The Love Circle

WITH WHOM WILL WE LIVE IN HEAVEN? Here is a searching question that nearly every Christian must someday face. I believe the Christian will live in Heaven with his “love circle.” By that I mean he will live with that circle of people for whom God has given him “agape love.” Love is foreign to the unsaved man, for he needs no preparation for Heaven. Love is a heavenly quality that is given to prepare men to enjoy the heavenly city more. The unsaved man has no preparation even to enter the city; hence, he needs no preparation for added enjoyment.

When God saves a man, He, by grace, gives him true love for some. Since the Scripture says that those who die in the Lord are followed by their works, that love (*) goes with them to Heaven (*the love that God gave them for certain individuals). God never has a subject without a predicate, never creates an appetite without a fulfillment, and never gives a gift without a promise that it will be used. Hence, when God gives us an eternal, heavenly love for another, He is preparing us to live with that person forever. God is getting our “love circle” ready for Heaven.

Love is a gift of God. The gifts and callings of God are without repentance. Love never faileth; hence, it accompanies us to Heaven. The objects of that love must do likewise.

John tells us that we will, in that day “be like Him.” In Jesus’ resurrected, glorified body He appeared to many, but to whom did He appear first? He appeared to those in His little circle. To Mary Magdalene first, to His closest apostles, to the women, and to His dearest followers did our Lord appear. In our resurrection bodies no doubt we will also spend much of our time with those in our “love circle.”

It is true that the Bible seems to teach that the family circle will be together in Heaven. Our Lord reminds us that many shall come and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (grandfather, father, and son). We are reminded by Moses that Jacob was “called to his brethren.” Yet, the same Word teaches us that there is no marriage in Heaven as we know marriage now. This is not to say that the family circle will not be together; it is to say that in Heaven one’s circle will be deeper than family ties and physical relationships. It is my feeling that God will allow us in Heaven to be with those for whom He has given us the deepest love. We will be with Him Whom we love the most and Who loves us most. We will live forever with Him and with our “love circle.”

I Need You

Dear members of First Baptist Church of Hammond, I need you. Dear born again preacher brothers across America and around the world, I need you. Dear Christian eating rice in the poverty of India, I need you. Dear African missionary, I need you.

Yes, I need every Christian. None of us can do without the rest of us. I do not know in what way I need the unknown peasant of India, but I need him, for I am taught in the Word of God that I am a member of the body of Christ and every member of that body needs every other member of that body.

I have never seen many of the organs of my body. I have never seen my liver, my gall bladder, or my stomach, but I need them all just as I need every Christian whom I know but have never seen. There are, however, many organs in my body about which I do not know. I do not even know the names of all the members of my body, but I need them. If one became inflamed or infected, I would suddenly realize how much I needed it. Likewise, there are millions of Christians whom I do not even know, but in a strange and mysterious way I need them. Especially is this true because I am a leader-a leader God’s people chosen to pastor, and in a sense, to pastor pastors. There are several things that I have found about my need for you.

In the first place, if a leader builds followers, he builds a more secure foundation under himself. Likewise, if the follower helps to build his leader, he builds a more sure building above himself and offers himself more security and more chance for service for Christ. Hence, if I would be the best leader I can be, I must build the best followers I can build. They hold me up; they support me. If I would be strong, they must be strong.

There is another way in which I need you. I can learn from you, for all men are my teachers. There is a motto by which I try to live. It is as follows: “Every man knows something that I do not know. I must probe until I find it; hence, all men are my teachers.” I have often said that a leader is simply one who collects ideas from each of the followers and compiles them and gives a copy to each follower. The Apostle Paul said he could but speak the things which he had seen and heard. A leader is one who sees and hears a lot and retains what he sees and hears. When I go to another church to preach, however small the church may be, I travel through the Sunday school departments, the classes, the pastor’s study, the offices, etc., looking for new ideas. Many of the ideas which I have given to people across the country and around the world have been found in some little obscure church. I need you to teach me.

I need not criticize you, for you are me and I am you. We are of the same body. When I criticize you, I criticize myself. When I tear you down, I tear down myself. We are in the same body; we are to do the same things. Let us suppose, for example, that I can do ten times as much as you can. If I tear down ten people like you, then I have rendered myself ineffective. For my sake I must not tear you down; for your sake, please do not tear me down. We are of the same body; we need each other. Many people in one day can tear down someone with more responsibility and influence and can do more harm in one day to the cause of Christ than the good they can do in a lifetime. The leader needs the follower. If he criticizes him and tears him down, soon his leadership is no longer effective. The follower needs the leader; in fact, we all need each other. Because I need you I must pray for you. I must not criticize you. I must love you. I must build you up. I must edify you, for you are me and I am you and we need each other.

Yes, I need you. I need your prayers, I need your help, I need your confidence, but if I know of no reason why I need you, we are still of the same body. For some reason unknown to me, I need you; and even if you are unknown to me, I need you. I do not know you, I do not know why I need you, but I do know that we are in the same body and I need you and you need me.

When one goes to the top, he must be pushed up from the bottom, not pulled up from the top. If I rise any higher, you must help me do it. If you rise higher, I must help you. Let us love each other, pray for each other, encourage each other, for you need me and most certainly, I NEED YOU!