The After Effect

“How Love Changes a Life” // 3.21-22.15

 Step 1: Understanding God's Love

 God’s Love is Unending:

God will never quit loving me.

Jeremiah 31:3 (MSG) …“I’ve never quit loving you and never will. Expect love, love, and more love!” And so now I’ll start over with you and build you up again…”

 God’s Love is Unconditional:

My failures have absolutely no effect on God’s love for me.

Romans 5:20-21 ...sin didn’t, and doesn’t, have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace. When it’s sin versus grace, grace wins hands down. All sin can do is threaten us with death, and that’s the end of it. Grace, because God is putting everything together again through the Messiah, invites us into life—a life that goes on and on and on, world without end.

 God’s Love is Unbreakable:

Nothing can separate me from God’s Love.

Romans 8:35-39 (MSG) Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture: They kill us in cold blood because they hate you. We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one. None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.

God’s Love is Undeserved:

God loves me just as I am.

Romans 5:6-8 Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.

Step 2: Accepting God’s Love

2 Common Barriers to Accepting God’s Love

1. Doubts & Misunderstandings

2 Common Barriers to Accepting God’s Love

2. Shame

1 John 1:9 (LB) But if we confess our sins to him, he can be depended on to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong. And it is perfectly proper for God to do this for us because Christ died to wash away our sins.

1 John 4:9-10 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.

Zephaniah 3:16-17 (MSG) ...don’t despair. Your God is present among you, a strong Warrior there to save you. Happy to have you back, he’ll calm you with his love and delight you with his songs.

Step 3: Giving God’s Love

1 John 4:7-8 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.

John 13:34-35 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 disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.”

How To Be A More Loving Person:

1. Accept Others Unconditionally

Romans 15:7 Accept one another then, just as Christ accepted you in order to bring praise to God.

Romans 12:17-19 Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.”

How To Be A More Loving Person:

2. Commit Yourself Personally

Romans 12:10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.

Devoted: Very loving and loyal.

Romans 12:5 In Christ, we who are many form one body and each member belongs to all the others.

How To Be A More Loving Person:

3. Encourage Others Continually

1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up just as in fact you are doing.

3 Facts of Life:

1. Everybody has a hurt.

2. Everybody needs encouragement.

3. Everybody needs a lift.

1 Corinthians 13:7 If you love someone you will always believe in him and always expect the best of him.

How To Be A More Loving Person:

4. Serve People Cheerfully

1 Peter 4:7-11 …love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless—cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God’s words; if help, let it be God’s hearty help. That way, God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he’ll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything…

God has given you gifts and abilities and talents to be a blessing to others.

Matthew 20:26-28 Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for the many who are held hostage.

How To Be A More Loving Person:

5. Forgive Others Freely

Colossians 3:13 (MSG) Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.

1 Corinthians 13:5b It (love) does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when others do it wrong.

How To Be A More Loving Person:

6. Share Christ Verbally

1 Peter 3:15-16 Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.

2 Corinthians 5:14 (MSG) Christ’s love has moved me to such extremes. His love has the first and last word in everything we do.

Mark 5:18-20 (LB) The man who had been possessed by the demons begged Jesus to let him go along. But Jesus said no. “Go home to your friends,” he told him, “and tell them what wonderful things God has done for you; and how merciful he has been.” So the man started off to visit the Ten Towns of that region and began to tell everyone about the great things Jesus had done for him; and they were awestruck by his story.

Ephesians 3:17-18 (LB) "I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your heart, living within you as you trust Him.  May your roots go deep into the soil of God's marvelous love, and may you be able to feel and understand how long, how wide, how deep, and how high his love really is, and experience this love for yourselves." 

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