New York scientists found traces of copper wire dating back 100 years and came to the conclusion that their ancestors already had a telephone network more than 100 years ago.
Not to be outdone by the New Yorkers, in the weeks that followed, a California archaeologist dug to a depth of 20 feet, and shortly after, a story in the LA Times read: "California archaeologists, finding traces of 200 year old copper wire, have concluded that their ancestors already had an advanced high-tech communications network a hundred years earlier than the New Yorkers."
One week later, The Coon Valley Journal, a local newspaper in Wisconsin, reported the following: After digging as deep as 30 feet in his pasture near Coon Valley, Wis., Ole Olson, a self-taught archaeologist, reported that he found absolutely nothing. Ole has therefore concluded that 300 years ago, Wisconsin had already gone wireless.
St Mark’s Community Church, Janesville
Verse of the Week: Exodus 20:7
Today’s readings: Proverbs 13 – 15