Everyone is welcome.

A lot of men and women of doubtful reputation were hanging around Jesus, listening intently. The religion scholars were not pleased, not at all pleased. They growled, “He takes in sinners and eats meals with them, treating them like old friends.” Luke 15:1

Levi gave a large dinner at his home for Jesus. Everybody was there, tax men and other disreputable characters as guests at the dinner. The religion scholars came to his disciples greatly offended. “What is he doing eating and drinking with crooks and ‘sinners’?”  Jesus heard about it and spoke up, “Who needs a doctor to spend time with them: the healthy or the sick? I’m here inviting outsiders, not insiders—an invitation to a changed life, changed inside and out.” Luke 5: 29-32

He taught the value of people:

Suppose one of you had a hundred sheep and lost one. Wouldn’t you leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the lost one until you found it? When found, you can be sure you would put it across your shoulders, rejoicing, and when you got home call in your friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Celebrate with me! I’ve found my lost sheep!’ Count on it—there’s more joy in heaven over one person’s rescued life than over ninety-nine good people in no need of rescue. Luke 15:4

He protected the obvious outcasts:

The religion scholars and leaders led in a woman who had been caught in an act of adultery. They stood her in plain sight of everyone and said, “Teacher, this woman was caught red-handed in the act of adultery. Moses, in the Law, gives orders to stone such persons to death. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something incriminating, so they could bring charges against him.  Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger in the dirt. They kept at him, badgering him. He straightened up and said, “The perfect one among you, go first: Throw the stone.” Bending down again, he wrote some more in the dirt.  Hearing that, they walked away, one after another, beginning with the oldest. The woman was left alone. Jesus stood up and spoke to her. “Woman, where are they? Does no one condemn you?”  “No one, Master.”    “Neither do I condemn you,” said Jesus.  John 8

One day in one of the villages there was a man covered with a skin disease. When he saw Jesus he fell down before him in prayer and said, “If you want to, you can cleanse me.”  Jesus put out his hand, touched him, and said, “I want to. Be clean.” Then and there his skin was smooth, the affliction was gone.  Luke 5: 12-13

He did all this to show us the way we are supposed to behave:

And this is why God sent Jesus: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. John 3:16-17

Jesus taught love.


1. Love God
Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you loveyourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.” Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:29
2. Love One Another“Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my students —when they see the love you have for each other.” John 13:34“Here’s another old saying that deserves a second look: ‘Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.’ Is that going to get us anywhere? Here’s what I propose: ‘Don’t hit back at all.’ If someone strikes you, stand there and take it. If someone drags you into court and sues for the shirt off your back, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. And if someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.  Matthew 5:3“I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never—I promise—regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind.  Luke 6:35“You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate yourenemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.   Matthew 5:43

“I’m not interested in crowd approval. And do you know why? Because I know you and your crowds. I know that love, especially God’s love, is not on your working agenda. I came with the authority of my Father, and you either dismiss me or avoid me. If another came, acting self-important, you would welcome him with open arms. How do you expect to get anywhere with God when you spend all your time jockeying for position with each other, ranking your rivals and ignoring God?”  John 5:41

“To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person. If someone slaps you in the face, stand there and take it. If someone grabs your shirt, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.  Luke 6:27

3. Love = Joy

“I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things I command you. I’m no longer calling you servants because servants don’t understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I’ve named you friends because I’ve let you in on everything I’ve heard from the Father.  John 15:11

What is love?


No matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m nothing without love.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best,
Never looks back, But keeps going to the end.
Love never dies.1 Corinthians 13

God IS Love.


My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can’t know him if you don’t love. This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God.  1 John 4:7
God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.  1 John 4:17

It’s for you.

 

3700 N. Walker, Okla. City, OK 73118. Telephone: (405) 525-6551