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Summary: What does Christian love look like?

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The Extravagance of Christian Love

I. Introduction

A. Mark 14.3-9

B. Society’s Understanding of Love

II. The Cost of Love

A. This type of love is extravagant

B. This type of love is sacrificial

C. This type of love is dangerous

III. The Commitment of Love

A. She literally gives all that she has

B. She holds nothing back

IV. The Continuous Nature of Love

V. Conclusion

A. Was Jesus wrong?

B. Lets make Jesus right?

Video clip playing showing the anointing of Jesus; accompanied by the song “Hold Me Now.” By Jennifer Knapp; played and sang by Tom Collins

I. Introduction

What a beautiful song and a beautiful video clip. Thank you Tom for sharing such a poignant story in song and video. What a great story of love. What a great example of the kind of love that Jesus deserves. What a wonderful example of Christian love. And that is the topic or the theme for today, Christian love. What does it mean to love and what does love really look like. We say we love this or we love that, but what does love really mean? What are the characteristics of love that each follower of Jesus should strive for? Today, I hope to address that question and my prayer is that when we leave here today, we have a better understanding of the type of love that Jesus desires for us to have not only toward others, but also toward him.

I few weeks ago I was leading the senior high youth through a program discussing the three temptations that Jesus went through in the wilderness. As luck would have it, I drew the lust of the flesh. I realized while preparing that program for the youth how we as a culture define love and measure love. We seek to understand what love is based on magazines and movies. We are inundated with so much visual data of what love should be and what love should look like. But the love that we see in movies and the love that we read about in magazines is not the kind of love that God demands for himself or the type of love that we truly desire from each other. We pick up magazines as we are walking through the check-out line at Wal-Mart to catch a glimpse of how we should feel when we love and how we should act when we love something. We perhaps even subscribe to magazines that promise us love and tell us sure ways how to get people to love us. We even by things, thinking that if I wear a certain thing or dress a certain people will love me more. We even have catalogs sent to us like Victoria’s Secret, that is neither Victorian nor much of a secret, but promises us romance and love by the products that it sales. It is interesting that we are a culture that is obsessed with love and being loved, but we have a poor idea of what love looks like or feels like. We sometimes mistake feelings and moods for love, but that is far from a Christian view of love.

As followers of Jesus, love is more than a feeling or an idea. Love is an action. It began at creation with God, out of love creating the world and all that is in it and that love continued down through the ages until love was personified as a person named Jesus. Today, I want us to understand what Christian love should look like. I want us to understand what is the measuring stick. To help us understand this better, we will need to go to the source for understanding what love is all about, a book full of love, the Bible.

If you would, please turn to Mark 14.3-9. This is a story full of love and devotion and interestingly enough, this type of love is not shown by Jesus, but by a woman. This woman shows us what Christian love should look like and how it should behave. Let us look very closely at this text and try to re-discover what Christian love is all about.

II. The Courage of Love

For many of us we do not view love or being loved as a sign of courage. But let us look closely at this unnamed woman’s example, and see just how courageous true love and devotion can be.

A. To stand in the midst of men

Mark tells us that Jesus was gathering at Simon the leper’s house for a meal. While the meal was taking place an unnamed woman comes into the room carrying an alabaster jar. This is note worthy on two levels. First, women and children did not share the same place at the table. This woman walks into a room and shares the same position as the men of the house. This takes courage. Notice how much courage. She risked embarrassment and ridicule in order to show her love for Jesus. She risked stepping out of the social norms for her convictions and for her view of Jesus. That is what true love is all about. It is the willingness to lay aside our personal agendas and personal feelings and minister not only to Jesus but in his name. That is what the church needs today. A love that gives in the face of ridicule and cultural norms. A love that is bold and is focused only on the person of Jesus. Don’t we all desire that kind of love? We want that for ourselves. Do we not want to be surrounded by people who are willing to step up and step out in the name of Jesus. It takes courage to love, and this woman shows us what true love is. True love is courageous love, not fearful. John would write some 20 years later that true love cast out all fear. If we truly love something, then fear is cast out. Let us learn not to be afraid of a love that is courageous. Let us begin today to cultivate with God’s spirit a love that is not only courageous, but also gripping.

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