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Faith, Hope, & Love: Part 3

  • Faith Hope and Love: Love

    Faith, Hope, & Love: Part 3 from Refreshing Hope Ministries on Vimeo.

     

    This week we will be covering part three of our series on Faith, Hope, and Love.

    Love ləv/ noun
    1. an intense feeling of deep affection.

    Synonyms: deep affection, fondness, tenderness, warmth, intimacy, attachment, endearment; devotion, adoration, compassion, caring, charity, goodwill, sympathy, kindliness, and unselfishness.

    Opposites: Hatred, dislike, detest.

    Jesus told His disciples this: (John 13:34–35 NKJV) “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

    Everyone will know that you are disciples of Jesus when you love your neighbor. They may not all be saved, but they will know that you are a disciple of Jesus.

    Love is not a choice, an option, or a recommendation, or a suggestion, it is a commandment. Jesus said: “A new commandment I give to you.” If we do not love each other, then we are being disobedient.

    People excuse themselves from various commandments in the Bible, but I don’t see how anyone can dismiss this statement of Jesus and believe they are a Christian. It is a direct commandment given by Jesus Himself.

    We are to seek first the good of others just as Jesus did. The first church loved one another and everyone knew it. Jesus would not have commanded us to do something impossible.

    When one of the pharisees asked Jesus what was the most important commandment in all of scripture, Jesus answered:
    (Matthew 22:35–40 NKJV) ‘You shall love the LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

    Jesus said that the two most important commandments in all of scripture are:
    1) Love God.
    2) Love Others.

    Love completely fulfills the requirements of the law and all of the Apostles taught this. Love is a central theme in the Bible and there is no way around it.

    Paul wrote: (Romans 13:8–10 NKJV) “Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. ”Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”

    Then in (Galatians 5:14) “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
    James called love the “Royal Law” and wrote: (James 2:8 NKJV) If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well;”

    John wrote: (1 John 4:7–8 NKJV) “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”

    Peter wrote: (1 Peter 4:8 NKJV) And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”

    Paul wrote a whole chapter on love: (1 Corinthians 13:1 NKJV) “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.”

    All that we do, if not done in love, amounts to nothing.


    We are commanded to love our neighbor, but who is our neighbor:
    Fortunately for us, someone asked Jesus that exact question. After discussing “love your neighbor” the man asked Jesus “who is my neighbor?” in (Luke 10:29–37 NKJV). It reads: 

    “But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.

    The man was beaten and left half dead. A priest came by and saw him lying on the side of the road but he could not be sure if the man was alive or not, and if a priest touched a dead body then they became ceremonially unclean. So he played it safe and passed by on the other side of the road.

    Continuing on:

    Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side.

    So a Levite came by, they were very religious as well, the tribe of the priests. They would be expected to help a person in need, but he carefully passed by on the other side of the road. Being ceremonially clean was more important than human life. We see that a lot in organized religion, where “little” people have little value. What was most important to them was keeping their rules and taking care of themselves. We see that attitude repeatedly in the gospels like when Jesus would heal someone on the Sabbath. Jesus put people first and they did not like Him doing that.

    Continuing on:

    But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, “Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.

    Finally a Samaritan came by and saw the injured man. Samaritans were hated by the Jews and were deemed outcasts. The good Samaritan, saw the man, had compassion on him, and went to help him. He bandaged the injured man up, put him on his own mount, and then walked ahead of it. He took him to an inn and paid the inn keeper enough money for one to two months of room and board. The Samaritan simply saw a person in need, and he did all that he could for him. He went above and beyond. Jesus then asked them:

    ’So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?” And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
    (Luke 10:29–37 NKJV)

    That is love in action: go and do likewise. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you (Luke 6:31). If you find someone in serious need, try and help them as best you can. This does not mean catering to everyone’s wishes, wants, and whims. Some people will gladly make you their slave and then live your life for you. Learning to say: “No” is one of the most valuable skills that you will learn in life.
    Jesus did not bow to everyone’s whim.

    (Luke 12:13–15 NKJV) 

    “Then one from the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” But He said to him, “Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?” And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”

    John tells us in 1 John 4:7 that people that love, are born of God, and know God: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”

    When you meet someone with that kind of unselfish love, the kind like the good Samaritan, that only comes from God. John tells us that they are born again. Which also makes you wonder about the opposite…

    John went on to say: “If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also” (1 John 4:20–21 NKJV).

    A recent ABC poll showed that 83% of Americans say they are Christians. That is impossible or this would be an entirely different nation. Jesus said in this way they will know that you are My disciples, that you love one another. Where is the love? It would be lucky to be 5%.

    Reference: (http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=90356&page=1)

    God Loves Us Unconditionally:
    You have to be convinced as a believer that God loves you. When you first come to God, we all have reasons that God loves us like:
    - I haven’t had a smoke in a week and a half.
    - I haven’t called so and so in ten days.
    - I haven’t lost my temper lately.

    But as you walk with Him long enough, there are going to be times when we get hurt. We have to know that God loves us even when we are hurt and don’t understand.

    Scripture tells us “Faithful are the wounds of a friend (Proverbs 27:6).” When a true friend hurts you, it is only to help you. A true friend may argue with you, but you can still be friends.

    God had to wean me from depending on myself at one time, and I didn’t like it. I had a great job as a supervisor, made good money, had a new house payment but I went through a season where He stripped all that away and I had to learn to trust Him one day at a time.

    Our love can leave us:
    You can still have your smile, and lose your love. Jesus told us that in the end days, the love of many grow shall cold (Matthew 24:12). Love can leave a marriage. There are limits to what people can tolerate. Don’t take your spouse for granted if you want them to stay.

    No one can stop you from loving. Jesus was the perfect example of love. They beat Him, spit on Him, mocked Him, and nailed him to a cross, but they could not stop Him from loving them. Even as Jesus was dying He prayed “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”
    The world is full of people that are lonely, unloved, desperate, not cared for, and they have no answers. God is waiting for His people to love one another. It is the outcasts, the lost, the unwanted, the unloved that He is still seeking today.

    God Truly Loves Us.
    God is so beautiful, and He loves the lost in such a powerful, passionate way. Somehow He always sees the good inside, and He never gives up on us.

    In the past, I have gotten angry at people that we tried to help get on their feet because they would not live right. Instead they chased after their drug addictions and sold everything that we had given them until they were back in the gutter again. Then after getting alone with God, and praying about them, when I finally connected to the heart of God, I would feel so dirty, so judgmental, and so ashamed of my attitude.

    In a gentle way, the Holy Spirit made it clear that it was me that needed prayer and forgiveness. My love had somehow turned into anger. Has God ever spanked you like that? It is a spanking that you remember. God loves the lost and He is not mad at them.

    Matthew wrote: (Matthew 18:12–13 NKJV) “What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying?”

    When I was young and attending Bible college, I played music on the weekends to help pay for it. Often the gigs were in bars, night clubs, and parties. I was so busy hoping that Jesus wouldn’t return while I was in there, that I was shocked one night when I realized He WAS there.

    I watched the Holy Spirit descend in a bar more than once and touch people right there. Scriptures would come to me for them, and suddenly I would find myself preaching inspired mini-sermons in the parking lot during our break. I watched people begin shaking under conviction as I spoke and I led some to the Lord.

    Jesus ate and drank with the sinners, and He still does. That is hard for the religious mind to comprehend. In fact, it shocked me. The first time that I felt the Holy Spirit descend in a bar, I looked up to heaven and said: “What are You doing here?”

    He was seeking the lost and I just happened to be around some that were unconsciously seeking Him. God loves the lost and if you will not let your religion stop you, He will use you wherever you are to reach them.


    God truly loves us, and He told us to love one another.


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3 comments
  • 1
Gina Blakey
Gina Blakey

I have certainly been blessed by this series of messages. Thanking God for His Faith, Hope & Love!  

October 26, 2016
  • 1
Sylvia Todd
Sylvia Todd

So glad to know you have enjoyed it, Gina :)!

October 30, 2016
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