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Heart Temperature

  10/03/13 08:20, by , Categories: Church Life, Politics, Theology Lived, Pastors
"Because lawlessness is increased, most people's love will grow cold. (Matthew 24:12)

I've been detecting a cooling trend.  Now it is true that this morning the house was cold and the shower of leaves in the backyard tells me that winter is on the way, but that is not what is on my heart and mind.  It is a cooling of hearts that seems to have crept into the Body of Christ.  I notice it very clearly on my Facebook feed and it concerns me.  Cold hearts.  I'm not talking about an increasingly sinful world or the blatant lawlessness of our culture.  I'm talking about the response to that by Christians, Christ-followers, the ones of whom Christ himself said, ""By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:35). and "Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law." (Romans 13:8).  As seen in the opening verse, as lawlessness increases in the build up toward the return of Christ, many will abandon Agape Love.

 I watch this many days on my Facebook feeds as people I know as leaders in their churches or other ministries rail against society, sinners, and political opponents. Don't believe in gun rights? Condemned. Supporter of Obama? Condemned. Welfare? Don't get them started. I watch the president spoken of in incredible disrespectful terms and open mockery.  It doesn't matter that New Testament writers living under the depravity of Roman emperors told us to honor such leaders by virtue of their position, No Matter their qualifications.  We don't obey leaders over God, we don't have to support unjust, unBiblical, unethical decisions, but none of that requires treating others with contempt.  

"But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God;" (James 3:8-9)

Often times this railing against things is defended by those doing it as fervancy for God and a hatred for sin.  It is passion for God.  The problem is that Paul stated clearly, "If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. " (1 Corinthians 13:1-2).  Ok, wait a minute Hall, you are talking about enemies.  I see Obama as a fraud, those gay rights activists, those gun control people are trying to take away my rights.  They are the enemy.  

"You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.' "But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. "For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? "If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? (Matthew 5:43-47)

I fear that the love of many has grown cold because of lawlessness.  We are upset by the decay of the world, the rampant sin.  It makes us upset, angry, and we abandon the agape love of God and condemn the world for its sin.  We do this in the name of Christ, forgetting that Jesus said, "For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. " (John 3:17)

"But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. "Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. (Luke 6:35-36)

Has your love grown cold? When you get on Facebook, when you are with your nice Christian friends, is it easy to be so disgusted by the very sinful world we live in that you forget the grace and mercy shown to all of us dirty rotten sinners?  Is it easy to publicly (I consider Facebook public) condemn, insult, roast those with whom you disagree with politically and omit the loving offer of grace that is part of what it means to be Christ-like?

I know that we live in a pagan society, but I look at Daniel & his friends, Nehemiah, Esther, and Joseph who all served leaders who were throuroughly pagan.  How did they conduct themselves?  When Jesus was ministering, Israel was under the occupation and domination of Rome.  Roman emperors weren't known for their faith, constitutionality, or godliness, yet Jesus told people to pay their taxes.    Consider what Peter teaches us about Jesus and our own conduct.

"Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God. Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king. Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable. For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously;" (1 Peter 2:13-23)

As I said at the outset, I am dismayed by the tone of my Facebook feed.  I may have to hide some of my dear Christian brothers because I am tired of watching cursing, vitriol, sarcasm, anger, and impatience directed to enemies we are commanded to love.  Tongues used to curse men created in the image of God.  Voices raised not to proclaim the offer of grace, but to denounce and condemn sinfullness.  I get it.  The sin & lawlessness of this world gets to me too.  I just don't want my love to grow cold.  I don't want to give up on this sinful world before God does. "The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. " (2 Peter 3:9)  

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A look at life and ministry.

About the Author

After growing up in Maine, Ira graduated from Bible College and wandered into Western Maine and has never found his way back out. He has a deep love for the rural churches of Maine and the people who make up this great state. He loves Truth over Tradition, Christ over Culture, and People over Process. He love to equip, teach, and disciple and longs to see the Maine church grow healthy and make disciples.

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