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Dr. Ed Young - Loving One Another

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    Dr. Ed Young - Loving One Another

"What do you want from me"? I've been asked that question. You've been asked that question. Just what do you want from me? And sometime, we can use the same verbiage and have totally different meaning. "What do you want from me? What do you want from me? WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME"? And many times, we ask that of God. Maybe not in those words-we say, "God, You know, I've walked the aisle. I've gone through the motions. I think I'm a Christian, but somehow, all my problems have not disappeared. God, what do You want from me"?

Let me tell you something, folks: That's not a multiple choice answer. It's not anything obscure or hard to understand, and the old, worn phrases I've heard so many times, "Well, there's a lot in the Bible I don't understand..." That's not your problem or my problem. It's the part we do understand that bothers you and me! Don't, don't cop out on that. We say, "God, what do You want from me"? He's written it down! It's in print! And it's clear, and nowhere is it clearer than in Romans Chapter 12. "Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor, hate what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love".

There are four words for love. We talked about that. There's agape. There's "eros," which is romantic love, which is not used in the Bible. And there is "philos, phileo, Philadelphia," which is a general brotherly love, and there's "storge," which is family love. In these two Verses, Verse, Verse 9 and 10 right here, you have all three of the words for love used in the New Testament. You have agape, we've already looked at that. That's the first word there. And then you have the word storge there. It starts off, it says, "...and be devoted..." that's storge " one another in brotherly love," and that's phileo. That's like Philadelphia love.

Now, so in the body of Christ, Paul has introduced this brotherly love and this otherly love-those who are not in the body of Christ as he begins to teach exactly what brotherly love is, exactly what otherly love is-those who are outside the church, and those who are inside the church. Now inside the church, the word for love there that really is a fabulous word is the word "storge". Now storge means that you love without selecting who you love; that, that you love without any exclusivity. You just love, regardless. You don't pick this one out to love, or pick that out, that one out to love. It's love-it's family love. There are people in your family, in my family, I would never spend any time with, they're so different from you and different from me; it's like they came from another planet, right?

And we only relate to them and love them-they think we're weird; we know they're weird, and they're in our family! But we love them. And the great thing about it is, we learn to love, not on the basis of their personality, even on the basis of what they like and what they dislike; but we learn to love and accept them regardless, and when we do that in the great diversity of our family, and the great diversity of God's family which we're a part of in the church, we're greatly enriched. I know some people that, that I, I've gotten to know, that I really love and appreciate, and I can tell you, the first four or five times I was around them, I said, "Good night! This-I've got nothing in common here..." but they have greatly enriched my life. You have the same experience.

My brother, who's gone to be with the Lord, was a great guy! But I'll tell you, if you gave a variety of 20 things that I want to do and he wanted to do, we would not meet on any horizon. I wonder who his mother and daddy were? I know, I mean, he's my brother; but my point is, we're so different! But I loved him completely! He enriched my life by, by being different, and I hope I enriched his life by being different. Now we're both Christians, see? Now that's, that's the word "storge". So in the body of Christ, we're to be non-discriminating. Oh, there's somebody who-he doesn't even like sports! I mean, he, loves butterflies! I mean, I'm telling you, but in the body of Christ, it doesn't make any difference! That's storge! That's family love! That's what he's talking about here.

And then he tells us exactly what brotherly love is. I'll be rapid... It's a beau, beautiful Verses. He said, "Be devoted to one another. With brotherly love, give preference to one another in honor". We honor one another. We give preference. There, there's no, what, what, what I dislike about preaching more than anything else is having to stand up on this platform. The ideal place, I think for preaching, I ought to be in a hole, looking up. That's where I feel... I'm here only for sight purposes, sound purposes. So we give preference. We, we honor one another. Did you know in the economy of this church, we all own an equal amount of the property and assets of the Second family, if you're a member?

You walk today, become a member-you own everything I own. I like that! We rule from the bottom up, not the top down. See that-we honor. We give preference in the body of Christ. "Not lagging behind in diligence; fervent in spirit, serving the Lord". The word "fervent" there means "boiling over". Are you fervent in spirit? Colossians 3 says when you and I go to work in the morning, we should go to work as if we're working for the Lord. God has hired you. Jesus Christ has put you there. We go there with fire and with fervency. That's a part of the contagious brotherly love we have in the church and the witness outside the church.

I love when someone's a member of our church and they work for someone, I always expect them to say, "You know, that's the most conscientious person I have. They're on time. They don't look at the clock. They care about things. They're on fire! Boy, I wish I had some more members of your church..." Do you approach work as worship? That's what we're to do. That's what I'm to do. Verse 12: "Rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted in prayer". In other words, when tribula... the word "tribulation" means "to shake". We all tribulate, don't we? We have problems, challenges, suffering... We fall, we stand. It's wonderful that you have people cheering for you, offering you hope, praying for you, caring for you.

Tell you something: You give this body of Christ a chance in whatever your situation is, we'll do everything we can with all we've got to help. Sometimes we can't do everything. Sometimes, it's out of our realm. Sometimes, it's not the realm of the church, but I'll tell you-we'll love you, we'll care for you. Get in a Bible study class. Have a problem pregnancy, and you just watch that class help you with your family when you're put to bed. We do it all the time. Feed, clothe, house, minister, reach out, care for, love, listen to-that's what we do when we're tribulating, and I tribulate, and you tribulate. That's what the body of Christ is. That's brotherly love.

Look at Verse 13: "Contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality". That's a big word, hospitality. That's one of the spiritual gifts. We should be, have hospitality. There should be an openness kind of our relationship, of our time, if possible of our houses where we live. Everything doesn't have to be straight and clean. You don't have to have all the right things to serve... Hospitality. Who had that in the Bible, particularly in Acts? Priscilla and Aquila. Boy, that couple kept Paul in their home. Man, how they were blessed by that. Boy, Paul taught them, loved them. They loved Paul.

Man, they had the right Biblical understanding in their lives. I think it was a wonderful place to be with Priscilla an Aquila. I mean that was a home, that was a house! Paul stayed there. When Paul left, Apollos moved in to stay with them. Apollos began to teach. Now Apollos was different from Paul. I think Paul, if he were to teach us, he would talk in very measured, profound tones with deep understanding of the truth and the revelation of God and we would listen on tip-toe to Paul. Whewww! When Apollos would preach-I'm telling you, he was dynamic! He was the Billy Graham of the New Testament! "The Bible says..." Oh, he was something!

But as Aquila and Priscilla were listening to Apollos who was a guest in their home, the noticed as he was speaking that he had the baptism of John mixed up with the baptism of Jesus, you know? He had a little theological problem, and so when they went home, they must have sat down and said, "Apollos, let me tell you what you're missing and you don't get...." and they walked through that with him. Apollos, I believe, got it. And then, through the hospitality of that home, other people came and came to know Christ, and had it, and shared it-the hospitality just flows, generation to generation, person to person, individual to individual, couple to couple, fam... That's hospitality in the body of Christ! We're talking about brotherly love in the church.

Now we move into another area. This is the real tough area. It's "otherly" love. It's love outside the church. What does it look like? The word is "blessed" in Verse 14. We pray for those who do what? Persecute you. Are you doing a good job with that? Are you really, you pray, "Lord, send fire down on the rascal! I'm telling..." Are you really praying, "Lord bless, be with, guide, speak to that person who persecutes you"? See, there, there are three kinds of people that bother us. Some people just don't like you and don't like me. I don't know-they just don't. That's it! Okay? Got to pray for them. There are some people who've hurt us, and in different ways, they've hurt us. Maybe they knew it, maybe they didn't know it. Maybe they didn't intentionally-I don't know, but they've hurt us, and then other people who persecute us. Man, they just stay after it.

"Man, let me tell you about him. Let me tell you about Ed Young. Eh, eh, eh, eh...." I mean, rumors are rampant, by the way, around this place. Heh, it is so interesting... You can't kill the rumor that I fly around in a helicopter. You can't kill it! And when I mention it now, somebody will leave and say, "Yeah, he said he flew around..." Uh-uh! I've tried to fight that for years... I really did. Now when somebody says, "Well, are you flying..."? "Oh yes! We've got 5 helicopters"! You can't kill this stuff, folks, and to me, that's a kind of persecution, a discount, what we're about. Anyway, so we've got dif-so we have to pray for people. That's a part of what we do, those outside the church.

Verse 15 says: "Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep". By the way, the order of that Verse, I think, is important. It's harder to rejoice with those who rejoice, than weep with those who weep. Sometimes they rejoice, and they're rejoicing so much, we get a little envious. We get a little envious... To genuinely rejoice with people, we learn how to do that. It's easy to weep with people who weep, isn't it? Man, we want to get in there with them. We just weep. We don't have any words of wisdom-we just weep. But to rejoice with success, that challenges us. So we know how to rejoice with those who rejoice-man, it's easy-not that's pleasant, to weep with those who weep. The order there's important. This is that "otherly" love.

Look at Verse 16: "Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation". It is our mind-our mind has been renewed. Now we're not haughty any more. Now we now we belong to God. Now we know He's renewing us. Look at Verse 18. "If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men". You see, we've come to Christ. We're no longer self-righteous, and hopefully, we are less being self-centered. Self-righteousness and self-centeredness is your problem and my problem. This helps us. This helps us when we pray for those who persecute us. And then it really gets tough here. It says, "Never take your own revenge, but leave room for the wrath of God".

You know what that Verse means? You know what God's saying to you and me in that Verse? "Don't sit in My seat"! That's what God's saying. "Well, you don't know what they did..." Nope! God says, "I got it". "Well, let me..." "Nope! I got it"! "I'm not gonna speak to them..." "Nope, I got it". God says, "Don't sit in my seat. I'm in charge of this thing. You just are to pray. You're to seek to forgive. You're to seek to bring about reconciliation. You're to seek to listen. You're to seek to be different", because if we do not do this, they have control on us as long as that is that thorn of bitterness, that thorn of hatred, that thorn of desire-even when the bottom falls out of their life, we don't say, "Ha-ha-eh, eh, eh, eh, boy... They got theirs! I knew it would happen..."

See, when we love with our head and our lips and our heart, see, we don't try to play God and sit in His seat. He'll take care. He will establish justice. He will handle it. We don't have to. But we have another role? What do we do? Man, Paul tells us. It gets tougher and tougher for me... I don't know about you, to do this. He says, "Vengeance is mine. I will repay". We don't pay back, says the Lord. "But if your enemy is hungry, feed him". Poison. No, no, no. Feed him. "If he is thirsty..." tell him you're out of water. No, "...give him a drink; for in so doing, you heap burning coals on his head".

Now it's very clear here, really, except the burning coals problem... We are to find ways to feed to nourish these who despitefully used us. We're to find ways to offer them cheering and nurture when they're hungry or they're thirsty. Now the burning coals on their head, we kind of like that part; but see, this has a different meaning. By the way, every commentary on this Verse will give you a different meaning. Every one of them. You read them, they're so wild, it's a paraphrase, a quote from Proverbs, by the way, and, and I think it means that when you do this, it's like a tradition they had in the Middle East, that if someone was repenting, they would go and they would take and put a container and put burning coals in that, and they would walk in the night with those burning coals, and you could see them walking and little flames, fire from the coals.

You would say, "There goes Edwin Young. He's repenting. See those burning coals on his head"? And what Paul is saying, if we feed, if we nourish, if we help, if we cheerlead, those who've just treated us like rats-man, it's putting, it may lead them to repentance. It may lead them to see what's going on. It may lead them to see the problems they created. It may then lead to see how they've been vicious or unfair toward you, and, I think that's exactly what this means. And then, it ends up saying something that's way, way out of line. We've got to do all this as Christians to those who are outside the church-otherly love.

Now he says, don't return evil for evil. Return, overcome evil with good. How in the world do you overcome evil with good? He's already told us. But now he tells us this is how we do it. How do we do that? How do we love like this? This agape love, this storge love, this Philadelphia, how in the name of the planet do we do it? Where do we get the stuff to do it? We just try harder? That won't do it, will it? We're just determined? That won't do it. Where do we get the stuff?

All the way in Romans 12, the very first Verse, very first Verse. He said, "By the mercies of God". It is the mercies of God in your life and in my life that gives us the ability to have this kind of brotherly love in the church, and this kind of otherly love outside the church, even when we're despitefully used and abused, and Paul is simply blowing up and explaining what Jesus has already taught, primarily, in the Sermon on the Mount, isn't he? Mercies of God. What is that?

You read in Matthew Chapter 18, Jesus told a story about the mercies of God. Here's a king, and one of his servants owed him several million dollars. The king went to him and said, "Repay me"! The servant said he couldn't. He said, "I'm gonna put you in jail..." and the servant said, "Have mercy"! And the king forgave him for a debt of several million dollars, ten thousand talents. Now people read that and say, "Well, it, nobody know a servant couldn't owe a king several million dollars. I mean, that doesn't make sense". It could if that servant happened to be over one of the providences in the kingdom. Hey-he was a big-time guy, to owe that kind of money to the king. And therefore, for the king to forgive, it meant that the whole province may have economic problems, didn't it?

And then, in the story Jesus told, the guy who'd been forgiven millions of dollars of debt by the king, finds a fellow servant who owed him a hundred dollars-couple of hundred bucks. Said, "Hey, hey-you owe me! Pay me back now"! He said, "I can't do it. Give me time". He said, "I'm not gonna give you time". He put him in jail. The guy who'd been forgiven millions put in jail a fellow servant who owed him a few hundred. Somebody told the king about it, about this ungrateful, unmerciful servant he'd forgiven the big bucks, and the king says, "Go get that rascal, and you put him in jail"!

And then the last Verse of this is the scary Verse as we read this parable in Matthew 18. Then Jesus says, "My Heavenly Father, who al, will also do the same to you if each of you does not forgive his brother from the heart". "Oh, I forgive my mind..." Oh no. "I told him I forgive..." No. From your heart. That's scary to me. Doesn't it scare you? How, how are you doing with that one? God the Father is not going to forgive us. He's not going to be merciful to us unless we're merciful toward others. Therefore, when I realize the great mercy he has demonstrated to me, and the mercy he's demonstrated to you, how easy it is to forgive all these others, whatever they've done.

That gives us the capacity to love like this. Doorbell ring, rang. Mother went to the door. Two policemen standing there. They explained to her, her 16 year old son had been shot and killed... Some kind of drug altercation. They found the young man that killed him. He was 18. She went to the trial. Found guilty. Sentences, 25 years in prison. This mother, through prayer, because she's a wonderful Christian, she began to write this young man who killed her son, and then she asked for permission to go and visit him. He said, "Absolutely not. I don't want to see you". She asked again. "I don't want to see you". Over a period of time, finally he said, "Okay. Come one time, but that's it".

So she came, and this young man in prison for these years saw something in Mary, the mother of the boy that he'd killed that he'd never seen before. He saw forgiveness. He saw love. He saw a desire for him to get his life straightened out while he was in prison, and finally, she led him to Christ after a series of visits. He moved away from the gang element in prison and got with a Christian group. God began to do things in his life. He served 17 years, and then he was eligible for parole, and finally, the parole was granted, and he walked out of prison. He went in a thug, 17 years before.

Now he comes out a man, and he had no one there for him. He didn't know anybody. All of his contacts, all of his family-he didn't know what in the world happened to them. The only person he knew was Mary, the mother of the boy he'd killed. So he called her. She was thrilled! He went to her, and he said, "I can't get a job. I've got a record". Said, "I can't have a place to live. I can't sign any lease..." and she took care of it and saw that he got a room, right next door to where she lived.

In fact, the room was in a little playground area now, where her son had played a little boy, and now his murderer was living in a little room right there where the playground used to be. And Mary took that young man, got him a job. She arranged for him to go to college, and he began to move through life and became a wonderful, wonderful Christian man, and Mary and this murderer became close, close friends. By the way, his name was Israel. The power to show mercy comes when we realize the mercy that Christ has shown to us!
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