Summary: The people of Jesus know how to sacrifice. Genuine followers of Jesus know what it means to be faithful and experience joy in suffering. How about you? Are you weird like that?
We're in the second week of our series "defining love" last time we talked about how genuine love, God's love, isn't normal. We defined love as faithful and that the result of faithfulness is joy. We talked about how our culture defines love in a million different ways, but, God defines love much more simply. People think we’re weird. When we love the way God loves, we’re going to be talked about. Folks are not going to understand why you love God’s way. They’re going to think you’re weird.
It’s not difficult for a follower of Jesus to understand God’s love. A follower knows what love is, because they follow the teaching of Jesus, and Jesus clearly defines love and shows us what it is. But, someone who doesn’t follow Jesus will struggle with love. Our culture doesn’t know what love is. In our society, love and lust are often confused with each other.
A Jesus follower knows love. For us, it’s not difficult. It’s not confusing. If you’re struggling to define love today, let me introduce you to a personal relationship with Jesus because he’s the one who will clear it up for you.
Love is faithful. Love is faithful to God and faithful in relationships. Genuine love doesn’t bolt when things get tough. We don’t lose our faith in difficult times. As a matter of fact, the opposite is true. For those who genuinely love God, difficult times are considered an opportunity to grow in faith. We receive joy in suffering. Like Paul and Silas when they were beaten and thrown in prison. How can you be singing and full of joy about your situation, if you’re suffering? Or how can Jesus on the cross gasp through his pain “Father forgive them?” Who does that? Who forgives like that? Who sings while they are being tortured? I’m telling you our culture doesn’t understand this love. People think they know what love is, but, here’s the thing, it’s impossible to understand genuine love without a relationship with Jesus Christ, because he’s the one who shows us what real love is.
1 John 4:10 says, “This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins”
Last week we talked about how weird this kind of love is. Love is faithful. God showed us what faith looked like. This week we're going to discover that love is about sacrifice. Love is faithful, and love is sacrifice.
Love can't survive between two people and between us and God without sacrifice. Someone has to make the sacrifice. God showed us what love looks like. He was the example of what genuine love, faithful love, and sacrificial love look like.
If we talk about marriage, sacrifice shows up in a variety of ways. Anyone who has been in a relationship with another person knows this stuff. I don’t think I’m saying anything surprising here. We know that if we are in a relationship sacrifice is a big part of it. Now, we tend to learn this through some very difficult transitions.