Vision: Love People

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Introduction:

Last week we continued our series All In and began talking about vision.

Vision: What are we called to as a unique expression of that mission?

The vision provides us with a picture of what the mission will look like as it is realized in the community.

Vision: Great Commandment.

Maps App: The vision of God is like Him putting a phone in our hands with a map app installed and then putting in the starting and ending locations and hitting, get directions.

Matthew 22:37-40 (read together)
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

We are called to love God and love our neighbor and when we do those 2 things, we serve the world.

As GracePoint, we understand our vision to be to Love God, Love People, and to Serve the World.

Today I want to talk about the second statement of our vision, and the second half of the Great Commandment; Love People.

Movement 1:

William Loader: “No priestly manipulations, no religious power brokers, no secret or ceremonial rites, no works prescribed in biblical law are required. It just needs us to believe in this love.”

If Love God is about reconciling ourselves to God then… Love People is about reconciling ourselves to others.

In verse 36, Jesus is being questioned by a lawyer (teacher of the Mosaic law). The scribe asks “which is the greatest commandment in the law”.

It is suggested that the lawyer wanted a “canon of classification.” Rabbis divided the 613 precepts of the law (265 commands and 365 prohibitions) into ‘weighty’ and ‘light’, but the sorting of them caused much debate. How would Jesus speak into to such a divisive area?

In Jesus, the response which we read a few minutes ago, the word ‘love’ in both parts (love God and love your neighbor) is translated from agapao and means far more than emotion or affection (expressed by the word phileo). Agapao does not exclude affection, “but it is a moral affection of conscious deliberate will, which is contained in it, not the natural impulse of immediate feelings.”

What agapao means for us is that the love we show to people comes not from what we might feel, but from a love that is empowered by God as we love Him.

“All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” It is in Jesus’ command to love God and to love people that unlocks the meaning of all the other laws.

Holiness living for God’s people is not unique to the OT or NT but Jesus is redefining the understanding of the law. The new covenant finds the means and measure of holy living through the person of Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit.

“It is a power which so altars the affections and fills the self with the Holy Spirit that loving God with all the being is a natural and spontaneous attitude (Rom. 5:5). When God promises that in the new covenant He will put His “laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts” (Heb. 8:10, Jer. 31:33), He means these two laws above all, for they include all.”

When we truly love God, then we can truly love people. It is with God’s strength that we can love people wholeheartedly.

Movement 2:

How (1 Cor. 13:1-13)

But now let me show you a way of life that is best of all.
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. 2 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. 3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; 4 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 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 8 Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages[b] and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! 9 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 13 as God now knows me completely. Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.

How do we love?

Video: Invite

Withhold Judgement

“Don’t judge, invite”. Instead of assuming things about another person, invite them into a conversation and get to know them. Invite them into your home, into your life and hear their story and experience their heart.

We all have preconceived ideas, prejudices, and assumptions. We are a product of our experiences.

I was meeting with another pastor and in our conversation, he began telling me about God’s work in his life recently. He said that when we encounter brokenness and broken people we easily forget that we are broken too – we are all just at different places of brokenness. Our response shouldn’t be “well look how broken and messed up they are” but our response should be “me too”.

The problems of this world are not someone else’s problems, they are your problems, they are my problems. And problems will only be addressed when we stop pointing fingers at others and point our fingers at ourselves and cry out to God and say “me too, Lord” break my heart for what breaks yours”. Reveal to me areas of my heart and mind that I am holding preconceived ideas, prejudices, and assumptions. Reveal to me areas of my heart and mind that I am not loving you enough in. Reveal to me areas of my heart and mind that I am not loving people enough in.

Story: Europe

  • Opened my eyes to the breadth of God’s creation and diversity.
  • Instilled a heart to see people through the eyes of God.

Story: Missionaries taking American songs to other parts of the world and imposing them on the natives.

Forgiveness

We are humans with emotions, feelings, and opinions. Conflict is going to happen. Tensions will arise. Loving people involves offering forgiveness and receiving forgiveness.

Compassionate

We are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus in our world and to care for the poor, the outcast, the foreigner, the needy. We are called to share compassion.

Humility

Titus 3:2

They must not slander anyone and must avoid quarreling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone.
James 3:13

[ True Wisdom Comes from God ] If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom.

1 Peter 5:5

In the same way, you who are younger must accept the authority of the elders. And all of you, dress yourselves
in humility as you relate to one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Rick Warren:
1.We’re all imperfect. There are no perfect relationships because there are no perfect people.
2.Sin disconnects us. Adam and Eve had the first broken relationship and disconnected themselves from God and from each other. We’ve been excusing ourselves and accusing the people we love ever since.
3.The more disconnected we are, the more fearful we become. We crave intimacy, but we fear vulnerability. We crave acceptance, but we fear rejection.

Movement 3:

At GracePoint, we are going to facilitate living out the Vision of Loving People by these commitments:

  1. We are committed to be a people who are authentic.
  2. We are committed to be a place of love, grace, and acceptance of all people.
  3. We are committed to be a place of love, grace, and acceptance of all people.
  4. We are committed to be a people who practice radical hospitality.
  5. We are committed to be a people who practice forgiveness and biblical conflict resolution.
  6. We are committed to be people who serve and meet the needs of one another.

Conclusion:

“Life is not about your accomplishments or acquisitions, your popularity or prestige. It’s about how well you love.” Rick Warren

Crisis Care Story

    • The news story, the cashiers at the stores were reacting to our selflessness. It was because we were showing love to people that they took notice.
    • There is no greater testimony of the Gospel than to love.
    • They will know us by our love!
    • When we love we have the opportunity to build relationships with people and gain permission to share about the source of our love.
    • When we embrace true love for people, we will strive to withhold judgment, offer and receive forgiveness, be compassionate, and exude humility.

Response:

So how well are you loving people? How well do you love the person who is very different from you by how they dress, how they smell, the color of their skin, the number of tattoos or piercings they have, or by their political opinions?

How well we love our neighbor will be determined by how well we love God and allow His transforming work in our hearts. So may our prayer be more of Him and less of me.

Song: Empty Me

Now receive this benediction:

May the love of God set your hearts free to live a gifted life abundant in joy and compassion.
May that love lead us to love our neighbor and the other in return.

And may the blessing of God Almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among you, and remain with you always.

Go in Peace

All In
All In
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