Kingdom of Right Relationships Part 5: Loving Self Correctly Matthew 22:34-40; Ephesians 3:20 Living in Four Relationships • You can’t escape the necessity of living in four relationships – – – – To God To Self To the significant others in life To the world • The good news of the gospel – Jesus Christ can enter into a human life and redeem it in all four of these relationships! (Matthew 22:37) (Matthew 22:39) (Matthew 28:18-20 Acts 1:8) Love God Love Others Serve the World Worship Small Groups (Bible Study Classes) (House Churches) (Personal Disciple-making) Ministry/Missions (Local, Global) God Other believers The World The most important relationship in life = God and me! The vertical relationship carries all the weight of the horizontal relationships Me The Most Important Relationship • The one between you and God – • There are 3 dimensions of this love • Love of God the Father • Love of God the Son • Love of God the Holy Spirit They are One – Deuteronomy 6:4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!” – We show our love for each of them differently! – We relate to each person in the Trinity differently! The Commandment • Matthew 22:37-38 – – – • Scribe: “Which is the great commandment in the law?” Christ’s answer - “Love the Lord your God” Love God as your very own God, a personal relationship, not a distant relationship Love Commanded Is Controllable – – – – The greatest of all commandments Is it possible to command somebody to love? Yes, love is an act of the will We choose to love God no matter how we may feel An All Encompassing Love Matthew 22:37-38 • • “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.” – Nothing must be held back – God holds nothing back when He loves us A person’s total being must be involved in loving God – “Heart” - our emotional response – “Soul” - the will, decision-making – “Mind” - the reasoning component of our love Agape Love • Romans 5:5 – Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us • • “love” = the distinctive Christian word - agapao Galatians 5:22-23 – 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. • • – Agapao is totally unselfish love A love of which we are capable only through the Holy Spirit A love which desires only the highest good for its object Loving God • The Father’s Highest Good - John 17:1-5 – • To glorify Him The Son’s Highest Good - Philippians 2:9-11 – – – • Exalt His name above every name Bow your knee to Him and worship Him Confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father The Spirit’s Highest Good – Philippians 2:13 – To allow Him to do His work in our lives! • Do Not Resist the Spirit – Acts 6:10; 7:51 • Do Not Quench the Spirit - 1 Thessalonians 5:19 • Do Not Grieve the Spirit - Ephesians 4:30 • Be Filled with the Holy Spirit – Ephesians 5:18; John 12:3 Loving Self • Your Highest Good = Obeying God! – Do you want to lease self or please God? – Ephesians 3:20-21 20. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21. to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Loving Self • The focus of your life is either to please self or to please God – Mark 8:34-35 34. When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 35. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. – 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 14. For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; 15. and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. Loving Self Is Not Commanded Matthew 22:36-40 • Jesus gives two great commandments: 1. Love God with all your heart, soul, and mind 2. Love your neighbor as yourself • There is no third command to love yourself! – Jesus is saying, "as you already love yourself" • Indicates a state of current existence, not a command – Jesus knows we already love ourselves – He commands us to love others the same way – with agape love No One Hates Himself! • Rather, he loves, cherishes, and nourishes himself – Ephesians 5:29 - For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church • Man’s problem is that he pays too much attention to self, not too little – Philippians 2:21 - For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus – When we seek our own, we are always falling short of God’s glory! No One Hates Himself • Constant temptations to self-centeredness in your life – Devastating to the Body of Christ and to your own walk with the Lord – These are sins! – They must be confessed and overcome if you are to mature as a child of God Self-centeredness Romans 6:12-14 12. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. 13. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. • By God’s grace, even this sin of self-centeredness will not have dominion over you! The Issue of Self-Esteem • The wisdom of this world teaches • That many of our problems are rooted in a “bad self-image” or “low self-esteem” • That you must learn to love yourself before you can love others • That your “perceived” needs must be met so you can help others – All of these views are false - they conflict with the truth of God’s Word The Issue of Self-Esteem • Webster's Unabridged Dictionary – Self-Esteem: Undo PRIDE in oneself – Pride: Over-high opinion of oneself; conceit – Humility: Absence of PRIDE or self-assertion The Biblical View of Self-esteem "Low" Self-Esteem "No" Self-Esteem "High" Self-Esteem Self-degradation (False Humility) No self-concern (True Humility) Self-aggrandizement (Pride) Focus: Self (selfhate) Focus: God and others Result: Fear and Hiding from who you are in Christ "Low" self-image Destructive - serve self Result: Worship God Focus: Self (self-love) Result: Pride – Worship Self Biblical view of self World calls it a "Good" self-image Productive - serve God Destructive - serve and others self The Issue of Self-Esteem • "High" Self-Esteem - Self-aggrandizement (pride) – • Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall "Low" Self-Esteem - Self-degradation (false humility) – – – – Matthew 10:34-39 - If you try to save your life by focusing on self, you will lose your life instead of saving your life Self-belittlement, self-exaltation, and self-pity all indicate a preoccupation with self Inordinate attention to self = the exact opposite of God’s commandments to love Him and others Self-focus prohibits the development of a Christ-like servant attitude The Issue of Self-Esteem • "High" Self-Esteem - Self-aggrandizement (pride) • "Low" Self-Esteem - Self-degradation (false humility) • "No" Self-Esteem - No self-concern (true humility) – 1 Peter 5:5 - Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” The Issue of Self-Esteem • "High" Self-Esteem - Self-aggrandizement (pride) • "Low" Self-Esteem - Self-degradation (false humility) • "No" Self-Esteem - No self-concern (true humility) – 1 Peter 5:5 – Ephesians 2:8-10 - For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. The Issue of Self-Esteem • "High" Self-Esteem - Self-aggrandizement (pride) • "Low" Self-Esteem - Self-degradation (false humility) • "No" Self-Esteem - No self-concern (true humility) – 1 Peter 5:5 – Ephesians 2:8-10 – 2 Corinthians 9:8 - And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. Seeing Ourselves Correctly As God Sees Us • A true view of self comes from an understanding of who you are in Christ – Constant danger of letting the world define us instead of God – Often we shape our self-image by the attitudes and opinions of • • Our parents, spouses, teachers Our peer groups, culture, society – Performance-based acceptance • • None of us are immune to the effects Makes us think that we must try to earn God's acceptance – Only when we define ourselves by the truths of the Bible can we discover who we really are! The Biblical Doctrine of Grace – Humbles us without degrading us – Elevates us without inflating us – Tells us that apart from Christ, we have nothing and can do nothing of eternal value – We have become new creatures in Christ – We have been transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of his light, life, and love – In Christ we enjoy • • Complete forgiveness from sin Limitless privileges as unconditionally accepted members of God's family Who Does God Say I Am? Conformed to His Image by Kenneth Boa • I am a child of God – • I am a branch of the true vine, and a conduit of Christ's life – • Romans 6:6 I will not be condemned by God – • Romans 3:24 My old self was crucified with Christ, and I am no longer a slave to sin – • John 15:15 I have been justified and redeemed – • John 15:1, 5 I am a friend of Jesus – • John 1:12 Romans 8:1 I have been set free from the law of sin and death – Romans 8:2 Who Does God Say I Am? Conformed to His Image by Kenneth Boa • As a child of God, I am a fellow heir with Christ – • I have been accepted by Christ – • 1 Corinthians 3:16, 6:19 I am joined to the Lord and am one spirit with him – • 1 Corinthians 1:30 My body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who dwells in me – • 1 Corinthians 1:2 In Christ Jesus, I have wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption – • Romans 15:7 I have been called to be a saint – • Romans 8:17 1 Corinthians 6:17 God leads me in the triumph and knowledge of Christ – 2 Corinthians 2:14 Who Does God Say I Am? Conformed to His Image by Kenneth Boa • The hardening of my mind has been removed in Christ – • I am a new creature in Christ – • Galatians 4:7 I have been set free in Christ – • Galatians 3:28 I am no longer a slave but a child and an heir – • 2 Corinthians 5:21 I have been made one with all who are in Christ Jesus – • 2 Corinthians 5:17 I have become the righteousness of God in Christ – • 2 Corinthians 3:14 Galatians 5:1 I have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places – Ephesians 1:3 Who Does God Say I Am? Conformed to His Image by Kenneth Boa • I am chosen, holy, and blameless before God – • I am redeemed and forgiven by the grace of Christ – • Ephesians 2:4-5 I am seated in the heavenly places with Christ – • Ephesians 1:13 Because of God's mercy and love, I have been made alive with Christ – • Ephesians 1:10-11 I have been sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise – • Ephesians 1:7 I have been predestined by God to obtain an inheritance – • Ephesians 1:4 Ephesians 2:6 I am God's workmanship created to produce good works – Ephesians 2:10 Who Does God Say I Am? Conformed to His Image by Kenneth Boa • I have been brought near to God by the blood of Christ – • I am a member of Christ's body and a partaker of his promise – • Ephesians 5:8 I am a citizen of heaven – • Ephesians 4:24 I was formerly darkness, but now I am light in the Lord – • Ephesians 3:12 My new self is righteous and holy – • Ephesians 3:6; 5:30 I have boldness and confident access to God through faith in Christ – • Ephesians 2:13 Philippians 3:20 The peace of God guards my heart and mind – Philippians 4:7 Who Does God Say I Am? Conformed to His Image by Kenneth Boa • God supplies all my needs – • I have been made complete in Christ – • Colossians 3:4 I have been chosen of God, and I am holy and beloved – • Colossians 3:3 Christ is my life, and I will be revealed with him in glory – • Colossians 3:1 My life is hidden with Christ in God – • Colossians 2:10 I have been raised up with Christ – • Philippians 4:19 Colossians 3:12 God loves me and has chosen me – 1 Thessalonians 1:4 Biblical Self-love • Loving ourselves correctly means seeing ourselves as God sees us – The Bible exhorts us to look to Christ, not to self, for the solutions to life – This will never happen automatically! – The Biblical teaching of human depravity and human dignity is against everything the world teaches! – To genuinely believe the reality of who we are in Christ requires – • Consistent exposure to the Word of God • Fellowship and encouragement of like-minded believers Without these, the visible will overcome the invisible Grace & Love • Only Biblical grace deals with both human depravity and human dignity – Avoids the extremes • • • Pride and spiritual arrogance “I'm worthless and no good” The most important thing about us is not what we do but who and whose we are in Christ – – Our actions flow out of our being – out of who we are John 13:3-5 Grace & Love John 13:3-5 3. 4. 5. Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. The better we understand who we are in Christ – – – The more our actions reflect Christ-like character The more we can love our selves and others correctly, the way God does The more we can glorify God!