Summary: Jesus shows us how Grace can lower the emotional walls of the unsaved, so His truth can set them free.
Crescent City Foursquare Church
February 4, 2001
Title: Loving our Neighbor: Breaking down the walls
If you have your bibles, turn to John chapter 1
My son Tyler is 4 and ½, and my daughter Lacie is 18 months old
My wife and I are thoroughly enjoying this stage in each of their lives. We just wish we could hit the pause button and freeze them right where they are for a few decades.
What I love about little children, in general, is their innocence, honesty, and their sheer delight in life.
Unfortunately, this innocent stage is often short lived.
Give them a little time, a little rejection, a little ridicule, and a little guilt and shame, and their innocence begins to dissipate, and be replaced with emotional walls. These walls tend to grow in direction proportion to pain.
To be sure, these walls wear many disguises:
Whatever form these walls take, they usually lack the ability to discriminate between what they keep out and what they allow in.
In their attempt to protect our heart from pain and rejection, they often diminish our capacity to receive and release love.
And at times, these walls can become so sturdy that even God has a hard time breaking through them
The bible says that when we receive Christ, we become new creations, the old is gone, the new has come
Part of what it means to become a new creation, is that Jesus begins to help us dismantle our emotional walls, thereby restoring our ability to trust.
As Christians, we tend to take this all in stride, but on occasion, I’ve seen the look of surprise or even shock on the faces of the unsaved, in response to the expressions of love we show our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Not too long ago – I was golfing with some unsaved friends.
I ran into another friend on the course that is a brother in Christ. He came up to me and we greeted each other with a hug, and as we did, I couldn’t help but notice the look on the face of one of the unsaved guys in my foursome.
It was obvious that he was unaccustomed to seeing two men hug each other, unless they are blood relatives.
I was tempted to tell him that we were in fact blood relatives, sharing Christ’s blood, but didn’t.
The love we share for our brothers and sisters in Christ is expressed in many ways, and it’s always one of the strongest evidences of the common faith we share.
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
I suspect that what my unsaved golfing partner was responding to, but probably couldn’t articulate, was the lack of walls he witnessed in that brief hug.
When Jesus offers us abundant life – he’s offering to help us remove some of the walls around out heart
In the place of these walls – that can be so restricting – he begins to give us freedom
The more the walls crumble, the more we are able to enjoy the freedom Jesus offers
This process of tearing down walls is an ongoing, lifelong endeavor
Not until we get to heaven, and receive our perfect, glorified bodies, will these walls completely be gone
This is why Paul can say:
1 Cor 13:12
Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
In order for another person to fully know us, these walls would have to be completely removed
Aside from God, the closest we come to being fully known by another is with our spouse, or perhaps our children
But the best of these relationships are somewhat hindered by walls
The Apostle Paul tells us that we have some walls that are so well concealed - we don’t recognize them
1 Cor 4:4-5
My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.
In the end, God is the only one who able to see behind our defenses, and fully know us
Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve stated that I believe our primary purpose for being left behind, and not immediately taken to heaven when we receive Christ, is because God wants us to represent him to those who have yet to discover his love and grace