“ON EAGLES’ WINGS MINISTRIES”
“See how I bare you on eagles’ wings and brought you unto myself.” Ex.19: 4.
Royce Kennedy, 909 Whistling Duck Drive, Largo, MD 20774
"Reviewing Gods All-Inclusive Love."
"For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. "John 3: 16.
This verse of scripture along with the23rd Psalm must be the most well known and frequently used verse of scripture. It is used to teach thousands upon thousands on foreign mission fields. It is used in the movies and even sometimes by politicians, when it serves to make a huge political statement. But the "nuts and bolts" that lie at the very core of this verse, can only be accessed when we lay it out in front of us, and like a surgeon skilled with his knife, we take the verse apart and look on the inside—the very heart of the person who offered the gift. That is, the One who moved out of love to give of his best to an undeserving world.
A preacher acquaintance of mine once said casually that I am too "overbearing with the word." He meant that I go too far in searching out what the word really says. But would you rather skim off the top just to make your point palatable to the taste buds of the masses, or would you rather be a faithful steward and handle the word of God with prudence? I don't believe in twisting the word to fit my theory, but rather to fashion my theory around the truth of the word, and when I do that, my theory is a theory no more—it becomes gospel truth.
In recent years I have ran into many people who shined alike light beams coming through a window at sunrise when they exclaim that Gods love is unconditional. The assertion or the implication is that there are no prerequisites in obtaining Gods love. In other words, Gods love places no conditions on our lives. It is assumed that one can live anyhow and bear no responsibilities based on Gods unconditional love. Whenever I hear that argument I am quickly reminded that Jesus said, "If you love me, keep my commandments. "John 14:
15. Here is another dynamic passage that comes to mind just about at this juncture: "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever." 1 John 2: 15-17.
But on the flipside of the coin, we notice that God loved the world as the world was and IS. How many good people were there on earth that became the primary reason for God to send his only Son to die on a cruel cross? Here is the answer! "They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one." Romans 3: 12. "And God saw that the wickedness of man wasgreat in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. " Genesis 6: 5-6.
My Friend, this is the most potent indictment that could be leveled against man by God himself. When he looked upon his own creation, the very work of his hands, this is what he saw. If you and I were in the same position and with the same power God has, what would we do under such circumstances? Yes! God promptly brought the flood and almost all flesh perished. But God did not vanquish all men from the face of the earth. He kept the human race intact for the sake of posterity. He did not make a full end of mankind, and although all flesh became as clay under the waters of the flood, the spirit of man lived on. Gods love will punish and chastise—corrective measures, but he saves to the uttermost. His love is all-inclusive and please notice that God loved the world as it was, filled with all kinds of ills, injustice, and various kinds of abominations.
Which one of us would take our valuable merchandise, an item of unspeakable value, and give it to a person on skid row. Sure, we will walk among the homeless and pass out a little cash or hot meals at Thanksgiving and Christmas! Sure, we will visit the prisons and teach Jesus to the inmates, not with the intent that they should remain vile criminals, but that they will turn aside and become one of us. We offer them a better life in Christ, and so we should, because the love of Christ is a transforming love. But, again, I ask, who among us with the wherewithal would go among the people just mentioned and part with our most precious and costly merchandise? Let me be a little critical for a moment and speak as an ordained minister of the gospel. When the church reaches out in a neighborhood to "evangelize" we try to reach the lost for Christ. We profess love for them as they are, but the bottom line is to make converts of them and change their way of life.
To how many violent men and women behind bars would we extend peace and goodwill as they are, without any preconditions? You see, that was the biggest flaw with the Bush Administration that ended recently. George Bush and his spokesmen were always telling Iran and North Korea what to do before we America would even speak to them. Can you imagine the doctor telling the patient to get rid of the sickness then take the medicine? Listen my Friend! God never tells a sinner to get rid of sin before coming to him-.---he calls upon us to come as we are. Let us be mindful of one fact: We did not make ourselves, and God knew before hand what he was making. He placed his treasure in earthen vessels. 2 Corinthians 4: 7.
Nothing you or I can do will surprise God because he knows what is in mans heart, even our thoughts, before they develop in our mind. Listen to what God said to the house of Jacob back in ancient times: "I knew that thou wouldest deal very treacherously, and wast called a transgressor from the womb. For my name ‘s sake will I defer mine anger, and for my praise will I refrain for thee, that Icut thee not off For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it." Isaiah 48: 8-9,11. Whether we believe it or not, and whether we preach and teach it or not, the Lord has invested himself in us because we are made in his image and we are his very offspring—meaning that we are his next of kin. Acts 17: 28.
At the time of Jesus birth, mankind had just passed through some 400 years of silence, when there were no open visions or messages from God. Conflicts and full scale wars abounded during those years, with the Jews groaning under the iron fists of Rome. Crimes and confusion ruled the day among a people who seemingly were like a ship lost sea, left to drift with the tide. It was against this backdrop that the angels pierced the night air with a brand new message. "Fear not: for, behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and good will toward men." Luke 2: 10,14.
Wait a minute! Just one minute here! Not so fast! Are you telling me that the good tidings of great joy shall be to ALL PEOPLE? Have you taken a good, close look at the earth lately? How on earth and by any stretch of the imagination can you announce peace and goodwill toward all men? Havent you seen the murders, the rapes, the numerous acts of incest, homosexuality, prostitution, robberies, and other vile crimes? Are you sure this peace and goodwill is appropriate to be bestowed upon all men? What do you think Gods thoughts were? Yes he saw all that is mentioned and more than you or I can chronicle on our computers and writing tablets. But none of that could block Gods blessings upon mankind, because his love on our behalf is all-inclusive and unconditional. He does not demand or expect anything such as an offering or a confession before he imparts his love. He does not put us in the New Converts Class or on a probation to prove ourselves.
Far too often we seem bent on changing others before we love them. We embrace each other at the end of a worship service as we whisper, "I love you Jack—I love you Jane." It is unlikely that we will approach a lady of the night displaying her goods on the corner of5th and Broadway and hug her saying, "I love you-honey." But expressing Gods love means a lot more than a soft hug and a squeeze. God did not offer a mere hug and a squeeze to mankind as it floated aimlessly in a sea of sinfulness. God did not simply issue commands for man to "clean up his act or else" like some preachers would have us believe. Since love is an abstract emotion that is not visible to the eyes, God determined to do something to put his love on display.
The Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word (God) became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:1,14. So when Jesus Christ appeared on the horizon of human history, he was not merely a good man, or a prophet. He was God made flesh—a product of Gods love. He offered a universal call that echoed and resonated to all people: "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Malt 11: 28. To those who professed goodness and piousness overlaid with self righteousness and a tinge of hypocrisy, Jesus said, "I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth." Matt.9:13. John 9: 41.
Some 712 years before Christ was born, a universal declaration was made under the auspices of the Holy Spirit and chronicled for our admonition. "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself (meaning that he stands by his word—alone and without assistance) the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return (it will have no changes, no hindrances and will perform my will)That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear (confess in praise and worship). Isaiah 45: 22-23. This includes where ever people are, from the north pole to the south pole, from the gold coast of California to the paradise islands of the Pacific, to the remote and untamed juggles of the Amazon, to the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, to the fertile lands along the banks of the Danube River and the river Nile, to the icy slopes of the Swiss Alps, and to the elevated regions of Bangkok and Tibet in the regions of the Himalaya Mountains.
This declaration is not mere political or religious rhetoric; nothing more than platitudes and vain babblings. To make sure this truth holds firm, we read that "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself And how does he accomplish this daunting task? By not imputing their trespasses unto them." 2 Corinthians 5: 19. Meaning that God does not add their trespasses to their account or does not lock them in with their trespasses because Jesus took our sins in his body on the tree. But what is the true embodiment of this text? Upon what merit does this concept stand? Lets us look at mans building blocks and into how he is motivated, even though many Christian ministers would rather overlay this truth with a heavy dose of Gods wrath and everlasting fire.
"The preparations of the heart in man (your heart, my heart, and everybodys heart) and the answer of the tongue, is from the Lord. All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the Lord weigheth the spirits. The Lord hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil. A man ‘s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps." Proverbs 16: 1,2,4,9. "Mans goings are of the Lord; how can a man then understand his own way?" Listen to an ancient prophets prayer! "0 Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. 0 Lord, correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing. "Jeremiah 10: 23,24.
Some Christians will say that we are compromising with sinners, and making a way for them to feel at ease in their sins. They would rather beat themselves out trying "Do Good" and working their way into holiness. But I did not write those words I just quoted above, and I dare any person to walk exactly all his or her life as they plan and as they persuade themselves what is the right way to go. No man will make the scriptures out to be lies. At certain stages in our lives, especially when we mess things up, or as we grow older, we say, "If I had it to do over again, I would do things differently" but quite honestly I dont think that is the case.
We see things from our own perspective and conclude right or wrong from our personal vantage point. But listen to this! Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men. Psalm 90: 3. Did you see that? God turns us into the path of destruction. Sometimes lives seem to be ruined and past any point of being salvaged. Those who sit in their glass houses or on their high horses, tend to look down on the misfortunes of those being turned into destruction, sometimes with an air of disdain or even condemnation. But how do I know what process the Lord is taking the other person through? If its not in man that walketh to direct his own steps, who am I to pass judgment on the path others take? Help me Jesus!!
But all the time, because Gods love is never ending and does not recognize borders, class, or race, HE has no problem loving the world as the world is. Do you remember that in the parable that Jesus gave concerning the workers that went out in the field early in the morning to work for a penny a day, others went to work later on, and even close to closing time, yet every one got paid a penny? Those who bore the heat of the day complained that they should not get a penny each, the same as those who came late. Listen to the master! "Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? Isit not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because Jam good?" Matthew 20: 13-15.
Paul has this way to say! "For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. Listen my Christian Friend! So thenit is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardener/i." Romans 9: 15-18.
I dont know about you, but I feel like a child who knows that Daddy is in control at all times. I went to a conference with a teacher when one of my sons was in high school. When we left and began walking back to my car, my son said, "Dad, I love how you spoke to that teacher." Why? Because I spoke as one in control and as one who is well aware of the issues involved. God is always in control, and no matter what circumstances you are now living under or living with, God is an expert in those very issues. The issues of your life have no bearing on Gods love for you. He does not love you less if you are bad, and love you more if you are good.
For God so love the world that he gave his only begotten Son needs no clarification or long drawn out debate. It is spoken, it is final, and it cannot be repealed or annulled. Let us use basic terminologies for the sake of clarity. What do you think God saw when he looked down on an earth filled with all manlier of sins? Name one thing he did not see and did not know existed on earth that would cause him to withhold his lovel No one bit so! Not only did God see mans outward actions and gross baseness. He saw some crawling in the gutter, meaning they could not sink any lower than where they were. He saw blood! He saw betrayals and deceit! Think of anything hideous and abominable and it stands to reason that God saw it all.
But in spite of, or maybe because of it all, he declared his love for the world, and announced peace and goodwill toward men—all men. Jesus emerged in the height of Roman rule in so much, he had to be hidden in Egypt for a couple years. But even when the shadow of the cross came into his minds eye, his love turned it into his Fathers expression of love. He pointed to the purpose of the cross this way! "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." John 12: 32. God was in Christ reconciling the WORLD unto himself and here Jesus is promising to draw all men unto him. Back in the Old Testament God or (the preincarnate Christ) declared, Look unto me and be ye saved all the ends of the earth. This leaves no one out! Not one inch of ground discovered or undiscovered is to be left out. Does this not serve as proof of Gods love for the world?
The all inclusiveness of which we speak is not confined to God and his love. It also impacts Adam and his family of humans. "For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all ~ even so (by the same token or on the same basis) in Christ shall all be made alive." 1 Corinthians 15: 21-22. This simple truth will not be accepted by many Christians because like the men who complained about the master paying every man a penny, these good folks feel that they are living a holy life for God, missing the grandeur of the world, praying, giving, and seeking the lost. So why should Jesus keep his promise by drawing all men unto him. Why should God in Christ indeed, reconcile the world unto himself. Here is what they willingly or unwillingly forget. "Be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God, who hat/i saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began." 2 Timothy 1: 8b-9. They remind me of the prodigals brother who never left home.
He never killed the fatted calf! He never made a party to entertain his friends. Sure he labored, but he did so much more like a hired servant than the son that he was. His prodigal brother came home and a big shindig— hoopla time erupted much to the dismay of the stay-at-home brother. When he complained, Dad said, hey! What can I tell you! What do you want me to say? All that I have has always been yours. You could have killed the fatted calf and have fun with your friends but you didn’t. So dont blame me because I am celebrating the return of your brother. I have talked with many Christians who have that exact mind-set. For God to draw all men to him should cause them to break forth in singing and dancing. It could be that their own relatives long given up as lost are among those coming in at this time. But what do they see? The sacrifices they had to make and all that they had to miss. As for me, I love the thought that the master can do whatsoever he wants with what is his. If hell can be emptied, when death is removed, swallowed up by unending life I will be on the frontline dancing and wiping away tears of joy. Jesus gave a very pointed lesson when he commanded his disciples to gather up the fragments so that nothing be wasted and they gathered up twelve baskets full.
Some years ago when I lived in San Diego, California, the Lord spoke to me saying, "Men count success by the ninety and nine that they have, but I count success by the one thats gone astray." Thank you Jesus! Why go after the one? Dont you have ninety and nine? Because the one that is gone astray is mine also and I will lose none! Let us look at another couple of examples of Pauls approach to the concept of Gods All-ness or inclusiveness. He wrote: "Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; And to make ~ ~ what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ." Ephesians 3: 8-9. Paul indicated in this passage that he was called to the ministry of Christ to make ALL MEN see the truth of the gospel. And to those who believe and teach that Jesus was just a good man and a prophet like any other prophet of his day, please note that God created all things by him.
The same Word that was God and became flesh and dwelt among us, was the same Word of which it was written: "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. "John 1:1-3. Speaking of Jesus Christ who was the image or expression of the invisible God, Paul wrote: "For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him. And he is before all things, and by him all things consist." Colossians 1: 15-17. Need there be any more questions about who Jesus really is? Applying the concept of all-ness to the salvation process, Paul wrote in vivid terms what the truth is. "For the love of Christ constraineth, us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again." 2 Corinthians 5: 14-15. Of all the religious leaders and founders of religious orders who ever lived, I am yet to hear of one who died to save their followers; and if one dared to die in such case, we will never find one who rose again, except Christ. That is what sets him apart from all the others.
He created all things, even the very tree upon which he would die, and in his death conquered death and hell, and he rose again to lead us all from death unto life having put all things under his feet. The love that God showed was not bestowed up one race above another. God has never taken sides thus showing favoritism upon those who think they have something special going on with God. He concluded ALL under sin so that he might bestow mercy upon ALL. Thus, we are told: "But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is acceptable with him." Acts 10: 35. Yes, he turneth man (all men) to destruction, then says, Return ye children of men." "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him." Isaiah 55: 7. No one can return unto the Lord if he had not been with the Lord before, and we dare say that when he was turned to destruction he was not wicked. That is why we are told that creation was lowered into vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who subjected the same in hope. Creation shall be delivered from its bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God and all of Gods created universe shall bask in his glory and shall shout his praises. "Who shall not fear thee, 0 Lord, and glory thy name? for thou only art holy; for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest. "Revelation 15: 4. What a great unfolding is yet to come!!
On Eagles Wings Ministries is a bi-monthly publication dedicated to the ministry of "present truths" as they pertain to us today. As we know, truth is progressive and affords us the opportunity to be a part of the ever-unfolding aspects of Clods Kingdom.
We minister to the Body of Christ at large, especially to those with an open mind and a willingness to maintain continued growth in the Spirit of truth. These publications are not for sale, but are sent FREE of charge to those who desire to receive them, and express their desire in writing, by telephone, Or by e-mail, and always without pressure or obligation from us.
We are always thankful to those who are willing to share in the task of getting the message out to those who possibly are unable to lend a supporting hand. We are constantly indebted to those who faithfully support this outreach as their individual circumstance allows.
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Royce O. Kennedy