The Most Excellent Way

What Does Sacrificial Love Look Like In Action?

Ross Sawyers
May 8, 2022    48m
What kind of love are Christians called to show to others? We are to live a life of sacrificial love by abiding in Christ and loving as He did. To love in this way means we are to give ourselves away, and to sacrifice and do for things for the advantage and benefit of the other person. 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.

Ross Sawyers: [00:00:07] What a cool morning for us to gather in worship. And the Scripture says not to be partial, but after the little boy named Ross that we dedicated, I'm afraid I found a new favorite. And I'm just going to have to, I need you to forgive me for that partiality.

Ross Sawyers: [00:00:25] All right, who knows the origin of Mother's Day. And this is how I like for us to figure that out. I want us to have time to welcome each other and greet one another, and if you know, no Googling it. don't Google it. But if you know the origin of Mother's Day, share that with the person that you greet. All right? If you don't know it, say, I have no idea, what's your name, and then just greet each other. All right let's greet each other real quick. What's the origin of Mother's Day? Wow, that was a holy roar right there. Hey, Wes.

Ross Sawyers: [00:01:34] All right, make your way back to your seat. Quick audience participation, does anybody know it, that you didn't look it up? Hallmark, that's a fantastic guess. Franklin Roosevelt, it's a good start, you're getting there. Anybody else? Woodrow Wilson, yes, in 1914 he signed a measure that declared that the second Sunday of every month would be Mother's Day. Oh, sorry. Wow, the guys jumped on that one. I think this is a problem, this will be a good day for you. Ladies if you heard your husband say that I declare for you, Ross Sawyer's declares it today, the second Sunday of every month for those of you that your husbands do not like that idea. The second Sunday of May, thank you for that correction. Woodrow Wilson, 1914, the reason it got to Woodrow Wilson, though, was Anna Jarvis. And the reason it came through Anna Jarvis is because of Anna Jarvis's mother who in the 1800s was pressing for a day that would recognize moms and the sacrifices that they make. And it was through her daughter, Anna Jarvis, that in 1914 that finally that happened. Her desire was that mothers would celebrate with their families and that the sacrifices that the moms have made would be celebrated by the children in the family. She spent the latter part of her life trying to undo the holiday because of the commercialization of it. Isn't that interesting?

Ross Sawyers: [00:03:34] I want to bring substance today to our Mother’s Day as we weave that through the Scriptures in First Corinthians Chapter 13. If you'd turn in your Bibles there, and we'll get there in just a moment and I'll give you context. But I just want to acknowledge a couple of things here before we get moving through the Scripture. And we want to be careful that at Christmas, and Mother's Day, Father's Day, they're great days of celebration for many people, and for others, they can be grieving kind of days. And so we don't want to pass over that this morning, that this is not necessarily just a celebration kind of day. It is for moms that have phenomenal relationships with their children and with their adult moms. And then this can be a day that's hard because we grieve over the loss of a mom, or a mom grieves over the loss of a child. It can be a hard day because some relationships are strained, and it might be that today that there's a relationship, mother child relationship, that there will be no acknowledgment today because of the strain and the difficulty in the relationship. There are many that are unable to bear children, and this is a hard day, and then there are still others that have had difficulty and are able to bear children, it's a celebratory day. We have moms that have been able to adopt, and moms that have fostered, and single moms, and stay-at-home moms, and working moms, and then we have blended family moms. And we have spiritual moms, the idea in Titus of the older women pouring into the younger women, it's a beautiful thing when a lady is spiritually mentoring a mom. And I would just like to say, in the midst of all of that, that really if we could just even take away all the adjectives and just say, mom, and just kind of enjoy that part, and then grieve where it is that we need to grieve.

Ross Sawyers: [00:05:43] Regardless of our circumstances today, as followers of Jesus, the Scripture tells us to honor our fathers and our mothers, and that our days will be long as we do that. And so whatever the circumstances are, we want to at least try to figure out how can we actively honor our moms on this day? The Scripture also says, for children to obey their parents and the Lord. And if you're still in the home and young, what a gift that you'd be an obedient child to your mom, and so we know that from scripture.

Ross Sawyers: [00:06:24] We know for many of us that our moms modeled for us what it is to love. And I did something that I haven't figured out if it's weird or not, this Mother's Day, I'm not a, my mom passed away in 2019 and I'm not a go to the cemetery person, at least I haven't been to date, I don't know that maybe one day maybe I will do that more. But I'm kind of, and everyone grieves differently, and I grieve in bursts, something will hit me about a loss, I'll cry it out, it's usually quick and then I move forward, everyone's different. But this time I thought, when thinking about my own mom, what could I do for her? And so I actually went to the store, and I bought her a card, and I wrote her a card just like I would if she were here, and I did this throughout our life. So I just wanted to read it this morning as a way to honor my mom, what I was writing to her. I really thought after the 8 a.m., I would not have trouble this time around.

Ross Sawyers: [00:07:38] Mother, I'm grateful that on this Mother's Day that I can reflect on you, it's been three years, and it was on that Mother's Day in 2019 that we had an amazing time at 121 in worship, and my mom always sat just about right there. And somebody told me a way to grieve years ago is where someone that you lose where they're supposed to be and they're not, it's okay to grieve that. And on Mother's Day, my mom is supposed to be right there and she's not, and that is usually a grieving thing for me. But we worshiped together three years ago, and then we had a surprise for you with almost all of our family together at lunch to celebrate you. That was a rare feat to be able to have us all together. More than anything, I simply miss your presence, phone calls and lunches and family gatherings, you were always so easy to be around, such an encouragement, and thoughtful. I love in our latter years how you wrote everything that you wanted to talk about when we got together so we wouldn't forget anything. You're always wise and practical with advice. Growing up, you were always present at my games, whether it was mild or calm or hot or really cold. You took me to school and pick me up. You were at my side when I was hurt or in the hospital. Doing whatever my hobby was at the time, whether it was collecting stamps, we'd go to the post office, or baseball cards, or my beer cans collection. I collected beer cans as a kid, it was a fun hobby. And this is a true mom that when you're driving along and you see a beer can and you say, mother, there's one, she'd pull over the side of the road, I'd run back, get the beer can, take it home, wash it out, add it to my collection. I know there's a lot of things wrong with that today, but my mom just kind of went with the flow. Being with me at church in middle school of the years, meticulously looking up the spelling words that I spelled in middle and high school, those contests. And my mom would take the books with all the words, look up every word to make sure she could pronounce it right, write down every definition that she didn't know, so that I could be the best prepared for that. Later, making trips to college and to Pensacola, where we lived. You loved your grandsons well. You made special scrapbooks, needlepoint pieces for us. And I'm grateful for your confident faith in Christ, and the dignity with which you passed from this life into the arms of Jesus. My mom showed me how to live, and she showed me how to die, well. I love you, miss you, and grateful for you, Ross.

Ross Sawyers: [00:10:53] Well, I think she's a beautiful picture of First Corinthians 13, and we've been thinking these last couple of weeks of gifted, and each of us have been gifted by God. God has placed us in the body of Christ, if you know Jesus today, then he's made you a part of the Body of Christ, Christ is the head of the body. And we learn in First Corinthians 12 that every person has been given spiritual gifts, no one's exempt from that, every person has been gifted. When I thought about this with my mom, my mom's gifting, she was a shepherd in her church. She shepherded small groups of people, that was part of her gifting. She was doing help, she was serving, that was part of her gifting. And she was an exhortative, she encouraged in her gifting, she did that until she went in the hospital when she was 85 years old and could do it no more.

Ross Sawyers: [00:11:50] There's not a time when we retire from our gifting. There's not a time when we retire from the body of Christ. Matter of fact, when we retire, that actually amps up opportunity to increase the gifts being utilized in the body of Christ. And so we have this opportunity then of these gifts. And then we're each valuable, we each have a part, we each have specific gifts to glorify God, and then for the common good of other people. It's not just because we have a need to meet, or it's not because we're fulfilled doing it. Those are motivations, but the greater motivations are for the glory of God and for the common good of other people, and that will motivate us more and more for the longer haul.

Ross Sawyers: [00:12:38] And so what I'd like for us to think about and First Corinthians 13, well primarily spend our time in verses 4 through 8, the first part of 8,0 we'll look at the two parts around it fairly briefly, but I want us to see the bigger picture around it. And so we find three things in here about the more excellent way. And it's interesting because in First Corinthians 13, a good portion of us had this read at our weddings. I read this at most weddings that I that I lead and that I do, I think it's a beautiful picture of what love is. However, the context for First Corinthians 13 is the way we use our spiritual gifts, it wasn't written for weddings, it was written so that we might use our spiritual gifts in the way that God wants us to use them. It's one thing to have our gifts and use them, it's another thing to use them wrongly, and that's what he's addressing here, and so we begin in verses 1 through 3, and then we'll move from there.

Ross Sawyers: [00:13:42] I did want to say this, by the way, just a note that I think has to do with today, but I just want to highlight it. It requires way more time, and on May 29th, we have a guest speaker coming, Robin Warren, who leads over 1200 pro-life kind of centers across the country. It's phenomenal work that he's doing, and we'll be able to deep dive into the topic around life in the womb and how we minister well and care well. And then certainly I would assume most of us are aware of the leak this week, which is actually a problem in our whole system of a lack of trust. But the leak that Roe v Wade will be overturned by the Supreme Court, which we really don't know for sure, that's not final yet. And yet that can be good news, and there's a lot of implications of that that are more than we can cover this morning. So I just want to acknowledge that today, there's a gratitude there, and we're coming back at the end of the month, we'd already planned to have someone because we were aware of the Supreme Court ruling that would come out, supposed to come out in June, and then to be able to talk more in detail. We'll have a seminar on the afternoon of the 29th, if you can't be here that weekend, I would encourage you, that's one you want to tune in or catch up on. And it's a vital thing in what's going on in our culture today, and that we, as Christian’s, care about more than anything from a biblical perspective of life and life in the womb. God has created us as persons in the womb, that's part of the center of the debate is personhood. God has created us as persons in the womb, from the Scriptures, that's how we understand God's view of life.

Ross Sawyers: [00:15:33] And so when we think about that this morning, we think about everything else we're talking about. Let's think about love underlying that, that's our approach to any political ruling, any judicial ruling, we want to respond in a way that most honors God. "If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels..." In verse 1, "...but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal." So I'd say this first part, in these first three verses, that we're nothing without love, we're nothing.

Ross Sawyers: [00:16:05] So they would have had the right idea here, and they would have understood that there were gods that were being worshiped in Corinth, and they would use these loud kinds of gongs or clanging symbols to worship their gods, and so this would have been very familiar to the readers of this when they heard Paul say it. And as he said it and talked about it, they would hear that, and what he's saying is, if you have the gift of speaking in tongues, but there's not love that's underneath it, then you're like a bunch of noise because that clanging cymbal and that gong, it has no harmony, it has no melody. the music was beautiful this morning, and that's not when you just beat on a cymbal or on a gong, it would be just noise to them. So you can have this gift, you can exercise the gift, but if love is missing, then it's just noise, nobody's hearing what you're saying, you're actually wreaking more havoc with it.

Ross Sawyers: [00:17:03] In verse 2, "If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing." So not only is it noise, but you can have these spiritual gifts, you can have great faith, but if there's not love underneath it, then he says, you're nothing. It's not just noise, minus love, you're nothing.

Ross Sawyers: [00:17:32] In verse 3. "And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing." He's saying, look, you can go out and serve the poor, you can be all about the vulnerable. You can be willing to be persecuted for the name of Christ to the point where your body is burned, but if love isn't the motivator behind it, it profits you nothing, you might as well not of fed the poor.

Ross Sawyers: [00:18:06] You see, we can do things that look like they're in the name of Christ and in love. but underneath it's more self-serving, it's more about someone noticing, or it's more about personal fulfillment, rather than it is about a love for God and a love for others. So he just sets the pace by saying, look, you can have these spiritual gifts, but if you exercise them minus love, the profit is nothing, you're nothing, and it's just noise out there, nobody's listening. Have you ever listened to teachers in the church, or have you ever seen people serve, or you've ever been with people in hospitality, have you ever been, just choose anywhere, and there was just something off? Like they were really great at what they were doing, but something didn't really jive. I think oftentimes that's the love piece, saying the right things, doing the right things, but not motivated by the right love.

Ross Sawyers: [00:19:23] And I'm not talking about a cultural definition of love, which says, I accept everything that's out there and applaud it, that's not biblical love. Biblical love is self-sacrifice, it's for the benefit of another person, and the standard of that love is God himself. So we go to God as He's made himself known in his word, for the standard of what it means to give ourselves away and to sacrifice and do for the advantage and benefit of the other person, that's the kind of love he's talking about, a sacrificial love according to God's standard. When we think about the kind of love that God is talking about here, it's the kind of love that in Romans 5:5, that gets poured out for us, poured it out on us, "The love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit." The kind of love we're about to speak of is only possible through the Holy Spirit of God, and it is being poured out from the Spirit into us, that's how we love in this way.

Ross Sawyers: [00:20:44] Now, the other night at Orphan Outreach, which is someone we partner with in ministry, they do phenomenal work all over the world. Mike Douris is a part of our church, he founded it several years ago and retired this year. And they honored him the other night at this banquet, and then Tim Tebow was the guest speaker. And Tim Tebow, my wife really loves Tim Tebow, we were excited about Tim Tebow. And I love Tim, but he doesn't appear to me to have compromised at all, he's bold in his faith. Somehow, he's managing, God has given him a favor to weave through, and be able to stay out there and what he's doing with the boldness of his faith. But some of us were able to get our picture with him, and Lisa and I got our picture with him. If you don't know which one Tim Tebow is, he's the one in the middle. I'm on the left, and he's in the middle, so I just wanted to clarify, I know that could have been a mistake that you would have made. I'm certain that his bicep is as big as both mine and both my quads, I mean, just, he's one of the largest human beings, and just phenomenal in who he is in Christ, that's what's phenomenal about him. And I actually thought later, as cool as it was to get our picture with Tim Tebow, I think the coolest picture would be with Mike Douris, he's a lifelong picture of First Corinthians 13, in loving the vulnerable. What a treat to be with people who are a picture of this.

Ross Sawyers: [00:22:28] But when Tebow spoke, one of the things he said was this. He said, tonight...It was an inspirational, motivational speech, that was clearly his task, and he did it well. But he said, tonight if you walk out of here and you look back years from now and you say, man, I felt something that night, then you missed it. It's not about I'll walk out of here and I feel something, it's about walking out of here inspired to do something. He said if you just look back and you had a feeling, you missed it, but if you look back and you did something, you got it.

Ross Sawyers: [00:23:06] That's what love is in First Corinthians 13, so the definition of love in verses 4 through 8 is you do something, it's not you feel something. Sometimes I think that's how we think of love, it's a feeling; love in the Scriptures in action, you do it, you do something. So what do you do, when we're thinking about the kind of love that that comes underneath the way we exercise our gifts, the kind of love that is the way we love God with all of our heart and soul and mind, the way we love each other as a result of loving God, what does that actually look like?

Ross Sawyers: [00:23:43] And a few years ago, at the beginning of 2016, I did a series on this particular part of First Corinthians 13, I picked it apart and did one phrase a week, so a lot more detail. So I just want to give a quick overview of the defining of love, the way that Paul defines it here and what the kind of Christlike love is we're talking about. Love is patient, so the kind of love we're speaking of is patient. And one way to think about this, if I'm not patient, it's not just I'm impatient, it's I'm actually not loving in that moment, I'm not walking in the supernatural love of God when I'm impatient. What I can know is if I happen to, by God's grace, be patient, that that's God producing that through me. So love is patient, it's willing to wait, it's willing to hang in there in hard times, it's willing to watch and see something develop. Moms are fantastic at being patient, and sometimes maybe not, but most of the time, yes. I'm going to cheer you on today, every time you're patient with your child, that's the love of God, that enables that. To be patient.

Ross Sawyers: [00:24:58] Love is patient and love is kind, oftentimes in the New Testament, we see patience and kindness put together. Patience, somebody said this and I thought it was a good way to think about it, Patience is a little more passive, it's I'm waiting on something, I'm waiting on you to do something, whatever that is. Kindness is actively doing something, and I'm doing it with gentleness, and with a heart that's tender, so I'm doing something and I'm trying to be kind to somebody. So love is kind, it's patient and it’s kind, it's gentle in word and it's gentle in action. I'm actively seeking to be both patient and kind.

Ross Sawyers: [00:25:45] And then there's things in here, he says that we're not, he says that love is not, so love is not jealous. So we can say then that any time we're jealous or envious, desire something that somebody else has and want it for ourselves instead of them having it, any time we do that, we can know that's not love, what would be love is every time we're content. "Love is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant."

Ross Sawyers: [00:26:19] The word for brag here is the word for windbag, so anybody that loves to speak of their own accomplishments, and impress people with what they've done is a windbag. This can be overt and subtle, there are ways we can dig for a way, or a subtle way for us to let people know what we've done because in our hearts we want to make sure everyone knows, we want to be impressive to them. Sometimes humility covers arrogance, we know we're not supposed to be arrogant, so we try to be humble about something, but in that humility, we're actually trying to impress. So we can't always be fooled by humility, so be careful. Love, any time there's arrogance or pride that is not love.

Ross Sawyers: [00:27:26] Verse 5, "Does not act unbecomingly.", or it's not rude. And I think a way to think about this is in cultures, different cultures, that we're not rude, love can be respectful of cultures. I love how Tony Evans said this, I've said it a few times over the last couple of years, it's helpful for me, we can be respectful and appreciate different cultures up to the point that it's sin. So we can engage in other cultures, we can appreciate the differences in the ways that people do things and so forth, and love does that, it understands and learns another culture, appreciates it, engages it, and gets inside of it, up to the point where we're ever asked to sin, at that point we would stop. But love does not act unbecomingly, it's not rude, it's polite.

Ross Sawyers: [00:28:19] "It doesn't seek its own." It's not selfish, it's not seeking its own glory. "It's not provoked." Meaning that it's not easily irritated. So any time we're easily irritated, frustrated, easily angered, any time that rises up, that's not just that we're angry or frustrated, and we want to be careful here, right, because we make ourselves feel better by saying we're frustrated, not angry. Same idea, same root issue in there, so we are easily frustrated, irritated, and angered. So any time that happens, we can know we're not acting in love.

Ross Sawyers: [00:29:03] "It doesn't take into account a wrong suffered.', this is forgiveness. I read an Alastair Begg devotional several weeks ago, it's still stuck with me, the three silent killers of ourselves, bitterness, resentment, and self-pity. When we linger in those, they are silent killers to our soul. The antidote to that is forgiveness and not holding the memory against them, that's one of the best definitions for me of forgiveness. The idea of forgive and forget, which someone framed a while back, it's a myth. There are some things that happen in our lives we will not forget.

Ross Sawyers: [00:29:56] I listened to a podcast yesterday, and the lady was talking about a big sin period in her life. And she said, that's no longer who I am, that's not my nature anymore. When I came to Christ, God brought me in and he made me a new creation, so my nature has changed, that's no longer who I am. So when we throw all these adjectives in front of Christian these days to say, this is the kind of Christian you are, we need to drop the adjectives. It's a new creation, you're a new creation in Christ. You're no longer whatever that was before, whatever that sin thing was in your nature, you're still fighting remaining sin, it is still a fight. The New nature and I love how she framed it, she said, that season of my life will always be part of my biography, but it's not my nature anymore, Jesus Christ has changed that. We forgive, we don't hold the memory against them anymore and we release off those things that are wrong.

Ross Sawyers: [00:31:07] Verse 6, "Does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth." And we can really take a good check in our hearts, what are things we watch or listen to or get involved with that they're not right, but maybe they're funny, or maybe they're something else, and so we do it anyway. And love doesn't do that, it doesn't rejoice in unrighteousness, but it rejoices with the truth. It's excited when things are true, that's what love does.

Ross Sawyers: [00:31:37] And then he says that love bears all things, that means it protects or covers all things. It believes all things; it looks for the best. So when we are looking for the worst first, that's not love. We give someone the benefit of the doubt and we look for the best first. Now, that doesn't mean we put our head in the sand and act like there's nothing wrong, we just look for the best first. Then we move from there to figure out where something might be off.

Ross Sawyers: [00:32:08] Even then, Jesus gives us guidelines for that, he said. When you do that, make sure and look at the log in your own eye before you look at the speck in somebody else's. So we have a way to go about believing the best. Hopes all things, endures all things, that there's a certainty, there's a hope inside of us, there's not a despair when that enters in and we know that's not love. But there's a hope and there's an endurance in all things, and then love never fails, meaning it never collapses, it never folds under pressure. So when we're resting and sitting in love, it doesn't collapse under pressure, it doesn't fold.

Ross Sawyers: [00:32:52] Now, I've written this out in a way for us to consider for just a minute, and I want you to insert your name where the blanks are. Do this silently, and I want you just to think about is this true about yourself? And when I do it, I ask the same question. So, for example, Ross's patient, Ross kind, is not jealous. Ross does not brag, he's not arrogant. Do that with your own name. So let's just pause if you're online with us, if you'll do the same, just kind of insert your own name and think about this for just a moment.

Ross Sawyers: [00:33:54] Okay when I do that, I fail at everyone. And I can certainly get to the end and say Ross never fails, that just isn't how it rolls. So that could be discouraging because this is the way we're to love. But someone asks these questions that I locked on to, and I've gotten away from them, I hope I can just kind of get back to it. But one thing to ask in this is to give grace, is if you know Christ, are you increasing in these things, and that's the way to think about our own relationship with God? So over the years, I'll ask people, I've asked, how is your relationship with God? How would you describe it? The majority of the time, the way someone will describe it to me is based on their quiet time or their time alone with God, how many days they're spending, how much time they're spending, what they're reading right now in the Bible, and what they're praying. I don't think that's the best answer, that's not relationally how we would answer other questions. If you ask me how Lisa and I are doing, I wouldn't start saying 10 minutes every morning, we skipped two days this week, yeah, I could do better. That's not how we talk about it, but that tends to be how we talk about our relationship with God.

Ross Sawyers: [00:35:26] So let's think for a moment about this, and instead of being discouraged when we put our names in there, let's say, okay, am I increasing in love in such a way that I'm more patient today than maybe I was a year ago? Am I increasing in love today that I'm more actively kind today than maybe I was six months ago? Am I increasing in love today, where I'm so aware of the jealousy within me that at least some of the times now it's put to death, and I can more celebrate it with someone else? So think in terms of increasing and growing, in Philippians 1:6, "For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." We're a work in progress, he sees us as children, as his sons and daughters, and he's building this in and through us, so it's more of an increasing. And we can give each other grace when we think about this toward each other and pray that we will increase in a love for God, and increase in a love for each other, and increase in a love for the church.

Ross Sawyers: [00:36:27] Candidly, it's sad to me when I talk to people, and they say they're not going to do the church anymore. Like there are so many people out there, they've abandoned the church. Not just our church, just pick a church, just people are bailing out, and instead, they are kind of doing their own thing. Well, that's sad, because that really is a love of God issue. See, you're not perfect, nor am I, you've got sin issues, I've got sin issues. So I might be disturbed about one of yours, but I better make sure and look back at the log that's in mine and be a little more disturbed about my own, and then maybe I can love you a little bit better. But an indicator of our love for God is our love for the body of Christ. So as I love God, I love the people of God and jump in there with them. So then, we think about this kind of love that God has called us to.

Ross Sawyers: [00:37:27] And then the last part of this, I'm not going to read 8 through 12, I want to read verse 13. What he says in summary in those verses is that things are partial now, we only partially understand what's going on. And there's something that's more permanent coming, where we're going to see it all clearly. So in the meantime, he says when there's this partial and this temporary in verse 13, "But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love." I love that word abide because this is actually how we can love in the way it's described in verses 4 through 8. by abiding in Christ.

Ross Sawyers: [00:38:17] In John 15:5, Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing." That's almost a great summary of this whole section of First Corinthians 13 that you're nothing, I'm nothing, apart from Christ. I can do nothing that's of value, that will last eternally, apart from Christ. So the way I can love like this is to abide in Christ, remain in Christ. And the way I enter into that relationship with Jesus is by believing what He did on the cross for me in bearing my sins and all those things that are a lack of love in me. And I believe that, then I find forgiveness and life in Christ through what he did on the cross and in the power of the resurrection. Now I'm in a relationship with him, Christ in me, Christ is love. then the love of Christ begins to flow through me.

Ross Sawyers: [00:39:37] Now abide these three, faith, hope, love; but the greatest of these is love. Why is love the more excellent way? It will last forever. Once we arrive in heaven, hope is no longer necessary; once we arrive in heaven, faith is no longer necessary, it is now; the greatest of these is love, a love that gives itself away, based on the standard and the authority of God in His Word through Jesus Christ. That's the kind of love that he's speaking of, and now our motivation is the love of Christ.

Ross Sawyers: [00:40:34] So I want to reframe First Corinthians 13 this way, Jesus is patient, Jesus is kind and is not jealous; Jesus does not brag and He's not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly. Jesus does not seek his own and He's not provoked, He does not take into account a wrong suffered. Jesus does not rejoice in unrighteousness but rejoices with the truth. Jesus bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Jesus never fails. If Christ is in us, Jesus is in us, then the love of Christ starts to flow through us. So this isn't a go out and try harder to be patient, kind, not jealous, not arrogant, to forgive, to rejoice in the truth, to bear, believe, hope, it's not this long list that I try to check off today, did I knock this out. Today, the best thing you and I can do is to actually rest in the work of Jesus and abide in Christ. And the more he takes over our lives, the more patience, kindness, and the remaining definitions of this love starts to flow through. So I'll look up one day and I'll say, how did that happen, that I was actually patient in that circumstance when I wasn't before? It wasn't because I woke up this morning and tried to be patient today, it's because Jesus is so overcoming me that he's producing that through me. So it's abiding in Christ.

Ross Sawyers: [00:42:28] Well, the person that I've lived with longer than I did with my mom, is my wife. And I really got to see what it's like to be a mom by being her husband and watching what it's like day in and day out, the concerns, the care, the love. I wrote my wife a card also, I gave it to her today. But I just want to say out loud, that you are taught so often by my wife. I was at a golf course yesterday and I ended up at the wrong course. Good, good, long story, but I ended up playing with a couple that I just met, God put us together, it was a phenomenal afternoon. But they asked me what my wife did, and I shared a few things and then I said, she's probably taught our church more than anyone will ever know because she so rest in Christ, her depth and insight are so deep, she's the one teaching me so often what I teach you. But she doesn't want me to say it, but today I take the liberty because in Proverbs 31 it says that "Her children and her husband rise up nd bless her and praise her." And let's do that for our moms today. Thank you.

Ross Sawyers: [00:44:16] I'd like to pray First Corinthians 13 over our moms if I could do that? And let this be our mom's prayer today. Father, I'm so grateful for all the moms at 121. And today. God, I pray for those who desire that but have been unable, God, will you be a joy and a strength and a comfort for them in a way that only you can? Only you can get into the depth of how they feel and what's going on in them today. And then, Father, I pray for those who are moms today in here. And God, I pray that they would go the more excellent way and continue to increase in the kind of love described here. Not in guilt, not, I can't get it right, God, will you relieve them of that today and just flood them with your love for them? And God, I pray that they would not be clanging cymbals or noisy gongs, that love would underlie the way you've gifted them and lead them as moms in their homes and the ways they function outside of the home. Father, I pray that love would underlie it so that they would be something and not nothing. And I thank you, God, for filling them with yourself. And God, I pray that they'd d not serving things that profit nothing, but instead God, that your love would increase and continue to motivate in them so that when they serve, whether it's their families or beyond, God, that it's motivated by their love for Christ and Christ's love for them. Father, I pray today that all the moms here, they'd be patient and kind and not jealous. Father, that they would not be arrogant or brag or act unbecomingly, or be self-seekers, or be easily provoked or irritated. God, I pray they would not take into account a wrong suffered today, but rather they can release and not hold the memory against someone anymore. Father, I pray today that they would not rejoice in unrighteous things but rejoice in truth. That our moms today would bear up, protect, cover, believe the best, hope, endure, and God that they would not collapse or fold today under pressure. And God, I thank you that the possibility for that today is not because they can do it, but Lord, I pray they'll just find release and rest in you today, and that they would abide in you and enjoy you, appreciate your forgiveness, you calling them daughter, your just deep, deep faithfulness and loving kindness on them. And God, that they would abide in the greatest thing, which is love, the kind of love that gives itself away. And I pray, Father, they'd be motivated by you giving yourself away for them, and, God, that would be their deepest joy today. So thank you for the gift that they are, and I pray, God, these things for them in Jesus' name.

Ross Sawyers: [00:47:48] Well, let's just continue our time quietly in however you'd like to pray, or just enjoy God this morning. Let's have a little bit of space for that and then we'll wrap up.

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