The Laws of Love

Colossians

The Laws of Love

October 13th, 1957 @ 10:50 AM

Colossians 3:12

Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
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THE LAWS OF LOVE

Dr. W. A. Criswell

Colossians 3:12

10-13-57    10:50 a.m.

 

 

You are sharing with us the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas.  This is the pastor bringing the second morning message from the middle part of the third chapter of the Book of Colossians.  In our preaching through the Word, we are in Colossians: this morning, in the third chapter; this evening, in the fourth. 

If you have your Bible and would follow the text, you can easily do so in the sermon of this morning’s hour.  Reading from the twelfth through the seventeenth verses of the third chapter of Colossians:

 

Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, hearts of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;

Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any; even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. 

And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. 

And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. 

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 

And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him. 

[Colossians 3:12-17]

 

So the title of our message will be The Laws of Love or The Rule of the Christian Life: The Walk of the Christian Disciple. 

If the laws of Moses were so binding upon them who heard [Deuteronomy 6:1-25; Hebrews 10:26-29], how much more so is the life and love and ministry and example of our Savior binding upon the Christian disciple?  And this is that of which Paul speaks in this passage.  He has here three things, especially, that he speaks of in our Christian life, and the first one is that of forbearance and forgiveness: "Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another . . . even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye" [Colossians 3:13].  He gives us the pattern of our forbearance and our forgiveness: "Even as Christ forgave you."

So first we look at the pattern – at the example – at Christ Himself.  Our Lord’s life was one of exchanging love for hate and rejection [1 Peter 2:20-24].  He was not welcomed into this world.  When He was born, Herod held over His cradle a bloody sword [Matthew 2:7-18].  When He presented Himself to His townspeople as the new prophet and Messiah of God, they thrust Him to the brow of the hill upon which their city was built to plunge Him headlong downward to death [Luke 4:29].  His own took up stones against Him to stone Him to death [John 8:59, 10:31]; and last of all was He crucified, nailed to the tree, rejected, slain [Matthew 26:47-27:66; Mark 14:43-15:47; Luke 22:47-23:56; John 18:1-19:42].  That was the welcome of the world to the Savior.  The consummation of His life of love and forgiveness was in His prayer from the cross: "They know not what they do.  Forgive them.  Lay not the sin to their charge" [Luke 23:34].

His whole life was one of recompensing good for evil, kindness where there was bitterness, blessing where there was cursing, goodness where there was evil.  Our sins crucified Him too: not just on them lay the blood of His death but upon us for all mankind is chargeable, and all humanity is guilty before God [Romans 3:1-27; 1 John 2:2]; and for a man to speak of himself as being worthy of forgiveness is to speak in words of contradiction [Isaiah 64:6; Zechariah 3:1-8; Ephesians 2:8-9; Philippians 3:1-11; Revelation 3:17-18].  We deserve damnation and perdition and hell [Ezekiel 18:20; Romans 6:23; Revelation 20:15], but mercy was stored in His heart as honey in the honeycomb, and His lips dropped words of love and endearment. 

This is the pattern of our Savior: for love instead of hate, for blessing instead of cursing, for goodness instead of evil [Luke 6:27-29] – "Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, even as Christ forgave you" [Colossians 3:13].

Another thing of the paragon of our Savior’s forgiveness and forbearance: it was unsolicited.  His forgiveness arose in something in Him, not in us [John 10:17-18; Romans 5:6-8; Ephesians 2:4-9; 1 Peter 3:18; 1 John 3:16, 4:9-10, 19].  Had He been so mindful, with what vengeance could He have wrought havoc upon the head of those who hated Him.  "I could command," said the Lord, "twelve legions of angels" [Matthew 26:51-53].  Why, just one angel slew the whole army of Sennacherib [2 Kings 19:35].  A hundred eighty‑five thousand of the choicest Assyrian soldiers lay dead in a night [2 Kings 19:35-36].  Twelve legions of angels [Matthew 26:53] – what He could have done! 

When they cried, "Come down from the cross if Thou be the Son of God. Come down" [Matthew 27:40-42; Mark 15:29-32; Luke 23:35], He could have come down and in terror. His enemies could have cried for the rocks to fall upon them and the mountains to hide them from His face [Revelation 6:12-17]. 

He said: "Fear not him that can destroy the body and can do no more.  But fear Him that hath power to cast soul and body in hell" [Matthew 10:28].  To my surprise, in your Sunday School lesson about a week ago, I found that some of our people thought that referred to Satan, to the devil.  No.  That refers to God.  "Fear Him who hath power to cast soul and body into hell" [Matthew 10:28].

I say His forgiveness was unsolicited.  It welled up from a spring in His own heart, in His own soul.  It is God who is reconciled to us [2 Corinthians 5:18-19], and we have this ministry of reconciliation: "Be ye reconciled to God" [2 Corinthians 5:20].  The forgiveness is first in Him: unsolicited, unmerited [Ephesians 2:8-9; 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:3-5; James 1:18]. 

It is the same thing as I read in so many of these melodramatic stories that the old‑time preacher used to recount.  A father, a prodigal daughter: she, fearful to return to her father’s house.  She has wronged him.  She is ashamed.  She will not return, but a friend speaks to her.  Her father has already forgiven.  Will she not return home?  She returns, and the father’s arms are opened and welcome.  The point of those old‑time melodramatic stories was always good.  The father had already forgiven: mercy unsolicited, arms of welcome opened wide just for the poor girl to come back home [Luke 11:15-31].  That’s it.  "Forbearing one another, forgiving one another . . . even as Christ forgave you" [Colossians 3:13] – unsolicited, unmerited, first in His own heart. 

Another thing: this paragon of our forgiveness and forbearance – "Even as Christ forgave you" – forgiven wholly, completely, gladly, joyfully.  He does not forgive us and hold reserves of anger secretly [Psalm 103:12; Micah 7:18-19].  He does not outwardly speak words of peace and welcome, and then, in the background somewhere, has wrath stored up.  No. His forgiveness is whole and complete: "I shall remember thy sins against Me no more forever" [Jeremiah 31:34; Hebrews 8:12, 10:17].  He is our Redeemer [Psalm 19:14, 78:35; Proverbs 23:11; Isaiah 41:14, 43:14, 44:6, 44:24, 47:14, 48:17, :7, :26, 54:5, 54:8, 59:20, 60:16, 63:16; Jeremiah 50:34], our Advocate [Job 16:19; 1 John 2:1], our Pleader [Psalm 35:1, 43:1; 74:22, 119:154; Proverbs 22:23, 23:11; Isaiah 3:13, Jeremiah 50:34, 51:36; Micah 7:9], our Intercessor [Isaiah 53:12; John 16:26-27, 17:20-24; Romans 8:26-27, 34; Hebrews 7:25], and He could not be our counsel of condemnation and accusation [John 3:17; Romans 8:34]. 

In thinking about this text – now, I’m not a lawyer, and I may be wrong – but in thinking about it, it seemed to be like this – and if this is not a good illustration, it’s because I am not learned in law – but in what few cases I have seen, you cannot have one lawyer and he accuses and then he pleads, but you have to have two lawyers.  The same lawyer could not condemn and strive for a verdict and a judgment of death and then the same lawyer plead for mercy and forgiveness and defend the client. 

As I thought of it in my mind, I could not conceive of this.  Now, I say, I may be wrong.  I could not conceive of this.  I could not conceive of the defendant, the accused there on the stand, and then a lawyer – the lawyer on this side – and he arises to accuse the defendant and to condemn him and to ask for the death penalty.  Then the same lawyer come on the other side.  Then he arises and pleads for mercy and forgiveness and to let the defendant go free.  To me, that is inconceivable.  Now, if there’s such a thing as that in law, I say, to me, it is inconceivable. 

It is so with Christ and us.  It is the impossible, I think.  It is morally, ethically unthinkable for Christ to be our intercessor and our pleader and our advocate and at the same time be our condemner and call for the death of His child. 

So, I say, when he speaks here of forbearance and forgiveness – "even as Christ forgave you" [Colossians 3:13] – that forgiveness is whole and complete.  No longer does He condemn [Romans 8:34].  No longer does He judge [John 3:14-18, 8:15-16, 8:26, 12:47-48].  No longer does He seek death because of the waywardness and wrong of His child, but His life is now of mercy and of love and of pardon and forgiveness [Luke 7:36-50, 19:1-10, 23:33-43; John 8:1-11, 9:51-56].  "By the sacrifice of Himself, hath He put away sins forever" [Hebrews 9:26] and "The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanseth us from all sin" [1 John 1:7].  To the child of God, Jesus is on your side [Romans 5:1, 8:31, 8:33-34].  He’s your Advocate [1 John 2:1], and He will see us through [Hebrews 10:14]. 

Now, he says, "Forbearing one another, forgiving one another . . . even as Christ forgave you" [Colossians 3:13].  We are to be like that.  In the eighteenth chapter of the Book of Matthew, our Savior tells a parable.  There is a man – first, what He’s illustrating: Simon Peter came up to Jesus and said, "Jesus, how many times shall I forgive a man?  Shall I forgive him seven times?" [Matthew 18:21]  Oh, that was a lot to Simon.  Here’s a man who’s wronged me once and twice, three, four, five, six, and seven times did he lie on me and hurt me and what else.  Seven times shall I forgive him and then smack him right in the nose, lay him out, undermine him, put a dagger under his fifth rib, hate him for good.  Seven times? 

And the Lord said, "Simon, verily I say unto you not until seven times, but until seventy times seven" [Matthew 18:22].  Then He spake – now, my parable I was going to tell.  Then the Lord said, "There was a man who owed a king ten thousand talents of silver" [Matthew 18:24] – and I don’t know how much money that is.  A talent is a weight, not an exchange like a dollar or fifty cents.  It is a weight.  A talent of gold, a talent of silver; and a talent was what an ordinary man could carry.  That was what it was. 

Ten thousand talents of silver did this man owe the king [Matthew 18:24], and the king was going to throw him into prison and confiscate all his property and sell his family into slavery [Matthew 18:25]; and the man came and pled before the king [Matthew 18:26], and the king forgave him [Matthew 18:27]: "You don’t owe me anything.  It’s wiped out."  Ten thousand talents. 

Then the Lord said, "That steward found a man who owed him a hundred pence" [Matthew 18:28].  Now a pence would be about a tenth of a penny.  A hundred pence – owed him a dime in our money – owed him a dime.  And he seized that man and took him by the throat and began to choke him and said, "Pay me my ten cents!" [Matthew 18:28]; and the man said, "I don’t have a penny to pay thee" [Matthew 18:29].  So he took the man and thrust him in prison until he should pay everything that he owed [Matthew 18:30]. 

And, of course, the king heard about it [Matthew 18:31-34], and that doesn’t matter [for] our story.  What the Lord is saying: that’s the way with us and God [Matthew 18:35].  The Lord hath forgiven us.  How He has!  We hell‑deserving, damnation, perdition‑bound sinners who ought to have been blotted out, but instead, He blotted our sins out [Psalm 51:1, 9; Colossians 2:13-14], and the Lord hath restored us and taken us to Himself.  What God hath forgiven us, now, says Jesus, we are to forgive those who hurt us and who wrong us [Matthew 6:12-14; Mark 11:25; Luke 11:4, 17:3-4; Ephesians 4:32, Colossians 3:13], and in no wise or way is there to be bitterness or hardship or hardness or enmity in our souls toward anyone [Romans 12:18, 14:19; 1 Corinthians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:15; Hebrews 12:14-15]. 

"Forbearing one another."  When you have forborne once, forebear again.  When you have forborne thrice, let your forbearance continue.  Having forborne seven times, keep on forbearing.  "Forbearing one another, forgiving one another . . . even as Christ hath forgiven you" [Colossians 3:13].

How much do God’s people need to heed that admonition in your house, in your home, in your family, in the department, in the class, in the choir, in the church, in all of the relationships of Christ, of life!  "As Christ hath forgiven us" [Colossians 3:13].  Whether they solicit it or not, whether they merit it or not, wholly and completely, we forgive them. 

That’s why so many churches bleed inwardly.  I was in California this week.  There is a church out there – so many of them are like that, these little struggling churches we’re trying to build in the West.  There is a church out there in which I am much and personally interested, and it is torn asunder.  By what?  By great issues?  No!  If it were a lion or a tiger, you could shoot it, but you can’t aim at a gnat.  They don’t know what they fight about.  They don’t know what they’re angry about – just bleeding internally; and that’s the way some people are personally.  They remind me of vultures circling around to find something dead – like a carrion crow to light upon something in which they could find fault.  Bless your heart, if you are so minded, there’s nobody you’d ever know, including your mama and your daddy and your children, but that if you so chose, you could follow behind them and find fault and fault and fault.  Who wants to do it?  Who?  Not God’s child.  Not the disciple of Jesus. 

Is there a weakness?  I shall pray for strength for it [Hebrews 12:12].  Is there a stumbling?  I shall pray for strength for it.  Is there a hesitation?  Is there a lack?  We shall commend him to God that the Lord shall be good to him.  For ‘"Vengeance is mine, I will repay,’ saith the Lord.  Therefore ‘if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him to drink’" [Romans 12:19-20].  It is not for us to condemn or to find fault.  It is for us to pray and to bless [Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:26-29, 35; Romans 12:14, 20-21; 1 Corinthians 4:12; 1 Peter 2:21-23, 3:8-9]. 

You listen to me, dear people.  All of us have angles, and we jar one another and you can’t help it; but that is the purpose of the Christian fellowship.  We’re like a jigsaw puzzle, and we don’t fit it seems.  We’re misshapen and unfitted, but in God’s grace and in the sweetness of the fellowship of His church, we come to fit.  Our angles and our edges are rounded off [Proverbs 27:17]; and by and by, we’ll come to that assembly of the Firstborn where the spirits of just men are made perfect [Hebrews 12:22-24]. 

"Forbearing one another, forgiving one another . . . even as Christ forgave you [Colossians 3:13]."  This whole thing laved with the love and mercy of people who are like Jesus.  That’s the first one. 

Now, the second one: "And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body" [Colossians 3:15].  "And let the peace of God rule in your hearts."

Something is going to rule.  Don’t you ever think different.  There will be an authority somewhere [Matthew 12:30; Luke 11:23; Romans 6:16-22; James 4:4; 1 John 2:15-16]; and if the head is not the head, then the eye will not be the eye, and the hand will not be the hand, and the foot will not be the foot, and nothing will be as it ought to be, and everything will be as it ought not to be, and there’ll be misery everywhere [1 Corinthians 12:1-31].  Somebody somewhere will rule.  God made this universe that way.  It is so in a man’s soul.  You can’t serve two masters [Matthew 6:24; Luke 16:13].  It’ll be one or the other; and if it isn’t God, then it’s Satan, and it is so in the church.  We are either ruled by the Spirit of God, or we are ruled by quarrelsome, divisive contention [1 Corinthians 1:10-12; Galatians 5:15-26].  How much more beautiful and precious: "Let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body" [Colossians 3:15]. 

Then look at God’s beautiful ordination.  The head is the head, and that’s Jesus [1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 4:15, 5:23]; and the hand is the hand, that’s me; and the foot is the foot, and that’s me; and the tongue is the tongue, that’s me; and the eye is the eye, that’s me.  Somewhere in that body, I have a little part; and somewhere in that body, you have a little part [1 Corinthians 12:12-25]; and when the head rules, Jesus rules [1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 1:22-23, 4:15; Colossians 1:18].  God’s on the throne.  Then everything is in part, and everything is beautiful in the work and ministry of the Lord. 

Now, the last – and this is the one of the most unusual sentences in the Book.  Concluding, summarizing: "And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him" [Colossians 3:17]. 

Now, there is a something on the inside of us.  God put it there.  There is something on the inside of us that seeks to reduce to common denominators all of the knowledge that we possess.  If you didn’t have that in you, everything would be unrelated, and pandemonium would be in mind and life and everywhere; but there is a tendency that God hath placed in us to reduce all the multifarious things we see in life to these great generalities that we call "rules" or "laws." 

For example, Justinian did it in the days of the Roman Empire.  He took all of the diversified laws of the Romans through the centuries, and he put them together in one great code [Justinian Code or Codex Justinianus].  Napoleon did that with the laws of the French: through the years, made one great Napoleonic Code – a tremendous contribution to his country. 

Now, God hath done that for us.  All of the laws of morality are summed up in the two tables of stone [Exodus 31:18], and those Ten Commandments [Exodus 20:1-17] are summed up in two: To love God and your neighbor as yourself [Matthew 22:37-40]; and then those two are summed up in the little word "love" [John 13:34-35, 15:12-17; 1 Corinthians 13:13]. 

Now, this is an example of the terseness and the brevity and the all‑encompassing rule of life you’ll find in the Christian faith.  This is it.  The whole thing summed up – the whole circumstance, the whole outlook, the whole departure, the road, the way, all of life – it is summed for the Christian in that verse: "And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him" [Colossians 3:17].

Now, there’s a little key to that text.  There’s a little key to that rule; and without it, it is nothing.  Now, it is this: "In the Lord Jesus."  To the unregenerate man, the Christian life is an impossibility [John 3:1-4, 15:5; 1 Corinthians 2:14].  It is a wearisomeness hard to bear.  In the Lord Jesus, there first must be a change in the root if there is to be a change in the fruit [Matthew 7:15-20, 12:33-35; Luke 6:43-46; Ephesians 2:1-7].  To hang fruit – to tie fruit on a lifeless and dead branch is no way to glorify God or to bring fruit unto Him.  There must be a living tree in Christ Jesus [John 14:5, 15:1-11].  The unregenerate man cannot serve God [Matthew 7:21-23; John 15:5].  He cannot know God [1 Corinthians 2:14].  He cannot follow God [Romans 8:6-9; Ephesians 4:17-18].  There must be a change in the man first [John 3:3]. 

You know, a man is not just a beast.  He’s a menagerie.  There’s a tiger in him, and a wolf in him, and the serpent in him, and the lion in him, and the devil in him.  One time, George Whitefield, the incomparable, eloquent preacher, said, "A man is a half beast and a half devil" ["Letter CCCCXII," Works of the Reverend George Whitefield, M.A., Edinburgh, 1771] and they criticized him all over the English world.  He said the truth.  By his body, a man is allied to the beast, the animal, and by sin he’s a child of Satan [John 8:42-44].  All of those things are in him.  How do you get a lion to eat straw like the ox?  How do you get a wolf and a lamb to lie down together? [Isaiah 65:25]  It has to come through the power of God.  There has to be a change somewhere. 

God has to remake the heart [Ezekiel 11:19, 18:31, 36:26; 2 Corinthians 5:17], and that is what this text refers to: "In the Lord Jesus" [Colossians 3:17].  We must begin at the beginning.  We must start at the start.  No man can come down that aisle and proudly take this pastor by the hand and say, "Preacher, by my own strength and by my choice and decision, I’m going to be and live the Christian life."  Not so [John 6:44]; but the man must humble himself before God and say, "I am a lost and weak and dying and undone sinner, and I give my life, helpless, to God for Him to give me strength" [Luke 18:9-14].

And a miracle happens in the Lord Jesus, in the Lord Jesus, by word and by deed, walking in the footsteps of the Savior, "giving thanks to God and the Father by him" [Colossians 3:17]; and that is the Christian rule of life: in Christ, in the Lord, walking with Him, good stewards [Galatians 2:20].  This is a gift of God to be used for Him [Ephesians 2:10; Philippians 2:12-13].  Good witnesses for Christ; He is my hope and my Savior, and in us pride is gone.  Self is gone, not seeking vainglory, but just for Him [John 3:30; 1 Corinthians 2:1-5, 10:31]. 

A Greek philosopher looked at an ostentatiously dressed fop, pointed at him and said, "That is pride."  He turned his head and saw a Spartan meanly dressed and added, "And that is pride." 

How easy it is for the Christian to be filled with self.  Last Friday night, I was speaking – last Thursday night, I was speaking on a program, and the pastor was looking at the man standing there before that enormous crowd of people; and he was so proud of himself and thought he was so cute and scintillating.  Oh, it stuck out all over him.  And the pastor turned to me and said – whispered in my ear, "He reminds of that fellow who prays not ‘Lord, make me humble,’ but ‘Lord, keep me humble.  I’ve already got it.  I’ve already got it.  Keep me humble.’" 

It’s easy to fall into that: "I tell you, I go to church.  I tell you, I give.  I tell you, I’m faithful.  Now, Lord, you just look at me.  You don’t have anybody that’s more faithful to You than I am;" and it is easy to fall into a false humility.  We congratulate ourselves upon our devotion to Him.  O Lord, that it might be truly humble!  Nothing of us – nothing of us, and all of Thee [1 Corinthians 2:2; Galatians 2:20]. 

And then that thing, and I cannot pass it by: "Giving thanks to God" [Colossians 3:17]. That’s the second time he mentioned it.  Look up there in that fifteenth verse: "Let the peace of God rule in your heart . . . and be ye thankful" [Colossians 3:15]. 

How many little children have learned that in Sunday School with the little memory verse?  "Be ye thankful" – "be ye thankful."  "And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God" [Colossians 3:17] – thankful, rejoicing in Him.

I don’t know why it is, but somehow most of this believing world has been persuaded that it’s not quite right to be glad before God.  You ought to be somehow long-faced and doleful and lugubrious.  Isn’t that a good word – "lugubrious"?  Oh, go around and let it be apparent that you are pious and dedicated and sanctified, but to be happy and rejoicing in the Lord – somehow we’ve got the idea that doesn’t fit in God’s kingdom.  Oh, my soul!  That’s the opposite of what it is: "And be thankful" [Ephesians 5:20; Colossians 1:12, 3:17] and "rejoice in the Lord" [2 Corinthians 13:11; Philippians 2:18, 3:1, 4:4; 1 Thessalonians 5:16].

Listen, if you were a Baalite, then you could lance yourself and mutilate your body [1 Kings 18:25-29].  If you are a Hindu, you could do all of those contortions as the holy men.  If you were a devotee of monasticism, you could wear a hair shirt and never speak to anybody and live your life behind a dark, drab wall.  But we are the servants of the ever blessed God.  Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!  Praise His name! 

And we’re to be thankful in everything [Colossians 3:16-17; 1 Thessalonians 5:18].  Like Job says, "And the Lord gave.  Blessed be His name.  And the Lord has taken away.  Still, blessed be His name" [Job 1:21].  We are to thank God for our mercies as we’re to thank God for our miseries.  We’re to thank God for the harvest.  We thank God for the soft.  We’re to thank God for the rod as we’re to thank God for the kiss. 

We’re just – we’re to thank God.  Lord, Lord choose our mercies for us, and if it’s to be health, praise the Lord.  If, like this precious little child I mentioned, it’s to be crippled all of my life, then, Lord, help me to know that God chooses best; and I am to be glad with what is best. 

Wouldn’t it be great to be a Christian?  Lord, Lord, if I could just be!  If God would help us to be, following in the way of our Savior – in forbearance, in forgiveness – and the rule of God’s peace in my heart in all that we do or say, giving thanks unto Him [Colossians 3:12-17]. 

If you’ve been listening on the radio, and you’re not a Christian, would you bow your head where you are and ask God to come into your heart?  You can’t be that way by yourself, but God can make us that way.

And in the great throng of people in the house of the Lord this morning, somebody you, give his heart in trust to Jesus or put your life with us in the church.  Would you come in these stairwells around, coming down these stairwells?  In this great throng on the lower floor: into the aisle and down here to the front, "Here I am, Pastor.  I give you my hand.  I give my heart to God.  Here I come, a whole family of us, putting our life in the church."  Would you make it now?  Would you decide now?  Would you come now humbly looking to Him, trusting Jesus, while we stand and while we sing?

THE LAWS OF LOVE

Dr. W. A. Criswell

Colossians 3:12-17

10-13-57

 

I.          Forbearing and forgiveness(Colossians 3:13)

A.  The pattern – as Christ forgave

      1.  His life one of exchanging love for hate and rejection(Luke 23:34)

2.  That act of grace unsolicited

a. He had the power to execute vengeance(Matthew 10:28, 26:53, 27:40)

b. The forgiveness is first in Him(2 Corinthians 5:18-20)

3.  He forgives wholly, completely, joyfully(Hebrews 8:12, 9:26)

B.  Our imitation of Christ

      1.  Forgive seventy times seven times(Matthew 18:21-35)

a. We need to heed this admonition in the home, family, church

b. Some churches bleed inwardly; members like vultures

2.  It is not for us to condemn, but to bless(Romans 12:19-20)

 

II.         The central governing authority(Colossians 3:14)

A.  Something is going to rule

1.  In a man’s soul – if it isn’t God, then it is Satan

2.  In the church – ruled by Spirit of God or ruled by divisive contention

 

III.        The all-inclusive rule(Colossians 3:17)

A.  God placed in us a tendency to see things in generalities, rules or laws

      1.  The whole of morality summed up in Ten Commandments

      2.  Ten Commandments summed up into two(Matthew 22:37-39)

      3.  The two summed up in the word "love"

B.  The all-encompassing rule of Christian life – "Whatsoever ye do…"

C.  The key to the rule – must be "in the Lord Jesus"

      1.  Must be a change in the man first

a. Miracle in the Lord Jesus; then walking in footsteps of the Savior

b. Delivered from pride of self

c. Thankful(Colossians 3:15-17)

i. Happy and rejoicing in the Lord(Job 1:21)