The Only Thing We Will Take To Heaven

God's Message on the Web - My earliest podcasts.

Husbands, I want to ask you some questions about your wives. What is the most difficult request your wife has ever made of you? What is your wife’s most difficult expectation in your life? What is the greatest challenge your wife has ever given you?

Wives, l want to ask you some questions about your husbands. What is the most difficult request your husband has ever made of you? What is your husband’s most difficult expectation in your life? What is the greatest challenge your husband has ever given you?

To the unmarried, may I ask you the same questions about your parents or your closest friend? What is the most difficult request ever made of you? What is the most difficult expectation placed on you? What is the greatest challenge someone else has given you?

Likely, for most of us, each of those questions has a different answer. The most difficult request is probably different from the most difficult expectation. The most difficult expectation is probably different from the most difficult challenge.

May I ask four questions about God? What is the hardest command God has given you? What is the most difficult request God has made of you? What is the most difficult expectation God has of you? What is the greatest challenge God has given you?

I want to suggest to you that the answer to all four questions is the same. The hardest commandment God has given us is to love. The most difficult request God has made of us is to love. The most difficult expectation God has of us is for us to love. The greatest challenge God has given us is the challenge found in loving.

  1. The New Testament declares the most incredible statements about love.
    1. Jesus plainly said that the greatest command that God ever gave was the commandment to love.
      1. Jesus said (Mark 12:30,31):
        1. The greatest commandment was to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.
        2. The second greatest commandment was to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.
      2. What does that mean?
        1. No commandment God has ever given is more important than the command to love God and to love people.
        2. No commandment from God gives us something more important to do than loving God and loving people.
        3. No commandment God has given us reveals something more important about accomplishing God’s purposes than the command to love God and to love people.
        4. The command to love God and people is God’s number one expectation, God’s number one request, and God’s number one challenge.
    2. In Paul’s practical application section of the book of Romans, he made this astounding statement in 13:8 — “Owe nothing to anyone except to love each other; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.”
      1. If I correctly understand Paul, he is declaring that we should pay our debts.
        1. Do not borrow and fail to return.
        2. Do not borrow and forget to repay.
        3. Do not act like other people owe you what you borrowed.
      2. There is only one debt that you cannot repay.
        1. You cannot repay your debt of love.
        2. Each of us are deeply in debt to God — we are in debt to God for all He has done for us in love.
        3. It is impossible for us to repay God our debt of love, and He does not ask us to repay Him.
      3. He asks us to make payments on our debt of love by loving people.
        1. He loved us when we were unlovable and undeserving, and He continues to love us when we are unlovable and undeserving.
        2. His love for us did not and does not depend on our being deserving.
        3. He asks that we love people in the same way that He loves us.
      4. Then Paul made this astounding statement: every law, every commandment God has given about the proper treatment of other people will be fulfilled in our lives, will be obeyed in the way that God wants us to obey it, when we love other people.
        1. If our greatest concern is obedience, Paul says that the key is love.
        2. Love produces obedience that fulfills everything that God has in mind for us to do, and, if we love, we will do it the way that God wants it done.
    3. Paul made another statement that is just as astounding as Jesus’ statement.
      1. Remember, Jesus said the two greatest commandments God ever gave was to love God and to love people.
      2. In verification of that truth, Paul told the Corinthian Christians that godly acts done without love mean nothing to God or Christ (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.”
      3. In our theology of belonging to and obeying God, we place more importance on many things than we place on love.
      4. At times we create the impression that love is good, but love is not a salvation issue: I can go to heaven without it — you don’t have to have love to go to heaven; I can be right without it — you don’t have to have love to be right; I can belong to God without it — you don’t have to have love to belong to God.
      5. Jesus and Paul obviously disagreed with that reasoning.
        1. A Christian can communicate God’s message with the languages of men and with the language that comes from heaven.
          1. The languages can be impressive and the message be correct.
          2. But if love is absent, to God it is just loud, irritating noise.
        2. A Christian can have the gift of prophecy, which in the next chapter Paul told these same Christians is God’s most important spiritual gift.
          1. He can explain all the mysteries — like the resurrection, like how God makes us all one in Christ Jesus.
          2. He can have all knowledge; he can truly be the expert when it comes to information about God and scripture.
          3. He can be faith filled and have a powerful faith — in fact his faith can be so powerful that he actually moves mountains.
          4. But if he does not have love — even with the gift of prophecy, the understanding of mysteries, all knowledge, and mountain moving faith — he is nothing.
        3. He can be an incredibly generous Christian.
          1. He can literally give away everything he owns to feed the poor.
          2. In faith, he can sacrificially yield his body to death by fire.
          3. But if there is no love, there is no benefit to him — it profits him nothing.
  2. Perhaps your initial reaction is, “David, that is emphasizing love entirely too much.”
    1. If you are tempted to think this is overemphasis, let me ask you to consider the importance of love from a different perspective.
      1. The most important thing God ever did for you and me was to love us.
      2. Loving us is also the most difficult thing God ever did for us.
        1. Because God loved us, that love made the greatest demands ever placed on God.
        2. Loving us is the most costly thing God ever did.
        3. Because He loved us:
          1. He endured human rejection and human failure.
          2. He endured injustice and grief of sin from the days of Abraham to the coming of Jesus.
          3. He allowed His son to leave heaven and come to earth — and we think it is hard to let our children leave home.
          4. He allowed Jesus to be executed in a grotesque, horrible way.
      3. Because he loves us:
        1. He gives us mercy instead of justice.
        2. He gives us compassion instead of anger.
        3. He gives us forgiveness instead of condemnation.
        4. He gives us kindness instead of giving us what we deserve.
        5. He endures our ignorance, He tolerates our flaws, and He picks us up when we fall.
      4. Loving us is:
        1. The most expensive thing God has ever done.
        2. The most demanding thing God has ever done.
        3. The most frustrating thing God has ever done.
        4. The most exasperating thing God has ever done.
    2. In our lives, God values love for him and love for people more than any other quality that we can develop.
      1. God places a high premium on your love for Him and your love for people.
      2. It is the hardest, most demanding responsibility that He has given Christians.
      3. Why? Because the Christian defines love as God defines love, and because the Christian loves people as God loves people.
      4. Nothing is as hard to do as loving as God loves.
        1. When you love, you show mercy.
        2. When you love, you forgive.
        3. When you love, you forbear.
        4. When you love, you are kind.
        5. When you love, you are patient.
      5. And Jesus put the teeth in our responsibility to love when he said, “If you just love those who love you, you are no different from any evil, godless person” (Matthew 5:46).

Perhaps you are tempted to think, “Love cannot be that important. Love is too weak. There simply is not that much to love — It is not that big a deal. Many Christian responsibilities are much more important than love.” If you think that, look at divine patience and explain how love is weak. Look at divine forgiveness and explain how love is weak. Look at the cross and explain how love is weak.

If you think love is too easy, answer two questions. How many times in your life have you loved God with all your heart, all your mind, all your soul, and all your strength? How often in your life have you loved other people as much as you loved yourself? How many times in your life have you genuinely obeyed the two greatest commandments God has given?

What do you think you will take to heaven with you? “My reputation for godliness.” You wouldn’t want it in heaven even if you could take it. “My faith — I have enormous confidence in God.” Wonderful! But you won’t need faith in heaven. You only need faith on earth. “My hope — I have invested all my hope in Jesus Christ.” Wonderful! But you won’t need hope in heaven. You only need hope on earth. You and I will take just one thing from earth to heaven. It is only thing that we need on earth and will still need in heaven. The only thing we will take with us is our love. We need love on earth and in heaven. “Now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love” 1 Corinthians 13:13.

There are ways of thinking of the Day of Judgement that can be terribly frightening. There are also some marvelous things to consider when we stand before God.

One thing would frighten me more than anything else. There is one mistake that I fear above all others. It is the one mistake that I do not want to take with me into the judgment. As I stand before the God who loved me enough to give me Jesus, and before the Jesus who loved me enough to die on the cross, I do not want to stand there having only loved those who loved me. In my understanding, that would be the most serious failure I could make as a Christian.

Consider the great love God had for us, shown by sending Jesus. God can teach us how to refocus and redirect our lives. He sent Jesus to teach us how to love. God lets you experience His love before He expects you to love.

David Chadwell

Author: Greg

Welcome to Gods Message on the web. My name is Greg and I want to welcome you. I started doing these Podcasts, MP3, and Audio Books back in 2007. Stay awhile and make yourself at home. The Christian Podcasts here are free and for everyone to enjoy. I’m doing a complete series on David Chadwell who is a retired minister from Fort Smith, Arkansas. I’ve also done an Audio Book for Wayne Jacobsen’s the Naked Church. Plus a series of MP3s for Pastor Billy Crone and his The Final Countdown series.

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