1. Hello, listening friends.
2. Thank you for tuning in today.
3. If you are listening for the first time,
4. we are in the middle of a three-part series on the marks of discipleship.
5. We saw the first mark of discipleship is loyalty to Jesus.
6. Today, we are going to see the second mark of discipleship, which is loving like Jesus.
7. In the next message, we will see the third mark of discipleship, which is living for Jesus;
8. so, what does it mean, “loving like Jesus?”
9. Some of you probably are asking by now, “Can anyone really love like Jesus?”
10. The answer is “yes,”
11. but can it be done perfectly?
12. The answer is “no.”
13. Can it be done easily?
14. The answer is also “no.”
15. The major part of the problem is that many people have a wrong notion about Christian love.
16. Many people mistakenly conclude that, to love like Jesus, means that you could never condemn sin.
17. Some people think loving like Jesus means that we would not make a distinction between right and wrong.
18. On the contrary,
19. the highest expression of love is obedience to the Word of God.
20. Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will obey Me.”
21. Listen to John 13:35.
22. “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.”
23. What does this mean, “…if you love one another?”
24. Where is the focus here?
25. The focus is not on the one who wants to be loved.
26. Jesus’ focus is that you should do the loving, not demand to be loved.
27. You may be asking, “Does this mean that I should do all the loving and not expect to be loved back?”
28. The truth is this, my listening friend.
29. If you want to receive love, you’ve got to begin by giving love.
30. Now, this is a very important distinction.
31. In some cultures, the whole concept of love has turned into sentimentality.
32. People use love as an excuse to get others to do what they selfishly want.
33. The whole focus of love for some of us is on the recipient’s demands.
34. Jesus tells us that the mark of discipleship is to love like He loves,
35. and Jesus never loved sin or ignored sin,
36. but He forgave sin.
37. While He never sinned, He died to pay for our sins.
38. In fact, it is out of love that we condemn sin because sin is harmful.
39. Sin hurts families.
40. Sin destroys people and communities.
41. Sin creates turmoil in society.
42. When Jesus said to the Disciples, “By this all men shall know that you are My disciples…,”
43. He was not talking about ignoring sin.
44. He was not saying that you should demand to be loved by others.
45. Jesus was saying that, by pouring out yourself in love for others, the world will know that you are My disciple;
46. but, my listening friend, did you know when Jesus said that?
47. Jesus said that right after He washed the Disciples’ feet.
48. Washing feet was often the task of the servant of the house.
49. The master of the house never washed the guests’ feet, unless the master was extremely poor.
50. People walked barefoot or wore sandals, and walked on dirt roads, and, so, their feet were filthy.
51. Jesus washed all of the Disciples feet, even Judas’ feet.
52. Jesus knew that Judas had already sold Him to His enemies.
53. Jesus knew that Peter was going to deny Him three times.
54. In fact, Jesus knew that all of His Disciples were going to flee and forsake Him,
55. and He told them so at the Last Supper;
56. but John 13:1 gives you the explanation why Jesus washed their feet.
57. It says that He loved them to the end.
58. My listening friend, this is not human love.
59. This is not selfish love.
60. This is not possessive love.
61. This is not twisted love.
62. Oh, but this is a redemptive love.
63. This is a divine love,
64. and that is why I told you in the beginning that this kind of love is neither natural nor easy.
65. Only God can give you this divine love;
66. so, let me ask the question again:
67. Is loving like Christ easy?
69. but only Christ can make you love like Christ.
70. Are you a disciple of Christ?
71. If you are a disciple of Christ, then you must ask yourself a question.
72. Do I love like Christ loves?
73. Is there a magic wand to wave and all the emotional hurts will be made whole?
75. The magic wand is to love like Christ.
76. Is there a formula that will help us overcome painful emotions?
78. Love like Christ;
79. but, how do you love like Christ?
80. Every time you are hurt by someone, you forgive them.
81. You say, “But he doesn’t deserve forgiveness?
82. She hurt me deeply.
83. He abused me.
84. She nearly destroyed me."
85. Let me ask you this:
86. did Jesus forgive you?
87. Does Jesus forgive you now?
88. Will Jesus keep on forgiving you?
89. The answer is “yes...”
90. then, how can you be happy to receive forgiveness at His hand, but not dispense it to others?
91. If you are a disciple of Christ, you must love like Christ.
92. In the natural man, many of us have short tempers and love for revenge.
93. In the natural man, we don’t practice doing unto others as you would have them do unto you.
94. That is why all of us must cry out to the Lord,
95. “I cannot do it by my own strength.”
96. We must ask God for the process of Christ-likeness to begin in our lives.
97. Is it easy?
98. When you are not walking with the Lord, it is very difficult;
99. but, when you begin walking with Jesus moment by moment, it becomes easy.
100. Loving like Jesus does not mean that, when someone wrongs us, we pretend that it didn’t happen or it didn’t hurt.
101. No, that is sentimentality;
102. but what does it mean, to “forgive and forget?”
103. It means that, whenever you are wronged by someone, you immediately, between you and God, forgive that person.
104. It means that, when the person who wronged you repents and asks for your forgiveness, you are ready to forgive and embrace that person;
105. but what does it mean to “forget?”
106. Does it mean that you will get amnesia and you will have absolutely no memory of that event?
108. “Forgetting” means that you will not hold it against that person.
109. It means that you will not bring up the subject everyday.
110. “Forgetting” means you cancel the debt in your mind and in your heart.
111. If you are a disciple of Jesus Christ, then, you need to learn to love like Christ.
112. I want to tell you something about forgiveness that you must never forget.
114. you must never offer forgiveness unless and until the person asks for it.
116. If you walk up to someone and say, “I forgive you for what you have done,”
117. the person may be totally unaware of what he or she has done;
118. then, you will create a far greater problem than you intended to solve,
119. because, my listening friend, conviction must precede repentance;
120. and, when public repentance takes place, then, public forgiveness should be offered generously and freely.
121. Secondly, you must take care of the inward forgiveness immediately.
123. Because carrying a grudge hinders God’s blessing in your life;
124. and, so, forgive them inwardly; then wait for God’s timing to forgive them outwardly and publicly.
125. Let me give you an example.
126. After the resurrection, Jesus did not rush to Peter and say, “Peter, I forgive you for denying me.”
128. He said to him, “Peter, do you love Me?”
129. and He asked Peter this question three times;
130. and, when Peter became convicted, then public forgiveness occurred.
131. Oh, but do you know when Jesus forgave Peter?
132. Jesus forgave Peter the very moment Peter uttered his third denial.
133. The Bible said Jesus turned and looked at Peter.
134. When Jesus forgave the crowd that nailed Him to the cross,
135. He did not look down from His agony and say, “I forgive you people.”
137. They did not think they had done anything wrong;
138. and so, instead, Jesus spoke to the Father about them.
139. He said, “Forgive them for they do not know what they are doing...”
140. so, my listening friend, you should talk to the Father about those who hurt you;
141. then, the Father will give you supernatural power to forgive them and keep your heart clean.
142. My listening friend, I want to conclude by telling you why you should forgive as quickly as possible.
143. Because the Bible said, "If I incline a sin in my heart…"
144. Does anyone see your heart?
146. The heart is where nobody else knows about it, except God and you;
147. so, if I hide a sin in my heart,
148. if I entertain a sin in my heart,
149. if I host a sin in my heart,
150. God will not hear my prayer.
151. My listening friend, let me ask you, have you been praying for something for so long and you did not get an answer?
152. Maybe, you are entertaining a grudge in your heart.
153. Maybe, you are nourishing a sin in your heart.
154. Maybe, you are nurturing bitterness and resentment in your heart.
155. Maybe, you are not loving like Jesus;
156. but the good news, today, is that you can begin to love like Jesus right now.
157. Until next time, I wish you God’s richest blessing.