Summary: Highlights growth in love for God, other Christians, the lost, and your family.
How's Your Spiritual Health?
Sermon three: Are You More Loving?
This sermon series is based on the book entitled 10 Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health by Donald Whitney
Prepared by Thomas A. Gaskill for June 5, 2011
How's your spiritual health:
Do you thirst for God?
Has your thirst for God increased over the last couple of weeks?
Are you governed increasingly by God's Word?
Have you read your Bible more lately with renewed interest? Are you searching the Scriptures to clarify how to live your life?
My question this Sunday is :
Are you more loving?
Thomas Jay Oord writes in his book entitled RELATIONAL HOLINESS: Responding to the Call of Love the following –
Many ideas about love exist. Here are just a few:
“Love is a kind of warfare.” – Ovid
“Love ain't nothin' but sex misspelled.” – Harlan Ellison
“Love is a never-ending feeling.” – Adeil Prince
“Love makes the world go 'round.” – Various
“Love is just another four-letter word.” – Tennessee Williams
“Love kills.” – Sid Vicious
“Love means never having to say you're sorry.” – Love Story
“Love is a perky elf dancing a merry little jig, and then he suddenly turns on you with a miniature machine gun.” – Matt Groening
What comes to your mind when you hear the word “love”? As your pastor, I hope that none of the ideas just mentioned comes to mind. I also hope nobody thinks of love as: extreme permissiveness, wimpiness, laid-back attitude, or anything goes.
Love is purposefully responding to promote the well-being/best interest of others and the greater good. Love can be directed to God, individuals, families, groups of people, communities, tribes, and nations. There are thousands of ways to love others but the reason remains the same – it is for their well-being and the greater good. I haven't shared much about the “greater good” but I would like to do so now. The Lord tells us to love our enemies. When an enemy desires us to lose our employment, we love differently than when an enemy is thieving, murdering, and raping. The first example would require loving them personally; the second example would require loving our family and community by defending ourselves against the criminal and hopefully putting him or her out of commission by seeking the full measure of justice. It would be crazy, irresponsible, and unloving towards the greater community to not restrain and imprison criminals.
I wanted to share this because I am not promoting a passive or mushy sentimental kind of love. There are times when love prays that the government not falter in bearing the sword to protect its citizens and free the oppressed from tyranny. Speaking of governing authorities listen to what God's Word says in
Read Romans 13:1-4
With these things kept in mind, a person can begin to understand why God commanded His people to conquer in the book of Joshua. Love takes different shape when the greater good is to be pursued but the reason remains the same to the glory of God and the nurturing of His people.
Are you more loving today than you were 30 years ago, 20 years ago, 2 years ago, 2 weeks ago? If you aren't, why not? What is keeping you from walking in God's abundant love and being an agent of His love? Each of us should be growing in our ability to love others. The only way we can do this is by delighting ourselves in God's love towards us and ask Him to show us His love for others as well.
My prayer that we would be known as the most loving place in the area remains and I believe God is answering this simple, sincere prayer. I praise God for the love that I experience in this church. May God's blessing continue to rest upon us in a mighty way as we seek to excel in love for Him and one another. A loving church is a great place to be!!
Did you know there are now eleven commandments instead of ten? Listen to what Jesus says in John 13:34-35 NKJV “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. (35) By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
What if Jesus' love grew cold and was fleeting? If this were the case, many Christians would be just like Him. If this were the case, then He would not have loved us to the point of death on the cross. If this were the case, we would all still be lost in our sins and without hope – doomed for eternal damnation! But HALLELUJAH Jesus' was, is and always will be steadfast in love towards His own.