Sermon Notes 3.28.2019

What is love?  Currently in our culture we need clarity.  Gospel clarity please.  If you understand the difference between passive tolerant love compared to passionate relational love you will be able to figure it out.

One is incomplete and even I would say a form of false love. Counterfeit.

Mao Zedong a Chinese leader writes, Passivity is fatal to us.  Our goal is to make the enemy passive.

If I were the enemy of love, I would attempt to dilute the word and strip it of its passion and power.  I would throw so many forms of the word love out there so love is muddled with other terms altogether.  Love your neighbor from a distance, don’t say do or act in any way other than tolerant.  Passionate relational love is such a vital force it wakes you in the night, makes your heart pound, strips your life of all other wants completely totally in the most wonderful way.  It waits for you and does not abate in desire. Passionate love occupies your thoughts, speech, and actions.  So to in order to tone it down I would rename it tolerance and call it good as long as everyone did nothing for anyone but themselves.  I would promote self love – where you never offend your selfish desires with restraint.

Can you tell the difference between passive love and relational love.  Relationships can be so hot.   They create a widespread range of emotions within you.  Relationships are challenged no matter the personality types involved and they require time and work. Passionate relational love is active.  It steps in like a mother or father when their child is in danger or trouble.  It is willing to say and do what is necessary to make sure your child safe.

Biblically love is seen in this model of family.  God our Father.  And HIS love is to will and to want the good of his child.  God’s love is both good and active.

I never worry about action, but only inaction. Winston Churchill

He is not inactive about your life.   He wants for you to walk with wisdom and insight.

Remember, too, that “the fear of the Lord” (Proverbs 1: 7, 9: 10) is the beginning of wisdom. A living, vital relationship with God is wisdom’s absolute prerequisite. This “fear,” as we will see, is not cringing terror but an attitude of awe and wonder before the faithful, covenant love of God. Tim Keller (God’s Wisdom For Navigating Life: A Year Of Daily Devotions In The Book of Proverbs)

If I love you than it would be a logical conclusion I want what is wise and best for you?

Mark 10:21 “Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said.  “go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.  Then come, follow me.”

Jesus loved him.  Then he spoke the hard truth.  This seems counter intuitive.

Proverbs 8:1-2 ‘Does not wisdom call, And understanding lift up her voice?  On the top of the heights beside the way, Where the paths meet, wisdom takes her stand;

Did you know that the word enthusiasm comes from two Greek words: “en,” which means “in,” and “theos,” which means “God.”  Wisdom enthusiastically calls out to us.

There is a pathway and one way is clearcut disaster.  Genuinely the Father is there navigating it with you.  He is boldly unashamed about the warnings and the dangers on the route before you.  His voice is much different from false religion which sounds like shame and condemnation.  The Father passionately calls to you with words of “I’m always gonna love you, but yeah that lifestyle is going to destroy you.”  He is a rescue.  He is a clear strong voice directing you back to the way of life.  Life abundant.  Life worth having.

In the recent VOGUE cover article:

Internally, Justin was dissolving. He was abusing Xanax, which allowed him to somnambulate through a social life that never squared with his upbringing. “I found myself doing things that I was so ashamed of, being super-promiscuous and stuff, and I think I used Xanax because I was so ashamed. My mom always said to treat women with respect. For me that was always in my head while I was doing it, so I could never enjoy it. Drugs put a screen between me and what I was doing. It got pretty dark. I think there were times when my security was coming in late at night to check my pulse and see if I was still breathing.”

Smith had always been clear that he was there if Justin needed him, but he did not see it as his place to intervene. “I’ve said before that I’ve learned more from Justin than I think he’s learned from me—about the human condition, about pain,” Smith says. “He gives a lot to the world, and a lot has been taken from him, including a bit of the natural progression of development, the chance to grow relationally and socially. He can feel everything, and that’s from those years spent wondering who in the room is being authentic with him. His spider sense is remarkable, but it haunts him a bit. He’ll notice people’s eyebrow movements. I get emotional now, watching him make a great effort to care about the people around him when the last decade of his life was lived in a glass box.”

Lentz has a more tough-love style, and in 2014, as Justin was tanking, he pressed for the singer to move into his home in New Jersey for an informal detox. For several weeks they played basketball, hockey, and soccer. Justin interned for Lentz at Hillsong and refocused on his religious faith. Though he drinks alcohol socially, Justin says that he has not ingested a drug since. Hailey remembers the trip to the Lentzes’ as the culmination of a long, frightening chapter. “I grieved very intensely over the whole situation,” she remembers. “I just wanted him to be happy and be good and be safe and feel joy. But I’m really proud of him. To do it without a program, and to stick with it without a sober coach or AA or classes—I think it’s extraordinary. He is, in ways, a walking miracle.”

God both understands you Smith (gets the fullness of what you have been through) AND God steps in Lentz.

The entire word of God is filled with stories of men and women called by God to speak up and call out to God’s people.  God is continually active in his pursuit of his people.  For an example, take the book of Hosea.  He is telling the truth about the character and nature of God’s love.  As I read the segments of Hosea listen to the voice of God in anguish over his people.  This reads like a lover who is lovesick.  God is torn over the complexity of loving a people of rebellion.  His merciful love wars with the rejection and outright blatant refusal of his people.  Have you ever suffered rejection from a bad breakup?  This is where God is at in relationship with his people.  In Hosea ultimately his love requires action in the unique form of consequences and his mercy agrees that it would not be merciful to neglect the vital lessons involved with cause and effect.  Before the repercussion hits he has Hosea define covenant love one more time to his people.  Foundational to knowing God is a deep understanding of steadfast love.

Right now we want the optimistic tonic of love.  The hey you do you, babe so common around us.  This passive we are all good right?  Is this love?  No it is not.  It’s a watered down drink but not the true totality of love.  God cares far more.

The most powerful act of love is to choose someone.  To really want their good, even above your own.  This is God, your heavenly Father who can not let you go, though you reject and refuse him.  Even to his own hurt and death he would not let you go.  Love connects to you.  It is only apathy that leaves a child alone to their destruction.

Take a look at Hebrews 12.  Sit with this passage and really understand it.  Relational love has the hard conversation.

Are you willing to be an Instagram ambassador?  If so you commit to a brand right?  You wear it you represent it.   Can we talk about how we are interacting with our Savior?  Are we more known for our alignment with sin and the current culture than with the Saving One?

When we do it our way our will isn’t surrendered.

How can I grasp that by not doing it God’s way, I’m not giving God me.  A Christian is someone who is fully honest and accepts the finished completed gift of God’s grace.  They say, “I am humbly awake to the value you give.”  If God’s love is walking you through hardship right now know this, “He has not dealt with us according to our sins.” Ps. 103  He has more mercy than any earthly dad could ever show.  His ability to be patient with us defines patience.

Tonight its my job, to tell you.  It’s my role to instruct you, but not to enforce or walk it out for you, rather just to “say so” and I do this tonight faithful and hopeful you will with clarity comprehend the passionate relational call to love.

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