Unconditional Love – The Missing Ingredient
October 11, 2020
Unconditional Love – The Missing Ingredient (part 1)
5 Things To Know About Unconditional Love
At our prayer meeting on Saturday, October 3rd, the Holy Spirit led us down a “trail” of praying about the need for love in the body of Christ as a response to the antagonism of the day.
Jesus loved Jerusalem, the city that persecuted Him more than any other.
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.
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.
It’s in the news media and in ALL internet social media outlets: Facebook, Youtube, Instagram. Twitter, Parlor, etc.
And sadly, the attitudes of our culture have crept into the church of the Lord Jesus.
2 Timothy 3:1-5 (MSG)
Don’t be naive. There are difficult times ahead. As the end approaches, people are going to be self-absorbed, money-hungry, self-promoting, stuck-up, profane, contemptuous of parents, crude, coarse, dog-eat-dog, unbending, slanderers, impulsively wild, savage, cynical, treacherous, ruthless, bloated windbags, addicted to lust, and allergic to God. They’ll make a show of religion, but behind the scenes they’re animals. Stay clear of these people.
2 Timothy 3:1-5 (Passion Translation)
But you need to be aware that in the final days the culture of society will become extremely fierce and difficult for the people of God. (2) People will be self-centered lovers of themselves and obsessed with money. They will boast of great things as they strut around in their arrogant pride and mock all that is right. They will ignore their own families. They will be ungrateful and ungodly.
(3) They will become addicted to hateful and malicious slander. Slaves to their desires, they will be ferocious, belligerent haters of what is good and right. (4) With brutal treachery, they will act without restraint, bigoted and wrapped in clouds of their conceit. They will find their delight in the pleasures of this world more than the pleasures of the loving God. (5) They may pretend to have a respect for God, but in reality they want nothing to do with God’s power. Stay away from people like these!
Matthew 24:12 (AMPC)
And the love of the great body of people will grow cold because of the multiplied lawlessness and iniquity,
Matthew 24:12 (MSG)
For many others, the overwhelming spread of evil will do them in—nothing left of their love but a mound of ashes.
By the Holy Spirit, God has placed an amazing kind of love within us, so we can make a difference in the harsh climate of today.
1 John 4:7-21 (Passion Translation)
Those who are loved by God, let his love continually pour from you to one another, because God is love. Everyone who loves is fathered by God and experiences an intimate knowledge of him. (8) The one who doesn’t love has yet to know God, for God is love. (9) The light of God’s love shined within us when he sent his matchless Son into the world so that we might live through him. (10) This is love: He loved us long before we loved him. It was his love, not ours. He proved it by sending his Son to be the pleasing sacrificial offering to take away our sins. (11) Delightfully loved ones, if he loved us with such tremendous love, then “loving one another” should be our way of life! (12) No one has ever gazed upon the fullness of God’s splendor. But if we love one another, God makes his permanent home in us, and we make our permanent home in him, and his love is brought to its full expression in us. (13) And he has given us his Spirit within us so that we can have the assurance that he lives in us and that we live in him. (14) Moreover, we have seen with our own eyes and can testify to the truth that Father God has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. (15) Those who give thanks that Jesus is the Son of God live in God, and God lives in them. (16) We have come into an intimate experience with God’s love, and we trust in the love he has for us. God is love! Those who are living in love are living in God, and God lives through them. (17) By living in God, love has been brought to its full expression in us so that we may fearlessly face the day of judgment, because all that Jesus now is, so are we in this world. (18) Love never brings fear, for fear is always related to punishment. But love’s perfection drives the fear of punishment far from our hearts. Whoever walks constantly afraid of punishment has not reached love’s perfection. (19) Our love for others is our grateful response to the love God first demonstrated to us. (20) Anyone can say, “I love God,” yet have hatred toward another believer. This makes him a phony, because if you don’t love a brother or sister, whom you can see, how can you truly love God, whom you can’t see? (21) For he has given us this command: whoever loves God must also demonstrate love to others.
Two words set this kind of love apart:
What life does to me is determined by what life finds in me!
God has given us an ability to love unlike anything we experience without Him.
Human love has self at the center. God’s love has God as the center of all.
When I came to Jesus, I was introduced to a love I had never experienced that revolutionized how I think about me. And that changed how I treat others.
Over the next few weeks, we are going to examine what love looks like.
I encourage you to allow the Lord to deal with you about what the Bible terms walking in love. Or, we would call it living a lifestyle of love.
This could transform everything about life for you.
Love is both the foundation and motivation for the kingdom of God.
Love is the central theme of all that God is and does.
A step out of love is a step away from God into darkness and into Satan’s territory.
Satan knows that he and his kingdom are no match for the power of God through the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer.
So, Satan seeks to neutralize God’s power in the church by getting us to yield to the strife and bitterness of our day.
Let’s change that!
Five things we need to know about love:
1. Jesus gave the Jews two commandments to love that absorb the TEN.
There is no spiritual growth without growth in love…
Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, “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 greatest 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.”
They sum up our responsibilities towards both God and our fellow man.
Love your neighbor as yourself.
If you love, you will not break any of the Ten Commandments.
You won’t curse using God’s name.
You will honor your parents.
You will not lie.
You will not covet other people’s property.
You will not commit adultery.
You will not worship idols.
You will not murder.
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.
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.
· Not Bible knowledge
· Not church attendance
· Not church work
1981 – Lady began to quote scripture…
What do people think about when they think of you?
3. Love cures strife and keeps the dark kingdom out of your life.
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 (AMPL)
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.
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.
1 Corinthians 3:1-3
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?
Babies are sweet until they don’t get their way.
Philippians 2:3 (KJV)
Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
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.
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.
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 Matthew 5:43-44 and how it could change a current difficult relationship.