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The Sermon On The Mount

by George D. Knepper

June 26, 1958

Preached at Big Creek Church of Christ in Louisiana

(This is the sixth in a series of articles by Bro. Knepper from the Sermon on the Mount)


When we closed last night I was calling your attention to the fact that when we are born anew it means a great change – the upsetting of all of the past reactions to life, and the putting into practices in our lives those things that are new.  I want to reread a part of Ephesians 2 to bring us up to date.  Paul here in the Ephesian letter is calling the attention of those people to what they formerly were.  Ephesians 2: 1 “To you, who were spiritually dead all the time that you drifted along on the stream of this world’s ideas of living, obeyed its  unseen ruler (who is still operating in those who do not respond to the truth of God, to you Christ has given life!”

An unbelievable change!  An unimaginable change!  And folks, as I have said over and over again, that must show in my life.  I was spiritually dead, and Christ has given me life.  And if that hasn’t turned my life  completely the opposite of what it was, then I had better get down on my knees before God and find out what’s the matter.  Something is radically wrong.  No man can pass from that condition to the other one intimated here, without a tremendous change in his reaction to life.

Ephesians 2: 3-6 “We all lived like that in the past, and followed the impulses and imaginations of our evil nature being in fact under the wrath of God by nature, like everyone else.  But even though we were dead in our sins God was so rich in mercy that He gave us the very life of Christ (for it is, remember, by grace and not by achievement that you are saved), and has lifted us right out of the old life to take our place with him in Christ in the heavens.”

So we start off with that.  I called your attention to the fact that there was a time when we were drifting on the stream of time, just drifting along, reaching out and picking up little pieces of driftwood here and there – something that caught our eye or our attention and putting it into our lives, and our lives into it.  But as I told you last night, and I tell you again, that as you pass that door called death by man, and sleep by Christ – those things that you pick up, those earthly things will not pass that door with you.  You can’t

take them with you.  So folks, you can see the folly of putting my life into those things. You can see the folly of making those an end instead of a means.

But we’ve been lifted out of the old life. When you lift things which direction do they go? UP! And which road is up?  That straight and narrow road!  Which kingdom is up? The kingdom of Heaven!  And so he lifted us up, or lifted us out of this one kingdom, the animal kingdom, the kingdom of this world, into the kingdom of heaven.  And life has a completely new meaning. That is what we were thinking about before.

Ephesians  4:15 “Live life then, with a due sense of responsibility,  not as men who do not know the meaning and purpose of life, but as those who do.” 

Jesus put meaning  into life, purpose into life, when he lifted me up out of the kingdom of this world  into the  kingdom of heaven.   He has put meaning into this life and the fellow who doesn’t know that certainly needs to do some real, real thinking and praying.  Jesus put meaning and purpose into life.  We are no longer drifting.

Now, let me read a bit of scripture here that most people don’t believe.  They may give mental assent to it, but they don’t believe it exactly as it is written.  They don’t believe it like they do Acts 2:38 at all.

John 6:47 ”I most solemnly say to you, whoever believes in me posseses eternal life.” V 51.  “I am the living bread that has come down out of heaven:  if anyone eats this bread he will live forever, and the bread that I give for the life of the world is my own flesh.”

In verse 50 in your books he says he will not die, see death, taste of death.  That is what I mean when I say to you that we don’t believe that.  You don’t believe that if you possess certain things, eat this bread, this body, and drink this blood that you will never die. You say oh but everybody (dies)….. NO! Christ called that sleep.  You will never die. You!  The house in which you live may pass into a condition known as death, but you will not die.  We passed a house yesterday, and John said, “That’s where we use to live.  That’s not the house we lived in.  We tore down the house we lived in and moved to where we live now.”  Well, you can’t do that.  You are going to move out of the house you are living in now, but Jesus calls that sleep, not death.

The soul that sinneth IT shall die. That’s death.  Real death! You were dead in your trespasses and sins.  You were made alive and that is eternal life, and as long as you have eternal life you can’t put it to death.  That which is eternal does not cease to exist.  That is the horrible thing, the awful thing, the tragic thing about the rich man who had a man lay at his door day after day and he paid no attention to him, stuffed his own stomach, fed himself, and never paid any attention to that fellow lying there at his door needing medical help.  He never paid any attention.  It didn’t mean anything to him.  The horror, the terror, the awfulness of that, folks is this: that that man never ceased to exist.  That is the horror of hell. You don’t have to have any fire in hell if you don’t want it there.  The horror of hell will be that you have to live in the condition in which you passed into that state for ever and ever.  And Jesus meant just what he said. – no wonder Paul told the Ephesians that there is  a complete change.  You were dead, you were gathering little bits of driftwood, now you are alive.  Complete change.  Utterly!  And now things are different, values have changed completely.  That which is valuable there in the world, and as long as I stayed in it, it had value, when I am translated out of this world in to the kingdom of God’s dear son,  that ceases to have value only as I use it.  It doesn’t have to have value as I get it, but it has value as I give it.  That is what he is talking about, folks.  You have eternal life, and if you have eternal life now, you will never die in the sense that you will cease to exist.

There is a religious body that teaches soul-sleeping.  They say that   you cease to exist at what they call death, and sometime later on when Jesus brings the resurrection that you will come to life again.  That is absolute bunk! Don’t ever be caught in it.   The people are very active that teach that, and will try to get you to believe it, but don’t you believe it.  If you have eternal life it cannot die. That which is eternal, that which is infinite in you can’t die.  It goes on and on.  So now, in this stream of time, things are utterly changed.  As the Book says the things I once loved,  I now love no more.  The things I once put my life into, I don put my life into any more.  They don’t have value because what happened to me has completely changed all of that.  No wonder they said of the early disciples, “Here come those people that are turning the world upside down.” They were teaching just exactly the opposite of what those people were in the habit of being taught and the way that have been living down through the years.

We are preparing to go right on after we pass that door that people call death.  That’s what you are doing.  You are preparing to just go right on, not to suddenly stop because people talk about you being dead.   You will go right on existing and functioning in the Kingdom Heaven.  Jesus, after his resurrection, was as interested in people as much as he was before.  He was not changed. He had the same real yearning love for them.  Things didn’t stop or change.  Nothing changed for him after his resurrection.    He said to the disciples that doubted, “Touch me, feel me,  it is I”  they couldn’t believe it.  They thought it was some sort of spirit.  He said “It is I.” and they came to know him again, or to recognize him, because of the things they recognized in him before he “died.”

The purpose is  expressed in Ephesians 4:14 “We are not meant to remain children at the mercy  of every chance wind of teaching and the jockeying of men who are expert in the crafty presentation of lies.  But we are meant” – life has meaning now – “we are meant to hold firmly to the truth in love and to GROW UP IN EVERY WAY INTO CHRIST, THE HEAD.  For it is from the Head that the whole body, as a harmonious structure knit together by the joints with which is provided, grows by proper functioning of individual parts to its full maturity in love.”

If  you are not growing ask God  to help you find out what’s the matter, that you may not meet God face to face, having had years of opportunity to grow into maturity and still you are just a baby,  taking what God has to give you out of nursing bottle.  We are to grow.  That’s the purpose.  God wants us to grow that we may do those good deeds which he afore marked out for us to do.  In other words there’s something more to it than simply teaching.  I would not for the world minimize  the need and the power and the purpose of teaching, but if that’s all you get,  if that’s all you do, then may God have mercy on your soul.  If you never advance beyond teaching by word of mouth You have never grown up.

The Christian’s life is  a life of doing something.  This DO and thou shalt live.  Not just merely teaching or preaching or something like that.  Now we face the age-old question asked by the rich young ruler and the apostle Paul, Lord, what shall I do?”  Do you ask yourself that question?  Do I dare ask that question and mean it? Do I dare ask that question in all sincerity of heart? Thought?  What will you have me to do?  Not what will you have me to teach, particularly, but what will you have me to do?   That is the age old question and that is where you reach it.  You reach it when you have been lifted on to this new plane, on the plane of the kingdom of heaven, then the question  that should ring in every man’s  heart is,  “Now God you have lifted me into this new life, you have turned me on the great stream of time.  I was drifting before, just aimlessly drifting. Life didn’t have purpose or meaning.  Now God life has purpose and meaning, but O God  I’ve got to have help,  I‘ve got to have your help to know what I am to do.

When God answered that question to Paul, the first thing he said was not repent and be baptized at all.  If you will read the scriptures you will find that wasn’t what God said to him at first.  That was incidental.   That’s part of it, but the first thing God said to Paul was, “I’m going to send you far  hence to the Gentile.  I’m going to show what great things you will suffer for the kingdom of heaven.”  That is a strange way of introducing a man to his new life, isn’t it? What would a coward do if you told him that? Turn back!  And that would be the best thing for the church of Jesus Christ if he did.  If he (a person)  hasn’t got what it takes, then the best thing in the world that that person  is  to turn back because if he stays he is going to stand in the way of those who would enter,  just as the Pharisees did.  They wouldn’t go into the kingdom themselves and they prevented those who would go in.  So now we ask the question, “O God what will you have me to do?”  What am I to do now that my affections, my vitality, my talents, may be incorporated into the timeless stream of life.  How can I tie them in? My vitality, my affections, my powers to love, my talents – whatever they may be, and whatever yours may be, (Yours are probably different from what mine are), but whatever those talents are God, what am I to do, that they may be incorporated into this great stream of time down which I am passing?

Ephesians 5:17 ”Make the best use of your time despite al the difficulties of these days.  Don’t be vague but firmly grasp  what you know to be the will of God.”  When I do that, God will open up the rest of it.

Jesus reduced life in the kingdom of heaven to two great principles, and I mean that literally.  I mean absolutely that if I get them right all the rest will fall into pattern.  Oh, we make living a Christian life so complex, and so difficult.  The preacher stands up and tells us that we got to do this, or that or the other thing and  life becomes so complex  that we wonder  how in the world we are ever going to live it.  Jesus reduced living a Christian life, living a life on the plane of the kingdom of God, to just two great principles.  And if I get tem right,  I will have no difficulty with anything else that may come up.  I’d like to get that across if I can.  It is just man that muddles all this up. It is jut men that get all them mixed up.  It is just men that make this such a complex thing.  It’s just men dabbling a little bit here and there in God’s word, and never getting at the fundamentals.  The Sermon in the Mount is at the very center of God’s dealing with mankind.  The Sermon on the Mount is the center, the focus of all the rest of the Bible.  It (the Bible) focuses there.  And I am going to give you the word of Christ where he focuses there.

Matt 22:35-40  35 Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, 36 "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?" 37 Jesus said to him, "'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.'   38 This is the FIRST and great commandment.  39 And the SECOND is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'   40 On these TWO commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets." 

There it is folks!  You get those two right and your life will fall into a pattern, you will live on the level of the kingdom of heaven, you will function in that kingdom as God wants you to function.  I can’t tell you the details of your life, but I do know that if you do those two commandments   you will function as God wants you to function, and you will walk through that door men call death, unafraid to meet God face to face, unashamed in the presence of the eternal God. He reduces life in the kingdom of heaven to just two things. Thou shalt loved the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul mind and strength.  It’s all right there, folks.  I don’t care how much a preacher tries to add to it,  I don’t care how much a preacher tries to expand it and say you can’t do this and that or another thing. JESUS said  ALL the law and the prophets  hang on those  two things.  That is the purpose of life,  that’s the purpose for which God translated you out of the kingdom of this world  into the kingdom of God’s dear son that you may love the Lord thy God with all your heart soul mind and strength, and your neighbor  as yourself.

Now the first of those two principles is loving the invisible and the unchanging.  Loving God you are loving the invisible and unchanging.  The second principle is loving the visible and the variable.  Those two principles are indissolubly tied together. You cannot separate one from the other.  That is a very significant thing to know and understand.  Jesus tied those two things together so indissolubly that they will never be separated.   Those two go together.  They cannot be separated.  You can’t do one without the other.  You jus can’t do it.   Jesus said if you can’t love the brother you have seen, you can’t love the God you have not seen.  Jesus said it, not I.  He made it so direct that nobody in this room can misunderstand it.  You simply cannot love the God you haven’t seen unless you love the brother you have seen.  When you find brethren in Christ wrangling and quarrelling, exhibiting hate and envy and  jealousy, they are not lovers of God.  There is no argument here, they are not lovers of God.  They do not love god because Jesus said they can’t do it.   And when he tells me there is something I can’t do,  I make him a liar if I think I can do it.  Just ry to make him a liar!  Those two principles are tied together and cannot be separated.  And if you study the rest of the Sermon on the Mount beyond the beatitudes, you will find that Jesus is making that very, very clear and very, very plain.

Now we will start in again.  Loving God comes first.  “We love because he first loved us.”  That comes first!  However you cannot love God without it causing you to love your neighbor (fellow man).  It cannot be done.  It matters not who you are, or what you say about it,  you cannot love God  without it bringing into your life a great hunger  and thirst for loving your fellow man.  It cannot be done.  Because God is love, and hence God loves all the folk here on earth, and when you love God, you are going to love those whom he loves.  There is no excuse for our dodging or twisting or turning or trying to squirm around that..  There it stands for all time!

I Corinthians 15:33 “Don’t let yourselves be deceived. Talking about things that are not true is bound to be reflected in practical conduct.  Come back to your senses and don’t dabble in sinful doubts.  Remember that there are men who have plenty to say but have no knowledge of God.  You should be ashamed that  I have to write like that at all!”

Now when a man pauses to remember what God has done for us: He loved us when we were dead in trespasses and sin.  Christ died for us.  When a man remembers how much God has done for him, can you ever in your wildest dreams imagine   him not loving God for doing it? There would have to be something radically wrong in that man’s make up.  I don’t see how it could be that we wouldn’t love God who has done everything he can and everything he has done for us.

You say you love God.  The proof of that is the second commandment.  All the talking you want to do does not prove that you. love God.  I can make great boasts about it.

“I love you, Mother,’ said little John;

Then, forgetting his work, his camp went on,

And he was off to the garden swing,

Leaving his mother the wood to bring.

“I love you Mother,” said rosy Nell;

‘I love you better than tongue can tell;’

Then she teased and pouted full half the day,

Till her mother rejoiced when she went to play.

“I love you, Mother,” said little Fan;

‘Today I’ll help you all I can;

How glad I am he school doesn’t keep!’

So she rocked the baby till it fell asleep.

Then, stepping softly, she took the broom,

And swept the floor, and dusted the room;

Busy and happy  all day was she,

Helpful and cheerful as a child could be.

“I love you, Mother,” again they said –

Three little children going to bed.

How do you think that Mother guessed

Which of them really loved her best?

Joy Allison

It’s what you are DOING. Remember you can’t do anything to God himself.  Oh, my we’d do wonderful things! Sure!  If president Eisenhower would come to our town , we would do almost anything (especially up north, more than down here.)

The only way in this world I can do anything for God is to do it for those that he loves.  That is the reason that second commandment shows absolutely whether I love God or not.  There is mystic that goes into a deep contemplation of God and wants you to believe that he loves God.  Jesus wasn’t that sort of fellow.  He was right out there where there was the diseased and needy, unhealthy, blind, deaf, mutes and the lame.  He was right out there among those people doing for them.  Jesus has reduced what you are to do two to two great principles.  Thou shalt Love the Lord thy God with all they heart, soul, mind and strength,  (That’s all of you, isn’t it?)  and your neighbor as yourself.

Now here’s the “smart fellow.”  “Who is my neighbor?” he asks.  He is going to be so bright and “show up” Christ.  He was going to squirm around it.  Well, who is my neighbor?  And Jesus told him just who his neighbor is. My neighbor is the man in need.  He may not need bread and butter. He may need a word of encouragement.  He may need the grip of my hand.  I have gripped the hands of people that I felt by the way they gripped, they had a great need in their hearts.  Sometimes they have opened up their hearts to me so that I could give what little help I had to give.  Don’t ever try to squirm around that folks, it won’t work.  Your neighbor is the man who needs your help:  the person next to you.  And when  I am doing for these people down here, God’s love is flowing through me. See?  When I try to dam up God’s love in my life, what does it turn to?  Just like that water in the Dead Sea, it turns dead and fruitless and useless.  Let it flow through you and then you will live.

Romans 5:1-3 (Phillips) “Since then it is by faith that we are justified, let us grasp the fact that we have peace with God through or Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have confidently entered into this new relationship of grace, and here we take our stand, in happy certainty of the glorious things he has for us in the future. This doesn’t mean, of course, that we have only a hope of future joys – we can be full of joy here and now even in our trials and troubles.”

I like that.  We can be happy even here in our trials and troubles. We are to have peace, so Jesus told you, you must love even your enemies.  As long as there is any hatred or ill will area any feeling in your heart against anyone, even your worst enemy, you can’t have peace.  That must be torn out of your heart.  Jesus prayed for his enemies.  What did Stephen do for the fellows that were killing him?  “God, don’t lay this sin to their charge.” These are not jokes, folks, those are the fundamentals of living in Christ and if you want peace you will have to approximate what Jesus is talking about here.  I am not to hate my neighbor.

Romans 5:4-9 “ Taken in the right spirit these very things (trials and troubles) will give us patient endurance; this in turn  will develop a mature character, and a character of this sort produces a steady hope, a hope that will never disappoint us.  Already we have some experience of the love of God flooding through our hearts by the Holy Spirit given to us and we can see that it was while we were yet sinners that Christ died for sinful men. In human experience it is a rare thing for one man  to give his life for another, even if the latter  be a good man, though there have been a few who have had the courage to do it.  Yet the proof  of God’s amazing love is this: that it was while we were yet sinners that Christ died for us.   Moreover if he did that for us  while we were sinners, now that we are men justified by the shedding of his blood, what reason have we to fear the wrath of God?”

That’s when we have peace.  When there is no fear of the wrath of God now, we have peace.

Romans 5:10-11”If, while we were His enemies, Christ reconciled  us to God by dying for us,  surely  now that we are reconciled we may be perfectly certain if our salvation through His living in us. Nor, I am sure, is this a matter of bare  salvation – we may hold our heads high in the light of God’s love because of the reconciliation which  Christ has made.”

That’s how God loves us.

Romans 8:35ff.    Can anything separate us from the love of Christ?  Can trouble, pain or persecution?  Can lack of clothes and food, danger to life and limb, the threat of force of arms?  Indeed some of us know the truth of that ancient text: For thy sake we are killed all the daylong; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter.   No, in all those things we win an overwhelming victory through him who proved his love for us.  I have become absolutely convinced that neither death nor life, neither messenger of heaven nor monarch of earth, neither what happens today nor what may happen tomorrow, neither power from on high nor a power below, nor anything else in god’s whole world has any power to separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ our Lord.”

You will never read greater words than those in our life.  That’s how God loves us.  And I reciprocate that love by loving my neighbor as myself.

So what does all this have to do with meekness – you will never love your neighbor as yourself until you have achieved meekness.  How can anyone that can see and understand and comprehend and have any comprehension at all of what God has done for him,   not become meek. You are students in God’s school of discipline, and he is disciplining you to the point where you can love your neighbor as you love yourself.

The only way you can express this love for God adequately is by what you do for your fellow-man, and the proof of that love is in what you do for your fellow-man.  I don’t care who you are, nor how much you think you can do, you can’t do a thing for God.  He owns the universe and rules it. And directly you can’t do anything for him or to him.  But He loves men, women and children.  When somebody does something for your loved ones, what does it do for you?  You’d rather they would do it for them than for you, wouldn’t you? Sure, you would.  Well, do we think we are better than God?  When I help the suffering and maybe somebody slipping back into the world God is happy.  I can’t do this unless I am meek.  Any pretending, any pseudo-meekness on your part, any Uriah Heep or Milktoast or anything like that won’t work.  Any hypocrisy will result in helping the wrong ones.

James 1:21-22 “Have done, then, with impurity and every other evil which touches the lives of others and humbly accept the MESSAGE that God has sown in your hearts, and which can save your souls.  Don’t, I beg you, merely hear the MESSAGE but put it into practice.

I must get the impurities out of my life because it touches other lives and influence them.  I must not pretend but put into the practice what God is telling me.

James 1: 23-25 The man  who simply hears and DOES nothing about it is like a man catching the reflection of his own face in a mirror  He sees himself, it is true, but he goes on  with whatever he was doing without the slightest recollection of what sort of man he saw in the mirror.  But the man who looks into the perfect mirror of God’s Law, the Law of Liberty, and makes a habit of so doing, is not the man who sees and forgets.  He puts the Law into practice and he wins true happiness.”

That is the only way in this world you will lever win true happiness by putting this law of liberty (the MESSAGE), this law (MESSAGE) that affects the other man, this second commandment –treating your neighbor as yourself – in to practice

Let’s look at this something he calls love.  I’m told by men who have studied Greek that there area three different words that can be translated ‘love.’ The lowest one is for lowest sexual debasement, the next one  is one we call romantic love, and the third is the love that Christ talks about here.  So what is Christ talking about when he says “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”

I Corinthians 12:31 “You should set your hearts on the highest spiritual gifts, but I will show you what is the highest way of all.”

What is this highest way?       I Corinthians 13:1-3  If I were to speak with the combined eloquence of men and angels I should stir men like a fanfare of trumpets or the crashing of cymbals, but unless I had love, I should be nothing more.  If I had the gift of foretelling the future and had in my mind not only all human knowledge but the secrets of God, and if in addition, if I had that absolute faith  which can move mountains, but had not love, I tell you I should amount to nothing at all.  If I were to sell all my possession to feed the hungry, for my convictions allowed my body to be burned, and yet had no love, I should achieve precisely nothing”

Paul is not joking. He is not just talking to hear himself.  These are profound facts.  In very strong language that is understood by any literate person.  And as Phillips translates it there is no ducking around it and no one can say they don’t understand it.   I Corinthian 13:5-7  “This love of which I speak is slow to lose patience, it looks for a way to be constructive.  It is not possessive: it is neither anxious to impress nor does it cherish inflated ideas of its own importance.  Love has good manners and does not pursue selfish advantage.  It is not touchy.  It does not compile statistics of evil or gloat over the wickedness of other people. Love knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope: it can outlast anything. It is, in fact the one thing that still stands when all else has fallen.”

Don’t say “I don’t know” because you do know.  You must love your neighbor as yourself.  You know what you want. Do you want the best or the worst for yourself?   We can’t pretend we don’t know before God.

Hebrews 13:3 (Phillips)  “Think constantly of those in prison as if you were prisoners at their side.  Think, too, of all who suffer as if you shared the pain.”

I told you about that man in Louisville who came to me after a commencement address and told me that he spends his life visiting men in prison. He says he can go through LaGrange Prison (in Kentucky) any time and talk to prisoners.  He was a prisoner once himself, and he visits those men, talks with them, tells them about Christ and about what they can have if they accept Jesus Christ as a savior.  That’s love folks.  He gets no pay for it in money.

I’d like to show you what can happen now.  I’m going to show you from God’s word. If you refuse to love your neighbor as yourself you are going to love something, I’ll tell you that.  I don’t care who you are, you are going to love something, and the devil never rests in trying to get you to love the wrong things.  He’ll do with you, he’ll do it with me if he possibly can.  So I want to bring to your attention a number of things we are told not to love.

First in I Timothy 6:10  “For the love of money is a root to all kinds of evil: which some reaching after have been led astray from the faith, and have pierced themselves through with many arrows.”

What is dangerous to love? Money is a dangerous thing to love.  That is just what he is saying there.  You can come to love money! Paul tells Timothy “don’t do it!” because many have been led astray from the faith.  If you refuse to love your fellow man and let that love that God is pouring into you flow through you to your fellow-man you are going to love something, and it may be money

Now look at Luke 8:14 What are you warned not to love there? Or  warned what some people do love? “… And that which fell among the thorns, these are they that have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked  with cares and riches  and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit  to perfection.”

If you don’t let the love of God flow through you to your neighbor the cares and pleasures of this life may get your love. ( Also II Tim 3:4)

Look at John 3:19 “And this is the judgment that the light is come into the world and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their works were evil”

These people love darkness. Jesus said he was the light of the world. What is the reason they love darkness.  Their deeds are evil.  They are ashamed to do those deeds in the light.  They don’t want to stand out in the light of Christ.  I you don’t love Christ then you will love darkness.  Why did the Pharisees kill Christ?  They loved darkness.

John 12: 42-43 Nevertheless even of the rulers many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess it, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: for they loved the glory that is men rather than the glory this is of God..”

What does it say they loved?.. The praise of men!  Believe me that gets a lot of us poor little preachers, we love the praise of men, we want elder Goldfine back there to pat us on the back and say, “That was a wonderful sermon.”  If we preach God’s truth that man ought to hear, is he going to pat us on the back?  No! He‘s more apt to pat us like this (a slap on the cheek) And what are we to do? Hit him back? No you won’t. Just turn the other cheek. That’s meekness.

While we’re here take a look at verse 25 John 12:25 He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

What do they love? Their self.  Oh, you will fight this a lot. I don’t  look in the glass very much.  I don’t see anything very pretty when I look in there so I don’t look very much. But I’ve seen fellows that I think stood in front of the looking glass until they get every hair in place.  I think I’ve seen some of those fellows.  Who do they love?

I John 2:15 “Love not the world, neither the things in the world. If any man love the world the love of the Father is not in him.

They love the world and Satan is the ruler of the world. So when you love the world and the things in the world you have to put yourself under the power of the devil.  I’ll tell you that.

Now look at Matthew 10:37 Now you are not told not to love these, but you are told

37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.

Now turn to John 21:15.  Here you have a man being tested.  Now don’t ever let yourself be persuaded that Jesus is talking about whether Simon Peter loved Christ more than (he-Peter- loves) the rest of the disciples.
Think of what that would have been.             Think ( imagine) of Christ asking Peter if he (Peter) loved him (Christ) more that he loved Andrew, John, Thomas,etc.) Oh, no, he’s not that kind of Christ.  Jesus asked him three times, “Do you love me more than these?”  What have the disciples done after the resurrection? They went fishing. They have gone to the Sea of Galilee and went fishing. There they were with their boats and all their fishing gear and they had just made a great catch of fish.  So when Jesus asked the question he was saying, “ do you love me more than your boats, your fishing gear and the  great catch?” And he asks it three times.  So Peter is put through exquisite torture.  After the third time Peter said, “Lord you know everything, you know I love you.” (“tenderly love you..” Williams) And what did Christ reply? “Feed my seep, tend my sheep, feed my sheep,” did he tell him to ‘love God?’ Is that what he told him? Did he tell him to go into deep contemplation and try to imagine God in all his love. Did he tell him that?   He brought it right down to earth, didn’t he?  When he said, “Feed my sheep, feed my lambs. Folks that is the way you love God and show your love for him.  You love your neighbor as yourself. You cannot do anything for God directly.   My, oh my what we wouldn’t do for God if he would come down here!  What did he say there in Matthew 25 with all the nations gathered before him?  Matt 25:35-40  35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in;  36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.'  37 "Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?  38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You?  39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?'  40 And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'

Sure they would have done for their governor, for the king, for the rich, and God himself.  “In as much as you did it unto one of the least.. you did it unto me.”  Do you see why Jesus said the greatest command is to love God?  You will never love God until you love your fellow man  and you can’t love your fellow man without loving God.  These two commands cannot be separated. To express your love for God let God’s blessings flow through you to your fellow-man.  In this you make God happy and you can’t make me believe anything else.  When you do something for a little one, when you help some one sick and in need in the name of Christ you are making God happy.

1 Cor 13:1-3  Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

Let me tie this in with meekness.  You will never do those things without being meek, I’ll tell you that.  Until you are God-molded, God-tamed,  God trained  and God- tempered.  You’ve got to have that.  And believe me with some of us it takes a lot of God molding, God taming, training and tempering to get us to the place where we can love others as we love ourselves.

QUESTION: What about the King James Version , where it calls love ‘charity.’

ANSWER: That is one of the reasons why I don’t use the King James version. Because, as you know,  the meaning of words change.  Now back there, the word that was translated ‘charity’ when this King James  translation was made, ‘charity’ meant what we mean today by ‘love’.  It had exactly that meaning.  But today, what do we think of  ‘charity’?  It is not a good word is it?  None of us want to accept ‘charity’, do we? Any student of the language in which this was originally written, will tell you that the word which we now translate   ‘love’, back there at the time they translated it, ‘charity’ did not have the rather bad meaning.  That is the reason so far as I am personally concerned, I want to use an up-to-date translation. Now that King James translation has some wonderful things about it. The “Lord’s Prayer”  and the 23rd Psalm  are beautiful in that translation. But some of the words have changed their meaning down through the years. You could probably think of some words that have changed their meaning during your life time.  That King James translation was way back in 1600 and that is a good many years ago.  We don’t remember that far back do we? And things have changed languages.  Language is a living thing, see?  And consequently it’s changing its meaning all the time  and new things are coming in to make it change.

I have down here 1 John 3:14-18  4 We know that we have passed from death to life,  (and here’s the proof) because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. 15 Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? 18 My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth

Are you beginning to see  how much Christ can pack into a few words?  That’s the reason we know he is from God.  And that he speaks with authority.  And the words that he speaks are not his but are of the Father who sent him.  And it can only come from infinity.  I don’t care who he is, nor what writing it is, after about the second reading of what seemed at first to be a wonderful book has been exhausted.  You all have experienced that.  Perhaps it is a wonderful book the first time.  But when you read and study that book, do you ever get tired of it?  The more get, the more you want (when you read the words of Jesus).

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Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

2 corinthians 1:3-4