Living in Love

THE PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION  Friends in Christ: We live in God’s love as we remember the resurrection during this Eastertide season, let us welcome Christ into our lives.

Living God, with joy we celebrate the presence of your risen Word. Enliven our hearts by your Holy Spirit so that we may proclaim the good news of eternal and abundant life. Your Word tells us of the joy in heaven that awaits us.  May this joy flow into our lives each day, and be faithfully reflected into the world around us. Thanks be to God, the Living Word in our midst. Amen. 

THE FIRST SCRIPTURE Acts 4:1-14                             Peter and John before the Council

The next day their rulers, elders, and scribes assembled in Jerusalem, with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family.  When they had made the prisoners stand in their midst, they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?”  Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, if we are questioned today because of a good deed done to someone who was sick and are asked how this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that this man is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead.  This Jesus is

‘the stone that was rejected by you, the builders; it has become the cornerstone.’

There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.” Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and ordinary men, they were amazed and recognized them as companions of Jesus.

May the Lord bless this Holy Word to our understanding.

A TIME WITH GOD’S CHILDREN# “This Is My Commandment”

This is My commandment, That you love one another, That your joy may be full. This is my commandment, That you love one another That your joy may be full

That your joy may be full, That your joy may be full.

This is my commandment, That you love one another That your joy may be full. This is my commandment, That you love one another That your joy may be full.

 SECOND SCRIPTURE READING         1 John 3:11, 16-24                 Love One Another

For this is the message you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 

We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another.  How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?

Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.  Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have boldness before God; and we receive from him whatever we ask, because we obey his commandments and do what pleases him.

And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.  All who obey his commandments abide in him, and he abides in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit that he has given us.

 

THE SERMON           “Living in Love”

It’s a simple word with great power, L_O_V_E.  We hear it in the words of songs. We hear it in conversation. We love certain foods. We love particular activities. We know the people we love. We are surrounded by love, l_o_v_e. When I teach in a Bible Study about love we get into the Greek which has five different words for love. We have differing degrees of love in the English language too. We are fond of foods. We hold familial bonds with our family. We love our car, spouse, our church and God.

Sometimes, we need some help understanding Jesus’ concept of Christian Love. Eliza Doolittle, in My Fair Lady sings “Don’t speak of love, show me.” Love is an action. Love is more than words, real love demonstrates power by doing things that others can see and feel as true affection. We put our faith and love of God in active service to demonstrate Jesus’ love gives us power to love others.

Dr. Mark Ellington, professor at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia, describes 1 John as a sermon or explanation in the Johannine tradition how to live by faith in the world. He writes, “The Lesson is a discourse on love.” “Love is known through Christ’s love in laying down his life for us (v.16). The Johannine author proceeds to exhort such love in action, not just in works (v.18).

Living in Christian love demonstrates in real ways God’s affection for all people. God loves without condition. “Agape,” the Greek word for unconditional love comes from God. As Christians, the Lord calls us to an agape kind of love.  In contrast the world’s definition of love comes with a myriad of conditions.

I’ll love you if…you do what I want.

I’ll love you when …you complete a task.

             I love you because…you make me feel good.

And when those conditions are not met, I will withhold and withdraw my fickle emotional love, so that I can walk away.

God loves us even if we don’t do everything exactly perfect. The Lord loves us even when fail to follow Christ completely. Jesus loves us because we are created in the image of God. Agape love allowed Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins. Jesus laid down his life so that we may be restored in our relationship with our Heavenly Father.

Greg Outlaw describes Christian love as a lifestyle. We reflect God’s love for us as we live and share God’s love unconditional love with others. “Christian love is giving to others those things that you would want them to give you if you were in their situation -- and it's doing so even if they can't pay you back. In fact, it's doing so especially if they can't pay you back! Christian love is respect for others. It's mercy. It's charity.” http://www.allaboutgod.com/christian-love.htm 

Christian love cares about those we call church family. When one member experiences a challenge, Agape love reaches out with saying a prayer, writing a note, making a phone call, offering a listening ear, cooking a casserole, giving a ride, baking brownies, and walking along side as the hands and feet of Christ. Loving as Christ does, is not always easy or convenient or part of today’s schedule. God’s call to live in love, sharing God’s grace in tangible ways so that others will take notice of Jesus’ gift of love on the cross.

As we come to the Lord’s Table today, I invite you to reflect on the cross, God’s not so easy, definitely not convenient, disruption to Jesus’ schedule, when he laid down his life just for you. Jesus demonstrated unconditional love that we share the LOVE of our Father with others each and every day. We go out living in Christ’s love. TGBTG. Amen.

  November 2017  
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