At Hope Chapel, we are all about the mission of “Helping People Follow Jesus”. We focus that mission through four core values which are painted on the wall on the front our our building (Love, Learn, Live, Lead). Yesterday, Jeff started a sermon series titled “Off the Wall“ which references taking our church’s core values off the wall and bringing them to life for people. The focus this week was on “Love Passionately”. What does it mean to love passionately? At the core of it is to be like Jesus, but how do we become like Jesus? The first step is to actually believe that we can. Jesus said to his disciples in John 13:34 “A new commandment I give to you that you love one another as I have loved you”. We can love like Him, and we can start by loving the way He has loved us. Which goes to the second step, Re-Jesus. In order to follow Him, we need to break free from the stereotypes of Jesus that popular culture has created for us. Hippie Jesus, Jesus is my Homeboy, etc. and search the scriptures daily to see who the real Jesus is and what He is truly like. The third step is to adopt the same creed as Jesus, known as The Shema:
“Hear O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. And you shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead and you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9.
Loving others begins with loving God first with all your heart, soul and might. Being a disciple of Jesus simply means to learn from Him and become like Him. Luckily we are not left to our own devices but God promises that He will conform us into the image of His Son. He often uses our trials to form us and fill us and shape us closer to that image. We respond by comforting others with the comfort we have received. One of the biggest steps toward becoming like Jesus is to recognize what He has done for us, in light of all God has forgiven us it becomes much easier to love others. It sets us free from thinking we deserve more and we realize that any little we have is God’s pure grace. This makes forgiving others so much easier, and we are like Christ when we forgive, and when we forgive we are set free to love others as Christ loved us.