He Loves The Whole Church
Part 4 of 5
by Carson Richards
This is a subject we must approach with much humility, for it sounds arrogant if given in the wrong spirit, and is thus often taken in the wrong spirit. Nevertheless, in the thought of the Love of God, there is a coming forth of that love as is pertinent to the complete body that is called church. As Israel as a nation became not the largest people in the world, but reasonably numerous, so the church has surely not ever a majority of the whole population of the world, but is quite large. In Hebrews 12:23 it is aptly described as the “general assembly.” This implies a large group of people, and the mass of what composes the people of God in this age we are now in, called the church. Its name indicates “called-out,” so it is not of the world system as to spiritual life. Praise God! He likes large numbers, and He will have them from all these people that are called Gentiles. They are not despised, but beloved of Him.
Since the Deity often expresses His true spirit through mature saints, He shows us how He feels by the Apostle to the Gentiles, Paul. I Cor. 16:24, “my love be with you all in Christ Jesus, Amen.” God through His Spirit loved all the church. He, more than we, is aware that not all are of the same degree of maturity, at a given time, or ever. In I Cor. 1:2 the Spirit bespeaks of a widely dispersed, large group. “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place all upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours.” So, as in the great council at Jerusalem, the truth of an out-called people, world-wide out-calling, in fact, is presented here. It is a great fact, and draws out a great love from the Gatherer of all these people.
I Cor. 15:51-52, God calls this great body of people to Glory. Isn’t that a love act? To lift all believers from all over, all kinds of people to start with, above mere human earthly existence, to a Glory with Him in Heaven, is certainly a bestowing of an expensive love from Him who is very love.
As we know, love is action as well as an attitude, and to do something real nice for the object of affection is love is action. People want to join up with something throughout their life here on earth, and this is the most important joining that can be done. However, this is not a union artificially effected, but one of life, spiritual life. Amen!
God’s concern through the apostle, shows forth again in II Cor. 11:28-29. “Beside those things that are without, which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is offended, and I burn not?” Such Love! A love encompassing every believer, and reaching into the intimate feelings of all. We can’t quite fathom it. We get disgusted and discouraged with the church especially in their faults and failures. Many rest on little planks of truth, and many are settled on little islands of experience and will never venture out into the ocean of grace, but God has love for them, too.
In like vein, II Cor. 12:15 declares; “And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you, though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.” This is more amazing expression of God’s love. It was shown by sacrificing to get truth to them, and it was not appreciated. We get our feelings hurt for lack of appreciation, but how about God? Sanctified emotions show forth God’s own feelings. His love is there, in spite of the lack of full response by the general assembly.
In I John 3:1, we find the Father’s love toward His children. “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God; therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not.” How fortunate we are to have a Father that loves us, and not like the gods of the world, as shown in mythology. The “god of this world,” Satan doesn’t display love as his forte. The church in its entirety should rejoice that it has a Father that loves it.
Too, the church is called a body, a living organism. It is a part of a great spiritual family, starting with the redeemed from the Garden of Eden and going on to the end of time. All the redeemed are in that family, and blessed indeed are we all that our Father in Heaven has a strong family love. He put this feeling in the natural family, when possible, for sin hinders all good emotions. God has strong family ties.
He likes to look about and show forth some of this family affection in some way. Perhaps He shows it and to the degree that the individual member will allow. Sometimes His evidence of love almost chagrins some other members of the church, for they deem such and such a person undeserving, We are almost startled by the answering of prayers, that the Father does for His large church following. (Now please understand, reader, that we are not saying that all professors of church membership are included here, but only the truly born again ones.)
Then, finally, In Rev. 7:9, 15-17 we see the greater portion of the church numerically called an innumerable company. “After this I beheld, and lo a great multitude, which no man could number of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues stood before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes and palms in their hands.” As we said at the outset, they are of all kinds and from everywhere. The large block of the church is from a varied human background. They are an unlikely group to ever to united, but united they are in Heaven. Their number is beyond human visual comprehension. We don’t say that it is mathematically impossible with modern “magic” means, but that the human eye seeing them could never count them.
We see that things are finally in a good state for them in Heaven. “Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple; and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more, neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them into living fountains of waters, and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” It will be a blessed condition to follow the Lamb, a leadership most didn’t appreciate down here on earth. They will have no more tears, though at first conscious of loss. They in the new environment will be well-cared for, made to feel at home. Praise Him who has such capacity for love for so many. He has it while we are on earth, and for ever.