Bob Lepine talks in a humorous, yet Gospel-centered way about five characteristics of REAL love.
Bob Lepine talks in a humorous, yet Gospel-centered way about five characteristics of REAL love.
Bob: If I set a counterfeit dollar bill right next to a genuine dollar bill, do you think you could tell the difference? How about if I set counterfeit love next to the real thing? Could you tell the difference then?
Ain’t nothing like the real thing, baby,
Ain’t nothing thing like the real thing.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today® for Friday, September 9th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. We’re going to talk about what kind of love is the real thing today.
Ain’t nothing like the real thing, baby,
Ain’t nothing like the real thing.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Friday edition. You know, there’s something I realized, and I don’t remember exactly how long I’d been a Christian when I realized this, but you ask most people how many passages in the Bible are about marriage, and most people will think well, Ephesians 5 has some verses about marriage, and I think 1 Peter 3 has some verses about marriage, and there may be a few other spots.
Bob: But it dawned on me at some point that the Bible really is all about – here’s what Jesus said – it’s about loving God and loving your neighbor.
Bob: And everything about loving your neighbor applies in marriage, doesn’t it?
Dennis: It does. He or she is your closest neighbor and I’ll tell you what. What did Jesus say? If you can’t love your neighbor or your brother who you have seen, how can you say you love God who you haven’t seen?
Bob: So last February when we were going on the Love Like You Mean It® cruise – it was our first ever Love Like You Mean It cruise – had a great time –
Dennis: And who did we pick to give the lead-off message at the Love Like You Mean It cruise? All those in the audience who were there, they remember.
Bob: Here’s how that worked. Everybody said, “Let’s see. That’s a travel day. Who do we want having to give the message at the end of the travel day?”
Dennis: Who would be able to entertain --
Bob: Let’s make Bob do it.
Dennis: -- 2300 people who filled the ship? By the way, folks, I have to tell you. I’ve not been on that many cruises, but I’ve been on a number of cruises. It’s really something to take over the entire ship.
Dennis: We had the entire ship. There wasn’t anyone except the crew onboard who wasn’t with us. And by the time we were finished, this was the fun part. I think I may have shared this with our audience before. The crew voted at the end that, as we were making port, they said, “We voted as a crew to take your group with us for the next 17 cruises.” And of course, our group voted to go with them.
Bob: We agreed. We agreed to go with them.
Dennis: I think we had a good impact on their lives, because honestly there was the fragrance of Christ on that ship. You had a lot of couples who were in process. You don’t have to have a perfect marriage to go on this cruise. In fact, you ought to join us because you’re going to join a lot of imperfect people, some of whom are at the podium speaking.
Bob: And we are going out again this February. You’re right, there aren’t a whole lot of cruises you go on where you can smell the aroma of Christ, but there was a great spirit on board the ship. At the end of today’s program, I’m going to let folks know how they can join us if they’d like to on this year’s cruise. In fact, we have a special offer that’s about to expire, so I’ll fill you in on that before we’re done.
But back to this lead-off message that I gave. I was reading in Romans chapter 12 where the Bible talks about our love for one another. It should be without hypocrisy, it says. It should be genuine. We should be devoted to one another. And I thought, “You know, this describes what a marriage relationship should look like.” And so that was the passage I used as we talked about real love.
It just happened to be Valentine’s night, so I thought that’s appropriate for Valentine’s night to talk about what real love looks like. We’re going to hear part two of that message today.
Dennis: You know what I’m going to do? I’m going to slip your five points to our audience.
Bob: You’re going to tell them ahead of time?
Dennis: I’m going to tell them what you’re going to tell them.
Dennis: And I think it’s so good they’re going to want to hang around. You talk about being devoted to your spouse, showing honor to your spouse, about being harmonious with your spouse, forgiving your spouse, and then finally being anchored in Jesus Christ who is the one who really teaches us how to love. Let’s listen to Bob Lepine.
Bob: So let’s look at the five characteristics that I said I wanted to talk about. The first is love should be devoted. It should be devoted. That’s what, when verse 9 says that your love should be – or verse 10, actually, says, “Love one another with brotherly affection.” Brotherly affection.
Actually, that’s an interesting phrase. In the original language it says, “Philos storge one another with Philadelphia.” In other words, “Have a family-like love for one another with kind affection.” It’s really saying, “Love one another with love, in a friendship family kind of way.” That’s what our relationships are supposed to be like if we’re united in Christ and receiving love from Him.
So it says we’re supposed to be devoted to one another. It’s a thick-or-thin kind of love. It’s saying that genuine love is a devoted, caring kind of love that two brothers might have for one another, so that even when they don’t get along – and some of you have sons, right? And you’ve got these two sons and they fight all the time, and they’re always picking on each other and they’re making one another cry.
And you think, “Either these boys are going to kill each other or just hate each other for the rest of their lives.” But you know what happens? Those two boys step out of the house and somebody comes along to the little one and starts to mess with him. What does the big brother do? “Hey, you don’t talk to my little brother like that.” There’s a devotion there that he’ll get right in the middle of it. He’ll stop it from happening. It’s kind of like, “You don’t talk to him – I talk to him like that; you don’t talk to him like that.”
Right? You’ve seen that happen. There’s a bond of human love in the family that the apostle is saying here ought to be characteristic about all of us in the body of Christ, but it ought to be super-characteristic of those who God has joined together and made into a family, and that is a husband and wife. There’s a devoted kind of love that we should have for one another.
It’s dependable. Would your spouse be able to say without a doubt that you’re dependable? That your love is dependable? That she can count on you to support her? That’s the kind of love that says, “Look, no matter what, thick or thin, no matter where life goes, you can depend on me.” That’s the kind of love we’re going to have for one another, we ought to have for one another. Supernatural love coming from above, flowing through us. So that’s the first thing: It needs to be devoted.
Secondly, genuine love shows honor. Showing honor – this is ascribing value or worth to something and then responding appropriately. You show honor to something by ascribing value or worth to it and then responding appropriately. So, for example, if I have something that I put in a place of honor in my home, what I’m saying is “This is a very valuable thing to me, and I’m going to put it on display because of how valuable it is.”
If we were having your birthday and you’re the guest of honor at your birthday, what does that mean? That means the presents are for who? For you. That means that the cake is whatever kind you want, and the ice cream is whatever your favorite flavor is. And we’ll do what you want to do, because you’re the guest of honor. We’re saying, “Today is your day, and we will make you the special attraction of our day.”
Now imagine if a husband and wife followed Romans 12, verse 10, which says, “Outdo one another in showing honor.” If your day today was all about “What can I do to make my spouse know how valuable she is to me?” “What can I do so that my husband knows how important he is and how much I treasure him?” That’s the kind of proactive love that we’re to have for one another that is that “outdo one another in showing honor.”
Some of you, only a few of you, are old enough in here to remember a TV show I used to watch when I would come home from school or I’d be sick from school in the day. I’d turn on the TV and there in black and white was the TV show Queen for a Day. Anybody remember Queen for a Day? Some of you do. Look at this picture. There it is.
And there are four housewives over there, and they have all just told some sad story about their life and one of them has a child with a sickness, and the other has somebody who needs something, and so they tell their stories, and then the audience would vote on who got what they needed to be Queen for a Day. They would vote by clapping, and the applause meter would show who was the Queen for a Day.
If you were Queen for a Day they would put a crown on you – go ahead, show the next scene – you would get the crown, you’d get a tiara and a robe, they would play Pomp and Circumstance, they would put you on a little throne, and then they’d give you a washer and a dryer. Right?
I am not making this up, right? I mean, whatever it was you needed as Queen for a Day they would give it to you, because why? Because you were honored, you were set apart, you were valued, you were made to feel special that day. That’s what honor should look like; it’s how we treat one another.
And by the way, it’s not just how we treat one another when we’re together, but it’s what we say about one another when we’re apart. I have a friend of mine who quit her job because everybody at her office would sit around and gripe about their husband. She said, “It’s not good for me to be in an environment where women are sitting around griping about their husband all the time.”
“It’s just causing my mind to do things it shouldn’t do, to concentrate on what’s wrong with my husband rather than thinking about what’s right with my husband.” And that can happen with men at work as well. It’s not just about how we honor one another in each other’s presence, but how we honor one another with our words as well.
Do any of you feel like you’re Queen for a Day every day? And ladies, do you do all you can to honor and respect your husband and make him feel like he is worthy of respect?
Well, genuine love is devoted, it’s honoring; number three, it’s harmonious. It’s harmonious. Now we have this lady at our church, when the worship team gets together the main guy will sing the melody and this lady, without even having anything in front of her, she finds the harmony and just starts adding it and singing -- You’ve got people like that, right, who can just harmonize? And it takes something that sounds really nice to begin with, and really layers in a texture that’s beautiful.
In fact, we’ll do a little practice here. You like to sing? Okay, let’s sing the first part of the chorus for How Great Thou Art. Okay?
Audience: Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee.
Bob: Sounds good.
Audience: How great Thou art, how great Thou art.
Bob: Alright. Now, sing the second half, but add the harmony.
Audience: Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art.
Bob: When those harmonies blend in, when they mesh together with the melody, there is a richness and a texture and a depth that you don’t get in singing unison. But to sing harmony well, you have to listen to the main melody, and then you have to figure out “How can I blend so that it will sound sweet?”
Living with one another in a harmonious relationship means that we’re listening well to what’s going on in one another’s lives, and then we’re saying, “How can I blend?” See, I sing harmony with Mary Ann in those times when I can tell that what she needs is just a little quiet and a little alone time. If I go running in and say, “So what’s wrong? Let’s talk,” that’s not singing harmony. That’s singing something that clashes.
I figure out what’s going on and I say, “Let me blend this. Let me add a harmony part to it.” Or I come home at the end of the day and she’s frazzled, and I can tell she’s exhausted and I say, “Look, let me just finish dinner. You just go sit down and relax.” That’s singing harmony to her melody.
There are some days I’ll come home and she’s having a great day, and I add my harmony by adding my joy to her joy. In fact, that’s what this passage says. It says that we weep with those who weep and we’re joyful with those that are joyful. Harmony is hearing the melody of each other and then saying, “How can I blend?” and “How can I make your life more beautiful by adding my part?” That’s what it means to sing harmony.
Here’s the fourth thing. Genuine love – it’s devoted, honoring, harmonizing, and it’s forgiving. This is a big theme in this part of the Bible where it says, “Don’t repay evil for evil. If possible, as far as it depends on you, be at peace with one another.” This idea of forgiveness is something that’s a big idea here. And listen, there is a difference between living at peace and having a cease-fire. Okay?
You can have a cease-fire, which means it’s quiet, but that doesn’t mean there’s peace, is there? And so we need to be pursuing peace, not just the absence of conflict. That means we need to be figuring out what we can do to get our relationship back where it belongs. Sometimes that’s going to mean getting issues out in the open and talking about them, and dealing with them, even when it’s hard. We have to understand the Bible teaches a lot about that. We don’t have time to unpack it here, but the principle is you have to be committed to forgiveness and committed to peace. That’s what genuine love looks like.
Counterfeit love looks like this: it looks like “You hurt me. I will try to hurt you more.” That’s counterfeit love. “You hurt me. I’m going to say something angry back to you.” Genuine love says, “I’m going to try to seek peace and I’m going to forgive you for the wrongs you have done.”
Now, sometimes that forgiveness looks like this, it looks like just overlooking an offense. In fact, Proverbs 19:11 says “Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it’s his glory to overlook an offense.” Some things your spouse will do you just need to say, “I’m going to overlook that. I’m going to leave it alone.” Some things you need to address. In fact, I Peter 4:8 – “Above all else, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” How many?
Audience: A multitude.
Bob: A multitude. In marriage, more often than not you’re going to overlook and cover over, because you offend each other so many times every day, if you tried to deal with it every time you’d be in constant conflict. So you just have to say, “I’m going to overlook that. I’m going to cover it over.” And then you only bring out the key issue of forgiveness when it’s the big stuff that really does need to be unpacked and needs to be worked through.
I’m not suggesting to you if somebody’s been unfaithful in a marriage you say, “Oh, I’ll just forget that.” I’m not suggesting to you that if there’s been a profound hurt that you just go, “Oh, I’ll pretend like it didn’t happen.” No, I’m saying to genuinely overlook and put aside the offense, you do that with a lot of the small things, and you save your energy for the big things that really need to be addressed.
And then finally, genuine love is anchored in Christ. It’s anchored in Christ. In the context of this passage we’ve already talked about here’s what God did for us, so our response should be to be dead to our own self, to live for Him, and to pour out genuine love on others. But in order to do that, you’ve got to be firmly anchored in Christ. If you’re trying to pour out genuine love from deep inside you where it doesn’t exist, you ain’t going to get there.
I just got a new laptop this year that replaced the old one. The old one -- the battery was lasting about 45 minutes on my old laptop. And there were some other things going wrong with it, so it was time to get the new laptop. Now the new one has got this new battery, and it goes I think like five hours, right? It’s great to have a five-hour battery versus a 45-minute battery.
But you know what’s true about both of those batteries? If you want them to function, at some point you’ve got to plug them in and recharge them. They don’t have power on their own; they only have power when they’re plugged into the source of power.
Some of you here tonight – you’ve never been plugged in. Back like all of us, you said to God in one way or another, “I’ll run my own life. I don’t want to have anything to do with You. I’m glad You’re there and I hope You’ll cover up when I mess up, but basically I’m in charge and I don’t have a lot of interest in You.” What you basically said was, “I’ll generate my own power. I’ll be my own source of life.”
You know what? Your battery can’t maintain that. You can’t have genuine love for another person if that’s your power source. Now there are others of you here, you got plugged in, but honestly you got unplugged a while ago, and you’ve been running on battery, and the little red thing down at the bottom of your screen is flashing, because it’s time for you to get replugged in and say, “If I’m going to have genuine love for my spouse, I have to reestablish this. I’ve got to get this back where it belongs, and it’s not there.”
So I would say to you here tonight, wherever you are, if you look at your own life, if you look at your characteristics and you say, “Do I have love that is devoted for my spouse? Do I have love that is honoring to my spouse? Do I have the kind of love that is harmonizing with my spouse? Am I a peacemaker, and am I anchored in Christ?”
If you look at that and say, “Something is wrong,” then tonight’s the night, this week is the week for you to get that fixed, to get it reestablished, to read through the Scriptures and see what the Bible has to say about the source of genuine love for one another.
I have to tell you, genuine love is so much deeper, so much richer, than the hearts and flowers. Yes, it’s fun to have romantic passion, but I’m also here to tell you that if you have that and it’s absent, the deep, genuine love, then the romantic hearts and flowers is shallow and it fades. But a genuine love lasts a long time. It’s dependable. It’s heart-felt, and it lasts forever.
Dennis: Well, we’ve been listening to Bob Lepine, who gave the lead-off message at the Love Like You Mean It cruise. I want to tell you folks, there was something about the first-ever full boat that was filled in celebration of Valentine’s Day and God’s love for us and for one another, there was something about 2300 people on board a ship, all taking a look in the Bible and going through some projects together, and leaving that boat. I’m going to go all the way out the end, Bob.
I’ve done a lot of conferences and a lot of events in ministry. I’ve now been in ministry for 41 years. I have never in my life been stopped so many times, both on board the ship, as I got off the ship, as I went to the airport, as I was at the airport, as I was in line with TSA, as I was on my airplane flying to Arizona from the conference, and then in Arizona at the airport I had couples stopping and telling me how Jesus Christ had touched their lives through your message, the messages of several others, and how they’d applied it to their lives.
One of the core competencies of what FamilyLifeToday and what we’re all about is not only teaching the Word of God, but we have a high commitment to bringing it to your home to help you apply it. And you know what? What you’ve just heard today about being devoted, showing honor, harmonious, being a peacemaker, being anchored in Christ – that’s what every marriage in America needs.
And we’re committed to bringing that to your house through FamilyLife Today, through a Love Like You Mean It cruise, through our Weekend to Remember® marriage getaways. If you haven’t joined us at one of those getaways or on the cruise, come join us. It’s a great time.
Bob: Talking about the cruise, you and I are both going to be on the Love Like You Mean It cruise when it sets sail in February from Miami, on Monday morning, February 13th, Valentine’s week. Voddie Baucham is going to join us. Gary Thomas, the author of Sacred Marriage, is going to be with us as well, and we’re going to have music from groups like Sanctus Real, Matthew West, Paul Overstreet and others who are going to be along on this year’s cruise.
This week we’ve been doing something special for our FamilyLife Today listeners. The offer is about to expire for two reasons. One is because the boat is almost filled up, but secondly, because the week is almost over. The special offer is if you sign up this week to join us on the Love Like You Mean It cruise, when you pay for yourself, your spouse comes at no cost.
Now if you want to take advantage of that, two things: You have to get in touch with us before the week is over, so that means today or tomorrow, and you have to let us know that you’re a FamilyLife Today listener. So when you call 1-800-FLTODAY, either to get more information or to go ahead and register, just say, “I’m a FamilyLife Today listener. I want to take advantage of the special offer. How do I do that?” and we’ll take care of you.
If you need more information go to FamilyLifeToday.com and there’s a link there you can click on that will give you more information about the Love Like You Mean It cruise. It sets sail on Monday, February 13th; we’re back in port on Friday, February 17th. It’s a great week-long getaway for couples. Maybe you’ve got a special occasion coming up this year, maybe a special anniversary to celebrate. This is a great way to celebrate maybe a few months early or a few months late. That doesn’t matter. It’s great to get together with other couples and head out on the ship with us as we head into the Caribbean. More information: FamilyLifeToday.com, or call 1-800-FLTODAY.
Now, I also want to say a word of thanks to the folks we’ve heard from this week, some of our listeners who have contacted us to make a donation to help support FamilyLife Today. We’re listener-supported; it’s folks like you who pray for us and who, from time to time, make a donation to help keep FamilyLife Today on the air. You’re the ones who help pay for the production and syndication costs associated with this program.
This week, if you make a donation to help support us, we’d like to send you as a thank you gift a book by Dennis and Barbara Rainey called Two Hearts Praying as One. The book is really about how couples can cultivate the spiritual discipline of praying together as a couple. That more than maybe any other spiritual discipline is an indicator of the spiritual health of a marriage relationship.
If you’d like a copy of the book Two Hearts Praying as One, when you make a donation online at FamilyLifeToday.com, just type the word “HEARTS” into the key code box that you find on the online donation form. Or call 1-800-FL-TODAY and as you make a donation, just ask for a copy of the book Two Hearts Praying as One, and we’re happy to send it out to you. We do appreciate your support of this ministry, and it’s always great to hear from.
And we hope you have a great weekend. Hope you and your family are able to worship together this weekend, and I hope you can join us back on Monday. Dennis Rainey has some thoughts for men about how to go beyond manhood – how to step up and be a mentor of other men and ultimately be a patriarch in your family and in your community. We’re going to talk more about that on Monday. Hope you can tune in.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
Help for today. Hope for tomorrow.
*Song: Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing
Artist: Michael McDonald
Album: Motown, (c)2003 Universal Music Int. Ltd.
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