Pastor Ron Swanson
Jan 29, 2018
If you asked several Christian friends, “What’s your number one goal in life?”, no doubt you’d get a variety of answers. One person might say, “My goal is to get married”. Another person might desire a promotion at work. But, Paul had a very different idea of what our goal should be. He said: “Eagerly seek to develop in love. Make this your aim, your great quest” (1 Cor. 14:1). According to Paul, the great quest of the Christian life is to love like Jesus loved – completely, sacrificially, and unconditionally.
Sound impossible? Romans 5:5 tells us that the love of God has already been placed in our hearts if we’re born-again. So, it’s not a matter of trying to obtain this love. It’s a matter of developing the love that’s already there. (In the natural, a body-builder isn’t trying to “obtain” muscles. He’s simply developing the muscles he was born with. The same thing is true in the Christian life.) God’s love is already in your heart. Your job is to yield to it – to let it flow through you – so it touches the lives of others. That’s your “great quest” in life!
Let’s examine some reasons why it’s important to walk in love.
1.) Walking in Love Is Our Great Commandment
In the Old Testament, God gave His people hundreds of Commandments that were designed to control the flesh and to curb sin. Under the New Covenant, however, Jesus has only given us one commandment – the commandment of love (John 15:12). When we love God and love people, the rest of the commandments are fulfilled automatically.
2.) Walking in Love Will Revolutionize Our Home Life!
In almost thirty years of marriage counselling, I’ve never had one person say, “Pastor, I need to talk to you! My problem is my husband! He’s being too good to me! I can’t take it anymore! It’s got to stop!” No, marriage problems stem out of the selfish nature of our flesh. When we seek to get our way at the expense of the other person, it causes problems in our relationship. But, what would happen to your marriage if your #1 goal were to put the other person first? What would happen if you both tried to “out do” each other in love? Your marriage would never be the same! Why not try it this week?
Pastor Ron Swanson
Feb 5, 2018
Last week we saw that the “Great Quest” of our lives is to develop the “God-kind of love” in our lives (1 Cor. 14:1). We began looking at reasons to develop our love walk. Let’s go on to the third reason.
3.) Walking in Love Is Key to Getting Our Prayers Answered
Gal. 5:6 says, “... faith works by love”. In other words, love makes it possible for faith to work. If you’re praying and not getting any results, this might be a good place to check up on yourself!
Failure to forgive is the only hindrance to prayer that Jesus ever mentioned (Mk. 11:25). Similarly, Peter told husbands that treating their wives poorly would hinder their prayer lives (1 Pet. 3:7)! Surely none of us want to sabotage our own prayers!
4.) Your Love-Walk Forms the Basis of Your Judgment, At the Judgment Seat of Christ
When we stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ, it’s not just our actions that will be called into question. It’s also our motives. (1 Cor. 4:5). Only good works that have been done from a motive of love will be rewarded.
I’m sure we’re all familiar with the fictional character Superman. Well, in 1 Cor. 13:1-4, Paul describes (what I call) “Super-Christian”. Look at some of his spiritual accomplishments:
He spoke with the tongues of men and angels. He prophesied. He had “all knowledge” and understood “all mysteries”. He had “faith to remove mountains”, and did so on a regular basis. He sold everything he had and gave it to the poor. And eventually, he gave his body to be burned. He was martyred.
Judging by man’s standards, this was a great man of God! (If he lived in our day, we’d probably name a denomination after him!) By man’s standards, he was everything you could hope for in a spiritual leader!
But, what about God’s standards? Paul listed all of those accomplishments, then went on to say, “If love wasn’t the motive …
a.) “I am become as a sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal”. In other words, “I didn’t really accomplish anything. I just made a lot of noise.”
b.) “It profits me nothing” – Giving away all your money and even laying down your life for the Gospel won’t bring any reward in eternity, if you did it without love. Love is vitally important!
Pastor Ron Swanson
Feb 12, 2018
For the last two weeks we’ve been discussing reasons to develop our love walk. Today, let’s examine the characteristics of Divine love. Remember, this love has already been placed in our hearts if we’ve been born again. It’s just a matter of yielding to that love nature instead of letting the flesh dominate.
So, what does love look like? We find several characteristics in God’s Word.
Love allows for others’ shortcomings (Eph. 4:1-3). Love puts the other person’s needs ahead of its own (Ro. 12:10). Love doesn’t retaliate (Matt. 5:38-42). Love repays evil with good (Ro. 12:14-21). Love is willing to lay down its own rights for another’s good (1 Cor. 13:5). Love doesn’t keep a record of wrongs (1 Cor. 13:5 GNT). Love treats others with kindness (Eph. 4:32). Love doesn’t put itself forward (1 Cor. 13:4). Love weighs its words carefully (Eph. 4:29). Love doesn’t give up on people (1 Cor. 13:7). Love is ever ready to believe the best of every person (1 Cor. 13:7 Amp). Love gives and forgives (John 3:16). Love never fails (1 Cor. 13:8)!
That’s a tall order, isn’t it? And, you can’t do it by yourself. But, as you yield to your new nature in Christ, and let His love flow through you, you really can love like that.
So, how do we develop in this love? Love is developed just like anything else in the Christian life – by feeding it on the Word and by exercising it. As you feed on the Scriptures concerning love, and act in love (even when your flesh feels like doing something else), that love will be developed on the inside of you. And, you’ll become more and more like Christ.
I suggest you start with 1 Corinthians chapter 13 in the Amplified Bible (the love chapter). Read verse four (for example): “Love endures long, and is patient and kind”. Then tell yourself, “The Bible says this kind of love has been shed abroad in my heart by the Holy Spirit. So, with God’s help, I’m going to yield to that love today. I’m going to be patient and kind.”
Then, when someone cuts you off in traffic, and your flesh wants to respond in an ungodly manner, say, “No, I choose to yield to the love of God.” Then move in the opposite spirit. As you do, your love will grow by leaps and bounds.