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Prophetic Mandate 6/7

Air date: August 11, 2015

Welcome everyone. Michael Holcomb here with the 6th out of 7 parts of the Prophetic Mandate. Regularly on the BibleDays Broadcast, I talk about the Two Great Commandments ratified and reinstated by Jesus: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, mind, and strength," and "Thou shalt love they neighbor as thyself."

These dual love commandments are basic, obvious, and refreshingly straightforward; but it is in regards to these commandments where we have made a major mistake. Many of us in the Western World view these commandments as Sunday-school stuff, beginners' lessons that, we assume, everyone (including ourselves) has long-ago mastered. Well God is saying to us in this Mandate, in no passive voice, “It is time to resurrect the New Testament concentration on selfless love!”

Loving God and loving others are not marginal issues. They are the smoothed, well-worn themes of all the New Testament authors. Why? Because here, in the simple and familiar, is exactly where we the Church must spend the most time and effort. Unselfish love is the first and foremost Christian structure that the devil assaults. He knows if he can destroy love for God, he will deplete the Church's strength and solidity of discipline. He also knows if he can destroy brotherly love, love for our fellow man, he can corrupt the Church's very soul.

Excuse me for sounding cliché but if there was ever a time we needed to repent of devaluing the things of God, NOW is that time! Because, truth be told, in putting our needs, our goals, our dreams, and our plans on center stage (as we undeniably have), we have devalued, we have neglected, the message and emphasis of Christ's kind of love.

Many in the Church today are talking about returning to holiness (and we can easily see why), but I hear the Holy Spirit saying, “What is that return but to a lifestyle of loving God and loving others? What is revival, what is awakening but a restoration of loving God and loving others?"

Allow me to point out that all the evidences of our debauched and fallen culture that we so fearfully and vehemently complain about, are all the results of a world that has not love.

Dysfunctional homes, epidemic immorality, escalating violence, rampant corruption, unstable and out-of-control behavior, a senseless disregard for authority – all of these and the rest are the kind of inescapable chaos that comes from nations who, for the most part, ignore the importance and state of others and give themselves over to the narcotic of "me-ism."

How about arrogant blasphemy, inconsistency in church attendance, lack of prayer, disrespect for the Bible, unmitigated antagonism of godly living and godly people from outside the Church as well as within it? What are all of these things but proof that the collective culture has turned its back on the Creator who gives them life, a people who don't love God.

Preachers, here is yet another reason God is saying, “Change your preaching.” We have to stop feeding the engine of self-centeredness and turn our audience’s attention to the supreme motive of love. Stir and move your people to love one another. Preach unity (to your own congregations!) strongly and with all of the authoritative weight the apostles put on that message. Ask God for innovative ways of getting your people to pray for one another, to take up burdens for one another, to care and serve one another. Our churches can and have to change from being places where saints gather to sit to places where saints gather to work the work of unselfish love—but you have to teach that love, promote that love, and, yes, personify that love!

Again, to church leaders: I hear the Spirit of the Lord saying that we need to design and operate our churches, not as businesses or social clubs, but as a family unit. Real personal involvement, as well as real mutual respect and real expressed gratitude – that is what we must work on just as hard if not harder than anything else we prioritize. Family-type love is key! That's God's way, and it's time to get back to that.

It is also time to understand and practice the more advanced aspects of loving God. I do not have time to get into this too deeply here, but suffice it to say that whereas we have majored on GETTING from God we need to transition to a message of GIVING to Him. Pardon the humor, but we can’t put on the armor of divine service if we are still wearing the diapers self-interest and self-focus. Keep in mind that it was selfless love that moved the Spirt of God to bestow, just like we talked about in the last video, mighty signs and wonders upon the Early Church; and it is selfless love that is the secret to seeing God's power in our time.

I repeat, by the word of the Lord: Pastors, preach love! Preach unselfish devotion to God. Preach compassionate sacrifice for the cause of Christ. Preach the goals as well as the rewards of being responsible, grown-up heirs of the Kingdom. In Jesus’ name, pastors, preach gratitude, humility, and obedience for the one who first loved us!

As I wind this down, allow me to add that while promoting and showcasing enthusiasm is good, we need to recognize the reality that loving God and loving others is better. You see, because enthusiasm is an emotion, it regularly deflates for no apparent reason, and has to be pumped back up. Love, on the other hand, is not so fickle. A selfless love for God overcomes every opposing, dark force we believers will ever encounter. It outshines our abilities, outlasts our doubts, and outdoes our expectations.

Selfless love goes beyond having an awesome church service or hearing an electrifying sermon or reading the latest mind-blowing Christian book. All of these are absolutely fine and desirable, but let’s face it: when it comes to the long-term, finishing our Christian race is only possible when a spirit and an atmosphere of matured God-and-others-centered love prevails. Never forget that love, not excitement or elation, is the greatest Christian trait of all.

We've got to rework love!

Coming up is our final video, when we will be addressing the climax of the Mandate, something critical concerning the next generation of ministers. You won’t want to miss part seven!

See you next week. God bless.

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