Posts Tagged 'love'

The Living Word: Love, Love, Like

Love, Love, Like


As we wrap up our second time through John, take note of the DENSITY: chapters 13-21 only cover 3 days! Jesus had a LOT to say during that time, and the Gospels don’t record everything (cf. 20:30). But what was recorded was for our benefit, that we might believe. As we read this last chapter…

How Can This Conversation Help Us?

* Jesus Really Shows Up ~ John 21:1-14

  • 1/3 Jesus appears again: He’d only done so twice in John 20:19-29; here’s the setup: they go fishing
  • 4/8 Jesus shows up, and John understands it’s Him before Peter (again); Peter can’t wait to get to shore!
  • 9/14 Jesus makes breakfast: a simple PHYSICAL thing; He’s not a ghost or hallucination

* Jesus Restores Us ~ John 21:15-19

  • 15 “agape Me more than these?” (deal with boasting in Mat.26:33 – even if everyone else falls away, **I** never will); Pete’s answer: humbly: I feel the love; Jesus response: simply feed my lambs
  • 16 “agape Me?”; Pete’s same answer: I feel love for you (he isn’t using agape like Jesus, but phileo- more about affection); Jesus’ response: SHEPHERD My SHEEP (not just once but ongoing)
  • 17 “DO you feel love for Me?” Pete hurts because this must remind him of the three denials, “You know everything! You KNOW I feel it”; Jesus said-simply feed My lambs
  • 18/19 John tells us that Peter DID follow, DID shepherd like Jesus, and ended up dying like Him as well; Peter was RESTORED

It’s NORMAL to feel like we’ve let Jesus down sometimes (because WE DO!) But Jesus **knows** that – and restores us anyway as we return to Him.

The Living Word: Hate Vs. Love

Hate Vs. Love

John 15:18-27

“Haters want to be feared and heard,” says Brian Britt, a professor of religious studies at Virginia Tech University who studies the evolution of hate. “Their use of outrageous behaviors is designed strategically to get attention. They violate norms of ‘niceness’ and civil behavior in order to make a point.”

What’s the point of the hate we’re seeing demonstrated lately? Is it really hatred, or something else?

Testing the Terrain: Hate or Love?

* Hate Has A Home: the World ~ John 15:18-19

  • 18 Ever feel like the world is against you? You’re not alone!
  • 19 Part of the reason we struggle is that we’re swimming against the flow. WHICH WAY ARE YOU GOING?

* Hate Has A Method: Against Christ ~ John 15:20-23

  • 20 we’re “little Christs” – and THAT is offensive to the world
  • 21 it’s not about us; it’s about fighting against God
  • 22 people can “call” themselves Christians… but not actually follow the Way of Jesus
  • 23 make no mistake: it’s not indifference, or apathy: it’s hate – direct opposition to the best God offers; WHO DO YOU ACTUALLY FOLLOW?

* Hate Has A Problem: Its Position ~ John 15:24-25

  • 24 vs 22 about those who won’t LISTEN; some are worse: they won’t even SEE the difference God makes
  • 25 cf Ps 35: originally the words of David: he had enemies because of his position, not his actions. Same with Jesus… and same with US. WHERE DO YOU STAND?

* Love Has An Answer: Tell The Truth ~ John 15:26-27

  • 26 counselor=”paraklete”, advocate; the Son sends the Spirit from the Father to tell the truth about the Son
  • 27 We are to do what the Spirit does; to tell the truth about Jesus. WHO ARE YOU TELLING THE TRUTH?

Want to love? Be truth-filled. Want to be loved? Come out of the world!

Autumn Thoughts: The New Law of Love

The New Law of Love

John 13:21-38

No treachery is worse than betrayal by a family member or friend. Julius Caesar knew such treachery. Among the conspirators who assassinated the Roman leader on March 15, 44 B. C. was Marcus Junius Brutus. Caesar not only trusted Brutus, he had favored him as a son. According to Roman historians, Caesar first resisted the onslaught of the assassins. But when he saw Brutus among them with his dagger drawn, Caesar ceased to struggle and, pulling the top part of his robe over his face, asked the famous question, “You too, Brutus?”

Today in the Word, August 13, 1992

Every Christian Chooses Between

* The Loss of Betrayal ~ John 13:21-30

  • 21/22 could be anyone; could we? DO WE?
  • 23/25 notice the encouragement in the midst of confusion: “ask Him!” WHO DO YOU NEED TO ENCOURAGE? “are you struggling? Ask Jesus”
  • 26 giving bread like this was a “mark of courtesy and esteem”; reminder-Jesus LOVES Judas; Jesus knows how badly we can mess up AND LOVES US ANYWAY. DO YOU BELIEVE THAT FOR YOURSELF? FOR OTHERS?
  • 27/30 At some point, Judas’ flirtation with betrayal grows into full-on possession by Satan. ARE YOU FLIRTING WITH BETRAYAL?

* And The Law to Be Loving ~ John 13:31-38

  • 31/32 “is glorified” = a future event as if already completed; 5 times Jesus reminds us that He WAS/IS/WILL BE glorified; the Cross isn’t a shame, it’s His FAME
  • 33 does this FOR us, NOT WITH US; If we’re trying to sacrifice something in our lives to impress God, it won’t work
  • 34 “new” = FRESH; loving isn’t new; COMMANDING it is
  • 35 AS we love, we witness to the world that we belong to Jesus; WHO DON’T YOU LOVE? WHY?
  • 36/38 Peter’s excitement overshadows his patience; Jesus knows Peter’s end state (“you will follow later”) even though he’s going to pass through a time of faithlessness

You might be feeling that you’re facing a time of faithlessness; worse, you might not be feeling it at all! Nevertheless – Jesus has faith in YOU – Are you returning that faith in Him?

2 Corinthians: Excellent Gifts

2 Corinthians: Excellent Gifts

2Ki.4:38-44; 2Cor.8:7-11

This last year, I participated in a Secret Santa gift exchange. I received one gift up front, a very nice pair of scented candles, and a note that’d I’d be receiving something else over time. I appreciated the candles… but I’m CRAZY about the Sock-Of-The-Month club that sends me weird and brightly colored socks! I occasionally light the candle… but I wear socks every day! Which gift do I appreciate?

How Do We Gauge A Good Gift?

We Value a Viewpoint ~ 2Kings 4:38-44

  • 38/41 miracle or mundane: how your view affects your reading of Scripture (I tend to think that this account is miraculous, because why include it otherwise?)
  • 42/44 seems familiar, right? Notice Elisha’s reasoning: “this is what the LORD says” – the prophet doesn’t feed these people/do a miracle because of what *he* thinks; it’s in response to God’s Word: OBEDIENCE ALLOWS MIRACLES TO BE SEEN

We Trust What We Test ~ 2Corinthians 8:7-11

  • 7 we can choose to excel in means of God’s grace (this is huge!) Growth in God’s Grace is EXPECTED
  • 8 Christian love is TESTABLE – we can *learn* about our love for others by testing its attributes (are we generous to all, or just some? What circumstances cause us to give sacrificially, and what others to only give grudgingly? What attributes are shared among those whom we feel compelled to serve? What attributes among those we feel it’s okay to ignore?)
  • 9 grace works well when given, not grasped (cf Phil 2)
  • 10/11 desire to help should be matched by willingness to work

Can you “test everything” on your own? Who helps you administer that testing in your life, and who holds you accountable for results?

Good Gifts are both GRANTED and GROWING

MEMORY VERSE: I Thessalonians 5:21: “Test everything. Hold on to the good.”

Advent Conspiracy: Love All

Advent Conspiracy: Love All Sermon Audio Here

Luke 2:1-16
One of our STATIC teens posted an interesting picture the other day. I thought it was worth sharing.
Manger... or More?
Allow me to challenge you: look closer. This could be a simple manger scene. I’m sure that was the original intent. But when you zoom in a bit without considering context, you very well might end up seeing something VERY different! Don’t get distracted: there’s more to this than meets the eye!
To Love All Requires Us To Look Carefully:

See The Setting Of The Season ~ Luke 2:1-7
This story begins in humility. It is a humble night, in an out of the way town. A young family traveling at the beck and call of political decrees. Immediately on the surface of the story it seems political power plays will determine where Jesus will be born. Caesar utters a royal edict for taxation purposes that pushes everyone back to their hometown. So even though it’s probably not ideal to travel on a donkey when your 9 months pregnant, Mary and Joseph set off on the trip home.

Comprehend The Context of Christmas ~ Micah 5:2
We could consider that it well might have been Joseph’s family home. The town is anywhere from 300 to 1000 people in size. The census would gather the whole extended family into town and they would all stay at the family house. This family is in the line of David, a respectable family.
So why would the phrase “there was no room” be the answer given to family? Consider that Joseph’s family was probably ashamed of his then pregnant girlfriend. Mary and Joseph weren’t married yet and here she is about to give birth. This would be, in their time, shameful. This is another way of looking at the context of why the king will be born into a manger.
Again, what headline are you going to pay attention to? The knocked up fiancé? Or the Virgin birth?

Spot The Shepherds Among Us ~ Luke 2:8-16
During this time period, shepherds are some of the most lowly of characters; nobodies, often living on the margins of society. But God loves shepherds, these caretakers, watching over helpless animals. Every day, every night, tending, making sure the sheep are cared for. It’s detailed work in that you have be attentive to the needs of the animals.
And so it’s fitting, when Gods son is born, the only ones told are shepherds. Not the rulers, not the politicians, not the financiers, the CEO’s. Nope, the guys out working the field get the news. The host of angels comes to them, this humble group of shepherds.

Confirm The Choice To Love
Don’t judge Christmas by how it looks currently in our culture, not all is as it seems. Christmas is a deeply subversive story about a young family navigating political policies, and family shame. It’s about workers on the edge of society, in overlooked towns. It also happens to be story of how the world was saved.
This Christmas the invitation is to scratch beneath the surface of the headlines, to pay attention to God’s story and what he is doing. To see glory in humility. God loves to work in the margins with those who have been overlooked. Its why we have chosen to spend less on the flash of Christmas and decided to love those who have been neglected. To go to the places that don’t grab the headlines, to see the needs in our very own city, and pay attention to the people here. To do the hard work of caring and looking to the needs of others.

Roaming Through Romans: Love Enacted

Roaming Through Romans: Love Enacted Sermon Audio Here

Romans 12:9-21

Dearest Jimmy,
No words could ever express the great unhappiness I’ve felt since breaking our engagement. Please say you’ll take me back. No one could ever take your place in my heart, so please forgive me. I love you, I love you, I love you!
Yours forever, Marie.
P.S. And congratulations on winning the state lottery.

How Do We Live Out The Lord’s Love?

Participate in Acts of Agape ~ Romans 12:9-13

  • 9 “love without play-acting”; “hate=actively abhor” LIVER
  • 10 actively seek to love;
  • 11 look for opportunities
  • 12 human BE-INGs; here’s how we are to BE
  • 13 ALL ONE SENTENCE let your love be like this!

Resonate Acts of Empathy ~ Romans 12:14-16

  • 14 speak good TO (not just about); INTERACT!
  • 15 notice what state others are in and JOIN THEM
  • 16 “be allalon/together minded” NOT just “be willing to associate, but ACTUALLY HANG OUT WITH”

Terminate Acts of Retribution ~ Romans 12:17-20

  • 17 payback: not even once! Plan ahead how to deal well
  • 18 participle (cf. 9-13) of peace: be peaceful
  • 19 give up your right to revenge; that’s God’s job
  • 20 if ANY enemy hungers, YOU feed them; they won’t be able to take it (but don’t be spiteful)

Romans 12:21~ Let The Lord’s Love Live Large: don’t let the bad beat you: overcome=take the higher ground!

Posts from 1 Peter: Faith is Precious

Posts from 1 Peter: Faith is Precious Sermon Audio Here

1 Peter 1:17-23

We’ve been looking at different aspects of our new life in Christ. We’re risen WITH Christ; we live with hope; we’ve been GIVEN faith.

Appreciate Your Precious Faith By

Reminding Yourself of the Truth ~ 1 Peter 1:17-19

  • v17 KJV “pass the time of your sojourning” REMEMBER: we are on a JOURNEY; what do you differently when you’re traveling versus when you’re at home?
  • v18 “you were redeemed” REMEMBER: YOU are BOUGHT and PAID FOR; how often do you remind yourself that you have VALUE?
  • v19 notice the sacrificial language from Leviticus; REMEMBER: Christ is the only acceptable offering; Are you trying to sacrifice yourself?

Remaining in Him with Faith ~ 1 Peter 1:20-21

  • v20 Christ’s sacrifice was God’s plan ALL ALONG; our sin doesn’t catch God off guard
  • v21 Our faith is both a gift from and BASED IN God; our faith isn’t something we “work up”; when we are faithless, it’s because we’re not using what we already have

Regarding Each Other’s Worth ~ 1 Peter 1:22-23

  • v22 “purified yourselves by obeying” – in the same way that the Old Testament saints participated in the sacrificial system; THEY didn’t purify themselves, God did through the actions of the priestly system (and only temporary). We don’t make ourselves better; Jesus has done the work, and we just admit we need it
  • v23 “through the living word” NOT only and primarily the Bible; this is the LOGOS, John 1:1. JESUS is the Living Word! JESUS will remain forever! And because we are connected to Christ because of our gifted faith, we ALSO are Living and Abiding forever with God.

Psalm 116:16 O LORD, truly I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your maidservant; you have freed me from my chains.

He gave us faith to set us free: USE IT !

Learning from Luke: The Value of Forgiveness

Learning from Luke: The Value of Forgiveness Sermon Audio Here
Click here to play the file

Luke 7:41-50

Kristin Lewis, about 8 years old, mentioned that her mother’s birthday was soon approaching. When asked if she was going to make a birthday card on her father’s computer, she said, “No. If you make one on the computer they don’t keep it on the refrigerator as long as when you make one yourself.”

To Understand the Value of Forgiveness, Remember

Forgiveness Tied to Cost
Luke 7:41-46

  • v41 large debt needs large forgiveness
  • v42 Bible describes SIN as DEBT (Mat. 6:12, Romans 6:23)
  • v43 “I suppose”=old Greek denotes irony; Simon thought he knew the answer, but he missed it altogether!
  • v44 Jesus makes the meaning plain: this woman carried more “debt” than you
  • v45 and she responds to her forgiveness with love
  • v46 How did Simon respond to Jesus? How do YOU respond to Jesus?

Forgiveness Saves the Lost
Luke 7:47-50

  • v47 Notice: love come AFTER forgiveness; God (the forgiver) loves FIRST; we, the forgiven, love LAST
  • v48 “are forgiven” Gk. Intensive perfect, focus on resultant state; Jesus reminds her AND US that we need to focus on our forgiveness; jump to v50
  • v50 it is HER faith because it was GIVEN to her by the act of forgiveness; response to this salvation is PEACE
  • v49 When people see Jesus at work, they’re drawn to ask this question

Who is this Man who forgives sins… who is He to You?

Navigating Your Freedom

Shaped By A Savior ~ Navigating Your Freedom Sermon Audio Here

1 Corinthians 8:1-13

Consider this story told by Bernard L. Brown, Jr., president of the Kennestone Regional Health Care System in the state of Georgia.

Brown once worked in a hospital where a patient knocked over a cup of water, which spilled on the floor beside the patient’s bed. The patient was afraid he might slip on the water if he got out of the bed, so he asked a nurse’s aide to mop it up. The patient didn’t know it, but the hospital policy said that small spills were the responsibility of the nurse’s aides while large spills were to be mopped up by the hospital’s housekeeping group.

The nurse’s aide decided the spill was a large one and she called the housekeeping department. A housekeeper arrived and declared the spill a small one. An argument followed.

“It’s not my responsibility,” said the nurse’s aide, “because it’s a large puddle.” The housekeeper did not agree. “Well, it’s not mine,” she said, “the puddle is too small.”

The exasperated patient listened for a time, then took a pitcher of water from his night table and poured the whole thing on the floor. “Is that a big enough puddle now for you two to decide?” he asked. It was, and that was the end of the argument.

Bits & Pieces, September 16, 1993, p. 22-24.

Learning to Love with Liberty
Love Trumps Knowledge ~ 1 Cor. 8:1-3

  • v1 love builds
  • v3 God knows who loves, who builds up others

Truth Trumps Idols ~ 1 Cor. 8:4-6

  • v4/5 idols are symbols of allegiance to a lesser lord
  • v6 Only One Actual God (Deut. 6:4)

Concern Trumps Freedom ~ 1 Cor. 8:7-13

  • v7 old mistaken ideas can still have power
  • v9 stumbling block – beat the breast in grief
  • v10 weak – not received benefit of being strengthened
  • v10 rebuilds allegiance to false symbol
  • v12 beat down instead of build up; anti-love
  • v13 skandalon, set up a trap

Use your freedom to build up, not beat down.

Whatever Is Lovely

Whatever Is Pure Sermon Audio Here
the Whatevers of Philippians 4:8
John 5:19-24

  • I love my kids
  • I love my wife
  • I love my friends
  • I love waterslides
  • I love Star Trek
  • I love my dog
  • I love my neighbor
  • I love helping a lost person get their bearings
  • I love God
  • I love in tennis

Same word – very different meanings!

When We Think About Love…

What Kind Of Love Do We Mean?

Who Do We Watch To Learn Love?
The Father phileo / affectionately loves the Son

Refer to last week’s sermon, where country song “Watching You” was mentioned:

What Prompts Us To Love?
What draws us “towards love”? What makes you “get set”?

How do we do this? Just like putting on your clothes in the morning: Stop, Think, Choose, Live In

Pastor Ed Backell

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