Jesus called His disciples to "come and follow me". That is the same call He is issuing to us today. "Come follow me, be like me, and love like me." Love is more than just nice actions and sappy words but a condition of the heart. In order for our hearts to be like Jesus we are gonna have to do a few things that God left up to us. First is to be mindful of the things of God. Set your “affections on things above”. We must deny our flesh and take up our cross daily and lay our life down for others. That’s not easy. Actually it is impossible without the help of the Holy Spirit’s power living inside us. Once we come to a place of surrender then we can begin to follow Jesus. Following Jesus is to walk and live like He did. It is not asking Him to follow us or to bless our dreams. When do what He has blessed and not asking Him to bless what we are doing then we will love like He does. If we want to see the miracles of God we are going to have to consecrate ourselves according to Joshua 3:5 and “God will do wonders among us”. This week Pastor Allen sums up this series with points on how we can submit ourselves to the one that started it all and be like and love like Him.
Love is one of the greatest benefits we have from the Kingdom of God. Its dynamics are so different from the world's interpretation of love. It is only through love that we can become perfect, like our Father in Heaven, according to Matthew 5:48. We are able to see Him, love like Him, and become like Him when we walk in love. Being a “Christian” means that we are “little Christ”. We are to be like Him not only in behavior but in heart as well. A man will never rise above the limitations of his heart. You want your behavior to change? Your heart has to change. The thing about it, is that we don’t have the ability to change our heart only God can do that. We must surrender our hearts to Him allowing His Holy Spirit to put His love in our hearts. When He does that we are now empowered with a love that is divine and beyond our ability to replicate with human efforts. A divine love that will change the world to many is incomprehensible. That’s what make God’s love so amazing. It doesn’t make sense to this world because it truly is “out of this world.” Pastor Allen continues the summer series of Love Your Neighbor by targeting the benefits of love and by giving us 4 ways that walking in love manifests itself in our lives.
Loving your neighbor is more than just doing things for them but it’s also about building them up with the words that you speak. Words have power. They can end wars or begin wars. They can end marriages or end marriages. Our country was founded on the words from the constitution. The civil war and the end to slavery in our country had to happen or the words of our constitution would have to change. If we as followers of Jesus Christ are to love like He loves then we must stand on His words to us and His commandment to love our neighbor. He has lavished amazing words upon us as His people. We are a peculiar people, a holy nation and royal priesthood. Wow, those are some pretty amazing words for lost and sinful people. But that is what He says about us. Then why shouldn’t we follow suit and do the same for each other, for our neighbor. Words have the power to build or destroy the choice is yours. If we use our words to build we must have 3 things contained in them. First, they must be true. Secondly, they must be timely. Lastly, they must be sincere. One sincere compliment does more than 25 insincere ones. Let us love our neighbors by using our words and His words to build them up and not tear them down.
Love takes chances. You can’t control what other people do. You may try but you simply can’t control others. When you love others despite their behavior you are taking a chance of them never loving you back. You are taking a chance of being hurt, used, or taken advantage of. But true love according to 1 Corinthians 13 is worth taking the chance.
It’s hard to receive or give love when you are full of shame, guilt and condemnation. They are a plug that keeps the true love of God flowing through us. If you truly want to love your neighbor as God does that means you will have to receive the love of God first and allow His love to eradicate your shame, guilt and condemnation. When you do you will be able to give an unfiltered and untainted love. A pure and flawless love that never expects anything in return. It’s reward is in the opportunity to love beyond reason.
The second plug of love is offense. When people hurt you, and they will at some point in your life, what are you going to do? Are you going to get even, get mad, or wait till they get hurt and rub it in? Bitterness and unforgiveness are two major enemies to true godly love. If we are able to receive the love of God unfiltered, with the forgiveness of our faults, shortcomings and sins, they should we not do the same for others that has been done for us?
Pastor Jacob Hickman this week shares about these two plugs of love with powerful and personal testimonies of how he and others have learned to love their neighbor like God loves their neighbor.
What does the kingdom of God value more than anything else? Relationships. You can’t love God and hate people. If you hate people then you need to look at your relationship with God. It is out of order and not functioning properly if you don’t love people. Simple, yet profound truth that if lived out on a daily basis can change the world. Yes, change the world be it the world in which you live or the world at large depending on the “relationships” that you have.
An author once said, “we are unfit for communion with God with an ongoing quarrel with someone.” Wow, that is a powerful statement. God in His Word tells us how important our horizontal relationships are but their health has a lot to do with the health of our vertical relationship with God. You can’t separate the two they are intertwined. “Love your neighbor” is more than a nice philosophy or slogan. As followers of Jesus Christ it should be a way of life and embedded into our hearts, minds, souls and life.
In part three of this series Pastor Allen Hickman share what it means to love your neighbor when they have wronged you. What do you do with hurts, grudges, and mistreatment? Hang on to them? Get even? Just ignore them in hopes they will just go away? No, No and No. We must take our hurts and lay them at the feet of Jesus and allow Him to give us and empower us with a divine love that can only come from Him.
This weeks message is powerful and potent but the punch is eased with a little levity as our drama team does a skit entitled “Grudge”.
Loving your neighbor is not always the easiest thing to do. Especially when your neighbor doesn’t deserve love, or at least that’s what we may think. Last week we defined what love is and how we are empowered to love by the Holy Spirit of God. This week’s message is about what kingdom we live in, what true servanthood is and how to define who our neighbor is.
You can’t give love if you have never received love. Jesus told Peter at the last supper, “if you don’t let me wash your feet you can have not part of me.” Wow, what powerful words spoken by the creator and savior of the world. Basically said, “if you don’t let me serve you, or receive from me, you can’t give and serve others as I have loved you.” Jesus was and is the example of what love is and how to love our neighbor.
Loving your neighbor and serving your neighbor will not be convenient. You may have to adjust your lifestyle in order to love your neighbor. It also may require you to sacrifice, time, money, ego, etc… But true love says it’s worth the sacrifice. Honestly, according to First Corinthians 13 if it’s true godly love it’s not a sacrifice, you can’t help it. Loving our neighbor means you go above and beyond what society says is enough. Love is more than just a choice it is a compulsion.
Take time this week and look for the opportunity to serve, love, and do kindness to your neighbor; your co-worker, family member, person on the street, etc… If you do you and they will not regret it.
Love is not what the songs on the radio, Spotify or Pandora say it is. It is so much greater that those perspectives. True love is selfless, not an egotistical, humanistic, or manipulative way of thinking and living. True love thinks of others before itself. It “esteems” other higher than it does of itself.
Loving God cannot be done without loving your neighbor. They go hand in hand. The command Jesus gave to His disciples over 2000 years ago is the same command He has given us as modern day disciples; Love God and love your neighbor. You might say that is simple and elementary. However, the things we learned in Elementary School we still use on a regular basis. Math, basic English, writing, and reading are all essentials to communicating and functioning in our everyday world. They are basic but necessary. Loving your neighbor is foundational to our relationship with God and others as true followers of Jesus Christ.
In order, to love like Jesus we must do three things. First realize, that kind of love does not happen naturally. It must be divine and powered by the Holy Spirit. Paul said, “the love of God has been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.” He is the one that empowers us with true love. Second, be open, willing and ready to receive love. You can’t give away what you do not have. Third and lastly, know deep in your heart of hearts that you are loved first and foremost by you heavenly Father. When we do these things we are ready to love our neighbor without judgment or critique.
Our hearts are the very center of who we are. The Bible talks about our hearts and how important it is to keep it healthy. We are not talking about our physical heart but the core, center of our will, emotions, mind, and thoughts. However, taking care of our physical heart is important our spiritual heart health is paramount to everything else for out of it flows the issues of life.
To guard our heart means that we are paying attention to those things that we don’t normally pay attention to. Why? Because we know that things such as bitterness, unforgiveness, anger, hurt and more will slowly seep into our hearts and begin to clog the flow of God’s love. As that happens we begin to make decisions based on the failing condition of our heart and people around us suffer the consequences. No matter whether you are a Christian are not the condition of your heart will always transfer into how you treat people.
In order to guard your heart first, be quick to forgive, then worship God with all your heart, also, give love in word and in deed no matter whether you deem people worthy of it or not, and lastly fill your heart with God’s thoughts, His words, and His opinion. When we do this we not only guard our hearts but we strengthen them and are able to give the true love of God to others.
How can we love people when we don’t put God first in our life? We can’t. Jesus told us to love God and to love others but in order to love others we first must love God. We don’t love God half-hearted with an reserves left over it is all or nothing. God gave all and expects us to nothing let than to give our all.
If we are going to truly be the disciples of Jesus and see our world changed we are going to have to go back to “GO”. There are some simplistic and basic elements that we need to remind ourselves of first of which God wants it ALL. We don’t negotiate with God. Why? Because He is unreasonable? No, because He knows unless we give Him our ALL we can never be ALL He has destined us to be and we will never be able to love others like He does.
Pastor Allen shares passionately timeless truths that are foundational to walking with God and instrumental in seeing change come to the world in which God has placed us.
To be a mother is one of the greatest callings a woman could ever receive. Why? Because she is impacting the world. As a godly mom, her influence is even greater because she is impacting generations to come through her children with the hope that comes from and through Jesus Christ.
However, life has its way of bringing disappointment and hurt. Many moms find it hard to be the godly mom they are to be because of that hurt and disappointment. Disappointment brings an onslaught of emotions that are not always easy to deal with by yourself. That is why Jesus told His disciples in John 14:19-27 that He would give them peace, in the midst of the storm.
Many times, we ask God to take away the storm when He wants to take us through the storm. We don’t always understand why God does what He does but we can rest assured that His love is always there and will guide us through any storm we may encounter.
This week RLM women’s pastor Amy Hickman shares about how God will give moms and others peace in the midst of the storm of life and how she has learned to trust in God while raising 11 boys in today’s topsy turvy world.