Part 6 – Love
Pastor Joel Johnson
Alright alright alright! Good morning! How’s everybody doing today? Good. Good.
My name is Joel Johnson, newly Pastor Joel Johnson. [Applause]
Let’s give it up for the media team, first of all. The Bible says, “What’s done in the darkness, will be brought to the light” and those guys in the back, they do an awesome job, Tom and everybody, Joe on the sound board. Yeah, so I just want to give it up for them because they do an amazing job.
So, we’re going to be talking about the subject of love today, which is a fantastic subject. It’s a very important subject and this will conclude our MOOD series. So, we’ve been going through different moods and so, this will be the end of the mood series. My parents, right now, actually I was going to say to pastor Bill will be here next week. He’s going to be, not only be at the men’s conference but he’ll be here on Saturday and Sunday morning as well, so. He is an amazing speaker, I love listening to him every time he comes in and you do not want to miss it, for sure. He constantly challenges you and sometimes, in an awkward manner but it’s always good and it’s, he would just come up to me like, I’d be at sub-30. It was like the young adults saying and he just like stared me in the face and is like, “You’re good?”
I’m like, “Yeah. Yeah, I’m good.”
He’s like, “You need anything?”
I’m like, “No.”
He’s like, “No, I’m serious. Do you need anything?” And like, he literally would just like, he would do anything for you but, he’s an amazing man of God and it’s going to be awesome this next week. So, my parents are out of town, they were in Canada yesterday and then they’re in Seattle today. So, they’re speaking at an Iranian Church, which is amazing because they actually like, I don’t know if they like him exactly but they send the message that they preach here over to, actually to Iran. And I don’t know if it’s exactly legal but who cares, because Iran’s getting the gospel, right? That’s amazing!
Yeah! So, I get the privilege of speaking today and I’m super excited to talk on love. I just have been meditating and meditating and meditating on love. So, let’s turn your Bibles to John 13:34 and we’re going to get into it. So, I’m a little bit more nervous this time, than I have been in the past because of a very vivid dream that I’ve had that I had a couple weeks ago. And this is not serious so, don’t think it is but it’s just a weird to dream that. I had so, I had this dream that I’m out hunting and it’s like a Sunday morning and it was raining and everything like that. I knew, I was supposed to be preaching at this church for some reason, it was in Texas and it was a really big church, right! And so, I get a call on my cell phone and they’re like, “Joel, you’re supposed to be at church today!” I’m like, “Oh crap!” like okay! I got to go so, I get out of the woods and I hop in my car and I just drive super-fast to the church and all the time, I’m like looking for my notes. I’m trying to like to change my clothes as I’m driving because I’m not only late to church, like I’m late to being on the stage at church. So, like so this is just a nightmare going on in my head. So anyway, I finally found my notes and they’re like underneath my hunting jacket. And it was like raining outside so, they’re wet and so, like the church is already started. I was supposed to be up on the stage. People are actually like leaving the auditorium. There are like 5,000 people there but like people are actually leaving the auditorium and it was just like chaos because nobody is up there. They just kind of let me hang, you know like, “Oh! He’s not showing up but we’re just going to..” So, I finally show up and I go to open my notes and you know and I’m just kind of like settling everybody down. I go to open up my notes and every single page is like sticking together, right? So, everything is illegible, something like open it up and it’s just smeared. And I’m like, “Oh, I don’t have any notes. I have no idea what’s going on.” So, I just basically like improvise this terrible message and like giving people jokes and everything like that and it was just terrible and like I just got through it and it’s really bad. But, so in honor of that, I came extra prepared. So, I brought actually, printed out four copies of notes. So, you have one two three four and then I have my computer and it’s on my phone. So, half of you are still here, so we’re already off to a good start.
So, anyway I’m going to pray really quick and then we’ll get started. Finally, God we thank you for your amazing word, God. That drives our sickness and disease God. It brings us inspiration into our lives God, that you loved us first God. So, we can love Lord and we just praise you and thank you, that everybody’s hearts are open to receive God and people’s lives are going to be changed and touched by the power of word and in Jesus’s name we pray. Everybody sit.
Alright! So, John 13:34, Jesus is talking and the Pharisees were kind of trying to trick him again. I believe I read this last time that I was here but, and so the Pharisees are like, okay well what commandment is the greatest, you know. They’re trying to test Jesus and kind of hang him up on their doctrine and their law. the Ten Commandments were created and then, there’s a lot of law and stuff but the Pharisees actually, they made up 613 laws, right? So, the Pharisees were trying to impede religion, they’re trying to make all these rules and regulations, it became like, it was just impossible for the Jews to actually follow all these laws because they just kept on creating these laws and with religion it wants to create laws. And Jesus came in and he said, okay, forget about all your laws. He’s like, this is what I’m going to say to you and he says, the new commandment I give to you is that, you love one another as I love you, that you also may love one another. And so, talking about the love of God today, here’s a few thoughts on love, for us to truly live out the life God has for us, we have to be people who walk in love. It’s kind of a we call it, the love walk, it’s kind of a Christian cliché, if you will, you’ve heard that before, “How’s your love walk brother?” or maybe that’s whole Kogan. But like your love walk, you know like how’s your love walk doing and are you walking in love and you know, and all that different stuff. And it kind of gets into a cliché, a little bit but it really is in my mind it is a direct representation of your love walk. Because you can be going along every single day and somebody crosses your path and they say something that hurts you and you can step back in offense and be like, “okay now, I don’t, you know..” and it can take a seat in your heart or you can choose step forward and walk in love, alright and do what God has called us to do.
Another thought here on love. Love and faith must grow together, okay? If you, I’m just going to read a few different scriptures here. Some of them are New King James, some of their message, some of them are amplified. So, well long or just write them down you can look them up later. So, Mark 11:23 through 24, this is a faith scripture. Most of you know of Mark 11:23, 24. I know that I quoted over situations in my life. It’s standing on faith like, yeah okay, we can move mountains. So, I’m just going to read it really quick. This is a New King James, Mark 11:23, “First certainly I say to you whoever says to this mountain be removed and be cast into the sea and does not doubt in his heart but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore, it is I who say to you whatever things you ask when you pray, believe when you see them and you will have them.” So, great! That’s a great scripture! Amazing like, “Oh yeah! We can move mountains.”
Well, look at 25. A lot of people read of 23 and 24 but there’s a preface to what those that faith that moves mountains, right? So, if you look at 25, “and whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him and your father in heaven may also forgive your trespasses.” So, for order, in order for our faith to increase, our love has to increase simultaneously, right? The King James Version says, “if anyone had fought against each other…” you know what that means, is uh.. it’s something that you think it’s something that so like a person does something to you and say well I think they ought not have done that or it’s something that they ought to have done, and that’s the ought that we have according to that.
Okay! I didn’t say that well. Punch line, timing, everything was terrible. So, in order for like I said an order from our loved, order for our faith to increase, our love has to increase. So, I’m going to read about the prodigal son today and I kind of got a new revelation on the prodigal son through listening to some other things. But in an area, way that I have never seen the prodigal son before and I’m going to read Luke 15 and we’re going to go 11 through 24. I got two or three long scriptures so, just bear with me but it’s going to make sense after I get through these. So, Luke 15:11 through 24, this isn’t a message of Bible, “Then he said, there’s once was a man who had two sons, the younger said to his father I want right now what’s coming to me. So, the father divided the property between them. And it wasn’t long before the younger son packed his bags and left for a distant country. There undisciplined and dissipated, he wasted everything he had, after he had gone through all this money and was there was a bad famine and all the country had begun to hurt.
He signed on with a citizen there, who assigned him to his fields to slop the pigs. He was hungry, he would have eaten the corn cobs in the pig slop but no one gave him any. That brought him to his senses, he said all those farmhands working on my father sit down for three meals a day and here I am starving, I’m going back to my father I’ll say to him, “Father, I’ve sinned against God. I’ve sinned before you. I don’t deserve to be called your son. Take me as a hired hand.” He got right up and went home to his father. When he was still a long way off, his father saw him his heart pounding, he ran out and embraced him and kissed him the son started his speech, “Father, I’ve sinned against God, I have sinned against you, I don’t deserve to be called your son ever again.” But the father wasn’t even listening. He was calling to the servants quick bring a clean set of clothes and dress him, put the family ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Then get a grain fed heifer and roast it, we’re going to feast. We’re going to have a wonderful time. My son is here, he was given up her dead, now alive, given up her lost and now found” and they begin to have a wonderful time.”
So, we’ve all heard the story before and you know, it’s just like a son returning home to his father, right? And it’s more, and he said he’s sinned against God but it’s a time and shadow of the love of the Father that he has for us and sometimes, when we get off and we start doing our own thing or we get into sin or you know, we’re not living right or we’re constantly messing up and stuff it’s hard for us to approach the father. Because, you feel unworthy but that’s not how God’s love works. God is running at you with open arms like, “Come on man! Just come back, please.” And he’s waiting for you to come back. So, so there’s a time of my life that I wasn’t really living right and I was still a Christian but I wasn’t really doing the things of God. I wasn’t walking as a Christian you would look at my life and the fruit in my life was not that of someone who was Christ-like, right? And I just wasn’t in a good place and I had gotten offended at what somebody said to me, it’s weird that a pastor’s son can get offended but, I like, I kind of like I’m just like, you know what, I just don’t want anything to do with any of this stuff anymore. And I knew, I was still saved but I was just like I don’t I just didn’t want anything to do with it because I was like in this weird thing, in my mind.
So, Ruckins comes into town and he’s a prophet, right! And you guys, well most of you have seen Ruckins and he’s amazing. And he always says like, “God’s not going to call you out in front of people, right? But I don’t know, what he whispers into everybody’s ear but I’m kind of thinking like, “Okay! Like if he calls me up, I need to repent on my sins immediately as I walk up to the thing because God said he’s going to forget him. So, he won’t tell Ruckins, then Ruckins won’t know and then well, I’ll be good, right? And so, I like, I thought about this and I’m just like man I thought I repented for that one and you know it’s just stupid and I was just like you know in my own head and I’m just like, man Ruckin’s going to call me out on this thing, he’s going to call me out on that thing. And Ruckin gave me a hug and he just told me about the love of God. And he talked and like, he was talking through basically God to talking to me about his love. And he saw me when I was struggling and at this place and when I was like really down or hurting and God, this love like fell over top me and I just started crying man.
And that’s the only time I ever cried my life. No, but I just started like I felt the love of God so intensely. I’ve never felt before like that and it just poured on me and it wasn’t God’s saying like, “He’s back like you’re done now boy!” He’s like he’s saying, he’s saying you know he’s open arms and he’s coming at you, right and so that’s how God’s love is for. So, it’s kind of the same it’s the same thing in the end the in the prodigal son story. So, Romans 2:4 said, I’m going go through quite a few of these scriptures as quickly. It says, “the goodness or the love of God leaves men to repentance.” And I’ll tell you what after that day I kind of started getting things right in my life, alright and it wasn’t because like somebody told me like, “man, you better turn or burn” or “you’ve been sinning and doing all this stuff”, it’s the love of God that brought me back, you know. And I hear some Christians on Facebook or whatever they have a platform, and very negative like they’re very negative. Some people, not anybody in here, of course but, there’s actually like a church and they were commenting on people’s stuff and it was like, you’re a filthy reprobate and you hated God before you even came to our church and like, okay newsflash, that’s not how the Bible words and the second of all like we’re not going to be judgmental because the love of God, it says the goodness and love of God leads men to repentance, right? It might work for some people but it wouldn’t work for me for sure.
So, we’re going to get into the love chapter which is first Corinthians 13. We’re going to pretty much live in this scripture and so for us to fully understand how God loves us you know. For us to fully understand how we’re supposed to love, we have to understand how God loves us, right? So, we’re going to break down love from a fundamental standpoint, alright! And so, I’m going to read first Corinthians 13:1 from the amplified, “If I could speak with tongues of men and of angels and have not love for others growing out of God’s love for me, then I’d become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal, just an annoying distraction.” Yeah! Some people have become an annoying distraction. “..and if and if I have the gift of prophecy and speak a new message from God to the people and understand all mysteries and possess all knowledge. And if I have sufficient faith so, I can remove mountains but do not love reaching out to others I’m nothing. If I give all my possessions to feed the poor. If I surrender my body to be burned but do not have love it does me no good all. Love endures and this breaks down what love is. Love endures with patience and serenity. Love is kind and thoughtful. He’s not jealous or envious. Love does not brag and it’s not proud or arrogant. He is not rude, it is not self-seeking, is not provoked, not overly sensitive or easily angered. Does not take an account to a wrong endure, it does not rejoice in injustice but rejoices with the truth. When the right and truth prevail, love bears all things regardless of what come, will ease all things, looks for the best in each one, hopes all things remain instead faster in difficult time, endures all things without weakening.”
So, I have two trains of thought for you, today. And there’s quite a few subsections in these thoughts but there’s two thoughts, basically. The love of God, the first slot is how God loves us but it’s the love of God to us. Okay! The first attribute he’s talking about in first Corinthians 13, it says love is patient. The definition of patient is the capacity to accept or tolerate, delay trouble or suffering without getting angry or upset. God’s love is patient, right? Now, as I mentioned earlier I want to do my own thing and God was just sitting there waiting for me, to come back, right? And God’s not going to be pushy and we’ll get into it that he’s not rude but you know, it says okay, so let me back up but this first Corinthians 13 is the love catcher. But, God is love right. So, we’re going to talk about the attributes of God, maybe that was self-explanatory. But, aren’t you glad God doesn’t get angry, when you don’t listen or he’s waiting on you, that he doesn’t get angry. I figured out a new level of patience when I became a father and I have a, she’s a little bit over a year old and her name is Josie Lan, she’s most amazing. This is my wife also, who bore her. Josie is amazing but she wants to get into everything, right? And that takes patience because I like stuff to be picked up and I like it not to be thrown all over the house. And she likes to get into her toys and just basically like she literally goes into a cabinet and like, we have next to our stove there’s a cabinet, that has like hand towels and napkins. I don’t know what you call them anymore, dish racks. She just sits there and like just shovels them behind her like a long snapper or something and she just keeps throwing them out.
And it’s like it takes patience like and I have to say, “Josie, no! That’s not what we do.” And she’s also really drawn, everybody who’s ever had a toddler or a young child is drawn to electrical plugins. I think she gets that from her mom’s side of the family but she’s constantly wanting to put her finger in electrical plugin so, we went and got those little case or covers for them, And she continues now, she can pull the plugins off and then she wants to put her finger in it and you know, I have to keep watching her, both of us watch her and you go grab her say like, “no, Josie that’s not what we do” and sometimes you have to reprimand her and then sometimes you know, that she.. you say, “Josie, no!” and she kind of looks back like, “Yeah, I’m going to do this anyway.” But how many times have you, I mean like that’s how I kind of see God thinking of us sometimes. It’s like I am going to go still do this bad thing that I know that’s bad for me and I’m just going to look at my shoulder and God is just like, “Okay man! like I’m going to let you do that.” But, he’s patient with us because eventually one day, you’re going to get it or it’s going to end, you know. As she’s 14 years old and sticking knives into electrical sockets then, I did something wrong but yeah eventually, she’s going to get it
Now, the second attribute of God’s love is, love is kind and thoughtful. His thoughts are full of us, all the time. Psalm 8:4 says, “What is mankind that you’re mindful of them, on the son of man that you care for them.”
I’m constantly thinking about my wife and I’m constantly thinking about Josie. It’s funny like before I got married and before I had a kid, I could sit in a duck blind for like ten hours, a lot of my stuff is going to talk about hunting, I’m sorry but that’s just what applies to me. So, knitting or whatever applies to you, just you know think of that. So, I loved hunting and I could literally just sit in a duck blind with like a blank stare on my face and just see, like, “Oh! Ducks coming around” and then like for hours like that’s it, that’s the only thing that’s in my brain some time. And then, now that I have a kid and I have a wife, I’m like I wonder what Josie is doing. I wonder what Sarah’s doing. Are they up yet? You know, I’m constantly thinking of that and that’s how God thinks about us, he’s constantly thinking of you, always has you on his mind.
Second attribute, he’s not envious or jealous. God obviously isn’t envious of us, right? And the bible does say that God is a jealous God. Alright, just for the sake of time, there was a jealous that was referred to in the Old Testament. There’s two different types and not getting into like an hour apologetics lesson. Just know that God’s jealousy is the good kind and ours is the bad kind, right? And he doesn’t want us to be jealous. So, study it out, if you don’t believe me, but look it up.
Alright! Love is not prideful. James 4:6 says, “He resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.” I’m going to go these pretty quick on these and then we’re going to talk about how they apply in our life. His love is not rude, God is a gentleman like I said, he’s going to wait. He’s not going to sit there and bang on, you know, knock down your door and say, “You better get yourself right!” He’s going to wait on you and he’s a gentleman, he’s not rude. God gave us a free will to let us choose the path, that we want good or bad, you know. You can choose to be on the good path or you can choose to live on the bad path. His love is not easily angered. Thank God for that, that he’s not easily angered. Right? He rejoices in truth, he bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things, his love never fails, alright?
One of my favorite scriptures is in Hebrews 10:23 and it says, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering for he who promised is faithful.”
Not only is God faithful but his love never fails, right? The things this world pass away everything can go to crap or I don’t know what I want to say, but God’s love will never fail us, right? And we got a hold fast to his promises and hold on to that love. So, with that being said, that’s the fun side of love, right! We always like to talk about, “Oh! The goodness of God and the love of God that he has for us, and that helps us, right? But, that’s the fun side is how much God loves us. Well, now this is our part, right?
Now it’s our turn to share that love. So, we’re going to pick back up on the prodigal son and Luke 15 verse 25. So, I was talking about the older brother, “At this time, the older son was out in the field and when the day’s work was done, he came in. As he approached the house he heard the music and dancing calling over one of the house boys he asked what was going on. He told him your brother came home, your father has ordered a feast, barbecued beef because he has him home safe and sound. The older brother stalked off and angry. Sulked and refused to join in, his father came out and tried to talk to him but he wouldn’t listen. The son said, “Look how many years I’ve stayed here serving you, I’m never giving you one moment of grief but you have thrown a party for me and my friends. And the son of yours has thrown away your money, I’m and shows up and you all go out with the feast.” His father said, “Son, you don’t understand. You’re with me all the time. And everything that is mine is yours but, this is a wonderful time. We had to celebrate your brother, this brother of yours was dead and he’s alive. He was lost and now he’s found.”
So, the older brother is not very happy about this situation, right? His brother goes and he’s sinning, he’s living, he basically squandered his fortune, he’s done a lot of stupid stuff and the older brother doesn’t even call him his brother, when he came back, right! He said this son of yours and he didn’t even want to recognize him as his own flesh and blood, right! And so, the father, this illustrates the story of the father’s love for us, but also talks about I think he’s talking about what the older brother. He’d been with the father for so long, he’d been in church, okay he’d been to the Bible study classes, he had been to acquire the fire generation unleashed, kids camp, youth camp, he’s got everything right and he still didn’t understand the heart of the father. He didn’t understand the love that the father had for the son, right? And how many Christians you know, I’m guilty of this sometimes but like how many Christians do you know that like somebody tries to come back and like, “Oh! You know he was off doing this and doing that” but, they don’t understand the love of the father. And we have to as Christians, we have to have to have to understand the love of the father. And then, we in turn have to have that love. And we can talk about the love of God like, I said before which is Porton but Paul’s in emphasizing the love of God through us, that’s what he wrote for his Corinthian. Some people think that because he wrote about it was something that Paul struggled with and that he struggled with this love. And so, Paul wrote first Corinthians 13 which is just the most groundbreaking scripture, so I’m going to talk about the love of God through us now. John 13:34 once again says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another just as I have loved you.” So, what does the God kind of love look like through us. Okay! We’re patient. This sucks!
Because we want stuff to go fast and we want it to happen now but, we have to be patient with people especially. You try explaining, I had a Foreman that say, when I was working industrial painting and he’s like, “Every day’s everybody’s first day out here.” Because like you teach somebody something and then they’ve come back and not remember how to do it and then, you teach him again and so, he’d say, every day is somebody’s first day. And he wasn’t patient with anybody and it’s frustrating when people don’t listen to you say and it’s frustrating when people don’t listen to what you say, it’s frustrating when people don’t do what you tell them to do or ask them to do but, we have to be patient. My biggest pet peeve is when I have to wait on people, hunting buddies like so, I have all my stuff ready, I’m like super prepared, I’ll prepare the night before, everything’s laid out, all that I got to do, put my clothes on, ready to go out the door and my buddy is half-hour or 45 minutes late. And I’m just sitting there chopping at it like, “Where are you dude?” like we have got to go. But, like it’s hard, you know and it’s the stupidest example but we have to learn patience in every situation of our life because that’s what God’s love is.
Another thing, we are kind and this is talking about Christian. Another word for kindness is generous. The church has to be the most generous people. We have to be the kindest people. Victor Hugo said, “You can give without loving, but you can’t love, without giving” right? So, if you want to truly love people, you have to be a giver and not only tithes and offerings but giving on a daily basis, we just have to be generous people. God’s love is generous so, we have to be generous.
We’re not envious or jealous. This is a tough one. You can suffer with especially in America and Facebook, Instagram makes this hard for me on a daily basis because I see people like posting like three limits of ducks or and I shot like two. And then, somebody shot a really nice Byron and Doug, their picture that tested my envy and jealous, they shot some really nice deer and antelope in Montana. So, we have to rejoice when others rejoice. We can’t, we can’t be envious or jealous you know, there’s people who are in different stages of life and their Christian walk than you are. And you don’t understand what may be happening behind the scenes or how they got to where they are, but you just see what they have and be like, “Oh! I want that.” Like, “why don’t I have that” and you don’t see what happened behind the scene or maybe you think that you should be in that spot and it’s like, “well, I do, you know I’ve done a lot more, you know, I prayed more than that guy.” No, we’re not jealous and we’re not envious.
The second attribute that we need to, not the second but there’s a lot. We don’t act out of pride or humble. Love hides itself, even from itself, right? Like, that’s a weird concept but you like we’re humble, we don’t even recognize when we love people, we don’t boast on ourselves, we don’t boast on our love but we hide from ourselves or we hide, our love hides from each other.
So, there’s a joke, this this guy that was in the church and he was the humblest person in the church. And everybody knew it and he walked around, “Man! He’s the humblest person” so, they gave him a pin and he started wearing it. So, they had to take it away. He’s humble, he started bragging that he was the humblest person so, they had to take away his pin.
Alright! We’ll go on to the next one. I knew that one didn’t go over well, it took me like three or four times to listen to that. So, when we do something for others, we don’t go around boasting it, right. You know, I might give something to somebody or and it’s really easy, “oh yeah man! I gave that away or I gave that to that person.” It’s easy to boast about your accomplishment but, that’s never a good thing to do because love doesn’t do that. I used to have a roommate when I was a sophomore. I played baseball with him and every story that you ever had, he had a better story for you. So, I mean it doesn’t matter what you’re even talking about, I don’t know how, I mean you could talk about being in the circus and he would be like, “Oh! I got a better story than that.” And so, it got to the point that every single story that you ever said, that he would top it. So, we gave him the nickname ‘Almighty’ because like no one was greater than him at stories. So, like we can’t be, don’t be that person, first of all. But, we have to be humble and don’t constantly be trying to top other people around you.
I had another part of it, we’re not rude. I thought that I had about being rude, it’s like being rude is not always what you don’t do or I mean it’s not always like how you act or what you do, it’s what you don’t do. My biggest pet peeve, I have a few, but this is one of my biggest pet peeves and when I open a door for someone, they walk past, they don’t say thank you. And like or, if you say hi to someone on the street and they just like, I mean even if you give me a head nod like that’s cool; you at least acknowledge my existence but like just not saying hi to someone, when they say hi to you or not saying thank you like when somebody when I open the door and then somebody walks by and then they don’t say thank you. Want to smack you, right on the back dude! Because it’s like, it’s not that hard just to be not rude and just to be a decent human being, basically.
So, that shouldn’t be that hard but what would turn off a non-Christian more than a rude Christian, right? Like if you’re being rude or you’re constantly saying rude things or acting rudely or what you’re not doing, that is such a bad example to non-Christians. And that’s really what this love walk is about. It’s about being an example. We don’t seek our own interests, we put others first. This is hard for some of you and we have to be conscious, I’m perfect at all these so, I can say you know, no, I’m just kidding! But, like it’s hard for a lot of people because you know, we go about our day we’re busy, right. And it’s like, “Oh! I got to work, I got to be here on time or I’m in the grocery store, I got my own things to worry about” and we’re constantly just self-seeking and thinking about our plan, our time frame, what we need to be doing, where we need to be going and you’re just in this tunnel vision. And Jesus, was constantly moved with compassion and you can’t be moved with compassion, if you don’t see needs, right? So, if you’re self-seeking and you’re always in on your own game plan and you’re not seeing like, “Oh man! There’s someone that needs to be prayed for.” “This person needs.. I need to talk to this person” or if you’re constantly self-seeking and you’re not going to be moved with compassion because you’re not going to be seeing everything around you, right? So, we got to be aware, we got to keep our eyes up and not always just be thinking about what we’re doing, what we’re you know, I got to get this, I got to get that.
I know sometimes when I go, okay, so I used to live in Montana and the really small town like 3,500 people. And they used to put a mirror at the end of the city to make it look bigger (It’s a joke!) But people would still write checks, like everywhere there, so, like you’d be behind like three or four people and people just like writing like not at the bank or giving them to people’s like the grocery store. And like, they didn’t have debit card or credit card, so, you can actually pay at the pump there and like I’m used to this like, fast pace you know, I’m living around here and in part of, up to this fast pace thing and you know, you have to be patient. But also, be like, “Hey! This isn’t all about me and my, you know just be cool!” You know because people will gravitate toward you, if you’re just a nice person, in general. So, don’t be seeking out your own interest.
Love is not provoked. It’s another hard one. How many times have you gotten into an argument and you said something that you regretted like pretty much.. nobody! Cool.. just me! I’ll talk to myself. Well! We don’t act out of anger. Love is not provoked, we don’t act out of anger. The worst arguments you can have is with people that you love, right and I’ve had like great arguments with my wife like, we are good arguing sometimes. But, like if you’re not taking a step back and being slow to speak and quick to listen, things that can spew out in an anger or in frustration, that can that can hurt people. And our words have the power to alter somebody’s life and some people view a short temper is just like, “Oh this is just a minor character flaw” like, “Oh yeah, I’m just short fuse” or you know, I just get angry easy that is not good man because if you can just fly off the handle at something, who knows what you’re going to do next, right? And if you can just like instantly and that’s the funniest thing about like arguing with my wife, we can be going back and forth and then like somebody could call or the, you know somebody’s UPS shows up like, “Hey! What’s up bro?” like me and her just are like, “good to see you man.” There’s like I can have that same animosity because I’m provoked with. I can have the animosity with her because I’m provoked but like then somebody else and I can just instantly turn it off.
So, this is a choice, right? Love is a choice, we have to choose to walk in this love. How big is it for kids to not under… for you not to be provoked towards them, right? I think I’m a baby and she’s you know she’s so small and we’re not really even like hardly disciplining or anything like that but it’s like and I just think of myself in the future, is like, okay, I need to make sure that I don’t react, when she gets mad or she throws a fit or something. Like because, we have the power to change someone’s life by you know, somebody has dealt with being abused physically, mentally. Some of your coaches or your parents or loved ones or somebody has said something bad to you and you still remember it to this day because, they were provoked and they act out of anger. And so, we have to be very careful. We got to be slow to speak and quick to listen and that just goes with being a good communicator too. I know people that just always want to talk, always want to talk and it’s like we got to be slow to speak and quick to listen. So, I’m going to spend a little bit of time on this and I don’t have too much time.
Love does not take into account and suffer wrong. We have to be quick to forgive. This is probably the hardest for a lot of people because offense will ruin your life. It literally will, if you’re constantly carrying around bitterness and anger towards everyone you know. Because, this person did wrong. I knew a guy, he’s a teacher when I went to river, maybe shouldn’t have said that but, he was still talking about a business transaction that went wrong in 1985. That his business partner messed him over and it was the biggest mistake of his life in 1985 and this is 2004 and he’s still talking about it. He’s still holding that grudge man and you know, that’s not healthy for you to keep those grudges and getting mad about it. Maybe gone through a divorce or maybe different things that have happened that we don’t take into account stuff wrong.
Luke 17:6 said, Jesus said, “If you have the faith of the mustard seed, you’ll say to the Sycamine tree be plucked out and planned into the sea.”
In the same chapter, Peter being you know, he asked him like, “How many times should we forgive like seven times?” Like Peter just being Peter like, “Yeah? Seven times?” and Jesus is like, “No! 7 times 70 which is 490, any of you guys thinking that, 490, I got it but, there’s a reason he used a sycamine tree in this, for the analogy.
Alright, he was talking about bitterness and un-forgiveness, he’s talking about you can have the faith of mustard seed and you can call this stuff to happen but, if you see how bitterness and un-forgiveness in your life, you know that’s going to hinder the things that are happening. So, the reason why he used a sycamine tree, the sycamine tree had a deep root system. Un-forgiveness and bitterness can take a deep root in your heart, you know it just starts as a seed and if you keep, you know if you just keep on thinking about that and dwelling on that, it can just keep going deeper and deeper. And that’s hard to pluck out. We have these Ivy that grows on our trees and every time, I have to like to keep on cutting them back and back and back because they keep on just wanting to grow up the trees, I mean it’s every 3 or 4 months. These Ivies just continues to grow up and it wants to choke that tree out and it’s taking this deep, I mean, these roots are coming in and wrapping around it and that the bitterness and un-forgiveness takes a deep root in your heart, if you’re not careful it’s easy to go out to, you know your garden and see a piece of Ivy, okay there’s that, that’s done with that but if you continue to let it grow and it’s going to take a deep root.
Another reason the sycamine tree is used in this analogy, sycamine tree, the wood from it was used for coffins. Un-forgiveness will literally ruin your health if you let it produce and if you let it if you basically let it go and produce bitter fruit. When you think about all the things that you have done to you, think about the un-forgiveness, the bitterness that produces fruit in your life of bitterness and un-forgiveness, right! And you’re constantly going around and you might be spreading your bitterness and here’s a piece of fruit for you, bro and chew on that. And you’re just starting to make enemies of everywhere you go around but it produced bitter fruit.
The last thing about this is it was pollinated by the sting of a wasp, which is super crazy but this tree was pollinated by the sting of wasp and just kind of like how the fruit like, you’re going to be constantly going around stinging people, if you’re harboring bitterness and un-forgiveness, right! So, we have to be quick to forgive. Okay!
I’m running out of time! I’m just going to go through these last things here really quick. We don’t rejoice in injustice, we bear all things, when a situation seems impossible we stick together with the love program. This is one thing that I just want to touch on and we’ll get going, out of here. We believe all things and we look for the best and believe in people. It’s easy to develop opinions on or whatever people have talked to you about that person, right? That’s gossip but, if somebody comes up to you is like, “I’m just warning you bro, this guy messed me up and back in 2000, you know whatever 2008. This is the thing like…” No no no, you don’t develop your opinions on somebody else’s opinions, right? You meet them first and you believe all things, this is a hard thing to do.
I had a boss, everyone around me told me how bad a boss he was. “Oh! he’s an idiot” “Can’t do this or Can’t do that” and like if you start to let them keep on telling you about him and you keep on feeding into that gossip, like pretty soon you just hate that person; without even knowing them. And then, I finally met this guy, I’m like, “Oh! He’s actually not that bad a guy. These guys are just having horrible attitudes” right?
So, we can get bad information from people and we can run with it and then believe that.
So, I was challenged with that this week, somebody text me and was like, “Hey man! I just wanted to warn you about somebody.” I was like, “Does it have to do anything with me?” “Well, no! But..” I was like, “Then I don’t want to hear it.” and I chose to put down that gossip, and whatever they were going to say is, they… I don’t care because that’s between you and them, that’s not between me. That’s none of my business, right?
So, not only can we not spread gossip, we don’t listen to gossip because that’s going to give us the wrong idea about other people.
There’s this pastor I listen to, his mom, any time somebody would start bringing up gossip, she just starts singing like something like, I don’t like this and he’s like let’s talk about Jesus and she would just start singing. And like you know, it looked like she was crazy basically, but like every time they keep getting louder and louder and louder. Her sister-in-law came over and she was at the point where she was like in a wheelchair, she could still walk but there’s so the sister-in-law is like talking bad about one of her sisters and so, she’s just start singing, let’s talk about Jesus. And she got gradually louder and louder and she’s like, “Oh! So, is your mom like losing it or what?” and she’s like, “No, she doesn’t like what you have to say.” Like your gossip, let’s shut that gossip down immediately.
Dad Hagin, he said that or they said that when Dad Hagin would hear gossip, he’d just leave the room. He won’t even entertain it, just like, “Alright, I’m leaving.” And I tried to do that, sometimes it’s good man, your flesh wants to hear that, “Yeah! You got something for me, let me know because you can, you know.” But, you got to get rid of that. You got to flee that stuff.
Okay! I’m almost done! So, in closing, I’m going to have the worship team come back, we’re going to pray, in just a second but.
See, this Christian life is not capricious like, it doesn’t happen overnight. It’s going to test you on a daily basis, your love walk is going to be on a daily basis. It’s not just going to. Okay, how do you practice? How do you get good at an instrument? Or How do you get good at a sport, you practice it. Some of you never practice the love walk, some of you have, just said you know like I’m supposed to love my brother or whatever you like, I’d love you, I don’t want to kill you but that’s as far as your love goes but this love is active. Our love as Christians is active, right!
The thought about the prodigal son, so, how many prodigal sons have been turned away because you didn’t understand the heart of a father! Alright and I’m not trying to get heavy with you guys because this church is very welcoming to everybody, right? But, there’s churches out there that, they might not like how you dressed or the color of your skin or they might have like not like your haircut or what region you came from or anything like that but how many people have been turned away because we didn’t understand the heart of the father? So, we have to have the heart of the father and talking about a love walk, it’s like how do you climb Mount Everest? One step at a time, obviously! Right?
So, we got to put on the God kind of love every day. I challenge you, I’ve been doing this for probably, two-three months I read first Corinthians 13 every day, when I’m reading my normal Bible, whatever and I’m praying and everything, I read first Corinthians 13 every single day because, I’m going to put on that man, I’m going to put on that love that God has for me, not only so I can be loved obviously, but because through us we can love.
Jars of clay, I’m going to have the prayer team come up too, jars of clay summarize this meeting, they summarized John 13:35 and it says, “They will know you’re Christians by your love.” You might be the only person that actually love somebody else I mean, look at the people that are out on the street, that are homeless or they’re hurting or they’re eating you know, you might be the only person that says, “Hey man! I love you, bro.” You might be the only one, that shows them for the love of God. Like, we can intertwine ourselves in somebody’s destiny, right? By loving, by walking in that love, by forgiving quickly, by being kind, by being generous, we can intertwine people in our destiny together that we can pull them into the house of God and change their lives because of our example. And the world has to know that God loves them.
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