Second Sunday in Advent
This message focuses on the centrality of love as it relates to the nature of God and to our Christian faith.
Advent: Prepare the Way of the Lord
Part 2 What Love Does
Mosaic Rockford – Dave Spooner – Dec. 4th, 2016
- Last week we focused on the theme of hope – choose your anchor, set your hope, keep your grip as we continue to prepare our hearts in anticipation of the coming king.
- Today’s focus is again apart of the “big three” faith, hope and love – with love being the greatest.
- The Bible has a lot to say about love – around 500 verses – so love is a big deal with God. So much so, that love is the primary characteristic of the nature of God – God is love.
- This is what the apostle John wrote for us inspired by the Holy Spirit about the nature of God and love:
1 John 4:8-12 ESV
Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
- These are significant words. God reveals Himself as love. And if we know God, we in turn will love. So, love originates with Him, and because he loves us – we also ought to love one another.
- Jesus when asked “which is the great commandment in Law?” responded this way:
Matt 22:37-40 ESV
And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
- So loving God with everything and loving your neighbor as yourself is the foundation that every command of God is built upon. And sin at its core is a violation of love.
- On another occasion, Jesus was asked by a religious lawyer what he should do to inherit eternal life and Jesus asked this guy what he through and the man answered correctly by saying:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”
- And this man, being a lawyer, was looking for a loophole to that would give himself an out for not loving other people. In response to this, Jesus told this man a story to explain, illustrate and teach what was in God intended when it came to “loving your neighbor”. And this is the passage we are going to focus in on and learn from today. This is what we must be about as those who claim to know and love God in regards to demonstrating and reflecting this love towards others as we live with anticipation for the return of the king.
- So here is the story that Jesus told.
Luke 10:30-37 ESV
“A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”
- So, what can we learn from this story when it comes to loving our neighbor?
Love has compassion
Luke 10:33 ESV
a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion.
- The people who you would expect to have compassion, who claim to “know God” are the ones who distance themselves and “walk by”. It must also be noted, that in the mind of the Jew, the person who had compassion came from the most unlikely source. A “Samaritan” a “half-breed” an outsider, an enemy, an “other”.
- For a contemporary comparison to our lives: A Pastor, a Bible professor vs. a Mormon, Jehovah witness, catholic, a black man, a white woman, a liberal, a conservative, a democrat, a republican, a west sider, an east sider, a boss, a union member, an addict, a gun owner, a gun banner, a welfare recipient, a 1%er, an immigrant, a citizen, . . .
- Compassion is an emotion that is a sense of shared suffering, most often combined with a desire to alleviate or reduce the suffering of another; to show special kindness to those who suffer.
- Compassionate acts are generally considered those which take into account the suffering of others and attempt to alleviate that suffering as if it were one’s own. In this sense, the various forms of the Golden Rule are clearly based on the concept of compassion. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you – love your neighbor as yourself.
- It is not the stance you take, but the compassion you show that matters. If you claim to know God, then you must act with compassion toward all and especially toward the other.
Love comes close
He went to him
- Instead of pulling away, he drew near. This is an essential and critical component of love.
- My natural tendency is to stay way, and be uninvolved, to avoid . . .
- Do you draw close to those of the “other”, or do you draw away and insolate your heart, isolate your life, and exterminate your love?
- Do you come close to others in their pain, in their problems, in their difficulty? That is what love does.
- Moved with compassion – he went to him – love comes close
Love heals wounds
He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’
- Difficulties and disasters happen to everyone because we live in a fallen world with broken people – we all have been wounded in one way or other.
- How did he do this? First by stopping. Stop the bleeding (bound up his wounds), stop the hardening (oil), and stopped an infection from spreading (wine).
- Then by giving. He gave up his comfort (His own animal), he gave up his agenda (brought him to an inn), he gave up his personal space (took care of him), he gave up his money, (gave two denarii – whatever you make in a day), and he made sure there was provision for a complete recovery.
- Love heals wounds – it stops and it gives.
- So what wounds are you aware of -and what are you doing to heal them?
Love shows mercy
Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”
- Mercy – not giving people what they deserve – and act of kindness and of compassion
- So, starting this Christmas season, take the ax you have been grinding and use it to build a bridge. Take the stones that you have been throwing and build a shelter, take the distance you have been creating and build a relationship. Be a true, son or daughter of the most high God.
- Be salt and light in this world.
- Love has compassion, love comes close, love heals wounds, love shows mercy.