He not only loved people by meeting their needs, but Jesus lifted people. Jesus lifted people. He had the ability to give them hope. He had the ability to give them joy, to give them peace, to leave them in better shape than he found them. He lifted people.
We ought to be known as folk who lift others. Be imitators of God as dearly beloved children and walk in love just as Christ also loved you. Hello and thanks for being here for today's Destined for Victory with Pastor Paul Shepherd. What does it mean to walk in love?
What does it look like in real life? As we'll see today, it looks an awful lot like Jesus whose example we should try to mimic. Today's message comes your way next. Stay with us here or listen to the podcast on demand at pastorpaul.net. That's pastorpaul.net. Right now, let's join Pastor Paul for today's Destined for Victory message, representing Jesus everywhere we go. Jesus loved people. How did he do it?
He met their needs in practical ways. You know, if you're going to love people, love them in that language. We're starting to use that terminology in some places in the body of Christ because of books like Gary Chapman's book, The Five Love Languages, some of you have read that, where he kind of sets forth the case that people have basically five love languages.
I don't know that there are only five. I kind of think there are more, but I get his general point that people have various love languages and he is trying to help us to love people in a language they speak because you can have love in your heart, but unless that love is communicated in a way that it is received on the other end, the recipient will never feel, will never sense your love, will never benefit from your love. A couple of examples, like he says one love language is gifts. Some people need you to give to them and that's the way they receive love. They know your love, loving toward them when you give to them. Now, I've always said that there are two categories as I see it when it comes to people who have a giving or a gift's love language. There are some folk who like to receive gifts just based on the fact that you were thinking about them.
So the gift is not nearly as important as what is behind the gift. And so some of us are like that. It's the thought that counts, kind of people. I'm married to one.
My wife is very much into that. It's the thought that counts. I'll never forget. Years ago, the first time I had to preach in Grand Cayman.
Our kids were younger in school. She couldn't go with me and there I was on this beautiful island and I was running this revival, preaching at night and during the day, I went down to the tourist area, down where the cruise ships come in and they have all the shops and what have you. And I went down there and was looking around and saw something I knew she would like. And I picked it up and it cost about 10 bucks, brought it home with me from that trip and boy you would have thought I had given that woman a flawless diamond.
I mean she was thrilled. It's the thought that counts that I was clear across the ocean thinking about her and stopped and bought this thing just meant the world to her. And I'm thinking, man, that's a big return for 10 bucks.
You know what I'm saying? I thought, wow, man, I'm going to buy her some more $10 things. I didn't know she was into $10 like that.
You know why? Because I'm in a different category. She's in the it's the thought that counts. I'm in the it's the gift that counts category. Don't you all leave me by myself. I know there's some other it's the gift that counts people up in here looking at me like I'm the one. No, no, no, no, no. All right, no.
We're going on the record. How many are it's the thought that counts? Let me see the it's the thought that counts.
All right. How many will be honest enough to say pastor, I'm with you, it's the gift that thank you so much. I appreciate it.
Leave a brother hanging. It's the gift that counts. I know you thinking about me.
I appreciate the thoughts. But now my question is but what exactly were you thinking? You want to bless me?
Look at how I bless myself. Don't buy me what I would not buy myself. If I don't have anything like that, don't you stand in the store and say, I want to give this to him because he doesn't have it.
I don't have it because I don't want it. That's just an example of loving was there several love languages he talks about. And the fact of the matter is, you got to learn to love people in a way that means something to them. That's exactly what Jesus did. When Jesus met people, he discerned their need and he met their need. When the children came to him on one occasion, parents were bringing their children and the disciples saw these children coming to Jesus and they tried to show him away.
No, no, no, get away. They thought he was too much above them. Jesus said, No, no, no, let them come to me. They need a touch of an adult who wants to love them and doesn't have an ulterior motive. And so Jesus touched little children because that was a felt need for them.
They needed someone to hug them and say, I love you. When Jesus came across sick people, he didn't preach to sick folk. He healed them.
See, we got to get this right. You don't lead with the gospel. If you're going to be like Jesus, there are moments, there are times we see him preaching clearly, but those were predetermined times. He was going to begin to speak the word of God up on some mountainside or at a seashore or what have you. But when you see Jesus navigate through the gospels, he's not running around preaching everywhere he goes. He is meeting people at the point of their felt need and he's loving them by addressing their need. So when they were sick, he didn't tell them about the love of God. He healed them and showed them the love of God.
And somebody's got to represent him by meeting the felt needs of individuals. When people are where they are, when they are going through what they're going through, that is a time for them to know and feel the love in a language that means something to them. In fact, sometimes when people are going through is expressly not the time to preach. At that point, they need to feel love and affirmation. They need some help. When I'm broke, don't preach to me. Give me something.
Come on, somebody. You don't walk by and see somebody sitting there and they're obviously in desperate need. I'm not talking about somebody and you're wondering, are they an addict and I don't want to enable. I know what that is like where you got to kind of discern what you're dealing with here. But every now and then when I come across someone and they ask for food and I'm not quite sure whether it's an addiction they're trying to feed, I say, I tell you what, we're right here by a shop, why don't you come on in here with me, I'll buy you something. You know, they're, okay, I see where you are. And I go on by my business, don't feel guilty.
But if they say, oh, I would love, I thank you so much for that, I take them right on in there. That's not the time to preach. Give them something to eat. You know how cranky you get when you're hungry?
And here's somebody chronically hungry. They don't want to hear your John 3.16 speech. Let them eat.
Let them know. And then you can say, you know, God loves you. He has a plan for your life. And you can share your faith. I'm doing this because I know how important it is for people to feel the love of God and I'm just a child of God. I've been saved by His grace.
Whatever you want to say, but don't lead with gospel, lead with meeting felt needs. And so Jesus met people at the point of their need. He touched children who needed a touch. He healed people who needed healing. And He was their greatest lover.
He was the lover of men's souls. People are longing to be loved. There's a yearning to be loved in our world. Folk are dying for love, literally dying for love, starving for love.
And we've got to go out into the world and love people. We got to be nice to people. Jesus was just flat out nice to people. That's all just nice to them.
They didn't run when they saw Him coming because He wasn't scary. He was nice to people. He spoke to people who didn't speak back to Him. If we're going to represent Him, we've got to do the same thing.
You can't do unto others as they do to you because some folk don't have the love of God. If you have it, you've got to show it. So I want to encourage you when you get to work, not only speak to your friends, speak to the person who has never spoken to you since you've been working there.
And don't just do it one time. Do it every time you see them. I've got a neighbor. I have yet to have them wave back when I wave at them. I'm going to keep on waving. I know you're looking at me wondering why I live near you because I do. That's why. I ain't bringing your property value down.
In fact, my house looks better than yours. But you just have to love people because they are people that God loves. And just wave. I just wave every day. They just keep on walking.
And you know, some folk can have this look on their face and you wonder what they're thinking. But listen, if you're going to love people, just love them for no reason other than God loves them. And you are His conduit.
You are His agent. You are His ambassador in the world. And so just love them because God loves them. And I'm here to tell you that Jesus loved people without an ulterior motive.
He just did. Love not only your friends, but Jesus taught us to love our enemies. Now see, that's not a natural instinct.
You've got to hit your knees and say, God, I want to be available to you for you to use me. That's not a natural tendency. You don't like me. I don't like you either. You stay away from me.
We won't have a problem. See, that's natural. We all start there. But if you're going to represent Christ, you have to go to a divine level. The Bible says, while we were His enemies, Christ died for us. You can't just react to people. You've got to love them, even though they're hateful towards you. And in so doing, you'll show the love of Christ.
Because you know, if you're just religious, but don't show the love of Christ, you'll be as hateful or more hateful than sinners. We'll be right back with more of today's Destined for Victory message from Pastor Paul Shepherd, who is Senior Pastor at Destiny Christian Fellowship in Fremont, California. Listen to the broadcasts on demand at pastorpaul.net. That's pastorpaul.net.
And there you'll find a host of great resources at our online store. When Jesus said, love your neighbor as yourself, someone immediately asked Him the question, who is my neighbor? You may know the answer, but it's always good to be reminded. So here's Pastor Paul with the rest of today's message, representing Jesus everywhere we go. Don't you know holy people, so-called holy people who were just flat out mean? Oh, I know a truckload of them. I'm just flat out so holy they're mean. So holy they don't smile.
So holy they can't crack a joke. So holy they can't be anywhere near anything that's ungodly. You're too holy. You're holier than Jesus.
Because Jesus was holy enough to be in the world, but not of the world. Now, there's some qualifiers. If you don't want someone smoking around you because of the impact of secondhand smoke, that's fine. I understand that. That's a health risk, but there's a way to communicate that. So I would really love conversing with you, but I see you want a cigarette. I'm a little concerned about secondhand smoke.
When you're done with that, why don't we sit down and talk? And that way they can know you're interested in them, but you have a concern about the smoke. But don't make it your testimony of Jesus that you don't deal with a smoker. Somebody's got to love them, that you don't deal with somebody who has alcohol on their breath. Somebody's got to love them.
You don't deal with somebody who does drugs. Somebody's got to love them. And so Jesus just loved people. One day when he was teaching the great commandment, he said, love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and then love your neighbor as yourself. And somebody asked him, well, now who is my neighbor? Because, you know, sometimes we try to get technical with God. I won't obey you, but okay now. You say I got to love my neighbor as myself.
Okay, define neighbor. See, we're hoping that there's some folk out there we can still treat the way we want to treat. Look at how Jesus responded to the question. It was in that context that he gave us what we call the parable of the good Samaritan.
You remember that story? And Jesus said, well, there was a man walking down the Jericho road and he was accosted by some robbers who beat him, robbed him, stripped him half naked and wounded him severely. And there he is laying there bleeding and wounded on the side of the road. And he says that a priest comes by, sees him, passes by on the other side, wants nothing to do with it. He says a Levite comes by, sees him, passes by on the other side, wants nothing to do with him. That represents the religious folk.
That represents the people who want to worship God and praise God and represent God. But here's a person that God loves in desperate need and somehow their religion allows them to ignore them. And Jesus said, but then along comes a Samaritan. You know why he chose a Samaritan in the story? Because Samaritans were despised by Jews. The Jews thought they were better than Samaritans. The Samaritans don't even deserve for us to speak to them. They are half breed people. They're not full fledged Jews. We really don't have to associate with them. In fact, in John 4 when Jesus is at the well and the Samaritan woman comes, did you notice her shock when he speaks to her?
Those were the dynamics. She said, I'm a Samaritan, you're a Jew. She couldn't figure out why he was even speaking to her. But that's because of the love of God. And Jesus said the Samaritan comes along who would have been despised had that man laying there been well and had his stuff and not been beaten half to death.
He would have despised the Samaritan. But there he lies and the only person willing to help him is somebody he doesn't like. And the Bible says Jesus said that the man dresses his wounds, puts him on his donkey and walks while he lets the man ride on his transportation, takes him to a local inn and says take care of this man. Continue to get him well. Let him stay here as long as he needs to in order for him to get well.
And when I come back through, I will pay you. Jesus said, now of the three, who do you think was neighborly? You see, when Jesus says love your neighbor, he's not talking about love your nice neighbor.
And it's easy to love your nice neighbor. He's talking about love your hateful neighbor. Love the person who would have nothing to do with you. Love the person who rejects anything from anyone that they despise.
Love them intentionally. Love them in a way that speaks to their heart issue. And when you see a person in need, do not shut up your bowels of compassion, but meet their need.
And we've got to understand how this works. We've got to understand that God has called us to be people who represent his love. God loves everybody. He loves the despised of the world. We've got to stop categorizing people.
We've got to see they are the abusive people. They are the object of God's love. And they deserve to know through us that there is a God who loves me despite how I act or what I do. Jesus loved people. What else did Jesus do? He not only loved people by meeting their needs, but Jesus lifted people.
In other words, when Jesus found you, by the time he left you, you were better off than when he first came to you. Jesus lifted people. He had the ability to give them hope. He had the ability to give them joy, to give them peace, to leave them in better shape than he found them.
He lifted people. We ought to be known as folk who lift others, people who want our attention because they know we're only going to do them good and never harm. Our words are going to be words that affirm or words that build up, words that help them. I know Christians, the only thing they have to say is something condemning, especially to unbelievers, always reminding people of their sins. Jesus didn't do that. What Jesus reminded people of is the Savior who came to free them from their sins.
It's a very different dynamic. You have the condemners and you have the condoners, but Jesus says, no, I'm here to convince you that God loves you enough to lift you to a higher place. And so if we're going to represent his kingdom in the world, we've got to get out of the condemnation business. Quit condemning sinners for being sinners. That's their job. I'm a sinner.
That's what I do. I sin. Don't condemn people for being who they are. Don't condone what they do that's out of the will of God, but rather by your love and by your propensity to lift them, convince them that God has a better plan for their lives.
Convince them that the day is coming when we will all stand before the Lord and they have the opportunity to stand there clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ, a bona fide child of God. I'm here to tell you, my friend, that God wants to love people through us, not just nice people, not just kind people. He wants to love the world through us. And I want to let you know, Jesus also wants to lift people's lives and he needs us as his agents to lift them. Thanks so much for joining us for today's message, representing Jesus everywhere we go.
Always glad to have you with us. Well, every day here on Destined for Victory, we ask people to stand with us financially. That's because we are a listener-supported ministry.
Let me underscore that for just a moment. This means the only way we exist is through the prayers and financial support of people just like you. And in 2021, our prayers that you might consider, if you've not done so already, becoming a Destined for Victory partner. Partners are a special group of people that give a monthly gift of at least $20. If you can make that commitment today, we have some special gifts I'll tell you about in just a moment. But Pastor Paul, take a moment and tell us why partners are so important to this ministry.
Yeah, I'm glad you brought that up, Wayne. Partners are really the lifeline of this ministry. Without those people committed to giving regularly, we literally could not continue doing what we're doing.
I guess people hear that a lot, but it is really true. Without partners, we simply can't get the Gospel out to the world. The Gospel is free, but the plumbing costs an awful lot of money, and we want to continue preaching. As I've said in times past, we've got generations to reach that have never heard the Gospel, and they misunderstand when they hear people talk about things like serving the Lord.
And we need to make it plain to them. The only way I can do it is with my partners helping us reach them through their generous gifts. I'm so grateful for every single partner. And I'm praying in 2021 that God will give us thousands more. There are many more outlets and many more opportunities we could take advantage of in our ministry, but the only thing that holds us back is lack of income. So I'm praying that God's going to touch the heart of many more people to realize that with just your gift of $20 or more, you can help us remain strong on the stations and outlets we're on and reach many more with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
All right. Thanks, Pastor. That's what it's all about, reaching more people with the Gospel. And if you make that commitment by pledging $20 or more per month to help us do that, we'll send you with our thanks a couple of great gifts, including one of Pastor Paul's most popular CDs, The Best of Let My People Smile.
It's a compilation of some of Pastor Paul's most humorous illustrations and stories, something that will be sure to make you laugh and learn at the same time. Call 855-339-5500 or mail your gift, letting us know you wish to become our partner. The address is destined for victory.
Post Office Box 1767, Fremont, California 94538. And of course, you can also sign up by clicking Become a Partner right at the top of the homepage at pastorpaul.net. And if you're already a partner, Pastor Paul and I want to say a heartfelt thank you and challenge you to consider becoming a legacy partner.
These are special ministry friends that are able to support us with gifts of $2,500 or more each year. The details are available at the website pastorpaul.net or by calling 855-339-5500. Now, if you can't become a partner today but would like to make a generous one-time donation to Destined for Victory, we'll be glad to send you by request Pastor Paul's booklet, Built on a Solid Foundation.
That's Built on a Solid Foundation. This booklet from Pastor Paul, our gift to you by request for your gift to Destined for Victory. That's all the time we have for today. But join us next time when Pastor Paul Shepherd shares his message in praise of godly women. Until then, enjoy your weekend and remember, he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion. In Christ, you are destined for victory.
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