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?”
Jesus said to him, “ ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and 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.”
Illustration: There is a story about a man who was walking down the street. He passed a used-book store, and in the window he saw a book with the title, "How to Hug." He was taken by the title and, being of a somewhat romantic nature, went in to buy the book. To his chagrin, he discovered that it was the seventh volume of an encyclopedia and covered the subjects “how” to “hug.” Everyone knows that the church is a place where love ought to be manifested, and many people have come to church hoping to find a demonstration of love—only to discover an encyclopedia on theology.
Church today we are going to look at love. Now I know that we have talked about this from time to time but today I am going want to look at this a bit differently. Time is short, none of us knows if we have tomorrow so today we must learn to truly love today. Love is in most important to a Christian, scripture tells us:
1 John 4:8-10: He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
- Love within the church
o Loving our brothers and sisters in Christ
o Loving visitors
Illustration: Remember your first love? That innocent time in life when you had fallen “head over heals for someone? Knowing it is the right thing to do you went to her/him and confessed your undying love; only to be told how much they “like” you as a friend. Jesus must feel that way at times. Scripture tells us that He loved us so much that while we were still in our sins He died for us, and we treat Him at best like a buddy to hang around with; if there is nothing better to do.
- Love a new paradigm:
Luke 6:27-36 “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.
o Loving outside the four walls
o Leaving our comfort zone
Loving those that are different
Loving those whose sin make us uncomfortable
• Why do we insist on looking at others sin as more grievous than our own?
Luke 6:37-42 “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
And He spoke a parable to them: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into the ditch? A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother’s eye.
Do you get the meaning behind the parable? “Can the Blind lead the blind?” What do we expect the drug addicted to go to their doper friends and ask about Jesus? Do we expect the homosexual to tell another homosexual that their lifestyle is an affront to God? That is what we as a church has done for generations. We ignore others that are separated from God because they make us feel uncomfortable.
And as far as telling anyone their lifestyle is an affront to God don’t you think that introducing them to God first would be appropriate? We get saved and all of the sudden we want everyone to be perfect before we lead them to salvation. I have a news flash for you, your pastor was not perfect when he accepted Christ, and still is not. That makes me no less saved; only in need of salvation, in need of God’s loving grace.
Transition: So if we look at love in this new paradigm, how do we become that love?
Reach out to the addicted by opening a ministry that will let them know that Jesus can heal the pain that they are masking by their addiction.
Reach out to the homosexual by ministering to their needs and telling them about the power of Christ. Then when they want him in their lives we gently and lovingly show them that they have to change to be accepted by God; just like all of us did.
Reach out to the poor and downtrodden and meet their needs and when they ask why we are helping them tell them because Jesus helped each of us.
There is one statement that I made that made most of you uncomfortable….
“Reach out to the homosexual”
Conclusion: “Love” for many of us it is a four letter word. You see if we truly love as Christ loved we would have to look at the world quite differently. When Christ loved you he didn’t want you to change before he loved you. He loved you in spite of who you where. If we love as Christ loved we would have to accept people as they are and leave it up to God to change the things he wants changed.
Bow your heads with me today….