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SNT-0795- Love Is Giving (Stanley Reahard)

In my teaching tonight, one of the things that I really want to talk about with all of you and with the people that will be hearing this tape, is this thing called love. People speak of falling in love, loving the brethren, loving God, loving their families, loving their children, and yet more often than not, their love is conditional upon how the loved one behaves in a given situation.

Format: mp3

Love Is Giving
Rev. Stanley Reahard
Sunday Night Teaching SNT-0795

Heavenly Father how truly grateful we are this night for your wonderful Word and for the
promises in that Word that we can claim and that we can live by. And thank you Lord this night
for sending your only begotten son that we could indeed love him and that we could learn how to
love through him, and it’s through his name that we pray. Amen. You may be seated.
I was sitting in the back room just before the service began when Dr. Wierwille’s call
came through, and he talked to me for a few minutes before I came out. He was so excited and
so blessed that that excitement and that enthusiasm (for what goes on at The Way International
Headquarters on a Sunday night) just so lives in his heart when he is on the field. His heart is so
much here it just about broke my heart because I once again saw the tremendous love that he has
for all of us.
My teaching tonight (one of the things that I really want to talk about with all of you and
with the people that will be hearing this tape) is this thing called love. People speak of falling in
love, loving the brethren, loving God, loving their families, loving their children and yet more
often than not their love is conditional upon how the loved one behaves in a given situation. I
was reading a book this week and one of the incidents in this book was a recount of an incident
with a woman and her children. She was very – she was a German woman, and she was here in
this country. She was very upset because her children wanted to learn American manners, and
she said to one of them, “If you don't stop eating that way I won't love you anymore.” I thought
to myself how sad. Thank God there was a Christian there in that household who heard her say
those words. She took the mother aside and said, “You must never ever, ever say that again.”
Love is not conditional on how someone behaves and whether they please you or they don't
please you.
If I feel good about someone, that must be love? No, not necessarily. The Word of God
does not teach that love is feeling, but it teaches that love is under the control of our will,
whereas feelings are not always under control of our will. For example, if I'm driving my car
and all of a sudden a big Mack truck pulls out in front of me, I’m seized with fear. That is not
under the control of my will. That fear is an emotion; it is not under the control of my will. It is
a feeling and yet, if I say to you tonight, “Okay, everybody fear, fear, come on, fear.” You’re not
doing it, you’re laughing. You see? A feeling is not something that can be commanded, is it?
But, you see love is something that is in fact commanded by God in His Word.
So, how can love be a feeling because you can't command feeling? I can’t command that
you fear. I cannot command that you all of a sudden get angry. You’ll just sit there and laugh at
me. So, what is this thing called love? You can't turn feelings on and off like that, and yet the
Word of God commands us to love over and over and over again. Therefore, love cannot be a
feeling. It cannot be some vague sensation over which we have no control. It must be something
much deeper, much more bedrock than a feeling because you see love is something that we can
do by an active decision of our will. Love is something that we do, in fact, do by an active
decision of our will. That active decision of our will to please God or another by doing for God
or another person whatever God requires of us in a given situation – that is love. The expression
of this decision to love is manifested in giving whatever it is that you have that that other person
or being needs. Whether it's God's … whether for God it's praise, prayer, thanksgiving, worship,
those things which He desires of us or whether it is for another person anything from clothing, to
time, to money, to concern, to a listening and a willing heart – that has something to do with
love, and that love is manifested in giving.
Look at the Gospel of John chapter 3, a very familiar verse, verse 16:
John 3:16
For God so loved the world, that he [emoted, that He felt gooshy, that He felt
mushy. God so loved that he] gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever
believeth … [on] him should not perish …
Look at I John 4 verse 9:
I John 4:9
In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only
begotten Son into the world, that we might live … [by] him.
God didn't feel mushy about us. He didn't slobber all over us. He gave and that giving of His
only begotten son was the highest manifestation of love that we can possibly know in this world
today. Love manifests, manifests itself in giving: giving of time, money, concern, hands,
whatever is required by a given situation. Love is not getting. It’s not what I get out of
something. That's lust. That's not love. You know something else that's interesting? If I don't
like what I'm getting, you know what I've got to do: take a good hard look at what I'm giving out
because chances are what I'm giving out isn't very loving. If I don't like what I'm getting, I better
take a good hard look at what I'm giving.
Now, as far as the Word of God is concerned, there are many different levels of love that
the Word of God talks about. In Ephesians chapter 5 it speaks of a love that a husband for
example is to have for his wife. It says:
Ephesians 5:25a
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and
… Felt gushy about it, felt all warm and benevolent towards it. No.
Ephesians 5:25
Husband, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself
for it;
There’s that word again, “gave himself for it”. Husbands, love … you know this subject of love
becomes dynamically interesting when you’re discussing it with a married couple and they say to
you, “Well, there’s just no love left,” and you go, “Oh, there isn’t?” “Well, I just don’t feel
anything for her anymore,” and you go, “Oh geez, that’s too bad.” “So you see there’s really no
answer except divorce,” and you go, “No, that’s not true because The Word commands love, and
if you don’t like ‘husbands love your wives even as Christ also loved the church,’ well, you can
take Galatians chapter 5. And in Galatians chapter 5 verse 13 it says:
Galatians 5:13,14
For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an
occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour
as thyself.
Well, your wife is your closest neighbor, so you can …” “Oh no, I couldn’t do that.” “Alright,
let’s take it one step further. In Matthew chapter 5 verse 44, it says we’re to love our enemies.
You see there’s no way out of it, absolutely none.” God commands love. So, whatever level you
… as Christ loved the church, loving your neighbor, loving your enemy, whatever level you want
to love on, God still (or you don’t want to love on), God still commands love. But, how can you
love your enemy? “I can’t love my enemy. I can’t love that creep that poured water down my
gas tank. How could I possibly love my enemy?” Well, the Word even tells us how to do that.
Isn’t that neat? God just tells us even how to love our enemy. He tells us how to do the
impossible.
Look at Romans chapter 12 verse 20 it says:
Romans 12:20
Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so
doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
“Oh boy, I’d like to heap coals of fire on my enemy’s head.” No, that’s not what it means
because that’s an idiom, and that heaping coals of fire on his head has to do with warming him
through and through. (If you will take the Orientalisms Class that my husband teaches you’ll
find out all about it.) Because you see in this verse is a tremendous key: “if thine enemy hunger,
feed him; if he thirst, give him drink.” If you wait until you feel good about your enemy before
you give him anything to drink or anything to eat, you know what’s going happen to your
enemy? He’s going to die of hunger or thirst because you don’t just whamp up a warm,
benevolent feeling towards somebody that you don’t like or who has hurt you or wronged you in
some way. Feelings don’t whamp up. You can try it. You can try to feel good about your
enemy, but until you start acting upon the Word of God by giving your enemy something to eat
or something to drink when he’s hungry or thirsty, you’re not going to develop a very warm,
benevolent feeling towards him because, you see, feelings flow from actions and not the reverse.
Feelings flow from actions and not the reverse. Now, this is diametrically opposed to what the
world teaches, but the world is one big lie anyway, so we don’t really have to listen to them.
People will tell you (and they have throughout your whole life and mine, too) that you
only give if you feel like giving otherwise you’re a hypocrite. See, how could I get … if I don’t
like that person and I do something nice for them I’m just being a hypocrite. Well, you know
what, if that’s true, then I’m a hypocrite every day of my life. If I have to wait until I feel like
doing something not to do it, not to be a hypocrite, then I am a hypocrite every day when I get
out of bed in the morning because I hate to get out of bed in the morning. Every day I go
through that fight. I hate it. Against every human emotion, every feeling that I have in my very
bones I get out of bed anyway. Does that make me a hypocrite? Well, if I got up here and did a
nice song and dance about, “Oh how I love to get up in the morning,” now that would perhaps
make me a hypocrite. But, the fact that I get up in the morning (whether I like it or not) does not
make me a hypocrite. Well, how about if I give my enemy something to eat or something to
drink whether I feel like it or not? Does that make me a hypocrite? Not if the Word of God is
right, and it has a habit of being right.
In Mark 6 I will show you something about the Lord Jesus Christ and how he acted
contrary to everything that he felt. In Mark 6 verse 22 we have the record of John the Baptist at
the end of his life.
Mark 6:22-31
And when the daughter of the said Herodias came in, and danced, and pleased
Herod and them that sat with him, the king said unto the damsel, Ask of me
whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it thee.
And he sware unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto
the half of my kingdom.
And she went forth, and said unto her mother, What shall I ask? And she said,
The head of John the Baptist.
And she came in straightway with haste unto the king, and asked, saying, I will
that thou give me by and by [or immediately] in a charger the head of John the
Baptist.
And the king was exceeding sorry; yet for his oath's sake, and for their sakes
which sat with him, he would not reject her.
And immediately the king sent an executioner, and commanded his head to be
brought: and he went and beheaded him in the prison,
And brought his head in a charger, and gave it to the damsel: and the damsel gave
it to her mother.
And when his disciples heard of it, they came and took up his corpse, and laid it in
a tomb.
And the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told him all things,
both what they had done, and what they had taught.
And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a
while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as
to eat.
This day in the life of the Lord Jesus Christ had to have been one of the most heartrending days
of his life. John the Baptist was not only a man of God, but he was his own cousin. He was his
forerunner, he was the herald of the Lord Jesus Christ, and he stood head and shoulders above so
many, many people in that day and age proclaiming the Word of God. At this point he had not
only died, he had had his head chopped off because of the whim of a selfish and perverse
woman. The will of the Lord Jesus Christ at this point in time was to get his apostles off by
themselves. It says that they had not “leisure so much as to eat”. They didn’t even have time to
eat there were people coming and going. Can you see, can you imagine what that day would
have been like? I can’t even relate it to anything like to what could happen; it would be like all
of a sudden Rev. Cummins got his head chopped off. What do you think Dr. Wierwille would
feel like? He wouldn’t feel too hot. Well, I don’t think the Lord Jesus Christ felt very good. I
don’t think he felt like seeing anybody except his closest friends, his apostles, his twelve. He
just wanted to get those twelve and get out to a desert place, so that they could have some time
alone, so that they could have a healing, quiet time.
And it says in verse 32:
Mark 6:32-34
And they departed into a desert place by ship privately.
And the people saw them departing, and many knew him, and ran afoot thither out
of all [the] cities, and outwent them, and came together unto [them unto] him.
And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and [said, “Ah brother, here they
are again. No. and] was moved with compassion toward them, because they were
as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.
That’s how the lord of love responded in that situation even though everything inside of him
wanted to do something else because he loved God and loved God’s people, he made a decision
and he got involved. Because you see, those people were hurt, too. They had loved John the
Baptist, too. They had known him. They’d gone out by the river Jordan (many of them) and had
been baptized by him (because he baptized hundreds and hundreds of people). The Lord Jesus
Christ, instead of thinking about himself and his own private hurt and private grief, turned about
and had compassion on the multitudes and taught them many things. That’s love. That’s acting
contrary to everything that one feels. That’s making a decision for God to love no matter what
we feel like, no matter what we’re going through in our own personal lives.
If you’re a Twig Leader for example, I don’t imagine that every single night you’re
overjoyed about all those people coming over to your house. I imagine that once in a while you
think, “Oh gosh if I could just have a night when I didn’t have to do this.” Yet, when you make
a decision that you’re going to make it happen, and you’re gonna love God’s people no matter
what you feel like, great things happen those nights, don’t they? Great things. Like what Rev.
Martindale shared about last week when he talked about The Four D’s of Doulos Doings:
decision, desire, details, deliverance. First you make a decision to get involved, then God fills
that desire, He shows you the details of how to get it accomplished, and there’s your deliverance.
It’s so simple. Well, love is that way. Love – we decide to love by an act of our will we decide
to love. We don’t feel like loving, then kind of stumble into it and slobber all over somebody
and call it love. That is not love as far as God is concerned.
Look at I John one more time. I’ll tell you a little secret: if you do something long
enough you’ll get to the place where you feel like doing it. Invest enough time and energy into
love, you’ll get to like it; you’ll get to feel like loving. Sometimes people are not very loveable,
they’re not very loving, they’re not very attractive and somehow not very appealing, yet God
commands us to love. Husbands love your wives even as Christ loved the church, commands us
to love our neighbors, our enemies, feed our enemies if they hunger, give them drink if they
thirst. It’s not whether somebody is lovely or unlovely or loveable or unloveable is not really the
point because we make the decision in every case. If your child, for example, is being horrible
and nasty and just a pain in the neck, you make the decision whether to help the situation along
and make it even worse or you make the decision to get involved and to love and to find out what
is going on so that you can help that child. If your husband is being just horrendous, and you
can’t understand why, you have the choice to fly off the handle and be just as horrendous and
nasty and horrible or to sit back, take a look at yourself, take a look at him and say, “Okay, what
have I been giving out? What can I do to help this situation become a little bit better?” The
choice is always up to us, no one can make me not love. No one can make me. I can allow
myself to get tricked out of loving, but nobody can make me not love because love is controlled
by me, by my freedom of will. I decide to love in a given situation because I decide to give. It’s
always up to me, and it’s always up to you, whether a person is being loving or loveable or great
or horrible or whatever, it doesn’t matter. Each and every one of us has a decision to make in a
given situation, and it is our obligation before God to love. What if God had waited until we
were loveable enough for Him to send His only begotten son to die? You know what? We’d
still be waiting because we’re not that loveable yet. We’re not. Yet God, when we were rebels it
says, when we were children of wrath, when we were just as antagonistic and hateful and
horrible as we could possibly be, when there wasn’t one worthwhile thing about us, God sent His
only begotten son to die for you and for me.
I John chapter 4 verse 10 it says:
I John 4:10
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to
be the propitiation for our sins.
Not that we loved God, we didn’t. I didn’t love God, did you? I didn’t love God one bit, but He
still loved me and sent His only begotten son into the world that I might live through him, that
you might live through him. It wasn’t that we were so wonderful and so great and so beautiful
that the Lord Jesus Christ looked at us and said, “Boy, I just gotta die for her. I’ve gotta die for
him. Look at him, he’s so wonderful. I’ve just gotta die for him.” It wasn’t that at all. He died
for us in spite of ourselves. You ever think … I was thinking about this in the back room – I
wonder what would have happened if Jesus Christ had waited until he felt like being crucified to
do it, until he felt like having nails dug into his hands and a crown of thorns plaited on his head,
people spitting at him and jeering at him and all those wonderful things that they did to him.
What if he waited until he felt like it to do it? Because I don’t think that was a very appealing
thing for him to think on. “Oh boy, I’m gonna get to do this today. I can’t wait for all these
wonderful, beautiful people.” But, he understood his responsibility before God. You know, he
really didn’t want to do it. It says in the Garden of Gethsemane that he besought the Lord three
times that the cup might pass from him. It wasn’t his heart’s desire to go through all that and yet
it says, “for the joy that was set before him he endured the cross…” And once he really
understood the Father’s will, he was able to say, “nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done”.
Now that is love. I don’t know that any of us will ever get to that point where we love that
much, but love is that strong, love is willing to lay down its life for a friend, for a brother. The
Lord Jesus Christ did love that much. So, he didn’t wait. If you’re waiting for your wife to be so
lovely and wonderful that you can love her like Christ loved the church, forget it. Or if you’re
waiting for your best friend to get it together and come and apologize before you’re going to turn
around and love, forget it because God commands that we love – simple, pure, unadulterated
love. He doesn’t say anything about waiting around for it to happen.
A lot of times people think that love is weak, but it’s not it’s strong.
Love runs risks, willing to lay a heart on the table when it might just get hurt.
Love exposes itself to another people.
Love gives all that one has and all that one is.
Love steps out, it moves towards another, it doesn’t run away. It looks at others rather than self.
Love is first.
Love is on the offense not the defense.
If you look at I Corinthians, that great chapter on love, you see time and time again that
love is not selfish.
1 Corinthians 13:1,2
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not … [love], I
am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
And though I have … prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge;
and though I have all … [believing], so that I could … [move] mountains, and
have not charity [or love], I am nothing.
I am nothing. I don’t want to be nothing, do you? I was thinking about that just the other day. I
was fixing … I don’t know I fixing coffee for a meeting was what I was doing, and I was real
irritated about the whole thing because I didn’t see why I was the one that had to be doing it. I
remember stepping back and taking a look at myself and saying, “Well you idiot, you’re gonna
get a lot of rewards for this. You’re doing it with such a loving heart and such a great attitude.”
Well, I understand all mysteries and knowledge and though I have believing so I could move
mountains and have not love, I’m nothing, nothing. I don’t want to be nothing.
I Corinthians 3:3
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to
be burned [and even fix the coffee for the stupid fellowship], and have not …
[love], it … [profits] me nothing [nothing].
All the works in the world without love profit us what? Nothing, nothing. I can work my
head off from now until the day the Lord comes back and if I’m not doing it with love in my
heart and joy in heart, forget it, it profits me nothing. I don’t know about you, but eternity is a
long time, a long time. When I get there I want to have a few rewards; I want to at least get into
the kitchen. If I have to kick myself in the you know what from here until the Lord comes back
to make myself do it and do it with the love of God in my heart, then that’s what I’m going to do
because eternity is a long time. Now, I don’t want to spend eternity with no rewards, sitting out
in the hall, sucking my thumb, wishing I’d done it right when I was here because it is available to
do it right.
It is available to walk with the love of God in the renewed mind. Ever think about that,
break that down – the love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation? That’s not something
that just happens, the love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation. I said that a thousand
times and the first nine hundred and ninety-eight I didn’t have the vaguest idea what it meant. It
was just a phrase that I used. But the love of God in the renewed mind, “Oh, you mean I have to
do something? I have to renew my mind to put on the love of God? Oh.” In manifestation, that
also means doing something, that means getting it out. It’s not good enough for me just to sit
here and say, “I love you. I love people, I love God, I love …”, in manifestation, in
manifestation – OUT, out from me. I don’t just take the love of God and hoard it within myself,
but I renew my mind to that love of God and bring it out into manifestation, so that others may
receive, so that I can meet somebody else’s needs instead of just keeping it all. You know what
happens? The more I manifest that love of God, the more that I put it out from myself and into
other people, into other situations, the more God is able to give me. It just works like that. The
love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation – out, out, giving, giving, giving – love is
manifested by giving. God so loved that He gave. God didn’t wait until we deserved love to
give it to us. You know what that means? That means I don’t have to wait until you deserve my
love to give it to you, and you don’t have to wait until I deserve your love to give it to me. If we
sit back and we wait, we’re … nobody’s ever going to give anybody anything. But, God so
loved that He gave. Because He so loved that He gave, we love Him because He first loved us,
and it just works in a beautiful circle. We learn how to love back. I guarantee you, you might
have thought you knew something about love before you got into the Word of God, but I promise
you, you didn’t.
I Corinthians 13:4a
Charity … [suffers] long,
I remember my brother telling me about witnessing to a guy one time and talking about the love
of God and he was explaining it to this guy and he … read it to him and he says, “Love suffers
long,” and he [the guy] said, “Uh, I don’t want to do that. Who wants to suffer?” Love suffers
long, its patient. It doesn’t mean you’re walking around, you know, being miserable.
I Corinthians 13:4b-8a
and is kind; … [it envys] not [It doesn’t envy my green shirt or your pink tie. It
doesn’t eny]; … [love] vaunteth not itself [or is not rash], is not puffed up [or full
of pride],
… [Does] not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not … provoked,
thinketh no evil [oh, that’s a hard one];
…. [Rejoices] not in iniquity, but … [rejoices] in the truth;
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. [And
look at the promise of God in verse 8.]
… [Love] never … [fails]:
The love of God never fails, never fails. There’s a verse in here somewhere that says love covers
a multitude of sins. Love never fails. It just doesn’t, ever. If you’re willing to put your heart,
your life, your soul on the line for God and for His people, that love never fails. It never fails.
How’s that for a promise? I have a little card that sits on my desk at home that talks about love
and it’s a quote I got from somewhere and it says, “The price we pay for loving is high, but the
price we pay for not loving is more than I can afford to pay.” I cannot afford to pay the price for
not loving and not forgiving. That price is too high, much too high. Eternity is a long time.
Father, in the name of Jesus Christ we come before you as your children this night and
we thank you Lord for teaching us how to love and how to really understand the greatness of that
love that you’ve set in our hearts that we can show it forth to others that others may too come
into that love and live. Thank you for this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.