Even while we were separated from God by sin, God’s love reached out to us through Jesus Christ. Jesus gave us a new command: we are to love one another as He loves us. Our love should reach out to others, especially those who we find difficult to love. Don’t set up barriers between others and God; that’s not love. Instead, our love should reach out to others and help them to grow in their relationship with God.
Redemption Church Plano Irving
Gospel of Love 4 – A Love that Reaches
by Marshal Blessing
Welcome – Excited, relationships with everyone – INVITE TO MOVE UP CLOSER
Wrapping “Love” “Motivates”, “Unbreakable”, “Trust”
A Love That Reaches -Set Theory – pictures – theoretical mathematics, diagramming football plays
In Group / Out Group – sociological terms: like cafeteria in junior high
As humans, we like to classify things, organize them into groups. Helpful trait. Misapply to Faith.
[Whiteboard] Pictures to illustrate how we group ourselves – Christianity 101, share with others
Beginning –God, God made some people, gave one command, snake, separation, in group out group
More people, God gave rules to allow people get close as possible, tabernacle, still separation
God not satisfied. Born a man into our out-group. Pierced the barrier. All people can come to God.
John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
The goal of our lives is to get closer to God. The way has been opened to us. Christ triumphed over sin.
This is where we stand today. Everyone can get closer to God. You have to encounter Jesus.
Everyone can get closer to God. Hamartia – Missing the mark Sin – separates us from God.
Jesus removed the barrier – the problem is we like to put up new ones.
As I mentioned, we like to classify things into groups. “Some Churches” think they are the in group.
Luke 18: 9-14 NIV To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Does that sound familiar? That’s us. WE DO THAT!
Subtle change “Thank God I’m not like that Pharisee…”
We say “Some churches” like we’re better than them. We are them.
When we exclude others or look down on others, that’s not love.
We Are the Out Group –tell somebody “we are the out group”
If there were an In group and an out group. God would be in, we would be out. Period. All have sinned
A Love That Reaches
But God suffered to break down that barrier. To bring us in. God’s Love reached us while yet sinners.
Love Helps Others Move Closer to God
Our love should reach others and help them move closer to God
This picture isn’t spatial, it’s more of a map of our faith
We all start in different places, move in different directions at times, God is goal, must encounter Christ
But everyone can move closer to God, Muslims, Hindus, Scientologist, Mormons, Atheists
You can help others move closer to God by showing them God’s love
Not everyone moves toward God in the same way. [Draw example.]
Others may not do things the same way we do, or may not believe exactly what we do.
Luke 9:49-50 NIV “Master,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.”
50 “Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.”
We have different backgrounds – Lutheran, Presby, Catholic, Baptist, Messianic.
All part of one body –not Redemption – Body of Christ
Plano and Irving, GOAL, others, we’re all brothers and sisters in Christ
In Redemption Class the only requirement to join is a desire to move closer to God.
John 13:34-35 NIV “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
We had a great discussion in Connect Group this week. “Do we have to love everyone?”
Matthew 22:37-39 NIV Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
If you love your neighbor you should want to help them to move closer to God, just as you want to.
Romans 13:8 ESV Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.
Yes this extends to everyone. How? Pray for them. Show them love. Don’t put up barriers.
“You can’t come to God unless you immediately start doing things exactly like me.”
The world tries to set up barriers for us – we don’t need to add to it. “Christians hate…” ________
Homosexuals. Homosexual people can move closer to God, just like I can.
When you tell someone they can’t move closer to God unless they give up one specific thing: Barrier.
I believe smoking is a sin. How silly to tell someone, “You can’t come to church until you quit smoking.”
Our goal should be to help people move closer to God. They will encounter Christ. He’s the one with the power to transform their lives. Not us.
He’s still transforming my life, so I can’t act like I’m finished and others aren’t there yet.
Romans 14:13 ESV Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.
Sometimes we try to make ourselves seem more Godly by pointing out others faults. Not to help them change, but to help ourselves. “Thank God I’m not like this sinner.” We say it in more subtle ways.
When we push others away to try to move ourselves closer to God, THAT’S NOT LOVE.
And it doesn’t move us closer to God.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.
Pushing others away from God is the worst thing you can do. It’s the opposite of our mission. Of love.
Romans 13:10 NIV Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
Don’t give in to hate. Don’t listen when the world tells you Christians are supposed to hate.
Don’t give in to hate even when others hate you. Love your enemies. Pray for those who persecute you
1 John 4:20 NIV 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.
How is this possible?
1 John 4:19 NIV We love because he first loved us.
We Are the Out Group
Our capacity to love comes from God. If He could love us, we can love others.
Let your love be a reflection of His love.
A Love That Reaches
Easier for some people than others. Holy Spirit. We take God to people. His love in us.
Who do you need to love? What step do you need to take to move closer to God?