It’s not difficult to say, “I love Jesus”–some people even claim this while quickly confirming that they are not religious. Others profess their love for Christ while disclaiming the label “Christian”. It’s easy to shape the Christ we want and then claim to be a follower of Jesus. We also live in a world where it is easy to segue from saying “I love Jesus” to saying whatever else you love without losing a beat. But the reality of loving Christ is far more demanding than mere profession. We need a life and heart that demonstrates love for Christ.
Richard Cameron preached about love for Christ in the context of persecution. People were suffering due to loving Christ enough to honour His sole authority in the Church. Hearing a sermon preached in the hills about love for Christ meant walking many miles to be there. But simply listening to the sermon could mean imprisonment, banishment, loss of everything or indeed execution. We can, to a limited extent, listen along with Cameron’s congregation to the message that they heard. Cameron gives a gospel-centred view of who Christ is and what He has done and still does for His people to stir their hearts with love towards Him. Those who can say that Christ has heard their prayers and that all their sins are forgiven cannot do other than love Christ. In this updated extract Cameron goes on to describe the ways that true believers express their love for Christ.
1. Think Much About Him
These who love Christ will be thinking of Him much. If someone loves a person or object much they will not readily let that person or object be out of their mind for long. The blessed man’s “delight is in the law of the Lord”(Psalm 1:2). He meditates in it “day and night”. Now the person that loves Him will be thinking much on Him. They will be constantly striving to get much love towards Him. I know some men in the world that do not think of Him much, nor of what He has done. But they deceive and cheat themselves. Strive to think of Him much and to get more love to Him. There are some persons who, the more they are loved, the less they care for those who love them. But it is not so with Christ.
Oh, how few they are who hate vain thoughts but love the law of the Lord (Psalm 119:113). How few hate vain thoughts, they would rather entertain them. But do not entertain vain thoughts of God, of Christ, of what He has done and what an excellent one He is. I believe many of you have your thoughts running out after other things but seldom have a thought of Christ. All this declares that there is little love to Him. The wife loves her husband although he is away from her. The spouse loves Christ though He is for the present absent from her. Her love to Him still rises up, leading her to ask for the one her soul loves (Song 3:3).
2. Speak Much About Him
Those who love Christ will speak much about Him. But there are many folk among whom there is not one word of Christ to be heard. I tell you, there is much talk about religion and religious matters but little talk of Christ. There is much talk of other men’s faults and failings. It is sad that we should have so many of these to talk of. But, believer, you should not spend your time so much in this. When you are met together do not let not your discourse about controversies crowd out speaking about Christ and love to Him. Do not let the esteem of His worth and excellence go down amongst you. But I believe you may be among professing Christians for a long time before you hear much talk of this kind.
Oh, sad, sad, that the defections of the time should be the only talk of professing Christians. There are many who, if they are met together in company, and if one asks them a question about Christ, will just look down. If they can, they will bring in another subject to put it out of head and heart. But when anyone starts a conversation about the divisions of the times, they will not let the conversation fail from their side. But I am sure that the man that ever met with Christ, that ever was united with Him, and has any impression of that on His soul, cannot be long in company without high and honourable thoughts of Him. If he lacks Him he will pursue after Him, especially if he has love in activity; he will be longing for Him. But sadly, religion is likely to wear out these days.
3. Bring Others To Him
Those that have love to Christ will do what they can to bring others to Him. The spouse who seeks Christ finds Him and says, “I held him and would not let him go” (Song 3:4). And then she says to others to go and behold Him crowned (Song 3:11).
She had met with Christ herself and had much love to Him. She therefore invites her companions to go out after Him, to go out from a lost world and behold Him with the crown on His head. Oh, then take a view of our Lord Christ with the crown on His head with which His mother crowned Him. There are not a few ministers and professing Christians who do not think little of themselves. There are almost none now except those who are saying, “Do not go out and behold Him.”
I believe there are many professing Christians up and down the country that have cast off what God has commanded in His word. Many have endorsed this but away with them! No matter who they are, it would be better for us if we were rid of those that urge us to abandon the good old way for which our ancestors lost so much before they would abandon it. They parted with relations, estates, and all things for it. But there are many folk that cry, “Away with both Christ and His ordinances!” They have us cast off even the most pure and living ordinances. But now says the spouse, “Go forth, and behold the king.” So, I would have you go forth that you may obtain salvation to your souls from Christ. This is no cruel advice. Love Christ, and get salvation from Him, though you would lose all you have in the present world.
4. Fear to Offend Him
Those who have true love to Christ will be loath to offend Him. Thus, they will abhor all sin. They will love Christ’s “commandments above gold” and “hate every false way” (Psalm 119:127-128). These always go hand in hand. Away with the love of that man who says he has love to Christ yet does not hate every false way! Sadly, you may see that there is little love to Christ in Scotland. Iniquity abounds, and the love of many grows cold. Those who comply with Christ’s enemies have little love to Christ—at least not in exercise.
5. Do Not Help His Enemies
Those who have complied with Christ’s enemies—whether they are godly men or whatever they are—do not have love towards Christ in exercise. Wherever this love is in exercise, people will be loath to offend Christ. They will be afraid that He may stand at a distance from His ordinances. David says that he hates those who hate God (Psalm 139:19-21).
I tell you, I do not like those who are familiar with the stated and avowed enemies of our Lord and Master Christ and are fond of receiving favour from them. Away with them! Whatever they have been, they do not have love in exercise at present. Whatever they have been before, this declares to the world that their love is now gone. And when it is recovered again, such conduct will grieve them. Indeed, the lack of love to Christ portends a sad case. Therefore, beware, all of you, of being cheated and drawn out of God’s way. Beware of being too familiar with those who have taken away the royal prerogative of Jesus Christ to the harm of religion. Do not beguile yourselves.
But you may say, “Should we not love our enemies?” True; we should love our enemies, but as they are the stated enemies of Christ, and going on in a state of enmity and defection from Him, they are more than our enemies. They are enemies to Christ, and going on in persecuting God’s cause, enemies to the gospel, and to a covenanted work of reformation. In this view we should hate and abhor them (Psalm 139:19-21). We declare against them, all that comply with them, and all that stand upon their side. A sad day awaits them. They are worse than those of Laodicea, who were neither cold nor hot, whom for this reason Christ threatens to spew out of his mouth (Revelation 3:16). They have done more hurt to the work of reformation by their compliance than all other open and avowed enemies.
6. Respect All His Commandments
Those that love Christ have a great respect to all His commands. They have a great love and respect to His tabernacles (Psalm 84:1). We would not want you to show repugnance towards ministers who strive to keep the ordinances of Christ pure and entire. If they really have love to Christ they would have the tenderest possible respect for Him and hate every wicked way. They would love the saints—the excellent ones in whom is all His delight (Psalm 16:2). There is little love to Christ where there is so little love and sympathy for one another.
7. Be Ready to Lose Anything For Him
Those who love Christ will always be ready to lose and leave all other things for Him. Christ Himself says, anyone that loves anything “more than me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37). They are not for Christ. They prefer other things to Him, when it comes to this that they must leave one or the other. You must leave all and buy that pearl of great price. Those who do so will not be losers, they will have “a hundredfold now in this time…and in the world to come eternal life” (Mark 10:30).
I assure you, if you had love to Christ you would think it much to get an opportunity to give Him proof of it. You would even thank God for this opportunity, and say, “Although I should lose all, yet I have got an opportunity of giving a proof of my love to Him in this evil time”. And it is the best time that many ever saw, because they have had an opportunity to give a proof of their love to this excellent Prince and ever lovely One.
8. Hate Sin
If you want to have love to Christ, see that you keep your sins ever before you. The reason for this is that there is always a conviction and sense of guilt in relation to your danger. One sees the danger he is in by his sins, there is a concern to run to Him and make use of the blood that speaks better things than that of Abel. In this case you have recourse to that fountain that is opened to the house of David and inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness. Think always on the wrath due to us for sin.
I assure you, those who keep their hearts under the greatest sense of their sins will have much love to Christ. The lack of this is one reason that so many have so little love to Him and so much love to other things. If you had a true sense of sin, wrath and judgment, you would have much love to Christ, and He would be above all in your hearts. You would exalt Him in your souls. It is through faith in Him that we stand and rejoice in trials, as the apostle expresses it (Romans 5:2-3). And the apostle was conscious of this. It is in Christ that we have the hope of the glory of God. We can rejoice in trials knowing that they produce patience. Patience works experience, and experience hope. Hope does not make us ashamed or disappointed because “the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts” by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). Be much in the grace of repentance.
9. Pray Much to Him
Be much in prayer and much in exercising true love to Christ in an evil time, when the Lord is calling us to exercise this in all these duties. But above all, I exhort and charge you to be much in love. Have the love of God “shed abroad” in your hearts. Fix on Jesus Christ by faith. Strive to be much in love towards Him, for He is an able Saviour to bring about deliverance to the Church in the saddest condition she can be in.
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