Summary: God wants us to love others like Jesus loves us.
Title: Loving Like Jesus Loves Me
Truth: God wants us to love others like Jesus loves us.
Aim: To have the church practice accepting, valuing, forgiving, and believing in someone.
Life Question: What are the four ways Jesus loves you?
A Christian man was at a conference away from his family when he received an urgent call. On the phone was the sobbing voice of his wife; she said their nine-month old baby had suddenly died in his crib. Understandably, he said this plunged him to the lowest point in his life. His grief seemed uncontainable, welling up from deep within him like a volcanic eruption.
He bought a train ticket home, and sat alone. Nearby sat a man reading his Bible; opposite the man sat two young people taunting him. One of the boys sneered, “If your God is so loving, why does He allow little children to die? What kind of love is that?”
The question stabbed this grieving father’s heart, and he himself wanted to exclaim, “Yes! Answer them and me, and tell us why He lets children die. What sort of love is that?” But a strange mental transformation occurred in this grieving Christian man. He said, “Do you mind if I enter your conversation? I’ll tell you how much God loves you; He gave His only Son to die for you.”
The young man who had spoken earlier interrupted him and argued it was easy for this Christian to make such pronouncements disconnected from the real world of death and desolation. The man waited for the appropriate moment, for he needed every ounce of courage to say it once, but to say it clearly. “No, no, my dear friends, I am not distanced from the real world of pain and death. I am on this train headed for my own son’s funeral. He died just a few hours ago, and it has given the cross a whole new meaning for me. Now I know what kind of God it is Who loves me, a God Who willingly gave His Son for me.”
We are not like the Muslims who have a God who is so transcendent we are left to simply do our best in this life. Our God is not so mystical like the Buddhist that the only hope of knowing him is to retreat from this world through self-renunciation or good works. Christians teach that God incarnated Himself into a human being Who loved us even to the point of dying as a substitute for our sins. This is the kind of God Who loves us.
We as a church are setting aside forty days to learn how to love God and to learn how to love others. This is what most pleases God. The best way to learn anything is to learn by model. You learned to hit a baseball by modeling it after someone not by reading a book. Jesus is the best example of loving God and loving others. We learn to love by loving God and others the way Jesus loves us.
This morning let us look at four ways Jesus loves you.
I. ACCEPT OTHERS THE WAY JESUS ACCEPTS ME.
John 6:37 says, “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.”
You are God the Father’s gift to God the Son. The Son will never reject the Father’s gift. He accepts you with all your sin, with all your baggage, and with all your disappointing failures in the future. Jesus turns not one single person away. All who come to Him are accepted.
Romans 15:7 says, “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”
He accepted us when we were sinners. He accepted us even though He knew that in the future we would hurt Him over and over with our rebellion. He accepted us despite our immaturity and selfishness. Why? Accepting us brought praise to God the Father. This was such a powerful testimony to the reality of God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ that the watching world is quoted as saying, “Behold, how they love one another.”
As I thought about Jesus’ acceptance it occurred to me that story after story recorded in the Gospels must have stood out in the minds of the writers because of the stunning acceptance of Jesus. Zacchaeus, the despised tax collector, actually shares a meal with Jesus. A shared meal was the ultimate testimony of acceptance. Jesus saves from stoning the woman caught in adultery, He touches lepers and the dead, and His enemies accuse Him of being too accepting. They say He is the friend of tax collectors and prostitutes. His most famous stories are of acceptance: The Good Samaritan and The Prodigal Son.