“There is no limit to the power of loving.”- John Morton
Forward Thinkers, years ago, Toni Braxton had a hit song, “Love Should Have Brought You Home”, but today I’m remixing the title declaring ‘Love Should Welcome You Back Home’. Forward Thinkers, I wonder if there’s anyone like me who’s glad God’s love welcomed you back home and now you’re able to testify love trumps hate in God’s kingdom.
Romans 5:8New International Version (NIV)
8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Forward Thinkers, the world’s mindset and behavior is only love those who are on your team and hate everybody else. We now live in a society where to be pro-anything means you must hate anyone or anything that does not share your same beliefs or ideas.
Forward Thinkers, I’m amazed how people can interpret Black Lives Matter as meaning Black people are saying other lives don’t matter.
My desire is to shout as loudly as possible, love trumps hate everyday all day and our example of love comes from God and not the unrighteous, unjust ways of American culture.
Forward Thinkers, God shows us love while (meaning still in the midst of) we were still sinners (meaning operating opposite of God’s will and ways). God was on one team and we were on another team yet God still loved us. Again, as stated on last week, it is impossible to be a Christian (meaning Christ-like) and operate in hate because God is love.
Forward Thinkers, a major litmus test of your progress in Christ is how well do you love on people that you don’t like? Notice, God never commands us to like each other or our enemies but God commands us to love everybody.
I’m convinced love trumps hate because the bible which is my final authority declares love never fails. Forward Thinkers I love winning so I’m sticking with love over hate.
Let’s look at Luke chapter 15 and explore three parables of Jesus from a love trumps hate viewpoint.
Forward Thinkers Luke chapter 15 opens up with the holy than thou, finger pointing church going folks who claim to be Christ-like tripping on Christ for actually being Christ-like and loving on people that don’t roll the way he rolls. The church should be a model of unconditional love but unfortunately on Sunday mornings, the church is one of the most segregated places on the planet. We tend to only flock around people who look and act like us but Jesus reached out to everybody and the bible is clear that God so loved the world. Jesus reflects this love when he declares that who so ever will can come to him to receive eternal life.
Forward Thinkers, Jesus checks them with three parables demonstrating love trumps hate.
Luke 15:1-7 is about a shepherd with 100 sheep and 1 gets lost. Remember Jesus, who is love, says the shepherd leaves the 99 sheep and goes searching for the 1 that is lost. Forward Thinkers, the 99 sheep should be strong and wise enough to look after themselves for a season while the shepherd displays the love of a shepherd to the 1 lost.
Forward Thinkers, love for the lost will have you leaving the comfort zone and have you searching in the gutter-most among the worst of most to rescue just 1 more lost soul.
Love trumps hate. I’m determined this season to go find the black sheep, the gang banger, the dope slanging, the gun packing, the unloved, the unreached, the churched and the unthought-of and carry them to the place you go to grow to reach your full potential. A place where love trumps hate.
Forward Thinkers, against popular belief I believe the biggest line item of a church budget operating in love should be soul saving because that is what causes heaven to rejoice. Heaven is not moved by the preaching or singing but by the soul winning.
In Luke 15:8-10 we see the lost coin in the house so I call this the lost in the house parable of Jesus.
Forward Thinkers, a woman has 10 coins and loses 1 in the house. Yes, you can be in the church house and still be lost. The woman turns on the light and keeps looking until she finds the lost one. Love should have you turning on the lights and searching for your loved ones.
It’s not enough to focus on the fact you still have 9 coins when love is calling you to find the lost one. Notice, she has to turn on the lights because love does not mean living in denial or darkness pretending everything is fine. Forward Thinkers, love is powerful enough to turn the lights on and still love me in spite of what you see. We must always remember God knows everything about us yet he still loves us. God loves us in the face of facts while we hate people based on rumors from two faced people.
Now let’s jump into Luke 15:11-32 where we see a very familiar story about a lost son. Luke 15:21-24New International Version (NIV)
21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
Forward Thinkers, a lost son comes to his senses and is ready to get his life together after going out into the world and discovering Satan tricked him into believing there was something out there worth going to hell for.
Forward Thinkers, as the boy is heading home, love is waiting for him with open arms because love welcomes you back home just as you are but the better news is love loves you so much it won’t keep you the way you are.
Forward Thinkers, the father places a robe over the lost son because love is patience, love does not keep score, and love functions through grace and mercy. I’m so glad God covered me with his coat of grace and mercy and I don’t look like what I’ve been through. God knows there will be people who take pleasure in reminding you of who you used to be so he covers you with a robe until you’re in position to tell your own story. Nobody knows like I know what the Lord has done for me.
The next thing the father does is places scandals on the lost boy’s feet. The boy has walked in some ungodly places in his past but God is restoring him and preparing him to walk in a different direction. The bible says God loves us so much he throws our old steps into the sea of forgetfulness. God’s love sets us free from bondage and guilt. Forward Thinkers, because love trumps hate, we can walk out of defeat and walk into victory.
Finally, the father puts a ring on the lost son’s finger. This is God’s covenant agreement of love to us. Forward Thinkers, at a wedding, a man places a ring on a woman’s finger and says I do and here God is saying to a lost world, ‘I do love you and I promise nothing can separate us from the love I have for you.’ Once the woman receives the ring her identity instantly changes because old things are passed away and all things become brand new. She does not even call herself by her old name anymore and she answers to a new name also.
Forward Thinkers, because love trumps hate, we all can receive a brand new life in Christ but like the bride at the altar we must also say, ‘I do.’
Pastor E. A. Deckard is the Senior Pastor/Founder of the Green House International Church located, in both Houston, Texas, and the Woodlands, Texas. Pastor Deckard is also the Co-Founder of the No More Bloodshed Movement. To contact Pastor Deckard for speaking engagements contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow him on Facebook, Instagram and Periscope @ Pastor E A Deckard or the church website www.ghic.net