Summary: Highlights growth in love for God, other Christians, the lost, and your family.

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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.

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