Haunting Verses of the Bible VII: The Love Of Most Will Grow Cold
“At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other,
and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.
Because of the increase of wickedness,
the love of most will grow cold,
but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved” (Matthew 24:10-13 NLT).
Jesus says the love of most will grow cold…Wow. Humbling.
Why won’t that happen to me? To you?
What can we do today to help prevent that from happening tomorrow?
Please remember, Biblical love is not the same as loving pizza, loving your favorite pair of jeans, loving that movie that made you laugh.
Biblical love is agape love–putting the needs of others and the desires of God before our own needs/desires in ways that are truly sacrificial (e.g. in ways that cause us discomfort).
That’s the kind of love that led Jesus from the sanctuary of heaven to become fully human (while remaining fully God), to suffer, to be tortured and crucified.
That’s Jesus’ love–and that’s the love He wants to grow in us for Him and others.
1. Love is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)–it is a characteristic of the LORD Himself. Thus it is important for us to realize that only God can create and grow love—and any of His characteristics!–in us. Apart from Christ we can do NOTHING! No systems of growth derived by humans can guarantee or even force spiritual growth to happen.
2. He WILL bring to completion the good work (in changing our character to be more like Jesus’ character) He began in us (Philippians 1:4-6). We are to trust in that–that the Holy Spirit is in charge of our sanctification, not us. God is teaching me this right now after YEARS of striving for personal growth, fruitfulness, maturity in my own strength. God is teaching me that I am a sailboat: I need to STOP rowing on the oars and START learning from Him how to open up my sails to catch HIS wind, allowing HIM to power me through this life.
1. But we have a role to play as well. No one gets physically stronger by sitting and only praying that God will make our muscles stronger. It is our job to choose to go to the gym and pick up some weights! While Scripture is clear that God is the source of every perfect gift (James 1:17), we have a role to play as well—if a man won’t work, he won’t eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10).
So what can we practically do each day to keep our love warm toward God and others?
1. Pray. We need to ask God to create, grow, strengthen, and perfect in us a love for Him and others that is doctrinally accurate and practically consistent, genuine, and sacrificial…in other words, a love that is REAL.
2. Pursue. You keep something warm by keeping it close to the source of warmth. Similarly, if we want our love to stay warm, we need to make sure that we are staying close to Jesus—Who IS love—each day/week by A. listening to Him through the Bible and quietness, B. thinking about Him through remembering what He has done/promises to do and worshipping Him through Christian music, C. talking to Him by sharing our joys, fears, regrets/sorrows, and requests.
3. Practice. God creates the legs of newborn calves, but they have a role to play with those legs once they are born–they are to begin WALKING! We too, as God creates & strengthens in us real love for Him and others, are to use that love, are to put that love into practice, realizing of course that like the newborn calf we will stumble, we won’t be very coordinated and graceful at first, but that over time, with our practice and His compassionate guidance, we will eventually be able to leap, run, and pivot!
But how do we practice loving God and others to prevent our love from growing cold?
Let’s look at Luke 9:12-17 (NIV) to see a great example of Jesus instructing and leading the disciples in obeying Him and serving others—in practicing Biblical agape love:
“Late in the afternoon the Twelve came to [Jesus] and said,
‘Send the crowd away
so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside
and find food and lodging,
because we are in a remote place here.’
He replied, ‘You give them something to eat.’
They answered, ‘We have only five loaves of bread and two fish—
unless we go and buy food for all this crowd.’
(About five thousand men were there.)
But he said to his disciples, ‘Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.’
The disciples did so, and everybody sat down.
Taking the five loaves and the two fish
and looking up to heaven,
he gave thanks and broke them.
Then he gave them to the disciples
to set before the people.
They all ate and were satisfied,
and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.”
A. The Disciples Notice the Need and Ask Jesus to Help the People (verse 12).
B. Jesus Commands the Disciples to Help the People Themselves! (verse 13).
C. The Disciples Respond—“We Can’t Do It, Jesus!” (verse 13).
D. Jesus Helps—He Does His “God Thing” with the Little We Offer (v.v. 14 & 16)
E. The Disciples Obey Jesus and Do Their Jobs—The Hungry Get Fed! (v.v. 15 & 17)
Questions To Ask God & Ourselves
1. Notice: What are the needs in my own house, on my street, in my town, in my county, in my state, in my country, in this world?
2. Apply: What does it mean for each of us when Jesus tells us to “give them something to eat”?
3. Be Honest: In what ways are we saying to Jesus, “We can’t! We only have five loaves and two fish!”?
4. Decide: Will we offer up to Jesus our little so that He can do His God-thing to turn it into much?
5. Act: Will we obey Jesus? Will we do our jobs/play our role?
Remember: Jesus wants us to help people with their
A. Earthly Life (food, shelter, clothing, medicine, jobs, etc.—material poverty
B. Eternal Life (salvation, forgiveness of sins, rebirth—spiritual poverty)
Scripture: Luke 9:10-11 (NIV)
“When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus what they had done.
Then he took them with him and they withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida, but the crowds learned about it and followed him.
He welcomed them
and spoke to them about the kingdom of God,
and healed those who needed healing.”
Jesus realized that the people were suffering in two important ways:
A. They were physically sick and needed healing—so He healed them.
B. They were spiritually sick and needed healing—so He told them about the cure: Himself!
We are to do the same—we are to share the wealth of our
A. Personalities, joy, time, energy, talents, opportunity, intelligence, money, & stuff;
We are also to share the wealth of
B. knowing Jesus, who alone can save the world from their sins for anyone who believes, asks, trusts, and follows Him.
It’s silly to only feed people for their 75 years on earth but starve them for their eternity…
…In fact, it’s not silly, it’s cruel (and the opposite is true as well).
Prayer, Pursuing God, and Practicing Love…that’s how we can keep our love from growing cold…