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Messy Love

Messy Grace  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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We are called by Jesus to live a life of love toward our enemies. He even says that this is a sign of maturity and growth. In this message I hope to teach people more about God's great love for us and how we can be transformed by His love and become images of God toward a world that needs him desperatly.

Notes
Transcript

Messy Grace: Love is the tension of grace and truth

Messy Truth: Truth leads us to the grace we need

Messy Love: Love has no exception clause

When I think about people—call me shallow—but I really think there are really two different types of people in the world. There are those of you who like Pepsi, right? There are those of you who like Coke. We're going to do a survey real quick. How many of you are Coca-Cola people? Be loud. Be proud. Be strong. All right. I love that. How many of you are Pepsi? The correct answer is Coca-Cola. I just want to let you know. This is the correct answer.
Now, I'm a Coca-Cola person. I absolutely love Coca-Cola but many of you may not even know some of the history with Coca-Cola because there's been just such a huge feud between Pepsi and between Coca-Cola now, especially back during World War II Coca-Cola was the cola that people would drink. During World War II, Dwight Eisenhower actually sent over bottles to the boys overseas in Germany so that they could have just a little taste of America. Everybody loved Coca-Cola.
Pepsi, they were not well-known yet so they really wanted to try to capture people. Coca-Cola was up here. Pepsi was down here so they started a campaign that some of you, if you remember those days, may remember the Pepsi generation. They started that campaign. Coca-Cola was a little annoyed because who dares stand up to the great and mighty Coca-Cola? They released this commercial in the 1970s where they had all these people singing, "I'd like to thank the ... " I'm not going to sing that because I care about you people. Still, it was a very, very interesting song. It was one of the most famous commercials of their time.
Pepsi just laid low for a little bit. Then they started something that I know many of you will remember. Pepsi started the Pepsi taste challenge. If you remember this, they had people on the streets in unmarked cups try Coke and Pepsi. It was the most amazing thing. On the commercials, everybody chose Pepsi. I have no idea how that happened. At this point, they're really gaining steam because everybody is watching the Pepsi taste challenge. They're like, "Whoa, we need to switch to Pepsi."
Now, Coke makes a grave mistake. They moved from being competitive to just really not liking Pepsi. Here's what they did. They threw out the old formula and they started new Coke. The amazing thing about new Coke was that it tasted suspiciously like old Pepsi. I don't know how that worked but it did. Now, it is a documented fact that on the day they released new Coke, Pepsi gave all their corporate employees the day off. Why? They had won. They had forced Coca-Cola to compromise and new Coke didn't last long because everybody was like, "Hey, we love Coca-Cola. We grew up with Coca-Cola. How dare you change the formula?" Coca-Cola got upset about that and Coca-Cola said, "Okay, we're going to switch back." They made Coca-Cola classic. Just recently, they've taken off the classic and they just have Coca-Cola.
Now, Coca-Cola's grave mistake in this whole story was when they moved from just being competitive in marketing to really disliking the other company. That's the same thing in your life and in my life. Here's the deal. Some of you know this and I'm willing to bet all of you know this. Some of you who don't know this, you're absolutely blessed or you're living in a glass bubble, one of the two. There are people in your life that you are not going to like, right? Some of you came might even live with those people.
I'm just not talking about that kind of dislike. I'm saying that there are people that we've just really don't like. Again, you go to school with some of these people. You see them walking down the hall. You're walking down the hall and you're like, "c-ya." You turn around and you walk the opposite direction because ain't nobody got time for that over there. Then you take the long way to the bathroom around the staircase because you know this person is just going to talk, talk, talk, talk and gossip, gossip, gossip. We go to school with these people. We do life with these people. Again, they might be in our family. We have these people in our neighborhood.
Some of the times we dislike people just because of sin in our lives, right? We dislike people because of the sin of racism, or prejudice, or something like discrimination. We can't stand these people. Then, for some of us, let's just be honest, it runs deeper, doesn't it? For some of us, we've had people that have deeply hurt us. We've had people that have deeply wounded us. We've had people who've abused us, who have manipulated us, who have stabbed us in the back. There are people that have hurt us. We know that we need to forgive and maybe we do need to forgive but does not mean, if somebody has hurt you that deeply, that does not mean that you necessarily have to let them back into your life because you need to use God's judgment on that. We all have people in our lives that we have to deal with who are difficult, who we have differences with. We all have these people that we struggle with.
Here's what I know about you. If you're a follower of Jesus, I know that you struggle with this just like I do because people can be jerks, if we're going to be completely honest. If you are going to be a good leader, if you're going to be a good leader in your business, in your school, in your neighborhood, in your own life, in this church, wherever it is, you and I have got to become very, very good at loving people and treating people well with whom we disagree and those with whom we like because if we don't, there's a maturity problem there. That's true.
If you have your Bibles, you can turn to Matthew chapter 5. If you don't have your Bibles, go ahead and pull out your mobile devices. We're also going to have the words on the screen.
Let me tell you about Matthew real quick as we turn there. Matthew is the first book of the New Testament. Matthew is written by one of Jesus' disciples. He was actually an eyewitness to everything that Jesus did. He saw everything and he wrote his gospel especially to the Jewish people so that they could see that Jesus really is the Messiah, that he's the one that God promised. He writes his gospel as a defense for Jesus being the Messiah.

Love Your Enemies

43 f“You have heard that it was said, g‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, iLove your enemies and jpray for those who persecute you, 45 kso that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and lsends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 mFor if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers,9 what more are you doing than others? Do not even nthe Gentiles do the same? 48 oYou therefore must be pperfect, qas your heavenly Father is perfect.

typical approach to how we treat people is basically this:
watch how they walk, how they dress, how they speak, who they're friends with, what teams they're on, who they talk to, maybe as you get older, how they vote, what they think, where they live, how they parent.
Story about how I needed someones help but they weren’t at all helpful.
This is not at all how Jesus directs us to evaluate our treatment of others. He actually says you focus on you first, then you focus on me, then you treat people the way I tell you to treat them. This is difficult though right, because we all have people in our lives who....NO STOP, it’s not about what they do, it’s about HOW YOU LOVE, then after you love like Jesus loved, then you focus on what others do. why? because love has no exception clause.

Closing

Probably the toughest way that you will stretch yourself and grow is not necessarily prayer. It's not even Bible reading. It's not even understanding theology. It is treating people well because there are people out there that we disagree with politically, theologically. We disagree with morally. We disagree with for dumb reasons. I saw two people in my church get upset and get in this big argument. It was a loud argument in the lobby. I said, "What are you guys arguing about?" They're like, "Well, he said this about the Comic-Con Conference." What? Jesus is saying stretch yourself, grow yourself in how you treat people because God's love has no limits.
Let me just sum this up for you of how we can think about this, of how we can look at this. If you don't take anything else away from today, I want you to take this away. That love has no exception clause. Love has no exception clause. God is for everyone. God is yearning for everybody to come into a relationship with him. Again, this is difficult. I like it when God likes the people I like, when he blesses the people I like. I don't like it when he doesn't. Yet, God doesn't act like me and it's a good thing, right?
Love has no exception clause.
If God's love has no exception clause and if we're supposed to be perfect like our Heavenly Father is perfect, here's the deal, how much more should our love not have any exception clause? God is for everyone. God loves you. It doesn't matter what you've done. It doesn't matter what you look like. It doesn't matter who you are. God is for you. God says, "I want you to be for people." When people look at your life, they should be able to tell that when they come to you for comfort, for support, for encouragement, that they should be able to get that and especially when they look at your life, it should be easy for them to find Jesus.
I once heard a story about a man who was in prison for years, and years, and years. Spent most of his teenage years in prison, spent a lot of his adult years in prison. He was in and out, in and out for things like burglary, and armed robbery, and fighting, and just one thing after another. Finally, one day he got out of prison. He said, "I'm done. I'm not going to do this anymore."
He'd gotten a legit job. He was working hard. He was saving his money. He was lonely because nobody wanted to talk to him. He was stereotypical, looked like he had just gotten out of prison. I'm not trying to insult anybody when I say that. I'm just saying that he fit the stereotype of just getting out of prison.
He's on the subway this one time and again no friends. Nobody had given him a chance. He was just a rude guy. He was rude to people on the subway but there's one guy who was watching him on the subway. It was a movie director. This movie director looked at him and said, "What's your name?" He said, "What's it to you? Why do you want to know my name?" "Well, I'm filming this movie. I need somebody and you'd be perfect." "Well, what's the role?" "Well, don't worry about it. We'll pay you money. It'll be good. Don't worry about it." He agreed. He was one of the supporting characters in this movie. He played an inmate. They actually filmed the whole movie in an abandoned prison.
One time he was in this prison cell taking a break. They'd given him half an hour break. He went into the prison cell to take a nap. He lied down on the cot and he was sleeping, sleeping, sleeping. The all of a sudden, it was, "Hey, five minutes. Five minutes and we start shooting again." He gets up. For a moment, he completely forgot that he ever got out of prison. He starts weeping. He puts his head in his hands and he starts crying and weeping. Just this grief, this emotion was coming out of him because he was looking around seeing prison bars all over. The director comes in the prison. The director says, "What are you doing? It's not the crying part yet. Come on. Get ready. We have to shoot." He kept on crying. The director looked at him and said, "You are not in here anymore," and turned around and left.
This man said that moment when he got up, he just felt this freedom and he did something, I think emotionally it was symbolic, he did something that he hadn't done in a long time. He stepped out of the prison cell and I think that day he stepped out of his emotional and spiritual prison cell. He was able to do that because of the kindness of somebody else, because of the love of somebody else. You have no idea what hangs in the balance of you loving another person, of you really owning the fact that love has no exception clause because that's what the Apostle Paul says in while we were still sinners, "Christ died for us." God's love has no exception clause. Never allow your love to have any exception clause.

Discussion Questions

What does love in action look like?
If following Jesus means giving up your right to hate and carry a grudge, how should people following Jesus handle being wronged?
As a group, come up with some ideas for how to handle anger or bitterness toward someone you really don’t like.
Share one thing you’ve learned as a result of this series so far.
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