A TV show I used to watch as a young man was called the “Honeymooners” staring Jackie Gleason. When he was successful over the ongoing situation he usually said, “How sweet it is!” You could see by the look on his face and by his body posture that he really believed what he was saying. Gleason’s statement causes me to ask myself the question “How sweet is my Christian life?”
In 1912, Mrs. C. H. Morris wrote both the words and music to a song entitled “Sweeter As The Years Go By”. In the first stanza Mrs. Morris’ depicts the life of a person sought out by Jesus’ love and brought into the fold. She extols Jesus’ love and mercy and she declares that such would ever be her theme. I especially love the chorus to this great song.
“Sweeter as the years go by,
Sweeter as the years go by,
Richer, fuller, deeper,
Jesus love is sweeter,
Sweeter as the years go by”
Sadly, the love of many believers throughout history has grown weaker as the years go by. Israel had this problem throughout their long history. Their burning fervor to serve God was replaced by cold embers. They became bored with religion and failed to stoke the flame in order to maintain their love for the Lord. Even after all of the written evidence depicting their “on again and off again” service to Jehovah, the people of Malachi’s day (444 B.C.) lost their love and fervor for the Lord.
WHEN THEY LOST THEIR LOVE FOR GOD
(From the book of Malachi)
- They questioned God’s love for them, 1:2
- The priests failed to honor God by offering polluted sacrifices, 1:6-8.
- They considered worship and service to God a great weariness, 1:13-14.
- They considered evildoers to be more blessed than they, 2:17.
- Because they lost their love for God they, themselves, became evildoers, 3:3-5.
- They were robbing God by offering substandard sacrificial offerings, 3:8-10.
The only cure for Israel was to repent and turn back to God. They desperately needed to revive their love for the Almighty and for His commandments. Is it any different today?
THE CHURCH AT EPHESUS
The book of Revelation contains letters from Jesus to the seven the churches of Asia. The first letter was to Ephesus, Revelation 2:1-7. A major problem with that church is revealed by the following verse: “But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first, Rev 2:4. Isn’t it strange how little we learn from the past? Ancient Israel turned from faithfulness towards God in almost every generation. Over and over again they turned from the Lord. God used various methods to punish them. He used the nations around them, crop failures, natural disasters and disease as a means to bring them back to Him. When they did turn back to the Lord it did not last long. Very soon they fell away again and the cycle repeated itself. Had they maintained their love for God there would have been no need to suffer so often. Jesus, Himself, said, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him,” John 14:23. Deep love for God, Jesus, and the word will cure unfaithfulness.
Jesus commanded the church at Ephesus to “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do again the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent,” Revelation 2:5. To remove the lampstand is to remove the church at Ephesus from this earth, for the lampstand is the church, Revelation 1:20. Sadly, the congregation to whom Jesus spoke, no longer exists. Don’t let that happen to you or your congregation. Maintain the thought, “O how I love Jesus!” Believe it! Make it true!
THE CHURCH TODAY
Consider the following: If you arise on Sunday morning and begin to think, “What a weariness it is”, you are in serious spiritual danger. If you do not give of your means as you have been prospered, you are in serious spiritual danger. If you refuse to take the time to read and study your Bible, you are in serious spiritual danger. If you spend little time considering the importance of worship, love for God, love for Jesus, and the sweetness of the word, you are in serious spiritual danger.
Look deeply into the depths of your soul and ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you stronger in your faith than you were in the past?
- Do you plan to be present for every worship opportunity?
- Do you often have devotionals and worship with your family at home?
- Has your monetary offering to the Lord grown in proportion to your income?
- Is your giving a sacrifice? Sacrificial giving requires us to give so much that we have to give up some of life’s pleasures.
- Do you love the Lord fully, even more than you did when you first became a Christian?
- Can you sing the song “Sweeter As The Years Go By” and really mean it?
Let’s not make the same mistake ancient Israel made. Let’s learn from the past. Strive to love the Lord more and more with each passing day. Fall in love his word and become like the Psalmist who said the word of God was, “More to be desired than gold, even much fine gold, sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb,” Psalm 19:10.
I think it would help me love Jesus more if I just stopped right now and sang the song “Sweeter As The Years Go By”. You are invited to sing along with me! Come on! Lets do it! How sweet it is!