Many false prophets will arise and mislead many. Because of lawlessness, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he shall be saved.Matthew 24:11-13
The love of many will grow cold, a word from our Lord Jesus Christ. A word that many will read and gloss over; will you? Will you pause, and wonder why you should care? Many love, and their love will wane, do you know anyone like this? How is your love? Do you have a responsibility to care about others whose love is waning, to grieve over their lost love, to remind them to return to their first love? Meanwhile, some will endure; are you enduring, or have you left your first love? How do the apostles follow up on this word from Jesus?
He has loved us with an everlasting love; He delights in hesed and in showing hesed to us. (New to the Hebrew word hesed? See here.). These everlasting truths are found all through Scripture, Old and New testaments; we must keep these truths present in our hearts and minds. Side note: in ancient philosophy there was only “heart and mind” as one inner man; later Greek philosophy tried to compartmentalize our inner man into separate entities–as though you could separate thoughts and feelings and intentions and desires… Hence the temptation to believe we could “love” God with our mind but not our heart, or “love” God with our heart but not our mind. What is the greatest command? To love the LORD our God with our whole being, without attempting to figure out the difference between “compartments” of our being. (Deuteronomy 6, heart-soul-might)
You who are spiritual, living by the Spirit, restore such a one; hating the garment polluted but pulling them back into the love, praying as Paul did that Jesus would dwell in their hearts through faith…reminding them that Jesus stands at the door knocking… Love in deed and truth, not merely by deed. Love apart from truth is not love. We are our brothers’ keeper.
Love speaks, and love acts
Our works do not earn God’s love, nothing does, it is freely given. In fact nothing matters–neither circumcision nor uncircumcision, but faith working through love! (Galatians 5:6 and 6:14-15). And when faith works through love, it will share words, and serve the one loved in deeds. (Galatians 6:1-5; Jude 23
It is said of Job in chapter 4 that he “admonished many” and “you have strengthened weak hands. Your words have helped the tottering to stand, and you have strengthened feeble knees.” What would your brothers and sisters in Christ say of you, your words and your deeds in the Body?
Likewise, in Hebrews 12 we are commanded to love one another enough to “strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.” This implies, of course, that we might think simply speaking God’s Word is good; yet there is a way of speaking that would take what is lame and put it out of joint. We ought to speak in such a way that it would “rather be healed.” How you speak matters, when you speak matters. God’s Spirit will lead us in this, we must not run ahead of Him attempting to simply use His Words in our own way.
Keep yourselves in His love!!! Jude 21 Keep reminding yourself, preaching His words to your soul, taking every thought captive and holding it up to His word. Believe His love, His unchanging-everlasting love. How many times do the Psalms remind us of this?
So much is taught in Scripture concerning the endurance He gives us, and our obedience in enduring to the end–books could be written. Here we will only walk through a few concepts from Romans concerning the means God has ordained that will lead to our endurance.
Romans 8, the Holy Spirit is at work in us to make us more like Jesus, to help us put to death the deeds of the flesh, to walk in His power and His ways, to enable us to call out to our Father in prayer, to help us in our weakness and keep us in His love. “But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us”
Romans 12, Instructions are given to His Body, concerning life in His Body and how we ought to care for and love one another. These cover our thoughts, words, our deeds, our purpose, our time and possessions, our service and honor toward one another, and our devotion. Whew.
Romans 15, The Word! He has given us His word to build us up, to grant us perseverance through His Spirit. This is how He gives us hope, and unity, joy and peace, fills us with goodness and knowledge, and the ability to admonish one another (in love!) and bear with the weaknesses of others while seeking to edify them. (cf also Acts 20, especially verse 32.
Romans 16:25-end He will establish you through the writings!
For the rest of the week, or month even, how about focusing on the Spiritual Discipline of meditation? True Christian meditation is to fill your mind with God’s thoughts, and to ponder them. We find His thoughts in Scripture, not “within myself” and certainly not any new revelation. Read, re-read, read slowly, write them out, focus on phrases before moving on…
“We have thought on Your hesed, O God, in the midst of Your temple.” Psalm 47:9
Hesed: steadfast, covenant-loyalty, promise-making-&-keeping, delighting, actively-caring-for, robust love.
And, if you are already thinking of what to ask for, for Christmas, put John Owen’s Communion with God at the top of your list. Setting our hearts on this communion is fruitful and delightful!
The love of many will grow cold, so let us be on alert, encourage one another toward love and good deeds, keep ourselves in His love, believe His love, and let ourselves be constrained by His love (2 Cor 5:14). Abide in His love.