Connect Recap Notes: February 24, 2019 Speaker: Nate Heitzig Teaching: "Love like Jesus" Text: 1 Corinthians 13
Behind every statistic, there is a story; behind every hand, a heart; behind every number, a name. As Christians, our goal should be nothing less than every heart, every hand, and every home won for Jesus. But there's something that must resonate within each heart and home—love. In this teaching, Pastor Nate Heitzig expounds upon 1 Corinthians 13, encouraging us to love like Jesus.I. You Never Look More like Jesus Than… II. When You're Kind, not Selfish III. You Never Look Less like Jesus Than… IV. When You Judge in Your HeartPoints
You Never Look More like Jesus Than…
The Bible teaches that the world will know that we are followers of Christ by our love for one another (see John 13:34-35).
The "least of these" from Matthew 25:40 are those hearts that are broken, unloved, and shunned. There are many who need our love—the forgotten, the marginalized, and the oppressed.
The benchmark for love is Jesus; He loved those the world hated, touched those the world shunned, and reached out to those the world avoided.
Love is shining the light of God's love upon the world. As Jesus said, Christians need to "let [our] light so shine before men" (Matthew 5:16). Love is active, not abstract.
In 1 Corinthians 13:4 (niv), the apostle Paul began his discourse on love with the word patient, which means long-tempered. Patient love "turns the other cheek" (Matthew 5:38-39).
When You're Kind, Not Selfish
If patience will wait for others, kindness will give anything to others. Kindness is active goodwill. If kind love is learned but not lived, it is a lie.
This is emphasized by Paul in Romans 2:4: "Do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness [goodness] of God leads you to repentance?" (nasb) Sadly, many in the church forget kind love; we immerse ourselves in productivity, forgetting to love people.
Tim Keller put it this way: "When the world sees the church doing evangelism, making converts, it only sees us increasing our numbers and increasing our power. When it sees us sacrificially serving the needs of our neighbors, whether they believe or not, then it may see that we are motivated by love not the desire for power. We must both preach the gospel and serve those who can do nothing for us in return."
You don't need to sacrifice your convictions for compassion—follow the Bible and love people from all walks of life.
As Pastor Skip has said, "If God's love has flowed into our lives, it ought to flow out of our lives."
You Never Look Less Like Jesus Than…
We've discussed the positive aspects of love. What should we avoid? See verses 4-5.
Rudeness: This is when we dishonor others. We might not understand certain things about people, but this does not give us license to be rude.
Provoked: Love should guard against being irritated, upset, or angered by things said, or done, against it.
When You Judge in your Heart
What to avoid when loving people:
Thinking no evil: As Christians, we need to see people and love them, leaving judgement to God. As Jesus implied in Matthew 7:3, our judgment should be tempered: "Why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye…"
What we should do according to 1 Corinthians 13:7:
Believe all things: Love is not suspicious or cynical. We should be for people, not against people. On our worst day, God still calls us "beloved".
Endure all things: Love refuses to surrender—to stop loving or believing in people.
Thoughts for those spurned by a church:
Encountering an unloving believer doesn't excuse unbelieving behavior; each person must give account for themselves to Christ.
Jesus wants you to bring all the baggage in your heart to Him.
To love like Jesus means both sacrifice and commitment. We should:
Remember the forgotten, pursue the marginalized, fight for the oppressed, and love the outcast.
Love those the world has forgotten, love those the church has marginalized, love those the government has oppressed, and love those that society has cast out.
Connect Up: Because God is love, does it mean all love is of God? C.S Lewis would say no.1 A love of pizza is not the same as love for a person. Think about the perfect love God exhibits; the Bible calls God's perfect love agape. "God is love" (1 John 4:8). The word used for love is agape, a benevolent, godly love; it is unconditional love. Discuss the other loves often referred to in the Bible, and talk about the similarities and differences:
Storge love—an empathetic bond, or fondness
Philia love—an affectionate love, as with friends or siblings
Eros love—sensual or erotic love
Connect In: Share a story of love seen within the church. When have you experienced deep agape love from Christians? How did it make you feel? Now talk about a time when love was not shown. How did an unloving attitude make you feel? How did the definition of love in 1 Corinthians 13 come into play? As a reminder, love is defined as:
Patient, kind, not envious, not boastful, not proud, self-seeking or angered, keeps no record of wrongs, and does not delight in evil, rejoices in truth, protects, trusts, hopes, perseveres, and never fails.
Connect Out: Think of a person you've been unloving toward. Confess your unloving attitude to your group. Take time to pray for yourself and that person, then do as Pastor Nate suggested, and act upon love: Go to the person, asking for forgiveness, letting them know that you did not represent the love of Christ.
He would have died on the cross if it were just for one person
As believers, our calling is to care for the one
This includes everyone—the outcasts, those who disagree with us politically, and those who disagree with us spiritually
Our mandate is to reach out to everyone
We want to see every hand, every heart, and every home won for Jesus
We are called to love "the least of these" (Matthew 25:40):
Those the world has forgotten
Those the church has marginalized
Those the government has oppressed
Those whom society has cast out
The world will know we are believers by our love for other people (see John 13:34-35)
Your identity in Christ isn't found in your love for God but is reflected in your love for other people
The least of these aren't relegated to third-world countries—they're right here in our backyard, in our city, in the neighborhoods we try to avoid
The least of these is every heart that is broken, every hand that is shunned, every home that is avoided
We need to remember the forgotten, pursue the marginalized, fight for the oppressed, and love the outcast
The benchmark for our love is the love Jesus has for us
He loved those the world hated, touched those the world shunned, and reached for those the world avoided
We don't get to determine how far is far enough
Your goal as a Christian isn't to be bright, but to try to be Jesus
How can I look a little bit more like Jesus today?
How do I love people more like Jesus?
Never stop loving, never stop forgiving
How do we genuinely love people we don't genuinely love?
There are people who are genuinely difficult to love, yet we're called to genuinely love them anyway
The world will experience Jesus through our love for people (see John 13:35)
If there's one thing that should characterize the church, it's love
1 Corinthians 13 is the most comprehensive description of love in Scripture, and it doesn't focus on what love is, but on what love does
Love is not abstract—love is active
Love is fully love only when it acts
Love doesn't make you feel something—it makes you do something
1 John 3:18
This passage is also a description of Jesus' love toward us
This is a portrait of Jesus
His love is to be our love (see Romans 8:29)
His love can be your love if you let it
To live like Jesus, you need to look like Jesus
You Never Look More like Jesus Than…
When you're patient
"Love is patient" (v. 4, NIV); patience literally means long-tempered
Love's patience is the ability to be inconvenienced or taken advantage of repeatedly
This is also seen in forgiving those who continue to hurt you (see Acts 7:60)
Pray blessings upon those who hurt you, not vengeance
This is the love that turns the other cheek (see Matthew 5:39)
Its primary concern isn't for itself, but for others
Patient love allows itself to be wronged
To love like Jesus is to love those the world hates, touch those the world shuns, reach out to those the world avoids
Start with patience—start with the self-sacrificial, tender love He has for us
We must make the choice to be patient
When you're kind
If patience will put up with anything from others, kindness will give anything to others
Patience and kindness are two sides of the same coin
Patience says, "You can do anything to me"
Kindness says, "And I will do anything for you"
Kind love is active goodwill
It doesn't just feel generous—it is generous
It doesn't just desire change, but it also works toward that change
When you love someone despite what they do to you, it will change your heart
It's hard to be bitter toward someone you're praying for daily
It's hard to hate someone you've purposed in your heart to bless
Kind love puts up a barrier around your heart and protects you from growing bitter, from allowing that bitterness to fester and poison all of your relationships
When you love people the way Jesus loves people, you stay in an innocent, childlike purity, in awe of who God is and in awe that He would love you in the first place (see Romans 2:4)
If love is learned but not lived, it is a lie; don't say you love someone if you're not going to live it
Oftentimes, the first thing we forget is the simplest thing—nothing else matters if Jesus doesn't love people
The longer we immerse ourselves in religion, the more we tend to forget what makes it work in the first place
We can become so caught up in events, programs, ministry, etc., that we forget what ministry is actually about
"When the world sees the church doing evangelism, making converts, it only sees us increasing our numbers and increasing our power. When it sees us sacrificially serving the needs of our neighbors, whether they believe or not, then it may see that we are motivated by love, not the desire for power. We must both preach the gospel and serve those who can do nothing for us in return" —Tim Keller
Our city needs to see our love before they'll listen to our message
You don't have to sacrifice your convictions for compassion
If you don't love people from all walks of life, then you're not following the Bible
"If God's love has flowed into our lives, it ought to flow out of our lives" —Skip Heitzig
If God's love is not flowing out of our lives, it's questionable whether it has flowed into our lives in the first place
You Never Look Less like Jesus Than…
When you're rude
Be kind to people; true love has manners
We might not understand why people do what they do, but they're still people, created in the image of God, and they deserve respect no matter what choices they've made
When you're easily provoked to anger
When did it become more important for us to be a Democrat or a Republican than to be a Christian?
If there are things you know will cause you to be angry, guard against those things
When you judge in your heart
As humans, it's easy to be cynical and judgmental of others
So many of us have misunderstood this; it's not okay, even if you don't say it out loud (see Matthew 7:3-5)
How often are we guilty of thinking of and looking at others with judgment and contempt?
We have to choose to see people through the eyes of Jesus
Leave the judgment to God—everyone has to give account of himself to God
When you're suspicious
We need to spend less time looking at where someone is and more time learning about their story
Instead of coming to them in judgment, build a relationship with them first—cover them in the love of Christ
Instead of looking for ways to judge people, look for ways to love people
"Burning down others' opinions doesn't make us right. It makes us arsonists" —Bob Goff
On your very worst day, God still calls you "beloved"
"Love never fails" (v. 8)
Love refuses to give up, to stop hoping
Love will simply not stop loving
It shouldn't be surprising when Christians love people
Jesus loves you desperately, no strings attached
In the church, every heart should feel welcome, every hand safe, every home loved
We will remember the forgotten, pursue the marginalized, fight for the oppressed, love the outcast
To love like Jesus means both sacrifice and commitment
Encountering an unloving believer doesn't excuse an unbelieving behavior
Jesus wants you to bring all your baggage and come to Him
He wants to take all your baggage, all of your pain, and carry it for you
Figures referenced: Bob Goff, Skip Heitzig, Tim Keller
Cross references: Matthew 5:16, 39; 7:3-5; 25:40; John 13:34-35; Acts 7:60; Romans 2:4; 8:29; 1 John 3:18
Message Summary We all carry heavy burdens in our life: burdens of pain, sorrow, and sin. In this message, Nate Heitzig teaches that we as Christians are not victims of chance, but rather we are God-led individuals who must bring our burdens to the Lord through prayer.
Message Summary We were created to worship. Some people worship money, power, or themselves. But there is nothing in this world worthy of our worship except Christ. In this message, Nate Heitzig challenges us to let go of our doubt, fear, and faithlessness and give it to God.
Message Summary A person's worth is determined by the image in which they were created: the image of God. In this message, Nate Heitzig gives us some principles about sharing our faith, reminding us that as Christians, we are called to tell others about Jesus.
Message Summary Our society is becoming more disjointed and divided: rather than celebrating what we have in common, we emphasize what separates us. But in the midst of this, people are looking for a place to belong, a community where they feel safe, and a family they can trust and love. In this message, Nate Heitzig teaches that this is what the church is for: to be a home where people can find love and the Beloved—Jesus Christ.
Message Summary What is right and wrong? In today’s world, things seem upside down; moral relativism is the rule of the day. In this message, Nate Heitzig reminds us that God desires for our hearts and attitudes to be right, followed by proper actions, so we can make an impact for Christ in our culture.
Message Summary Drama and intrigue abound in Matthew 2. In this teaching, Nate Heitzig explores the various kings in the text, some of whom bowed to worship the one true King, Jesus Christ. As Nate shows us the contrast between true and false worship, he challenges us to be true worshipers by surrendering completely to Jesus.
Message Summary Biblical illiteracy is continually rising from generation to generation. In today's culture of social media and instant gratification, our short attention spans can infringe upon our daily walk with God. In this message, Nate Heitzig reminds us that true spiritual growth is not instantaneous; it takes a lifetime.