Mothers:  Life and Love

5-12-19

 

            Let's pray.

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            Today is the day that we have set aside to honor and celebrate the brave women in our lives who we call "mother."  It's a little bittersweet for me this year since it is the first year of my entire life that my mother isn't here.  Being a mother and being a parent is one of the hardest, most challenging, most frustrating and most rewarding jobs that there is.

            That's why it is so special for us to have this opportunity to say thank you to the women who have raised us and loved us and invested in us all of the years of our lives.  The pens that we passed out just a few moments ago sums up for us what it is and what it means to be a mother.  The pen says, "Mothers are where life begins and love never ends."  That is a beautiful summation of what it means to be a mother.

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            As you could have guessed from the title of our sermon this morning, we're going to take a closer look today at two simple words that express the meaning of motherhood.  Those two words are life and love.  If we could boil what it means to be a mom down to only two words, I think those two would be perfect.

            First of all, a mother is life.  Life is used in a couple of different ways in Scripture.  One aspect of life is that it means "meaningful, purposeful, eternal life."  It also refers to a person's "physical, mental, emotional and spiritual being."

            The very meaning and existence of a mother is life.  A mother brings life into the world in a miraculous and wonderful way that only God truly and fully understands.  We talk about the miracle of childbirth and it really is a miracle.  How life can start out so simply and end up so complex certainly is beyond my ability to understand.  God has blessed certain women with that wonderful blessing of being able to bring life into this world.

            I'm going to jump on a little tangent this morning regarding this.  Life is so special and we as Christians, as followers of the Lord, as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, should be at the forefront of championing pro-life causes.  Abortion is not a political issue; it is a spiritual and moral issue.  If we're not going to fight for the lives of unborn babies, who's going to do it?  No one.  Our country seems bent right now on doing all they can to give women the right to kill their unborn babies any time they want for any reason they want.  The great state of Kansas just recently had its Supreme Court rule that a woman's ability to have an abortion is a constitutionally guaranteed right.  That should sadden the heart of any compassionate, caring person.  There's my soapbox for today.

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            Life is important because God gives importance to life.  God gives importance to life because He Himself is life.  Jesus said in John 6:35, "I am the bread of life."  Jesus is the only source of true, lasting, permanent eternal satisfaction of the soul.

            In John 11:25, Jesus says that He is "the resurrection and the life."  When we believe in Jesus for forgiveness and salvation, we have true life that comes only from Him and that will never end.  Then in John 14:6 He makes one of the most profound statements ever made by anyone:  "I am the way the truth and the life." 

            There is only one way to God; only one way to heaven.  That way is Jesus.  He is the truth and His Word is truth.  He is the only source of everlasting, meaningful life that is available to us.  Apart from Him there is no salvation; apart from Him there is no forgiveness; apart from Him there is no life.

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            God is life and God imparts life to us.  He gives us physical life through our natural, physical birth; and He gives us spiritual life through our spiritual rebirth through faith in Jesus Christ.  It is mothers that He has chosen to use as His instruments to bring us physically into the world.  It is also godly mothers that God uses to help bring us spiritually into a personal relationship with Jesus.

            A good mother; a godly mother, does all that she can to help ensure that her children are taught what they need to be taught; that they know what they're supposed to know; that they live their lives in a manner that uplifts, honors and glorifies God.  Mothers, parents actually for that matter, can't ultimately control what happens to their children.  They can't make their kids true believers; they can't live their lives for them; they can't make their decisions.  Our children have to learn their own way; have to live their own lives; have to make their own decisions.  But godly mothers are right there every step of the way helping them grow and giving them the tools they need to make good decisions and to make good life choices.

            Our mothers give us physical life and they exemplify and instruct us in how to live good spiritual lives.  Scripture has a lot to say about how we are to live our lives for God.  There are a number of truths that we need to look at as to who we are in Jesus. 

            First of all, our lives are hidden with Christ.  Col. 3:3.  For us to live for the Lord, we first of all have to die.  What do we die to?  When we're saved we die to sin.  Through our faith in Jesus, we are united with Him in His death and resurrection.  We are then dead to the penalty of sin because Jesus has already paid it.

            We also need to die to the world system.  We need to die to the fleshly, worldly way of living that we engaged in before we were saved.  That means we act differently than we did; we think differently than we did; and we talk differently than we did.  Once we are Christians, we're not the same person we used to be.

            But that death doesn't stop at the moment of salvation.  As believers, we need to keep on battling and fighting the good fight of faith.  We need to keep dying to self; we need to keep dying to sin and temptation; we need to keep dying to the old way of life that we used to live in the flesh.  That battle will continue raging until we are in heaven with Jesus.

            Since all of that has happened, we are then hidden in Christ.  We share a common life with the Father and with the Son once we are in relationship with them.  We are eternally secure, hidden and protected from all spiritual foes.  All of the riches of the eternal God are available to those whose lives are hidden with Him through His Son.

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            A second truth that we need to understand and apply is that our lives are not in the abundance of things.  Luke 12:15.  It is easy in our day and age to become greedy.  We either want things because we don't have anything to begin with; or we have a lot of stuff but still want more and more.  It seems that many people these days just aren't satisfied with what they have.

            That means as Christians we need to guard ourselves against every form of greed.  Guard means "to take care; to look out for; to avoid or flee from."  Greed of course is "an inordinate desire for riches."  It is "a strong desire to acquire more and more material possessions or to possess more than other people have, all irrespective of need."  

            To focus our life on the acquisition of material possessions is to worship and serve the creation rather than the Creator.  Even our abundance of material possessions does not provide real life.  Fulfilling, satisfying life that enjoys eternal peace, joy, hope and blessing from salvation is not attainable from the material world.  It is attainable only through God.  Make sure that you find your satisfaction in life through God. 

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            Lastly, because our life is from God, we shouldn't worry about it.  Matt. 6:25.  Not only do we have every reason in the world not to be anxious or to worry, but God even commands us not to be anxious for our lives.  Our only Master is God.  For us to worry is to be disobedient and unfaithful to Him.  Worry and anxiety are forbidden, foolish and sinful.

            The way this reads in the Greek, we are to stop worrying and never start up again.  Absolutely nothing in any aspect of our lives, internal or external, justifies our being anxious when we have the Master we do. 

            Worry is the opposite of contentment.  Contentment should be our normal and consistent state of mind.  In Philippians Paul said that he knew how to be content with a little and with a lot; in any and all circumstances he knew how to be content.  Our contentment is found in God and only in God.  He owns us, controls us and provides everything we possess or will ever need.

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            The other word that we need to touch on this morning that describes mothers is love.  There is absolutely nothing like a mother's love.  A mother's love is consistent even when her children are not living like they are supposed to be living.  You can think of the worst criminals and worst figures of history and at some point, they no doubt had a mother loving them.  Hopefully those moms weren't approving of their godless actions and lifestyles, but they still love.

            We're going through that now in our family.  We have a son that is not living the life that he was taught; he is not living according to the truths God has given us in His Word.  We do not approve of his lifestyle and we are not supporting him in it.  But we still, and especially Lisa I think, we still love him.  He is our son and he always will be.  We love him and we always will love him.

            Just like God is life; God is also love.  Love isn't simply something that God does; it is not only a characteristic that He shows towards us.  Love is a basic and essential aspect of His very nature.  Love is a verb that describes how He acts and relates towards us; love is also an adjective that describes who He is.

            The love being described here agape love.  Agape love is "self-sacrificing love."  It is the love granted to someone who needs to be loved, not necessarily to someone who is attractive or lovable.  Agape love is "unselfish, self-giving, willful devotion."  It centers on the needs and welfare of the one loved.  It will pay whatever personal price is necessary to meet those needs and foster that welfare.  That's the kind of love that God shows to us; it is the kind of love that mothers exhibit for their children; it is the kind of love we all must be showing and sharing with one another.

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            Just like when it comes to our lives, there are also truths we find in God's Word that relate to how we are to love one another.  That actually is the first truth we need to look at.  We need to love one another.  1 John 4:7. 

            It can be really hard to love other people sometimes.  But God puts no provisions or exceptions to this.  He doesn't tell us to love others who only love us in return; He doesn't say love if you're going to get something out of it.  He simply says love one another. 

            We are to extend this kind of love because love is from God.  God is love.  If we possess His life and walk in His light by living in righteousness and holding to the truth, we will possess and manifest His love in and through our lives.  Because we are God's children, we will reflect His love to a watching world. 

            To love others this way means that we sacrifice for them.  It is a willful and unselfish love that puts others first and does all that it can do help them in whatever way they need help.

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            A second truth about love that we need to understand is that love builds up.  1 Cor. 8:1.  The love that we have for others; the love that we should be exhibiting in our lives as God's children; should be used for good and not for evil.  It should be an instrument God uses in the lives of others to help them become more like Jesus Christ.  That's what we're talking about when we say that love builds up or edifies.

            We need to be about the business of helping others grow in their faith.  That means they need to know the Word and they need to know God's truth.  We have a part to play in helping them know that.  Knowledge is important; we can't obey what we don't know.  But application is also important.  If it's just head knowledge, it's not enough, it has to change us from the inside.

            The well rounded Christian is able to do a couple of things.  He has the ability to understand biblical truth and the ability to relate that to people.  He has knowledge plus love.  Love is the medium through which truth is communicated.

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            The last truth that we need to look at this morning is that love should be without hypocrisy.  Rom. 12:9.  When our love is without hypocrisy it is pure in its motives.  We are a hypocrite with our love when we do things for others in order to gain something for ourselves; or when we love as a means of others thinking highly of us so that we build our reputation. 

            To love hypocritically is the opposite of agape love and completely incompatible with it.  The two cannot co-exist.  Our love for God and for one another needs to be unstained by self-centeredness.

            Your mother gave you life and she would want you to live that life in a manner that uplifts, honors and glorifies God.  She also loves you with a self-sacrificial type of love that reflects the kind of love that God has for each of us.  She would want you to do your best to love other people and to love God with that same kind of love.