Summary: Sometimes we as Christians forget our true purpose here on Earth, and it is our first and foremost purpose to love each of God's creation. So many people have turned their backs on God because of the church. It's time to flip the script.

We’re going to be discussing the power of love. Now, Webster’s dictionary defines love as a strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties. Affection based on sexual desire. Affection based on admiration, benevolence or common interests, attachment, devotion, unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another… and even the fatherly concern of God for humankind. But the type of love I want to focus on is the Greek feminine noun Agape. It is the highest type of love of all four types… can anyone name them? (Agape, Eros, Phileo or Philia, and Storge - Unconditional, romance, friendship, brotherly) Agape exemplfies the type of love that Christ had for His father. And conversely, the love God has for us.

Read Romans 13: 8-14. in the MSG version…

So you’re probably asking, what is that saying to us?

This is saying to us that we should never owe anyone anything but the love of Christ. It is the second greatest commandment. In Luke the 10th chapter it tells us that when the lawyer asked Jesus what was required of them to gain eternal life… Jesus answered saying, “what is written in the law?” and the lawyer answered, “to love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy strength and with all thy mind and thy neighbor as thyself.” And Jesus said, “do this and you will live.” Well, the lawyer wasn’t finished with Jesus just yet… he said, “Who is my neighbor?” and Jesus answered with the parable of the Good Samaritan. And you know the story… a man from Jerusalem went to Jericho and was robbed and wounded by the thieves… and left for dead… and the Word says by chance, but nothing happens by chance… it’s all planned… a priest come down and walked right past the man in need… a Levite looked at him… and kept walking… but the Samaritan had compassion… he covered his wounds after disinfecting it with oil and wine… he placed him on his own beast and took him to an inn to take care of him… the Samaritan even gave money to the host to take care of him and let the host know if they needed anything more that they would be repaid. So Jesus answered that question by saying… your neighbor… is the one in need. The one that everyone would look over… the stone that the builder rejected… the outcast… the downtrodden… the hopeless… and the hurting… those are our neighbors… those are who we should love the most… as Jesus loved even us when we were at our worst.

Love is the key! That unconditional love that Christ has for his father and his father has for us. That’s the love we should show to others… John 13:35 says that when we love others, it shows the world that we are indeed followers of Christ.

But I’ve come to tell you that any old sinner can love someone that loves them… that’s where we are at fault. The church is so wrapped up on loving those who agree with them… loving the people inside these four walls. What about loving the people that keep walking through the church property? Instead of staring at them and getting mad at them? Have we ever invited them in? Go ahead… Pinch yourself… and say “ouch.” I’m guilty too! What about that annoying supervisor or that trash talking co-worker? Have you ever told them about Jesus? Have you ever invited them to a church event? What about that lady who stole your parking spot?? The person who bought the last Turkey on Thanksgiving when you were rushing to the store to get one? Have you ever told those that you despise about the God you serve? Are you living a life that would exemplify the love of Christ?

That’s where we’re going wrong! The power of love should be working in us every day in everything that we do. Our work begins when we exit those doors on Sunday afternoon!

The church should be the beacon… but instead we are the cancer!

You’ll get that when you get home…

I’ve been there! I have been hurt by so many people that called themselves Christians that I turned my back on God. During the most trying parts of my life, being chained by something that was not in God’s will… I didn’t need condemnation; I was already condemning myself… I didn’t need to be talked about, I was already saying it to myself. I didn’t need to be preached to, I knew the word… I didn’t need to be prayed for, I didn’t believe in the power of prayer. I didn’t need to be rejected; I’ve already rejected myself… I NEEDED TO BE LOVED. That is something I DID NOT have for myself!!!! And until I felt loved… and until I knew the source of that love… I stayed in my wicked ways… I stayed depressed… I stayed in sin… I stayed in negativity… I stayed chained down… but oh glory when the chains fall off!!! That’s when I began to see Jesus!!! You know, for some people, we are the only Jesus they will ever see! Can the world see Jesus in you? If not… something needs to change… because how can you say that you love Jesus… when you’ve never seen his face… yet you’re sitting here on these pews… hating the person next to you??? That’s not what Christ gave his life for… that’s not what God intends for his children!!!

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