Summary: A disciple of Jesus has extraordinary love for others.
Discipleship Matters: Extravagant Love for Others
Pastor Jefferson M. Williams
Chenoa Baptist Church
Pride vs. Promiscuity
When I picked up the phone, I knew it was serious. My friend Andy knew Maxine and I were home in Memphis and he asked if he and his fiancée could come over and talk.
We sat down in the backyard by the pool and Andy stared his thoughts. He said that he just didn’t know if he could go through with the wedding. His fiancee Linda sat quietly with tears in her eyes.
Andy had been “good.” Went to a private Christian school, committed his life to Christ at a young age, never had really done anything “bad.”
Like me, Linda had come to faith in college and she had not been “good.” And the thing that Andy couldn’t get past was the fact she wasn’t a virgin.
For several hours, we went round in circles with Andy. What she had done before Christ was forgiven and forgotten by God.
Finally, Linda said through clinched teeth, “You really do think that you are better than me!”
He looked astonished and something in Andy broke and he began to cry.
He said, “I’ve alway thought I was better than you and Jeff. Always. I am good and you guys are bad. But I’m not good, am I?”
We said nothing and he continued, “My pride is just as bad as anything you guys have done.”
With that realization, everything changed. They have now been married over 15 years.
What is a Disciple?
We are currently in a sermon series called “Discipleship Matters.”
We’ve been focusing on the question, “What defines a disciple of Jesus?”
We’ve bee looking at a list of characteristics that define a disciple from Pastor Dennis Rouse of Victory Church in Georgia:
A disciple is: passionate committed to Jesus Christ, they have an extraordinary love for people, they have the heart of a servant, they are sensitive and submitted to the Holy Spirit, they are governed by the authority of God’s Word, they live morally pure and they are evangelistic bold, they are engaged in Biblical community, they are just and generous, and they live their lives with purpose and on mission.
This is from his sermon series and book called 10 that’s been very helpful to me.
Several people said to me afterwards that this list was hard to hear because they didn’t see some of these characteristics in their lives.
So I thought we would take a few weeks and go some of this list to help us understand what a disciple of Jesus Christ looks like.
Last week, we learned that a disciple is passionately committed to Jesus.
A disciple loves Jesus more than any earthly relationship
A disciple is willing to take up his cross and follow Him
A Disciple is willing to give up everything for the Kingdom
This morning, we will see that a disciple has extravagant love for people.
3. What’s Love ’s Got to Do with It?
Rock and soul theologian Tina Turner asked the question we will focus on today, “What’s love got to do with it?”
C.B. Cousar wrote:
“Love is not one virtue among the list of virtues, but the sum and the substance of what it means to be a Christian.”
In English, we use this word in so many different ways. I love my wife and I love Barry Manilow. I love my children and I love oatmeal butterscotch cookies.
In Greek, there were three primary words for love:
Philia - this is affection regard, friendship, usually between equals. It’s where we get the word Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love.
Storage - love and affection, especially between parents and children
Eros - sexual love, passion. This is where we get the word, “erotic.”
But when the New Testament writers wanted to convey the love of God, none of these worked.
They basically invented a word, “agape.” This is a selfless, sacrificial affection that enables us to serve one another in love.
Paul wrote in Romans 5:
“And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:5)
The entire Bible is a story of outpouring of this love toward us.
This kind of love takes the initiative:
Jesus said these famous words:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
God is extravagant in His love for us:
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (I John 3:1)
This love is not about feelings but about our will and actions. Love is a choice. As John MacArthur writes, “It is the permanent priority of the Christian life.”