Video: “Love Life”
Love. This is a word that in today’s world has more meaning than probably any other word. You can love your family. You can love your church. You can love sports. You can love food. You can love Diet Pepsi, Starbucks Skinny decaf Grande with sugar free vanilla, even chocolate.
And the definition of love has been so marginalized that many times we really don’t understand what love really is. We use the word so often and in so many ways, we tend to lose focus of what it really means to LOVE someone.
Christ understands the word LOVE. He knows what that word means, He knows the value of this word. He knows how to love. And we as Christians must do what we can to also understand this word…in the way Christ understands this word.
Until we understand love from God’s perspective, we will have an extremely difficult time reaching this world for Christ. Because people don’t really care about what you have to say if they don’t know that you care about them…that you love them.
Over the last few weeks we have been looking at the word; “encouragement.” We have learned how to encourage ourselves and others. Today, I want to look at the word; “love” and focus on how love can encourage one another.
1. HOW DO WE LOVE?
We love according to God’s definition of love. The Bible teaches us that loving people with God’s love should be first and foremost in our minds and hearts. Next Sunday we will be looking at loving people to transformation. Love is powerful!
Prov. 3:1 – 4 (NIV)
“My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity. Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.”
a.) Like Jesus did.
His entire earthly life consisted of loving the unlovely. He loved everyone he met, even those who crucified Him. The Example of Love gave us a commandment to live by:
“And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
This isn’t a suggestion, but a new commandment. If you are one who likes to follow the rules, which we all should be doing, this rule was given by God to love one another. It has to become a part of our everyday life. You can see this same command in many scriptures in the New Testament: John 13:35, John 15:12, John 15:17, Romans 12:10, Romans 13:8, Hebrews 10:24, 1 Peter 1:22.
“Love one another warmly as Christians, and be eager to show respect for one another.”
“Be under obligation to no one—the only obligation you have is to love one another. Whoever does this has obeyed the Law.”
“Let us be concerned for one another, to help one another to show love and to do good.”
“Now that by your obedience to the truth you have purified yourselves and have come to have a sincere love for other believers, love one another earnestly with all your heart.”
There are so many more verses that express how we are to love one another. To me, seeing all these verses tells me that God really wants to get this point across to us! Don’t neglect others and loving them.
b) With our words
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
What we say to people: Encourage them! This is one of the highest forms of love in action. Encouragement goes a long way. I can do just about anything with the right encouragement.
What we say about people: Watch what you say about others to your family/friends/c-workers – Don’t gossip
What we say for people: Supporting and standing up for others
c) With our actions (deeds)
Matthew 5:14 – 16
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
We have to invest in each other! Love is time spent with another. Words often don’t cut it when it comes to love. We have to spend time with others. Spending time with someone shows you care and that you are interested in their life.
Be kind to everybody. Remember love is kind (1 Cor. 13). We will be discussing 1 Corinthians 13 in more detail next Sunday. There is no reward in being mean to others. It only shows your character, and it hurts others. Would you like to be treated by the way you treat others?
2. WHOM DO WE LOVE?
a. Let’s answer this by looking at what Christ said about it when He was asked this same question?
Matt. 22:34 – 36
“But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”
Matt. 22:37 – 40
“Jesus said to him, “ ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
What is so interesting about the lawyer’s question is what leads up to this question. You see, throughout the years leading up to Jesus ministry, the Pharisees had been grappling with a problem among themselves.
Here was their problem: The Pharisees were considered the most pious & holy and they were considered holy as much as they could humanly keep the 613+ Old Testament laws in their society. The problem is that they (obviously) could not humanly obey all theses laws. So, they decided to make amendments to the laws – called “Oral tradition.” They added their own “interpretation” (or “reinterpretation”) to the laws so that they would be able to keep all the laws.
After realizing that even this didn’t work out, they decided to settle on the position that each person should focus on just keeping the “Big 10”- The 10 Commandments. But after quickly realizing that the human heart is even incapable of keeping just 10 commandments, they collaborated and decided that one could be considered holy IF he could say that he has kept ONE commandment 100% of the time. So, there was a debate as to which ONE should be adopted as the ONE commandment everyone should keep.
…It must be the greatest commandment – one worthy and most notable of keeping.
It was at this point in the Pharisee’s debate that this lawyer’s question & conversation with Jesus takes place.
Matthew 22:37 Jesus said to him, “ ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment.”
You see, the reason why you obey commandments is NOT just to obey commandments for holiness…obeying commands is ALWAYS out of a heart APPRECIATION for who God is and what He has done for us!
So, if you love God, you’ll obey him. If you don’t love God, you won’t love obeying his commandments.
THEN after he settled the debate amid the Pharisees…Jesus added a SECOND commandment that is an OUTGROWTH of the first. Meaning – Jesus was saying that IF you love God…it is a given that your heart will love people!!
“And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
If you want others to know that you truly love God…the sign will be that you love ALL people. And ALL people refers to far more than those who look like you, that talk like you, that live where you live and go to the same places as you do.
We must love ALL people. Meaning, even those who we’re not comfortable around. Those who the pious among us might think we shouldn’t even spend time with. Look what Jesus did and said…
“Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, “This Man receives sinners and eats with them.”
And in a parable Jesus said…
‘…Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.”
You see Jesus loved them all. He didn’t care their background, He didn’t care what they looked like. He just loved them. And why wouldn’t He? He knew that it was for them He would die!
3. WHY SHOULD WE LOVE?
“To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, ‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary.”
It all sounds good, right? Don’t we all love a doctrinally strong church? Isn’t that what every serious believer in Jesus Christ looks for in a church? So, what’s the problem?
“Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.”
This love refers to love for God and people!
You see, to the church of Ephesus, they were so concerned that people maintained the same theological standard (and this is good) but they forgot to love the person!
Why should we love in God’s definition of love? Because if we don’t Christ will hold this against us. And my friends, we must never allow ourselves to be in the position of Christ having something against us. We want Christ to be for us.
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
We want to stand with Christ. To stand in His truth. To stand in His love. To stand with His power.
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
God demonstrated His love by sending His son to die for us. God did something with His love. He sent His son. And today, we must also DO something with our love for others, for the lost, we must love people to JESUS!
We must share the love of Christ to this lost world. We must love people into transformation. We will be looking at this next week, but today, be determined to love people, even the not so lovely. How do we do this? With the love God has given us.
We can’t love with God’s love within our own strength. This is something I have been preaching in Hope Fellowship since it’s conception. We love others with God’s love.
God can and will teach us how to love others with His love if we ask Him. Once you do, your outlook on people will change. You will genuinely love others and might even be surprised at your heart and reaction or actions towards others.
God’s love is a magnet. People will be attracted to you because of the love of God in you. God’s favor will go before you and open more and more doors to share His love.
Let “iLove” be your motto in life! You might be hurt, and people might even reject you trying to love them, but still be Jesus’ hand extended in the flesh to others. “iLove” will bring down walls and melt the hardest heart. God’s love is powerful. Let’s utilize it for God’s glory and win our world for Christ. Be determined to choose and say “iLove” people no matter what they do, or who they are!
For those who do not know God:
If you have never really accepted Jesus as your personal Savior, would you do it right now? Do not delay or put it off. If you would like to receive Christ by faith, pray this simple prayer in your heart:
“Dear Lord, I acknowledge that I am a sinner. I believe Jesus died for my sins on the cross, and rose again the third day. I ask for Your forgiveness Lord of all the wrong I have done. By faith I receive the Lord Jesus as my Savior. You promised to save me, and I believe You, because You are God and cannot lie. I believe right now that the Lord Jesus is my personal Savior, and that I am forgiven through His precious blood. I thank You, dear Lord, for saving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
If you prayed that prayer, God heard you and saved you. I personally want to welcome you to the family of God and rejoice with you!