Andrew Murray: Let Us Draw Nigh!
Let Us Provoke unto Love
10:24. And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works.
We have had the fullness of faith in which we are to draw nigh, and the confession of hope we are to hold fast; now follows the third of the sister graces: Let us consider one another—let us prove our love and care for each other in the effort—to provoke unto love and good works. These three thoughts form the subdivisions of the practical part of the Epistle. Chapter 11 may well be headed, The fullness of faith; chapter 12:1-14, The patience of hope; and chapter 13, Love and good works.
And let us consider one another. He that enters into the Holiest enters into the home of eternal love; the air he breathes there is love; the highest blessing he can receive there is a heart in which the love of God is shed abroad in power by the Holy Ghost, and which is on the path to be made perfect in love. That you may know how you have to behave yourself in the house of God—remember this, Faith and hope shall pass away, but love abides ever. The chief of these is love.
Let us consider one another. When first we seek the entrance into the Holiest, the thought is mostly of ourselves. And when we have entered in in faith, it is as if it is all we can do to stand before God, and wait on Him for what He has promised to do for us. But it is not long before we perceive that the Holiest and the Lamb are not for us alone; that there are others within with whom it is blessed to have fellowship in praising God; that there are some without who need our help to be brought in. It is into the love of God that we have had access given us; that love enters our hearts; and we see ourselves called to live like Christ in entire devotion to those around us.
Let us consider one another. All the redeemed form one body. Each one is dependent on the other, each one is for the welfare of the other. Let us beware of the self-deception that thinks it possible to enter the Holiest, into the nearest intercourse with God, in the spirit of selfishness. It cannot be. The new and living way Jesus opened up is the way of self-sacrificing love. The entrance into the Holiest is given to us as priests, there to be filled with the Spirit and the love of Christ, and to go out and bring God’s blessing to others.
Let us consider one another. The same Spirit that said, Consider Christ Jesus—take time, and give attention to know Him well—says to us, Consider one another—take time, and give attention to know the needs of your brethren around you. How many are there whose circumstances are so unfavorable, whose knowledge is so limited, whose whole life is so hopeless, that there is but little prospect of their ever attaining the better life. For them there is but one thing to be done: We that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Each one who begins to see what the blessedness is of a life in the full surrender to Christ, should offer himself to Christ, to be made His messenger to the feeble and the weary.
Consider one another, to provoke unto love and good works.
Love and good works: These are to be the aim of the Church in the exercise of its fellowship. Everything that can hinder love is to be sacrificed and set aside. Everything that can promote, and prove, and provoke others to love is to be studied and performed. And with love good works too. The Church has been redeemed by Christ, to prove to the world what power He has to cleanse from sin, to conquer evil, to restore to holiness and to goodness. Let us consider one another, in every possible way, to provoke, to stir up, to help to love and good works.
The chief thought is this: Life in the Holiest must be a life of love. As earnest as the injunction, Let us draw nigh in fullness of faith, Let us hold fast the confession of our hope, is this, Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works. God is love. And all He has done for us in His Son, as revealed in this Epistle, is love. And Christ is love. And there can be no real access to God as a union with Him in His holy will, no real communion with Him, but in the Spirit of love. Our entering into the Holiest is mere imagination if we do not yield ourselves to the love of God in Christ, to be filled and used for the welfare and joy of our fellow men.
O Christian! study what love is. Study it in the word, in Christ, in God. As you see Him to be an ever-flowing fountain of all goodness, who has His very being and glory in this, that He lives in all that exists, and communicates to all His own blessedness and perfection as far as they are capable of it, you will learn to acknowledge that he that loves not has not known God. And you will learn, too, to admit more deeply and truly than ever before, that no effort of your will can bring forth love; it must be given you from above. This will become to you one of the chief joys and beauties of the Holiest of All, that there you can wait on the God of love to fill you with His love. God has the power to shed abroad His love in our hearts, by the Holy Spirit given unto us. He has promised to give Christ so dwelling in our heart by faith, that we shall be rooted and grounded in love, and know and have in us something of a love that passes knowledge. The very atmosphere of the Holiest is love. Just as I breathe in the air in which I live, so the soul that abides in the presence of God breathes the air of the upper world. The promise held out to us, and the hour of its fulfillment, will come, when the love of God will be perfected in us, and we are made perfect in love. Nowhere can this be but in the Holiest; but there most surely. Let us draw nigh in the fullness of faith, and consider one another. While we are only thinking of others to bring God’s love to them, we shall find God thinking of us, and filling us with it.
What a difference it would make in the world if every believer were to give himself with his whole heart to live for his fellow men! What a difference to his own life, as he yielded himself to God’s saving love in its striving for souls! What a difference to all our Christian agencies, suffering for want of devoted, whole-hearted helpers! What a difference to our churches, as they rose to know what they have been gathered for! What a difference to thousands of lost ones, who would learn with wonder what love there is in God’s children, what power and blessing in that love! Let us consider one another.
1. It is the very essence, the beauty, and the glory of the salvation of Christ, that it is for all. He that truly receives it, as the Holy Spirit gives it, receives it as a salvation for all, and feels himself impelled to communicate it to others. The baptism of fire is a baptism of redeeming love, but that not as a mere emotion, but a power at once to consider and to care for others.
2. How impossible to love others and give all for them in our strength! This is one of the real gifts to be waited for in the Holiest of All, to be received in the power of the Pentecostal Spirit—the love of God so shed abroad in the heart, that we spontaneously, unceasingly, joyfully love, because it is our very nature.