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Past Ponderings

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Will We Experience The Wrath Of Calm? (Revelation 15:1-4)

VIDEO

Will We Experience The Wrath Of Calm? (Revelation 15:1-4)

GIST:  We’re given a picture of the end where God’s wrath leads to purifying calm and God’s people sing a song of truth.

Welcome back to our study of Revelation! After taking the summer off for our Summer in Psalms, we’re picking back up with Revelation 15. However, since it’s been about three months since we talked about this book, let me recap with a few quick points. 

First, Revelation is not meant to be a puzzle for us to solve. It is designed to show us (reveal to us) Jesus. Now, there is a ton of imagery in this book because it’s apocalyptic literature, and because John was using the best language he knew to describe Heavenly things (which were beyond his experience ☺ ️)—so the whole book is steep in Old Testament imagery. In many ways, these pictures are pictures of how God is moving to bring about His plan to rescue the world and defeat sin. It describes who Jesus is and what the world will be like until He returns often from a variety of angles.

Chapter 14 brought us to an end of one set of images, and chapter 15 picks up with the last major cycle of “7’s”. If you remember from before, the number 7 comes up a lot in Revelation because it was a number of completion, and these list show God completing His work of redemption. But, before we get too much into that, let’s read just the first 4 verses today from Revelation 15→ 


“1 Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and amazing, seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last, for with them the wrath of God is finished. 2 And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mingled with fire--and also those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands. 3 And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, "Great and amazing are Your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the nations! 4 Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. All nations will come and worship You, for Your righteous acts have been revealed."”

Here’s our gist for this morning: We’re given a picture of the end where God’s wrath leads to purifying calm and God’s people sing a song of truth. I want to develop that picture with you guys a bit this morning, then step back and try to chew on some practical takeaways before we close.


I. We’re Given A Picture Of The End 

“1 Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and amazing, seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last, for with them the wrath of God is finished.”

I won’t keep us here too long, but there are a few points worth noting in the beginning here. First, this is→ 

Another Sign. John has been walking us through several pictures. This is yet another. And it’s a great and amazing picture. This is actually something we’ve seen throughout the letter. Before we see the judgement of God, we’re given a picture of His glory. Typically, we’re taken into His throne room (See 4:1, 8:1, 11:19). It’s a vital reminder to remember His power and person so you have context for His judgment.

We also see→

7 Angels & 7 Plagues. At least, we will eventually ☺️. Today, they’re just introduced. This is the last of these picture of completion—at least in this “list of 7” format. And it’s said that with this list the wrath of God is finished, so, yes, this is moving toward a picture of the end of the world. Not the last one we’ll see (I mean, we’re in chapter 15 of 22 ☺️), but we’re getting there! And in this end is→


II. Where God’s Wrath Leads To Purifying Calm 

“...for with them the wrath of God is finished. 2 And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mingled with fire…”

Again, I have two points here I want to digest just a bit. First, in seeing this is the end, this specific phrase comes up→ 

Wrath Of God. Thinking of God’s wrath isn’t something that makes us real comfortable. We love talking about His love, grace, forgiveness…etc., but wrath? Doesn’t that make God seem angry? Let me just make a couple quick remarks on this. First, God’s wrath is still part of His character, which means God’s wrath has to be righteous. When we’re wrathful, it comes from a place of anger, and our anger is almost always riddled with sin. God doesn’t sin, so that kind of anger can’t be the motivation for His wrath. What is then? 

See The Strange: The Gospel According To Revelation had a really interesting way of defining God’s wrath. The author pointed out that God is love. It is who He is at all times. God’s wrath, then, is “God’s love burning away all that is not love” (Davis). God does not punish sin because He’s cranky. He punished sin because He loves. Love cannot look at sin which destroys and just do nothing about it. That kind of God is only appreciated in a world where we never see pain. 

After being told God’s wrath is about to be brought to an end, we see a→ 

Sea of Glass Mingled With Fire. If you can remember back to a few months ago, you might pick up on the contrast here. The last time we saw a “sea” it was a picture of chaos and it had the beast coming out of it, who represented those consumed by sin and bent on opposing Jesus. Then, the sea alluded to this ancient view of the sea as a place of danger and uncertainity. 

Now, though, the sea is calm… but it’s also mixed with fire. Fire has been a picture of God’s purifying judgment throughout this letter. So what are we seeing here, God’s purifying judgment calming the sea—making things right. He’s not coming to destroy the world willy-nilly. He’s coming to rescue and restore. He’s coming to redeem. 

The verses we’re going to close out with today then end with→


III. God’s People Singing A Song Of Truth

“--and also those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands. 3 And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, "Great and amazing are Your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the nations! 4 Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. All nations will come and worship You, for Your righteous acts have been revealed."”

God’s People. They are described as those who have conquered the beast and it’s image, and the number of its name—all of these were symbols of the world consumed by sin. So these are God’s people because no one conquers sin except those who have received the rescue of the sin conqueror! So, they’re standing beside this sea by calm by the purifying fire of God, and they’re→ 

Singing A Song Of Truth. Notice they have harps in their hands. We’ve talked about this several times as we’ve walked through this study. Harps were used for songs of joy. They are rejoicing as they begin to sing what is called the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb. Moses sang a song after the exodus from Egypt praising God for His deliverance. Jesus came as the Lamb of God, the fulfillment of the Old Testament bringing ultimate deliverance. This is a reminder that all Scripture has been pointing to the same truth and same purpose…and the same God! And He is described in the song:

He is Great & His Deeds Are Amazing. Oh, how I need to step back and remember this. He is also Almighty—nothing is outside His hands, nothing is bigger or better or brighter than Him. He is Just—He does what is right. He is True—truth comes from Him. He alone is Holy—seperate from sinful man, untainted by our falleness, perfect. And still…He loves us any way. He is the good King of All Nations. The song asks: Who won’t serve Him? Who won’t glorify Him? It’s almost rhetorical because the next line says: All will worship Him. There is coming a day when even those who have rejected Him will see Him for who He is and fall on their faces in awe as they realize what this book has been showing us all along—His Righteousness Has Been Revealed!

Ok, let’s hit a few→ 

TAKEAWAYS

  1. Take time to look away from pain and toward His glory. I need this reminder! The world will try to suck you into despair. Guys, I know I seem like a naturally upbeat person most of the time. That’s not put on. It’s who I am. But that doesn’t mean I don’t feel the weight of the world on my shoulders sometimes. I do, just like you. To be honest, this past few months of ministry has been simultaneously the most rewarding and challenging time of my life. I have seen God do so much good…it’s been amazing! And Satan doesn’t like that, so there has been a lot of Spiritual warfare. I needed this reminder today. Maybe you did too.

  2. Trust His love—which includes His love-driven wrath—to calm all sin-induced storms. There isn’t anything you’re facing right now that His love can’t reach. And immediately as I’m typing those words, Crowder’s “I Am” is jumping into my head: “There's no space that His love can't reach/There's no place where we can't find peace/There's no end to Amazing Grace”.

  3. Rejoice in who He is! Amazing, just, true, holy, King of the World. Grab those joy-harps when your soul is stuck on a loop of angst and belt it out!


191 Years & Counting… If We Abide In Jesus. (John 15:1-11)

VIDEO

 191 Years & Counting… If We Abide In Jesus. (John 15:1-11)

GIST:  If we abide in Jesus, doors to serve will be opened, God’s glory will be on full display, we will be encompassed by perpetual love, and our lives will be filled with abundant joy.

This morning, we’re celebrating Providence’s 191st anniversary. Guys, that’s exciting. For 191 years, God has been working through a local church here. That’s incredible. 

Today is a day to look back and thank God for all He’s done (and He’s done so much!). It’s also a day to look forward because seeing that legacy of faith should be an encouragement to keep walking with Him until He returns. Last week, as I was reading John 13 and preparing to share that with you as our bridge message between the Summer in Psalms and the return to our Revelation study, I read over John 15 as well. Just reading it felt like a Homecoming message to me, so I really wanted to share it with you today. 

Honestly, there is too much here to take in one setting, so I want to give you a few pre-points to set the stage, then we’ll camp out in the last section today. Let’s read verses 1-6 to place this in some context.


“1 I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.”


Verses 1-6 really present what could be called “The Context of Life”. Without Him We Can Do Nothing. Our existence is completely dependant upon Jesus. Without Him Our Future Is Empty. Our hope is in His salvation alone. With Him We Will Face Cleansing (Pruning). Life won’t always be easy. That’s important to cling to as we walk through the blessings of abiding in Jesus in just a moment. Those promises don’t come with a guarantee of ease. The branches that are dead are cut off, and those that are alive are pruned to ensure they keep growing. And that could be a whole sermon in itself ☺️! With Him We Will Bear Fruit. There will be evidence of His grace in our lives. 

It’s in that immediate context that we come to the passage I want to digest a bit with you this morning. Let’s look a verses 7-11.


“7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be My disciples. 9 As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”


Here’s our gist for this morning. As we look back to all He’s done and look forward to all He’s going to do, let’s keep this in mind→ If we abide in Jesus, doors to serve will be opened, God’s glory will be on full display, we will be encompassed by perpetual love, and our lives will be filled with abundant joy. No, that doesn’t mean it will always be sunshine and rainbows, but it sure does mean it will be worth it! Let’s dive in.


I. If We Abide In Jesus (7a)

“7a If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you…”

Before we get into any of these results connected to abiding, we should at least spend a few seconds establishing what that expected condition is, right ☺️? To abide in Christ means to remain focused on Him, to seek Him first, to deliberately follow Him. Abiding in Christ is living life with seeking Him, wanting to know Him more, wanting to love Him better. It’s not just a nominal Christianity. If Jesus is just a t-shirt you where or a service you attend, that’s not abiding. 

Abiding in Jesus also means… yeah, digging seriously into His Word ☺️. This is the first point, but it’s already here! We abide in Him and His word abides in us! When that is true→ 


II. Doors To Serve Will Be Opened (7b)

“7b… ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”

Now, we have to consider the→

Context Of Our Desires. Otherwise, this could really seem like a name it and claim it teaching. And if you were to just take 7b all alone, I could totally see where you would think that. It’s like Jesus is just a genie. BUT that’s not at all what is being described here. If we are abiding in Jesus and His Word is abiding in us, our desires are different, so what we’re desiring isn’t just selfish stuff anymore. Let me give a couple examples→  

If We Are Seeking Jesus, We Will Find Him. This promise is sprinkled all throughout Scripture. Here are two examples that often come to my mind. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” (Matthew 5:6); “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”(Jeremiah 29:13) He isn’t trying to hide from you! We can know Him. We just don’t spend a whole lot of time looking…

If Our Hearts Have Been Transformed By His Grace, We’ll Want People To See Him. That should be our desire. It’s the great commission: “And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20). And if we want to share the gospel, He will provide doors for us to walk through. Guys, we’ve seen that this summer. If we’re abiding in Him, and He’s changing our desires, we will see Him open doors for us to come closer to Him and share Jesus with the people around us.


III. God’s Glory Will Be On Full Display (8)

“8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be My disciples.” 

If you’re with us often, you’ve probably heard me make this statement→

God’s Glory Is His Character On Full Display. The glory of man is his best attributes. The glory of God is… Himself, because He only has good attributes! So God being glorified by us bearing fruit means→ 

People Will See Jesus When We’re Walking With Him. This is incredible! Bearing fruit means living lives that start to reflect the heart of Jesus. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control—those are called the “fruit of the Spirit”. And when that kind of fruit is springing up in our lives, it is because Jesus has made a difference! Because of that, people will see Him. Our lives will be a testimony, a witness, to His glory.

Guys, this is so amazing to me. We’re broken, messed up people who need Jesus so badly. Still, we can be used by Him to show other broken, messed up people His amazing grace! And that happens… when we abide in Jesus. Furthermore→


IV. We Will Be Encompassed By Perpetual Love (9-10)

“9 As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love.”

I know love has come up a lot over the past couple messages, but I’m not adding it to the Bible. It’s there. It’s all over the place…because God is love. If we abide in Him… we will be abiding in love. Let me just make a few observations about these versus here. First→

His Love Is Abundant. He loves us like the Father loved Jesus. That’s a perfect love. You cannot be loved better than Jesus loves you. In fact, if you’re reading these words right now and you get nothing else from what I’m typing up, please please hear this: Jesus loves you completely: warts and all. And→

We’re Meant To Abide In His Love. Our lives are meant to be consumed not by grumbling, not by fear, not by lust, not by bitterness, not by anything else this world keeps throwing at us, but by love. It should be our “positive obsession”. My son and I both have a tendency to fixate on things we really get into. And I know we’re not alone. Are we fixated by His love? If we are, we won’t just be thinking about it, we’ll be living in such a way that demonstrates our commitment to His love. This verse actually says “if you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love”.→ 

So, Is Obeying God Earning His Love Then? No. Not at all. You can do absolutely NOTHING to earn His love. He loves you. Period. In His sovereign grace, He has chosen to do that. Obeying God, however, puts us in the right mindset to experience His love. If we love Him, we will want to follow His lead, and when we follow His lead we’ll be in the center of His will because we’re walking with Him—sticking with that love!


V. And Our Lives Will Be Filled With Abundant Joy (11)

“11 These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”

Yes, I know. I bring up joy all the time too. But I’m not making it up. You see it there too, right!? ☺️ It keeps coming up because this is true:

Jesus Wants Us To Experience His Joy. How beautiful is it that Jesus says, “I told you all this so you can have My joy.”? His joy. The joy of the creator of all joy. I’d say that’s pretty incredible. And→ 

Jesus Wants Our Joy To Be…Abundant. He wants it to be full. Guys, I see a lot of heartbreak in my life. As a teacher and preacher, it’s around me every day. I don’t share many personal stories because most people come to me in confidence, but there are a lot of hurting people out there. Marriages that are falling apart. Teenagers who have made stupid decisions and feel like they’re worthless now. Kids who have never heard their parents say a kind word. Adults who have so much bitterness and resentment built up in their hearts every day feels like a struggle against… well everything. This world is covered in a cloud of pain… but Jesus came to bring joy— and we can experience it IF we abide in Him. 

And that’s how we will continue to walk with Him as a church until He returns. Let’s recap in our→


TAKEAWAYS

  1. IF We Abide In Jesus→  These promises don’t apply to unfaithfulness.

  2. Doors To Serve Will Be Opened. We need to open our eyes, pray for His will to be done, and walk through the doors He will open…even if they aren’t what we were expecting.

  3. God’s Glory Will Be On Full Display. This is such a beautiful truth. If we abide in Jesus, people will see Him in our lives. Man, just thinking of that gets to me. I am broken. I don’t live perfectly. I’m not the answer. Still, I have people coming to me all the time with their brokenness. What can I possibly offer them? Jesus. Jesus. Jesus!

  4. We Will Be Encompassed By Perpetual Love. We’ve talked about this a bit over the past few weeks, but when do we not need reminded of this glorious truth? If you are walking with Jesus, following His leading, obeying His commandments, you can trust that you will experience His love. This does not mean by obeying you will earn His love. That is a reality you can’t do anything to impact. He loves you unconditionally because He is God and that’s what He’s chosen to do. However, if you’re walking with Jesus, you will abide, rest in, be all wrapped up in, that amazing love! 

  5. And Our Lives Will Be Filled With Abundant Joy. Walking with Jesus doesn’t spare you from tears. It doesn’t shield you from all heartbreak. It doesn’t remove every frustration. Walking with Jesus gives you hope and a joy that is complete regardless of circumstance. Smile. Jesus loves you.


Is Your Joy Full?


“If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:10-11 ESV)


These verses come at the end of a discourse where Jesus tells the disciples to abide ten times in seven verses! That level of repetition is something to which we should pay special attention. In context, the passage develops that all future hope and purpose rests on us abiding with, staying connected to, Jesus. And that isn’t presented as some kind of scare tactic meant to force us into mindless, obligatory service either. It’s an expression of overwhelming love calling us to fullness of joy.


Don’t we want that?


Friday, September 9, 2022

Are We Known By His Love? (John 13:34-35)

VIDEO

Are We Known By His Love? (John 13:34-35)

GIST: We’re expected to love like Jesus and be recognized because of His love.

This morning, we were going to wrap up our Summer in Psalms before transitioning back to Homecoming next week and then jumping back into Revelation the week after that. However, another verse has been echoing in my heart all week. In fact, I ended up outlining two sermons for this week and didn’t decide until yesterday which one we were going to actually dig into this morning. I guess that means I have an outline ready for May when we get back to our Summer in Psalms because today we’re going to take a few minutes to walk through John 13:34-35. Let’s read that, and then I’ll tell you why these verses have been stuck in my heart this week.


“34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” 


Last week, I felt such an outpouring of God’s love from you guys, and this verse kept coming to mind. I know sometimes I’m not great at expressing gratitude as much as my heart wants to, so before I go any further I really want to say: thank you. Thank you for loving Jesus and loving my family more than we deserve. 

That being said, loving like Jesus should be the norm in churches, right? We’ve just spent two weeks walking through a psalm that gave us a picture of what our lives should look like if we are living in God’s presence—and reflecting the love of Jesus is 100% part of that picture. Unfortunately, we all know love isn’t always the first word people think of when they think about churches. In fact, I had a student ask me this week if I thought churches were cults ☺️. Apparently, that’s what an adult in her life told her churches were. There are other words: greedy, grumpy, petty, exclusive, hateful, discriminating… We could keep going. Some of these are the product of deliberate misrepresentation. Some, though, come from churches not carrying the love of Jesus like we should. So, let’s take a few minutes this morning, and I really will try to keep this to a few, to talk about… love. Here’s our gist: We’re expected to love like Jesus and be recognized because of His love. Let’s dive in! 


I. We’re Expected To Love Like Jesus

“34 A new commandment I give to you that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”

A New Standard. Jesus had just been telling his disciples He’d be leaving soon—as in going to Heaven after rising from the dead…not going on a trip. If you’re familiar with the New Testament, any time Jesus brought this up, it wasn’t received super well by the disciples. Understandably, they didn’t want Him to go. In this section, He tells them, “I’m leaving, and I’m leaving you…a new commandment”. Now, this idea of loving each other isn’t new in the sense that it wasn’t expected in the Bible until this point. It’s new in its application because the standard has been clarified. We’re not just called to love. We’re called to love like Jesus. We’re going to camp out there for a bit, so I’ll come back to it. First, let’s recognize this is→ 

A Commandment. This isn’t a suggestion. It’s an expectation. Christians are supposed to love each other as Jesus loves us. Which should immediately lead us to ask, so→  

How Does He Love? Well, the short answer is… perfectly ☺️. We won’t. However, He has set the standard for us, and we should strive after it. When I think of passages that describe the love of Jesus, several come to mine. I think of the beautiful passages like John 15:13 and Romans 5:8 that describe His sacrificial love, His love that took on Hell for us and rose victorious over sin in our place: “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13); “... God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8).

The depths of God’s love are so deep, we could flip through passages all day to talk about it. However, probably the most condensed picture of the love of God is given to us by Paul in 1 Corinthians 13—the classic wedding passage. And even though I love (no pun intended, but appreciated nonetheless) reading this passage at weddings, it’s not describing romantic love between a couple, but the transformative love of Jesus in our lives. I’m going to read verses 1-8a because the first few verses in that chapter are just too beautiful not to read, but we’re just going to break down the list Paul gives us. 


“1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends…” (1 Corinthians 13:1-8a) 

Ok, so how does Paul describe the kind of love meant to define us? That love→ 


Is Patient. Does that immediately convict you as much as it does me? I actually think about patience all the time. Maybe it’s because my Dad always jokes about not asking people to pray he have patience ☺️. But I also think it’s because every time I think about patience I feel like I need to apologize to my kids. See, in most settings, I’m a pretty patient guy. I teach high schoolers all day, and I’m a pastor ☺️… and it still takes a lot to get me riled up. Unless… it’s with my own family. As a church, we’re a family too, and I think sometimes we’re least patient with those we’re closest too. I get it, but I also know that’s not how God defines love. Likewise, love→ 

Is Kind. Patience is a way of showing kindness…so is just not being a jerk to people ☺️. Love looks to treat other people the way we would want to be treated. It→ 

Does Not Envy. It’s not full of jealousy. It doesn’t get upset when other people get things we want or get recognition when we feel we deserve it or have the lives we thought we would. Love isn’t about us. It→ 

Does Not Boast. The next two words are connected. The idea behind this word is connected to bragging. Fluffing up ourselves. Trying to get the praise of others. Love won’t do this because it→ 

Isn’t Arrogant. It isn’t self-focused. It’s hard to be focused on ourselves if we’re trying to model the self-sacrificing love of Jesus! Oh, and love→

Isn’t Rude. Our world is. We all can be. That shouldn’t define us. The NASB translates this as “does not act unbecomingly”. Being rude is lacking compassion. Now, that doesn’t mean you’ll always agree with everyone. You won’t. You don’t have to. In fact, when it comes to people living in ways that dishonor God, you shouldn’t. However, even when disagreeing, love should never be mean. 

Does Not Insist On Its Own Way. Again, because love isn’t all about us. We’ll have opinions. We’ll stand for what we believe is right. But we should never just bulldoze our way through life with a “my way or the highway” mentality.

Isn’t Irritable. Ouch. Let me just be honest. When I wake up, I’m pretty irritable. It takes a bit of time to get this motor going. Because of that, I know I’m more likely to be on edge in those moments. I don’t like that feeling, so I have to try (though not always successfully) to fight against it. How miserable would it be to be irritated all the time. Life is too short to let things constantly bother you.

Isn’t Resentful. Love doesn’t hold grudges. Forgiveness is hard because it costs us something. It means we are suffering when someone else did wrong. Because of that, we don’t usually forgive well. We want to hold on to that hurt because we feel justified in doing so. However, when Jesus forgives us, He casts our sin as far as the east is from the west and remembers it no more. 

Doesn’t Rejoice At Wrongdoing. Love doesn’t get excited by sinful stuff or the downfall of others. Love isn’t a gossip and doesn’t get all pumped up about the bad things happening around us. Yeah… that one probably hurts too.

Rejoices With The Truth. Love does get pumped up by Jesus stuff. Seeing God work in the lives of other people. Watching His movement…even if it’s happening somewhere else with someone else, should bring us joy and cause us to rejoice. This might be a side-rant, but I think it’s worth saying. As Christians, we can’t look at other churches as competition. We can’t be jealous if we see them growing or exciting things happening there. I saw it put like this before, and I LOVE this. We’re part of the same family; we’re not rival gangs!

Bears All Things. This phrase can mean to bear as to put up with, it can also mean to cover of hold up like a protective shield. 

Believes All Things. Not literally. Love isn’t gullible ☺️. But it assumes good intentions. It also→

Hopes All Things. That means it looks forward to future good instead of dwelling on present pain! Love also→

Endures All Things. It stands strong…even in the storms of life…because→ 

Love Never Ends. True love isn’t something that comes and goes. It’s eternal. 

And this is what we’re commanded to do… ☺️→ 


II. And Be Recognized Because Of His Love

“35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” 

That first part was long, so let me try to break this down quickly. 

  1. You are supposed to be known by His love.

  2. That means the love of Jesus is something all people will see. It isn’t something you keep hidden outside of your “church time”.

  3. And it’s something people will notice. Loving like this is radically different from what comes naturally to our sinful hearts.

  4. We will be recognized as followers of Jesus IF we love each other as He loves us. Are people surprised when they find out your a Christian? Better yet, if you were using this as your gauge, and you really took seriously this call to love, and you looked at how you’ve been living, would you recognize yourself as a follower of Jesus?

Ok, let’s hit three quick→ 


TAKEAWAYS

  1. Know the love of Jesus. Make it your life’s pursuit to know Him more. We can love like He loves if we don’t know how He loves. We can’t love like He loves, if we haven’t been rescued by His love. If you are reading this and do not know Jesus as your Savior, PLEASE, talk to Him right now. You don’t need magic words. You just need to believe Jesus is your God who really came and really died and really took Hell in your place and really rose again to save you—and ask Him to do that. He promises He will. Then→ 

  2. Focus on the love of Jesus. I know I’ve quoted this song I’m about to quote like a bazillion times and made this statement a bazillion times…but it’s so true. Even this week, I was reminded that too often we see brokenness so much more clearly than His love. When God is active and moving and changing lives, our excitement and focus are drawn for a moment—but when there are complaints or frustrations or any other “new or rehashed negativity” we’re magnetically drawn to it. It fixates us! Instead: “Turn your eyes upon Jesus/ Look full in His wonderful face/ And the things of earth will grow strangely dim/ In the light of His glory and grace.” And→ 

  3. Spread the love of Jesus. This is how we show the world we’re His.

[J