If you expect your preacher to present an inspiring sermon then you don’t love her. If the preacher expects the assembled people to pay attention then the preacher does not love them.

Such a relationship is based on an economic model. I give and so I expect something in return at least equal to my input, but preferably more than I put in.

Love God“If you love those who love you, do you deserve any thanks for that? Even sinners love those who love them. If you help those who help you, do you deserve any thanks for that? Sinners do that too. If you lend anything to those from whom you expect to get something back, do you deserve any thanks for that? Sinners also lend to sinners to get back what they lend. Rather, love your enemies, help them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then you will have a great reward. You will be the children of the Most High God. After all, he is kind to unthankful and evil people. Be merciful as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:32-36 God’s Word©).

On Sunday do you visit with your friends or with the guests who showed up? When you are invited out to supper is your response, “Next time it is my treat”?

love_one_another_We reject, by our social behaviour, the reality of God’s compassionate kindness (grace) which cannot be repaid. God doesn’t expect you to repay the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross because God just chose to do it – no strings attached.

Now let’s get serious, if you don’t love like that, you don’t love. And the only way to love like that is to abandon your convictions and habits to let God love through you.

It is excruciatingly painful to be that humble, but it is the only way you’ll love beyond human capacity. “I can guarantee that unless you live a life that has God’s approval and do it more faithfully than the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:20 God’s Word©).

When you remember that the scribes would be today’s seminary professors, denominational doctrine committees and the Inquisition, while the Pharisees were laypeople who worked tirelessly to keep the doors open and the congregation from dying, it really multiplies the impact of what Jesus says. Doctrine and congregational survival are not goals of love!

“If you love those who love you, do you deserve any thanks for that?”