"The Language of Love"

“But speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ.” (Eph. 4:15)

Today, we’re going to be talking about the language of love.  It’s the most important language anyone could speak in the earth, and God has chosen only a select few who can speak it- Christians.

What is the language of love?  It’s the truth of God’s word being spoken, right out of our mouth, because we care about the person we’re talking with!  And again I say, the only people in the world who can speak this language of love are Christians.  Why so?  Because Christians are the only ones being perfected by God through Christ Jesus, in His love.  Hallelujah!
“God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.  By this, love is perfected with us, that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world.” (1 Jn. 4:16)

When God speaks, we can be certain it is the Voice of love speaking.  God is love, and everything He speaks, which is the whole truth and nothing but the truth, is motivated by His infinite heart of love.

Now, having said this, I present to you and to me this morning, that this language of God’s love, that you and I are supposed to be speaking, is more of a foreign language, even to us, than we think it is.

It’s not of this world.  It’s the indigenous language of the kingdom of God, and even as you read this, the Holy Spirit is giving you “language lessons,” so that you may be able to better interpret it to people who don’t know it.

In my almost 30 years of fulltime ministry, I have been blessed to have traveled to many foreign lands, most of which, spoke a foreign language that I didn’t understand.
In Quebec City, they speak French.
In Frankford, Germany, they speak German.
In Haarlem, in the Netherlands, where Corrie Ten Boom lived, they speak Dutch.
In Moscow, they speak Russian, and in Amman, Jordan, they speak Arabic.
In Budapest, Hungary they speak Magyar, but in San Jose, Costa Rica, they speak Spanish.
In Jerusalem, they speak primarily Hebrew and Arabic, but in Bucharest,
, they speak Romanian.
And in the kingdom of God, of course, they speak “the truth in love.”

All of these foreign languages desperately need someone who can translate them.  Otherwise, the foreigner would not understand what is being said?  

And there is no other language in the world that is as important as the language of God’s kingdom.  It is imperative that we learn this language and interpret it to the people of earth, as best we can.  We’re learning to talk, just like when we spoke our first words as babies, such as papa or mama.  And just as we went on to learn how to speak the English language as a young child growing up, so too we must continue to learn and speak the language of love God is teaching us.

For instance, if we tell a sinner that God loves them, and stop there, they will probably interpret what we just said as meaning: “God has ‘warm fuzzies’ for me, and He really likes me.”  But this is not at all what the truth means!

God is angry everyday with the sinner and His wrath abides on them (Ps. 7:11; Jn. 3:36).  So when we say that God loves them, we’re not saying that He has friendly emotions and feelings for them, we’re talking about agape love.

Agape love is God’s unconditional compassion and concern for all of mankind.  Even when we were all in our sin, Christ died for the ungodly.  This is the most supreme act of love there is.  Agape love is expressed in everyday living when God causes blood to flow in our veins and gives us air to breathe and provides us with all the necessities of life.  This is God using His resources to bless mankind, even though the sinner doesn't deserve it and is God's enemy.  In fact, all of mankind deserved eternal death in hell.  This is why Jesus Christ died, so that any sinner who would turn to Christ for salvation, seeking forgiveness and forsaking their sinful lifestyle, could be saved from the wrath of God that is coming against all unrighteousness and ungodliness.
Another example of needing to interpret the language of God’s kingdom would be when we look at a group of people and say like Jesus did, “You unbelieving and perverted generation!” (Matt. 17:17).  This is the language of love too, but it sure doesn’t sound like it on the surface.  If we stop there, our listener will most probably take great offense at us. But if we go on to explain that God says this about all mankind who don’t know Christ as their Savior, and that He has made a way for everyone to escape the wrath of God to come against all ungodliness, in His Son Jesus Christ, it will help the listener to understand our language of love.  Though they may still take offense at us, at least they can better comprehend where we’re coming from.  As long as we’re speaking the whole truth in love, it is the language of love, and it is God speaking through our mouth, to those Jesus died for.

The language of love is sometimes sweet, because the Gospel of Christ is Good News.  But the language of love can also sound offensive, because it addresses issues like sin and wrong doing in a person’s life because love cares enough to do that.

Paul refers to the kindness and severity of God, in Romans 12:22,
“Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.”

This is just as much the language of love as, “Come unto Me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest…” is.

It’s all truth, and God wants us to always speak the truth with loving intentions, praying and caring for the people we’re talking with, while hoping the best for them.

Now, suppose we only speak nice things to people, without regard to the truth, as the Bible defines truth to be.  Is that the language of love?  I think in our generation, many misguided church goers would eagerly say yes.

They would say, “O, don’t tell people they’re going to hell if they don’t repent.  A loving God wouldn’t say that!  You’re speaking too harshly.  Don’t you know they were born that way?  What they’re doing is not sin.  You just want to harass and bash them.  Who made you their judge?”

But is this the language of love?  Are these well meaning people actually loving these sinners by talking like this, or have they changed the truth of the Gospel into a lie, in their efforts not to be offensive?

The Gospel of Jesus Christ will sound offensive at times.  The One who gave it to us even referred to Himself as a stumbling block; but does this make it any less the language of God’s love to the sinners?  Let me give you some other examples from Scripture of this language of love.  Remember, the entire Bible is God’s inerrant “love letter” to mankind.

Here is Jesus, speaking in the language of love:
“This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.  For everyone who does evil hates the Light and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed…he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (John 3:19-20)
“For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?  For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?  For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” (Mk. 8:36-38)
“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea.” (Mark 9:42)
“And do not fear those who kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matt. 10:28)
“To be cast into hell, where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.” (Mk. 9:47,48)
“Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Lk. 13:5)
“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot… So because you are lukewarm… I will spit you out of My mouth…you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked… Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.” (Rev. 3:15-19) [To the church at Laodicea]
“But turning around and seeing His disciples, Jesus rebuked Peter and said, ‘Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.’”  (Mark 8:33)

Was Jesus uncaring and being unloving, when He spoke all these words?  Of course not, it was the language of love, coming from the Author of the love message God wants us all to speak.

Sometimes the wicked person hears a hard truth being spoken by someone, and says to himself, “This person is talking about me!  How does he know about my sins?  O, God be merciful to me!”  The language of love is meant to do this.  Sometimes hard words are the kindness of God which leads to repentance.

The first recorded words of the language of love that Jesus came and spoke were, “Repent, and believe in the Gospel (MK 1:15).”

He didn’t say, “Come just as you are.”  He didn’t say, “Ask Me into your heart and you’ll be saved from God’s wrath!”  He said, “Repent.”

The Apostle Peter, in his first sermon, on the Day of Pentecost, said this:
Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins…Be saved from this perverse generation!” (Acts 2:38-40)

No where did he tell them God loves them and has a great plan for their future.  He said repent and be saved from this perverse generation.  You know how many people got saved that day?  3000!

And perhaps the greatest evangelist in the New Testament, the apostle Paul, tells us in Acts 26:18, exactly what his ministry for Christ was…
“’Open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, in order that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Jesus Christ.’  …that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance.” (Acts 26:18-20)

This is some serious stuff, and it requires a tough language sometimes.  But it is still the language of love being spoken.

You know what “repent” means?  It means to have a change of mind and purpose, which involves both a turning from sin and a turning to God.  We must not sugar-coat this.  We must tell the sinner to repent of his sins.

Every sinner understands doing something they wish they hadn’t done.  When we went against our conscience, we know we did wrong.  Often, we make up our mind not to do that again.  This is what Jesus is looking for, when He says repent.

Though we can’t change our wicked ways on our own, and then come to God, we can certainly come to God with the attitude, “I have sinned and I hate myself for it!  O Lord, I promise I will never do it again.  I am going to stop my sinning!  I turn to You for Your mercy and Your help.  Please forgive me Lord, and help me never to sin again!”

The person who knows they’ve been forgiven much, loves much.  But if they think of sins they have committed as not so bad, they will trample underfoot the Son of God, in disregard for the supreme torment and suffering that He endured for their sin, only making things worse.

Let’s look some more, at the language of love that’s found in the Bible.  And remember, these are Christian men talking this way.  This language is appropriate, even for us to speak in our generation.
 “But Peter said to him, ‘May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money…your heart is not right before God.  Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that, if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you.  For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity.” (Acts 8:18)
 “You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 7:51)
“Then Peter responded to her, ‘Why is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test?  Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out as well.’ And immediately she fell at his feet and breathed her last.” (Acts 5:8-14)
“But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed…For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God?” (Gal. 1:3-10)
“He did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them as an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter…these, like unreasoning animals, born as creatures of instinct to be captured and killed, reviling where they have no knowledge… They are stains and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, as they carouse with you, having eyes full of adultery that never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls, having a heart trained in greed, accursed children; forsaking the right way, they have gone astray....” (2 Pet. 2:1-22)
“If anyone does not love the Lord, let him be separated from God—lost forever!  Come, O Lord!” (1 Cor. 16:22)
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness…God gave them over to degrading passions…to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper…they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death.” (Rom. 1:18-32)
“For many walk…whose end is destruction, whose god it their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame.” (Phil. 3:17-19)
“Don’t fool yourselves.  Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.” (1 Cor. 6:9)
“They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed…” (Titus 1:16)
“For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our  God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ… Woe to them! These are the men who are hidden reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, caring for themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam, wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever.” (Jude 1:4-25)

The people who spoke these harsh words were the founding fathers of our faith.  They spoke them and wrote them down and lived by them.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ has gotten as far as it has, because our forefathers used serious and sometimes, harsh sounding language, in addition to words of kindness and gentleness.

But they were all words of love.  Love seeks repentance.  Love comforts and love warns.  Love encourages, but it also knows when to speak boldly in open rebuke.   The church of today has got to reconsider its approach to evangelization, and start speaking the truth in love!

We are too seeker friendly.  We don’t want to offend.  In our outreaches, we look and sound too much like the world for them to think they’re any different than we are, and it’s not working.  America has fallen into such deep wickedness, everywhere in society.  The judgment of God is even now upon us, but who knows it?  Who is standing in the gap with tear-filled eyes, praying for the arrogant activist sinners, coming out of the closet to broadcast their sinful lifestyles on TV and at the movies, in public office and in the streets, as they parade their wickedness?

How do you tell someone they must repent of their sin, and not be offensive.  How do you rebuke the backslidden Christian and not be offensive.  You’ll be accused of being unkind and mean spirited, hateful, judgmental and even divisive and legalistic.

You’ll be accused of being misguided and offensive to the message of God’s love to mankind.  But brothers and sisters, they are the ones who are wrong.  Don’t shift the blame to those who are speaking the language of God’s love, like they should.

God is not some doting father out of touch with reality, whose words of wisdom are not applicable to our generation.  Every man must know:  “If we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries…It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Heb. 10:26-31)

What do you say to the sinner who says that what he’s doing is not sin?  How do you tell all the other religions of the world that God says the times of ignorance have past, and that it’s time to repent and turn to Christ, like Paul did on Mars Hill (Acts 17:22-31)?

I suggest to us that God’s language of love needs to be translated to you and to me, first.  I don’t think we get it.  The church in America is off track, and desperately needs revival for survival!  The language of God’s kingdom is holy, and we will never be able to interpret it to others, if we don’t understand it ourselves, amen?

We cannot compromise the truth.  We must speak it, unwaveringly and courageously, as much as we can.  And we must speak it in love.  In seeking the highest good for someone, we sometimes will have to say things they don’t want to hear.  But remember, it really is the language of love. 

I’ll close with this.  Proverbs 27:5 says,
“Better is open rebuke than love that is concealed.  Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.”

“Calling all true Christians!  God is looking for people to interpret His language of love!  Will you volunteer?”