So, we have been studying God’s heart for a few weeks now, and we have been seeing deeper and deeper into His unconditional love and amazing grace. It has been awesome!
We have seen how the Lord has given us a grand invitation to search and know His heart. We have seen how we are the apple of His eye and that He delights in us. In short, we have been learning in these first two parts of this series how God has set us before Him and His focus is on us—because He loves us! So, let’s talk a little bit more about this love today.
THE GREATEST OF THESE
You know, when studying the Word of God, there are several things that we see that are certainly emphasized: One would be faith—faith is a big deal in the grand scheme of God’s plan of salvation. Another would be mercy & justice—the Lord’s pet peeve (as I like to call it) is the failure to remember the poor, widows, orphans, etc.—for He desires mercy not sacrifice. But if we had to single out just one thing that the Lord emphasizes the most in the Bible, the undisputed subject would have to be LOVE. Yes, according to God’s Word, love is what it is all about.
In 1 Corinthians 13:13, after his chapter devoted to love, the Apostle Paul said, “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
What he was saying here is that now—on this earth, before the Lord returns and sets up His eternal kingdom—we operate in these three cardinals of Christianity: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of all three of these is love. Why? It is because love is the only one of these three that we can operate in now on this earth and also that we will walk in on that day when we see Him face to face. (Not that we won’t ever use our faith or hope in the kingdom of heaven, but our faith will be turned to sight in that day and we will be experiencing all of those things that our hope is in now).
So, love is the greatest of these! This word “greatest” comes from the Greek word where we get our word “mega” from. So, we could say, love is the “mega virtue” of the Kingdom of God!
In fact, the Lord inspired the Apostle Paul to tell Timothy that the whole purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, sincere faith, and a good conscience (see 1 Timothy 1:5). That means that even the entire Old Testament was written to promote this mega-virtue! In other words, the Holy Scripture—from the Old Testament to the New Testament—has always pointed towards love.
Jesus Himself verified this in Matthew 22:36-39 when asked by the lawyer, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” And Jesus responded with— “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” Therefore, love—both loving God and loving one another—is obviously at the top of the list of God’s passions and desires!
And here is another reason we can be persuaded that love is His heart: It is because if the Word of God emphasizes love more than anything else—In other words, if love is talked about the most—then it must be what is in God’s heart in abundance. Amen? Why do I say that? It is because Jesus said in Matthew 12:34-35 that “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” So, if you want to know what is in God’s heart in abundance, study His Word and find out what He likes to talk about. Amen?
But allow me to draw your attention back to what Jesus referred to as the “Greatest Commandment”— Would the Lord make such a fuss in His Word about love—namely, us loving Him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength and loving our neighbor as we do ourselves—if He was not doing this Himself? Let me ask you this way—Does the Lord practice what He preaches? You can sure of that! Hallelujah!
So, guess what? If He says that the greatest of all virtues is love, and if He says that the greatest of all commandments is love, then love must hold the greatest part of His heart! Amen? Yes, the Lord God loves you and me with all His heart, with all of His soul, with all of His mind, and with all of His strength! Amen!
Let me give you an example of this: How does God love you and I with all of His mind?
In Mark 7:21-22, Jesus taught us something about the heart. He said, “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.” Is it just me or could Jesus maybe have stopped halfway through this list? 😊 So, here, Jesus was teaching us that, when it comes to mankind, our hearts are deceitfully wicked and these are the things that proceed from our evil hearts.
However, since God is good, perfect, holy, and love, the opposite must be true for His heart. So, out of the heart of God “proceed good thoughts (not evil thoughts), faithfulness (not adulteries), purity (not fornication), giving life (not murders), gifts (not thefts)…” Need I go on? Therefore, His mind—His thoughts, meditations, etc.—are only on good, not of evil (see Jeremiah 29:11)! And why? It is because He loves us with all of His mind! Amen!
But back to the Greatest Commandment: Jesus also told us to love our neighbor as we do ourselves, didn’t He? Yes, He loves you and I as He does Himself. What does this mean? It reinforces that awesome truth that God loves us just as much as He loves Jesus (see John 17:23)! Yes, He loves us just as much as He loved His Only Begotten Son! Glory to God!
Now let’s look at a couple more of the sayings of Jesus and take a deeper look into God’s heart…
WHERE IS GOD’S HEART?
Jesus also said in Matthew 6:21, “Where your treasure is there your heart will be also.” So, where is God’s treasure then? Well, what does the Bible say? It says in 2 Corinthians 4:7 that “we have this treasure in earthen vessels…” Paul also told us that his prayer was that we would come to know, through the wisdom and revelation, what are the “riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints…” (Ephesians 1:18) So, evidently, God’s treasure—Christ’s very inheritance—has been placed in us.
So, if this truth that where our treasure is there our heart will be also is a universal truth (and we ought to believe it is), then since God’s treasure is in us, then His heart is there too! Amen! In other words, God’s heart is with us just like His treasure is. Glory to God!
Let’s consider two Kingdom parables that the Lord Jesus taught us—the Parable of the Pearl of Great Price & the Parable of the Hidden Treasure (see Matthew 13:44-46): Now there are two ways that you hear of these two similarly themed parables being interpreted. One is that the treasure and pearl illustrated in these two parables are the Kingdom of God itself and we are the man and the merchant who discover it. Then, having found this precious commodity, we sell all we have for the joy set before us by laying down our lives for the cause of the kingdom. Therefore, most believers see these parables as how the disciple of Christ will react once discovering the kingdom- we will forsake all to experience the life of the kingdom. This is probably the most common interpretation of this Scripture.
Secondly, these two parables have also been interpreted that the treasure and the pearl is us, and the man or merchant that sought out and found the church was Jesus. The Lord then forsook all He had to purchase us by first leaving His glory in heaven, becoming a man, and then ultimately by giving up His life for us on the Cross. So, this interpretation could be summed up by saying that Jesus sold all He had in order to redeem us as His own.
So, as I have considered both of these possible interpretations, I asked the Lord which one was correct. Is it that the treasure/pearl is your kingdom and the salvation one experiences when entering your kingdom or is the treasure/pearl the church that You died for? Is the man/merchant us discovering the kingdom or is this person Jesus who was seeking after us? As I asked the Holy Spirit these questions, He responded to me saying that the answer is both. Yes, He told me that both interpretations are correct because, as He put it to me, you cannot have one without the other. Let me explain:
You see, the Lord never encourages us to do anything that He Himself has not already first done. Always remember that. He, as any good leader, will first practice what He preaches. And these two parables perfectly illustrate this principle of God’s kingdom.
The Lord was first this man/merchant in these parables: He discovered this kingdom in first seeking out and saving we who were lost and paying His all to purchase us out of the world. Thus He began His kingdom by seeing a valuable treasure and pearl of great price that was hidden to the naked eye. He came to seek and save that which was lost and paid the greatest price to redeem us- that pearl of great price and that treasure hidden in the field.
Now there was a slight difference in both of these parables in regards to this interpretation:
In the Parable of the Hidden Treasure, after stumbling upon the treasure in the field, he did not simply attempt to attain the treasure. No, he paid the price to purchase the entire field- knowing that in purchasing the field, He was purchasing the treasure hidden in the field. What a wise God we serve!
What we see here is that the Father saw such great value in the treasure that was hidden in this field that He decided to purchase the whole field itself. This paints a beautiful picture of the lengths that love will go to redeem the object of its love. And in this illustration, we can see how God paid the price for the whole world and not just for those who would receive His call for salvation. In other words, He paid for all man’s sin, not just the redeemed people’s sin. He went to such great lengths to offer this free gift of salvation to the whole world to where all one needs to do is receive the price paid- the blood of Jesus. Then, if they receive the price that was paid to redeem them, all other sin issues are taken care of. But if they reject the lamb who was slain for their sins, then the reject the gift of salvation.
But did not Jesus pay the price to redeem all of mankind, He also paid the price to redeem all of the world itself. Yes, this planet which has thrown into a sin-cursed state when Adam sinned, was also purchased, ready to be redeemed when Jesus returns, bringing with Him the new heavens and the new earth. Come Lord Jesus, Come! Amen.
Now the point I want us to understand about these two parables is how Jesus chose to describe us- as a treasure and a pearl of great price. Oftentimes, we get so wrapped up in the greatness of the price that was paid that we totally miss the value of the object that was being paid for. Now, please understand me: This is in no way an attempt to diminish the focus on Jesus’ precious blood. Oh, how we should always pay great honor and reverence to His redeeming sacrifice! But at the same time, we need to realize that if God were willing to pay such a great price for us, then we must have had some value as well.
Do you believe God is a wise investor? Well, He did choose the Jewish people, did He not? Yes, saints, the Lord knows how to make a sound investment. Well, do you think He would have paid that high of a price if there was not some comparable value in the item he was purchasing? Of course not! No, He paid such a great price for us because of the great value He saw in us. Thank you, Jesus! He saw a treasure in each one of us and He saw a pearl of great price in this church that He saw in His heart to create!
And this wonderful day that you and I are walking in the reality of was also forecasted by the prophets: In Malachi 3:17, God prophesied that the day would come (that being this church age that we are now in) when we would be His and that we would be made His “jewels”, or the Hebrew says “His own special, priceless treasures.” God has placed His priceless jewels in each one of us. That’s why Peter said in 1 Peter 2:4-5 that Jesus is the “living stone” that is chosen by God and precious and that we also, in Him, are “living stones” chosen by God and precious. We are Living Jewels!
So, if where one’s treasure is, there his heart will be also, then God’s heart is most certainly with us because we are His treasure! Therefore, love is the greatest thing on God’s heart. And do you know why? It is because God is love! He doesn’t just have love to give; He is love personified. In other words, agape is the core part of His very nature! Love is the greatest part of His heart! Amen!