A Reminder of What God's Love Looks Like

When We Truly Understand God's Love For Us It Reflects In How We Love Others.

Ross Sawyers
Dec 20, 2020    54m
Do you struggle with expressing your love for others? If so, this live bringing message of hope and love teaches us that when we truly understand God's love for us, it will begin to reflect in the way we love others as well. Video recorded at Grapevine, Texas.

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Ross Sawyers: 00:04 There has never been a time that I've either had lunch with Mike Duris, or talked to him on the phone, that I haven't left that conversation more encouraged, more in love with Jesus, more desirous to do something that makes a difference for the vulnerable across the world. And it's been a privilege over the years to partner with Mike and Orphan Outreach, and just to be a part of what God's doing. There's so many ways to be a part, if you wanted to sponsor a child, and it's just a reputable ministry to work through, to have an impact on a child that's been orphaned in Honduras. And so it's just another opportunity for us to be a part of what God's doing.

Ross Sawyers: 00:54 If you'd turning your Bibles to First John chapter 4, verses 7 through 12, it's where we'll hang out this morning. There's the gospels, Matthew Mark, Luke, and John, and then at the end of your Bible, just before Revelation, you'll find First, Second, and Third John. We'll be there in First John 4, verses 7.

Ross Sawyers: 01:14 And by the way, if you do not know what you're doing for Christmas, maybe you picked up a new idea and picked some pork legs up this week and make that a part of your new Christmas traditions, and I'll let you know if we give that a shot ourselves. It's been fun hearing the different traditions, and the different ways cultures celebrate, and make the most family-wise, relationally, and in their reflections on Christ, in these holidays.

Ross Sawyers: 01:43 Well, when we think about this time of year, one of thing, we've done this several different years, and we've worked through Advent. And depending on what your background is, you'd be familiar with Advent, or you might not be. The word advent actually means coming, and it is a way to think about the coming of Christ. And we, as a norm, think about it as the birth of Christ, when he entered into the world, when he came. And then we also think about it though, in his second coming. So he came once, and it's not just about his birth that's significant, it's about who he is and what he did. And then we know that there will be a second time that he comes. So at Christmas, it's not just thinking about the birth of Christ and when he came the first time, it's thinking forward to when he comes again to get all those who were his.

Ross Sawyers: 02:35 And as a norm when people are celebrating Advent, each Sunday up until Christmas is a particular theme. And those themes are hope, joy, peace, and today we focus on love, and that's where we've been in these few weeks. If you've been with us you're aware of that, if not that gives you a catch-up to where we are, as we think about today the love of Christ. In First John, it's an interesting little letter that's been written. And one of the things that I love about John, when he writes, things are really black and white to him, there's not a lot of gray in what he says. It's just this, or it's that, and it is what it is, and I just appreciate the candidness with which he writes. And he writes this particular letter, it's important that when we read books of the Bible, that we understand what's going on and why they were saying what they were saying. Sometimes we read it and we think I have no idea why he just said that, or why it would be written this way. And what John is writing to here, he's exposing false teaching. There were things that were being said about Christ that were not correct, that were starting to spread through the church. And we find out throughout the Bible that it's crucial for us to expose that which is false, that which is not true about who Christ is, and that's what John does in this letter.

Ross Sawyers: 04:05 He also gives assurances of what it means to know Christ. I don't know about you, I know a number of conversations I've had over the years, and I've had some of these moments myself over time, where we actually doubt and wonder, are we really saved or not? Do I really know Christ or not? And how can I know, how can I know for sure? And we have a God, a Father, who does not want us living and lingering in that doubt, he wants us to know the security of his love, his grace, and that he has us held. And when we read First John, there are a number of things in here that are evidences of how we can know that we know Christ, there are assurances when we see it.

Ross Sawyers: 04:58 In this little section, we'll be a part of today, there's some assurance, and there are some ways that we can just actually look at our lives and say, if I examine my life today, and I read what I read in scripture, yes, this gives me a confidence that I'm God's, and then I know him. And so, I hope today you'll be both assured and encouraged. And the overall way I've thought about this today, just a big idea, is this just is a reminder of what God's love looks like. And sometimes it's good just to remind ourselves of the love of God, and what that can look like, in really practical ways.

Ross Sawyers: 05:37 So let's begin in 7, work our way through it a little bit by little bit, and then I'd like for us at the end to just think about some really practical ways that we can love well as we move ahead. So John, he is the writer and he has a real love for the people that he's writing to. We see that multiple times in this little book, he calls them dear children, it's just the terms of affection. And in 7, he says, beloved, I mean, it's an affectionate term for those that he's writing to. And he says, hey, "Let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God." So beloved, he's talking to the people that he loves, and he's saying to him, let us love one another. Now somebody noted, I thought it was a good thought to consider. In this particular case, John is more appealing to us to love each other, and to really value and meet the needs of one another, it's an appeal more than he is commanding. Now we know that the two greatest commands that Jesus gave us are to love God with all of our heart, soul, and mind, and then to love our neighbor. Those are the two great commands, love God, love our neighbor. And John is really reiterating what those are, and he's doing it in a way to just kind of bring us along. Hey, let us love one another, for love is from God.

Ross Sawyers: 07:07 When we think about the definitions of love, culturally, there are ways that people think about love, and then biblically, there's a way that we would think about love. And we want to lock into what God says love is. There are different forms of this word love throughout the scriptures. One of them is a romantic kind of love, that is a legit kind of love that God has created to be in the right context, relationally, it's a romantic kind of love. And then there's a friendship kind of love, and there's a depth of that kind of love in friends. There's also a word for love, that is a familial kind of love, it's a family kind of love. There's an even deeper love among family than there might be among friends. Well, the kind of love he's referring to here is a Greek word that is called agape, and it's a selfless kind of love. It is a love that gives itself away, and it seeks the benefit of the other person, without expecting anything in return. It's not a love that I'm going to do this for you, and what I hope is is that you'll turn around and do something back for me. The kind of love that's been spoken of here, is the kind of love that just gives itself away. It gives itself away regardless if it gets trampled on when it's given. It gives itself away in spite of another person. It gives itself away regardless, that's the kind of love that we're describing. It's a selfless, give itself away, regardless of what comes back.

Ross Sawyers: 09:01 Jesus actually said, and John records this in the Gospel of John chapter 13 verses 34 and 35, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” What Jesus says is the way an outside world will know that we are Jesus's children, is the way that as his children, we love each other. He doesn't say those with the greatest theological minds, that this is how people will know that your mine, there's a place for that. What he says is the way we love each other, the way we self-give, the way we seek the benefit of another, without seeking anything in return. The way we do that for each other, as brothers and sisters in Christ, to an outside world looking in, they'll see that and that's how they'll know that we're his. So let us love one another.

Ross Sawyers: 10:13 Why is that? Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God." Love is from God, God is the source of our love. He is the one that enables us, and he is the one that gives us the ability to actually love Over these last few months, we've done a number of things in regard to the underground church, those who are being persecuted all over the world. And one of the things that we've done, and that we'll continue to do beyond this year, this is just a foundational time that we want to build this in, and we just describe as eight ways to follow Jesus commands of loving God and loving others.

Ross Sawyers: 10:58 Two of those are the ways that we think about how to love each other, because love is from God. And that love is demonstrated in Jesus Christ, and two of those eight ways are serving and giving. In Mark 10:45, it says, "The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Jesus did not come so that he would be served, he came to serve. And in Second Corinthians chapter 8:9, it says, "You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich." The anchoring for serving and giving is in Jesus Christ himself. See, love is from God, God made it known through Jesus, Jesus set the pace for what it looks like to serve and to give, we're motivated by what Christ did. When we think about the love that is from God, it is a steadfast love, it's not whimsical, it doesn't change with whatever's going on in the moment. it's consistent and steady.

Ross Sawyers: 12:24 I shared this a while back, and I actually just wanted to double back to it, not everyone would have been here when I did. But one of the things that we did this fall to get in the shoes a little bit of those who are being persecuted in the underground church all over the world, one of the things that we did is a weekend where we had an immersive experience. And then we asked when you left, that you would take and we had taken pages of scripture out of a Bible. I said, this is what it's like in some parts of the world, that there's no access to a Bible, and if there is, there might be one Bible. And when they have a Bible, when they would gather up in their small group community, so we call them life groups, pick any name. we have multiple names in this area that people call their small group life. The bottom line, it's a small group of believers that are centering their lives together, doing life together, around Christ. And what they would do is they'd take a Bible and they'd maybe each get a page for the week, that's all they get. They can't get it on devices, they don't have the Bible itself. And we were asked to try that, what would it be like just to have one page?

Ross Sawyers: 13:33 And the page that I ended up with was in Psalms, and it was the last part of Psalm 57 verses 6 and following, I didn't even get the whole Psalm, and through chapter 65, and I didn't get all of 65. But I noticed as I read this every day, and just kept immersing myself in this part of the scripture, that a theme emerged, and it was the steadfast love of God. If love is from God, what is that love like, and I saw it in these Psalms. in Psalm 57, it says, "Your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds." It's steadfast, and it's great the heavens, it's vast, it is beyond what we can comprehend, the amount of love that God has. In verse 10 of 59, "My God in his steadfast love will meet me; God will let me look in triumph on my enemies." God has this vast steadfast love, and he says, he'll meet us with it. In verse 16 of that same chapter, "But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. He meets me with that steadfast love and that causes a song to rise out of my heart for him. "I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning." And then, "O my Strength, I will sing praises to you, for you, O God, are my fortress, the God who shows me steadfast love." Verse 7 chapter 61, "May he be enthroned forever before God; appoint steadfast love and faithfulness to watch over him!" And then in 3 of chapter 63, "Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you." When we experience, and are met by, the steadfast love of God, our hearts bring out a song through our lips of praise to him, out loud to him. This is the kind of love that is from God.

Ross Sawyers: 16:07 To further define love, we go to First Corinthians 13, there is an outstanding chance that this was read at your wedding, this is called the love chapter. It's an interesting thing, because it actually sets a standard of love that we fail on probably the very next day in our wedding, it's a really high standard. And I've actually started rereading it at weddings in a different way. This is what it says, this is the definition of love, "Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; (It's not rude.) It doesn't seek its own (It's not selfish.), it's not provoked (It doesn't get brought to anger.), it doesn't take into account a wrong suffered. (In other words, it forgives.) It rejoices with the truth, and it does not rejoice with unrighteousness. It bears all things, believes the best about all things, hopes all things endures all things, love, never fails.

Ross Sawyers: 17:40 I failed within the first five minutes I got up this morning, but that is kind of love that comes from God. And while you and I are not capable of loving like this consistently, we can actually reread this and say, "Love is from God. " Verse 7 of First John 4. The kind of love that is from God is made known in Jesus. And I would reframe First Corinthians 13 to say, That Jesus is patient, Jesus is kind, Jesus is not jealous, Jesus does not brag, he's not arrogant. Jesus does not act unbecomingly, he does not seek his own. Jesus is not provoked to anger, and Jesus does not take into account a wrong suffered. Jesus does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but Jesus rejoices in truth. Jesus bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Jesus never fails. The only way we can love one another with the love that's from God is to know Jesus, and to allow the love of Jesus to flow through us. We can try harder to be patient, we can try harder to not be jealous, we can try harder to not be rude. It's not going to work, it's only going to happen when the heart is changed, and it's the love of God that flows through, then this is the kind of love that starts to be produced.

Ross Sawyers: 19:31 Love is from God and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The only way to love as I've just described, is to be born of God and to know God. Not just to believe God, to be born of God and to know God. In John 3, he writes, Jesus talks about being born again. Jimmy Carter kind of made that famous in the seventies when he talked about being born again, the public had no idea what to do with that idea became the butt of jokes everywhere. Jesus said, if a person's going to know me, he first has to be born a second time that our hearts are changed and we're born again, and we trust Jesus, and that we know him. We continue to grow in our knowledge of God, and as we grow in that knowledge of God, our ability to love flows from this. Because we know what love is, and we're leaning on the one who can actually love through us. The bottom line, this will be a way to think about it, is the ability to love others is proportionate to the way that we grow in our relationship with God. As we grow and deepen with him, our ability to love will deepen and grow with others. Do you want the best thing for your marriage? Deepen and grow in your love for God. And the way you'll be able to love your spouse well, is as you love God well because you'll see them with different eyes, when you see through the eyes of Christ. Do you want to love your children well, love and grow in your relationship with God. Do you want to love your friends well, love and develop your relationship with God. Do you want to love your enemies well, only as you grow in your love with God, love is from God.

Ross Sawyers: 21:30 Verse 8, he actually says something that's a bit negative. He says, "The one who does not love does not know God for God is love." If a person does not love as we've just described, what John says, and this is a test to the faith. If I cannot love, and I do not love my brothers and sisters in Christ, if I'm not at least growing in a way that I can love my enemies...What John says again, he's really black and white, there's not gray with him. "The one who does not love does not know God for God is love." Not love is God, God is love. In scripture, we see that God is light, God is spirit, God is the consuming fire, God is love. This is the encompassing attribute of everything about God, that God is love. He is this essence of self-giving, of giving himself away. And he says clearly though, "The one who does not love does not know God. Somebody might believe in God, it doesn't mean they know God, there's a difference. The one who knows God, will love as God loves. It's a way to test our hearts today.

Ross Sawyers: 22:52 Sometimes people believe and love the idea of God, not God himself. We're not talking about loving the concept of God, or loving the idea of a God. We're talking about a God who is a triune God, beyond what we can ever fathom, he is God the Father, God the Son, God the Spirit. And he is a God, a person to be loved, not a concept, not an idea. And it raises a question, when people are not interested in being a part of the gathered body of Christ, I'm not talking about just here this morning, I'm talking about being a part of believers, small group, something, where we love Christians. Something I've heard people say over the years, they believe God, they say they're a Christian, but they're not interested in being with other Christians because they don't like other Christians. Well, this verse raises a question about if you can't love other Christians, brothers, and sisters in Christ, no matter how difficult they are. Remember we're talking about a love that loves in spite of, and if there's nothing within us that wants to be with other Christians, love other Christians, well, John says, hey, this person probably doesn't know God. It's a way to consider, to think about that relationship with God.

Ross Sawyers: 24:18 Verses 9 and 10, we see this love demonstrated, "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." Here's this love that's described, love is from God, God is love, and let us love one another. Here's a picture, even more so of what this, it's the perfect picture of the kind of love that God has, the powerful kind of love, and God sent his only begotten Son. That were begotten means unique, he sent his only unique son into the world. What we sang a minute ago, it was powerful, Great Are you Lord. We're talking about the whole earth, there are people all over the world today, different ethnicities all over the globe today in different time zones through the day, where God's praise is being sung because he is a God of the world. John 3:16, John writes and he says, "For God's love the world." Everything is about God, he loved the world, he loved that which actually was in opposition to him, he loved that which was rebellious towards him. "For God so loved the world, so much so, that he gave his only begotten Son. Jesus says it, John records it in John 3. Now John writes it again in First John. He gave, he gave his life on the cross, on the cross to take our sins and to absorb the wrath of God. Whoever believes in him...It's a belief that expresses itself in love and honor of God, a belief. And this person will escape perishing in an eternal hell, and instead have everlasting life. It's in Jesus Christ.

Ross Sawyers: 26:10 I spent a good part of my time yesterday alone with the Lord. I was singing about this kind of love that he has, and trying to internalize this kind of love for me. And I just started reeling off all these different things that are the faults and sins and things in me, and I would just say it to God, and then I said, and thank you that you love me in spite of that. It wasn't a beat me up session, it was, this is just a reality, and I can't believe that God will love me so much in spite of that. I can't believe that not only does he love me, that in spite of all those things, he actually pursued me while I was doing those things. That's a staggering kind of love, there's very few of us that are in pursuit of people to be in relationship with them, that are actively rebelling, and don't like us, and sin against us, and hurt us, and harm us. Rarely do we do that, but that's what God does with each of us.

Ross Sawyers: 27:21 Even a little bit further here in verse 14, he says, "We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world." In this season we're thinking about his birth. We heard beautiful stories in the baptisms a few minutes ago, of people have said yes to Jesus. They experienced this, the love of God, and it brings the life. You see it and teach it, because you just see the life in him. See Jesus brings life, he did this to bring us life. So we might live through him, that's where freedom is, it's where real life is in. "In this is love." Verse 10. "Not that we loved God." It's not that we love God, "But that he loved us and sent his son to be the propitiation for our sins." Propitiation is a great word, my hunch is you'll use that several times this week at work. What it means is that Jesus Christ took the wrath of God on himself on that cross, so that you and I would not have to absorb the full wrath of God. He took it, so that we can be set free. That that's the kind of love that God has.

Ross Sawyers: 28:34 We are incapable of living the lives God has intended for us, to love the way God intended us to love, apart from Christ in us. What I just described there, until we experienced that love of God through Jesus Christ and receive that. And it's often difficult for us, depending on past experiences, the way we experience, maybe our own father's love, or the way we experienced the love of those who are over us. And that's our image of who God is, and that can distort it and hurt it. But I just want you to know there is a God who has an incredibly deep love for you, and it's different than any human experience we can possibly imagine. But once we know him... Second Corinthians 5:14-15, "It is the love of Christ that controls us. Having concluded this, that one died for all, and he died for us, so that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who died and rose again on our behalf." It's motivated by the death and resurrection of Christ, our love for other people reflect on and are reminded of the love of God. And as we think on that, then we're able to love other people.

Ross Sawyers: 29:55 2020 has actually been a transformative year for many as they've experienced for the first time God's love for them, and they believed it. For others, you've continued to experience it. Thursday, a portion of our family went out to the DFW national cemetery. And for those who are newer here, you may not know this, but my brother died this summer from COVID, complications from it. And he was buried at the national cemetery, he was a part of the start of 121. We've probably not had a week go by where someone has not said something to us about the impact that Lloyd had on somebody's life here. I'm sorry for you, if you didn't know him, and that you didn't get a hug from him at the front door, and that you didn't get to hear him ask you your name and then be the first one the next week to tell you your name. I'm sorry that you didn't get a tour of this building, there was nobody more proud of what went on at 121 than my brother, but he just loved big. And I didn't used to like the idea of going out to the cemetery after people died. I just, I didn't get it, I didn't get the idea. I didn't get the idea of somebody talking to him, that was just kind of bizarre to me, and so I didn't go out and see my dad's marker for years. I finally, a few years ago did, and I actually found that to be really meaningful and helpful in the grieving, just to see their name. There's just something about that, it's hard and yet helpful. And so we saw Lloyd's grave marker for the first time on Thursday in the wreath laying that went on at the national cemetery. And I wanted you to see to see it, the bottom you get so many letters to choose something to say. And what Lloyd's daughter chose to put was, Did you know Jesus loves you?

Ross Sawyers: 32:37 If you knew my brother, what he would say to you is, first, has anybody told you today that they love you? And most of the time it's probably not. And then he wrapped you up in a big old hug and say, I love you. But then the other question he'd ask you is, do you know that Jesus loves you? Do you know that? Do you feel that? Do you experience that? Do you know that Jesus loves you? The only way we'll really love one another is when we believe deeply that Jesus himself loves us. When Lloyd recognized that a few decades ago, he never got over it, not till the last nurse, before he was rolled off to ICU where he passed, they knew they were loved deeply by him and by Jesus. But did they, or do you, believe it? It changes everything. Now Lloyd did something else, when he would lock onto a verse of scripture, he locked on for a long time. When I read scripture these last few months, and I'll come across something, I can hear him saying it to me and I can hear him calling and saying, hey, what are you thinking about this today? And one of those was Hebrews 10:24, and it says, "Let us continue in how it can stimulate one another, stir one another, to love and good deeds." So not only did he want you to believe that Jesus loved him, he was always stirring you up, so that you'd be about doing good things for others. But you heard Mike say at the outset, love is a feeling, yes, but love is action. And where to stir each other up to love and good deeds.

Ross Sawyers: 34:33 In verse 11, "Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another." Now, how can we actually love each other? And I just want to kind of wrap up here with a few ideas, maybe of how we can love one, another. Maybe it will stir something for you, just like my brother would be trying to stir us right now to how we can love each other. I want to see if we can stir the heart a little bit in something fresh as we think about God's love for us. And one of the things, I need to apologize, I've driven us probably too hard in the month of December in different things. With the Bible drive, the prayer and fasting chain, and just multiple things that I thought would be great things. And I think they still are actually, but it's hard to talk about all of it, there's too many things. But what I'd like to do, if we could, when we think about loving one another, we started a prayer and fasting chain for the month of December where we wanted to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ. A way to love someone is to genuinely pray for them, like that's a way to love someone. And we asked for people to just take one hour slots during the week, and to pray and fast. Just during that one hour, just focus on praying for our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ. If you have a phone, I'd love you to take it out, or when you get home.

Ross Sawyers: 35:51 But I just wondered if this week, if this week we could go really strong in praying for our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ, not just in other countries, but here as well. And this is the way you would do it, it can be intimidating. And I thought one of the best ideas that somebody had, their life group, they've signed up for different slots. So if you're a life group leader, what if you signed up for a slot or two of time, and then they're taking 10 minute increments in that one hour. So their life groups covering the hour, but six different people are praying in 10 minute increments. So if an hour is like intimidating, or you're thinking, man, that's just too much, I don't know that I could do it that long, there's a way to break that down. But this is the way we're doing it, if you go to our website, to 121cc.com, and scroll down to prayer and fasting chain, I just want you to see this, because they did such a phenomenal job in helping us. And then go to the week of December 20th, and it says right now, 81% of the times are available. Now, some of you have problems sleeping at night, I know you do. I'm one of them, you get older, you actually get up more times during the night. For those younger, you don't get it yet. I didn't get it, I made fun of those who were older, now I'm him. And so there are multiple ways that you can pray during the night, like when you get up for a few minutes, divide that 2:00 AM slot out among five of your other older friends. And between us, I bet we'll all get up sometime in that timeframe. So there's a number of ways to think about this, but could we this week get that down to 0% and we that pray? That we're loving our brothers and sisters in Christ all week long, praying. And this prayer guide, if you're wondering, I don't know what to pray? Here it is right here, I've just been reading through this, that's all. I haven't made it complicated, maybe God will take me in a little direction somewhere when I'm praying. But if you have no idea how to pray, it's right here, and just follow through here and think about people that are in Africa today being persecuted, in India, Nepal, China, North Korea, whatever God brings to mind. But God will actually bring people to you, and you'll be blown away by what God will bring to mind. So can I just say, hey, can we just really have a strong week here, and love each other, brothers and sisters in Christ, all over the world by praying together. And let's see what God does.

Ross Sawyers: 38:20 The Bibles that we talked about today. There are people in the world that aren't able to do what we just did. They don't have a Bible, it's illegal in their area to even have one. And we're trying to buy Bibles to be smuggled into places where they don't get them, so we can chip in and we can love people that way. And then I wonder, I wonder as we look to 2021 as brothers and sisters in Christ, in light of all the racial tensions. Could we just ask God on purpose, no matter what our race is, to give us at least one person of another race that's a believer to befriend, to listen to, learn from, pray for, and just have a mutual growing together across racial lines. As Christians, scripture says, we're actually one race. These are social constructs that we've developed, and yet they they've created all kinds of tension. And as Christians, can we be the leaders in loving each other well, on purpose, but not trying to force something. And you think, I need a friend that's another race, I mean, it's ridiculous. Pray, ask God, will you raise up people in my life that I could build friendships with, and jump into something different, and love someone well. All races, and what a beautiful picture that would be of loving each other.

Ross Sawyers: 40:02 And could we, with authorities and police, what if we prayed for the opportunity for ways to encourage
and affirm those who do their jobs well, and how we can pray, to strengthen those who are in authority? Could we hold those two tensions together, and love well across racial lines, and love well on authority lines as well. That's not easy, but as a Christian, this is an agape kind of love, it's loving in spite of. And could we ask God just to turn our hearts, if there's anything in there that stirs up? If you just heard me say something that stirred you wrong, that's a good heart check before God, not with me. How can we really love well?

Ross Sawyers: 40:54 Could we, I don't care if you're a Democrat or Republican today, find somebody that's a different party than you and figure out how you can love them well, despite your differences. Can you do that?

Ross Sawyers: 41:15 Christians, I always talk about loving Christians well, there's been more division in Christians over the last several months, not to mention our country as a whole, just among Christians. Look, can we just love each other well, in light of what God's love is for us?

Ross Sawyers: 41:39 Someone has a different view of gender, sexuality, than you do. What if rather than ranting and raving online, we just loved people who have different views than we do, and see if we can get in the mix of grace and truth.

Ross Sawyers: 42:03 And then I want to wrap it where Austin, in the Honduras video took us. I thought it was really interesting that on Christmas in Honduras, they're trying to right relationships that were fractured during the year. Could we maybe love each other well enough to forgive, to let offenses go, and where we've been offensive to go seek the forgiveness of the other person. Where we've taken stands on masks and created loss of friendship, where we've argued about vaccinations, where we've let the COVID, kind of to me, so much of it is craziness, where we've let that divide, where we've got on social media and ranted. Could we maybe go back to those same places and same people and reconcile. And maybe just get a fresh start relationally, the way we conduct ourselves, and just regroup a little bit inside the love of Christ, and let that motivate our hearts to love in very practical ways, one another. Can we stir each other to that kind of love?

Ross Sawyers: 43:35 Father, thank you for the strength of your word. And, God, I pray that we would be a people that one, experience your love, and then God, that it would flow through us. Help us to learn how to submit and yield to it, so that Jesus, your life and your love will flow through our life. And, God, I pray you'll extend our love beyond anything we've thought, and will you break down barriers. Just as you reconciled us to yourself through what you did on the cross in the ultimate demonstration of love, will you help us lay our own lives down so that we might love like you loved. And, Lord, I pray that the light of Christ would burn so bright that a nation that is so far from you would look at the Christians and not say, they're the divisive ones, but I can't believe they love like that. The way they love each other, and the way they love those who are different than them. May your love, God, overwhelm our hearts today. In Jesus' name.

Ross Sawyers: 45:02 Let's be still before the Lord, and just anything you want to consider or contemplate that God might be saying. We have some questions that we'll throw on the screen that might be helpful in this contemplation, if you're online and you find that might be more helpful, and even here. Or just let it be a quiet space, whatever would be best for you.

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