New Hope Notes

Understanding True Love
Heroes...Who Bring Hope

Pastor Wayne Cordeiro
February 17, 2008 - w0807

What we talk about today will challenge you, maybe even convict you but please don’t let it condemn you.  (Where condemnation drives people away from God, conviction draws us nearer to Him.)  We will talk about something that 30% of men (and 20% of women) in the church do.  “What is that?” you may be wondering.  It’s…having an affair.

 

We can run.  We can hide.  Or we can repent.  This is something we all need to learn since we can tell people what to do but ultimately, we will reproduce what we are.  Through conviction, God helps us to move forward.  If left to our own devices, we often stray and God needs to pull us back.  Then we stray again and God pulls us back again.  If we spend all our time straying (to the left and to the right), we don’t move forward very quickly.  But if we at least move in God’s way, even if we stray, we will move forward and advance.

 

When people are in a relationship, they may wonder…why get married?  Why not just live together?  After all, 52% of marriages end in divorce.  Well, when you really think about it, the rate of break-up is probably closer to 70% if you consider all of the couples who chose to just live together instead of getting married.

 

So why get married?  Do you need to get married in order to be committed to one another?  Does it need to be a public statement?  Though some may think not, there is something to be said about a public statement through marriage…like the public statement we make about our Christianity when we are baptized.  Consider this…

 

A guy and girl meet and get together outside of the parameter of married.  “I think I love you!” says the guy.  “But I want to know for sure,” says the girl.  Well, before they get married though, they decide to move in together.  Everything’s fine but after some time, she gets pregnant.  At that point, they decide to get married – so in our scenario, they move to within the parameter of marriage.

 

Time goes on and the pressures of work and raising a child (i.e., life in general) start to put a strain on their relationship.  With all that’s going on, the couple remains together but they are emotionally separated.  Then, “…along comes Harry…”  The girl is still married but she meets someone else outside of the marriage.  Eventually, Harry says, “I think I love you!” and her response is, “But I want to know for sure” and they “get together”.

 

When I counsel men (or women) in this situation, my first thought is, “You taught them well.”  As we said earlier, “You can tell people what to do but you reproduce what you are.”  That couple thought love was the reason for sex but that’s not true.  The parameter – or permission – for sex is not love (because most people will fall in love multiple times), it should be marriage.

 

Why do we (people) have affairs?  It’s not because we’re evil but rather because we’re needy.  Consider this scenario…

 

A guy and girl have been together for years.  They’re friends.  They’re great together.  He’s good to her and her friends are jealous that they haven’t found someone like him:  smart, funny, caring…But there’s something about the relationship that bothers the girl.  A year before, they took some time off from the relationship to clear their heads. During that time, she went back to church.  Eventually, they got back together but she doesn’t have a peace about their relationship.  She doesn’t know what it is.  She can’t put her finger on it.  She should’ve ended it that first time but now…Should she break his heart?  Is she afraid of the unknown?

 

Relationships are so important.  In fact, Proverbs 30:21-23 has this to say:

The earth trembles under three things;
            it cannot bear up under four:

            a servant when he becomes king,
            a fool when he is stuffed with food,

            an unloved woman when she marries,

Relationships are so important but how do you prepare yourself for relationships and how do you navigate them?  Well, the first thing is:

·        Develop such a strong relationship with God such that Jesus becomes more than enough.

 

When Jesus is more than enough for you, you are no longer needy.  You will have a clarity of thinking that will allow you to make wise choices.  Then secondly: 

 

·        Learn to develop healthy relationships with people of the same gender.

 

In 1 Corinthians 15:33, Paul reminds us, “Bad company corrupts good morals.”  You need to know how to make right relationships with people of the same gender before you can expect success in having right relationships with people of the opposite gender.

 

For the last time today, consider this…

 

Co-workers – a man and a woman – meet to work on a project.  They’re friends.  They inquire about each other’s lives.

 

Woman:  “How’re your wife and family? ...Are you going to buy that new set of golf clubs you wanted? ...What?  But you worked so hard for that bonus. You deserve it! ...Disneyland?  But you should get something for yourself.”  “…You mean my EX-Tommy.  Yeah, well, it wasn’t working out.”

 

Man:  “Sorry to hear that but you’ll be fine.  You’re young, attractive, and intelligent...  Who wouldn’t want you as their girl?”

 

Woman:  “So you think I’m attractive, huh?  I always felt that there was something between us…”

 

A lot of fairy tale relationships start off wonderful but end up like this.  It’s not because we are evil but because we are needy.  Each of us is vulnerable to an affair.  You may be saying, “That’ll never happen to me,” but that kind of thinking makes you susceptible to an affair because you’re not guarding your heart.  Most affairs start off innocently between friends so don’t be so quick to think that it could never happen to you.

 

Apostle Paul’s advice in 1 Timothy 5:1-2 is, “...an older man…exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.”

 

The following acronym summarizes the stages of an affair:

 

T       Thoughts and thinking – This is the stage when you find yourself paying particular attention to someone, e.g., doing more favors for one particular person.  This tends to occur more when there is a pressure or estrangement at home.

E       Emotions – From thoughts, you move into an emotional affair. You can still be physically at home however your emotions shift to another person.

A        Affair or Action – At this point, there is an action – an affair, a rendezvous.  It would’ve happened prior to this had it not been for this or that.  Once the barriers are removed or disregarded, the affair occurs.

R       Rationalization and/or Regret – Once you have given into an affair, there will be rationalization and/or regret.

 

Ladies, let me just speak to you for a moment.  If a man ever tells you, “I love you!  I can’t live without you,” tell him to go ahead and die because that kind of talk suggests a co-dependent relationship which is not good.  It’s also good to remember this:

 

Men use love to get sex.

Women use sex to get love.

 

Remember that love is being committed to God’s very best in the other person’s life.

 

Girls, if someone is pressuring you for sex, they’re not committed to God’s best for you.  Try putting a bible between you and that guy so he’ll need to get through Matthew, Mark, Luke and John before getting to you!

 

Love is a universal need we all share but we must be careful about how we define it.  God demonstrated true love for us when He allowed His Son to die for us on Calvary.  God’s love is more than sufficient for us, in spite of how we receive it.  It is only when we understand God’s gracious and never-ending love that we understand true love. 

 

In this world, we define love in a variety of ways but God’s way is the truth.  If we don’t understand or have a correct perception of God’s love, we will have problems loving others.  On the other hand, if we develop such a strong relationship with God such that Jesus becomes more than enough and learn to develop healthy relationships with people of the same gender, God can take our satisfaction and relational skills and use them as the foundation of a relationship that will be joyous to us and honoring to Him.

 

 

Discussion Suggestions

 

1        How do you define love?  What is that definition based on?

 

2        Have you ever been tempted to have an affair?  What contributed to your vulnerability?

 

3        What “fences” or “hedges” have you built to protect your love relationship against affairs (e.g., never spend one-on-one time with someone of the opposite sex that is not your significant other)?

 

4        Is God sufficient for you?  Explain why or why not.

 

5        How has this message touched you today and how will you be different as a result of it?

 

 

"All scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong with our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right. It is God’s way of preparing us in every way, fully equipped for every good thing God wants us to do.” (2 Tim. 3:16-17 NLT)

 

Sermon Notes Ministry: Debbie Chang, Leighton Loo,

Doreen Rabaino & Jay Tsukayama