If Love Makes the World Go Round: What’s Your Spin on Life? 2/14/99

John 13: 34, 35
Page 1578 Come Alive Bible

JESUS CHRIST placed great value on relationships. He not only taught principles related but He was a role model evidencing how important it is to build good relationships.

His teachings were filled with examples of how to befriend people and who to befriend. Little children, beggars, rich young rulers, sickly women, prestigious national leaders, and the poor were all recipients of His acts and expressions of friendship.

Why did Jesus and why does the Bible put such emphasis on friendship? Because friendships fortify life. To love, and be loved, is the greatest happiness of existence.

Living in a community with others makes us part of them and them part of us. Jesus Christ, in eternity past, co-existed as a member of the Trinity. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are the perfect example of living together in community with one another. They are Exhibit A of friendship.

On earth Christ chose twelve disciples with which to associate in a small community of traveling companions. These were His friends. Thus, in heaven and on earth by His example He has taught us the importance of friendship.

Christ knew proper relationships are good for us. A number of years ago two brothers, Will and Carl Menninger, started an institution on the Kansas plains based on the therapy of love. Today the Menninger Foundation Hospital reports one of the highest incidents of recovery of mental and emotional patients treated with the technique Christ commanded. In a word “love.”

Studies show that persons who share love have a tendency to live longer and enjoy better health. Anything our Lord urges us to do is good for us physically and emotionally as well as spiritually.

Let’s unfold our text like a three petaled flower and look at each. Petal number one:

This is an appeal to – – –

Proverbs 18:24 says, “He who would have friends must show himself friendly.” It is a simple fact.

The Roman Seneca almost 2,000 years ago wrote: “If you wish to be loved, love.”

For Christ’s sake we must reach out. That is for the sake of reaching people for Christ we must aggressively express ourselves. Friendship evangelism is one of the most effective ways of attracting people to Christ. Week after week, people walk these aisles as a result of some friend who has capitalized on their friendship to share what a relationship with Christ can mean.

Love must have an object.

If you are not a Christian and have a friend who is that is trying to share Christ with you please be patient with your Christian friend. Here is why that person is doing so. Your Christian friend has had a pleasant experience with Jesus Christ. Loving you as he or she does there is a natural desire for you to enjoy a pleasant experience with Jesus Christ. It is the highest way of saying, “I love you.”

Now to the Christian community a question. Have you ever noticed why new converts are often the best soul winners? The reason is most of their friends are lost and they know where to find them. Most Christians have withdrawn into the church so completely that they don’t know any lost people. Go out and get to be friends with some. We must socialize before we evangelize. Build bridges out of acts of love.

The Apostle John must have had this command of Christ in the back of his mind when he wrote I John 4: 20 — “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?”

What this verse means is that love must have an object and if it can’t relate to the nearest object it can’t relate to a more distant one. There is no other medium through which to demonstrate your love for God than people — all people. People give us an opportunity in an objective way of demonstrating our love for God.

If a radio station in Marietta can’t reach Alabama it surely can’t reach Tokyo. If we can’t love the people near us, we evidence we don’t have the ability to love the One in whose image they were created.

Littering and pollution are not confined to the world of paper, glass, metals, and plastics. Look into the landscape of your mind and you will see a junkyard of people you have discarded. They are there because they did not come up to your expectation for them.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Men cease to interest us when we find their limitations. As soon as you once come up with a man’s limitations, it is all over with him…Infinitely alluring and attractive was he to you yesterday, a great hope, a sea to swim in; now, you have found his shores, found it a pond, and you care not if you never see him again.”

Count the number of people you have dumped recently while looking for the perfect one.

You can end people-littering once and for all by using the percentage method of acceptance. On a scale of 1 to 100, quickly determine how much you like a certain person. You likely will be delighted to find you like most persons at least fifty percent, some sixty or seventy. Perhaps some eighty five percent. All the time you have been thinking you hated them. Actually it is only part of them or perhaps an isolated incident you don’t like. You can accept that just like you accept a rattle or scratch on a new car. You don’t discard it because it isn’t perfect.

How many people do you suppose like you because you grade out 100% with them at all times? If others forgive you and overlook your limitations you can do the same for them.

People go to great lengths to recycle and get the maximum value from various products. For months I saved aluminum cans. I found it to be a great way to release frustrations. Stomp each one flat and they require less room. For six months I saved them and took them in to collect my fortune. My big bag of squashed cans brought $4.00. If we will go to that effort for such a small return it surely is worth an effort to recycle friends after you have found their limitations.

In Franklin, Ohio the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency set up a large machine called a “hydropulper.” An unimaginable assortment of garbage is fed into it. This mess would be impossible for persons to sort out and separate, but the hydropulper by using magnets, water, wind and other means sorts the mess and divides every bit of it into reusable products. You may have a former friend you need to put in your mental hydropulper and recycle the good in this person. Thus, a thrown away person can become no longer a thrown away piece of debris but a recycled usable friend.

That is a technique that can help us obey Christ’s command and “love one another.”

The Greek word used by Christ and translated “love” is AGAPE. It carries the connotation of unselfish regard for the welfare of another. Their language was rich with meaning. They had several words for “love.” One was our word for “lust.” The entertainment media has chosen to depict virtually all love in this light. The advertising media has elected to utilize lust to sell products. The internet is now a major market for lust.

A basic difference in love and lust is,

Sexual purity has been sacrificed on the altar of greed. Purity is still the appeal of Scripture. Parents I want to appeal to you to pattern purity for your family. It begins as it did with the teenager Daniel who “purposed not to defile himself.”

Resolve with the Psalmist: “I will set nothing wicked before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; It shall not cling to me” (Psalm 101:3).

One of the most secretive moral sink-holes is a tool that otherwise offers great advantages —- the internet. Parents need to set a guard for themselves and their families.

Christ has given us a pattern. His love for us is the type love we are to show one another. What kind is that? Unconditional! That is, love without limits. That is the way He loves us. He doesn’t love us because we are perfect. He doesn’t love us because we are so lovable. He has found our limits and loves us still.

AGAPE is the form of love He has for us. Agape love is selfless love. It is love which has the welfare of its object in mind. You may not like a certain Christian or even agree with his or her ways but you can and must love that one.

Of all close friendships marriage is the closest. Conflicts occur in all relationships including marriage.

After years of research it has been determined there are only two primary reasons for marital conflict: husbands and wives.

Agape is the answer to wounds in relationships. This love has the capacity of scaling any wall of rejection. It is never deflected by unlovable behavior. It heals and blesses in practical ways. Most relationships are at the mercy of fluctuating emotions. Agape love imparts stability. It is the solution for relationships comprised of imperfect human beings.

How is it He has loved us and that we are to love?

“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4: 30 – 32).

Have you ever been discarded by a person or persons you love? Perhaps pastors as much as any persons in society know what rejection by people you love is. At a time in my ministry I was discarded and attempts were even made to destroy me by people I love. It is bewildering! I resolved to respond in the spirit of this text. As a result I love those persons to this day as though they had never discarded me.

You know why? Two reasons. That is the way Jesus loves me and that is the way He has told me to love others. How about you?

1. Aggressively. “Herein is love; not that we loved Him, but that He loved us.” He didn’t wait for us to love Him before He loved us. We must not wait for others to love us before we are willing to love them.

2. Practically. His love did not consist of flowery speech or syrupy sentiment. His love expressed itself in deeds: “He went about doing good.” He did the greatest good in that He died for our sins.

3. Consistently. The love of our Model is everlasting. The mountains shall depart and the hills be removed but His love abides. We are not to love with a passive feeling but with a practical affection.

John said, “…this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God MUST love his brother also.” (I John 4:21).




Such love commends itself to others. It is a dead give away that something supernatural is at work. By this kind of love, which isn’t natural, the world can tell you are His disciple.

Only when the love inside the church exceeds the bitterness and hate outside the church are those outside going to want to come inside. The body of believers known as the church must maintain a loving environment if it is to please Christ and attract the lost world.

Christ wants to be your friend. He wants to establish a relationship with you. This friendship is called salvation. He wants to become your best Friend for eternity.

President Abraham Lincoln is one of the best known and loved of former presidents. One little known fact about him is that he often attended the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church on Wednesday nights. Life then was so simple he could slip out the side door of the White House and in the side door of the church without an entourage of secret service personnel. He chose Sunday nights so as not to disrupt Sunday morning worship. The pastor would leave his study door open when he knew Mr. Lincoln was coming so he could sit with the door slightly open and listen. He enjoyed the preaching of Pastor Phineas Gurley.

One evening as he walked home, his aid asked Mr. Lincoln for an appraisal of the sermon. The president, thoughtfully as always replied, “The content was excellent … he delivered with eloquence … he had put work into the message…”

“Did you think it was a great sermon?” questioned the aid.

“No,” replied the president.

“But you said that the content was excellent … it was delivered with eloquence … it showed much work.”

“Yes,” said the president, “but Pastor Gurley failed to ask us to do a great thing.”

I want to ask you to do a great thing.

If you have never trusted Christ and professed it publicly do it now.

If you have such faith in Him as Savior but have never experienced New Testament believers baptism come and let it be known you want to obey Him in this regard.

If you are a Baptist but do not have the right church home come by transfer of your membership today.

Do a great thing!