Love

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INTRODUCTION:

Thank you again for being here today. If you came in a little late or are joining us online, my name is Phil and I am the lead pastor here at GracePoint. If you are joining us online, please let us know by commenting in the chat box or submitting a way we can pray for you.

Last week we began a new series entitled Fruitology: Elements of a Transformed Life. God desires for all of humanity to respond to his love and grace and be in relationship with him. As we engage in that relationship our heart, soul, and mind are transformed and shaped into being more like Christ. This changes how we live as we saw articulated in Galatians and our lives will be marked with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  This morning, I want to talk about the first fruit of the Spirit, love.In the middle of the Bible is a collection of love poems that is so sensual that young Jewish boys were not allowed to read it until they were older. Song of Songs gives us a series of pictures of the relationship between a man and a woman. The joy, the struggle, the complexity. It’s almost as if the love that this couple is exploring has a life of its own. Whatever this is, it is so good and beautiful that we cannot do anything to mess this up.

In the middle of the Bible is a collection of love poems that is so sensual that young Jewish boys were not allowed to read it until they were older. Song of Songs gives us a series of pictures of the relationship between a man and a woman. The joy, the struggle, the complexity. It’s almost as if the love that this couple is exploring has a life of its own. Whatever this is, it is so good and beautiful that we cannot do anything to mess this up.

We love a new car, a certain pair of pants, I love my wife and I also love tacos? The word love gets thrown around a lot to mean various things.

3 Hebrew Words –

  1. Rayah: Friend, companion
  2. Ahavah: Deep affection, want to be with someone so bad that your heart aches. Love of the will…decision to join your life to another. It is what makes things last.
  3. Dod: Physical element of love. It is a picture of the deeper spiritual reality.

Hebrew words rayah (meaning friendship), ahavah (meaning commitment), and dod (referring to sexual love)

Everything always sounds interesting through the eyes of a child and I brought with me a couple of statements made by kids about love.  These statements come from the kid’s book “Love is Like a Crayon”.  The first statement is from Camille, age 9.  They asked Camille, “How do you get someone to fall in love with you?”  She said, “Shake your hips and hope for the best.”  Dad is going to have to watch her.  Tammy, age 10, was asked about kissing, “It is never OK to kiss a boy.  They always slobber all over you and that is why I stopped doing it.”  Bob, age 9, – he must love Country and Western music – was asked if he knew any original love songs?  “Yes I do, and here it is – ‘I’m in love with you most of the time but don’t bother me when I’m with my friends.’”

One of the things that means so much to me is being able to hear Maisie say, “I love you daddy”. But now I wonder what she might mean based on these other kids statements!

Each of us has an innate desire to be loved. We want someone to love us, despite our vaults and mistakes to love us anyway.

 

Movement 1:

Misconceptions about love:

  1. Love is only a FEELING. A lot of people think that love is a feeling that you have.  So James Brown wrote his song: “I Feel Good”. . .

HEY!  I feel good! . . (na, na, na, na, na, na) . . . I knew that I would! (na, na, na, na, na, na, na)

I feel good! . . (na, na, na, na, na, na, na) . . . I knew that I would! (na, na, na, na, na, na, na)

So good, so good, I gotta you! WOW!

As a result, people are searching for that feeling and we talk about ‘falling into love’ and ‘falling out of love’.  Basically what we are saying is, we either are feeling love or it does not exist.

  1. Love is UNCONTROLLABLE. This belief provides the underpinnings for the person already married, falling in love with the man at the next desk in the office, or the woman down the hall.  It enables us to say:  “I couldn’t help myself . . . I just fell in love”.  It also provides the foundation for people who are married to say:  “I can’t help it, I just don’t love him/her anymore.”

Movement 2:  

TWO WAYS TO KEEP LOVE ALIVE:

  1. KNOW What Love Is:
  2. Love is a matter of CHOICE.

A husband says… “I don’t love my wife anymore.”  Or a wife says the same about her husband.  You’ve made choices day after day that did not honor God… you need to repent and choose to love again.

It is not something we are a victim of, it is something that we choose.

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
-Colossians 3:14

Paul would not have asked us to put on something if we cannot control it.  Love is a choice.

  1. Love is a matter of CONDUCT.

Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.
– 1 John 3:18

 

In other words, we must back up our words of love with our actions. So how do we do that?

  1. ACT Like Love Acts:

In the love chapter, 1 Corinthians 13:1-13, God’s word tells us how to “act like love acts.”

“If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it;[a] but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing. Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages[b] and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture!10 But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless. 11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.[c] All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.”

  1. Love is alive when it has PATIENCE, it is dying when it is hurried . . . it is dead when it cannot wait (1 Corinthians 4).

Love is patient…

-1 Corinthians 13.4.

Patience isn’t easy.

I thought I had gotten to a place where I had a good level of patience and then I became a father. There have been a few times where I will be trying to put Hendrick to bed and I will be getting frustrated. Angelia will come in and try and console me, telling me that I need to have patience and that he feeds off of my emotions. I impatiently respond, “Then you come in here and try….I’m tired!”

“Love is patient.”  That’s why, single people, intimacy can wait until marriage; because love is patient, so it can wait.  If it is impatient, if it won’t wait… dump that guy!  He doesn’t love you…because love is patient.

  1. Love is alive when it CARES, it is dying when it forgets . . . it is dead when it ignores (1 Corinthians 13:4).

…love is kind…

-1 Corinthians 13.4

Sometimes it is easier for us to be kind to someone new that we are meeting, than those we have known for so many years.  It is easier to be kinder and more considerate to the person next door then to the ones behind our own doors.  Kindness is demonstrated in the day-in, day-out grind of life.

  1. Love is alive when it is SECURE, it is dying when it starts doubting . . . it is dead when it stops trusting (1 Corinthians 13:4).

It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

-1 Corinthians 13.4

Envy, boasting, pride are all results of insecurity.  Security truly is the key to a good relationship. If there no security and trust, you may do things together, you may go places, you may have conversation and laughs, but you have no meaningful relationship if you do not have security.

A circus performer was asked about the net below him.  The performer said:  “The basic purpose of that net is that it keeps me safe, but let me tell you what that net really does for me:  it makes me a better performer.  Because the net is there I feel secure.  When I feel secure I am willing to risk more.  I am willing to try and extra turn, I’m willing to do the extra trick that I wouldn’t try at all, but that security enables me to stretch to do the best I can.”

I believe this is true in any relationship.  Where there is security, this enables the other person to reach their potential.

  1. Love is alive when it is GIVING, it is dying when it begins to exchange . . . it is dead when it all it does is take (1 Corinthians 13:5).

Love is…not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

                                                          -1 Corinthians 13:5

God models the giving relationship in that he gave first.  So many times we settle for something less, like negotiating, exchanging, keeping score.  What a burden to live with – – I did this for them yesterday, now I’m going to wait and see if they return the favor.  Then, if the other doesn’t return the favor… well then I’m angry and get rude.  Love is not this way . . . it is giving.

  1. Love is alive when it ACTS its way into FEELING, it is dying when it feels but doesn’t act . . . it is dead when it no longer acts or feels (1 Corinthians 13:7).

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

-1 Corinthians 13.7

Actions tremendously impact our feelings.  This is a fact.  If you’ll just smile for 15 seconds, you’ll begin to feel the sensations of happiness.  We need to act.

Jesus said:  A new command I give you:  Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another (John 13.34).  If we love one another as Christ has loved us, then we’ll need to go to the cross for others.  This means we are to love people even when they are unloving…even when they don’t deserve it.  This means, no matter how they treat us, our response will be love.  This really does take a miracle of the Lord’s working in our lives.

Movement 3:

  1. Love is ACTIVE.

If you love somebody, tell them today.  Get on the phone.  While Eddie Amine was head of the revolution in Uganda the lives of Christians were greatly endangered.  The Bishop of Uganda, in one of his church services, knowing that his death was imminent, instructed his people that if they have somebody that they love . . . tell them quickly.

For some of you today, the best thing you could do with your Sunday afternoon would be to get on the phone, or get out some paper and write some notes.  Now that will leave you vulnerable to embarrassment and rejection and even hurt but . . .

  1. Love is VULNERABLE.

You can either “stiff-arm” people to keep them on the outside, or you can open up your arms and let them in.  Opening up will invite pain… but it is better than the alternative…

Love anyone or anything and you will be vulnerable.  Love anything and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken.  If you want to be sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one.  Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness, but in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change.  It will not be broken, but it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.  The only place outside of heaven where you can be safe from all the dangers of love is hell.

                                                          -C.S. Lewis (The Four Loves)

  1. Love is POWERFUL.

The law may tell you what to do, but love gives the power to do it.

Christ’s love compels us…We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors,

as though God were making his appeal through us.

-2 Corinthians 5:14

A man from Ohio was a true prayer warrior who was awake at 4 a.m. every morning to pray.  He was short in stature, and his prayer list was longer than he was tall.  He prayed for every person, every institution, and every need on his list.  He spent hours each day in intercessory prayer.  One Sunday night during church he noticed a large man with a ruddy complexion in the back of the church who retained a cud of tobacco in his jaw.  At the invitation at the end of the service he felt impressed to invite the large man to the altar.  When he spoke to the stranger about giving his heart to God, it so infuriated the large man that he spit tobacco juice in his face.  The shorter man reached into his pocket, pulled out his handkerchief, and wiped off the stinking mess.  He then looked at the man and said, “Sir, I love you, and I will be praying for you every day that you will give your heart to Jesus.”

       Months later a citywide camp meeting was held in the local auditorium.  Halfway back in the auditorium a large man with a ruddy complexion stood [to give his testimony].  “I want to testify because I have been one of the meanest, vilest [of] sinners… several months ago I happened to be in church for the first time…A short man offered to pray with me at the altar, but instead I spat my tobacco juice into his face.  That was the turning point in my life, because he said, “I love you, and I will be praying for you every day that you will give your heart to Jesus.”  I could tell he meant it.  I could tell it wasn’t just words.  I saw it in his eyes.

       I’m a truck driver and every day on the highway… all I could hear was that man’s voice saying, “Sir, I love you, and I’m praying for you to give your heart to Jesus.”  Every night I laid down my head in some cheap motel beside the road and I would see his face in my dreams radiating the love of Jesus, saying, “Sir, I love you.”  A few weeks ago, I couldn’t stand it any longer.  I… called my wife, and told her I… wanted to get right with God.  When I got home the preacher was there, and along with my wife, I knelt at the couch in the living room, repented of my sins, and gave my heart to the Lord.  I don’t know who that man was or where he is, but I hope that someday he will get the message that because of his love…I am now a child of God.”

       Down on the front row a quiet, unassuming, short man slightly lifted his hands to heaven and softy said, “Thank you Jesus.  I got the message.”

Christ’s love within empowers the transformation  As you love someone today you have no idea what God will be able to do through that love.  Love is powerful . . .and . . .

  1. Love is UNCONDITIONAL.

By the very definition of the word love . . . it has to be unconditional.  It is redundant to talk about “unconditional” love.  I have discovered people need to be loved the most when they deserve it the least. 

It is the presence of love that makes any interaction special, remembered, and significant.

You will find as you look back upon your life that the moments when you have really lived, are the moments when you have done things in a spirit of love.

-Henry Drummond

 

Conclusion:

There is a lot to talk about when it comes to love. The very essence of who God is is love. The same love that exists between two people who are dating or married is the same love that is being displayed to the world at large. Of course, it doesn’t take the form of dod but Jesus said:  A new command I give you:  Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another (John 13.34).  If we love one another as Christ has loved us, then we’ll need to go to the cross for others.  This means we are to love people even when they are unloving…even when they don’t deserve it.  This means, no matter how they treat us, our response will be love.  This really does take a miracle of the Lord’s working in our lives.

Response: Video: Where Is the Love?

When we look around our world, it can be hard to believe that such tragedy is gripping so many areas. These images demonstrate the words to that song…where is the love?

London: high rise burning

Allepo

London: stabbings

Alexandria, VA

Machester: attack at concert

Portland: stabbing

“Love slays what we have been, that we may be, what we have not been.” St. Augustine

Abide in me and I in you. Rooted in Christ.

Love does.

  • Love pays attention
  • “When we live in the love of God, we begin to pay attention to people the way God pays attention to us.” John Ortberg
  • Love gives
  • Love draws near
  • Love forgives
Fruitology: Elements of a Transformed Life
Fruitology: Elements of a Transformed Life
Fruitology: Elements of a Transformed Life

Goodness