Do You Love the Jesus Way?
February 9, 2022
Do You Love the Jesus Way?
How are you doing with loving people who mistreat you and say things that should not be said to you or about you to others?
We are called to love people who don’t like us, who disagree with us, who say mean and nasty things about us. How are you doing with that?
Jesus prayed for the soldiers who beat and crucified Him: Father forgive them for they know not what they do.
Stephen, the first martyr of the church, prayed for those who stoned him: Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.
After Jesus was resurrected, He told Mary to “Go tell My disciples and Peter that I am alive.” Jesus made a point to love Peter even though Peter had denied Him.
Jesus taught us that we should love our enemies and pray for those who use us to their advantage.
Yet, today, there is venom, anger, animosity, revenge, vitriol, hatred, malice, sarcasm, blasphemous words, vindictiveness, and division everywhere in our culture.
And Christians have become caught up in this behavior!
It’s in the news media, in ALL internet social media outlets – Facebook, Youtube, Instagram. Twitter, Parlor, Snapchat, TikToc etc.
2 Timothy 3:1-5 (AMPC)
BUT UNDERSTAND this, that in the last days will come (set in) perilous times of great stress and trouble [hard to deal with and hard to bear]. 2 For people will be lovers of self and [utterly] self-centered, lovers of money and aroused by an inordinate [greedy] desire for wealth, proud and arrogant and contemptuous boasters. They will be abusive (blasphemous, scoffing), disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane. 3 [They will be] without natural [human] affection (callous and inhuman), relentless (admitting of no truce or appeasement); [they will be] slanderers (false accusers, troublemakers), intemperate and loose in morals and conduct, uncontrolled and fierce, haters of good. 4 [They will be] treacherous [betrayers], rash, [and] inflated with self-conceit. [They will be] lovers of sensual pleasures and vain amusements more than and rather than lovers of God. 5 For [although] they hold a form of piety (true religion), they deny and reject and are strangers to the power of it [their conduct belies the genuineness of their profession]. Avoid [all] such people [turn away from them].
God has given us a new love so we can love the way He does.
Romans 5:5 (NKJV)
Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
1 John 3:14 (TPT)
Yet we can be assured that we have been translated from spiritual death into spiritual life because we love the family of believers. A loveless life remains spiritually dead.
This love has a God element in it.
It can love people who treat it badly.
Two words set this kind of love apart:
Five things we need to know about love:
1. Jesus gave the Jews two commandments to love that absorb the TEN.
Matthew 22:35-40 (NKJV)
Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” 37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
Romans 13:8-10 (NLT)
Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law. 9 For the commandments say, “You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not covet.” These—and other such commandments—are summed up in this one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law.
2. Jesus gave believers a new commandment which, if obeyed, fulfills all others.
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. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
3. Love cures strife and keeps the dark kingdom out of your life.
The angst in the atmosphere today is a telltale sign that the demonic realm is pushing an agenda.
We must NOT get involved with it!
James 3:14-16 (NKJV)
But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.
James 3:14-16 (AMPC)
But if you have bitter jealousy (envy) and contention (rivalry, selfish ambition) in your hearts, do not pride yourselves on it and thus be in defiance of and false to the Truth. 15 This [superficial] wisdom is not such as comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual (animal), even devilish (demoniacal). 16 For wherever there is jealousy (envy) and contention (rivalry and selfish ambition), there will also be confusion (unrest, disharmony, rebellion) and all sorts of evil and vile practices.
James 3:14-16 (TPT)
But if there is bitter jealousy or competition hiding in your heart, then don’t deny it and try to compensate for it by boasting and being phony. 15 For that has nothing to do with God’s heavenly wisdom but can best be described as the wisdom of this world, both selfish and devilish. 16 So wherever jealousy and selfishness are uncovered, you will also find many troubles and every kind of meanness.
Strife is necessary for Satan to work at his best!
As oxygen fuels a fire – strife fuels darkness. What happens when you starve a fire of oxygen?
Cover your candle in a jar with the top and what happens?
Satan seeks to stifle your walk with God through strife.
How to curb your tendency to strife:
When you are upset, wait until you calm down to have a conversation.
Wait until you have love, joy, and peace inside…
Years ago, I would go to my office and close the door until I settled down when something ruffled me.
Don’t send the email or text when you’re upset. 24 to 48 hours.
1 Corinthians 3:1-3 (NKJV)
And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; 3 for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?
1 Corinthians 3:1-3 (TPT)
A Call to Spiritual Maturity
Brothers and sisters, when I was with you I found it impossible to speak to you as those who are spiritually mature people, for you are still dominated by the mind-set of the flesh. And because you are immature infants in Christ, 2 I had to nurse you and feed you with “milk,” not with the solid food of more advanced teachings, because you weren’t ready for it. In fact, you are still not ready to be fed solid food, 3 for you are living your lives dominated by the mind-set of the flesh. Ask yourselves: Is there jealousy among you? Do you compare yourselves with others? Do you quarrel like children and end up taking sides? If so, this proves that you are living your lives centered on yourselves, dominated by the mind-set of the flesh, and behaving like unbelievers.
Babies are sweet until they don’t get their way.
Many people are sweet until you do or say what they don’t like!
1988, in Mullins, The lady I rented a house from was not a Christian, but was very, very nice. (I have met non-Christians who are nicer than some believers!).
I thought about that a lot. Then, one day, I had to challenge her as I disagreed with her about something. She became angry, defensive, and caustic!
You see, love should come alive when you face challenges. That is the true signal that you are a believer!
Philippians 2:3 (KJV)
Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
Philippians 2:3-4 (TPT)
Be free from pride-filled opinions, for they will only harm your cherished unity. Don’t allow self-promotion to hide in your hearts, but in authentic humility put others first and view others as more important than yourselves. 4 Abandon every display of selfishness. Possess a greater concern for what matters to others instead of your own interests.
2 Timothy 2:24 (NKJV)
And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.
2 Timothy 2:23-26 (TPT)
Stay away from all the foolish arguments of the immature, for these disputes will only generate more conflict. 24 For a true servant of our Lord Jesus will not be argumentative but gentle toward all and skilled in helping others see the truth, having great patience toward the immature. 25 Then with meekness you’ll be able to carefully enlighten those who argue with you so they can see God’s gracious gift of repentance and be brought to the truth. 26 This will cause them to rediscover themselves and escape from the snare of Satan who caught them in his trap so that they would carry out his purposes.
The demonic realm is invited to do life with you when you choose strife.
That’s the reason that a soft answer turns away wrath!
4. Jesus introduced the concept of loving your enemies to the disciples.
Matthew 5:38-44 (NKJV)
You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. 39 But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. 41 And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away. 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
This is completely the opposite of what you feel like doing.
Luke 6:27-36 (TPT)
Love Your Enemies
But if you will listen, I say to you, love your enemies and do something wonderful for them in return for their hatred. 28 When someone curses you, bless that person in return. When you are mistreated and harassed by others, accept it as your mission to pray for them. 29 To those who despise you, continue to serve them and minister to them. If someone takes away your coat, give him as a gift your shirt as well. 30 When someone comes to beg from you, give to that person what you have. When things are wrongly taken from you, do not demand they be given back. 31 However you wish to be treated by others is how you should treat everyone else. 32 Are you really showing true love by only loving those who love you back? Even those who don’t know God will do that. 33 Are you really showing compassion when you do good deeds only to those who do good deeds to you? Even those who don’t know God will do that. 34 If you lend money only to those you know will repay you, what credit is that to your character? Even those who don’t know God do that. 35 But love your enemies and continue to treat them well. When you lend money, don’t despair if you are never paid back, for it is not lost. You will receive a rich reward and you will be known as true children of the Most High God, having his same nature. For your Father is famous for his kindness to heal even the thankless and cruel. 36 Show mercy and compassion for others, just as your heavenly Father overflows with mercy and compassion for all.
Luke 6:27-36 (NLT)
But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. 28 Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. 30 Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. 31 Do to others as you would like them to do to you. 32 If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! 33 And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! 34 And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return. 35 Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. 36 You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.
Romans 12:19-21 (TPT)
Beloved, don’t be obsessed with taking revenge, but leave that to God’s righteous justice. For the Scriptures say, “If you don’t take justice in your own hands, I will release justice for you,” says the Lord. 20 And: If your enemy is hungry, buy him lunch! Win him over with kindness. For your surprising generosity will awaken his conscience, and God will reward you with favor. 21 Never let evil defeat you, but defeat evil with good.
Evil defeats us when we act like it acts!
What if you did this in your marriage to your husband or your wife?
I dare you to be nice the next time your spouse doesn’t treat you the way you think they should. DO and say something nice to them. And, don’t do it sarcastically, but from your heart!
They were accustomed to eye-for-eye, tooth-for-tooth. I will do to you what you do to me. This love was foreign to them.
Matthew 5:44-48 (MSG)
I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.
In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.
5. This love is like an alien to our world.
1 John 3:1 (NKJV)
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
This Love is a Stranger.
What manner of – Gk – potapen –
from what country, tribe or race; something foreign;
Other translations – from what far realm; what unearthly; how otherworldly…
Wuest, Volume III, p. 143
The foreign kind of love produced in us by the Holy Spirit constitutes us a foreign kind of person to the people of this world, and since they do not understand foreigners, people of a different race from themselves, they simply do not understand Christians. Children of God could just as well have come to earth from a strange planet so far as the people of the world are concerned. They are strangers to them.
This is by far the most difficult thing you will ever do.
This love will cause people to notice a difference in you, and will become the oil as it were in the machinery of relationships.
- What would need to change in me for the two great commandments to get top priority each day?
- What makes the love of God look so different from human love?
- Talk about Luke 6:27-36 and how it could change a current difficult relationship.
What life does to me is determined by what life finds in me!