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Sermon shared by Daniel Habben

December 2000
Summary: STAY PLUGGED INTO GODíS WORD. It gives us new life. It gives us a new attitude.
Denomination: Lutheran
Audience: General adults
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love one another deeply, from the heartĒ (1 Peter 1:22).
Since the Word has purified us we can love one another with a sincere love. The original meaning of the word sincere means ďto be without a mask.Ē When the Greeks put on plays the actors would change their character by exchanging the mask that they held in front of their face. When Peter admonishes us to love each other with a sincere love he is directing us to love one another with a love that is not masked, or feigned.
Thatís easier said than done isnít it? We are pretty good at making small talk, joking and laughing with someone that we may inwardly despise. Instead of talking out our differences we would rather mask them. Or perhaps we have perfected the art of watching TV and holding a conversation at the same time? Instead of giving our spouse, brother and sister, or child our undivided attention we think that if we make a few comments and nod our head as if interested we can trick them into thinking that we really care about what they have to say. Is that what Peter had in mind when he talked about loving each other with an unmasked love? Hardly!
Sincere love takes work; there is no doubt about that. Our sinful nature wants us to believe that itís a lot easier to go on despising someone and holding a grudge than talking things out. It also wants us to think that our time belongs to us and we can do with it what we want Ė even if that means ignoring the needs of others. While sincere love takes work God has given us a tool to help us overcome our masked love. As you plug into his Word you will see how Godís sincere love moved him to send his Son to die for our sins. The more we gaze at that love, the more we will reflect that sincere love to others.
But donít just make sure that you remained plug into Godís Word; help others stay plugged in as well. Parents and grandparents, Iím especially thinking of you. There will no doubt be some tough days when it comes to raising your children. Because of sin, which they have inherited from you, your children wonít always want to listen or do as they have been told. Donít despair. Start with prayer but donít stop there. Use the Word to mold their attitudes and actions. Connect them to Godís power and the Word will change your childís life.
Using the Word, however, doesnít mean scolding your children when they have done something wrong and saying, ďYouíre making Jesus sad.Ē Thatís a misuse of Godís Word. Itís like trying to get a radio-controlled car to move by throwing the batteries at the car instead of putting them inside of the car. Youíll get the car to move by throwing the batteries at it but only grudgingly and temporarily. Instead of throwing Godís Word at your children plug them into it. Make time to study Godís Word with your children. Take fifteen minutes every day after your evening meal or before your children go to bed to read a devotion. By plugging your children into the Word little by little you will see a difference in their lives.

Itís so simple isnít it? Stay plugged into the Word Ė thatís Peterís message. Yet while we Lutherans respect the Word how often donít we neglect it? While we might not abuse the Word do we use it as often as we should? Godís Word is powerful but it doesnít do us any good if we donít stay plugged into it. If there is one thing that you want to make a priority of doing this year
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