Life’s Greater Aim – Love Matters Most
Until we understand how much God loves us, we cannot fully love Him or love others. In order to follow Jesus’ example of how to love others, we must first know how Jesus showed love to those He encountered. Once we see how He did it, we are to apply those lessons in our life to the way we treat others. In this message, we talk about how Jesus accepts us, values us, loves us, and believes in us.
Something To Talk About:
- Accept others the way Jesus accepts me: “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” (Romans 15:7 NIV) The question is how do you accept others just as Christ accepted you? You may have accepted Christ, but it is important that we realize that Jesus has accepted you. God accepts us because we have a relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus died on the cross for our sins. When we trust Him and believe that His death clears the way for us to have a relationship with God, then we are saved, born again, and brought into God’s family. In other words, God is gracious to us. By grace, God saves all who trust in His son. Through Jesus, we are accepted. We first need to accept God’s grace to be able to accept anybody. So do receive God’s gifts: grace, peace, salvation, joy, and love. Then you’re ready to accept others as Christ accepted you.
- Value others like Jesus values me: If you want to be Christ-like, it begins with valuing people. When Jesus saw Zacchaeus, He invited him to lunch. Everyone in town was appalled because Zacchaeus was a crooked man who stole money from people. They all wondered why Jesus had lunch with a crook. But that’s who Jesus came for, lost people. Religious people want to write sinners off—Jesus wants to write them into His story. Everyone needs and desires to feel valued. The feeling of being devalued or diminished by someone else’s words or behavior can be very destructive. The question is, how do we treat others? Do we show that we value them? And does their behavior show that they feel valued? Think about the value you put on people. In general, people respond according to the value you place on them. The gospel is best accepted when we value the people who do not believe the gospel. The gospel is best seen when we make anyone who walks through the doors of this church feel that we value them. Jesus died for sinners. He wants us to value others as He values us.
- Forgive others like Jesus forgives me: In the Bible, there is an inseparable link between our receiving God’s forgiveness and our willingness to grant that forgiveness to others. In Ephesians 4:32, Paul said, “Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” We are to forgive others just as God has forgiven us. How do we forgive others as God has forgiven us? First of all, we are to forgive those who don’t deserve to be forgiven. In our minds, most of us have people we are willing to forgive and people we are unwilling to forgive. In our minds, there are what we consider things done to us or others that are unforgivable. Thank God that’s not in His mind. We are to forgive those who don’t deserve to be forgiven. Second, we forgive others on the basis of grace, not works. We refuse to require somebody to earn our forgiveness. We grant it as a gift, just as it was granted to us.
- Believe in others like Jesus believes in me. : “If you love someone, you will be loyal to him no matter what the cost. You will always believe in him, always expect the best of him, and always stand your ground in defending him” (1 Corinthians 13:7 TLB) Jesus believes in you. Each day you encounter people with low self-esteem. Everybody has insecurities. And many people are repeatedly playing a tape in their mind of how someone said to them long ago that they wouldn’t amount to anything. You can help them start believing what Jesus says about them instead of believing what other people say. God wants you to show faith in others so they can believe what God says about them. One of the best ways we do this in the church is by being part of a small group. When you have a really tough week and you’re doubting and down and discouraged, you need a group of trusted people who will believe in you. And you can do the same for them. If God believes in us, we need to believe in and support one another.
- What does it mean to you to love as Jesus loved?
- How does Jesus treat those who are given to Him? Read John 6:37. What makes God’s acceptance of us amazing?
- How should we accept others as stated in Romans 15:7? What are some ways to show acceptance to people?
- What does Romans 15:2 say we should think as we deal with our neighbor? How can we help a friend or neighbor who has doubts and fears?
- Read Ephesians 2:10 and describe how God values each of us.
- Value depends on what someone will pay for it. According to 1 Peter 1:19, what value did God put on mankind? Do we underestimate our own value in the eyes of God?
- What way are we to treat everyone we meet according to 1 Peter 2:17? What are some ways we can do that?
- What is God’s reason for forgiving us in your opinion?
- What type of forgiveness are we to extend to others according to Colossians 3:13? Why should we give up our right to hold grudges?
- Read Matthew 18:33: What does that state as a reason to forgive others?
- Read Matthew 21:21 and discuss Jesus’ idea of what’s possible for us to accomplish. According to John 14:12, what kinds of works is the believer able to do?
Take One Thing Home with You
“And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.” – Ephesians 3:18.
We have talked about how Jesus demonstrated love to the people He encountered in His early ministry. He is still doing the same for us today. Make it your prayer to understand how much God loves you. Once you realize how much God accepts, values, forgives, and believes in you, then God’s love can flow through you in ways you never thought possible. This week look for opportunities to demonstrate God’s love to people with whom you normally interact. In what ways can you demonstrate love this week? Ask God to open your eyes to see the people He wants to love through you.