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30 April 2012

Living in Love - 30 April

We’ve spent the last five weeks looking at the two greatest commandments and examined how we can act these commandments out in our lives. Before we can truly live them out, we need to learn one vital truth – we need to understand love from God’s perspective.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16 (KJV)

In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 4:9-10 (ESV)

Who does “whosoever” include? The paper clip thief? The politician (especially in the “other party?) The rapist? The child molester? The liar? The murderer? Your friends? Your enemies? You?

Stop and think about those questions for a minute. You know what your sins are. God saved you from them, and He expects you to repent (turn away) and work each day to live a more godly life. Most people don’t think they are “bad” sinners. They don’t group themselves with some of the seedier people in our society, and think they are somehow “better”. Can you find a passage in Scripture to support this way of thinking? Of course you can’t! God sees the paper clip thief in the same light that He sees the axe murderer – and you. So why aren’t we trying to love our enemies as sinners and bring them into the family of God? Why does our pride keep us from loving as Christ loved?

For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24  and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. Romans 3:22-25 (ESV)

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 (ESV)

Who do you hate so thoroughly that you want to see them in hell for eternity? If a person pops to mind, you need to get on your knees and repent! Susie or Joe in the next cubicle need Christ just as much as you and your family. If someone had not loved you enough to show you that you needed a Savior, you’d be going to hell as well. Instead, because of someone showing you unconditional, agape love, you have received God’s free gift of eternal life.

I pray you will join me and take some time in the next few days to think about the people you dislike, find unbearable, can’t stand, and even hate. Name them. Make a list if you need to. Once you have your list, take those people to God’s throne. He put them in your path so you could show the unconditional love of Christ. Their presence is not an unhappy accident. It’s a God-given opportunity for personal growth – and for sharing the Gospel. I am making a pledge – will you join me:

Just for this moment, with God’s help, I pledge:
I will treat others as I want to be treated;
I will refrain from harsh words and thoughts, and in their place, will say a quick prayer;
I will not make passive aggressive statements or posts and in their place will say a quick prayer;
I will pray for the one who speaks ill of me;
I will remember that those who act or speak unlovingly are angry, or hurting, or need Christ – just like me.
I will remember that to some, I AM Christianity.
Just for the moment – with God’s help.

See you Wednesday!

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