by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 3 Paragraph # 3 Study # 2 October 12, 2014 Dayton, Texas (Download Audio)
(079)Thesis:The "Lord" is involved with our growth in love.
Introduction:Paul has clearly identified the elements that are involved in "ministry" by the way he characterized The God and The Lord. In the verses before us this evening we see that Paul has a clearly defined concept of what the "ministry" is all about. His claim is that it is all about getting us ready to stand before our "Father God" at the point when our "Lord Jesus" comes to set His plans in motion for a Kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy upon the earth. So we are going to look into the preparation issue.
I. The Specific Issue of Preparation: Love.
A. The essence of Sin is Self-Love where everything is measured in terms of what the Self will get out of it.
B. The contrary essence of true holiness is God-Love where everything is measured in terms of whether God is the One being served.
C. The problem is that Self-Love exists at the root of every particular of every belief, choice, and action that a human being possesses.
D. The solution is to get a believer to put God at the top of the priority list in a kind of "umbrella" way so that, as time goes by, the particulars are pulled into line with Him as the objective.
E. From there, it is the "Lord's" business to address the particulars in specific detail so that, over time, a person is developed in "Love".
1. Paul stresses the process with the first of his verbs: to incrementally increase over time.
2. He then indicates that one can actually go beyond what we might call "the bare necessity" by using his second verb: to accumulate more than is necessary [Note 2 Corinthians 8:15 ... "...had nothing over..." and John 6:13 ... "...remained over and above..."].
3. His concept, then, is of a person being developed by the Lord in the area of "Love" so that, eventually, his/her life becomes a reflection of an actually godly life.
a. This "eventually" is addressed by Paul's "excel in love unto one another", followed by his "unto all men".
b. This "eventually" is also given a demonstrated illustration: just as we toward you.
II. The Specific Objective: a Stabilized Heart.
A. The term is used in 3:2 as the prelude to the statement of Paul's almost desperate desire that they "stand firm" in both 3:3 and 3:8.
B. At issue is the question of whether the "heart" will be firm in its commitment to endure any/every thing that God's will requires, or will crumble in defeat by elevating one's own wishes above God's.
1. The issue that will determine this "whether or not" is the issue of "who comes first?" in the details of living.
2. Even at the level of "faith", a prior issue is "who is most important here?".
a. The tension between things that are motivated by "Love" as opposed to things motivated by "Faith" is a matter of two things: what is true? and who is at stake?.
b. Salvation is by "faith", not so much by "love" as "Love" is a much more difficult issue and the gospel does not ask a person to "love God above all else", it asks a person to "believe God above all else".
III. The Long-Term Objective: a Blameless Holiness.
A. The idea of "holiness" is the idea of every particular pulled into a legitimate relationship with every other particular so that everything is in balance.
B. Blameless holiness is a statement of ultimate success: Love is the guiding particular in every consideration.
IV. The Setting: God's Presence at the Time of Jesus' Kingdom Establishment.
V. The Issue: the Optative Verbs Indicate the Real Probability That Most of Us Will Not be Blameless in that Day.
A. The "blamelessness" is not about our position in Christ (that is secured "by faith").
B. The "blamelessness" is about our relationships with others (that is developed "by love").