As Christians we are called to love all people, even those who hate us or would persecute us for our belief in Jesus Christ. But even we as Christians, saved by God’s grace but still struggling with our sinful and selfish nature, do not often know how to love others well. And loving all people does not mean loving them equally or in the same way. So just how can we do that the way God commands us to as His children?
Table Talk Notes
God is a God of order.
And there are certain relationships that are fundamental in other relationships. In other words, we have to get certain relationships right before we can get subsequent ones right. Our love for and relationship with God is fundamental to all other relationships.
The Bible is clear that all people have one of two relationships with God:
- Estranged enemies, or
- His adopted children.
Enemy of God
As long as we are in a state of rebellion against God, refusing to acknowledge His nature and character, and confessing ourselves as sinful and rebellious against Him, we remain His enemies. Once we confess of our sinful, rebellious nature, repent of our sinful attitudes and behaviors, and place our complete faith and trust in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, we are forgiven by God’s grace and become His adopted children.
4 Things Every Christian Must Know
- Our occasional sins, while still an affront to God, are no longer held against us in eternal judgment.
- As His children, he will now discipline us for our benefit.
- He wants us to learn from our sins and circumstances, and grow in the knowledge and grace of Jesus Christ.
- His will is that we be continually conformed into the image of Jesus Christ.
The Bible is clear that as believers and disciples of Jesus Christ that our love of God must be greater than anyone or anything else.
Matthew 10:37-38 | “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.”
John 12:25-26 | “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.”
1 John 2:15-17 | “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”
The Bible is clear of God’s will for our lives.
Romans 12:2 | “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Titus 2:11-15 | “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.”
2 Peter 3:18 | “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”
1 John 4: 20-21 | “If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.” And we must understand that since God loves us as His children, He will discipline us for our benefit, as any good parent would do for their children:
Hebrews 12:5-8 | “And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives. It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.”
Important: If we do not get our relationship with God right as Christians, we will never get our relationships with others right. The most important relationship Christians have, after their relationship with God, is in marriage. A strong fellowship with God will lead us to a strong marriage.
Genesis 2:18-24 | “Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
It is obvious from these scriptures that a man and a woman coming together in marriage is the most important relationship God created for man outside of relationship with Him.
Statistical studies show a couple stark findings.
- Professing Christians divorce at a rate similar to unbelievers.
- Many Christian marriages often lack joy and peace.
Why is this happening?
First, we might enter into marriage with an unbiblical mindset and view of marriage.
- Are we 100% committed to our marriage when we enter into it? Or are we committed only if it goes as I think it should?
- Are we more concerned with ‘my happiness’ instead of committed to honoring and cherishing my spouse?
- Are we putting undue pressure on our spouse to make me happy and give purpose to my life instead of looking to God?
- And do we look at love as a feeling or a choice and commitment?
Second, do we look at marriage as a “receiving” or “giving” thing?
- Are we committed to loving our spouse unconditionally even when they might disappoint us?
- Do we look for ways to serve or to be served?
- Is our love conditional on the behavior of our spouse?
- Men are you only willing to love your wife as Christ loves His church once she submits?
- Wives are you only willing to submit once your husband loves you perfectly?
Third, the busyness of life these days too often our spouses can become “background noise” or “just another person” in our lives.
- Is our career and financial success more important?
- Are our friends more important? Do I enjoy their company more than my spouse?
- Is sports, television or entertainment more cherished than your spouse?
- Are you wasting time on social media while conversation and intimacy with your spouse suffers?
- Can my spouse rely on me to defend and protect when trials arise?
- Do I affirm or critique my spouse in front of friends?
- Does my spouse have a true partner who will be empathetic, loving, kind and truthful when problems arise?
- Are we truly in this “’til death do us part”?
Bride of Christ
Christian marriage symbolizes eternity with God where we are called the “Bride of Christ”. It is important we understand, and commit to, our marriages being the focal relationship in our lives after our relationship with God.
- A strong biblical marriage should help each partner grow in their relationship with God.
- We should be looking at our spouse as our most important friend and confidant.
- We must understand that when we do not love our spouse we are not loving ourselves.
A strong marriage equips us for the challenges of another relationship.
A biblical, growing relationship with God helps us in our relationship with our children. Children are a blessing, but they can also become problems in our marriage relationship. Raising children brings happiness, trials and sometimes pain. We want them to have a better life than we had…but is our primary goal to enrich them economically or spiritually?
It is crucial that we have a strong relationship with God, leading to a strong biblical marriage, so we can navigate raising our children in a world increasingly hostile to God and His Word.
- We should love and cherish our children as gifts from God.
- We should always seek to exemplify what a strong Christian marriage and relationships look like to them so they can emulate us and grow as Christians.
- We must be aware of the many distractions and lies they are hearing in media and education.
- They should be our ‘apprentices’, where we train them in the correct biblical knowledge and ways so they can become successful Christian adults.
- We should strive to be consistent in our teaching and discipline, never undermining our spouse.
- We should look at our children as heirs to our commitment to loving God and our spouses as the Bible teaches.
We must also be careful not to sacrifice our marriage relationship for “peace” with our children. Children learn at a young age to manipulate father against mother–and this can cause stress and division in our marriages.Children must not be allowed to disrupt our marriages. Click To Tweet
As much as we love our children and want to care for them, they must not be allowed to disrupt our marriages.
Make sure you have adequate time together as husband and wife.
Do not sacrifice quality time with one another for the children too often—it will lead to problems.
Make sure you talk through disciplinary situations as parents and never undermine one another.
Understand that in spite of your child’s erratic behaviors what they cherish most is in knowing they have parents in a strong marriage who will stay together.
When they become adults…
Do not let them remain in the household if they try to undermine your marital relationship.
A strong growing relationship with God will help our relationship with other believers.
A strong growing relationship with God is crucial to knowing how to have effective and uplifting relationship with other believers. When we can learn to see others as God sees them we grow in patience and commitment to serve and love them. What should our relationship with other believers look like?
Loving and helping one another as believers
1 John 4:21 | “And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.”
James 2:15-18 | “If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”
Hebrews 10:24-25 | “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
Loving enough to be honest and helpful
Ephesians 4:25 | “Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.”
Bearing with one another gently and patiently, overlooking minor disagreements
Ephesians 4:1-3 | “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
Instructing and rebuking (when necessary) one another
2 Timothy 4:2 | “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.”
Submitting in love to one another
Romans 14:13-15 | “Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died.”
Philippians 2:1-4 | “So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
A strong growing relationship with God will help us in our relationship with unbelievers
Ephesians 2:8 | “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.”
It is only by God’s grace that we are sharing, rather than receiving, the gospel message
Be humble with unbelievers.
Ephesians 4:29 | “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
You may be the only ambassador for Christ the unsaved person knows… be a worthy ambassador.
Titus 2:11-14 | “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.”
Jesus came to offer salvation to all men who confess, repent and trust in Him.
He did not just come for you… carry out the Great Commission on His behalf.
Luke 19:9-10 | “And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
Luke 15:8-11 | “Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
We should rejoice when the work God does through us leads a man to repentance.
The basis for strong biblical relationships with our spouse, children, other believers and even unbelievers is being sure of our biblical relationship with God. If we are not in correct biblical fellowship with God we will not get our other relationships right.
When we get into the right relationship with God, submitting to His ways and seeking to acknowledge Him as Lord over our entire life, He begins to work in and through you to have excellent relationships with your spouse, children, other believers and unbelievers.