The Reason for Love

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You got a Bible and invite you to John. Chapter 13 is where we’re going to beat today and we’re going to begin a new series today. So I’m glad you’re here with us as we study a series together on, on the title’s called this thing called love. And the challenge for us is to look at the depth of our relationships, which God has placed us in and encourage us in those relationships. And I want you to know, um, as we go through this series together, it is going to be relevant for everyone in the application that we make. I really want to challenge our idea of love culturally, uh, today and maybe get us thinking in some different ways in how we use that word in connection to our relationships. I wanna, I wanna do this starting off a little, a little narrow and referencing, uh, marital relationships, uh, because that is, as the Bible describes the first relationship God creates, it tends to be the, uh, should be the most intimate of relationships that God has established for us.

But the application for this is going to, uh, affect all areas of relationships that we face as we consider an idea of what love represents and the example of love that we receive in Christ. We talk about love. I think it’s healthy for us as a church. We like to attempt to, uh, engage relational focused messages at least once a year. Usually in the spring. We do this as a way to encourage our relationships cause as people we can get in places where we find our hearts callous, we find ourselves defensive. We put walls up. And because of that, we don’t experience the depth of relationships for which God has created us to. We understand as a church family, our motivation behind everything that we do is one that you would experience a transforming relationship in Christ because that’s what you’re created for God made you for his purposes.

And knowing him is the intentions for God’s design in you for all of eternity. Bible says in John 17, three, this is eternal life that you may know him so you will know what eternity is all about. Life is all about. It’s about your relationship in the Lord and from that relationship, it Springs into other relationships in this life that God uses you in your relationship from, from him and through that relationship to glorify or magnify him in this world. So it’s because of that relationship done in a healthy way and experiencing God in your life that you then relate that or reflect that in the world in it therefore effects other relationships. And so Jesus, when he was asked the question, what’s the two greatest commands or what’s the greatest command? He defines it in terms of relationships, loving God, loving others. And so talking about relationship where our hearts rest in connection to the relationships God has us in as significant for us to to understand.

Sometimes we get pessimistic in relationships and then you think about marriage, wonder if people ever stay together, if you’re going to be able to enjoy one another. From God’s perspective, relationships are sacred and designed for a godly purpose. In the book of Genesis defines the beginning of relationships. Jesus and and talking about relationships in Matthew 19 defines it, and this is what he says and it’s in Mark and Matthew. He says, what therefore God has joined together, let no man separate is specifically defining in of the marital relationships. In the end he says in Proverbs five 18 rejoice in the wife of your youth.

And so God has designed relationships for a good purpose, but sometimes because of the difficulty of relationships, we want to know if if loving one another in marriage or experiencing that love, you know, across the board in any relationship, if it’s possible and achievable, it’s easy to fall in love. I think we often find, but the question becomes, is it easy to stay in love and having an accurate picture of what God intends for us, even by the word love becomes foundational to understanding what relationships are and how to live in those in a healthy way. I don’t have time to, to dive in all this, but I’m gonna give you just a basic overview of, of marital relationship as it started in the book of Genesis. When God first made it, he said, then the Lord God said, I will make him a helper. And so he designed the Maryland relationship to be complimentary to one another. And then Adam in Genesis two 23 says, this man said, bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh. This statement Adam gives, it’s, it’s longer than this, but he actually is singing to Eve in the story. So you see in this, in this passage in Genesis two, well the beginning of Genesis, it’s written poetically.

And then within this poem of God’s creation, you have someone singing. And so it’s he, God literally designs the Maryland relationship to sing the first songs written in the context of relationship God poetically in Genesis one to three man and woman, all of it about singing. I mean, meatloaf becomes biblically accurate I guess in some sense in that way. But I would even challenge the context of those words in the song and the understanding of what love really is. And then it says in Genesis two 24 they shall become one flesh. And so you see intimacy communicated. This one flash literally gives this idea of being glued together where you can’t tell where one begins and the other one ends kind of gross, but it’s accurate. It’s that close as one in the same, the identity. And then it says, God said to them, be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and subdue it.

The point of that is when the relationship lives and thrives in the context of which God has designed it, not only is it beneficial to the individuals that experience that relationship, but it also blesses the world. So in the home, if, if the marriage isn’t working right, the family doesn’t operate right. And so that that relationship becomes foundational to them, blessing through all, all of that. And so relationships, understanding of that becomes significant and important. And, and all of us come to come to this, this point in recognizing, and we live in a sinful world.

And so we know in the context of our room because all of us are sinful and all people are sinful. The idea of what these relationships are become for us a, a goal of what God desires. But in the context of our relationship, we don’t always experience, as a matter of fact, as God lays this out, if you just read through the rest of the old Testament and you just look at relationships, marital relationships, like you are stretched to find a healthy example in scripture. And so how, how do we navigate that in our lives? How do we have hope in the world or are hope? And in our relationships we see people, uh, experiencing relationships and, but, but, but the question is how do they stay together in the longevity? Is, is it easy to stay in love or can a person stay in love? And how do you enjoy one another? And statistics say in American homes right now, I know there’s pain in this, in this statement, um, but I think it’s important to recognize not for the purpose of just producing pain, but to say in, in homes today, the statistics say 40% of homes are absent from the father.

And because our, our culture tends to be one that’s taught to be self-focused, pleasure driven. What makes you happy as an individual is what you are to pursue. We have a very low threshold for pain and I think it affects our relationship. And if something, someone does something wrong, we feel like because we’re so self absorbed or self-focus and pleasure driven and it’s all about the individual that if someone does something wrong to us, we feel like we have the right to abandon the relationship or throw someone under the bus.

No, I think there’s healthy wastes and they get navigate certain aspects to relationships. But I think because of the focus of our pleasure on the individual that the Tennessee typically plays itself out that way and are saying all that. John 13 becomes a very foundational passage of scripture for us because in, in this story in John chapter 13 to John chapter 17, I as a pastor, I play a play favorites with scripture sometimes in my life. There’s just certain passages that they hit me at particular points in my, uh, my life that when I go back to them, it’s, it just, it captures me in, in the context of what’s being said in John chapter 13 and John chapter 17 is, is one of those sections of scripture where when I, when I turn to those pages, I just zero in on the context of what’s being stated there.

Because this is the time where Jesus is with his disciples in the upper room and this is the last time he’s really going to share with them some of the important things that he desires for their lives. He’s in the most intimate context I think that scripture gives with his disciples that you can read about. I’m very specific in some of the things that he’s saying and his approach and how he’s demonstrating that to people. And he’s, he’s sharing with us some, some profound thoughts on the idea of how to live in healthy God, honoring joy filled relationships.

And in John 13 in verse 34 he gives this thought, hurry Gibbs. Let’s just say his list of of new covenant rules. If you read old Testament new Testament, you think in the context of the Bible. Old Testament means old covenant and new Testament is a new covenant and the old Testament and the old covenant, you had laws and Israel lived under these laws and the laws didn’t tell people how to be set free. It showed our condemnation and need for a new covenant where Jesus who had satisfied Jesus comes and he fulfills the old covenant two ways. A covenant is fulfilled in the Bible. The person under the covenant dies or they meet all the criteria of the covenant and Jesus does both. He fulfills all of the old covenant. He now introduces the new covenant in him, which brings us into relationship with him. It’s why we don’t have to go to temples anymore to worship.

It’s why you become the temple of God. It’s why the presence of God’s promise with you and you’re sealed in the spirit and you communicate to God directly where you are because of what he’s accomplished. For us in the new Testament, when Jesus is crucified, the veil is torn and he says to tell us die. It’s paid in full. Your payment against the God which you have violated, which has been known to us by the old covenant laws has been fulfilled in Jesus. And so Jesus gives us new covenant, these new laws for us to follow in him. And so he says in John chapter 1334 he starts this list of these new rules for his people. And this is what he says, a new commandment I give to you, you love one another even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. Either you’re the old, old covenant. There was hundreds of commands in the new covenant. Jesus says this, and you’re like, is that it? Yeah.

Jesus said, the greatest two commandments, loving God and loving others. And so because of what Jesus has done, the spirit of God now dwells in us. When we walk in the spirit and then the fruit of the spirit is made known in our lives. And so that the relationship comes to its pinnacle point in loving God and through that the demonstration of that love to one another. And so Jesus is looking at his followers and saying, this command I given to you that you love one another. Now, if you look at this context of the statement of new commandment, you would say to yourself, how in the world is this new? I mean, when I think about the old Testament, I know God said to love people. He did. When the context of new, I think it means new in this sense. One, it’s new because he’s introducing the new covenant and and too, it’s new because the demonstration of Jesus, his example of love has now been displayed for people.

So he says in the context of the cause of this example, listen, he says, a newcomer, I give you not that loving people as new, but you love one another even as I have loved you. And so the demonstration of God’s love has contextualized itself into flesh. And Jesus has loved in a way that no one has ever been loved through adept that no one will ever be loved other than in Christ. And so he says to his people, this new, this new example, this new covenant I’m giving to you, that you love one another as I have loved you.

Notice what Jesus is saying. Jesus isn’t posing this as a question or as a statement of the past. He doesn’t say do you love, but he’s saying you are to love in the present active tense. So when it comes to relationships or when it comes to your spouse, the question is not do you love her or him, but are you loving? It’s not. Feel it, then do it. It’s do it. Then feel it. So feelings take a back seat to this command. It’s, it’s the caboose. It’s, it’s not the engine. In short, what Jesus is saying in this passage is this. The foundation for staying in love is to make love.

The love in the context of the story wants to Jesus is saying with us, for his followers is, is that that love is one of action. It’s one of demonstration when you love one another, it rekindles and continues to Kindle. It’s, it’s, it’s like throwing another log on the fire. It’s understanding that the idea of growing closer and your relationship is one that you actively pursue. And so in this context in which Jesus is saying it’s important to recognize that love is a verb. But here’s one of the things I want to be careful with in reading this is that if we just treat love like a verb, you run the risk of responding to this message in the way of the Pharisees me see a lot of duty but not a lot of delight.

And when you hear this message, you do it out of a place of obligation with no real joy in it. I think it’s important to recognize that while love is a verb in our context and relationships that love really first started as a noun, uh, explain what that means. But I, I think an understanding that that’s what helps us from treating this command like a Pharisee or a legalistic rule that we feel obligated to have to fulfill within the context of, of our relationships. And when I’m the most famous in thinking about John 13 the application the most, the most famous section I think, and just the description of love is the one you often hear at weddings. First Corinthians chapter 13 and verse three Paul starts articulating the demonstration of what love is about. Love is love is kind of, does not envies jealous, it’s not boast, it’s not seek its own and describes all this things in love.

But when he starts the context of this passage, I think, I think he does. So from the idea of a fair, cynical understanding, he says this, and if I give all my possessions to feed the poor and the vice surrender my body to be burned but do not have love, it profits me nothing. So look what he’s saying. I mean this could be someone that understands intellectually what love is and he’s doing everything on the outside that we would describe as love and he’s given the sacrificial and he’s feeding poor and he cares about people. Man, he is so loving and yet Paul says in this passage, but if I do not have it, nothing, I think he’s encouraging us in the context of understanding love, but yet that love is an action. But the source of lab becomes an important place for us to thrive in relationships. Because I think our motivation to relationships, it’s often backwards. Um, if I were to find love, if you look at the context of first Corinthians 13 three you can do that later. I don’t have time to expose you to that. But if you look in the context of 13 three first Corinthians 13 three all the way to the beginning of verse eight, if you were just to maybe define, put, put in your own words, the definition of law. This is what I, this is my own definition of what I think love is. Love is leveraging all that you are to help someone become all that God has called them to be. It’s unconditional, it’s sacrificial.

It’s letting yourself down for the benefit of another and so law of in in that sense is is leveraging all that you are to help someone else become all that God has called them to be. No. This is where an understanding the idea of love, we find difficulty in our culture because I don’t think culture always defines love in that way. Let me give you an example. I heard a story of a Jewish rabbi. He was a rabbi, he should be Jewish. A rabbi comes to a, a young man eating a fish. This guy had, he caught a fish, got out of the water and he’s cooking it for Ash and now he’s sitting in there eating it and he’s just saying to himself, man, I love this fish. I love this. It’s so good. I love this fish. I know by using fish, I probably lost some of you because you don’t care for fish, but, but just pretend you like fish for a moment.

Okay. This man’s just saying over and over how much he’s just enjoying everybody. You ever seen that with somebody just getting a nice piece of sirloin and you’re like, man, I’m jealous of you. Look at the love on his face. It’s a beautiful sight to see ms gasses and joint. And the rabbi comes up and he says, you know, I don’t think you that fish man. It’s like, you gotta be kidding. Are you serious? I mean, just tell you I love this fish. And the rabbi said, why don’t you try explaining that to the fish? If you love the fish, you wouldn’t have killed the fish. The truth is you don’t love the fish. You love yourself.

And because you love yourself, you’re willing to take advantage of the fish to meet your needs. I mean, that’s kinda like, if you ever run in contact with this, there’s maybe a guy that I’s a young lady up and down, like she has something to be desired for him and says to the girl, you know I love you. Oh yeah, I love you. Truth is, he doesn’t love her. He may last after her.

That’s not what love is. In the context of that definition. What he loves is what what she offers to him to, to satisfy his, his personal desires. And so what the, the illustration the rabbi is saying to us is, is what is your motivation? Love is itself. And on top of that, if you just consider for a moment the idea of the, the, the, this fish and the eating of this fish, what happens to this? Individuals love when the fish runs out. You know, when we talk about love, I think it’s important to experience and live in love by having a source of love from which your love comes. I mean, the Bible tells us we love him because he first loved us, right? And so the demonstration of God’s love encourages us to reciprocate our love. But I want to tell you if, if, if it comes to the context of relationship and looking horizontally out in the world to people and saying that you are my source to love that because of what you give me, I respond. In the end of that, you will find yourself grossly disappointed because at some point someone, someone will fail you and like the fish, what it has to offer may run out and so your motivation for love and your source for love becomes important and fulfilling what Jesus calls us to. In John chapter 13 and this is why I say in the context of this anomaly, is it significant to see that love is a verb. Your life must demonstrate an action, but you’ve got to first understand that love is a noun.

When you look at it from a scriptural context, and first John chapter four verse four it tells us that God is what love God is love and the Bible when it describes God and all of his characteristics, every time scripture describes God, it does it in the form of an adjective. He’s everlasting, right? That is just God, his mercy.

We know things are too true, but when you look at in scriptures in the context of an adjective, but this one word, this one word in describing God, it attributed to him in the form of a noun. I think in order to love the way God calls us to love, it’s important for us to be loved from a source that does not run dry. I think as believers, the only reason we should be able to love to the GRI that God calls us to love in a world that is broken isn’t because of what the world has to offer us. It’ll disappoint, but it’s because of what Jesus gives to us.

God is love and he’s demonstrated that love and so when you consider it in the context of John chapter 13 verse 34 a new commandment, I give it to you that you love as I have loved you. The source of the love is explained. The example of the love is demonstrated in Jesus and the place for which we find ourselves satisfied in love is through our relationship in Christ, which gives us the opportunity to love even when people may not be deserving of it. It’s by definition, love by Christ has been demonstrated not because we are worthy, but because of who he is.

You think in the recent men’s retreat and pastor Jay described relationships like this, he encouraged seeing single men, women. I think he did it on Sunday as well as as well as on the men’s retreat. He said, if you really want to see what someone’s made of, see the way they treat other people when they have nothing to gain from them. That’s a demonstration in the maturity of an individual and understanding what the purpose and intentions of love Oh all about.

So you think in the context of the illustration of a fish, say it like this, don’t get married. Treat your spouse like that. Fish. I think love runs out.

We don’t get married because of what we get. I think the depth of marriage and the reason people engage in marriage is because, or should. It’s because the desire is to leverage all that you are to help someone become all that God has called them to be. That’s what love is and the source of our strength to find the ability to love in that capacity comes not from an individual, but from a God whose love never runs dry. In fact, the Psalmist says in Psalm chapter 63 in verse three, your love is better then life.

I mean, you think about what the context of that Psalm is saying. Your love is better than life because it is the love of God that even produced the source of life that we live in today. And so that makes his love and giving himself away the source of which anything exists. And so it’s only natural then that his love be better than life itself because he is the one that produced all things out of his love towards us. It’s on that context that I think Paul writes the book of Ephesians and chapter five and verse 21 if you give me a clip, Tierra, if you read ’em first, Ephesians chapter five, this, this context of the story. When he gets to verse 22, it starts talking about marriage relationships. Well, you read the book of Ephesians though. It breaks down in a beautiful way. If you want to do this in a, in a Bible study or a personal time of your own, uh, in, in your own time. If you read the book of Ephesians, it’s six chapters. First three chapters are predominantly theological and dealing with your relationship to God. The last three chapters are the application then of what you discover in the first three chapters, your identity in the Lord first three chapters, and therefore chapter four to chapter six your response to the world in that identity. In fact from my family, Ephesians four is our target for how we want to treat one another in the context of our own home. The beginning of chapter four, the end of chapter four but then he gets to chapter five and this is what he says because of our relationship with God. And chapter five verse 21 you didn’t find the strength to do this, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

And so he’s defining really love in this context. So, so when you read chapter five verse 21 he says submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. And then in verse 22 to 33 he then describes the marital relationship. He’s saying, let me, let me now and saying this verse, let me now give you a hook to put this on. What this looks like as an example. And he talks about the relationship between husband and wife and he, and he says, wives submit husbands love. And in both of those he shows a mutual submission to one another for the benefit of the other person and their relationship to God, who God has called them to be. Husbands or wives. Submit to your husbands. Husbands love your wives. I know ladies ladies often don’t, well I don’t know that this is true. I always just feel weird saying as a pastor, I guess, but, but ladies submit to the husband and in, in our culture summit. Ah, and you know, but then it says husbands love your wives. Okay, which may sound easier, but then it says by dying. All right, so, so it’s both laying down your lives and if anyone has a greater degree as an example of submission there, I think it’s the husband who’s got to die for, for the life. But in both context, Paul’s just saying submit.

I think it’s an outworking of our relationship with God having experienced the source of his love because you remember love. Love is about leveraging who you are. Help someone become who God has called them to be. Submission means that your priority is the other

and the end of this verse out of reverence for Christ means submission has done not because you’re a worthless because of the strength you are found in your identity with the Lord because of who you are in Jesus. If we talk about loving people, it’s not in the context that you’re a worthless individual or not capable of being loved, but it’s in the context of you are incredibly loved. That’s only because the strength of the Lord that meets you where you are, that you even have the capacity to love, to the degree that God has called you to love that when you see others, then you can lavish on them the love that you’ve experienced because you know the Lord who has given to you unconditionally and sacrificially and your own life. With every one of us. I’ll conclude here our cultural upbringing and based upon our cultural upbringing, the odds of relationships, thriving marriage is more than surviving. I would say thriving too I think is low because I think in our culture relationships are often cheap because life is about convenience and personal pleasure about me pursuing whatever makes me happy, but I want to be clear in saying if that is our pursuit in the end I really believe we won’t be happy and the reason is is because we are relational beings.

We’re created to experience the depth of relationships and they are worth fighting for. I think God is honored in them and one of the greatest sanctifier in our life is found in the context. I think in marital relationships as people we, we often don’t find how selfish we can be until you get in the home with someone 24 hours a day, seven days a week and then we discover in our lives just certain areas that we might even have been exposed to in the Lord can use that within the context of our relationship with them to to strengthen us in and losing ourselves to further dive into him because we we don’t realize are where our own personal struggles have come from until we get in the context of continual relationships with other people. I think relationships thrive well when we adopt Jesus’s way of love.

The idea of what Jesus is saying here is that we don’t wait for others to do it but rather we model it because Jesus has called us to model it as he has modeled it for us. We are transformed because of his example, the freedom he’s given us so others might be transformed as the Lord uses us as an example for him. The idea if in the context of John chapter 13 then is to make love a verb. Cause love was first amount. Falling in love is easy. Staying in love happens when one love becomes a verb in our lives because we understand the origin of love as and noun in Christ and the strength that we build is upon him and the weeks ahead. We’re going to talk about the context of living that out. When, when relationships are strained and there’s fighting, how do you work through that to see the demonstration of God’s love and relationships? My encouragement today make love a verb as you consider it.