Life’s Greatest Aim: The secrets of lasting love.
In the same way, a roof offers protection for your home, every lasting relationship must include grace to cover each other’s wrongs. In this message, Marty explains why grace is essential to lasting love and how you can extend to others grace and the same forgiveness you want to receive.
Something To Talk About:
God wants to display His power through our lives, and the best way to display your grace and love to others. Consider the following four points:
- Lasting love extends grace: You can choose to be gracious.1 Corinthians 13:7 (ESV) says, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” One of the greatest issues in marriage and any relationship is not the issue of how much you have in common. The issue is how you choose to deal with the differences. If your love bears all things, then you will respond with grace. Grace is our willingness to help those who hurt us, who fail us, who rub us the wrong way. Let me give you a second definition of grace. Grace is our willingness to give people room to sin without either approving of the sin or disapproving of the person.
- Lasting love expresses faith: When love chooses to believe in people. Love chooses to trust them. “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” Love believes all things. You can be a person who is gullible and falls for anything. You can be a cynic who is suspicious of everyone. Or you can be a loving person who, when presented with no compelling evidence, gives the other person the benefit of the doubt. So give a second chance, but make that second chance include new input, new information, and some show of real willingness to change, not empty promises. When love believes all things it may say, “I’ll believe it when I see it…but I am willing to see it if you are willing to show it to me.”Galatians 5:6 ESV: “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.”
- Lasting love expects the best: (1 Corinthians 13:7 TLB) “If you love someone, you will … always expect the best of him, and always stand your ground in defending him.” This is how God loves you. God never stops being patient with you. God never stops believing in you. God never stops hoping for the best in your life. God never gives up on you. That’s what God expects you to do with everybody else.“Love never stops believing.” That means it expresses faith. You tell someone, “Even though we’re having a tough time, I will never stop believing in you.” We often put people down and dash their dreams. God wants us to give others hope, emphasize the positive and not major on the negatives, see what the future can be, and joins in sharing the other person’s vision. Expect the best from them.
- Lasting love endures the worst: This is a real key to lasting love. Some of you have faced disagreements, discouragements, and horrible events such as the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, or the pain of an extended time in an unloving relationship. Yet you are still together today. The source of a bad relationship is not found in the actions that one or the other does. The source of the split is found in the spirit, in the attitude, in the inner person. That is why God tells us to “guard yourselves in your spirit…” When we start to find that our attitude is changing away from loving someone toward disliking or hating them, when our attitude goes south, that is the time we need to be on guard. We can make things much worse if we approach another person with a chip on our shoulder rather than extending grace. Sometimes you need to let go of your fears and believe in them. Sometimes you need to express the hope that you can work it out together with God’s help. Sometimes you just need to endure for love’s sake. That is what God has done for us. God has extended grace.
- How do you define love?
- How can grace be summarized?
- How can God’s overcoming, or irresistible grace be part of our lives this week?
- How do you best express love to others? What does it look like for you when love is absent, lacking, or insufficient? How is life better when love is present?
- Name one specific way that you will show self-giving love to another believer this week. Write it down, reflect on it, and put it into practice this week. If you are in a small group, discuss this with one another.
- What does it mean for you to reflect God’s love to others? What are some practical ways for you to give others a taste of what the love of God is like?
- Are we a “display window” for the supernatural love of Christ? In what ways are we accomplishing this mission, and in what ways are we hindering it?
- What’s one change you can make in your life to put more love into action?
- What did you think or find interesting about today’s message? Did anything that was said in the message particularly speak to you or surprise you? What is your biggest takeaway from the message?
- What will you do? How will you or your group put into practice what you’ve learned this week?
- Where do we go from here? What’s the next step God wants you to take? When will you take it?
Take One Thing Home with You
“For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” – John 1:16-17 (ESV)
Maybe you’ve heard sermons about grace. Or even read books about grace. But my hope is that you will look at grace in a completely different way from now on. Grace is one of those topics that can be discussed at great length, but is best understood through real-life experiences. Otherwise, it really won’t have as much effect. I have heard multiple sermons, and podcasts and read countless articles on grace. I’ve memorized Bible verses that describe grace. But at the end of the day, what has taught me the most about grace is my experiences and the stories of others who have experienced grace.
It’s my prayer you will powerfully experience the grace effect in your life — and no matter what you have done, no matter what has been done to you, you will personally experience the truth that grace is greater.