Love and Relationships

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adapted from Chip Ingrams book love, sex , loving relationships..

Good morning welcome to our online service… last Sunday we started a new sermon series entitled This is love
We asked the question...what is the Big deal on love?…we talked about the nature of love --- That God himself is Love… It is His eternal nature ... and it is His love that we have experienced…
God has loved us Through His son Jesus… …and we are recipients of his love…
John tells us that In this love” .. we have become Children of God..… fully accepted and forgiven…and we find completion in Him...
This morning we are going to be looking and how love impacts our relationships…
This message is not just for those who are married, but for those who are single, divorced or widowed… Because … regardless what our relationship status. … If we don’t understand relationships from God’s perspective we are going to find ourselves continually being disappointed.. by our friends and loved ones..
First of all.. You and I were created for community … we were made to love and to be loved… Every person on the planet craves to be cherished by someone else.. We long for acceptance and security, significance…and intimacy..
God created each of us to live within the bounds of loving, healthy and lasting relationships…
This was from the begining..
When God created the world at the end of each of the days of creation he said… that it was Good…
God looked at the molecules — Hydrogen plus oxygen — it is Good… He saw the arctic coastline — he declared that it is Good — When God created the animal kingdom.. he created all creatures great and small… He created whales, dolphins jelly fish.. and all the varieties and species of creatures that are found in the ocean and ...God said… it is all good..
But then after God created ADAM… He went back to visit .. and..
Gen 2:18 says..that when God saw that Adam was all alone in the Garden of Eden.. God said … that is not good for man to be alone … I will create for him a helpmate… someone that would be fit for him
From the Begining God understood Relationships… The reason is that He Himself operates within a Fellowship, a community, and a communion… He is a Triune God… The Godhead is made up of.. the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit… And it is out their Oneness that everything in the universe has it’s beginnings and roots —Everything flows from Fellowship and friendship..
The reason we crave to know and to be known.. is because we are created in His image - We are the the Imago Deo… the imprint and the reflection of Gods person… and therefore as image bearers we long for meaningful relationships.. whether it is marriage, family, a friendship.... or community.. We have all been created for connection… and to to be part of something that greater than ourselves.
Not only are we created for connection but we are the objects of Gods affections … He desires to fulfil these longings beyond our wildest expectations.. When God presented Eve to Adam… His response is priceless… He bursts into song… and He said this is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh… In other words Adam saw beauty … He saw companionship, community and fellowship... It was beyond his wildest dreams and he embraced it completely..
What we are going to see this morning is that not only did God create us for relationship... but he also gave us a blueprint on how develop and maintain loving and lasting relationships..
So the Big question if we were created for community and relationship… Why do we struggle so much in this area of relationship? … how come.. so many broken families and shipwrecked relationships?
Part of the problem is really sin… each of us is dealing with our brokenness and fallen nature.. but there is also a learning gap… Most us have never spent significant time learning about relationships… learning to develop friendships and how to be a loving spouse etc.. or how to resolve conflict..
So the big question is where have we got our information about love, sex and relationships?
For the most part we learned the meaning of love from our culture — and mostly from what we have seen on tv, movies and romance novels…
AND so as a result many of our ideas of meaningful relationships come from Hollywood..
Chip Ingram in his book on love sex and relationships gives us what he calls “Hollywoods formular for finding love..
T/s He tells us that Step One…in Hollywood’s formular is ...
Step 1 Find the Right Person… we are told to find … that One person who is made just right for you… I When you find that person will know it.. and so keep on the look out for Mr/Mrs Right.. just in case you miss the opportunity... ..…
In the movie, “While you were sleeping” -Sandra Bullock finds the ‘right one” when he steps up to the counter at train station and asks for a ticket to Connecticut… Then he steps of the platform and gets knocked unconscious, Sandra Bullock rescues him and pretends to be his girlfriend...and while she’s visiting him in the hospital she just happens to meet his brother who turns out to be her real “right one.” —
Hollywood formula says… keep looking for love.. because When you least expect it you will find that right person ...
Step two in the Hollywood’s formular..
2. Fall in love.
When you find that person and you will know it.. You will feel it… You have to fall in love… and … You can fall in love within the first sight.. It might be a brief look or gesture. You may not know her name or much about her, but you will know that you have fallen in love with that person..
In Sleepless in Seattle Tom Hanks little boy goes on the radio and tells the nation the sad story of his father’s life, and Meg Ryan is listening and knows she loves this man. When they finally meet against all odds at the top of the Empire State Building, all it takes is one look and two strangers instantly fall in love....
So in the Hollywood formula,
Love is not based on knowledge of that person or character… love is based on chemistry…… its about those feelings.....You’ll be sure you’re in love because you’ll have feelings and electrical pulses will surge all over your body.
Skip Ingram says there are dangers in falling in love.. is your IQ will drop about thirty points and you do some crazy things… like ...spend money you don’t have.
T/S Step 3 in the Hollywood’s formular
Step 3 Fix your Hopes and Dreams of This Person for your Future Fullfilment..
In the movies, love vetoes every other decisions… Brides and grooms are regularly left at the altar.. The reason they have decided to run off with someone else… IS BECAUSE THE FOUND THEIR TRUE LOVE THE ONE whom they really love.. In the Hollywood formular...
The person whom you love becomes the object of your life, your future, your dreams and your satisfaction… he will make you whole..
Here is the problem with Hollywood formula is that it equates love with infatuation ... When we meet someone there is this period where there is intense infatuation it is supercharged and can last anywhere from 6 to 18 months…and we can misinterpret infatuation for love… The problem is that infatuation never lasts... at some point all those feelings start to subside..
and when that happens.. we might conclude that our love is dying …we become
Disillusionment and discouragement begin to change our focus and we start to blame the other persons inability to measure up… We can be led to believe that we are drifting apart or falling out of love…
Our lack of love has nothing to do with us, it is simply the result of discovering that we no longer have the right person in our lives..
The Holy wood formular has fourth step and that is to repeat step 1, 2, and 3… WHEN ALL FAILS TRY AGAIN (1) find the right person, (2) fall in love, and (3) fix your hopes and dreams on this new, improved person you have found.
Here is the problem with this model is that it doesn’t work
The divorced rate in this country is one of the fasted growing groups in our society..… The American Psychology Association tell us that.. In more than 90 percent of people get married by age 50… But out of that number... 40 to 50 % of those marriages end up in divorce..
If we were talking about a virus or infection, the CDC would be calling this a catastrophic epidemic… not just individuals but families are wrecked.
Here is the thing God created and designed us to enjoy marriages and healthy friendships.. But it comes with the understanding of what is true love..
t/S what is God’s prescription for loving and lasting relationships…step One.
T/s Instead of Finding of finding Right person — God’s Prescription is...

1. Become the Right Person

We are going to look at our Text...
Ephesians 5:1-2 where we find one of the clearest definitions of what it means to live in a loving relationship..
lets read....
Ephesians 5:1–2 ESV
1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Paul uses the Phrase - Therefore be imitators of God...
Paul Could have to said to the church .. “Follow God..”but instead he says something much stronger… He raises the bar much higher … Imitate God!!
One commentator put it like this… he said..
We are to act in our own little spheres as God acts in His universe, and thus prove that God is our Father.
You see, God loves you and I as his Children… . God doesn’t love us for anything that we’ve done. God cares for us as a Father... God delights in us, God is for us because we are his own. God love is demonstrated in the sending of Jesus in to the world.... He didn’t spare any costs in showing us His love...
Romans 8:32 ESV
32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
This is parental language… Have you noticed how children imitate the things we say… they might copy a phrase that we use… pretend to cook and to clean… Here is the thing about imitation… is that we can’t imitate those we don’t know… You have to spend time with someone to know how they behave..
The more time we spend in God’s word - worship and prayer… the more likely we become like Him.
It boils down to this. We will not be able to imitate God in our love for others unless we know that we are blessed, valuable, and significant—that we are loved.
Our sense of being loved must not depend on this person liking us or that person coming through for us. You and I are not just “okay.” In Christ, we are wonderful, significant, valuable, dearly loved, and the objects of God’s infinite and unconditional affection..
The Hollywood Formular says find the right person… Paul says…Be the right person...
Instead of constantly looking for the right person, become the right person. Instead of looking for love, God tells us to realize that love has already found us!

Step 2 Is Instead of Falling in Love.... We are to walk in love..

Ephesians 5:2 ESV
2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
What does it mean to walk in love.. Romantic love tells us that — love is walking on the beach hand in hand…shared experiences… But this view of love is different.. Walking in love means that we love others in exactly the same way that Christ loved us… How did Christ love us?
He gave himself up for us..
Chip Ingram defines walking in love as - “Giving the other person what he or she needs when is least deserved, because that is exactly how God has treated you…”
Love is giving the other person in the relationship what he or she needs the most, not necessarily what he or she wants the most… Now, there is subtle difference… between felt needs and real needs.. We love when we identify each others real needs… opposed to perceived or felt needs..
This means that we have to be tuned into the needs of others…
This is not easy todo.. because there often a sacrifice involved in meeting needs in others.. Instead having our needs met.. we are thinking about what is best for the other person.. Walking in love is hard —
When the world says.. what we need is to fall in love.. love is centered in my own desires and needs.. God love is other centered and He tells us to walk in love.. Love isn’t passive it is deliberate, intentional, deliberate —
It says, “I’m going to give you what you need,”
And, interestingly enough, it’s when we love in this way that we actually fan the flames of friendship, community and in marriage romance and those good feelings we all long to enjoy.
Step 3

Instead of fixing your hopes and dreams on another person, fix your hope on God and seek to please him through this relationship

God’s prescription meainginful relationships —is that instead of looking to find completion in someone else… we are going to run into a road block…
Any time you want to build intimacy with a person before your identity is fully in Christ and you know and feel secure and strong in him, you will be expecting that person to do something for you that he or she cannot do
presents us with a prospect in which two people are actually learning to please a third—God—by the way they respond to him and to each other.
Ephesians 5:2 ESV
2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Paul tells us that God’s Love is Sacrificial…
Our love for others should be of the same kind that Christ showed to us—a love that goes beyond affection to self-sacrificing service. Christ loved us so much that he gave himself as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Christ gave himself in death as a sacrifice on our behalf
1 Peter 2:21 ESV
21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.
Jesus didn’t do something primarily because it would please us; he did something that was pleasing to God.
Real love is the inverse… instead of wanting other to conform to our needs… We ask God to help us to walk in love, giving sacrificially to what the other person needs..
You see, as long as we live with this deluded idea that sets the other person up to meet all our expectations, we are doomed to disappointment. Great relationships involve struggle, conflict, working through issues, and refusing to demand, consciously or not, that the other person make our lives work. The result is a lot of personal growth and relational health.
The byproduct of God’s approach to relationships is the very kind of intimacy, love, sex, and lasting companionship you and I have always wanted
Step 4 If failure occurs Repeat steps 1,2, and 3...
We walk through the steps: imitate God, walk in love, fix our hope on God, and seek to please him in every one of our relationships. If failure occurs (and it will), we go back to square one and take the steps again.
How does this look.
The Bible continually moves us towards healthy commitment, communion and commitment… When Paul writes to the Church in Rome - He tells us How we can walk in love with one another..
Romans 12:9–13 ESV
9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
Let our love be Genuine — look to develop authentic relationships.. To be honest it is easy for us to hide behind superficial relationships… We can become proficient in small talk and never getting any depth in a relationship… One of the dangers in church life is really friendliness..
This true when it comes to Community...
Most churches think that they are friendliness church in town… but we can be a mile long and an inch deep in relationship… How do we develop… Genuine relationships.
This is true in personal relationships… We can take our spouses for granted.. not move past whats for dinner --- what going on with the kids… and never work our own relationship..
Paul gets real practical - Be devoted to each other in love.. The greeks had three primary words for love… Eros… passion.... Phileo --- Friendship… Agapeo… Sacrificial love… In a marriage all three exist...
If eros love is the spark that repeatedly ignites our passion, then phileo love is the steady fuel that feeds our joy. Doing life together, not only as passionate lovers but as best friends, is at the core of genuine love
Paul says Devote yourself in Phileo… Or brotherly love...
What are we devoted to the developing and making of genuine friendships... In marriage… Eros looks at a man and woman as lovers… but Phileo looks at a man and woman as best friends…
The bible uses the word
“companionship” several times to describe this part of a marriage relationship…
Philio implies fellowship and spending time with one another… One of the things that makes a marriage strong is continuing courtship… One thing that Pam and I have been doing recently … is being intentional in having a date night… The other day we went to Sonic… order our food and sat in the back seat of the car like teenagers.. ordered junk food and talked... PAM has these “table talk Questions” — that fueled our conversation.. at the foundation of healthy relationship… is Friendship...
Paul tells us to Honor one another… “Outdo one another in showing honor”
Don’t you love that… if you are going to try and do something better than someone else… Choose to excel in love...
when we honor some one...
we view them as worthy of our attention, encouragement, respect, and admiration
To honor someone is to listen to them… When we honor the Lord we are reading the word.. we are communing with him in prayer… We are listening for the promptings of the Holy Spirit… When we honor each other… we listen to each other..
Paul says don be slothful or reluctant.. Don’t hold back be fervent in Spirit… Be energetic in love....Why because this is one of the ways that we can serve the Lord… When do this we love others with that third kind of love - which is agapeo love....
The focus of Agapeo love is the Lord… because it means choosing to love — when maybe the feelings are not there… It means loving when you don’t get the desired responses.. It is loving the other person when you don’t feel like it…
— Means Rejoicing Hope… Being Patient in tribulation… Praying for others… means contributing the well-being of others… and showing hospitality…
The reason we can love with God’s love… is that our focus is not so much --- on getting something back… but Serving the Lord..
It is living out
If you are ever going to know for sure if you’re in love, you have to look at love beyond the Hollywood formula—affection, meet someone, try to work it out, get the strong feelings
A better way to define love is according to the One who is love and who originally loved us?
Solomon writes in Ec 4 speaks of the power of relationships… two is better than one.. because they have a better reward for the work.. if one falls down the other is there to pick them up… if one cold the other is there to keep them warm…then he says that three stranded chord is not easily broken… When Pam I chose our wedding rings.. .
The cord includes passionate eros, friendly phileo, and giving agape.
… we are living in a challenging.. How do you maintain friendships relationships.. in a world of social distancing… How can we devote ourselves to brotherly love… One of the ways is to communicate with regularly with someone in the church body.... pray about it… somebody that you can walk in love with..
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