Life’s Greater Aim – Love Matters Most
If you want your life to count – you have to focus it. You don’t have time for everything. And not everything is of equal value. Jesus said there are two things that are more valuable in life than anything else. He said it’s love. Loving God and loving each other. In this weeks’ sermon, we talk about why love matters most.
Something To Talk About:
- Love validates my faith. This is a powerful statement. A person who professes to know Christ but does not love shows by their life that their profession of faith is false. If you know God you will love because the cross is all about God’s love for you. In the same way, your attitude towards others reveals and validates your faith. People who say they love God, yet separate themselves from others call into question the validity of their faith.
- Love integrates my life: All of our qualities and all of our spiritual virtues are glued together by love. Compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, bearing with people, and forgiving one another, all these qualities are glued together when love is present. It is possible to be outwardly compassionate and have a hard heart inside. It’s possible to be outwardly kind, but inwardly cruel. If love is not present, we have a conflict between our outward behavior and our inward self. Love binds these together.
- Love compensates for my sin: We are all works in process. How do we keep that process going? We love one another earnestly. Love covers a multitude of sins. If our love quotient is greater than our sin quotient, then God’s work will be visible. The love that we are to give to one another springs out of an acceptance of God’s love for us. How many times have you or I said the wrong thing about God or other people? How many of those sins have we been forgiven for? At the cross, God forgave all our sins. He calls us to know His love for us. Love is behind His forgiveness. That same love is the catalyst for our love for others.
- Love reverberates forever: We won’t have business meetings in heaven, but we will have love. We won’t have language barriers between people, but we will have love. We won’t argue about the merits of various politicians in heaven, but all of the politicians there will be loved by us. Love reverberates forever. We can talk about the sacrifices we have made, and the money or time we have donated to the church. We can talk about how many generations of Christians are in our family or how God has blessed us with wealth and health. No matter what sacrifices we have made, no matter what blessings we have experienced, if we do not have love we gain nothing.
- The best expression of love is time: Every time I give you a minute of my time I’m never going to get it back. Every time I give you an hour of my time I’m never going to get it back. Every time I give you a day of my life I’m never going to get it back. I can always get more money but I can’t get more time. I only have a certain amount of allotted days and you do too. So you better choose very carefully how you give your time. If you give your time to a TV program you’ve just given an hour of your life you’re never getting back. Was it worth it? You need to decide. What is my time worth? That’s why when you give something to people, the most valuable, precious thing you can give them is your attention. Because when you give attention to somebody you’re saying, you matter to me. You are valuable. You are worth listening to. The Bible says that God wants you to make time for relationships. Ephesians 5:2 says “Live a life filled with love for others, following the example of Christ, who loved you and gave himself as a sacrifice to take away your sins.”
- The best time to love is now: The best time to love is now. Not tomorrow. Not later. Not someday. Not one of these days. Not when I get around to it. Not soon. Whatever you intend to do with your life do it now. If you have an opportunity to show love, do it now. The Bible says “Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.” (Galatians 6:10) Wherever we’ve got the opportunity. That means now. Use every chance you have for doing good. In other words, now. We should never postpone showing love. If love is the essence of life – it’s the number one goal in life, it’s the reason God put you on earth to learn, then love should always take priority over everything else.
- Talk about a time when you really experienced love. What happened?
- Is loving others loving what God loves practically? Why or why not?
- When you think about who might be in your “inner circle”, or classed as “strangers” or “enemies,” which group do you have the most trouble loving?
- Why are we compelled to love our neighbors? What does “as yourself” actually mean? How difficult is this standard?
- Why do you think we often come up with ways of limiting Jesus’ command to love our neighbors?
- What are some truths we need to be reminded of in order to love others?
- What resources (money, gifting, time, etc.) do you have? And how are you using them to love God and love others?
- What would it look like to order our love for God above all else? How does loving God first change how you would love yourself? How does loving yourself change how you would love your neighbor? How can we help each other in this?
- What has God revealed to you in this week’s message? What are you going to do about it? Do you need any accountability from the group?
Take One Thing Home with You:
How much do we desire to know God’s, great love? Knowing the love of God for us is essential to healthy Christian living. God’s love is fundamental to our identity as His children and the sacrifice of Jesus. It may seem elementary that God loves you, but it is far far more than we can ever understand. God loves you simply because He loves you. You don’t have to work for His affection. You don’t have to set yourself straight before God can pour out His love over you. The father in the prodigal son’s story ran out to meet his son before anything had ever been set right. He didn’t know his son was there to apologize. He didn’t care. He simply wanted to love his child. Your heavenly Father feels the same way about you. He longs to love you right where you are, as you are. He longs to fill you with love overflowing.