The Way of Love
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven…” Matthew 7:15
We’ve heard it said in scripture that not all who declare the name of Jesus shall enter into the Kingdom of God. Indeed, the word is true. However, the enemy uses this word to bring fear into the hearts of many Christians. The question then follows, “Am I really saved?” “Is this scripture speaking about me?” “Have I done enough to be saved?”
We can answer these questions by reviewing other scriptures that identify the true attributes of a heartfelt believer. As we review these scriptures, and see how we stand in Him, let there never again be the question, “Am I not ‘right enough’ to be saved? Have I not done enough for Him?”
The first thing we should address is the fact that our salvation is NOT based upon good works. It is the condition of the heart that saves us. For out of the condition of our hearts come forth the fruits of our salvation. Out of the condition of our hearts come the evidences that we are saved.
Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. Romans 3:27-28
So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace. Romans 11:5-6
Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Galatians 3:2-3
Our salvation, and our assuredness of it is not by what we do, but by what we believe within our hearts, not in our minds but of our hearts. What we rightly believe in our mind first requires a right condition of the heart. And that hearts condition can not BUT lead us into good works! And so, our works are the evidence that we believe of the heart. Our works don’t qualify us, our faith by grace alone qualifies us. Our works have become our evidences that we are qualified.
And so the first question is this, “Do you love Him?” If the answer to that question is a resounding yes, then the second question must follow, “What are you doing for the Kingdom of God?” The final question then is this, “Why are you doing what you do?” Is it to selflessly give away what you have been given? Or is it to be seen by others?
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe-and shudder. Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? James 2:14-20
This point is not so difficult to understand. What is the condition of your heart? THAT is what saves you. Are you in love with all that God is? Are you in love with your Heavenly Father? Are you in love with your Savior Jesus? Are you in love with the Holy Spirit? If so, then good works shall most certainly follow. But those good works gain you no higher amount of favor. The works you do have become an evidence.
And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first. Matthew 19:29-30
You are no more or no less saved by how much or how little work you do. And we can see through Jesus parables that the amount we produce is not at issue. The key question is this, “Are you producing at all?”
“Other seed fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundred fold, some sixty, some thirty.” Matthew 13:8-9
Whether you produce a hundred fold, sixty fold or thirty fold, you are by no means judged by how much fruit you produce. Herein lies a key accusation of the enemy. “You’re not doing enough for the Kingdom of God, therefore you are not right before the Lord.” That is a FALSE notion indeed!
However, what is said about the one who does not produce any good fruit out of what they have been entrusted with? Read carefully the parable of the talents:
“For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own servants and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey. Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents. In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more. But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. “Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ “Also the one who had received the two talents came up and said, ‘Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ “And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed. And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’ “But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed. Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’ “For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 25:14-30
This is a hard but clear word. We each have been given a very great blessing, this very great salvation we enjoy. If we truly believe from the heart that Heaven and Hell are real, and if we truly know that the only way to Heaven is through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, and if the basis of our belief is heartfelt love… then what are we doing here on earth with the talents we have been given? Why would we not be shouting this wonderful truth from the mountain tops? And why would we not want our family, our friends, our neighbors, our cities and our nations to know of this magnificent truth?
“You (the believer) are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:14
If we have been given a light to shine into the world, if we have been given talents to invest, if we have been asked to bear fruit… then there can only be but one reason to do otherwise, and that is that self has been set above the Savior.
Love is selfless. Love serves. True loves gives away what has been given. If my faith is based in love, then there is no way that I could not bear some measure of fruit with the love I have been shown. Not only do I know that I should bear fruit… I WANT to bear fruit! I do so, not because I have been commanded to bear fruit, but because I desire to, thereby doing NOT by the law, not by duty… but by love. We are compelled by love…
One can be assured; faith without works is a dead faith. The lack of one’s expression of faith into this dying world is the evidence of a cold and faithless heart.
With this truth in mind, let’s explore certain evidences of the faithful heart according to scripture.
Our first evidence is simple. Those who are for Him are not against Him. Those who are not with Him are against Him.
Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. Matthew 12:30
A clear evidence is the staying power of our faith. If we love Jesus, we walk with Jesus, we stay with Jesus. Walking with Him means communing with Him. He is the Word that we eat of and drink in every day. Being with Him is like living out the intimate love relationship between a husband and a wife. It’s why we are called “The Bride of Christ!” We live out our love relationship. We express our love one with the other. We divulge our deepest secrets one with the other. We walk hand in hand. We talk. We hug. We kiss. We adore each other. Are you walking with your Lord in this way?
Conversely, not walking with Him in this way, this is what is meant by scattering. We might say we are Christians. But talk is meaningless unless we walk out our talk. I might say that I love my wife. But living out that love relationship is the evidence that what I say to her is true.
This is why Jesus said, ” And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me…’ Matthew 7:23
And so the first test of my faith is an honest introspective examination of the state of my love relationship with my God. Am I in love with Him?
Further evidences are found in the manifesting of good fruit, of being filled with the Holy Spirit, of how my witness takes me deeper and of how I love.
As we consider all of the above together, allow me to develop these thoughts through scripture.
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” Matthew 7:13-27
What fruit are you bearing?
“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour. Matthew 25:1-13
In scripture, wine and oil represent the Holy Spirit. In the above scripture, the oil is the Holy Spirit. The flasks of oil spoken of here are like new wine skins that contain the new wine.
No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch tears away from the garment, and a worse tear is made. Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.” Matthew 9:16-17
The new wine skin and the virgins oil flasks are containers of fresh new wine and fresh new oil. These things represent the new things of God and the freshly revealed Word and ongoing revelations of the Holy Spirit.
I see this as one of the most important and least spoken of truths regarding the prerequisites of salvation. And it is given in a parable so that only those with eyes to see it would see it! I pray with all seriousness that you will see this issue clearly!
So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Holy Spirit… Ephesians 5:17-18
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Holy Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:14-19
What powerful declarations and promises are given in these words! Jesus died so that we would have the Holy Spirit in full ongoing measure. Father holds this truth in such high regard that if we walk without the Holy Spirit, we shall be left out of the Kingdom when that day comes. This parable of the Ten Virgins makes it clear that we MUST be filled with fresh oil. And like the five wise virgins, we MUST be carriers of the fresh oil! We must be carriers of the anointing! We must be filled with the Holy Spirit as Jesus commanded.
This is a discussion that is well developed in other of my writings, and so I will not go into detail. However, let the reader be absolutely assured of this truth. You MUST be filled with the Holy Spirit. And this is not the Holy Spirit that you were marked with at regeneration! It is the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the ongoing in-filling (the flask of extra oil) that we MUST receive and walk in. This baptism of the Spirit is clearly revealed in the following scripture:
And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John’s baptism.” And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying. Acts 19:1-6
The apostle Paul imparted into these Saints the gift of the baptism of the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands AFTER they had received the baptism into Christ, which is salvation. As Paul asked this question to the Saints of old, so I ask you the very same question, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you first believed?” If not, then seek Him with all your heart. God is not a God that He should withhold good gifts from any one of His children who asks of Him. It is a necessary gift that Jesus died for you to have. He, the Holy Spirit, is your power to go out and to manifest Jesus love out of you into this dying world.
When the Spirit moves through us in power, as we witness His moving, how great is the affect upon our faith, how great is the effect upon our good works! We move from faith to faith! From faith to higher faith! And so we see again that if we are for Him, we cannot be against Him. And step by step our faith is built higher and higher, like a house built upon the Rock; He who shows Himself to those who have eyes to see. And when we see Him, our faith grows.
John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” But Jesus said, “Do not stop him, for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. For the one who is not against us is for us. For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward. Mark 9:38-41
Even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized he continued with Philip. And seeing signs and great miracles performed, he was amazed. Acts 8:13
…how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will. Hebrews 2:3-4
These are the manifestations of the Holy Spirit upon and through those who have been filled with the Holy Spirit. And they become evidences to an unbelieving world just as a lamp sheds light into darkness! As Jesus commanded the twelve Apostles, so He commands us:
And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give. Matthew 10:7-8
And as Jesus was about to be taken up to Heaven, He said:
…but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” Acts 1:8
Are we so blinded by false religion and false teachers into believing that these manifestations were only for the First Church? But what did Jesus say?
Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. John 14:12
What does “Truly truly” mean? It means that Jesus is making an extremely important point! It’s like He is saying, “Listen carefully to what I am about to say! This is REALLY IMPORTANT for you to understand!”
First: Where’s the time limit in that statement?
Second: To whom is Jesus referring when He says “he that believes in Me?”
The answers are simple. There are no time limits to this statement. And the person to whom Jesus is referring is you!
Jesus is identifying an even greater anointing that will manifest amongst the believers after He returns to the Father. So clearly Jesus is talking about the future Saints that are to come.
Yet even so, would God not be a liar if He were to make a promise and then revoke that promise to future generations?
Paul, a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness, in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago… Titus 1:1-2
In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. Hebrews 6:17-18
And here are the promises:
But the loving kindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children, to those who keep His covenant and remember His precepts to do them. Psalms 103:17-18
But the word of the Lord endures forever. 1 Peter 1:25
“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He (the Holy Spirit) may be with you FOREVER… John 14:15-16
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:18
It never ceases to amaze me how so many of today’s church leadership are so miserably duped by good sounding cranial arguments of religion and false theology. But when we consider the motivation behind such falsities, the reason becomes clear.
If Satan is being forcibly displaced by these manifestations, if such miracles openly testify to the God who has all power over life and death, and if 3000 souls can be saved in one day as was the result of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost… does it not logically follow that Satan would rise up false teachers to speak against such things?
Allow me to kindly attest to the hundreds of people I know of today that have either been outright healed, demonically delivered and set free from sickness. I am one of them. Allow me to introduce you to at least three people I have met who have been raised from the dead, including my former pastor and good friend Dwaine Tracey. He was raised from the dead twice!
When an unbelieving world witnesses these manifestations of power, they are confronted with a very tangible choice to believe or not to believe in the One to whom these miracles attest! These are the miracles of the Holy Spirit manifested through those who believe and have been filed with the Holy Spirit! And they are necessary!
Now then as we sum up the fullness of the question of our salvation, let us finish with this thought.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
Love is the key to everything. It is the very key that unlocks the Narrow Gate that leads to salvation. By love, we see. By love, we hear. By love, we understand. By love, comes faith and then grace. But, love must follow with action, or it’s not love. Love receives, love gives, love sacrifices.
For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ Matthew 25:35-40
So then, what are you sowing into the Kingdom of God, 100, 60 or 30? What talent are you investing into the world, 5, 3 or 1? What fruit are you bearing?
Are you encouraging the broken hearted? Are you housing the homeless? Are you feeding the hungry? Are you reaching out to the lost? Are you giving your money into Kingdom works? Are you providing for missionaries? Are you giving your life away on the mission field? Are you going to war in your prayer closet? Are your leading others into a state of worship and adoration? Are you teaching? Are you preaching? Are you sowing your time into your church? Are you stopping for the one?
Are you compelled by love?
The Narrow Gate has words across the top of it and this is what I see, “The Way of Love.” Only selfless lovers find it. Are you a selfless lover of the King of Kings, and the Father whom He represents? Are you a selfless lover of the Holy Spirit who empowers you in love to love? Then… Jesus, after having gone to the Cross and having been risen from the dead and Who is now seated at the right hand of the Father in Glory, has become your absolute surety. He intercedes for you day and night. He has good gifts for you through the Holy Spirit to help you along the way. And you are His and He is yours, forever.