What Love Looks Like

Preached at Bodenham Chapel, Sunday February 17, 2019


1. BIBLE TEACHING

Followed by 2. APPLYING THE TEACHING

A journey from general to particular.
Takes us to a particular aspect of ‘What love looks like’ that we all struggle with.

It’s costly, but incredible value. It touches the sin we all labour under, yet don’t know what it is. It is very simple and very powerful, very releasing, very life changing.


Speaking about love


God’s love for us, Holy Spirit of love in us  2 Tim. 1:7 Romans 5:5 gives us capacity to love without response or condition.

•  Did God love us before we knew Him?
•  What found us, brought us to Him?

 His love, then our response.


Love is a kingdom value


Jesus’ foundational teaching about the kingdom

About 10 mentions in Matthew chapters 5,6,7 (core teaching also Luke 6:17-49)
This is how we live according to kingdom values:

The Sermon on the Mount teaches generosity of spirit

Read these as continuous piece of teaching. It’s in the same order as the Bible. What’s left out, gives clarity to what remains. And you can check the context for yourself!


Matt. 5:7  God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

Matt. 5:14 You are the light of the world… let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

Matt. 5:22 But I say, if you are even angry (remain angry, resentful) with someone, you are subject to judgment!

Matt. 5:23…If you suddenly remember that someone has something against you… leave your sacrifice… go and be reconciled to that person.

v.40 If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also.

Matt. 5:43-44    “You have heard…‘Love your neighbour’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!… If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that?

Matt. 6:1   “Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly… (talking about religiosity, ostentatious prayers…)

8 (Jesus says) Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

Matt. 6:9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“ ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
10     your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
11     Give us today our daily bread.
12     And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13     And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. ’

Matt. 6:14-15  For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

6:33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.
Seek God’s rule, God’s order, God’s Father heart, and live by it.

What does that look like?

Matt. 7:2-3  Do not judge others, and you will not be judged…     and vice versa
…For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.

Matt. 7:3   “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own?

Matt. 7:12, 14   “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you…
That’s not easy, as Jesus said:
The gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.”

Matt. 7:21    “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.
Enter?    And experience the kingdom of heaven, the rule of God in all His goodness, now.

Matt. 7:26, 24   …Anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand… Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.



Luke 6:35-38 Sermon on the Plain

Reinforces how the Sermon on the Mount teaches generosity of spirit

But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.  “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”


And also…

1 Cor. 13:4-5
Love is patient and kind… not… proud…not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.

Colossians 3:12-14 NIV
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
“Be reconciled” — four times, one of which is “Be reconciled to God”

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Forgive — how many times?

Matt. 18:21-22

18-21 Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?”
“No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!
As many times as it takes, for as long as it takes

23-25   “Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him.  In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars.  He couldn’t pay, so his master ordered that he be sold — along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned — to pay the debt.

26-27   “But the man fell down before his master and begged him, ‘Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.’ Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt.

28   “But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment.

29-30 “His fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it,’ he pleaded. But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full.

31-34    “When some of the other servants saw this, they were very upset. They went to the king and told him everything that had happened. Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt.

35   “That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.”

2. APPLYING THE BIBLE TEACHING

Reflecting on the story

What is happening in this story? An enormously rich and powerful person decides to call in debts owed to him. One of the principal debtors, a business associate who owed millions, was unable to pay. So he is  arrested. He now  faces everything he owns being confiscated, and losing his freedom, to be put into slavery.


This debtor really doesn’t have a leg to stand on, but notwithstanding, he pleads for time – and for mercy.


Now, the presidential figure to whom this huge debt is owed does something completely unheard of – understanding the plight of the debtor and hearing the plea, he releases him – and cancels the debt!


Now this man is, amazingly, free from prison and from debt. So you’d think he would be counting his blessings. Biut no, he goes out rounds up everyone who owes HIM money and demands settlement. The first one begs for a little time to find £450 he owes, but the released one won’t grant him terms and exercises his right to have him put in prison until the debt is paid in full.


Not surprisingly, the word gets around and others in the community are pretty upset at this display of double standards. They go and tell the president, who promptly calls the first debtor in and confronts him. He points out the enormous debt that has just be written off. He demands to know why he couldn’t treat the tiddly little debts the same way? `of course, it’s not on.

So now the first debtor really does lose his freedom, and others can hear his cries of pain from inside the prison and the torturers work on him, until the original debt is settled.

What about us? This is played out in our ordinary lives day by day. Every time we do less for others, than God has done for us, we sin. Sin is bad. More to the point it gives the enemy of our souls, a legal right to catch us, so we lose our freedom and experience mental torture – demonic oppression, nagging thoughts, accusations, hopelessness and everything that goes with it.

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Link to Introduction ‘What Love Looks Like’

Living in God’s kingdom is a huge benefit but also an undertaking to live by the values of the kingdom – God’s values.

What is God like, in a word?

Top of the list would be that He is  merciful, through and through.

What are we like? We know the enormity of what God has done for us through Jesus’ sacrifice of Himself — the ultimate generosity of spirit . So why we do less for others, than God does for us?

Choosing to be merciful, choosing to forgive

Freewill decision

  1. To  judge (they haven’t said sorry, they don’t deserve to be let off)
  2. To extend grace.

 
Grace — cancelling debt from hurt or hurts, offends our sense of justice.

Our justice isn’t as big as God’s justice.

In choosing to forgive someone (and speak it out) we choose not to exercise OUR judgment, but to TRUST GOD for His.

What happens?  Release for us!

If forgiving others is commanded… not forgiving (resentment) is not just a feeling. It is a sin.

Forgiving (choosing grace) breaks the hold of this sin and disarms the enemy.

In a way, this is the one selfish thing we are commanded to do. Perhaps it would be if we simply did it for ourselves, but the benefits are ours.

We are the ones who get released! We are the ones who step into a new freedom. No one is saying it is easy, but is really that uncomplicated.


Response – doing it

How? Speak it out and make the choice, against all your emotional push-back, to do what God has done for you. And leave the justice up to Him. His judgment really counts, for eternity — and maybe He will work in the other person to bring new life…

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END
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For ref: 2 Timothy 1:7 NLT, Romans 5:5
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love.

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