Rabbi Schneider - Learn to Develop God's Love
These prayers that are recorded for us in the New Testament that the apostles prayed have eternal value, because the things that the apostles prayed for beloved, in the New Testament, are the things that are most important to God in terms of our spiritual development. There are many things that are important to God in our life, but the most important things are those things that pertain to our inner man and to our development into Yeshua's character. And these Apostolic prayers are prayers that develop us into the very likeness of Jesus Himself. And when we focus on these prayers in our own prayer life the result is that we get transformed through the power of the Holy Spirit according to the will of God. So I encourage you to not just approach these as a series of sermons, but to really take to heart beloved ones, what I'm sharing and make the object of these Apostolic prayer focuses in your own prayer life. Let's just invite the Holy Spirit in right now to circumcise our hearts and to change us through the preaching of His word.
Father God You said that the preaching of the word changes us. Father God even as You spoke the heavens and earth into existence and created the world out of Your word, we ask Father God that as Your eternal word is preached today, Father that You would change us, Father God into the likeness of Your Son. And that You would root us and ground us in the Son of Your love, Yeshua, Jesus the Messiah, for Your glory and for Your fame we pray Abba, amen and amen.
So let me begin reading now Philippians chapter one verse nine through eleven. We already covered some of this, but I'm just going to read it from where I was at last week and then we're gonna build on it. Here we go. Verse nine, Paul said, "And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more". There is always more. We always want to keep on growing in love. We never get to the place where we stop growing in love, because the love of God is endless. What an awesome concept to realize that the love of God expands for ever. I mean it just fuller and fuller and fuller and that's what heaven's gonna be like for us. We're gonna be experiencing more and more and more and more of God's love forever. It's like walking into the ocean and it keeps getting deeper and deeper and deeper and deeper and deeper and it's never exhausted. That's what the love of God is like for us beloved. And because we're created in His likeness and now become members of Him through Yeshua, or the body of Yeshua, the Lord wants His love, which is inexhaustible and keeps on expanding and keeps on growing. He wants that love to keep on expanding and keep on growing through our life.
And so Paul says, "I pray that your love may keep on growing more," he said, "and more". Notice the double more. They already had love and Paul said, "I want your love to keep on growing more and more". And so this is an awesome thing to realize that as you and I are focused on developing love and growing in love, we're actually releasing the love of God through our lives and we're being brought into a deeper encounter with Him through it. You see it's kind of like this, a body of water that has no way to flow out will become foul and polluted, but a body of water that has an outlet so that, that water in the lake can flow into a river so that there is movement, the water is gonna stay clean and pure. And in a similar way we can't be who God desires us to be unless we have a river through which we're expressing the love of God that is being imparted to us. In other words, love by definition, get it now, has to have an object. You can't love without having an object.
So the Bible says, "He that loves knows God". In other words, if we're not loving people then we're not walking in God, we're not abiding in Jesus. Now I know for some of us this is harder than others. I think in general this is a generalization of course, but I think it's an observation. I think in general men tend to be more selfish than women. Women by nature are greater nurturers. They're greater care givers. They serve easier than men do. I think women by nature find it easier to love. Many men need to develop the capacity to love and it is contrary to sometimes a man's nature to be able to express love and to show love. But the Bible says, "He that loves is born of God". And so I want to challenge our men right now, as well as our women, but I'm speaking specifically to men, because sometimes men need a greater breakthrough in this area, to reach out and show love. You see the enemy men, the devil, will try to make us afraid to love, because the devil wants us to think, men, that to show love is to show weakness.
For example some of you men perhaps grew up in a home where it was considered unmanly to show affection. You never kissed. You never hugged. You never said, "I love you". And perhaps you even grew up in a home where to do so was considered weak and unmanly. But I want to say to you that when we read the New Testament we often times see Jesus speaking about love. They looked at Jesus and they said, "Oh how he loved them". His love for His disciples was obvious when Jesus weeped at Lazarus' death, when he saw all the people around so grieved and the Bible says, "Jesus wept". And they observed how much Jesus cared about the people around Him, so much so that He weeped. They said, "Oh how much He must have loved them". We see for example at the last Passover meal that Jesus celebrated with His disciples before going to the cross, we read that John in the gospel of John said that the one that Jesus loved was leaning His head on Jesus' bosom. Think of how comfortable John the Apostle was with Jesus that he literally was leaning his head on Jesus' bosom at that Passover meal and John referred to himself there as, "The one whom Jesus loved".
So Jesus, the creator of the world, the One who bound Satan, the One who holds the key of death and Hades, the One who rose from the grave, conquered death, conquered the devil, ascended to heaven, sits in heaven now at the Father's right hand reigning over everything, He is the most masculine being in the universe and beloved He loves. And so men I want to encourage you to break out of the devil's false paradigm that it's unmanly to love. We need to be able to tell men, people that we love them. We need to be able to tell our brothers, "I love you my brother". We need to be able to express affection to people, because to not be able to do this actually makes us weak. And so Paul prays, "I pray that you will abound in love still more and more". Again, God is an expansive being, who's love never ends and as those that are in Him and as those that want to abide in Him, our love needs to keep growing. continue on. Paul said here, "And I pray that not only would your love still keep abounding more and more," he said, "but that it would abound". He said, listen now, "In real knowledge".
Let me read exactly what it says. "And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment". I mean maybe some of you have had church experiences where you were with a brother, or sister and your brother, or sister told you that they had discernment about so and sos life. And that they had discerned that this person was and they named the sin about this person's life. They said, "You know and I have discernment about this person and my discernment tells me this about this person". And the discernment that they had was about an area of weakness, or vulnerability in that individual's life. And the way that they shared it, this supposed discernment that they had, this supposed special knowledge that they had about this person's secret sin. The way that it was shared was not done in love, but it was actually done in a form of knowledge beloved, that came from the enemy's tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
You see James tells us that there's two types of wisdom. There's a wisdom that is pure and godly and full of light and beautiful, but then James told us there's another type of wisdom, or knowledge. And he said it's demonic. And the point is Paul says, "I want your love to grow, but in order for your love to grow you have to have real knowledge". And real knowledge is not to have insight into somebody's life so that you can accuse them and side against them. That's the spirit of the accuser of the brethren, that's Satan. Some people think it's God that they're having this discernment from, but they don't realize it's not God, because God is love. And the knowledge that they're getting does not cause them to love somebody, it causes them to accuse somebody and so that again is not real knowledge. Paul says, "I pray that your love would grow more and more and that you would have real knowledge".
Not the enemy's false knowledge that makes you aware of somebody's weakness and vulnerability and sin, but real knowledge that allows you to look past their sin, have compassion on them and understand why they do some of the things they do. In other words beloved, many people do some of the things they do that are sinful, but we have to be able to look beyond their sin to see the need and to love them. Let's take for example a prostitute. I just use that example, because many people would look at a prostitute and someone that is living the most low life of sin and they would judge that prostitute for their life of sin and obviously prostitution is a huge sin. But you know what God sees sometimes? God sees beyond the prostitute's sin to the prostitute's need. He has real knowledge. He sees beyond the sin to the need and what He sees was a woman often times beloved, that had no father and whose mother did not really mother her.
So a lot of these women that got into prostitution they had no father to affirm them, to tell them that they were beautiful, to tell them that they had dignity, to help them see themselves in God's eyes. Often times these women they became vulnerable, because they had no affirming voice of a father in their life and maybe their mother was absent from home. Some of them even were drug addicts, etc. And so the women went without any foundation at all, having no one in their life that ever affirmed them. They had no healthy self esteem, or self respect, so they found themselves very vulnerable to the ploys of Satan and got lured into this life of prostitution, which is obviously a very sinful lifestyle. But my point is that the Lord, because of His love, sees beyond the prostitution and sees into the heart of that woman, how they were rejected, or maybe even sexually abused as a child. And God sees why they became the way they became and He loves them, because He has real knowledge and real discernment and that's what we need beloved. The Bible says that "Christ died for us while we were yet sinners". "Greater love hath no one then this," Jesus said, "That a man lays down his life for his friends". "By this was the love of God manifest that Christ Jesus died for us while we were yet sinners".
So we want to be able to have the discernment. Paul uses that word discernment from here. Once again listen, "I pray that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all," get this now, "discernment". I covered this, but I want to say it again. The discernment comes in this way, many people, I run into this all the time as a shepherd of a congregation. People get hurt sometimes and when they get hurt the enemy comes in, because the enemy can enter in when someone is wounded. People get hurt, their hurt turns into anger and then their hurt that turns into anger now, becomes fueled by the devil and by demons. And they now begin to attack the person that hurt them, saying all types of evil against them, trying to find sin in their life, twisting their words, accusing the person. They even begin to believe the lies themselves and they think that they're right and they think that they're doing the work of God by destroying a brother, or sister.
And because they do it, because they don't have discernment about what is going on. They don't understand what's going on. They don't have the discernment to recognize that they're doing what they're doing, because they were hurt. Pride rose up. The enemy got in and now the enemy is giving them a false, demonic knowledge of this person's life and now they're coming against that person with all type of accusation, hatred, trying to discredit them, trying to destroy them. And yet the people that are doing this sometimes think that they're actually hearing from God and doing the work of God, when they're busy spreading rumors trying to destroy a brother, or sister. That is not real discernment. Real discernment beloved, is when these types of thoughts try to enter our mind when we get hurt and the natural tendency is to respond with pride, or with anger and to start coming against that person and speaking against that person.
Real discernment says, "You know what? I realize what's going on here. This is the enemy that's trying to get in here". Discernment says, "I recognize this as you Satan. I reject you. Father I come into agreement with the truth. I come into agreement with real knowledge, the love of God that covers the multitude of sin. Father I'm gonna strive to forgive. I'm gonna strive to overcome evil with good, to speak a blessing for an insult and to walk the way that Jesus walked, because even sinners love their friends. So Father God I want to be like Jesus". You see this is real discernment. And Paul says, "I pray that you would become more and more like Jesus, by entering in more and more to a walk of love". Why I think we've got that. Let's move on to the next verse. Verse number ten, Paul says, "I pray that you'll be able to do this," listen now, "walk more and more in love, discernment and knowledge". Verse number ten, "So that you might approve the things that are excellent".
And this gets to what I was saying a second ago, that when we gain this experience by practicing walking in love, by keeping the enemy out when he tries to get in to take us out of walking in love and I talked about that two broadcasts ago. How sometimes when we get weak the enemy tries to come in, we're irritable, we can't deal with one more person, we can't deal with one more stress, we can't deal with one more relational what should I call, pull on our life. You know and pretty soon one more relationship, one more conversation, it just because we're so tired sometimes it just begins to feel irritable in our heart and it's during those times of weakness that the enemy can sometimes get in. But what we do, is when we recognize that that's what's going on, we recognize we're in the flesh. What we do is we now say, "We reject it," because we're able to approve what's excellent.
In other words, as we gain experience walking in the Spirit by practicing walking in love, we're able to discern good from evil and approve that which is excellent and is really Jesus' way, as opposed to getting tossed here and there by our emotions all the time and by the circumstances. I hope you're understanding what I'm saying. Let me read it again. He says that, "I pray that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you might approve the things that are excellent in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ". And continuing on, "Having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God".
So this all connects to what I'm saying. Beloved as we close today, as you and I recognize that in order to abide in Jesus we need to abide in love, that to abide in love takes sacrifice, that we need to lay down our lives. Well again Jesus said, "Greater love hath no man than this then a man lays down his life for his friend". It takes sacrifice. Jesus picked up the cross. He said, "Father not My will, but Thy will be done," because it was love for the Father. As you and I recognize that love is the straight and narrow way that leads to life and we learn how to reject evil, reject thoughts of accusation against ourselves and other people and choose love instead, we're then gonna be able to approve what is excellent and walk in the righteousness of Jesus.