Leon Fontaine - Unconditional Love
You know when we say L. A. F. We're gonna love each other, we're basically just giving you the character of Jesus. If you could go back in a time machine to 2.000 years ago and see Jesus in his physical body, it would have been the coolest friendship you could have ever had. How he loved people. So when we say the culture of our church is LAF, L. A. F., you would say that's actually who Jesus was and that's actually how Holy Spirit is and that's actually how God is. He is love and so churches should all be like that because churches are teaching people to follow Christ.
So that means that we don't have a toxic love. Toxic love is when you love somebody with conditions. I'll love you if. Or you know so but we actually are loved by God regardless of what we do and that's hard for some people to swallow because we go no I don't believe that I believe if I do bad, I get bad. If I do good, I get a good. No, that's the Old Testament. The New Testament is Jesus died for you and L.A.F, loving you, accepting you, and forgiving you is who God is and you'll never get away from that.
But now let me ask you a question. If you're single here. You happen to meet some really cool person from the church and you go out for coffee and and you go, "Hey are you do you know Jesus"? And he goes, "Oh, yeah me too and I'm so glad because you have to love me the way I am. I have a problem with stealing and you have to accept me the way I am. I cheat a lot on my relationships and you have to forgive me because I got drug addiction," and she's gonna go, "Yeah, you're right, when do we get married"? Thank you. Front row goes, "No". Why? Don't you love him, accept him, forgive him? Of course you do but it doesn't mean you're gonna let somebody who has a real sexual problem babysit your four little girls.
So today I want you to understand something. L. A. F. is your position with God. You are loved. You are accepted. You are forgiven and this is how we should treat one another is with L.A.F. but if I meet you after the service and we get along so good and you let's go into business together. I go okay and then you go I would love to go into business with you, Pastor Leon because you're gonna love me the way I am and you know I can cheat all I want with money and take some of them and you're gonna accept me and I probably won't show up for work, might put in a 2-hour day. You're gonna forgive me when you catch me stealing money from the company but I want to go into business with you. No, that's not gonna happen.
So as believers, we need to understand that when we first understand God's love and it's mind blowing and it's always there. I don't care if you're 30 years been a Christian and you had the biggest failures in your life this week. That love, that acceptance and that forgiveness is always there with God but if you don't allow His power this next level is His power is going to help you change and if you don't embrace this next season of walking this journey out where the presence in the power of God help you to break habits, helps you to develop you know, if you're a person who just loves the flame out, this is who I am. You get mad and angry. On your own power, you've never been able to change that. You might even told people this is the way I am so you have to love me the way I am. Maybe but I don't have to stay with you. I can love you from afar. I don't have to do business with you. I don't have the hire you. I'm sure not gonna marry you.
So if we want a life, the kind of life that Jesus talks about, we must embrace and understand how to have his ability in our life because greater is he who is in me than any problem you've got on the world. I don't care was an addiction to food. I don't care if it was addiction to tobacco, drugs, alcohol, stealing, pornography. But all of these things, you can't destroy your relationship with God where God walks. Not everybody else will. Right. But God won't. So if we could leave LAF in tact and let me help you for a few minutes recognize that you need to embrace the presence and of the power of God.
You know, I talk to a lot of people in my 30 some years of pastoring. I've never met a man yet who struggles with addiction or his temper who likes it. I haven't met one. They're all wishing they could be the husband that they know their wife really wanted. Every one of them wants to be the dad is there for the kids knows how to hug. I've never met a wife yet who's destroying her own marriage with her attitudes and thinks, ever go, I like the way I am. No. They're going I just don't know how to change. He just freaks me out so badly when he's so angry. I just don't want to change and therein lies the human condition without God's presence you can't. But with God's presence you can.
That's why whenever they begin to name followers of Christ, they called them believers. What do you believe in? You're believing in Jesus. You're believing you can change. You're believing you can change the world. It's not like we just kinda hangers in there. What are you? I'm a hanger in there. That's a follower of Christ. What does that mean? You just stay the way you are, stay addicted, stay stealing, keep all this up and you're loved, accepted, forgiven. It's great. No, it's not because you don't like yourself. No one around you likes yourself. You just know you haven't been able to change. And so when you go to God's Word and you recognize that you are loved, that Christ cares about you this is when you get your brain involved with what your heart already knows.
Once Jesus comes into your heart if you're in here, your heart is little the crying out, "Abba father" which is dadd. It literally is. I mean you can sit down anyone of my 5 kids and say, Leon's not your dad. And you think he loves you? You could talk to them all day, you're not going to convince them otherwise. Because something within them after 25-30 years of loving me and me being there. There's something that when they see me it's daddy. It's just dad, dad. If they're going through something or they see me or Sal or say mom or dad, it's just like, if you see tears in their eyes, it's like mom or dad shows up in the middle situation. And that's beautiful. Did you know that when you give your life to Christ, instantly this beacon on the inside of you is just going to dad to God with this incredible desire for Him and His love? But a lot of Christians don't ever feel or sense or know the love of God. Leon, why not? Because of what they believe.
Now I've told you the story before but we've got to insert it right here. If a spouse, if Sally loves me beyond belief and she does but I don't believe it. So I come home, she goes, "Leon, hi. Hi, sweetie". Go, "Hi". "I love you". "Right". "No, sweetie, I do. I think you're awesome". "Yep cool". Am I ever going to experience her love if I don't believe it? So you experience what you believe even if it's not true. Therefore, the key to this condition is you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. So one day, I'm just coming into the house and all of a sudden, I have this epiphany, I have this revelation. I realize after 34 years of marriage, she absolutely loves me and as soon as I believe that all, I mean, the tears, the hugs, my whole world is going to change in my marriage because I finally believe the truth.
You and God are the same way. Religion has lied to us. Religion is made us feel like God's not going to be there for us but He's turned his head. When you do something wrong, God's going. But actually, the Bible says that He turned his head from Jesus when Jesus took your and my sin and He rejected him for a moment because Jesus says, "My God, my God, why have You rejected me? Why have You left me"? And basically he became the sin of the world. He took our sins so that when we came to God, He would never in our lives ever turn His head from us because Jesus took that. And so we need to know how loved we are and we need to believe it.
Now here's how important the Bible is. Now, I've got Bibles on my iPad. Some of you use a physical Bible but the importance is if you do not renew your mind with God's Word, you will never feel, sense or know in an experiential way a connection with God. You will feel like you've got fire insurance from hell but you won't feel like you know Him and enjoy Him every day and there's nothing to change within you. It's just for you to get an aha by looking through the Word and finding out how special you are, how significant you are, how much He loves you, how much He cares about you and when the Word of God begins to change your thinking, that is when you begin to experience.
Let's talk about your emotions for a minute. You know we live in a generation that are fascinated with their emotions. Let me study this emotion right now. I just feel like I hate you so let me think about this. I think I hate you. I feel like I hate. I think you're a jerk. I feel like you're a jerk. Okay. Are your feelings accurate any of the time? Good Lord. I mean, if in any given day, I can go through 40 different sets of feelings. I hate you, I love you, I like you, I wanna be with you, I wanna get away from you. All of us. So feelings if we're going to be a generation of feelings. Nothing. Those are just feelings and they're not true.
So one of the way to control the negative feelings and begin to have all the positive feelings that God's created you to have is to know the truth. The Bible says, "And you will know the truth," in John 8:32 and the truth will set you free. And then go back to that story of a man and his wife. A man does not think she loves him and she's poured love on him for decades and one day, he believes it only from the point he believes it will that relationship just go to a place, an unimaginable place, so beautiful, so amazing because he now has his aha. As you go into God's Word, it's not to make you need do all these lists and all these things to jump through. It's trying to get your brain to agree with your spirit because the Bible says that when you are a new creation, behold all things become new. Everything becomes new. Well where? In your spirit. But your mind must be renewed and your body must be a living sacrifice.
The reason the Word of God is the most precious incredible beautiful stunning thing is it'll help you get your brain in agreement with your spirit and the power of God that flows. It says in Romans 12:2 that we should be renewing in our mind. Don't be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind and the word transform literally means up like a caterpillar changing into an actual butterfly flying out of that cocoon. When you begin to get God's Word in your mind. Christians can live like caterpillars crawling through relationships, crawling through life, crawling through financial problems, crawling through every addiction. Their born-again spirit filled on the inside. It doesn't say that your mind and your body. It says renew your mind with the Word.
Well, that gives the Bible the most special, precious, amazing, incredible place. I don't know how you do it but with the amount of stuff I've got to do and the load I've gotta carry in a good way. I don't mean that in a negative way. With the things that are going on, I need the Word every day and I need you to stay in it even though I know He loves me. There's something about sitting down with my Bible, getting up in the morning and throwing it in my lap and just reading a verse, just thinking about Him. I begin to get a sense and feel this love, this strength I never had before then I can turn around and love like I should to the others that are around me. I'm promising you Christian you must take the Word of God and whether it's a few verses a time, whether it's getting messages like this and just playing them once a day during the week.
When you begin to get your mind in agreement with what's in your spirit if you're Christian that is when the miraculous begins to come into your life. That is when you have an ability to talk with people. You'll be able to speak with someone and they won't know why they just open up and share with you and you'll pray with them and miracles will happen. You see, because most of us, we come into a party like this for example and let's say this was a big ol' party at Billy Joe's house and I can walk in and if I'm insecure and I don't know God loves me, the first thing I'm gonna walk into a party is like, do you like me? Do I fit in here my wearing jeans?
You're wearing jeans. You're wearing a cool looking suit. I don't fit. I don't feel like I fit in here and you know and I don't know. I'm so worried about me because I don't feel loved. My significance doesn't come from God. It comes from what I look like. It comes from your acceptance and if you don't accept me, I'm mortified. If I don't have a great shape and amazing looks so I'm the best looking one in the room. If your significance, your sense of belonging, your sense of love come from anything other than the love of God you are a pawn in somebody else's game. I have often shared this but if I if I give you guys my significance which means that it's my preaching and if you all love me, I feel loved today. But if you're sitting there. Oh, no. They didn't like me, please like me. Could you like me? Please like me. Then I've handed you my significance.
So my significance will go up and down based on you liking me, applauding me, booing, hissing, whichever way it goes, that's how I'm gonna feel. That's what I'm going to experience but if I turn and I get my significance from God and Leon. I love you and I find that in the Word. He's in here and the spirit of God within me is crying Abba Father then I am secure. In fact all of you could hate me today. Hiss. You know, throw tomatoes. Just be upset with me and it'll bug me for about an hour but you can't touch my self worth, my significance because it's not yours. It's between me and God then it creates this beautiful person who can now walk into a party like this with you know hundreds of people there and as soon as I walk in, I'm not worried about do I belong? Am I accepted? Do you like me? None of those things hit my radar.
Now I walk in and I'm going, God, help me show Your love today to this party and as I walk around, someone in the back just stands out to me and I go chat with him and I can just sense the loneliness. I begin to talk to him about Jesus or just befriend him if a work party and in no time this guy wants to come with me and I notice that lady over there in the back and I notice when I probably wouldn't have noticed it how much she's kind of just wilting away and backing out of this party and I pop by and just chat with her. What's going on? I'm not so self focused now that it's all about me, me, me, me. Like me. Help me. Someone encourage me. Would you brag about me? Fishing for compliments. Although we do with a crazy lives in parties to make ourselves feel good.
When you get anchored in Jesus, you walk into a room and you can read the room in seconds because Holy Spirit can't work through you like he wants to 'til you renew your mind and you know who you are then the confidence that you have doesn't come from you your ability, your looks. It comes from the relationship with Jesus Christ. Now when you keep that connection alive, that's when the gifts of the spirit, to you mature Christians, if you want to operate in the word of knowledge, the word of wisdom, the gifts of healing, the gift of miracles, how they flow through you is first of all, you have to pursue love.
1 Corinthians 14:1, then desire earnestly the spiritual gifts. The reason you pursue love is if you're insecure and you begin to get operating in the power of God, it'll be all about you even with the power of God. Hey, lady, the Lord spoke to me. About you. And already it's about me. You know just walking by and I just sensed. Okay, again, you're an insecure Christian and so you'll never last when it comes to helping others. That's why getting in God's Word and knowing who you are, being free from the snare of pleasing everybody, now this love and it's only in love that the gifts can be carried regularly.
I know I'm always working on this but years and years ago, I learned when I walk into a situation, disconnect me from what people thin. I've got to disconnect what people think about Leon and if I don't I'm screwed. There's no way I'm hearing or sensing or knowing how to handle what to do with God so I just disconnect. Leon, whether I think you're an idiot or a fool or you don't measure up or you're the worst looking, the worst in shape, and every guy here is like a maze and you're like what? Just disconnect that. Just say, "God, I rest in Your love today," and then as I walk into a situation, it's amazing how God guides me. How can walk multiple times. I'm sensing someone who is suicidal. I've often shared the one story about the tear leader driver but I'll know. I'll just walk over there and start talking.
I don't go, hey, man, don't kill yourself. This time I'll just start talking about life but what he's going through, enable to help steer him or lead him in that prayer or I'll walk into a room or I'll walk home and I'll get to the house and just sense that one of my kids just wait till a certain moment that evening and just kind of hang with them, how you doing or you know, sit on the edge of the bed and just chat a little bit and it's amazing how God guides direction but you'll find that you can't hear even when He's sending if you're locked up in who you are and you don't have his love but when you pursue love, the gift of the spirit are projected on love, you begin to sense and know direction for your business.
Did you know that if you've got to make decisions about your business, you will make the decision that makes you look good, makes you sound good, that raises you up to be the best and you'll make the wrong decision because if you get your significance from God, now you don't need it from a title? You don't need it from money and so God wants you to have titles and money but He'll guide you but this guidance comes when you're at peace, you and God and in here, you feel this love for God.
Now, every marriage fight that you've got isn't about you because you feel so insignificant and your spouse is not giving you the significance you that need and so you're both looking for significance, the other person not giving it, and you got all these things that they need to do for you. It's just a disaster but when a person gets their significance, their love from God, they literally can turn and now they can pursue love in this relationship because they're fine between them and God and you'll watch that relationship begin to heal up. You put 2 people doing that in one relationship and you've got heaven. Because you know who you are, you're loved by God and so you're gonna look at the person and go, you haven't done a thing for me for the last couple weeks but I love you so much and this is who I am.
It's not about what I do. It's about who I am and men and women, we want to be that person. Make sure that you understand the beauty of the Word of God is to get this mind in agreement with what your all, your spirits already filled with. His love, His power, His wisdom, His guidance. You don't have a baby spirit. You've got a full grown, all of Jesus is in you. You don't have to feed Jesus into your spirit with the Word. The Word's for your mind. The Word's to plant deeper beliefs in your heart but your spirit man is all.
Once you give him to Jesus, always been alive with the presence of God. Oh, if you could only realize the life that is ahead of knowing you're loved, renewing your mind to it and disconnecting from all the things you need to feel good about yourself and then you turn to a world that is dying and without Christ whether it's your job, your work, your family, your in laws, and you're able to love beyond your capacity to love, you're able to forgive beyond a normal person's ability to forgive, you're able to be the spouse you've always dreamed of being but have never been able to because it's always your strength. It's always this. It's always that. It's always something bugging you, ticking you off.
All of a sudden, you can love with His love and generations will begin to prosper as we recognize the power of pursuing love but desiring earnestly the spiritual gifts or even more accurately to move in the things of the spirit, to be focused on the spirit of God. Now you're a walking miracle. You're not perfect but everywhere you go, we've disconnected. Do you like me and my, okay, how do I make myself feel good? I should be the best-looking person here, the best person ever. You walk in and go, "God, this room was filled with people You're in love with. Is there one I can help? Is there one person I can encourage"?