What Really Is Love?

What Is The Difference Culture's View Of Love And Biblical Love?

Ross Sawyers & Jordan Hill
Mar 5, 2023    53m
This message explores the difference between what culture teaches us about love and biblical love. We learn that love in our culture usually refers to romantic love, but biblical love is an all-encompassing love that comes from our relationship with Jesus. Video recorded at Grapevine, Texas.

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Ross Sawyers: [00:00:00] What a fantastic weekend, and what a great glimpse of what God did just through the video. And we love just being a part of what God's doing in your lives, so thank you for being a part of the weekend. I think Jermaine said there were somewhere between 250 and 300 of you. I think we don't really know, so if somebody doesn't make it home, I guess we'll figure it out or whatever, but thank you so much.

Ross Sawyers: [00:00:24] I know a lot of you, you kind of really got rolling about one in the morning, jumping in swimming pools, and so forth. So thank you again for the weekend. We love what God's doing. I love how Jermaine characterized what's happening with our students right now, and he said there is a hunger for truth and a hunger for God. And I love seeing that with our students, we're seeing that all across the country right now with college students, and high school students, there's just a hunger for who God is. And in a day when everything is so unstable and unclear, it makes perfect sense that there would be a hunger for something to stabilize and something to give our lives to that matters and is significant. And I love the leadership God has given you with Jermaine and Courtney and all the adults that host homes, the leaders this weekend, thank you so much for leading the charge and just deeply investing in our students, and so we're really grateful for that. And thanks for leading us in worship. I was thinking years ago when students would lead in churches, just going back decades, you almost dreaded days like that, this is bad because it was usually a little rough, and it was just kind of like, I really don't know how to explain it, if you're older, you know what I'm talking about, if you're younger, you have no idea. But that was just phenomenal leading of worship from our students this morning. And so thank you for that.

Ross Sawyers: [00:01:31] I often wonder when people are up here and just the energy and the bouncing and the turning and the squatting and getting down and then getting back up and I'm watching the back half of the church and that's not really occurring. And I'm wondering what you're thinking as students when you're looking out there if you're up here and wondering why is everybody not into this? When I was younger, I was critical of that and I thought, I don't get it. Why does everybody have to not be engaged? You're not really bouncing around and getting into it. And as I've gotten older and my body aches a little more, I started to realize it's not about if they want to, it's about, are we headed to the E.R. if we do it? So just know, in heart, everybody was fully engaged in our worship today. And so we love that we get that privilege to worship God together.

Ross Sawyers: [00:02:53] If you turn in your Bibles to First John chapter 4, in a few minutes we'll be in verses 7, and following, we'll choose some parts of that passage to hang out in. We've been thinking about lenses and the way we see reality, and we've been talking about a God lens and self-centered lens. And Jordan Hill leads our men, I know he's spoken to the students at different times and engaged in your lives. We're going to kind of co-teach this today and see what God has for us to build on what's been going on in your weekend, and hopefully, we finish it well and launch you out well while the rest of us catch up and hopefully the same.

Ross Sawyers: [00:03:34] We've been thinking the last few weeks about the attributes of God, who God is, and his character. And today we want to focus on the love of God. And the whole theme of the weekend, at the Cross, is the greatest display of the love of God in Jesus Christ. And that's where we are in thinking about how we would have conversations with people, how we think about the right lens to look through. We want to know who God is, and definitions today are so important, they're so critical for where you are because they're ever-changing. This has not been the case before, in days before your year, this is what you know as students, things are constantly in flux and changing even what they mean. But that's not what it's been like prior to this time, and so it's important that we understand definitions of what we're saying.

Ross Sawyers: [00:04:29] And so we want to talk about love today, and there are a number of ways that people would define it. From the time that the Bible was written, there were four kinds of love. And here's just a kind of classical Greek literature, the New Testament is written in Greek originally, and these were the four words. The first word is Eros, and that is a romantic sexual kind of love, that's one type of love. The second type of love is of is philia, it means a brotherly kind of devotion, this is like I just love my brother and sister in Christ, it's that kind of a love. There's another kind of love that's called storge, it's a family kind of love. If you just think for a minute about a family reunion, or maybe you think about it in your own family and you think, You know what? I'm not really crazy about everybody in my family or my extended family. When we go to those things with the extended family, I think, yeah, I don't know that I would ever hang out with them. But you know what? They are family, and so you love family, that's what this is, a storge kind of love, you just have a love for family because they're family. And there's a fourth kind of love that's agape love, that word means an unconditional, sacrificial kind of love, and that's the kind of love that God showed us at the cross. And when we infuse those other three kinds of love, the philia, the storge, the eros kind of love with the agape, sacrificial love, then those other three loves have a deep and substantive meaning with them.

Ross Sawyers: [00:06:19] Now that's in contrast to our culture, what would our culture say primarily is the definition of love today? I think oftentimes the first thing that comes to mind is that romantic sexual kind of thing, that when we talk about love, it's a romantic sexual thing. But I think more so whether people would say it or not, that love today means to accept, to agree, and to celebrate, whether I think it's okay or not. To love is to accept and agree and celebrate whatever it is you're about, no matter what it is. That's what you're living in and being shaped by that, that's what love is. A friend of mine has a niece that lives in Portland, Oregon, and he told me that as soon as she identifies herself as a Christian, that immediately what is thought about her and said to her, there's a disgust with her, she's thought of as someone that's racist, a homophobe, a bigot, a hater. So the kind of love our culture defines is a one-way kind of love. As Christians, we see things differently than the bulk of our culture sees it today. As a Christian, if you're anchored into Jesus, you'll see things differently than most of the people you're in school with. But if love is truly accepting, agreeing, and celebrating, why does someone else not accept, agree, and celebrate what we believe as Christians? You see, the world's definition of love is a one way street, it's not a two-way street. It's important that we understand when we say God is love, and we talk about the love of God, that we know the kind of love we're talking about, in contrast to what the majority of people around us are saying.

Jordan Hill: [00:08:39] It's interesting when you do just a simple Google search for love, there are a myriad of definitions for it, and the page just keeps going. Now, granted, there are four different types of love, but it's just very interesting when you just type in, what is love? And you just see all these different definitions, one of the main ones that kind of has a throughline through all of the different definitions would be an intense feeling of deep affection. And I think for the most part that's a lot of what culture is basing love on. Again, not coming from God's Word and what is not just truth, but what is love according to God's word, but this intense feeling of deep affection. And while there are aspects of love like, right, just in that sentence alone, that is true, like God actually has a deep, intense feeling of deep affection for you. If it's not centered on God, then it's going to end up just being hollow, and it's going to be real shallow, and I think it then puts us in kind of this self-centered position in our life where now we're having our feelings and now we're having our emotions dictate how we live our life. And I think that's why we're seeing a lot of the chaos today, and a lot of the confusion today, especially around the topic of love.

Ross Sawyers: [00:10:08] What we've been trying to do over these last few weeks and if you're newer with us, and this is a first time for you, we're trying to help us understand how we ourselves can understand the lens we're looking through. And sometimes as Christians, we end up switching lenses. There's that God-centered lens, but sometimes inadvertently we drift, or on purpose, we may end up looking through that more self-focused lens. So what we'd like to do is just kind of have a conversation with these questions that help us understand how someone thinks and how we ourselves think. And we want to work through this, this funnel.

Ross Sawyers: [00:10:47] And what Jordan just said, the way we want to work on it is to first think about what it is, the very center of our lives. What drives us, is God the one that drives the way we live, or do we look through a lens where the self is what drives the way we live? In one way self plays out, is when our emotions or feelings lead the way. God gave us emotions and feelings; he did not give them to us for those to be what lead us. So when we think about the self, what we want to think about in this grid and in this funnel of questions is what would someone's worldview be like, what's the lens they're looking through if their feelings are at the very center of who they are?

Jordan Hill: [00:11:40] So if someone has a self-centered worldview, the question of origin or creation, how do we even know that there is a God, will kind of most often look like this. Well, we can just accept that it probably is a God. I mean, I get it, I came from nothing. And this God is loving just because, like, there's love in the world. Like, I can just feel love as I look out there, and I can see love in the face of a child, or I can see love and like the colors of the fall. And like when strangers do good things for each other, that's love, like, I feel different there. And I feel bad when I do bad things, and so therefore, this God who made everything is probably loving, because again, like love is good. I like love, and I like how it feels. So that has to be what God is. And again, that's just looking out in the world and kind of feeling your way through the world instead of having a God-centered point of view coming from the truth of the Scriptures. But then there's a problem though, because there is evil in this world.

Ross Sawyers: [00:12:49] So when we think about these questions, the question Jordan was just answering is, what's the origin? What's the creation? So if somebody has feelings at the center of what they're thinking, they can still believe there's a creator, somebody that watches over them. So what would be the problem for someone, just an ultimate problem, if their feelings or emotions are at the center of how they think? What would be the problem with the world? And we've had multiple conversations over the last few weeks with people and they'll answer this way, the problem with the world is that people are not being good, they're not being fair, and they're not being nice. That's the basic problem, if we think about the problem in the world, we're just not being fair, good, or nice to each other. The challenge and problem with that is, who gets to decide what is good, fair, or nice? Which TikTok influencer gets to make the decision, today, on what's good, fair, and nice?

Jordan Hill: [00:13:57] And so with every worldview, there's a solution to the problem. You're going to be hard-pressed to find anybody that looks out into the world and is like, yep, we are all nailing it. Let's just keep it exactly how it is. So what would be the solution or the redemptive aspect of a self-centered worldview that's leaning super heavy on love and their feelings? Well, the solution, the redemption, is actually, just love, it's that four-letter word, love. Just love everyone. See, if we would just love everybody, then there wouldn't be any problems in the world. Like, I think about it like this, the great philosopher Garth Brooks put it perfectly like this. He said, "Doctor, you ain't got a pill for whatever's making this world ill. You can't get forgiveness at the store, and peace is a politician's war. You won't find no resolution in the bottom of a bottle, and the stars are Aristotle, the only answer to the problem is people love and people, that's the enemy of everything that's evil. Ain't no quick fix at the end of a needle, it's just people loving people." Do you hear it right there? There's a problem in the world, and the only way to solve it is just people loving people. But again, though, I'm sure you're probably even feeling it now, based on especially what Ross just said. Okay, well, what is love? What does that look like, and what does that even mean, to love each other? Like, how am I supposed to live my purpose in that if I don't know exactly what that means?

Ross Sawyers: [00:15:28] So the fourth question, when we're thinking about these things, what are the beginnings? What's the problem with the world? What's the solution to the problem? And then what's our purpose in the world? If someone has their emotions, their feelings are driven by self at the center, what is their purpose? And I think most would say that being happy and feeling good about oneself is the purpose. It's about me being happy and it's about me feeling good about myself. And the God who created, really, his only job is if I'm not happy and feeling good about myself, it's for him to somehow make me happy, take care of my problems so I can feel good about myself.

Ross Sawyers: [00:15:28] Now, here's what people call what we're talking about today. So there are people who study this, and really study in our culture, and there's a term that was coined years ago called Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. When we break it down, moralistic, meaning there's some sense that we should be good and nice and fair to each other, that's just morals. Therapeutic, I just want to be happy, this is about my feelings and me being happy. Deism, there is a God. Moralistic Therapeutic Deism that's what we've described. The problem with that today is, a good number of Christians think like that, and this is not Christianity, that we're talking about. It's not about being a moralistic therapeutic deist, that God's out there just to make me happy and solve my problems, and just to be nice and fair to each other. So the purpose then would be to be as happy as I can possibly be.

Jordan Hill: [00:17:30] And then what do I get out of that? So if I'm living out my purpose and that is to spread love, my ultimate destiny, then the thing whatever is after this, I can't really know for sure. But whatever's after this ultimately is, I end up in heaven or wherever with this loving God, because I've done my job to love everyone well enough, and in the end, love wins. In the end, if I've done a good enough job of spreading love and I've done good things, I mean, I haven't murdered anybody, then I will in the end be with God in my ultimate destiny, whatever that looks like.

Ross Sawyers: [00:18:08] Which would raise a question again on that destiny question, it's about being good, fair, and nice. How do we actually know if we've ever been good, fair, and nice enough to end up in a good destiny in heaven? Now, I don't know about how you're wired up. But as Jordan, I've done this all morning long, it feels really empty to me, even as we talk about this. There's no scripture in it, there's nothing about God in it, there's nothing weighty about it, it feels empty. And I have to tell you, I did not anticipate that when we laid out how we were going to do this today. But what brings substance and weight, and strength and stability is God himself in his word. So we want to take what we just shared there to say this is one way that love is defined by the culture, and this is a way it plays out. What would be God's story? What would be the biblical God-centered lens that we would look through that's different than what we just described?

Jordan Hill: [00:19:21] And it first starts with looking at who God is, and that defines our love, because God in His word says, I am love. Look at me, join me in the text here. So First John 4:7-8 says, "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love." So we see it right there, God is love and love is from God. So I don't have to go out in the world and try to just interpret all of these different things about who God is and how love points to him. I can go to His word and see; I start first with God because God is ultimately love.

Ross Sawyers: [00:20:11] Which is counter to a phrase that we hear in culture, right? That love is love. Love is love means do whatever you want, however, you want, with whoever you want, that's love is love. God is love, he's the one that's love. Someone shared with me this week out of a [inaudible] Bible study about the attributes of God. We have to be really careful to not take just one attribute of God and isolate it, they all weave together. So what we've been talking about the last few weeks are the sovereignty of God, that he's in charge, he's the one who rules. We've been talking about God as an unchanging God. What's one thing we know about emotions when they're at the center of our lives? They're always changing, they're always changing, and God is unchanging in who he is. God is a holy God, he's pure, and there's no evil in him. He's the God of truth, he is truth. And then he's a God who is love. So we think about all of those together, and more of who God is. And it's the same God that we talk about the at center that created.

Ross Sawyers: [00:21:22] So the origin question is, where did we come from? God is the creator of us and the creator of all that is. In first John 4, verse 7, "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Let us love one another, love is from God. The reason that we love is because love is from God, God is the Creator, he's the God who is love and he's created us out of love. Tony Evans is one of my favorite pastors and preachers. He wrote a book called God, Himself, which is about the attributes of God. And in talking about God's love, this is what he said, "The most loving thing that God could do is to create something for his glory. God himself is love, in his triune nature, he is love. And the most loving thing he could do is to create something for his own glory." And then he went on to say, God loves us so much that he gives us the privilege of basking in his glory. He loves us so much that we get the privilege of basking and enjoying all that he created in his glory. He created everything perfectly and in harmony to start, and he did it in such a way out of a love that we might be able to enjoy his glory.

Jordan Hill: [00:22:57] And then from a God-centered point, why there are problems in the world? Because again, we can see that there are problems in this world, and while some of it might be people who are being mean to each other and there are things in this world that are problems, it's not simply because of our feelings that are necessarily just pulling us that way. Really, what we see here from God's word, it's simple, it's because we don't know God. Look back with me in the text, verse eight, "Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love." So the reason why there's not love in this world is because of the fall and we don't know God. Not only is now there this massive chasm between God and man that started right there at the beginning, but even our whole desires are completely warped. Like we don't just not know God, we don't want to know God, we want our own way. We want to be led by our feelings and we want to be essentially the supreme one. If you look at the very beginning, when man and woman were created, God put them in a beautiful, perfect place. And yet in their selfishness, they just went their own way, and they did not follow God and what he said, they wanted their own way and then it fractured everything. But not only did it fracture all of creation, not only did it fracture the relationship between man and God, it then ended up fracturing a perfect, beautiful relationship between a man and a woman. And right there, God, after he tells them about what going to come when it comes to living in a fallen state in this world. He then says you will have desires that are contrary to each other, and in fact, you will try to rule one another. You're not even just going to disagree with one another, you're going to try to rule over each other. See our very desires as a result of the fall have been totally warped. Romans 3:11 says it like this, “THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE; 11THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD." You see, ultimately that is our problem, that's the problem in this world. We don't know God and we don't desire to seek him because we've been born in our brokenness. We've been born children of wrath, pursuing our passions, pursuing our own desires. But thankfully, that's not the end of the story.

Ross Sawyers: [00:25:35] So from God's story, that perspective, we know where the beginnings are, we know what the problem is, and the root problem is sin as Jordan just described, included in that is our broken emotions. The solution to the problem we find in First John 4:9-10, "By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 10In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." That word propitiation means that on the cross, that Jesus satisfied the wrath of God against sin. What Jordan just shared a second ago out of the Scriptures, it says, we're actually children of wrath, and the only way we get rescued from being children of wrath is through what Christ did at the Cross, he is the propitiation for our sins, he satisfied the father. The greatest display of God's love is shown at the cross, that is the greatest display of love that's ever been shown. We see both love and justice at the cross, we see his love flow through.

Ross Sawyers: [00:26:53] This weekend, my understanding is that there's been at least nine young men and three young ladies that have received Jesus for the very first time. Yeah. There may be more, there's still some kind of working through what they've heard throughout the weekend. God's movement has been amazing, and what has happened with these students, and I don't know about the rest of the room who was online, but what's happened is they've heard clearly the message of Jesus is the solution to the problem. And that Jesus Christ crucified, and then Jesus Christ risen, is the way into having the brokenness fixed to reconciliation, and then inside the very love that we actually yearn and desire. And isn't this beautiful in the Scripture that it's not us that went towards him? It's God that loved us and came to us with the solution, that's a deep love.

Ross Sawyers: [00:28:06] Tony Evans also said that when we think about agape love, there are five characteristics of it. This unconditional love, the way that God has loved us at the cross in and through his life, and the way we're to love each other. And the first is it's visibly expressed, it's visible, it's something you can see. The second thing is it costs us something, it costs us to love somebody. The third thing, it's for the benefit of the other person and it's not what's in it for me, this kind of love, it costs, and it benefits the person. And the fourth thing he says about this kind of love is that it's a decision to make, not based on the other person having earned it. And the fifth thing is there's an emotion with it, there is a joy that comes with being able to give ourselves away sacrificially for the benefit of another person, whether they earned it or did not earn it from us, and the best demonstration of that love is at the cross. And with Christ in us, we can in turn have the love of Christ flowing through so that we can love others the same.

Jordan Hill: [00:29:32] Because of God's love, he then restores and redeems my relationship with Him, our relationship with Him, and then he actually redeems our emotions, and then he aligns us with his purposes. So now no longer am I living for my selfish purposes about my feelings and what I want, but now God abides in me and reorients me to get in on his purposes. And that is this, to love God and to make God known by loving others. So we see here in the text in verse 11, he said, "Beloved if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. 13By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit." You see, God has given us His Spirit because of his love, and now by daily abiding with Him, my emotions, then my feelings, then get reoriented to do his will. And so we don't now necessarily, even though these are great things that we want to do, things like have Live weekends, but students hear me and even adults hear me, we don't necessarily now need to just have one single retreat. I can have daily moments abiding with God and get this same feeling every single day, all I've got to do is just abide in him. And so then now I'm no longer a child of wrath, but in First Peter 1:14 it says, "As obedient children, do not be conformed to the evil desires which were yours in your ignorance." See, now I know God, and God abides in me, and now I can then every day let Him work on me and have the Spirit perfect His love in me to love him more. And when I do that, and I have God just so line me up with His love, it then produces something in me that then allows me to live and to want to live to love others. He says it right here, "If God so loved us, we also ought to love one another." I love how He says it right here, no one has ever seen God, if we love one another, God abides in us. What he's saying right here is we've never seen God, but believer, if you are loving someone, even if you are loving them with the love that I give you, that person has seen God.

Jordan Hill: [00:32:08] And then he says here in verse 14, "We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world." You see, when I abide in God, I join in on his plan to make his name known amongst all the nations and to glorify himself by testifying that Jesus is the savior of the world. So when you love someone, you are testifying that Jesus is the Savior because God's love is abiding in you. I got to see this all the time in by the life of my grandmother, my grandmother tragically passed away this weekend and I saw her abide in God's word every day. And out of that abiding in her, she then loved me as a grandchild, and that love was the kind of love that God has for the Son and that God has for me, and so I got to see glimpses of God in that moment, and I saw her do that for others as well. And so any time we join in on God's mission of loving others and wanting to point them to know God, we then line up with his ultimate purpose, and then that's the real destiny that we really long for.

Ross Sawyers: [00:33:33] So we want to give a couple of examples today of how our purpose in loving God and loving our neighbor, what does that look like in your world and what does it look like in mine? We get the ideas of loving God, and loving others, and we want to base that on the truth of who God is and love the way that he loved. One thing he does, we've mentioned already, is he takes our feelings and emotions, and he starts to change those and get those in line with himself so that the way we emote and the way we feel is with him.

Ross Sawyers: [00:34:08] For example, Jesus grieved and wept when someone died. So we love someone well when we rejoice with them and we weep with them in those hard spaces, Jesus did that. Jesus had joy in him when someone that didn't know Jesus now knows Jesus. Just like we celebrated a second ago the students that know Jesus now, that's the kind of emotion that Jesus would have over, that is a joy and a celebration over it. We know before Jesus went to the cross that he grieved and was in deep angst over the intensity of what was about to happen to him on the cross. And when we're about to face or in the middle of hard trials, we have those same emotions that Jesus has. We also know that Jesus was angry when people were profaning God's name in his house. So there's a proper time for anger, I'm afraid most of the time maybe we don't do that well, but it redeemed under Christ when the things that are profane in God upset us like they did Jesus, we can know we're coming under what He's done to change those within us. We always want to bring our emotions underneath the Scripture, they don't lead the way, we let the Scripture guide us in them that's where we find our strength and we can walk in them well.

Ross Sawyers: [00:35:12] In Mark chapter 10, there's a story, and these are two contrasts of how our world loves and how we love. In Mark chapter 10, there's this rich, young, wealthy man that comes up to him, and the guy is pretty pleased because he has kept most of God's commandments. He'd be like somebody we would describe as, that's a pretty good person, you know, it looks like they're keeping the commands, and he said he was, like, he believed he was. And Jesus had a dialog with him, and then it says in Mark 10:21, that Jesus felt love for this man. He felt love for him, and then he said a really hard thing to him. The way our culture defines love today, I just accept, agree, approve, and celebrate. I don't say a hard thing to you, I just let you do your thing. And if I just do that, we're going to all be okay, and that's loving. But in Mark 10:21, Jesus felt love, and then he said to the guy, there's one more thing you need to do if you want to inherit eternal life, go, and sell all your possessions. Now Jesus doesn't tell every person to go and sell all that they have, but what was he doing with this man? He knew that man's ultimate treasure was his wealth, he treasured his wealth more than he treasured Jesus. So Jesus might not be asking us today to go and sell all that we have, but if there's something we've made ultimate in our lives more than him, he is telling us to rid ourselves of that, and he's ultimate. He felt love. What did that wealthy young man do? He was sad, the Scripture says, because he had a lot of money, and he walked away because he wasn't willing to let it go. What did Jesus do there? Our purpose is to love people, serve them, and encourage them, that means saying sometimes a hard thing to somebody. And that man walked away, and Jesus was willing to be rejected and for someone to walk away from him, out of a love for him, which was ultimate, and to call him out on it. But he did it in a way that is felt and loaded with love, but he spoke the truth in love, as Paul says in Ephesians 4.

Jordan Hill: [00:38:43] I think the second aspect of how it's difficult to love people is when Jesus, in Matthew 5, he says to love our enemies. Because if I have my feelings, if my love is nothing but a deep feeling of affection towards someone, I don't have that for my enemy. I have deep feelings of something else for an enemy, but it's certainly not affection. So how am I supposed to love my enemy? Well, I anchor into God and how he defines love. Jesus in Matthew 5 says, "You've heard you have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy." So he's addressing the cultural view right there of love, he's saying love your neighbor, hate your enemy. Now, at that time, he's saying love your neighbor because it's a very communal environment in that day, loving your neighbor is loving a person who's just like you, who thinks like you, who you see all the time. That's what he's saying, love your neighbor, so hate your enemy. Hate, for example, here, hate the Roman Empire that is keeping you down. But then Jesus flips the cultural love into what really is love, and he says, “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you Now, that would have been scandalous for him to say that. Jesus is speaking to a predominant group of Jewish believers at the time and he's saying, no, no, no, you flip that definition of love and actually love the people who hate you, love the people who don't think you're worthy, love the people who want to keep you under their thumb of the governmental oppressive ruling. Love them and pray for them.

Jordan Hill: [00:40:25] Now, if my feelings lead the way, there is no shot that's happening. But when I center myself on God, and that's one of the reasons why we continue to just go back to God's ultimate story, when I'm reminded of God's story, of course, I can love my enemy because why on earth would God ever love me? And, in fact, the type of love that God has is a love like this in Romans 5:6-8, where God loves the least deserving. It says, "For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." You see, if I know God's story well enough, I'm reminded that at one point in my life, I did not seek God, and in fact, I was an enemy of God and I did not want His ways, but God loved me in the middle of that. And if God would do that for me, I can then push my feelings towards him and now want the same exact thing for someone who doesn't love me, but if they would just come to know God and to love God, we then can be brothers and sisters in Christ.

Ross Sawyers: [00:41:53] Those are counters to the way our culture loves today, it's a different way to love, and we do it under Christ. And then that leads us to the last question of destiny, for us, we believe our destiny is a new heaven, and the new Earth, that everything will be made new, and everything will be made right, that includes our emotions and our feelings. Everything will be made perfect and right in the new heavens and the new earth. First John 4:18 says, "Perfect love casts out fear." That can happen now, and that will be complete on that day when we're in heaven.

Ross Sawyers: [00:42:28] A few weeks ago, a guy sent me a text and I was reminded of it as we were thinking of this weekend. He said, you know, he said, I was out on my boat and when I was out on my boat, I was kind of floating aimlessly. And he was in a little bit of trouble, he was trying to figure out how to get his anchor down so he could stabilize where he was. The problem was he had a ten-foot chain on the anchor, and he was in 30 feet of water. If he throws the anchor out. he's never going to find something solid to anchor and steady him. Our feelings are like that ten-foot chain in 30-foot water, they are just going to keep us adrift, aimless, unstable, and fragile. But if we find an anchor that's in Jesus Christ, the anchor of our soul the scripture says, we anchor to him, then we find a stability, a strength, a steadiness. We find our emotions in a good and healthy place under the strength and stability of the anchor who is Jesus Christ. I love this weekend, that more and more have now anchored themselves to Jesus Christ. And that those who already knew Jesus, that you're anchored all the more to Him as you've increased in your love for him and your love for each other. And we just want to close our time praying, and then they're going to lead us in another song, and that's a way for us to respond to God with all of our heart that everybody in the room, with all of our heart, our mind and our affections, we are singing to God Himself, who gave us the greatest display of love at the cross.

Ross Sawyers: [00:44:30] Father, thank you for the day, thank you for the weekend, and the way you moved in the lives of our students and those who are leading them, and the host homes and drivers and people who've done things behind the scenes, we're so grateful for a church that just loves each other really, really well. And God, I pray you just continue to ignite our hearts for yourself, and God, that you would be our center and our anchor, and we'd find freedom in you, God, and that everything would come under who you are. And thank you so much for what you did in our students, I pray that work will continue as we leave this place in a few moments. But now, God, I pray with an intensity and a focus on you that we would sing.

Recorded in Grapevine, Texas.
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121 Community Church
2701 Ira E Woods Ave.
Grapevine, Texas 76051