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There are many questions you are faced with every day. We are all searching for answers that will make a real difference in our lives It’s hard to imagine that these answers might be right in front of us. Get ready to discover answers in the Bible with Bayless Conley Hello friend, welcome to today’s broadcast I am so glad you chose to join us. We are going to get into probably the deepest subject that the Bible has to teach. The widest subject that the Bible has to teach. And the most important subject that the Bible has to teach To plumb the depths of this subject is to plumb the depths of God. The Bible said, “God is love”. And we’re going to be talking about love. But you’re liable to hear some things that you haven’t heard before. Some things expressed perhaps in a way that’s different than what you would have expected So hey, if you’ve got a Bible why don’t you grab it. Let’s sit down together and study the Word of God on the subject of “Love Is…” I believe you’re going to be encouraged Hopefully you’ll be inspired and God will do some great things in your life Stay tuned at the end of the program today for a special inspirational thought from Bayless If you’d open your Bibles, please, to the Book of Romans and the fifth chapter, I want to read a verse to you. We’re going to talk a little bit about love; and, honestly, we could spend forever on this subject because the Bible says God is love. To really try and explain love, you are trying to explain the infinite. But we’re going to talk a little bit about it and some practical things tonight. Let’s pray as we begin Father, we just settle our hearts down before You, and we pray that You would speak to us Speak deeply to these hearts of ours, we pray Cause us to be conformed to the image of Your Son Jesus. Lord, we have a great expectancy of Your Spirit to move in our lives, Your Word to forever change us. Jesus, may You be glorified. Amen Romans 5 and verse 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 Written to believers, and there is an emphatic declaration: The love of God has been… already, it’s past tense. It has been poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. When the Holy Spirit made us new creatures in Christ, when He brought about the new birth and recreated our spirits, when we put our trust in Christ, at that moment God’s love was placed within us by the Holy Spirit. But like much of what God does, it came in seed form. That love that’s in us needs to grow; it needs to be developed. In fact, according to Galatians 5:22 it’s called a fruit of the Spirit, the very first one that’s listed. Now the fruit of the Spirit is love. All right, fruit grows. Paul, writing to the Thessalonians, First Thessalonians, chapter 3, he prayed that their love would increase, that their love would mature, that it would grow Now I want to briefly look at four areas tonight where our love should tangibly be growing I believe these are the main arenas of expression for the love of God in us and through us They’re pretty simple. Four things. Are you ready? Number one, love is expressed through forgiveness Ephesians, chapter 4… love is expressed through forgiveness. Ephesians 4, and we’re going to begin at verse 30. It says, And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you Therefore be imitators of God as dear children And walk in love, as Christ also has loved

us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma All right, let go of all bitterness, anger, malice; be tenderhearted, forgive, imitate God, and walk in love in the same way that Christ has loved you You know, we years ago created an international curriculum in the church. It was at our old facility. And we had these booths constructed… actually had 14 of them across the back of the church. And once a month we brought in a major guest speaker from somewhere around the world. Reinhard Bonnke came in, T. L Osborn came; we had Jack Hayford come, different people, and we said, “Look, you have seven hours to give your life’s message.” And so on the platform it was interpreted English and Spanish. But simultaneously it was being laid down in major languages of the world in those booths in the back. We had a Thai speaker and a French speaker and a German speaker and a mandarin speaker. And then eventually it was put in many, many more languages. And we did that for several years and created a curriculum in the language of the people of the world. And I remember one day I was talking to one of the interpreters, and he shared a story with me. He said, “You know, Bayless, I started a church in my nation and started an outreach, and things were going so well that I brought another man in to work with me, and it was decided that for the work to really go forward I needed some more training.” He said, “So I came over for a short period of time here to the states to get some specific training so that I could go back and be more effective in the work.” He said, “I came and I got all the training.” He said, “When I went back, I found out that my partner in ministry, my colleague that I had brought on, had leveled quite a few accusations against me, all false, and he had talked the board into firing me.” He said, “I was released from the ministry I started.” He said, “And when I went to collect my books, my own private library that I had collected over the years, they wouldn’t even let me have my own library!” And I’ll never forget what he said next We’re standing in the front of the church, he said, “But I have decided to take the high road and walk in love. I have forgiven that man, and I have forgiven those people that have done that.” Friend, love never fails. Imitate God and love. Forgive the same way that you have been forgiven. If you don’t, a root of bitterness will grow that will poison your life and defile the lives of all of those around you And, my friend, the truth is as long as you are holding bitterness or unforgiveness and you have that person always before you that you’re angry with, you will not see the face of Jesus. It will eclipse the presence of Jesus in your life. Love is expressed through forgiveness And I know there are people here, you‘ve had some hard things done to you. Some things that should have been done for you were not done for you. Some things that never should have happened to you happened. And we can’t change that I was preaching in New Zealand once. In fact, it was my very first time down there, more than a quarter of a century ago. I was speaking in a small church on the subject of healing And part of my message dealt with things that can hinder God’s touch in our life, the move of the Spirit in our life. And one of them was unforgiveness. And I remember afterwards, you know, I had prayed for people, and I went back, used the restroom in the hallway, came out, and there was a guy that I had seen kind of in the back, really couldn’t make out his face that closely, and he accosted me in the hallway. And I had quite a shock when I looked at him. He literally looked like his face had been cut in half and sewn back together with the left hand of a right-handed doctor who was drunk. The two parts of his face didn’t fit together. He says, “I want to talk to you, preacher.” I said, “Okay.” He said, “Do you see my face?” I said, “Yeah.” He said, “You’re telling me I have to forgive the people that did this to me?” I said, “Well, tell me your story.” He said, “Well, a friend of mine and I, we were in the wrong place at the wrong time, and we were taken down, got in a fight with some members of a gang.” (And it’s actually a very well-known gang in New Zealand. When he mentioned it, I was aware of it.) He said,

“They went after my friend with a hammer, and they killed him. They hit him in the head with a hammer, and they killed him. And then several of them held me down while another one split my face in two with a shovel. And what you see here is the result of it. And you’re telling me that I’ve got to forgive the men that killed my friend with a hammer and disfigured me for life?” I said, “Well, I’m telling you this: I know you’ve accepted Jesus, and the love of God has been poured into your heart. You can forgive if you choose to.” I said, “Until you do, you will be a prisoner, and you will tie yourself to those people that killed your friend and that harmed you.” And I’ll never forget. And he had such a… like a… almost this cloud of darkness around him. He says, “Okay, I will do it.” And we held hands in the hallway there, right outside of the men’s restroom, and he prayed the most beautiful prayer of forgiveness, releasing those men that had done such a terrible thing. And it was like his countenance was completely different. The scars weren’t gone. His face still didn’t fit together But something changed. Love is expressed through forgiveness, the same way that God has been rich in mercy and has forgiven us And I know some people think, “Bayless, you know, it’s easy to say, but I try, and I just… I don’t think I know how! Because I’ll get down and pray and forgive someone, but a little while later I’m reminded, and all those negative emotions wash over me again, and I think to myself, ‘Well, I never really forgave.’ And so I try again, and then I’m reminded again, and those negative emotions wash over me, and I just don’t seem to know how to forgive.” Well, you know, forgiveness is a choice. Let me tell you a little story. Corrie ten Boom, she and her sister, Betsy, were in a German concentration camp. The women were brutalized there. They were raped regularly by the soldiers; they were starved. It was terrible in every respect. Her sister, Betsy, died there. The only reason Corrie got out was because of a clerical error. And she was a believer Later on, she went to her pastor, and she said, “Pastor, I know I’m supposed to forgive. But those guards that brutalized us and brutalized the women that were there,” said, “I’ve tried to forgive them, but it just… it seems to wash over me again, all the anguish and the anger over what happened.” And the pastor said, “Corrie, come with me.” And he took her up to the roof of the church, and there was a bell there with a big rope. And he tugged on the rope and the bell began to clang as the tongue of that bell hit the sides of it, and it was so loud up on the roof. And he just looked at her And the bell rang and it rang and it rang, and then it began to swing slower until it became still and it was quiet. He said, “Corrie, when you choose to forgive someone, you let go of the rope. It’s still, what they did or what happened to you, it’s going to make noise in your soul for a period of time. But eventually it will become quiet.” And you will find if you choose to forgive someone, there may be some noise in your soul from the harm that was done to you or the way that you were failed, the vows that were broken, whatever happened. But you know what? It will become quiet in your soul if you stop tugging on the rope. See, every time you rehearse something to somebody, every time you talk about it, you take another tug on the rope I talk to some people sometimes, and you sit down with them, and they talk about how they’ve been wronged, and so-and-so did this, and this happened to them, and you think, “My goodness! This must have just happened like last week!” And you talk to them, “When did that happen?” And it’s 15 years ago! And they are talking about it as fresh as it just happened. They’ve been tugging on the rope for 15 years. There’s some people here, you’ve been tugging on the rope for decades! Every chance you get you rehearse how you’ve been hurt, you rehearse how you’ve been failed. Choose to forgive. The love of God has been poured out in your heart. You will only be blessed if you do All right, number two: Love is demonstrated through obedience to God’s Word. Love is demonstrated through obedience to God’s Word. Let me quote to you from John, chapter 14 and chapter 15. John 14:23 and 24, “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘If anyone loves

Me, he will keep My word… He who does not love Me does not keep My words…’” That’s pretty plain, isn’t it? Chapter 15 and verse 10, He said, “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” But, you know, it actually goes beyond dutiful obedience. Look with me, if you would, in First John, chapter 5. First John, chapter 5. What Jesus is talking about goes beyond duty. First John 5 and verse 3, it says, For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments, they are not a burden to us. The Amplified Bible says these orders of His are not irksome (burdensome, oppressive, or grievous) You know, I talked to a guy here at Cottonwood He’s been here a long time. And he’s just faithfully tithed. As long as he’s been at Cottonwood, as far as I know, he has never failed to honor God with the first tenth of his income. And I talked to him about it One day we got into a conversation about it I said, “You know, you tithe pretty regularly What can you tell me about it?” He says, “Pastor,” he said, “since I found out about the principle of tithing when I was a young Christian, how Abram offered the first tenth to God and he honored God with that, and the Bible says that we are to walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham has had.” He said, “It was before the law that it was instituted We find the principle there. And the New Testament tells us to walk in faith and to live like Abram did. So,” he said, “for 40 years, since I found out about tithing, I have never failed to tithe any increase that I’ve ever received in my life.” I said, “Has it been a burden?” And I’ll never forget. He said, “No.” He said, “It’s been a joy, and it’s been a way for me to express my faith in God.” That’s the way it should be! Now I’m sure he went through lean times and times of abundance just like most of us. But he looked at it as a joy, as a privilege, and as a way to express his faith in God. You see, love is demonstrated through obedience to God’s Word Now I’ve told this story before, but it was back… we actually were in a little building here on Katella Avenue when we first started And one Sunday morning an outlaw biker came in with his girlfriend. And he was not a wannabe biker. This guy was the real deal. He had been involved in organized crime, had been an extremely violent man, and it actually was a little old white-haired lady at the door that melted him. She said, “Come here.” And she grabbed him around the neck and hugged him. And he came to Christ in that service and started attending church. And one day I came into the office. I walk in, the receptionist is sitting there, he’s sitting there, and the receptionist’s eyes were sort of big I go, “Hey, what’s up?” And I sit down next to him. We didn’t even go back into my office. He burst into tears, and he begins sobbing. I go, “What’s wrong?” He said, “Pastor,” he said, “me and my girlfriend,” says, “we live together We were living together when we came to church.” Says, “And I’ve been reading in the Word,” and he says, “I see that it’s not God’s way.” He says, “I don’t want to hurt Jesus.” And he’s sobbing and blubbering He said, “But we don’t know what to do We don’t have enough money to get two places We’re kind of caught between a rock and hard place.” So I prayed with him. I said, “Brother, you do need to obey the Word, and you need to do what Jesus wants you to do.” He said, “I will, Pastor.” And the next day or two a friend opened up his garage. So he let his girlfriend have the apartment. He went and moved into his friend’s garage and slept on a couch for six months until they got married. You know what? That was an expression of love for Jesus Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My Word.” You know, that guy went on to become a pastor. Pretty cool. If you read it in the Bible and it’s plain, just do it. Oh, my! All right, number three, number three: Love is inseparable from generosity. Love is inseparable

from generosity. We all know John 3:16, “God so loved that He gave.” And we’ve already read about being imitators of God. But look here in First John, chapter 3. We’re in the book already. First John 3 and verse 16: By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth You can’t separate love from a heart of generosity. But we also know, just to temper this, you know, Philippians 1:19. Paul prayed for the Philippians that their love would abound within the guiding limitations of knowledge and discernment. In other words, they are like the borders, the banks of a river. This river of love, he’s praying that we would abound, says, “But there are guiding limitations.” The first is knowledge. That comes from the Word. And the Word of God will tell us how to be wise in expressing our love. There are limits to love’s expression Example: You’ve got somebody that, well, they can work. They are able-bodied; there’s work available, but they refuse to work, and they just want to live off of others. All right, the Scripture says if anyone will not work, neither should he eat. And you think, “It wouldn’t be love if I didn’t help them.” No, friend, it would be love if you didn’t help them and allow them to keep going. There’s a guiding limitation there I remember once a guy in church came and says, “Pastor, I need some help.” I said, “All right, what’s up?” He said, “I have a man staying in my house.” I said, “You do?” He said, “Yeah. He says he’s a prophet and said he’s supposed to stay with us and we’re supposed to take care of him.” I said, “How long has he been there?” He says, “He’s been with us weeks. He stays in my house with my wife when I go off to work.” I said, “What?” He said, “Yeah, but, you know, he just… he said that God sent him to us, and we’re to provide for him, and we’ll be blessed.” I said, “Can this guy work?” He said, “Well, yeah, I guess.” I said, “Listen, get rid of him. Go home right now and kick him out of your house.” And so he did it because he told me, said, “I’m feeling funny about it. I don’t like this guy alone with my wife all day long He doesn’t work, he eats my food, he sits and watches my TV.” Well, there’s some guiding limitations there, okay? You know, the Bible is pretty clear about that And the guy, he came, made a beeline for me The next time we had service, the “prophet” showed up. And he cornered me in the foyer, and he said, “How dare you?” I said, “Look, you’re just scrounging off those people. You are manipulating them, you are exploiting them.” I said, “You are not a prophet in the first place. A prophet is a call to fulltime ministry.” I said, “You need to leave those folks alone.” And I’ll never forget. He pointed his finger at me, says, “Don’t make me say ‘thus saith the Lord’!” I said, “Just please go away.” So our love needs to abound, but within… Paul again prayed for the Philippians, Philippians 1:19… within the guiding limitations of knowledge and discernment. Discernment is the leading of the Holy Spirit Thank you for watching Answers with Bayless Conley. Bayless will continue with part two of his message next week You know it’s so liberating to know that love does have guiding limitations. We’re to express love and to love unconditionally And yet, God in His wisdom has set boundaries just like the boundaries on a river that keep it from overflowing and creating destruction So it is with love. And we were talking about those things. But we didn’t get to finish it so you are going to have to join us next time as we finish part 2 of “Love Is…” I trust that you will not miss it. And listen, as I close today I just want to tell you, you are loved by God. You are known by God The situations of your life are not some mystery to Him. He knows, He cares, and He wants to help you. You need to believe it. The Bible says, “His ears are open to the cry of the righteous.” God is looking at you and He

is listening to you my friend. He will not abandon you. And hey, I will see you next time. Join us then And now here’s Bayless with an inspirational thought you can apply today One of our viewers asked: How can I stay strong in faith when I’m in pain and when things are going wrong and it seems like my faith is failing? You know, we’ve all experienced that. We are human, we have this treasure in earthen vessels. And even some of the great men and women of God that we hear their great stories of victory, all of them go through dark hours as well. It’s part of the human experience. The thing is, it’s about having a little bit of faith in a great big God And we need to keep our eyes on Jesus and keep our trust always in Him. Because it’s not about just faith in a principle, it’s about faith in a person. And if I can imagine that Christ, the risen Son of God, is making intercession for me, you know what: That strengthens my faith And then something as well that might be helpful: Here in Romans one and verse twelve, Paul said: That is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me. He talked about a mutual faith. He said: When I get together with you, I’m going to be encouraged by your faith and you’re going to be encouraged by my faith Sometimes, when we may be struggling, it’s good to go and to be around people of faith, because, friend, faith is contagious. And sometimes you get around someone when you’re a weak moment. That’ll build you up and strengthen you. The book of Ecclesiastes says: Two are better than one. It says: Because when one falls and other’s there to lift him up So be around other people of faith. And then of course: It always comes back-to-back to getting into the Word of God: Romans 10:17: So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. And the truth is, if you will read God’s Word and meditate in it, reflect on it, roll it over and over in you, faith will come to you unconsciously. Faith comes from the Word just like wet comes from water If you jump into the water you get wet. If you jump into the Word of God you get faith Many parents lose sleep at night worrying about their kids “Maybe you’ve got kids that you did a terrible job raising Some of you, you did everything you knew how to do, and the kids still went off the rails But the God we serve can protect them. And because He has His part, we can lay down in confidence and not lose a moment of sleep over our family members. Because the Lord will build the family.” Trust God to work in your family, and enjoy peaceful rest each night It’s never too late In his CD/DVD message “Unless the Lord Builds the House” Bayless Conley shows you how you can commit your family, your job, or anything else into God’s faithful hands. Discover your part in allowing God to move and build in your life when you order this message today Just use the information on the screen now Thank you for watching Answers with Bayless Conley. For more information and inspiration visit AnswersBC.org

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