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1 John 4:7-4:21
$3.00 WORTH OF GOD, PLEASE
Tim Hansel in his book "When I Relax I feel Guilty," writes some insights of what most people want from God.
"I would like to buy $3.00 worth of God, please. Not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep, but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk or a snooze in the sunshine. I don't want enough of Him to make me love a black man or pick beets with a migrant. I want ecstasy, not transformation; I want the warmth of the womb, not a new birth. I want a pound of the Eternal in a paper sack. I would like to buy $3.00 worth of God, please."
If we would be totally honest, the idea of transformation really scares us. That is because we know that such a radical change would be quite uncomfortable. We realize that with transformation comes a major overhaul of our lives and priorities.
(From a sermon by Scott Chambers, The Mission if You Accept it: Transformation, 2/15/2011)
CLOSING STORY: “On Courage”
Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at Stanford Hospital, I got to know a little girl named
Liza who was suffering from a rare and serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a
blood transfusion from her five-year-old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and
had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her
little brother, and asked the boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. I saw him hesitate
for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, ‘Yes, I’ll do it if it will save Liza.’
“As the transfusion progressed, he lay in a bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing
the color returning to her cheeks. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded. He looked up at the
doctor and asked with a trembling voice, ‘Will I start to die right away?’
“Being young, the boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give her all his blood.
(Chicken Soup for the Soul)
This story so beautifully illustrates for us the extravagant love of God.
“This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:12-13).
BLACKABY: WHAT DOES A CALLING LOOK LIKE?
Henry Blackaby shares from his book "The Power of the Call" pages 10-14 a clear picture of what one looks like who is called by God into pastoral ministry:
1. The pastor is chosen
2. He is chosen by God
3. He is chosen by God to be His servant
4. He is chosen by God to shepherd His people
5. He recognizes that God’s people are His inheritance, that they are God’s “special treasure” (Exodus 19:5-6).
6. He has integrity of heart.
7. He recognizes that his assignment will require “skillfulness of his hands” (hard work, consistent with his heart).
8. God calls his servants to be stewards (Acts 20:28-31)
9. God calls his servants to be spiritual leaders
a. You cannot do Kingdom work with the world’s methods.
10. The people are your ministry not the means you use to fulfill your ministry.
1 John 4:16-4:16
1 Corinthians 16:14-16:14
1 Thessalonians 16:14-16:14
Love is the key. Joy is love singing. Peace is love resting. Long-suffering is love enduring. Kindness is love’s touch. Goodness is love’s character. Faithfulness is love’s habit. Gentleness is love’s self-forgetfulne...
In 1 John 4:18, we are assured that Love defeats fear. That’s good news. But be careful not to read that God’s Love, and God’s Love alone drives out fear. It can. It does. However, some things are very difficult to fight alone. Go back and read verse 12 of Chapter 4 as well. There we are informed that God’s love is most complete and most powerful when it has a conductor to flow through.
We’ve all had moments of pain and fear. How easy is it to see God’s love for you while you are deeply afraid, deeply depressed or in great pain? It is there and in abundance for anyone looking for it but it takes tremendous effort to maintain focus on it. We catch a glimpse and are assured and but then another wave of misery robs us of the thought.
Now, what about when people come in the name of Christ to comfort and minister to you? God’s love is easier to see and easier to focus on. Even if you do get swept away for a moment, your ministering angels are steady reminders when your focus returns. Its much easier to drive out pain and fear when 2 or more gather to live out God’s command to, "love one another."
Anyone’s love, when expressed, has power and is even amplified!
I live in the country where we have an abundance of deer. I have an electric fence around my garden that I have a long love/hate relationship with. I keep getting into “mishaps” with it, usually humorous but not until at least a half hour after the “mishap”. This is not a fence for tourists. This was given to me by a rancher and is rated for horse and cattle so it really really packs a wallop when there is a “mishap”. This fence is also battery powered.
Once when I was without battery but was not yet ready to turn the garden into an “all you can eat” buffet I pulled my truck up to connect the fence to its battery. As is the norm for me, I later went out to get something out of the truck and didn’t close the door well enough to turn the interior lights off. Yep. Next morning, truck is dead.
I got the battery charger and connected it to my battery but left the fence connected as well. Do you know, the charger was able to fill up my truck battery and run the fence at the same time? Well duh, you are saying. Of course it did, they are both connected to the same source of power.....!!!!!!!
God’s Love is made complete when you connect that circuit. Expressing Love is just as healing and revealing as receiving Love. When you choose service, you complete the circuit and God’s love then flows through you, a present, tangible, and verifiable witness of the one from whom all blessings flow. But then, by definition, God’s love is filling you as well. You are needed in the equation whether its family, friends, or a beggar on the street but ALSO REMEMBER you need the charging as much as they need the boost. Service is as much for your own sake as theirs...
John Donne’s Poem "Holy Sonnet 14" and its meaning for human and divine relationships. I John 4:10. Batter my heart, three-person’d God ; for you
As yet but knock ; breathe, shine, and seek to mend ;
That I may rise, and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend
Your force, to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp’d town, to another due,
Labour to admit you, but O, to no end.
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
But am betroth’d unto your enemy ;
Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me."
This illustration evokes something that we often forget about in Christianity, the picture of Christ as Bridegroom and lover of the Church and of believers.
Sermon Central Staff
THE INCOMPARABLE JESUS
The late great Swiss-born, German-educated American Protestant theologian and historian of the Christian Church, Rev. Philip Schaff (1819 - 1893), once said,
"Jesus of Nazareth, without money and arms, conquered more millions than Alexander, Caesar, Mahomet, and Napoleon. Without science and learning, He shed more light on things human and Divine than all philosophers and scholars combined. Without the eloquence of schools, He spoke Words of Life as never were spoken before or since and produced effects which lie beyond the reach of orator or poet without writing a single line. He has set more pens in motion and furnished themes for more sermons, orations, discussions, learned volumes, works of art, and sweet songs of praise than the whole army of great men of ancient and modern times. Born in a manger and crucified as a malefactor, He now controls the destinies of the civilized world and rules a spiritual empire which embraces [more than] one-third of the inhabitants of the globe. There never was in this world a life so unpretending, modest, and lowly in its outward form and condition, and yet producing such extraordinary effects upon all ages, nations, and classes of men [and women]. The annals of history produce no other example of such complete and astonishing success in spite of the absence of those material, social, literary, and artistic powers and influences which are indispensable to success for a mere man [or, woman]."
(From a sermon by George Dillahunty, Yes He Is!, 11/17/2009)
At the end of WWII the Japanese government faced a similar problem with thousands of soldiers who were hiding in the jungles and mountains in the South Pacific. Although the treaty with the U.S. had been signed and the war was over, thousands of Japanese soldiers living in the mountains and jungles of the South Pacific islands would not come out of hiding, surrender their weapons, and return to their homes to live in peace. These soldiers had been so indoctrinated with stories of what the Americans would do to them if they surrendered that they believed they would face certain torture or immediate death, so they remained in hiding and ready to fight.
How could the Japanese government convince these die hard warriors that the war was indeed over and they were not just hearing American propaganda designed to capture unsuspecting soldiers? Finally, the Japanese Emperor made a speech detailing the end of the war and pleading with them to return home. The voice of the Emperor was broadcast by radio and recorded to be repeatedly played on loudspeakers directed into the jungles and mountain caves where these men were hiding. One by one the Japanese soldiers accepted the assurance of their Emperor and turned themselves in. Some waited to be certain the war had indeed ended, but within a few months all but a few had surrendered.
After some years, it was assumed all of these hidden soldiers had been accounted for; those still missing were presumed dead. However, in March of 1974 a Japanese soldier finally came out of hiding, 29 years after the war ...
Sermon Central Staff
A young couple, very much in love, were getting married in church. However, the bride was very nervous about the big occasion and so the preacher chose one verse that he felt would be a great encouragement to them. The verse was 1 John 4:18 which says: "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear."
The preacher asked the best man to read it during the ceremony. The preacher did not know the best man was not a regular churchgoer and did not know the difference between the Gospel of John and the First Letter of John.
During the service the best man introduced the reading by saying that the preacher felt this was a very good verse for the bride and that he would say more about it later in the service and then read John 4:18, which says:
"The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband."
The preacher wanted to encourage the couple. His attempt went very wrong.
(From a sermon by Davon Huss, I Am Bound for the Promised Land, 2/21/2011)
The woodland creature known as the porcupine weighs 15-20 pounds. This primarily nocturnal animal gets its name from the Latin word for pig and the French word for thorn. These “prickly pigs” have 30,000 quills each are a mass of tiny overlapping barbs. When threatened these rodents first try to escape and if that doesn’t work---it tucks its vulnerable little head, turn its back and Whamo! When touched the quills dislodge into an attackers warm flesh and the barbs on the quills flare out working against the muscle to embed deeper into the flesh. Though not poisonous, the quills may kill. Animals with quills in the mouth can die of starvation or from a subsequent infection. The 1 – 2.5 inch thorns have been found in everything from polar bears to trout fish.
Porcupines are not known to be lovable or amiable. They don’t hang out in colonies like other rodents do. They detached from their mother and self-sufficient just a few months after birth. It’s a small wonder that their peculiarities don’t render them extinct. In fact they populate North American forest areas rather well, some stabs and scratches along the way notwithstanding.
How do porcupines survive and even thrive? How do they get past all the prickliness and go on? Well, actually they learn to dance. Seriously. They do a kind of two step to get along and we could all learn a lesson here. Called a “love dance” by some, porcupines will wa...