Haters (week 3)

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SCRIPTURE

God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant (Romans 5:20 NLT).

Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? (Romans 2:4 NLT).

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV, emphasis added).

CONTEXT OF SCRIPTURE

In his letter to the church in Rome, Paul tells us why God gave humanity the law, and it wasn’t to make us hate ourselves or feel worthless. In fact, God gave us the law to show us how far

we are from perfect. Paul also tells us what happens when we continually sin and come up short: Grace abounds. This wasn’t just true for the church in Rome; it’s true for us today, too.

Paul tells us that God gives us grace, but that still doesn’t explain how God feels toward us when we sin. Thankfully, Paul tells us in Romans 2 that God’s not angry or hateful toward us when we sin. Instead, He’s patient, tolerant, and kind.

Finally, in his letter to the church in Corinth, Paul tells the Corinthians—and us—to take every thought captive, making each thought obedient to Christ. Making every thought obey Christ means looking to Christ alone for what’s true and right. In other words, it means thinking the way Christ thinks. And if God extends tolerance, patience, and kindness when He thinks about us and our sin, we should do the same with our own thoughts about ourselves.

TEACHING OUTLINE

In this series, we’ve been talking about a few of the finer points of hating.

Here’s the reality: We all have the potential to be haters.

There’s another person we all have a tendency to hate on that we haven’t spent as much time talking about. And that person is you.

Not only do we tend to hate on ourselves, we tend to hate on ourselves more than anyone else. I think there are two main reasons for this:

  1. We spend more time with ourselves than anyone else.

  2. While we see issues in other people with generalities, we see our own issues with the precision of a molecular microscope.

If we’re personally disappointed in us, then God must bereally disappointed in us. So clearly, when a perfect God sees how imperfect we are, He’s not happy about it.

This view of God can cause us to believe this: God may be our biggest hater.

I actually have some awesome news, and it’s this: God is actually not like this at all!

TRUTH

Two thousand years ago, the apostle Paul was a rock star of the early church.

It would be safe to say that Paul started out as a Christian-hater!

Once Paul encountered Jesus and realized the true nature of God, it wasn’t possible for him to stay the same.

Paul is making a huge statement here. There are two parts:

  1. The laws of God weren’t put in place to make people feel worthless.

  2. When we sin, God’s grace is always more than enough.

That makes God gracious. Not a hater.
To sum up what Paul is saying: Even when you fail, He’s for you.

Once you get how infinitely good God truly is, it’s a game changer.

So how can we move from knowing this truth about God to actually living in light of it? We have to change how we think.

We start by changing the message we’re listening to.

Create statements about God’s truth and make them personal to you. Place these messages where you’ll easily see them.

I want you to remember one huge, absolute truth: God’s love for you is limitless.