Love

Hebrews 10:19 - 25

January 1, 2017

When a building is being constructed the groundwork is extremely important. If the foundation is faulty, the whole building is unstable. The same is true in building loving relationships. If we have a solid base of love, we can experience deep and meaningful relationships. Each of us has a different capacity for receiving and expressing love. Like many other activities in life there is a skill level involved. This can be attributed to how much love was received in their family as they were growing up. It is also determined by basic temperament and personality. Some have gentle temperaments while others do not. Many respond differently to the situations of life. Many have become bitter and hardhearted over the years. Others have become more thankful, open, and gentle. In our scripture today, we are called to exhort one another on toward love and good deeds. How can you be more loving in 2017? What can you do this week to encourage someone to be more loving?

1.            YOU MATTER TO GOD

God wants to see each of us transformed into a more loving person. He is trying daily to convince you that you matter to Him. You are the focus of His attention and affection. You are precious in His sight. You are loved beyond words. Isaiah 43: 1 & 4 says, “I have summoned you by name, you are mine.” and “You are precious and honored in my sight.” God is saying He loves you. Listen and learn. In a tough and often loveless world, we matter more to Him than we can ever dream. What can you say to a person to help them understand how much they matter to God?

            Many people who join misguided groups do so because they are looking for someone to love them. They may come from loveless families, they may have few friends if any, and they seem to be drifting aimlessly through life. They are looking for anyone who will show them love, even if it is in the wrong place. Christianity is different. Even a beginner who takes the Bible in his hands can see in bold print that God puts Himself on the line and expresses love without reservation. You can choose to reject that love, and many do, but God continually reveals that He is willing to share His love because you matter to Him.

Do you continually thank God for loving you?

2.            LOVE IN ACTION

When it comes to love, God takes it far beyond words. We all know that talk is cheap. God rolled up His sleeves, put on human flesh, got knocked around on the playing field of humanity, was crucified for YOU, and arose from the dead to reveal His love through His Almighty power. John 15:13 says; “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” If you miss this, you miss everything. If you receive this your life will never be the same.

How have you experienced the depth of this love, and how can you share this with others?

3.            THE PRESENCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

God proves His love by sending the Holy Spirit to live inside of us. The Holy Spirit takes on the task of warming up and changing your heart. His desire daily is to make you a more loving and caring person. The Holy Spirit is like a spot light that begins to melt you, tenderize you, and allow you to live in surrender to His presence and will.

How have you experienced the transforming presence and power of the Holy Spirit in the following areas of your life?

            How you love your family members

            How you love and care for other followers of Christ

            How you feel toward those who do not yet know God’s love

4.            A NEW COMMUNITY

We are deeply impacted by those we spend time with. If we are around selfish people, who live only for themselves we too may become self-centered. If we are around people, who are mad at the world and live spite toward others with hatred and anger in their hearts it can infect us and eventually destroy us. If we are around discouraged people all the time, we too may become discouraged. If we are around people filled with love it can encourage us and exhort us to be more loving, and will have a transforming affect on our lives.

Is there a person or group of people who have a negative influence on your life?

What needs to change in your life so you can spend more time with encouraging followers of Christ?

What will you do this week to express your love for another person?

            Take time to identify at least two people who need to be loved by you.

            Commit yourself to pray for them personally.

            Commit yourself to call them, write them, or see them this week.

            Give love, and be willing to receive love this week.

            Come and let us encourage one another in the Lord.