Loving people is not just a nice or noble theme but a necessary one.
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! ---Ps 133:1, NKJV
2-Pronged Theme: Loving People With Compassion and Loving People By Enlarging Our Heart
A man who has friends must himself be friendly. ---Pro 18:24, NKJV
I went out to find a friend, but could not find one there.
I went out to be a friend and friends were everywhere!
I. God is Innately Relational
- God's first impulse was to fellowship with Adam and Eve.
- Adam's race continued to sin and God had to destroy all, except Noah and family.
- Noah's descendants frustrated God's plan and built the Tower of Babel; God destroyed it; scattered the people.
- Lineage of Patriach became the Covenant People of God from which came the Messiah.
God has always wanted to relate with His own. This might be a part of the image of God ingrained in mankind.
II. God Created Us To Be Relational
1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whomever has been born of Him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey His commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. ---1 Jn 5:1-3, ESV
A. We Are Born with God's Genes
1 See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are ...2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him. ---1 Jn 3:1-2, NASB
What to See
1) The Father's love is manifestly great.
God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.---Rom 5:8
- Would any of you let your son die for a friend?
- Would you let your son die for a stranger?
- Would you let your son die for an enemy?
2) The Father's love is multifariously gracious.
See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; AND SUCH WE ARE.---1 Jn 3:1, NASB
- p.s. = postscript, please note
- n.b. = nota bene, note well
3) The Father's love is genetic or generative.
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 ... because God is love.---1 Jn 4:7-8, NASB
B. We are Intertwined with Christ.
In Christ : a Positional Stand
- In Christ, in the Lord, in Him = 164x
- Organically united to Christ in personal relationship
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. ---Gal 2:20
- My old man, with its old nature, is dead when I was buried with Christ during water baptism.
- My new man, with its nature, is alive when I rose with Christ as I emerged from water baptism.
17b [We] ... being rooted and established in love (not superficial) 18 may have power (supernatural ability) together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ (extent), 19 and to know this love ... that [we] may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. ---Eph 3:17-19
C. We're Helped by the Holy Spirit to Share God's Love with Others.
God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom He has given us.---Rom 5:5
- It's in the present perfect tense: an act was done, viz., God poured out His love.
- Fact continues to the present, viz., God's love is embedded in our hearts.
- The Agent of agape is the Holy Spirit.
III. God Wants Us to Expand Our Circle of Contacts
A. Show Your Friendly (Be A Friend)
A man who has friends must HIMSELF be friendly. ---Pro 18:24, NKJV
... if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!---2 Cor 5:17
I can't but Christ in me CAN!
B. Choose Your Friends Carefully
- ESV/NASB - A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
- NJB - There are friends who point the way to ruin, others are closer thean a brother.
- NLT - There are 'friends' who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.
- NRSV - Some friends play at friendship but a true friend stick closer than one's nearest kin.
Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. ---Jn 15:13
C. Increase your Capacity to Befriend People
Those friend thou hast, and their adoption tried, grapple them unto thy soul with hoops of steel.---William Shakespeare, Hamlet
1. God made us in his image to relate with people and dwell in unity with fellow believers.
2. God passed down his genes for us to love and befriend others.
3. God wants us to take the initiative to show ourselves a friend to beget friends.
Love and friendship come from the Father’s great, gracious, and genetic love. Just be a conduit to let agape flow from you to others as you seek to make friends.
If the Father’s love is not vibrant, then you’ve not been basking in it and soaking it in. It’s time to think about His love.