Grow in Family Love
Today, we conclude our message series “Growing a Godly Family.” Our message will be entitled “Grow in Family Love.” In this series, we’ve talked about growing in perseverance, godliness and kindness.
Today, we’re going to talk about the importance of love, which really encompasses all the other characteristics we’ve talked about. Love is what really bonds a family together. Without love it’s impossible to grow a godly family.
Let’s step back a minute and ask the question “What is a family?” Fifty years ago, we would not have to discuss the definition of a family, for everyone would know. Today, we need to discover our definition of a family, from the Bible, God’s Word. What God’s Word says about the family is the truth. Opinions that contradict God’s Word are lies and lead to ungodliness. So, let’s begin by looking at Jesus’ teaching on the topic of family.
Matthew 19:4 (ESV) He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female,
To begin with, every human being is either male or female, there are no other categories. Not only is your gender determined by your bodily form, your gender is determined by your DNA. A female has two X chromosomes and a male has one X and one Y chromosome. So-called transgender people are simply mentally ill. They need help so that their thinking can be aligned with the gender that God created them to be.
Matthew 19:5 (ESV) and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?
Jesus next speaks of marriage, which is only between one man and one woman. In marriage, the couple creates a new family unit that is meant to be life-long. Any other so-called form of marriage, is not marriage at all. Relationships between two men or two women are simply sinful homosexual relationships. God’s Word makes clear that the laws of a nation are to promote what is right and punish what is wrong. So, all Christians should be opposed to any laws that promote or condone any sinful behavior, such as same-sex marriage.
Matthew 19:6 (ESV) So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
God, Himself is the one who joins man and women in marriage. Marriages are not to be broken through divorce, except for the sin of adultery. So, what is a family to do? Let’s see what God commanded the first family.
Genesis 1:28 (ESV) And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
The creation mandate is that families should have children, multiplying, filling the earth and having dominion over it. In this family unit, husbands are to love their wives and wives their husbands. Parents are to love their children and children are to love and honor their parents. Love should characterize the godly family of one man and one woman and their children. So, let’s look more closely at God’s direction to families concerning love.
Experience God’s love
John 3:16 (ESV) “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
In order to grow in love for others, you have to have experienced God’s love. God loved the people He created so much that He sent Jesus to die that their sin might be forgiven. When a person believes in Jesus, they are rescued from eternal death and enter into eternal life. Eternal life is entering into an experience of God’s love that will last forever.
You can’t earn God’s love
Romans 5:8 (ESV) but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Christ didn’t die for people who were good enough. No one is good enough to earn God’s love. Christ died for us while we were still sinners. Each and everyone person has sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. God extended His love to us while we were in rebellion against Him. In order to experience God’s love …
You must receive Jesus
John 1:12 (ESV) But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,
The one and only way to experience God’s love is through Jesus. You can’t experience God’s love through any other person, any other religion or any good thing that you do. This verse speaks of receiving Jesus Christ into your life and believing in Him. To receive Jesus into your life is to make Him the Lord of your life. That is, you commit to following Him and His Word with all your life. When you receive and believe in Jesus, you become part of the family of God, you become a child of God. You begin to experience the love that God has for His children.
Whatever position you are in your family, spouse, parent or child, your goal as a believer is to do everything you can that everyone in your family would also experience God’s love. Even when you’ve begun your own family, you have a responsibility to your parents and your siblings to lead them to the Lord and His love. God’s love for us is described in the Greek language as agape love. Agape love is unconditional love. Agape love loves even when the other person doesn’t love back. Much human love is conditional, conditioned on the other person loving back. Agape love, God’s love, is much more powerful. It is the kind of love that we need, in order to help our whole family experience God’s love. In the family, we are to …
Love one another
1 John 4:7 (ESV) Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.
Here God’s Word commands us to love one another. This is directed towards the church family, but also applies to our physical families. It’s important to understand that this is a command and everything that God commands, we can obey, with His help. How are able to love one another with God’s agape love? We can do that because we have born of God and are therefore His children. God’s agape love therefore is available for us to love others with. The opposite is also true.
No love means you don’t know God
1 John 4:8 (ESV) Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
Sometimes people say they can’t love certain people, either in the church family or in their own family. Here God’s Word makes clear that if you don’t love others, it means you don’t know God and are not God’s child. Why? Because God is love and those who are His children will love others. Of course, the more that we grow to know God, the deeper our love for others grows. What does that God love, this agape love look like?
Jesus is our example of love
1 John 4:9 (ESV) In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.
God sent Jesus into the world to make God’s love manifest or visible to us. Jesus came on a mission to save sinners like us and that mission would result in His death on the cross. God sent Jesus, knowing full well that He would have to die to accomplish His mission. So, Jesus is our example of love. Jesus laid down His own life to rescue us from eternal death and bring us into eternal life. So, we must learn to lay down our lives for those in our family and our church family. To lay down our lives is to think of others and put their needs ahead of ours. That’s how we learn to love one another.
Loving one another is not just doing what others in your family may want. God’s love is the ultimate tough love. Tough love, agape love, is doing what God wants for the other person. It’s doing what’s best according to God’s Word for the person. So, loving one another is sharing God’s love with a relative who doesn’t want to hear about it or thinks they don’t need it. Loving one another is disciplining your children to teach them to obey God’s Word. Loving one another is laying down your desires so that they entire family can grow in God’s love. Loving one another is working together for God’s kingdom of love. So how can we grow in that kind of love?
Love with God’s love
1 John 4:10 (ESV) In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
The kind of love that we’re talking about today, does not originate in us, it originates in God. We cannot love our family or anyone else for that matter with our own love. God’s love sent Jesus to be the sacrifice that turned God’s wrath away from us. God’s love broke through the barrier that separated us from God and made a relationship with Him possible. When we learn to be channels of God’s love, that love can break through barriers between people and between people and God. God’s love through you can break barriers of sin, unforgiveness and anger in people. As we learn more and more about God’s love …
God’s love motivates our love
1 John 4:11 (ESV) Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
As believer’s we have been the recipient of God’s incredible unconditional love. The more that we understand God’s love for us, the more we can love others. Since God loved us so much that He forgave all of our sins, how can we not forgive those who sin against us? If God loved us so much that He sent Jesus when we wanted nothing to do with him, how can we not extend God’s love to those who treat us badly? Whenever we have trouble in loving someone in our family or church family or elsewhere, think about God’s love for us and get motivated by it.
You grow in God’s love as you love others
1 John 4:12 (ESV) No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
We can’t see God, He is not visible to us. When Jesus was on this earth, He was God in the flesh and people could in essence see God in Jesus. But Jesus is in heaven now and we can no longer directly see Him. So, how is God’s love demonstrated in our world today? This verse tells us that when we as believers love one another with God’s agape love, something wonderful happens. God’s love is perfected in us as we express it to others. We grow in God’s love as we love others.
In a family, everyone is different. Everyone has different abilities, ideas and opinions. As parents, we are to teach our children to love God and one another. As spouses, we are to love one another as God has loved us. Families grow in God’s love by worshipping together, at home and in the church family. Families grow in God’s love by praying together, at home and in the church family. Families grow in God’s love by serving together, at home and in the church family. Families grow in God’s love by sharing His love with those who don’t know Him. Let’s continue to grow in God’s love each and every day.