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   Fulfillment In Life!
   What Motivates And Directs Your Life?
Unconditional Love

John 5:39, "Search the scriptures; for ... they ... testify of me." --- Jesus
   

Travis Case, Pastor/Teacher          Northgate Baptist Church          F.E.A.S.T Ministries
"A merry heart doeth good like a medicine:"   (Prov. 17:22)
"... the joy of the LORD is your strength."   (Neh. 8:10)


Matt. 5:43-48, "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more [than others]? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." --- 10:39, "He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it."

Introduction:

A. Why is there so much Failure and Unhappiness in life today? --- Martha --- Luke 10:41-42, "And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha , Martha, thou art careful (anxious) and troubled about many things:"

B. Most of our problems are caused by "Self-Centeredness" or by "Wrong Desires" in our life.

I. Everyone Has At Least One Dominant Purpose (Desire) That Directs Their Decisions In Life.

A. What Is Your Purpose In Living?

What Motivates You?
How Are You Fulfilled?

1. There is in each of us a set of Needs, Goals or Values with which we are Psychologically Pre-occupied.

2. It may be difficult to bring it out of the dark, subconscious regions, but it Is there --- A Purpose For Living.

B. This desire (purpose in living) is Involved In Every Action or Decision of our life.

1. Example: - Some people are before and above all else seeking Safety or Security.

a. They avoid all places where there is danger, even if opportunity is there ...

b. They will take no risks ...

c. They stay at home at night ...

d. They will not reveal their deepest selves to anyone ...

e. They say, "It is better to be safe than sorry."

2. This same kind of Thumbnail Sketch could be made of a person whose primary concern in life is:

a. Duty (Legalistic)
b. Recognition (Fame)
c. Money (Profit)
d. Success (Victory)
e. Power (Control)
f. Approval by others (Acceptance)
g. Fun (Excitement)

C. As We Get Older --- Our Purpose In Living Becomes A Deeper And More Permanent Habit.

1. In our twilight years Our Habits Rule Us.

2. People, who in old age are self-centered and demanding, did Not Get That Way Over Night.

3. Old Cranks have practiced all their lives --- just as Old Saints have also practiced all their lives.

4. They just Practiced Different Life Principles --- their Purposes In Living were different.

5. "We Die As We Have Lived."

II. There Are Three Different & Dominate Purposes In Life.

A. The devil Tempted Jesus with All Three:

Heb. 4:15, "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as [we are, yet] without sin."

B. First Temptation --- Desire for Pleasure.

Luke 4:2-4, "Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered. And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread. And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God."

C. Second Temptation --- Desire for Power.

Luke 4:5-8, "And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve."

D. Third Temptation --- Desire to Avoid Responsibility.

Luke 4:9-10, "And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: And in [their] hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God."

Jesus Was Saying, "I Will Not Surrender The Responsibility For My Life And My Actions."

III. The Devil Always Has - And Still Is - Promoting These Same Three Dominate Purposes For Living.

A. In The Garden of Eden.

1. The Desire for Pleasure --- "..saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes,.."

2. The Desire for Power --- "saw .. a tree to be desired to make one wise," --- "ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil."

3. The Avoidance of Responsibility --- "And the LORD God said unto the woman, What <is> this <that> thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat."

B. David.

1. The Desire for Pleasure --- He looked.

2. The Desire for Power --- He took.

3. The Avoidance of Responsibility.

I Chron. 20:1, "And it came to pass, ... at the time that kings go out [to battle], --- David tarried at Jerusalem."

C. Personification of These Three Purposes In Living Are Found In:

1. The Desire for Pleasure --- Herod ...

2. The Desire for Power --- Pontius Pilate ...

3. The Freedom from Responsibility -- The Invalid at the pool of Bethesda (John 5).

4. Now remember:

Garden of Eden --- David --- Jesus --- N. T. Personifications --- Modern Psychology

D. The Devil Uses The Same Temptations Today.

I John 2:16, "For all that [is] in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world."

1. Lust of the Flesh --- The Freedom from Responsibility.

2. Lust of the Eyes --- The Desire for Pleasure.

3. Pride of Life --- The Desire for Power.

E. Modern Psychology.

1. The Desire for Pleasure --- Sigmund Freud (1856-1939).

a. Man's purpose for living is to achieve happiness.

b. Human drives are strongly animalistic --- drives for pleasure --- personal gratification.

2. The Desire for Power --- Alfred Adler (1870-1937).

a. Interpreted all relationships as struggles for power.

b. Man's purpose for living is to obtain power.

3. The Avoidance of Responsibility --- B. F. Skinner (Contemporary).

a. We are the irreversible result of our conditioning or programming.

b. Man is the victim of his circumstances --- he is not responsible.

IV. The World Says: "What's In It For Me?"

A. Some seem to have given up and accepted Life as a Passive Spectator Sport.

1. What do you really want from life?

2. What do you really think would make you Happy? --- Fulfilled?

B. Do we get fulfillment by trying to have All The Experiences We Can? --- The World says:

1. "You Only Go Around Once, you have go grab all the gusto you can --- for yourself."

2. "Nice Guys finish last." --- "You must be Your Own Best Friend."

3. "Take care of # 1" --- "You must do what is Best For You."

C. But, IS Personal Satisfaction and Gratification The Most Fulfilling Life Goal.

1. Is human fulfillment found by the Direct Pursuit of our own happiness?

2. Is there More To Life than personal gratification?

3. Do we sometimes confuse "Good Times" with the "Good Life"?

D. Now for the Real Question: --- Is there a 4th Alternative to the three previous desires that directs your life?

1. The desire for Pleasure.

2. The desire for Power.

3. Freedom from Responsibility.

4. How about: "Unconditional Love"?

E. Paul's purpose in living:

II Cor. 5:14, "For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:"

V. The Christian's Purpose In Living --- Unconditional Love!

A. John 13:35, "By this shall all [men] know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."

B. Is A Life of Love ---

Which Involves A Permanent And Unconditional --- Commitment To The Happiness of Another

Really The Way To --- Personal Satisfaction And Human Fulfillment?

C. One thing is for sure --- a commitment to a permanent, unconditional love Will Eliminate Certain Experiences:

1. The man who Chooses One Woman for his wife and life partner, --- by his very choice, --- has Eliminated All Other Women.

2. It is this very elimination that Frightens Many People.

3. In every commitment there is a Birth and a Death --- something is and something else can never be again.

D. To Love Is Indeed Costly --- In love we put ourselves on the line and there is no going back.

E. However, the kingdom of God Is a Kingdom Of Love.

1. It is Not a place where Power Rules or people compete --- (Sigmund Freud).

2. It is Not a Play-Ground Of Pleasure --- (Alfred Adler)

3. It is Not a haven for those who have No Heart For Responsibility --- (B. F. Skinner).

F. When empty people reach out to eat, drink, and be merry as a program of fulfillment, the Hangover Is Worse Than The Hunger.

In the end they are always left with the same painful emptiness --- Is This All There Is To Life?

G. LOVE rejects the question: "What Am I Getting out of this?

1. It is in Giving that we Receive.

2. Satisfaction and Fulfillment belong only to those who can Reach Beyond Themselves, --- to whom Giving Is More Important Than Receiving.

3. Love --- never promises Instant Gratification, only Ultimate Fulfillment.

4. Love is a willingness to struggle, to work, to suffer, and to join in the rejoicing.

H. Love Is Not A Feeling --- "Love Your Enemies".

1. Love is a Decision Of The Will --- an irrevocable unconditional commitment.

2. Love means Believing In Someone --- in something --- (( 1 Cor. 13 ))

I. All love is either Conditional or Unconditional --- there is no third possibility.

1. To The Extent That I Attach Conditions To My Love --- To That Extent I Do Not Really Love You.

2. I am only offering you An Exchange --- Not A Gift.

3. True love is, and must always be, a free unconditional gift:

(( Mother-in-law --- Boss --- Pastor ... ))

J. Examples of Conditional love.

1. Manipulative Parents --- giving their children affection only when conditions are met.

a. Get good grades ----- Obey the rules ----- Make their parents proud ...

b. Telling kids --- "If you are not good --- God will not love you --- Is A Lie!"

2. We Give to those whom we wish to Manipulate --- appropriate rewards for being what we want them to be.

3. This is Not true love! --- It is Manipulation.

K. To be loved Because of Your Merit --- because you Deserve It --- or earned it --- always Leaves Doubt --- It leaves you Empty.

1. There is always a Fear that kind of love Could Disappear.

2. "Deserved Love" easily leaves a Bitter Feeling that:

a. You are not being loved for yourself.

b. You are loved Only because you Please The Other Person.

c. You are not really loved at all --- you are "Used".

L. However, Unconditional Love Is Liberating.

1. It Frees the one loved, To Be Authentic and Real.

2. You can Express all your Thoughts and Feelings with Absolute Confidence --- You will not be punished for your openness or honesty.

3. You do not have to be fearful that Love Will Be Taken Away --- There is No Admission Price to un-conditional love.

M. Love is indeed a Profound Comfort --- but it is also a Monumental Challenge.

1. Love challenges me to Break The Fixation I Have With Myself (self-centeredness).

2. Love demand that I Focus My Attention On The Needs Of Those I Love.

Postpone my own gratifications --- Become a sensitive listener.

N. Love will Make Me Vulnerable --- open to injury --- exposed - unguarded - willing to be hurt ... Jesus.

1. Most people want to be very sure that their love is Not Taken For Granted --- Unconditional love says the very opposite: --- "Take me, and take my love for granted."

2. Anyone who Insists on Personal Security and Safety as the Non-Negotiable Conditions of life will not be willing to pay love's price or find love's enrichments.

O. There is Nothing You Can Do to make God --- love you More --- love you Less.

1. What Conditions did you have to meet in order for God to love you?

2. Romans 5:8, "God commendeth his love toward us, in that, While We Were Yet Sinners, Christ died for us."

3. God ever Loves those who Refuse To Repent ...

Matthew 23:37, "... how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under [her] wings, and ye would not!"

4. God Hates Your Sin --- but He Loves You.

Develop The Attitude: --- "One Thing You Cannot Do --- Make Me Stop Loving You!

Love Is Always --- Out-Going!

Now, What Is The Dominate Motivating Force In Your Life?

Desire for Pleasure?

Desire for Power?

Desire to Avoid Responsibility?

or, Unconditional Love For Others?




If You Are Not Saved, Nothing Else Matters
There Is No Second Chance After Death!
Hebrews 9:27

                                                          

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