Love Without Limits

Learning How To Love Your Enemies May Be The Hardest Command To Follow.

Jermaine Arphul
Jul 19, 2020    1hr 16m
As a follower of Jesus you are called to learn how to love your enemies as you love yourself, this may be one of the most confusing and hard to follow commands found in scripture. This message addresses the feelings that can come up around this command and offers ways to follow God's will for this in your life. Video recorded at Grapevine, Texas.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Jermaine Arphul: 00:10 Hope everybody's doing well. Thanks for those who are watching online. It is a pleasure, and a joy, and an honor to be standing up here. I'm the youth minister here at 121, and it's been a long time since I've been able to stand right here. We usually meet in here on Wednesday nights, and it's been a while. So it feels really good personally, to be standing up here and looking out into the audience, and looking out to you to deliver God's word. So it is a pleasure and an honor. And I just want to say right out the gate that I love this church, I love 121 Community Church. Amen. Yes, it has, in so many incredible ways, has blessed me personally and my family. To be standing here right now, a person of color. to be in, basically, in charge of the youth ministry is an extreme honor. It is an extreme honor to be that.

Jermaine Arphul: 01:12 And I felt the love and support since day one, even before that when I was here coming with my wife in 2011, it's been almost nine years, it'll be nine years in August since we've been a part of this church. We have felt the love of this church through and through. Like, I could give a whole sermon on how much love this church has provided and given to our family. and it's been great. I came into this church with my wife with zero kids, now we've got four, nine years later, and we've been loved and blessed every step of the way. And I love it on Wednesday nights too, if you've ever been here on a Wednesday night pre-COVID, especially during the time when I was in charge of middle school, you would know that there needed to be a police presence around here for, for my sake, right? Just because we had like everybody around, you know, all the kids were all about going everywhere. And I'm half kidding in regards to that, our kids are great. But the police that's been around here, I cannot say enough of how much I value and respect them just pouring into this church, and keeping us safe, and just doing an amazing job in regards to serving us. And I know a lot of them on a personal level, and they've been fantastic. There's just nothing bad to say about our police officers here in this community, and so I'm grateful to be a part of that and to feel safe. Every time I walk in through these doors, I'm grateful for that.

Jermaine Arphul: 02:47 I'm also grateful for Ross, our lead pastor, and our leadership team who looked at me and not by some affirmative action or anything like that. They just looked me as a child of God who loved the Lord and who believed in the core values of 121 and said, you have a unique gift, we believe in you, God's given you a unique gift and we believe in you, so we want to have you be in charge of the youth ministry. I'm grateful for that, like that is, I can't say enough about how grateful I am for that.

Jermaine Arphul: 03:22 But most importantly, most importantly, I am grateful for a God who came and rescued me from my sin, who loved me, even when I did not love him back. I can remember on a Christmas morning, I told my dad that I did not believe in God, and therefore I did not believe in Christmas. That same God loved me through that, that same God loves me through that each and every single day, even when I was an enemy of him, a pronounced enemy of him. And I'm grateful that in spite of that, he came and rescued me, and saved me, and changed my life, because without him, I wouldn't be standing right here today. And it's for that exact same reason that I would ask for all of you to care about this topic of race, that we have been engaged in. To care enough, to where maybe it would move your heart to have a little bit more compassion than whatever you did before going into this, to where maybe you would want to act on that compassion in a way that brings dignity and value to people of color, that we all deserve, because we're all made in the image of God.

Jermaine Arphul: 04:50 So if you will, let's go ahead and turn to Matthew chapter 5. We're going to look at verses 43 through 48 as we dive in. And we're going to talk about just the love of God and how there are no limits, there are no limits to God's love, absolutely no limits to God's love. So let's look there, and while you're turning there, let me just say this really quickly. We've been in a series, it started a couple of weeks ago, called Lead With Love, A Biblical Perspective On Race. And Ross led off with, Everyone Is Made In The Image Of God, and so everyone deserves that dignity because we're made in the image of God. And then last week we worked through Ephesians chapter 2, and looked at how Jesus broke down the barrier, the real barrier, the barrier that stands between us and God. He broke that down, thereby bringing two ethnicities, that Jews and the Gentiles into one. And what that means, is all of us because of that, are now one, we're united, and he preached on that. And over the last couple of weeks, he's asked us to search our hearts in regards to that. And I just want to say thank you. For those who've been struggling in this series, if you've been struggling that we’re talking about this, it's hard for me too. We're in 2020, we're still talking about this racial issue, this race problem that still is there. It is still there. It breaks my heart that we're talking about it, but I'm grateful that you're sticking in with us, and digging deep, and being willing to listen and learn.

Jermaine Arphul: 06:34 Also want to say, secondly, is that every single Sunday, every single Sunday, Ross preaches a sermon straight out of the Bible. And every time he does, he takes that truth and he connects it to the transforming power of Jesus Christ, and then connects that to how it can apply in our daily lives. Every single Sunday, he talks about different books of the Bible. We talk about sharing our faith. We talk about being on mission. We talk about questioning our faith. We talk about how to defend our faith, hope in Jesus, strength that we could find in him. We talk about a number of topics, sex trafficking, parenting, the list goes on and on, and I hear affirmation and amens, and applause all the time. But why is it that when it comes to talking about this particular topic, race, that I hear well, what about....Well, what about this person's background? Well, what about... As lovingly as I can, I want to say this as lovingly as I can. When it comes to sin, and racism is a sin, when it comes to sin, wrong is wrong, sin is a sin. And so we're going to talk about it from a biblical perspective, we are going to talk about it. So there is no what about, there is no what about when it comes to sin? So we're going to talk about it from a biblical perspective. Matthew chapter 23, verse 23, Jesus says, "The weightier matters is justice, mercy and faithfulness. Justice, we're going to talk about that because Jesus, the very focal point of the Bible, the hero of our lives says the weightier matters is justice, mercy, and faithfulness.

Jermaine Arphul: 09:15 Now, let's dig in to this easy topic, this easy passage in Matthew chapter 5 verse 43 through 48, loving your enemies. Oh, such an easy topic to talk about, loving your enemies. Let's go ahead and read that, starting in verse 43, "You have heard that it was said, you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you..." Jesus, Jesus says, I, the emphasis, "I say to you..."As if he has authority, which he does. "I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he causes his sun..." His son, I just like was reading this passage just a minute ago, and I go, wait a minute, how did I miss his sun? Wow, we'll get into that in a second, :His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same. If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do you do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." What a passage.

Jermaine Arphul: 10:39 Let's pray, because I'm going to need some help to break this down. Okay? Lord, thank you so much, just for your goodness, and your kindness, and your mercy. Lord, give me the strength to speak today, where there's so much hurt, there's so much pain, and so many things that are going on. Lord, would you help us focus on your goodness and your truth, and help lift us up today and help us carry out what you've called us to do, which is to love, love without limits. We pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

Jermaine Arphul: 11:20 So, like I said, this is a great topic, easy topic to talk about. Matthew chapter 5 verse 43 is where we're going to start, "Jesus says, you have heard it said, you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy." So the audience, let me just give some context, the audience he's talking to is Pharisees and Scribes, religious leaders of the day. He's given like the greatest sermon ever, and he's telling people, hey, this is how it is to be in my kingdom. Which is way different than how the world operates. And if you're to be in my kingdom, the character of a Christian, the morals of a Christian is to be like this. And so he's talking to mainly the Pharisees and the Scribes, the religious leaders of the day, and he's saying, "You have heard it said, you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy." Enemy being anyone who persecutes you, who hates you, who attacks you. Enemy could be anyone who just doesn't like the way that you look, an enemy could be anyone who doesn't like you because of your skin color, an enemy could be anyone who just doesn't like the way that you talk, or the way that you walk, or maybe they criticize you because you're doing a better job than they are at work. An enemy could be a lot of different thing, at the most extreme degree, it can be someone who persecutes you and wants to kill you. We all have enemies when we think about it, and Jesus is talking about that. And he says, you've heard it first, you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. That the religious leaders of the day they took Leviticus chapter 19 verse 18, and they twisted that that piece of scripture. The scripture says in the Old Testament, "And they knew this, that you shall love your neighbor as yourself." As yourself. Jesus says, yet, you have said, love your neighbor and hate your enemies. And then he follows up with, but I say to you love your enemies. Love your enemies.

Jermaine Arphul: 13:30 And as a side note, before we go any further, I just want to say this. I'm not going to unpack what it looks like to forgive, I'm not going to really unpack of self-defense or even just abuse, because I think when you read this in regards to personal relationships, this is what this passage is really addressing. You can look through that and say, well, what about the person that hits me? Can I not have self-defense. I think a lot of people think about that when you look at that passage, and the Bible just asks us to use wisdom in regards to that. I look at Luke chapter 22, and I see Jesus telling disciples to put down your coat, and go find the sword as you're going out. But then just shortly after that Jesus tells Peter, hey man, put the sword down, you're getting in the way of God's will. You're blocking what God is trying to do here, stop trying to take matters into your own hands, leave vengeance to God, Romans chapter 12. So we are called to use wisdom in regards to that. And then in regards to abuse, you are not, let me just say this as clearly as I can, Jesus is not condoning staying in abuse. He's not condoning that. If you're in an abusive situation, abusive relationship, please find help. We've got staff here that would love to talk to you about that and help you through that. So this is not, Jesus is not condoning abuse, that's not love. That's not love.

Jermaine Arphul: 15:05 What Jesus is addressing is the posture of our hearts. He's addressing the posture of our hearts, and he's saying there should be no limits to how far your love will go, especially with your enemies. And when I look at this, my first thought is that's impossible. That is impossible. And then my second thought is really, really Jesus, are you being serious? Like, love my enemy. I can think of sort of some scenarios where maybe I would want to be able to do that. Like I've got four kids, my oldest has been playing sports. And if you've ever played sports before the old adage when you're playing sports is, the referee always sees the person who retaliates. Right? You always hear that. And so I could see how it'd be not good to retaliate, and to love to continue that. Or when you're driving down the road, somebody cuts you off, right. Rather than retaliate, right pray for them because you don't want to end up on the 5 o'clock news for road rage, and you worse you don't want to end up being hurt physically. Right? I've seen all of that play out. So some scenarios I'm like, okay, I could see how that could play out.

Jermaine Arphul: 16:22 But what many black Americans are thinking when they see this, when they've read this, how could I love a group of people that have oppressed another group of people for hundreds of years? Some people have had horrible experiences with the police. How can I love a police officer, or police, who seem to murder people right on the street and cold blood. And they'll say time after time for hundreds of years, how can I love someone like that? I've heard this, we've turned it enough cheeks, we don't have any more cheeks to turn, we're out of love. How can we love someone who doesn't love us back? That's what I hear a lot.

Jermaine Arphul: 17:27 I can remember growing up in a city just north of here. I grew up for pretty much all my life, in a city North of here. And for the most part, I mean, there was no overt racism where I grew up, but I did experience it. I did experience it. Which by the way, if you're thinking, you know, racism is a thing of the past, it's something that, you know, haven't we moved forward? Why are we still talking about this? You're looking at someone in 2020 who has experienced it, so it is still here. And I would hear the N word, let's just say this one too many times, one is one too many times and I would hear it, and I had a wrong thought. I would think to myself, hey, as long as it wasn't directed towards me, I won't say anything. Which was wrong. I sort of desensitized myself to hearing that word. Well, there's this one time I was with a friend, supposedly friend, and we were driving and I was riding in the passenger seat and I frequently fall asleep while in the passenger seat. Not while driving, but in the passenger seat. It was just a thing that I can't help it, you get me in a nice comfortable chair, I'm going to sleep. Movies, everything, ask my wife about it, she'll tell you all about it. Well, I started to fall asleep, but I wasn't all the way asleep. And my friend, as he pulled up to my house to the front door, was on the phone with another friend. And he said, Hey, I'm about to drop this N-Word off. I heard it as clear as day, and I popped up and I reared back, and in a fit of rage, I hit him. I got out of the car and I went inside to my house. Wasn't I justified in my actions? Wasn’t I justified? Like, there's got to be some limits on this loving your enemies. Right? The guy called me the N word. Wasn't I justified in how I responded? Quite frankly, if you asked me back then I was not a believer back then, but if you asked me back then, I would've told you, I let the person off easy. I would've said, I should have hit him a couple more times. Here's why I was wrong. Here's why I was wrong. I let vengeance get into my heart, and really let myself get self-absorbed and self-righteous, to the point where now I acted just as cruel as the offender. You see that, I acted just as cruel as the offender. And so I took this person's sin, that was hate, that was sitting right here on the throne of sin. I took that off, and put my sin on top, I let evil seep into my heart. Do you see that? That's why I was wrong, and instead of pushing the pause button, and having a conversation with him on why this was wrong, and speaking the truth in love and why this was wrong, I just traded curse for curse, hate for hate, and actually created more problems. Had I at least been able to talk to him in a way, maybe there would have been a possibility to heal the problem, but instead I traded curse for curse and created more disunity.

Jermaine Arphul: 21:29 This is what Jesus is trying to address to the people here in this passage, part of what he's trying to address. He's trying to say, look, when you trade curse for curse, hate for hate, all that does is make the gap of disunity wider. He says no to bitterness, no to envy, no to anger, he says no to all of those things. But what does he say instead? Love. Love, and not the brotherly love, you know, like, Hey, you know...No, not that kind of love, not the romantic love, agape love. Agape love that's found in first Corinthians chapter 13, in verses 4 through 7. The type of love that does not seek its own, the type of love that is willing to sacrifice for the other person's wellbeing. Why? Because they're made in the image of God. That type of love, that that type of love comes from God.

Jermaine Arphul: 22:44 See, this is my first point, is that hate comes from this world, and love comes from God. You see, the Pharisees, the religious leaders, they like to downsize the love of God, they like to bring it down to a level that was humanly possible. And so they would twist scripture into saying, love your neighbor and hate your enemy. Because that's what we do as sinful people, we let pride well up inside of us, and we twist things around. But God says, no love, love agape type of love, and it comes from God. In First John chapter 4 verse 19, we see this play out through scripture. We love God because he loved first loved us, that's what it says in 4:19. And then also talks about, I almost forgot this too, in First John chapter 4 verse 10, this is where it comes from as well, and more backing it up on where it comes from. He says this, "In this is love..." That word love really is agape. "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." You see that, he sent it to us. God's his source of love, and he sent it to us, and so now our job is to love one another as it says in verse 11. By this love of God in verse 9, "It was manifested to us that God sent his only begotten son into this world, so we might live through him." And so now, we ought to do the same. That's the type of love that Jesus is trying to get us to understand, that is the type of love.

Jermaine Arphul: 24:37 So, let's bring it down, let's take it from the clouds, this whole idea of love and loving your enemies. Let's bring it down right into our hearts, into our view. I want you to think of replacing that word enemy that Jesus talks about, replace that with someone who in your mind and your heart is an enemy, picture that person. It says, Jesus says, love your enemy. Love your ______, think of that person. It's hard, I know. Big enemy or small, all of us have one. And what Jesus is addressing here, is he's trying to say, look, we all put limits to our love. We all say, it's not going to go that far to that particular person. And what it does is it divides us, and creates just more boundaries. And so it causes us to put limits on our love, and Jesus saying, don't do that because what you're probably doing is you're dehumanizing that person. Maybe in some instances, demonizing that person who was made in the image of God. So he's saying, you know, hate the sin, don't just be a doormat, you don't need to let them walk over you, that's not love. But look deep into that person, and see evidences and traces of the image of God in that person. And then on top of that, he says, pray for them. Pray for them. And when we say pray for them, I'm not saying let's pray for burning coals to rain down like fire onto them. That's not the framework, that's not the right posture we should have. It's pray for them to have a heart of repentance. It's pray for them to have a relationship with Jesus. It's pray for them to see God as the ultimate satisfaction. And when you do that, what it does is it actually puts you in a position to do what God does for all of us every single day, which is extend love. Constantly doing that allows you to pray for those who persecute you, or pray for your enemies. That's what he's saying here.

Jermaine Arphul: 27:04 And look, this is a really, really hard thing to say. It's just hard. We all have some people in our lives who've done some really horrific things. Black Americans have, a lot of them have, experienced some horrific things and to stand here and say, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you is really, really hard. It is really tough to say that, but this is what Jesus says is the word of God. That's what will bring the unity that we so all desire, and so we have to think in regards to that. And loving your neighbor, as it says in scripture, includes loving your enemy. See that, it encompasses loving your enemy. And again, I know that it's really hard, but let's try. What Jesus is trying to do here, he's trying to free us, he's trying to free us up from setting limits on how far our love will go. He's trying to liberate us from having this like calculating type of love, where we expect something in return. He's trying to free us from being stingy with our love, and drawing lines and boundaries on how far or love is willing to go. He's trying to free us from that.

Jermaine Arphul: 28:32 And here's the thing, the hate that has been just spewed out across racial lines and cultural lines, all of that is just further widening the gap of disunity. The one thing that's going to reverse it, is the perfect love of God. We're all, as Christians, we are ambassadors, which means we bring what God says. We are his representatives, and so we play that out into all aspects of our lives. Now, if you're like me, I'm going okay, fine, I get it. But why, why would we want to do that? Well, he says right here in verse 45, "So that you may be sons of your Father who's in heaven. For he causes his son..." Raise your hand or think out loud, or if you're at home, like who owns the sun? Like who has the power to cause the sun to rise? I don't know anybody like that, do you? I don't. "...causes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain..." I don't know anybody who has the power to do that either. "...sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." This is the reason why we would want to love our enemies. Do you see that?

Jermaine Arphul: 30:00 In verse 46 it says, "For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?" He's saying we love without limits, because that's what our heavenly Father does. That's what our heavenly Father does. Our heavenly Father, the one that like caused his sun, the one that makes the sun rise and the rain come down, says, look, I grant you mercy every single day. I show my love to you every single day, even to those who hate me, who don't like me, who try to use every reason possible to not follow me or to listen to me. I send you life every day, if you're alive today, it's because of God, even if you're an enemy. And so he's saying, you should do the same. If you're a son or daughter of Christ, you should do the same. Actually it would be unbelievably unjust for you not to.

Jermaine Arphul: 31:08 In Matthew chapter 18, there's a great illustration of this. Jesus is telling a story about a King who forgives a servant who owed him an unbelievable amount of money, a sum of money. He forgave him for that. And then that servant turns around, and doesn't forgive another servant who only owed them a little bit amount of money. And when the King hears about it, he looks at the servant and says, how could you not forgive that servant? When I have forgiven you have so much more? Every single one of us, we owe God because he created us out of his love. And the scripture tells us that we should love him with everything that we have, yet, we fall short of that every single day. Yet God's still gives us the love wrapped in mercy and forgiveness, and so the call for us is to do the same.

Jermaine Arphul: 32:14 And here's what makes this so powerful. Okay? Here's what makes this so powerful. Jesus, the man who's talking here, Jesus exemplified it for us. It wasn't the do as I say, not as I do, he exemplified it for us. He was the one who was willing to cross cultural barriers. He was the one who was willing to sit with the tax collectors. He was the one who was willing to sit with the prostitutes. He was the one that was willing to sit with the thieves. He had children in his lap. He called misfits, people who were uneducated, to come and follow him. He did all of that, and so our call is to go and do the same. See the religious people of the day, they weren't willing to do that. They said, look, if you're this, then you're within our circle of love. If you are a Jew, you're in our circle of love. But if you're a tax collector, no, uh oh. If you're a Roman police officer, no thank you, you're the very reason we're being persecuted. They would say, you know, if you're a Samaritan, if you're of a different ethnicity, no, you're not worthy of our love. In fact, we're not even going to acknowledge you. If something goes wrong, we're going to probably say you deserved it, and it's probably your fault.

Jermaine Arphul: 33:46 And here's the thing, we have to be careful church, to not be closed minded and not be willing to cross cultural lines, and engage with people who don't look like us. Because if we don't, the tendency is to just be like, hey, I know a bunch of Christians, and this is my safe little area that I live in. And you know, all of those things, which on the surface is not bad, it's not like that's overt racism. But if we're not careful, we can inadvertently segregate ourselves and sort of be like the religious leaders of the day, and put boundaries around who we love. And God says, no, our love should be without limits. Yes, we should love everyone, and we've got to be careful about that. And so here's how one way it could play out, is that everybody in our midst that we like, and that think the same, and do the same things that we do, and listen to the same things that we do. And then when we look at the news, however, it is that you get your news. We look at it, and we hear some cries of injustice, we hear some people saying that there's economic disparity here. But because we're not willing to step across, and maybe have a conversation with them, or maybe because we keep certain people at a distance, we filter what we hear through our own personal views and our own personal experiences. And we put our own personal views, and our own personal experiences, over theirs. And so when we hear it, we hear two plus two adds to five, and we minimize the reality of that other person's experience. Does that make sense? Because we don't understand, because we've been keeping people at a distance. And so we have to be careful about that. We have to love with no limits, this is a challenge. This is the word of God, trying to get you to see things differently, to move forward in your faith and in your love for people. That's the call.

Jermaine Arphul: 36:14 Okay. I'm going to run out of time here. How, how do we do this? Verse 48 says, "Be perfect, like your heavenly Father is perfect. That's how, that is impossible. That is impossible, God, that is impossible. And it is, it is impossible. But if you look at that word, perfect, and it translates in the Greek, it means mature or complete. Mature or complete, it means that nothing is missing. In other words, the completion of the goal of love is to learn the way that God loves, which is perfect. To desire to love the way God loves, which is perfect. And that's what the Lord expects, and rightfully so, He's perfect, anything shorter that would be imperfect. And that's not the call, the call is to desire to be like God, to love like, God, that is the call. And so we have to think to ourselves, how do we bring the gospel to bear in regards to race, and how we interact with other people? How do we bring that to bear in our everyday lives, so that we can be like our heavenly Father and love with no limits? How do we do that? What are some ways that we can actively love? Actively love? See love with no limits means actively love, not sit passively and hear cries of injustice, talk about it, and then do nothing. That's not love.

Jermaine Arphul: 38:01 So what are some ways? Well, there are a million ways, let me just give three, three ones to walk away with. Okay? Pray, teach and take. Hopefully you can remember that, pray, teach and take.

Jermaine Arphul: 38:16 Number one, pray for change. Pray for change. When you look at your prayer list, does that make your list? You know, when you look at your prayers or think back on it, you can see what you want. And I don't think it even are bad, but does this make your prayer list? Are you going to God with these issues, with all the issues of race and racial injustice? Are you going to God? Are you asking him to change the heart of a nation? Are you asking him that? Are you asking him to even grow diversity among the church family? Would you do that? Would you be okay when you walked in here to hear some things that maybe you didn't grow up with, or maybe that you're not used to, would you be okay with that? Would you be okay with some stylistic things changing, so that somebody of a different ethnicity or culture didn't have to lay down everything in their culture to walk in here? Would you pray for that as a way to serve another person, as a way to love, would you do that? Would you be okay with that? 121 is taking great steps to do that, we're here because we want to meet the needs of the community. We've always been here, and that's always been our motto and our mindset, and to lead people to live for Jesus in regards to that. Absolutely. But let's keep going further y'all, let's keep going further. Those are some great places to start in regards to that. And I think that if we do that, because we've seen a lot of violence and stuff on the news, and on the screens, we can grow, I believe, if we pray for change. That's not a passive thing to do, it's active. Praying is active, if we pray for change, then we can go from doing things like this. I don't know if you have that picture? And I was thinking about, I was thinking about this too, as we show this. Like, this is really like an enactment of what I see on Facebook or on social media. Someone makes a comment and it's like, blah, blah, blah, blah. Right? Can we pray for change to go from this, to this? Can we pray for chase to go from that, to even this. They were praying, that is some people out on the streets by police officers, they were praying. Can we do that?

Jermaine Arphul: 41:07 Second thing is teach, teach the gospel, y'all. Look, there's so many things, and so many people, and so many voices out there that are saying, hey, read this book, read that book, read this book. And I'm not saying that's bad, but the Bible is enough. The Bible is enough. It's got everything that we need, everything. Let's start there first. This is why I love that we're in this series, a biblical perspective on leading with love. Let's start here, teach the gospel, teach the Bible in your home. And when you do that, include how we treat others who are different than us, who look different than us. Use examples in the Bible to learn how to respond when you hear disparaging comments towards another group of people, or another person. There are examples like that. There's an example in Second Samuel where David hears disparaging comments, and look at what he does. Look at all the scenarios where David has the opportunity to take advantage of Saul. There's one time where Saul's using the bathroom, and David, he's there, he could have taken him out, but he loves him. He loved him because he saw that's he's made in the image of God.

Jermaine Arphul: 42:38 All you have to do is open up your phone, get your iPad, your computer, just search in the search bar justice. And you'll see a cavalcade of scriptures on justice. Start there, let's start ive groups, or small groups, or groups where we learned from the Bible what justice means. Teach it to your children, if you have children, teach justice to your children, teach the Bible, the gospel, to your children. So that when they grow up, we have a generation that when they're faced with things like this, they know how to react. They know how to respond when they're in the schools. And I've seen it still play out today, there's different groups, separated by race and culture, that they would be bold enough to say, hey, let's all try to come together. I'm going to start a student group. Or when they hear disparaging comments, and it's going on still, I hear it. I've worked with students, I talked about it with them every day, they hear it. And they could have been like, man, ah it's not towards me, so I'm not going to say anything. Or can they step up and say, Hey, that's not right. Let's teach that in our homes, and act it out as well. Let's start with the Bible. That's the only book I'm going to recommend today is the Bible. Okay? Let's do that because a God of perfect justice will not be silent in the face of a multitude of injustices. Does that make sense? So let's do that, and in that we bear one another's burdens.

Jermaine Arphul: 44:23 We're meant to bear the weaknesses of our brothers and sisters, black, or white, or Brown. We need to be willing to enter into each other's pain, have empathy. So if we see a black brother or sister, who's crying out and saying they've been wronged, or there's some injustice. Rather than calculating, and trying to figure out if like this is... No, just listen. And if you can't see that, let me put it this way. So let's just imagine that, heaven forbid, let's just imagine one of my best friends is going to South Padre Island because they're still acting like they're ,you know, in college. And they're going to South Padre Island, and they're driving down the road and it's 3:00 AM and they get hit and they die. What's your first response to that? Oh my gosh. I'm devastated, right? Or is it, what were they doing at 3:00 AM driving down there? No, that's not what any parent would want to hear first, they would want to hear empathy. So let's do that for our black brothers and sisters, let's do that for people of color, let's do that when we hear injustice first, let's listen, let's empathize. That's love.

Jermaine Arphul: 45:58 Number three, I'm going on way too long here. Take the gospel, and bring it everywhere you go. Take the gospel. Some people are like, okay, what can I do? Like, what can I do about all this? I'm hearing things about, we should, we should take action. Well, what can I do? It's very simple, let’s not make it complicated. Just take the gospel, and go take it somewhere. Because we care, we love each other.

Jermaine Arphul: 46:23 All of this has made me go, Oh my gosh, I got a neighbor over here who doesn't look the same as me. Who, you know, it's been a little bit hard to engage with. I've got a neighbor over here and over here, that it's so easy to engage with, and so my focus has always been around here because it's easy. And I've not shared any love with my neighbor over here, so one day I went to the backyard and I hear them playing ping pong. Well, me and Ross are like the ping pong champions of 121. So I said, Hey, I hear you playing ping pong, let's get together sometime. COVID has put a hard stop to that, but still that's how you love, that's how you cross cultural barriers. You love, you say, hi, my name's Jermaine. How are you? Take it out, maybe in your next meeting you go to, maybe Arlington or a place that maybe has a little bit more diversity and have a meeting there. Pray Colossians chapter 4 verse 2 through 6, that you would, you know, keep alert an attitude of thanksgiving, and that you would take advantage of any opportunity to speak the gospel. Pray that, and God will. I guarantee you, God will put that in your life. He will put opportunities in your way.

Jermaine Arphul: 47:44 Do that, take the gospel with you, and then bring it back home with you too. Right? Like our kids are great imitators. If they grow up in an environment where it's just a predominantly, whatever race you want to put in there, that's probably what they're going to go towards. But if you invite your coach, or your teacher, or just have a multitude of different ethnicities and races, and celebrate that. Then you know what, more than likely they're going to be comfortable when it comes time to crossing different cultural barriers, and seeing people who don't look like them. Do that.

Jermaine Arphul: 48:21 Lastly, all of the things that we desire, all the things that we did desire, justice, equality, harmony, peace, all of those things, they can be found when we love all people like Jesus loves, and commands, like he does here. But the only way that we can find it is if we trust him. All this stuff that I just talked about, it's good, and I hope it's inspiring to you all. I hope it moves you to go do something different, to extend your limits of love. I hope it does that, but all it is good advice. It's good advice. What we need is more than good advice this morning, we need good news. We need good news. And that is found in the Bible, y'all, it is found in the Bible. Revelation 3:20 talks about how Jesus is inviting you. He's knocking on the door of your heart, and he wants to sit and dine with you and you with him. And scripture says, when you do that, when you're in his presence, you receive fullness of joy. So start there today, if you haven't received Jesus. And then scripture goes on to say in Revelation chapter 5, verse 9, that he purchased a people, all tribes, all nations. Do you know what that means? Our roommates are going to be Japanese, Chinese, Italian, Brazilian, Mexican, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rican, they're going to be black, white, all different shapes and sizes, we're all going to be roommates in heaven. Even 49ers fans, I'm a Cowboys fan, we're all going to be there. So all those disparaging comments that you may have said before, guess what? Those people are going to be there with you if they love Jesus. That's the only way that this is going to make a change, is if we receive Christ and that we understand that Jesus died to purchase a diverse church, he deliberately purchased peoples. So how do we care about this issue of race? How do we care about this issue? We care about it as much as Jesus did. We did what Jesus did, we love with no limits. Did he care about diversity? Yes. He cared about diversity. Did he care about our black brothers and sisters who experienced racial injustice? Yes, he cared. Does he care about the flourishing of our black brothers and sisters? Yes, he cared. So what degree do we go to? We go to the degree that Jesus did for all of that. The only way that we're going to care though, is if we are truly purchased.

Jermaine Arphul: 51:07 Okay, last thing I'm going to say, I'm going to wrap up. Romans chapter 5 says, "that while we were still enemies, Christ died for us." While people mocked him and spit on him and gambled for his clothes, when his supposedly friends turned their back on him, people denied him, Jesus died for us, he loved us anyway. Then one of the last things he says was, "Father, forgive them." Forgive who? All of us. Forgive all of us, without the gospel, there is no hope for permanent change, there's no hope for justice, there's no hope for equality, there's no hope for any of those things. There's no hope for limitless love, unless we have the gospel. He crossed the ultimate cultural barrier, and so we need to be willing to do the same, to extend our limit as far out as it will go. Martin Luther King said this in regards to the love, "When you have agape love, you can begin to love men and women. Not because they are likable, but because God loves them, You love everyone because God loves them, and you refuse to do anything that will defeat an individual because you have agape in your soul."

Jermaine Arphul: 52:22 Walk humbly on that road, on the road that Jesus paved, all the way to the new heavens and the new earth. Revelation 21:21-27, talks about how the streets into the new heavens are going to be paved with gold. I can't wait to high five Lloyd Sawyers. He gave the best high-fives, and I can't wait to high five him on the streets of gold celebrating. Jesus paved that way with his limitless love. But you know what it also says at the end of that, verse 27, only the people who are written in the Book of the Lamb of God were there. So let me just say this, on the way there, we've got to stop at the cross. We got to humble ourselves at the cross. We've got to humble ourselves at the cross, and remind ourselves that Jesus' body was broken for us, his blood was spilled for us, the dying love of Jesus for enemies like me and you. And then when we understand and realize that, then we go and do the same ,with limitless love.

Jermaine Arphul: 53:40 Let's pray. God, thank you so much for your love and mercy, for your goodness. every single day. I pray that your spirit would in-dwell us as we leave here today. We know we can't love perfectly, we know that, we fail every single day. But Lord, I pray, but by the power of your spirit, that we would continue to grow in love for you and for your people. Especially our black brothers and sisters, not because they matter more, but because they matter too, Thank you, Lord Jesus, for this opportunity to speak today. And I pray in your name. Let's be silent for a minute.

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