Love Like Jesus — Drink New Wine: Luke 5:39

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Wineskin in Nazareth

“…no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for they say, ‘The old is better.’”

-Jesus Christ (Luke 5:39)

How Jesus Loved People

Jesus loved people by remaining open and sensitive to the Holy Spirit, even when the Spirit was doing something new.

How to Love Like Jesus

I heard a sermon awhile back from a pastor I love and respect. In fact, in my opinion, he’s one of the best I’ve ever heard. But in this particular sermon, he railed against setting up a Facebook page: “A Facebook page — REALLY?” His motive is valid, he’s concerned about narcissism in the church — a valid concern if I ever heard one! But I believe he’s also missing out on new wine God is pouring upon the world today.

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Love Like Jesus — Touch: Luke 5:12-13

While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”

Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man.


How Jesus Loved People

The life of a leper was one of isolation. The law demanded he live alone. His clothes were to be rent, his head bare, and wherever he went he was to announce his defiled condition to those around him by shouting, “Unclean, unclean!” (Leviticus 13:45-46)

There was also a law against others touching a leper. Most people would find it revolting anyway.

But Jesus reached out his hand, and touched him.


How to Love Like Jesus

A friend who does counseling once told me a patient of his came back to visit him a few years after her counseling sessions had ended. She was doing extremely well and credited my counselor friend with her improvement.

“What was it that made the difference?” he asked, “The wisdom I shared? My insights into your family life perhaps?”

“No,” she replied. “It was the hugs.”

A few years ago I read a fascinating article about the power of physical touch. Patients touched by their doctor perceived their visits to have lasted twice as long as patients who weren’t touched. Students who were touched by their teachers were twice as likely to volunteer in class. The human touch can ease depression. The human touch can improve relationships

In a Cal Berkley study, touches among NBA teammates were measured. Among all NBA teams who do you suppose touched the most? The top two were the Boston Celtics and the L.A. Lakers — the last two NBA champions at the time of the study.

Interesting.

(To learn more see the New York Times article on touch)

I love living in the information age. I love email, and Facebook, and Twitter, and Youtube. I love it. I feel blessed to live in an age when all this is available. But I also know I can have a tendency to become immersed in what I’m doing on the computer or on my phone, to the exclusion of real life face to face interaction with human beings.

It puts me at risk of neglect for showing people love through touch.

And touching, appropriately of course, is one of the most effective ways of communicating love to others.

Imagine with me what Jesus’ touch must have meant to the leper from our story. Picture living in a society where it was illegal to touch a leper — illegal. Put yourself in the leper’s shoes and think what it would be like to shout out, “Unclean, unclean,” so people could stay clear of you, and completely avoid any possibility of touching you. It’s hard to think of someone who would crave the touch of another human more. Disregarding man’s law, Jesus reached out and touched him.

I want to encourage you to get in the habit of physically touching those you love. And to be on the lookout for those who will be encouraged by your touch — you know who they are.

Jesus’ touch accomplished great things in the leper.

Your touch can accomplish great things too.

Love people like Jesus did.

Touch.

Love Like Jesus — Give Like Jesus: Luke 5:4-11

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”

Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.

Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

Luke 5:4-11


How Jesus Loved People

I love that story. Jesus was and is so generous. Jesus had the power to give – so He gave.

Jesus loved people by giving, materially.


How to Love Like Jesus

The last verse in our text says, “…they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.” So we see Jesus didn’t give indiscriminately. He just finished speaking to a crowd of people, and almost certainly there were those in the crowd who were in need, but Jesus didn’t give to them. He only gave to those who would respond by leaving everything, and following Him.

Do you think I use Jesus’ approach? Do you suppose when I give of myself, materially, or my time, or my energy, I do it to encourage people to follow Jesus? So often the answer is no! How I have erred on this point. Too frequently I give so people will follow me.

I think many of us give out of a desire to attract people to ourselves. We think to ourselves, “If I help him move, he’ll think I’m a good guy.” Or, “If I pick up the check, he’ll think I’m generous.” Or, “If I make a great dessert, they’ll think I’m a great cook.” It’s human nature to think this way.

But think this through with me: Everything you and I have is God’s anyway, nothing is my own. My money, my time, my energy, my life, it’s all God’s. I’m just managing everything for Him. Doesn’t it make sense then, I should manage in a way that draws people closer to God and to His Son?

This conflict between giving to attract followers to ourselves vs. giving to attract followers to Jesus is relevant to anyone who blogs or tweets or speaks or writes for God’s kingdom. When we look at our number of followers or friends or subscribers or page views, are we looking out of an interest in drawing people closer to Christ? If you are, that’s a good thing. Jesus advocated numbering the 100 so the shepherd knew he was missing the 1. Tracking numbers out of concern for gathering sheep to Christ’s sheepfold is good. But we’re in error when we track numbers out of a desire to see how our followers have grown. Looking at his numbers to gratify himself was what David did when he numbered the men in his army. David was conscience-stricken after he had counted the fighting men, and he said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done. Now, Lord, I beg you, take away the guilt of your servant. I have done a very foolish thing.” (Matthew 18:12 vs. 2 Samuel Chapter 24)

Anytime you give anything, it’s important for you to ask yourself the question, “Am I doing this so people will follow me? Or am I doing it so people will follow Jesus Christ?”

I hear people say they want to be inspired by God’s Holy Spirit when they create their blog post, or their music, or their movie, or their book. I know I certainly want that. If you’re like me, and want the Holy Spirit’s inspiration, it’s important to remember the purpose of the Holy Spirit is to glorify Jesus Christ. (John 16:13-14)

So as much as possible when you show love by giving, love as Jesus loved by giving as Jesus gave. Focus on those who you think will respond by drawing closer to Christ.

Speaking of the Holy Spirit Jesus said,

He will not speak on his own… He will glorify me…

John 16:13-14

Love Like Jesus — Magnify His Message: Luke 5:1-3

One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.

Luke 5:1-3


How Jesus Loved People

Jesus loved people enough to find a way to magnify His message, so more could hear His words of eternal life.

The way Jesus did it was to sit in Simon’s boat, a little way off shore, so the water could carry the sound out to the crowd still on land. In that way He could reach more people than if He had remained on shore with the crowd pressing against Him.


How to Love Like Jesus

I remember when I started this blog a few years ago. For the first six months or so my numbers were unbelievably skinny — I’m talking anorexic. There was one month in particular when I averaged around 14 page views per day. Around that time I started asking myself, “Why am I doing this?” I thought to myself, “What’s the point of magnifying Christ’s message if no one is listening?” But then I prayed about it — and the Lord showed me a few things…

1) From the beginning, a few of my family members have read this blog. The Lord showed me, even if they were the only ones influenced for God’s kingdom, wasn’t that alone worth the time and effort? Do I love these family members? Do I care about them? If I do, then why wouldn’t I want them to be influenced to draw closer to Christ?

2) Even at 14 page views, even if only say 4 out of the 14 per day actually read through a blog post, after a year that’s more than 1,400 instances when God used me to influence someone for His kingdom! Isn’t that more fruit than I would have born had I not blogged at all?

3) Obedience. Regardless of what happens with the numbers, God’s Holy Spirit has directed me to write these blog posts, so I must do it.

4) What about me? Even if not a single soul read a single word on this blog, I can tell you, I’m blessed, I’m influenced, I’m transformed every time I write a blog post. Many times, I’m the one who needs to hear the message the most.

So don’t remain on shore. Prayerfully consider taking steps to magnify your ability to share Jesus’ words of eternal life. Even if it means only reaching a few more people than you reach now.

Of course if you have the gift to do so, you can speak publicly, with a PA system to reach more people with Jesus’ message. But if that’s not you’re thing, there’s good news. Today there’s a myriad of ways to magnify Christ’s message. You can tweet. You can start your own Youtube channel. You can share on Pinterest. You can share on Facebook or Google+. I even know a Christian lady who started her own radio program.

Or, you can start a blog. In fact, if you want to start a blog or write a book for the purpose of sharing Jesus, shoot me an email at kurt@kurtbennettbooks.com and I’ll be happy to help you.

The great commission given to us by Jesus wasn’t just for pastors, preachers, and priests. It was for all of His believers. “Follow me, and I’ll make you fishers of men,” Jesus said. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…” Jesus commanded. (Matthew 4:19, Matthew 28:19-20)

So prayerfully consider expanding your capability to share Jesus’ message.

And if there’s anything I can do to help, please email me.

The Holy Spirit may be providing you with an opportunity right now.

Don’t wait.

Leave the shore.


Related Links:

Bible Gateway

Francis Chan: Simon Says

Sharing the Gospel

How to Start a Blog on WordPress


Notes

I realize some may not have much experience sharing Jesus Christ with others. So below I’ve included a few simple thoughts about evangelism I hope you’ll find helpful. I want to thank the people over at GodLife for their great resource on the topic: Sharing the Gospel.


Pray

Pray God will bring people to you, people you can lead to Christ. Pray for the Holy Spirit to help you recognize opportunities and to give you the words to say. And pray for the people God has put in your life to come to know Jesus.


Love

Just showing people God’s love, even in small ways, can move people toward Christ. You know I’ve found family members to be among the hardest people to talk with about the Lord. I used to argue with them about God and I can tell you, nothing good came from those arguments. It took years, but after finally recognizing the futility of debating (I know, I’m a slow learner) I finally started to focus on looking for opportunities to show them God’s love. Within a few years two of them gave their lives to Jesus.


Ask Questions

Ask questions like these to move their mind toward the eternal:

What three words would you use to describe your life?

What do you think happens after we die?

Who or what is God to you?

On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your desire to know God?

What do you know about Jesus?


Share

Share your own experience with Jesus.

Talk about what your life was like before Jesus was a part of it.

Talk about what your life has been like since you’ve asked Jesus in.

Look for opportunities to share your own story about how Jesus has changed you. For me, one on one encounters seem to work out best.


Pray

Ask them if they want to invite Jesus into their life and then ask them to pray with you. Pray along these lines: “Jesus, I am a sinner. I need You to be my savior. I accept the work You did for me on the cross when You paid for my sins. Please come into my life. I want to follow You, no matter what.”

Tell them there’s nothing special about the words in that prayer but the important thing is that they’ve opened up their heart and invited Jesus in.

Then help them find a Bible to read, and a church to attend.

I’m no evangelist believe me. But with God’s help, I have had the privilege of leading a few people to the Lord.

If I can do it, you can too.