Summary: Love is a powerful motivator and our lives should be lived from a foundation of love.
What Love Does To Us
June 16, 2013
We’ve already had a full meal – on Scripture, on the depth of poetry in music expressed as prayers of our hearts, on the celebration of new life and a family committed to have Jesus as the center, and on the testimony of faith of a man in our midst. And it is Father’s day, and that is present in many of our minds as we have plans and thoughts that will begin later on. With that in mind, I just want to try to weave these various pieces together into a single theme – that of “what love does to us”. And I’m going to end with the challenge that if love produces that strong a response, then maybe we should love more deeply.
Tugging the Threads:
So let me pull on the threads, and for each the question is, “what does love do to us”?
Threads from Scripture:
We heard a number of different Scriptures this morning – Psalm 32, the story of Naboth’s vineyard, Paul confronting Peter, and Jesus at Simon the Pharisee’s home. Throughout, there is a theme of sin, confrontation, forgiveness, and the result – love.
There are some great, powerful stories in these Scriptures. The story of Naboth’s vineyard is a story of total selfishness, insatiable greed, and horrific wickedness. In many ways, it is a story about what happens when there is no love, when there is only concern for self. The king, so self-absorbed that he sulked in his little bed when he didn’t get the veggie garden he wanted, refusing to eat, acting like a spoiled 2 yr old in a toy store. His wife, the wicked queen, mocking his weakness and proving how weak he was by taking over and devising her own plot which as we read involves lying and conspiracy and murder. All for the convenience of a veggie garden. There is no love here… so perhaps from this story the question is, “what does a lack of love do to us”? It turns us inward, petty, harsh, and even violent. And any sane person looking in is revolted.
The second Scripture talked about Paul confronting Peter over a creeping hypocrisy. It starts off innocent enough – Peter is trying to avoid criticism and keep up appearances, but Paul sees a deeper issue, a much more important issue: Peter’s actions as a leader were about to cause a major division and create a major stumbling block to non-Jewish people coming to faith in Jesus. And – here is the key – Paul loved enough to confront. Paul loved the non-Jewish people enough to defend them, even against Peter who had walked with Jesus himself, and whom Jesus himself had entrusted the leadership of Jesus’ earthly Kingdom. Paul loved Peter enough to confront him, when Paul could have just walked away and let a great schism happen and Paul could have started and led his own thing. And, perhaps most important, Paul loved Jesus enough to fight for the truth of Jesus’ Kingdom and make sure that the main message – “that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ”, was the message that won out. So what does love do to us? It makes us bold, it makes us willing to fight for truth, it makes us see what really matters when we slip into just wanting to keep the peace and avoid criticism. It empowers, and the right prevails.