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The Church I seek - pt 1

The Church I seek  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  35:33
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01 – January 6 2019 – The church I seek Series – The church that loves A church that loves. And in this case, in the case of our church, I see a church where Love is a verb, an action word. In the Greek, and we will get to this, but in the Greek it actually is a verb that shows up in many verb forms. As we get into today’s sermon you will see that Agape in the bible is more a verb than it is a noun. Turn with me to John 13. And this is where we start. John 13:34. Lets read it together. So now I'm giving you a new commandment, Love each other in the same way I have loved you. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples. This was the commandment from our Master. Love one another as I have loved you and Jesus then goes on to unpack what he means by his love for us. couple of things I want to share, first… At the time, there were 4 different words or forms of love in koine Greek. Ancient Koine Greek is kinda like a street language Greek, blue collar Greek much like the Queens English and our blue colour english, without the swear – well they had swear woirds too, working on the jobsite type english. This is the Greek your new testament was written in, for the most part, a verbal form of Koine. The first word for love is eros. Eros was the word often used to express romantic love or the romantic feelings that are shared between people who are physically attracted to one another. but as I was preparing for this sermon, this word doesn’t show up once in the NT. I asked myself Self, Why?- here it is by the time the New Testament was written, scholars found this word had become so degraded ,and sullied by the culture that it is not used even once in the entire New Testament – the word had become perverted by culture. The second Greek word for “love” was stor-gay, which referred to natural, family love. love shown by a parent for a child and vice verse. The third Greek word for “love” was philia, which forms part of the words philosophy (“love of wisdom”) and philanthropy (“love of fellow man”). Philadelphia Expresses the Greek for “city of brotherly love This name was chosen by William Penn for the capital of his Quaker colony in the New World Pennsylvania ? Philia, speaks of the warm affection shared between friends. But different from all of these, is the fourth Greek word for “love,” agapé. This word shows up in our new testament 302 times out of 235 verses. In the noun form its typically is defined as “self-sacrificing love.” This is the love that Jesus was talking about here in scripture was a verb – love in action. It’s the love that Paul the apostle uses, when describing God’s love toward us. Most of you know that. But its how Jesus couched the word in the message we are looking at today. Let me tell you what I mean. This is the love that moves people into action and looks out for the well-being of others, no matter the personal cost. Let me repeat this… Apape is the love that moves people into action and looks out for the well-being of others, no matter the personal cost. It’s looking at someone that is misfiring in life, much like an engine that is misfiring, in their life they are misfiring. And these people are entering into the church and Jesus knew this would happen. People back then, no different than today, who had issues with relationships issues, family issues,and problems, people who would be the village gossips, and alcohol issues… you name the church would have it, because the church would be a slice of society, and all sorts of things. They would be coming in raw – needing the Holy Spirit to change them, sometimes instantly, sometimes over time… Agape love that Jesus was talking about here, was a verb. Its like saying, something like this in your mind, “every morning when I get up, I choose to see other person, the way Jesus sees them. I wont think of yesterday, I give them a new chance at life today. That’s the love God has for you. everyday is a new day. God sees you and loves you – its an action of the will not of the emotion. So in your mind, you look at the one in the church and say, God is giving you a brand new chance at life today and so do i. If you look at someone and don’t say that, you may have something against someone, you are not employing agape love when you see them and hold on to their past. Its like saying things like a “leopard never changes its spots”. You see self sacrifice means you don’t hold to things. Its an action of the will. That’s agape. I'm not talking about the other person’s responsibility to change, yes … ill talk about that later on. And I'm not talking about healthy boundaries either, that someone proving that they are worthy of the boundary line being moved over time. But I am talking about holding on to things, about other people, especially in the church. We are called by God to love them as Jesus loves them. I'm giving you a new commandment, Love each other in the same way I have loved you. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples. Jesus said, love one another as I have loved you. I have to get that. Because Jesus loves me when I'm a screw up but Holy Spirit is still working on me and with me, and I hope someone doesn’t keep reminding me of being a screw-up Agapé is the love God showed to us in sending His Son, Jesus, to die for our sins. That’s God love in action. It is the love that focuses on the will and not the emotion. So 40 years ago Diana said she loves me, at the altar. Haven’t heard it since cause she told me if it ever changes, she’ll let me know… It is not a feeling; it's a motivation for action that we are free to choose or reject. Agape is a sacrificial, self sacrificing love that voluntarily, puts someone else’s welfare above ours. It suffers inconvenience, discomfort, and even death to our rights for the benefit of another without expecting anything in return. That’s agape. Its the love one employs when we watch someone new walking out their Christian life, as dysfunctional as may be, knowing that Holy Spirit is a foot in changing them even 10, 20 years later like He has with me. You see, that’s the self-sacrificing love. Jesus saw the disciples, the new Christ followers who were transitioning into this new love from the old life and gives them a commandment - I'm giving you a new commandment, Love each other in the same way I have loved you. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.. Imagine the other disciples. Seeing Peter, how they felt when Peter screwed up. I'm worndering if some of the disiples said to Jesus… just vote him off the island! Peter, screwed up all the time. Right? Imagine yourself, being one of the 12, and you hear Peter in his bravado, watching the things he was doing, and with all that self-righteousness , coming to Jesus and saying something. This is the teaching that Jesus was bringing to them that morning. Love one another as I have love you he said. The focus is inward when you are looking outward and having to make a choice. And this thought unpacks a bit more with what we read in John 13:34 Jesus taught, So now I am giving you a new commandment: When Jesus said “new commandment”. There are two words in the Greek for commandment as well. There is protasso and there is entoelay. Protasso is an authoritative requirement that had to be done – we find uses of this in the NT when Jesus was talking about the law and the commandments. And entolay is authoritative but it is more an instruction… this is important to know because it has to do with the heart. Jesus could have easily given the disciples a commandment like a new law like in the 10 commandments, like a requirement. Like if you don’t love, you cant be in the church! Well how ridiculous would that be. No entolay is a requirement based on the heart. He zeroes in on the heart of the disciples. Making them look inward, into the dark recesses of dislike for someone in the body being born in the book of acts and asking us to make a change. In giving this command, Jesus did something the world had never seen before—He created a people group that would be identified by one thing: internal, self sacrificing love. There are many groups in the world, and they identify themselves in any number of ways: by skin color, by uniform, by shared interest, by religious nation. One group has tattoos and piercings; another group abstains from meat; yet another group wears different hairstyles or wears funny hats —the ways people categorize themselves are endless. But the church is called to be unique where identifying factor is something that can’t be mandated in a set of rules - love. Think of it, the disciples were Israelites who thought they were “in” just because they were a part one of those people groups - the chosen nation. their requirements was to follow external laws. An Israelite child would have been taught, at an early age, religiously, they didn’t have a problem with God because they were “chosen”, they were “in” because they were a chosen people. Therefore, there was nothing they had to do except keep the law. They were to love their Lord God with all their heart though, but over time they became “cultural Jews”, a religion, missing the heart.. so they were “in” as long as they were keeping the commandments and the laws of God. But here’s something about external law, it can’t mandate sacrificial love of the heart. That’s exactly what’s missing now in our charter, because its about my heart, my wants and my desires, ultimate humanism. The law of God was melted down to mandate rules, it mandates how to do things. You can do all the law and be as stubborn as Balaks donkey in your spirit, or as stubborn as a Billy goat in the heart,. Don’t do that, you may make an ass of yourself or become an old goat. I remember one of my kids, I cant remember if it meliss or becks, but I think we all had a child that got stubborn and crossed their arms and put out their bottom lip, and as a parent we told them, to uncross those arms and get rid of that pout. And because the little one had a sense of your authority about them, they did what you commanded but then they say… but im crossing my arms and pouting on the inside – wow how do you mandate them changing on the inside? Agape love is all about a change in the will. It is an action word, by you and I laying down our rights, not without, the attachment of a sense of love for the other. This is the love that Jesus commands His disciples to show toward their enemies (Luke 6:35). “Love your enemies! Do good to them. In Romans 5:8, But God showed his great love, same verb, his great agape, for us by sending (the action) His Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. God can’t mandate your love for someone else– its an act of the will. He cant even mandate someone to love Jesus even though Jesus died for their sins… imagine. That’s the kind of love God is asking us to move into. Think of it. What Paul was getting at here through the prompting of the Holy Spirit, God loved us even while He knows if someone will change or not. He knows we would be changing through our life but still loved us. and here’s the thing. So when you are looking at one in disdain… maybe look again, reflect on this verse and remember, God is the God of the possible God can change the spots of a leopard fi he so desires. God is self sacrificing while He looks at you and I and with the help of the Holy Spirit there is change happening in our lives and its because HE LOVES US. God allows us to wake up every day, take a breath, and change our spots. And when he is doing that for someone else, he is asking us to change our wills to love that other person while that happens. I'm giving you a new commandment, Love each other in the same way I have loved you. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples. It will be seen through the words you speak and the actions you take. So the world doesn’t look at us, the church, like we’re like a bunch of hypocrites! How can I put this in a very delicate way that really punches this home? I thought about this the other day… I'm allowing you into my thoughts again… Oh dear…Years ago, we were all appalled at the insidious crime of Paul Bernardo and Carla Holmolka. Those names will be forever seared in our consciousness. What if God were to say to us, I love them, even though what they have done is the most criminally insidious and Satanic thing a human can do to another human, but I see them 40 years from now and they are going to accept my son - will you love them the way I do? And when they do, they will become one of the church, will you love them or will you, hold on to that something against them? I agape them. This commandment, this instruction, this requirement of the heart I'm giving you, love each other as I have loved you, you should love each other This type of teaching, made the disciples go home and think and wonder and pray. They would have been thinking of the those they have encountered who were following Jesus and asking themselves, do I have it within me to love like Jesus loved. This morning as we take communion, communion is a community event. Communion talks about loving one another. Can I be bold enough to say, that there are some people I am sore at in the overall church. Some who are elsewhere.. not here… but I mean elsewhere. Am I will to give up that. And I'm looking at communion in a whole different way. Before I take communion, I'm going to ask if there are others who may be not loving some in the church the way Christ loves them. I would ask that you show God. I'm not saying tell others who that person or that people group or whoever. I'm making personal. If there is someone your still holding account of, will you take on Jesus’ commandment. Lets just hold here for a second and lets take a moment to pray… Washed away during communion… turn up sound Earls birthday…
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