KEEP YOURSELF IN THE LOVE OF GOD !!!
by David Wilkerson
"Ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in
the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of
our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life"
As I read these verses in Jude, I heard the Spirit quietly whisper to me:
"David, I want you to enter the fullness and joy of my love. You have the
theology right. But you haven't yet experienced the true rest of soul that
comes with keeping yourself in my love. Up to now, you've only been in it up
to your ankles. There is a whole ocean of my love for you to swim in."
The Bible is filled with the truth of God's love. Yet I admit that at times
I allow myself to wonder how the Lord could ever love me. It's not that I
doubt his love. It's more a failure on my part to keep myself in the
knowledge and assurance of his love to me.
That is the reason I'm writing this message. I sense right now that God
wants multitudes of Christians to know more about being kept in his love.
And the first thing I want to say is: The love of God has to be revealed to
us by the Holy Ghost.
The revelation of God's love comes in part when we are born again. If you
were to ask most Christians what they know of God's love for them, they
would answer, "I know God loves me
because he gave his Son to die for me." They would quote John 3:16, "God so
loved the world, he gave his only son, so that whoever believes in him
wouldn't perish, but would have everlasting life."
It's a wonderful moment when you grasp this truth. You suddenly realize,
"God loved me when I was lost, undone, a stranger. And he proved his love
for me by sacrificing his own Son on my behalf." Few Christians, however,
learn how to be kept in God's love. We know something of love toward God,
but we seldom seek the revelation of his love for us. If you asked most
Christians to find Bible passages on God's love for us, they could point to
only a few.
Yet understanding God's love is the secret to an overcoming life.
Multitudes grow spiritually cold because they're ignorant of God's love for
them. They don't know that their greatest weapon against Satan's attacks is
to be fully convinced of his love, which comes through the revelation of the
God loves his people with the very same love he has for Jesus, who sits at
his right hand.
In his final prayer on earth, Jesus said, "Father...thou lovedst me before
the foundation of the World" (John 17:24). What an incredible thought.
Christ was greatly loved by the Father before creation! Before anything was
placed in the cosmos - before any planet was formed, before the sun, moon or
stars came into being, before the earth was made, before the creation of
man - Jesus was loved by the Father.
Then Jesus prayed this remarkable prayer: "Thou, Father...hast loved them,
as thou hast loved me" (17:21, 23). He also prayed, "That the love
where-with thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them" (17:26). Christ
was saying, "Father, I know you're going to love those I bring into my body,
just the way you've loved me."
According to Jesus, in the Father's eyes Christ and his church are one.
Paul illustrates this with the analogy of a human body. He says Christ is
the head, and we're his body - bone of his bone, flesh of his flesh. "(God)
hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all
things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth
all in all" (Ephesians 1:22-23). "We are
members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones" (5:30).
Do you see the implication here? When the Father loved Jesus in eternity,
he loved us, too. Indeed, when man was but a thought in God's eternal mind,
the Lord was already numbering our parts and planning our redemption.
"According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world,
we should be holy and without blame before him in love" (Ephesians.1:4).
"Thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I
was upon my mother's breasts. I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art
my God from my mother's belly"
"Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect [unformed]; and in
thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned,
when as yet there was none of them" (139:16).
In this last passage, David is saying, "Even before I was formed, you knew
me, Lord. You had all my parts marked down beforehand."
God has always loved both his Son and us. His love is as everlasting as he
is: "I have loved thee with an everlasting love" (Jeremiah 31:3). "God, even
our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation"
(2 Thessalonians 2:16).
Nobody can gain God's love, not by any godly thing he or she does. Jesus
didn't earn his Father's love by going to the cross, or by his obedience, or
by loving his Father. Likewise, God didn't start loving you the day you
repented and received Christ as Lord. He didn't suddenly love you once you
began to obey his Word and walk in the Spirit. You were already loved from
How long has God loved you? He has loved you since he has existed, because
God is love. It is his very nature. He loved you as a sinner. He loved you
in the womb. He loved you before the world began. There was no beginning to
God's love for you, and there is no end to it.
When will God stop loving you? He'll stop only if he stops loving his own
Son, which is impossible. Christ says, "The Father, having loved his own
which were in the world, he loved them unto the end" (John 13:1). Now we can
better understand what Jude is saying when he instructs, "Keep
yourselves in the love of God." He's telling us, "Keep this truth. Lay hold
of it and never let it go. The knowledge of God's love is meant for your
comfort, your strength. It will set you free and keep you free."
John adds, "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us,
and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins... We love him, because
he first loved us" (1 John 4:10, 19).
To keep yourself in the love of God is to know, believe and keep trusting
in his love even in your struggles.
Anyone can keep his joy when he's riding high in the Holy Ghost. But God
wants us to keep ourselves in his love at all times - especially in our
trials and temptations. John tells us how we can keep ourselves in God's
love: "We have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love;
and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him" (1 John 4:16).
In short, if we "dwell in God's love," we will keep ourselves in his love.
The word "dwell" here means "to stay in a state of expectancy." In short,
God wants us to expect his love to be renewed to us every day. We're to live
daily in the knowledge that God has always loved us and will always love us.
In reality, most of us flit in and out of God's love according to our
emotional ups and downs. We feel safe in his love only if we've "done well"
in our walk with him. But we're unsure of his love whenever we're tempted or
tried, or in those times when we fail him.
Beloved, that's especially the time we're to trust in his love. He is
telling us in these passages, "No matter what trial you face, you must never
doubt my love for you. If you're actively trusting in my love, then you're
living the way I want you to live." Are you enduring some great temptation?
Have you been overcome by some old lust you hate? Is your marriage in
turmoil, your family in chaos?
These are the times you need most to keep yourself in the love of God. You
have to know that, through it all, the eternal Father is still loving you.
You may wonder, "Do you mean that, in loving me, God simply over-looks my
failures? Does he turn a blind eye to my sin?" Of course he doesn't. He'll
chasten you with his rod, but he always keeps his children in his great
love. "Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth" (Hebrews 12:6).
One reason God shows us his love in our weak and sinful times is to draw us
back to himself. Jeremiah 31 offers a wonderful illustration of God's love.
Israel was in a backslidden state. The people had grown fat and prosperous
and were indulging in all kinds of wickedness. They had
turned to idols and were committing fornication and adultery. They had
forgotten all about the tender mercies God had shown them.
Then suddenly their lusts turned sour. They lost all pleasure in fulfilling
their sensual appetites. Now they cried out, "Lord, we're lost. We need you
to turn us around." God heard their cry of repentance, and his loving heart
went out to them. He chastened the people with his rod of correction, and
Israel cried, "Thou hast chastised me...turn thou me, and I shall be
turned... Surely after that I was turned, I repented" (Jeremiah 31:18-19).
Listen to God's words at this point: "Since I spake against him, I do
earnestly remember him still: therefore my bowels are troubled for him; I
will surely have mercy upon him" (31:20). "With lovingkindness have I drawn
Here is what you must know of God's love. God was telling his people: "I
had to chasten you and speak hard words of truth to you. Yet even then you
sinned against me, doing despite to the grace and mercy I extended to you.
You turned against my love, rejecting me. Nevertheless, my bowels of
compassion were moved deeply toward you. I remembered you in your struggle.
And I will surely have mercy on you. I will freely forgive and restore you."
In Hosea 3, God likens backslidden Israel to an adulteress. He tells Hosea,
"Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress, according to
the love of the Lord toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods"
God was instructing Hosea to give Israel an illustrated sermon on his love
for them, even as they were cheating on him.
The Lord was saying to his people, "You've sinned against me blatantly,
like a prostitute walking the streets. But you're still married to me, and I
love you. I will be for you. Now, you be for me."
I saw this kind of unconditional, restoring love in a letter sent to us
recently by a dear sister in Christ. She wrote, "A year ago, when I was
involved in an adulterous affair, I wrote you an anonymous letter asking for
prayer. I was in such torment because of the deceit in my life. I am truly
born again, and the Holy Spirit was dealing with me.
"I have now been restored to my husband and to my wonderful Lord. We really
needed healing in many areas of our marriage after forty-three years
together. Your messages convicted me so, and also encouraged me to keep
trusting in the love of God. I've learned now more than ever how much God
God's love has had a powerful effect on this woman. Yet being ignorant of
God's love can have just the opposite effect. Consider this letter written
by another woman: "I have so often felt that God was out to get me. I felt
he wanted to punish me for everything I did. Therefore, I was harsh and mean
to others, trying to whip them into line. Now I just want to run to his
mercy seat to receive his love,
and to show his love to others. I'm tired of being so judgmental." Thank
God! She desires to be kept in the Father's love.
Beloved, the love of God is conveyed to us only through Jesus Christ.
According to John, all of God's love dwells in Jesus: "Of his fullness have
all we received" (John 1:16). You may ask, "What's so important about
knowing that God's love is conveyed to us through Christ? How does this
affect our everyday lives?"
This knowledge is more than just a biblical concept. Knowing that God's
love is conveyed to us through Jesus has everything to do with how we keep
ourselves in his love. You see, it's not enough for me to know that God will
always love me and won't stop loving me through all my struggles. He also
wants his love to have a certain effect on me.
So, how exactly does God's love impact our lives? We can't look to man's
example. There are licentious Christians who would turn the revelation of
God's love into a license to sin. They convince themselves, "God loves me
unconditionally. He has to keep loving me in spite of all my drinking,
adultery and pleasure-seeking. His grace is greater than my sins." Such
people do despite to God's love.
We have to look to Christ as our example. Jesus has already told us the
Father loves us in the same way he loved the Son. So, what impact did the
Father's love have on Jesus?
The fruit of the Father's love was in Jesus presenting his body as a living
sacrifice for others.
John writes, "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his
life for us" (1 John 3:16). Here was the fruit of God's love in Jesus. He
gave himself as a sacrifice for others. The second half of this verse tells
us the purpose of God's love in our own lives. It reads, "And we ought to
lay down our lives for the brethren" (3:16). God's love leads us also to
present our bodies as living sacrifices.
Have you ever thought about what it means to truly lay down your life for
your brothers and sisters? Paul isn't talking about becoming martyrs on
foreign soil. He isn't referring to being an organ donor. He doesn't mean
we're to take the place of some condemned criminal on death row. Christ
made that sacrifice.
No, the only kind of Christian who can bring life and hope to his brethren
is a "dead" one. Such a servant has died to this world - to all self, pride
and ambition. And he has resigned himself to the holy will of God.
The "dead" Christian has allowed the Holy Ghost to take a spiritual
inventory of his soul. This believer sees the corruption and ungodliness
that are present in his heart. So he willingly goes to God's altar crying,
"Lord, consume me. Take it all." He knows that only by being cleansed
Christ's blood can he give his life for his brethren.
This is the single most important truth that enables me to continue in
spiritual warfare. If I am fully persuaded that God is faithful to forgive
and restore me, I will have the power to resist all temptation. I will know
he is with me, no matter what I face. And I'll know he loves me through it
I may fall occasionally. But I know he'll be waiting for me at the end of
the struggle. And I will emerge loved by him. Will you believe his love for
you, dear one? Be kept in his love by believing his love for you. Amen!
Has this message blessed you?
Then share it with friends!
David Wilkerson - World Challenge