What is love, from a kid’s point of view?
"When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s love."
"When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that your name is safe in their mouth."
"Love is when someone hurts you, and you get so mad, but you don’t yell at them because you know it would hurt their feelings."
"Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is okay."
"Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen."
"Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well."
"Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford."
"Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day."
“Love is when Daddy reads me a bedtime story…and doesn’t skip any pages.”
"You really shouldn’t say ’I love you’ unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget."
Several years ago, Bonnie Raitt wrote and performed a song entitled, “Let’s Give ‘Em Something to Talk About”. The song describes two people that everyone was talking about. Everyone else said they secretly carrying on a clandestine relationship when the narrator of the song suggests they really give them something to talk about… “How about love”, she says.
What would get people talking about the love of McAdenville Wesleyan Christians?
In Mark, chapter 3, we have three illustrations of how Jesus emphasized something different than what popular thinking and teaching of the day would have dictated. At the end of our time together we will understand how loving the way Jesus did will get people talking about the right things…that Christians are known for their love. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13:35
1. Jesus emphasized Love over Legalism (v.1-6)
• The heart of the rejection of Jesus is the thirst for power. The Herodians and Pharisees were afraid of losing power.
• The Herodians supported the Roman provincial government under which they thrived. The Pharisees supported the current religious structure under which they manipulated the masses.
• It’s common for normal people to think of Christians as narrow-minded, holier-than-thou judges. Why? Because we are more concerned, many times, about preaching against sin instead of demonstrating the power of God’s love into the lives of needy.
• In this passage we see Jesus desiring to bring the power of God into the life of a needy man. All the critics could see was that He wasn’t doing it the way they thought it should be done. They were more concerned about the rules than the people the rules were made to benefit. (And Jesus destroyed their poor understanding of what the Sabbath was about).
• Our goal should be to welcome anyone unconditionally and only present Christ to them. We don’t expect anyone to follow the pattern of Christ until they have repented of sin and His Holy Spirit is within them living to establish that new life.
2. Jesus emphasized Love over Leisure (v.7-12)
• Jesus was trying to rest. It says that He withdrew with His disciples to the lake. This was a familiar retreat for them.
• But they couldn’t escape the throngs of needy individuals hoping for a touch that would bring healing.
• There were so many that Jesus had to devise a crowd control/escape plan.
• It’s common for normal people to think of Christians as nothing but talkers because they rarely see them get themselves dirty in working sacrificially.
• Hal Niedzviecki in his book "We Want Some Too: Underground Desire and Reinvention of Mass Culture" - Has identified another type of culture that exists today which he calls "Lifestyle Culture" defined as "the triumph of our leisure lives over the things we are supposed to be paying attention too."
• Steve Camp wrote a song entitled “Run to the Battle”. He writes, “Some people want to live within the sound of chapel bells, but I want to run a mission a yard from the gates of hell.”
• It is a popular thought today that God is a business and people are His consumers. For example, I heard L.L. Cool J talking about his faith. He talks about God’s blessings in his life and yet his songs have nothing of Christ in them. They are filled with profanity and contrary to the values of Christian living. His lifestyle is one of obscene extravagance and self-indulgence. God is not in the business of giving us things.
• So many professional athletes invoke the name of God when they are successful on the field of play. I hate that most of the time. God is not about making life easy or seeing that we are successful the way mankind measures success.
• God’s business is people and HE DESIRES TO CONSUME US!
• Christianity cannot be equated with a life of ease.
• Jesus talked about denying oneself. He didn’t say life would be easy and light. He said His burden was easy and His burden was light. It’s still a burden…something to carry. And what we are to carry is the cross!
• Two Ladies were sharing lunch together when one said to the other: "I don’t know many Christians, but somehow I can’t help regarding them as hypocrites."
Said the other, "But your sister-in-law, she lives in the same house with you; surely you must acknowledge that she is a devoted Christian."
"That’s just it," was the laughing reply. "She has a very lovely disposition, and she devotes her life to missions and Sunday schools, but she has never said a word to me about becoming a Christian. It’s only make-believe with her about souls being in danger. You need not tell me! I know that she is fond of me, but if she believed all that, don’t you think she would have said something?"
• The needs of people can be overwhelming but God is asking us to give of ourselves because that reflects His character. I give because God did!
• I love when it is uncomfortable. I love when it is inconvenient. I love when I might be rejected. I love because not loving tells others that God doesn’t care.
• As the church of Jesus Christ in this local congregational context we are called to give all we can to demonstrate Christ to this community. That is our mission.
• The church exists for Christ and His purposes!
3. Jesus emphasized Love over Landscape(v.13-15)
• Jesus showed a new way of reaching people with the message of God. He shared the load of ministry with those He called and equipped.
• He started with twelve and that number has grown to billions. For every believer is called and equipped to share the Good News of the Gospel.
• The Pharisees wanted people to have to rely upon their teaching and traditions. The status quo was being threatened by Jesus and His rag-tag band of followers.
• Territory is a touchy thing!
• Gangs have turf-wars.
• What turf-wars do we have in the church?
• Love motivated Jesus to call and train twelve individuals to carry the message of His salvation. Why? Because twelve could reach more people. Twelve would be more effective.
• If Jesus can share the load, shouldn’t we?
• It is Christian love when we share the load with others. It is Christian love when we don’t have our turf wars over the way people are effectively reached with the Gospel.
Max Lucado— ”In the Grip of Grace”
God has enlisted us in his navy and placed us on his ship. The boat has one purpose-to carry us safely to the other shore.
This is no cruise ship; it is a battleship. We aren’t called to a life of leisure; we are called to a life of service. Each of us has a different task. Some concerned with those who are drowning, are snatching people from the water. Others are occupied with the enemy, so they man the cannons of prayer and worship. Still others devote themselves to the crew, feeding and training the crew members.
Though different, we are the same. Each can tell of a personal encounter with the captain, for each has received a personal call. He found us among the shanties of the seaport and invited us to follow him. Our faith was born at the sight of his fondness, and so we went.
We each followed him across the gangplank of his grace onto the same boat. There is one captain and one destination. Though the battle is fierce, the boat is safe, for our captain is God. The ship will not sink. For that, there is no concern.
There is concern, however, regarding the disharmony of the crew. When we first boarded we assumed the crew was made up of others like us. But as we’ve wandered these decks, we’ve encountered curious converts with curious appearances. Some wear uniforms we’ve never seen, sporting styles we’ve never witnessed. “Why do you look the way you do?” we ask them.
“Funny,” they reply. “We were about the ask the same of you.”
The variety of dress is not nearly as disturbing as the plethora of opinions. There is a group, for example, who clusters every morning for serious study. They promote rigid discipline and somber expressions. “Serving the captain is serious business,” they explain. It’s no coincidence that they tend to congregate around the stern.
There is another regiment deeply devoted to prayer. Not only do they believe in prayer, they believe in prayer by kneeling. For that reason you always know where to locate them, they are at the bow of the ship.
And then there are a few who staunchly believe real wine should be used in the Lord’s Supper. You’ll find them on the port side.
Still another group has positioned themselves near the engine. They spend hours examining the nuts and bolts of the boat. They’ve been know to go below deck and not come up for days. They occasionally are criticized by those who linger on the top deck, feeling the wind in their hair and the sun on their face. “It’s not what you learn,” those topside argue, “It’s what you feel that matters.”
And, oh, how we tend to cluster.
Some think once you’re on the boat, you can’t get off. Others say you’d be foolish to go overboard, but the choice is yours.
Some believe you volunteer for service; others believe you were destined for the service before the ship was even built.
Some predict a storm of great tribulation will strike before we dock, others say it won’t his until we are safely ashore.
There are those who speak to the captain in a personal language. There are those who thing such languages are extinct.
There are those who think the officers should wear robes, there are those who think there should be no officers at all, and there are those who think we are all officers and should all wear robes.
And oh, how we tend to cluster.
And then there is the issue of the weekly meeting at which the captain is thanked and his words are read. All agree on its importance, but few agree on its nature. Some want it loud, others quiet. Some want ritual, others spontaneity. Some want to celebrate so they can meditate, others meditate so they can celebrate. Some want a meeting for those who’ve gone overboard. Others want to reach those overboard but without going over board and neglecting those on board.
And, oh, how we tend to cluster.
The consequence is a rocky boat. There is trouble on deck. Fights have broken out. Sailors have refused to speak to each other. There have even been times when one group refused to acknowledge the presence of others on the ship. Most tragically, some adrift at sea have chosen not to board the boat because of the quarreling of the sailors.
Is there something you need to confess today? Perhaps you haven’t been living a life of love towards others and all they have had to talk about is the hypocrisy of the church.
• Have you been judging others instead of reaching out to draw them in and let God make that call?
• Have you been lazy towards the Great Commission and the Great Commandment thinking that you have other higher priorities than sharing God’s love?
• Have you expected others to share the Gospel (like the pastors or Sunday School teachers or Board members or people with the gift of evangelism)?
• Are you afraid of new people taking places of leadership in the ministries of the church because they might not do things the way “we’ve always done them?”
We need to give people something to talk about. How about the love of Jesus working in and through us?