Summary: We love immoral people by holding on to what we believe and sympathizing with the weaknesses of others because we know what our weaknesses are.
Jesus says the most important command of God for us to obey is this, “To love God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind and to love others.” So for the last few weeks we’ve taken some time to define what this kind of love is. We can summarize our last few lessons this way, “Genuine love is faithful especially in very difficult and painful circumstances and full of joy. It’s impossible to love others and God without making sacrifices. And the only way to really love God and love others is to disown yourself and follow Jesus.”
It’s one thing to define love, but, now that we know what God says it is, the bigger question is, “what do we do this love?” How do we put love into action as Jesus followers. I believe that the best way for us to show love is to do it the way Jesus did. Today we’re going to talk about how to love and share truth with those who are immoral. Hebrews 4:14-16 says, "So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most."
Last Sunday we discussed the first part of this Scripture,” let us hold firmly to what we believe” The Bible teaches us that the best witnesses for Jesus to an unbelieving world are followers who hold on to what they believe in every circumstance.
Today we’re going to focus on the second part of this Scripture, "This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all the same testings we do, yet he did not sin." Jesus Christ and His resurrection from the dead sealed our identity. His victory over death is the proof of our home in Heaven. As Jesus followers we belong to God, we are not our own because we've been bought with the blood and sacrifice of Jesus. This means that our actions are motivated by our choice to deny who we are and to take up the cross of Jesus. We don't help people because they need help, we serve people so we can show them who Jesus is. Everything we do and say is about loving God and others through our faith in Jesus Christ. This is the life of a follower.
I like how the Message translates this, “Use your heads as you live and work among outsiders. Don’t miss a trick. Make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out.“ Colossians 4:5-6
Jesus followers don’t point the finger at people who haven't made a decision to disown themselves for the cross of Jesus, because, they don't live by the same standard of morality that we do. According to the Scripture we’re looking at today, we love the unbeliever by holding on to what we believe, and
we love the immoral by sympathizing with their weaknesses because we're all too aware of our own.
Immorality doesn't just have to do with sexual stuff. According to the dictionary the word encompasses anything evil or wicked. So, the bombing in Boston was immoral. The mass killings taking place right now in Syria is immoral. Doctor Gosnell did an immoral thing when he murdered hundreds of infants born alive. And it’s easy for us to point the finger at these particular heinous acts and call them for what they are. And we’re right in doing so, but the reality is that we are all immoral people. The Bible teaches us that it's impossible as human beings to live a perfect life. For example, Jesus taught that it's not just about the act of committing adultery that is sin, it's the lustful thoughts that we entertain in our mind that is like committing adultery. Jesus said that we live by a code of love our neighbor and hate our enemy, but Jesus continues and teaches us that we are to "love our enemies" even pray for them. How would your attitude towards your enemy be different if you consistently prayed for them?
Jesus didn't teach that we are to be perfect creatures. He told us to seek first the Kingdom of God. This is about a lifestyle. We all do immoral things. I can seek Jesus first in my life, I can make the decision every day to disown myself and follow Him, but I will still at times give in to temptation and sin. This happens to all of us. A genuine Jesus follower will be filled with sorrow for the sinful things they do. They will seek a routine of daily accountability and confession. A Jesus follower will repent specifically for the sinful things they do constantly seeking forgiveness from God. This is the humble and careful nature of a Jesus follower. We don’t like sin. We hate it. We hate sin in our life and we hate it in our world. We hate sin, because God hates it. Sin separates us from God, but our repentance brings us closer to Him.