Unity: Love Defined

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Philippians 1:6 NIV
being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Are you thankful that God has a plan for us?
During this of pandemic is has been easy to get lost in priority, lost in progress and lost in finding our way.
I don’t know about you but I have been struggling with this.
So this morning it is cleaning day! Not cleaning to remove the germs of Covid-19 which we have heard about all so much. But cleaning day when it comes to priorities in our lives.
God has a plan for us.
Some of the greatest people in scripture were stopped, immoblized at some point in their life, so this morning its ok to be going through this, or be there currently, but what are we going to do about it?
Moses was stuck in the desert unware of the future Ex. 3:1
Elijah was stuck in the wilderness feeling sorry for himself due to failure to do what he thought he should have accomplished 1 Kings 19:10
Ezekiel was stranded in Babylon at the age of 30 frustrated that he could not enter his priestly service in Jerusalem at the temple. Ezekiel 1:1
Peter was caight in a dark depressive cycle on Saturday before Easter. Matt. 26:75
Thomas cast into faithless despair when he missed the Savior’s appearance on Easter Sunday. John 20:24
Paul was stuck in Troas where the door of evangelism was opened for him but he had no peace of mind because of anxiety about problems in the Corinthian church. 2 Cor. 2:12-13
John was exiled on the Island of Patmos lonely and unable to continue his ministry. Rev. 1:9
God has a design for every situation and for every person. I am so thankful for this aren’t you?
By God’s grace each person managed to get themselves unstuck and move forward and did great things for God.
John 10:10 NIV
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
1 Corinthians 15:58 NIV
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
Romans 12:11 NLT
Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.
You cannot be stuck and live abundantly at the same time!
So how do you get unstuck?
How can you get back on track?

Mountain charger?or Molehill sitter?

Often we get so caught up and distracted in the molehills (the small things) that we cannot charge up the mountain.
Not every activity is vital, not every situation is eternal.
We need to be able to evaluate what we need in our life and what we need to get out of our life and we need to root out.
I remember the song from Sunday School Root them out get them gone all the little bunnines in the fields of corn: envy, jealousy, malous, pride, they must never in my heaert abide.
Well church I believe we have let things in our life that are of no use to us and we need to get rid of them.
We need to understand the significance of priorities and do what is needed.
Remember the Parable of the Sower?
Matthew 13:22 NIV
The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful.
The Lord has sown the seed of His word into our hearts but it is as productive or fruitful as He wants.
Often times our inability to move forward is due to our lack of priority. We fail to even consider that some things are more important than others.
You can become paralyzed with burdens, business and busyness.
In trying to do everything we end up doing nothing!
Church we need to understand that we have all been called to do a work for the Lord, we all need to do our part.
We need to get moving and not stall out in our walk with God. I believe we get comfortable and we need to understand that idlness or being busy for busy sake is not what we are called to do.

What is most Important to God?

What do you need to focus on in your life?
What can I start deleting?
What is not important to Him?
Delete things of less importance to keep things of great worth/importance.
Mark 12 there are three principles central to life.
Mark 12:28 NIV
One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
There is a question posed by one of the Rabbis.
First of all we need to note that the Rabbis divided the Old Testament into positive and negative laws and major and minor laws.
There are 613 Old Testament commandments.
248 are positive
365 are negative - stating they prohibit something.
Matthew 12:29–31 NIV
“Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can plunder his house. “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.
Jesus boiled down the contents of the entire Old Testament in one overwhelming priorirty.
Without understanding this it is impossible to move forward.
We need to know how to love. We need to know how to show love. We need to know how to receive love.
Love as God defines love is ultimate priority!

Loving God

Mark 12:30 NIV
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
This is where Jesus quotes Deut. 6:5
We need to be the passionate embrace of God. We need to embrace all His attributes, virtues, grace, embracing Him with an overflowing heart and burning devotion and passionate enjoyment.
Are you growing in your love for God?
Do you life your life in reckless abandon for the Lord?
Do you put all your energy and strength into it?

Priority of Loving People

Mark 12:31 NIV
The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Love your neighbour as yourself
We have 7.7 Billion of them!
Think you can do it?
The Lord knows exactly how to lead us to those we need to serve. We need to open our hearts, our arms and our lives to His leading and guiding.
Illustration - picture of loving our neighbour
Share love your neighbor Stories
God has put us here for His purposes, for His mission and we need to be mindful of this in how we live.
Loving others is sharing the compassion of Christ with the people around us which means ALL PEOPLE!
James 2:8 NIV
If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right.
We need to keep our priorities in alignment with God’s and that is a daily challenge.
What is your priority #1?
Love for God
Love for Others
Love for ourselves
Let’s talk about our priority of loving ourselves.
Mark 12:31 NLT
The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”
We are commanded to love ourselves.
The enemy tries to get us to turn self love into selfishness, ego, low & high self esteem, conceit, haugtiness, self importance and other elements that lead to being extremely self centered.
Acts 20:28 NIV
Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.
If you do not take care of yourself you cannot take care of others.
If you are tired or irritable you cannot lift up others.
We have a God given responsibility to take care of ourselves.
You are the temple of the Holy Spirit
Your personality is the means by which God touches others
1 Corinthians 6:20 NKJV
For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
You are not your own
You have been bought with a price
Honor God with your body
Do you feel that you are in a RUT?
When you are in a rut you pull others down into it with you.
When your priority is to love, your priorities are in the right place and there are three important applications.
Our lives need to be organized so that God and our families can always come before everything else.
Put God ahead of everything else and He will take care of all the rest.
Just like our closets, our pantries our garage needs a good cleaning. We too need to be mindful of realignment of our priorities and if we get on track, to ensure that we listen to the Holy Spirit in pulling us back in the right path.
Once you are clear on what is God’s best in your life. Choose those priorities.
Don’t let your life get off track, don’t go into a rerun. Have the courage to do something new!
It takes zero courage to stay in a rut. It takes grit and spunk to get out of it and move forward!
Sometimes our lives have to be cleaned out.
It takes courage to get out of the rut.
Moses was give advice from Joshua when he succeeded him.
Deuteronomy 31:7–8 NIV
Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Be Strong
Be Courageous
Have courage to do something new!
Embrace your limitations.
Even Jesus had limitations:
there were no recorded miracles until he was 30 years old
lived a life of submission to his parents
didn’t travel all over the world
didn’t own major methods of transportations
Jesus’ ministry was limited to one strip of land along the Mediterranean Sea
never visited the great cities of His day: Rome, Athens, Milan, Alexandria, Carthage)
limited education
limited time for His work - approx. 3 years
His nation was not free - occupied by Roman soldiers
These were obstacles and limitations but that did not stop His focus.
He was iron focused on what He was put on the earth to do.
The limitless Son of God was financially, geographically, chronologically, politically, and physically limited.
Then there were more limitations added for our advantage!
The Cross:
He was limited due to the nails in His hands & feet
He was unable to wipe away the blood from His eyes or scatter flies from His face
These limitations were for our benefit!
Limitations should never become excuses for staying where you are.
Share encouragement from Joni Tada
Your priorities are determined by the gifts God has given you, stage in life or personal shortcomings.
2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
Eliminate Distractions - say yes to only the best things, the things that align with the priorities that God has called you to.
Jesus often said no to others so that He could say yes to His Father.
Matt. 16 the Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus asking Him for a sign. He said no.
He gave them little, blunt sermon instead and left them and went away.
Matthew 16:1–4 NIV
The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven. He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” Jesus then left them and went away.
Peter asked Jesus to return to Capernaum.
Jesus’s response:
Mark 1:38 NIV
Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.”
He was laser focused on His reason for coming to Earth.
We cannot do evrything - but we can always do our Father’s will
Church we MUST do His will!
Commit to what is Best
Be clear on what direction. Jesus was clear:
Love God
Love those around you
Love yourself
What will you do with this?
Titus 2:14 NIV
who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
Proverbs 23:17 NIV
Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the Lord.
There is coming a time very soon where we all have to stand and account for our own lives. We have to stand before God and answer for what we have done, what we have not done and why.
This morning I leave you with this question:
If His return were right now How is it looking in your life?
If you feel fearful
If you feel overwhelmed
If you are not ready
Get forgiveness
Get peace
Get ready!
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