Once in a while I read something that makes my heart beat faster and that happened as I read a piece from Alexander Maclaren on the love of Christ.
Alexander Maclaren (1826-1910) was a Baptist pastor in Manchester, England. His Expositions of Holy Scripture were printed in 32 volumes and a set of these was given to me by a pastor in Scotland who was retiring around the time that I was ordained. They have proved to be a precious gift.
One of the greatest challenges for any preacher is to communicate the great truths of Scripture in language that befits their glory. Anyone who has seriously attempted to speak on the words, “God so loved the world…” knows what it is to stagger under the weight of this task.
Maclaren speaks of the love of God in a way that reflects its weight and wonder. In reading his words, I got a fresh glimpse of Christ’s love for me. That is why my heart beat faster. I hope that yours does, too.
— Colin S. Smith
They love who know that Christ loves them
No man loves God except the man who has first learned that God loves him. ‘We love Him, because He first loved us.’ And when we say, ‘Love Christ,’ if we could not go on to say, ‘No, rather let Christ’s love come down upon you,’ – we had said worse than nothing.
The fountain that rises in my heart can only spring up heavenward because the water of it has flowed down into my heart from a higher level. All love must descend first, before it can ascend.
We have, then, no Gospel if we have only this to preach, ‘Love, and thou art saved.’ But we have a Gospel that is worth preaching when we can come to men who have no love in their hearts and say, ‘Brethren! Listen to this – You have to bring nothing, you are called to originate no affection; you have nothing to do but simply to receive the everlasting love of God in Christ His Son, which was without us, which began before us, which is unchecked by all our sins, which triumphs over all our transgressions, and which will make us – loveless, selfish, hardened, sinful men – soft, and tender, and full of divine affection, by the communication of its own self. Oh, then, look to Christ, that you may love Him!’
Do not ask yourselves, to begin with, the question, ‘Do I love Him or do I not? You will never love by that means. If a man is cold, let him go to the fire and warm himself. If he is dark, let him stand in the sunshine, and he will be light. If his heart is all clogged and clotted with sin and selfishness, let him get under the influence of the love of Christ, and look away from himself and his own feelings, toward that Savior whose love shed abroad is the sole means of kindling ours.
You have to go deeper than your feelings, your affections, your desires, your character. There you will find no resting place, no consolation, no power. Dig down to the living Rock, Christ and His infinite love for you.
They that love do so because they know that Christ loves them…
And let no man here torture himself, or limit the fullness of this message that we preach, by questioning whether Christ loves Him or not. Are you a man? Are you sinful? Have you broken God’s law? Do you need a Savior? Then put away all these questions, and believe that Christ’s personal love is streaming out for the whole world, and that there is a share for you if you like to take it and be blessed!
Taken from Alexander Maclaren: “Fear And Faith: ‘It Is The Lord!’ (John 21:7)” in Expositions of Holy Scripture. Lightly edited by Colin S. Smith