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A Loving Heart Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
April 20, 2022 1:00 am

A Loving Heart Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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April 20, 2022 1:00 am

We all need true friends, even those of us who feel burned or guarded in our relationships. Jesus told us how love is manifested—that a man lay down his life for his friends. In this message, we find three facts from Jesus about friendship and sacrifice. Is this the kind of love manifested in our own lives? 

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Perhaps you've made many friends along life's role. Jesus told us how to love is manifested that a man laid down his life for his friend. Is this the kind of love seen in your life and in my if not save the Moody Church in Chicago.

This is when with Dr. Erwin Sir was clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line.

Master loser removing now. John chapter 50 in our journey through the upper room discourse give us a look at today's message on having a loving what you know Dave in your intro you quoted the words of Jesus Christ. Greater love has no man than this, but that a man is willing to lay down his life for his friends. The question I think that we have to ask ourselves is, is this the kind of love we really have. Love is not natural to us. Selfishness is but it's the work of the Holy Spirit of God in our hearts. I've written a book entitled prepare your heart for an uncertain future. It's actually based on the words of Jesus Christ in the upper room. I wrote the book that you can have as a devotional so that you are encouraged through the words of Jesus and through the exhortations that he gave to them for gift of any amount. It can be yours.

Go to RTW or call us at 1-888-218-9337 manage committed suicide left this note. This is my only way he said this hell of loneliness.

I want you to know today that loneliness does not just exist in the world. It also exists in the church.

Let me quote an older woman who said I sit in the pew next to a warm body every week, but I feel no heat I'm in the faith, but I draw no active love. I sing the hymns with those next to me but I hear my own voice when the service is finished I leave. As I came hungry for someone to touch me to tell me that I'm a person worth something to somebody. Just a smile would do it.

Or perhaps some gestures, some sign but I'm not a stranger. Loneliness in the church want you to know today that all of us really do need friends. I mean we need Fran even those of you who have been betrayed or burned by friendships and therefore are very guarded in your relationships, you need to friends to we all do disable pastor Luther how can I tell who my friends are there many ways that you can do that but I'll tell you there is nothing like this one make one a public mistake and then you find out who your friends are. We all need them don't way was astounding to me is that Jesus elevated his disciples to the position of brand just before he was crucified the night before he was crucified. The text of Scripture is found in John chapter 15 John chapter 15 and I'm reading verse 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I've called you friends, for everything that I learned from my father I have made known to you famous people usually don't have friends because they can't trust those around them there concerned lest they be taken advantage of and here Jesus looks into the eyes of his disciples and says you are no longer servants but you are friends.

What a statement number years ago some atheists wanted to ridicule the Christian faith. What they did is they wrote a tract based on the thesis that you are to be judged by your friends. That was the that was the basis of what they were going to say and then they looked into the Bible and they said Abraham was a liar and 80s called a friend of God. Jacob was a cheater and yet he's called a prince with God, David committed murder and adultery and he is known as a man after God's own heart and then the atheists said what kind of a God would have these people for his friends. Now, in a kind of strange way they had appointed night what kind of a God would have us sinners that we are is is friends. What kind of a Jesus would say to disciples who were filled with their own week. Says and shortcomings.

You are my friends course, the fact is that Jesus was about to give his life as a sacrifice, that those who believe on him would be saved and therefore God took that barrier between us and him.

The barrier of sin any set it aside legally, so that he could now be our friends because our sin has been put away what marvelous news of what I'd like us to do today is to look into this passage of Scripture and to see three facts about friendship three facts about friendship. First of all, the badge of friendship is love the badge of friendship is love. I'm picking up the text now actually in verse 13 or verse 12 my command is this loving each other as I have a love you how many Commandments are there in the Bible is a will there are the 10 Commandments. Yes, that's true, but in the 13th chapter of John Jesus said a new commandment I give you that you love one another, even as I have loved you. There are 11 commandments were to love one another. Now in the Old Testament. It said love one another.

That's true, but the standard is a new one love one another, even as I have a love you is Jesus again repeated in this passage of Scripture. What can we say about this kind of love that is spoken of here in the text. How do we characterize it will obviously it's a love that obeys. It's a love based on obedience. Look at what it says in chapter 15 verse 10 if you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my father's commands and remain in his love you say well you can't have this conflict between obedience and love your say I thought that love was supposed to be spontaneous. We just love because we want to love with no other reason nobody can command you to love and if you're thinking that today it's because we are more influenced by Hollywood in our understanding of love and we are the Bible of course, one can command love scripturally speaking, a man can be commanded.

Love your wife. The Scripture says we can be commanded to love one another.

Jesus said of him. It is said I came down from heaven not to do mine own will but the will of the father which sent me. I love through my obedience and my obedience prove my love no contradiction there. And the reason is because biblically love is sacrifice. Love means sacrificial action.

You may know someone today whom you're finding it difficult to love. In fact, there may be someone whom you hate Jesus said these words he said love your enemies, it's a command you don't say it isn't a suggestion.

Jesus didn't say this suggestion I make unto you, he said this command I make unto you, love your enemies, you say yes, but how he said these ways. First of all, bless those who curse you give someone who's cursing you you bless them say good things about them, and pray God's blessing on them don't say Lord I pray that you might vaporize them.

I pray the Lord God, and to sand and destroy them. You bless them. Jesus said, do good to those who mistreat you and pray for those who spitefully use you that sacrificial action that is biblical love. It isn't just this warm feeling we look on the news and we see tragedies all over the world and we say, you know those children in Bosnia. I just love them, you don't love them you feel sympathy for them, but you don't love them until you acted until you've done something until God loved the world and God gave there is sacrificial action. It is a love that is based on commands.

This I say love one another as I have loved you is another characteristic of this love, and that is it is a very generous love Jesus was constantly giving my peace I give to you my life I give for the life of the world.

It is a a love that has has great generosity. Look at what it says here in verse 13. Greater love has no one than this, that he laid down his life for his friend, and you are my friends again. If you do what I command you, but greater love has no man than this, that you die for somebody was not in the tale of two cities. We had that story about an Englishman going to France during the French Revolution and because of the hatred of the French for the English he was going to be put to death and executed and the night before the execution. If I remember the story. Two men came to see him. One was a garden.

The other was a Frenchman who was standing along with that guard who also was France. The two of them came after the guard left the Frenchman said let's exchange close, an Englishman said no I can't do that.

He said yes to do it because you have a wife and family and I want you to live and so they exchange close and then the guard came in and took the Englishman to freedom in the Frenchman was hung greater love has no man than this, that he laid down his life for his friends help. All of this very carefully. The love that Jesus is talking about is not what we generally call compatibility.

Most of our friends are those people with whom we are compatible because it may well be that the color of our skin is the same, our economic income is about the same art interests are the same that which glues us together as friends is the same. And Jesus said if you love those who love you, what great thing is there about that is that even the wicked do that even the Mafia love one another.

In that sense you do something for me and I do something for you because of shared interest.

Jesus said this is a love that's based on compatibility that wouldn't be that bad of being my disciples. Because remember, Jesus did say that the world has the right to judge whether we are Christ's disciples by whether or not we love one another. Jesus is saying that the kind of love that I'm speaking of is so supernatural. It is so contrary to our natural inclinations that it even includes those who are unlovable and even should include our enemies more than 100 years ago Edwin Markham wrote this: he drew a circle and left me out to heretic a rebel thing to flout but love and I had the will to win that we drew a circle and took him in. Listen to the words of Tertullian going back to the early centuries of the church. He said the impact of the church explained it this way. It is our care for the helpless, our practice of loving kindness that brands us in the eyes of many of our opponents look at, they say, behold how they love one another and are willing to die for one another. You know that if you study the early church in North Africa. The reason that Christianity conquered North Africa. It was because of love. Sometimes Christians were given bad jobs in those days because they were Christians. It was cold discrimination and they would be garbage collectors and they would pick up some dead bodies also that died during the days of the plague and instead of burning these bodies.

They would actually wash them and give them a decent burial, arguing that even the wicked who have a resurrection coming have a right to a decent burial and the world. Notice that and said where's old is love coming from and because in those days they didn't have abortion but babies that were not wanted were just left on the step two diet somebody wanted them, they could be taken if not, they would cry there until they died and they would organize the church organized baby runs to run to the different areas of the city looking for abandoned babies and they didn't have baby bottles. In those days, so nursing mothers would accept these children as their very own and adopt them and the world said again, where is this love coming from.

Listen, the badge of friendship is a love but it's a love that is based on commands.

The Scripture commands us to love one another and it's a love that is based on committed deep generosity and sacrifice.

Now I doubt very much that someone is asking you to die for them but someone might be in great need. That is sitting next to you today, there may be someone whom you know about is in great need and in order for you and I to love them, it means that we cannot just stay within our same clicks and comfort zones.

We must be willing to do indeed include that circle, even at great personal sacrifice, because Jesus said love one another as I have loved you in the commitment that that makes is a commitment that the world notices the badge of love is friendship. The reward of friendship is intimacy.

It's intimacy I'm going to read verse 15 again I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I called you friends, for everything that I learned from my father.

I'd made known to you, Jesus makes a contrast here between servants and friends. What is it about a servant well a servant comes in. He does what he has to do and that he isn't really privy to his master's desires or intentions. There's no real conversation that's going on that is significant. The servant just serves no questions asked. Unless it's a question about clarification of a command. That's it. Many years ago I was in a GM plant in Michigan where they make all these cars that roll off the assembly line and I was standing there watching one man whose responsibility was to put on the left back tire. That's all that he did all day you put on that left back tire and then he had that little gadget that machine to put in the screws. The knots and and that's what he did as this car rolled along the assembly line by the way. Sometimes you think that is a believer if you're going to be a missionary or a pastor, you really need the filling of the Spirit, and you do but I'll tell you to be able to do that kind of a job for God and for his glory takes an additional filling of the Holy Spirit. Just imagine doing the same thing in the same way. Day after day after day, I thought to myself that something like servant hood. What this man had never seen the end product, mainly a car, but suppose that he was born in that factory and some of those men surely thought they were what he began to work there and that's all he did and he never saw the completed product that's servant hood. What Jesus is saying here is, you're not like that because what I have done is I have given you knowledge I have brought you into the inner sanctum and all things that the father has shown me that I'm to show you I communicated that to you. That really is friendship. It's it's that growth in knowledge.

It's that growth in intimacy in Jesus that I code you friends now Be honest for a moment there. Some people that we would never be intimate friends with because we can't trust them with that kind of knowledge can wait. I we don't want to have the knowledge and and we think to ourselves, you know, if I were to yield myself to this person and and share the secrets we don't know what's going to be done with it. That's why there's a second characteristic of this kind of commitment of this kind of friendship, knowledge and trust. When you come to Jesus the Scripture says, the secrets of the Lord are with those who fear him. You and Jesus can have all kinds of secrets and you can trust him with your life get better. Trust him because he already knows all your secrets anyway.

Many years ago and it was many many years ago I was a youth pastor in one of the churches here in Chicago that's a bit of information that I don't think is widely known what I have to tell you I lasted three months or I should say the kids lasted three months, but I remember a letter that my wife and I received from one of the girls in that teenage youth group. She said one thing I like about Jesus is. I can tell him all those secrets and he doesn't tell anybody that beautiful that's the way Jesus is, we can tell him all those secrets and he doesn't tell anybody. That is friendship.

Indeed now you imagine what Jesus Christ knows. He knows are down sitting on our uprising.

He knows our aspirations and our desires. He knows our fantasies. She knows this seat of our heart and the remarkable thing is that he loves us. Still, he who knows us best is not the song go, loves us the most noticeable scary and comforting. The fact that Jesus Christ knows us so thoroughly all the intentions of the heart.

This morning I prayed for myself. I also prayed for some of my grandchildren and my prayer was all God today made the desires of my heart be acceptable in your sight oh Lord, my strength and my Redeemer. You know the words of Jesus are very blessed. All of them are blessed.

But in the upper room. He especially became intimate with the disciples. And that's why I wrote the book. Prepare your heart for an uncertain future. The subtitle is the final words of warning and comfort from Jesus to his followers. I believe that this book will be a blessing. It'll be an encouragement, you can use it in your devotional life. As you look at the words of Jesus.

Just before he is to be crucified.

And then of course following that had to be raised from the dead. The title again. Prepare your heart for an uncertain future now for a gift of any amount we would like to send this resource to you. Here's what you can do. Go to RTW RTW or call us at 1-888-218-9337.

Let me give you that info again. RT W or call us 1-888-218-9337 it's time again for you to ask pastor looks or a question about the Bible or the Christian life.

Many of us have relatives and friends whose behavior is not pleasant. Listener named Jennifer asks Ken, cussing and smoking keep people from getting to heaven. I think it can, Jennifer. I need to clarify a couple of things. First of all, cussing and smoking may be sins, but they're not the only sins and the real issue is not these sins. The real issue is one's relationship to Jesus Christ and so it is very important for us to realize that when we see someone doing this kind of obnoxious sinful behavior is not the behavior itself, which is the important thing that we should look at is much as whether or not they've come to saving faith in Jesus Christ.

Now, if they've come to saving faith in Christ. Hopefully their lifestyle will follow who they have become in Christ and will stop doing some of the things that they were doing previously. But that's not really the issue. The issue has to do with one's relationship with Christ and you see besides the two sins that you mentioned there could be a whole catalog of sins that we could name and it's not the sins that we should focus on. It's the relationship with Jesus Christ. If any man be in Christ he is a new creation. Also, the Bible says God made Christ to be what he wasn't. Namely sin that we might be made. His righteousness, it's that message that gets us to heaven. It's not stopping certain kinds of behavior thank you pastor looks or forgot wise answer to Jennifer's question. If you'd like to hear your question answered. You can go to our and click on ask pastor looks or or call us at 1-888-218-9337 that's 1-888-218-9337 you can write to us running to win 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, IL 60614 running to win is all about helping you find God's roadmap for your race of life. It's great talking with an intimate friend, you feel safe knowing that what said stays between the two of you.

We who run life's race need friends like that friends who love us no matter what. Next time I'm running to win. Join us for thoughts from the upper room on being such a friend and on finding such a friend in the Lord Jesus Christ for Dr. Erwin looks or this is Dave McAllister running to win is sponsored by the church

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