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Summary: This is the second in a six-part series on Fireproofing Your Relationships. It introduces practical tools and suggestions for building a better marriage, as well as inviting people to Christ.

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[This sermon is contributed by Hal Seed of New Song Church in Oceanside, California and of www.PastorMentor.com. Hal is the author of numerous books including The God Questions and The Bible Questions. If you are interested in The Bible Questions Church-wide Campaign, please visit and watch Hal’s video at www.PastorMentor.com.]

For additional sermons related to the Fireproof movie, visit www.fireproofoutreach.com.

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He First Loved Us

Fireproof Your Relationships: Sermon Two

1 John 4:7-19

www.halseed.com

[Author’s suggestion: For a powerful application, at the end of the message, have a couple prepared to share the story of their marriage and how they are going to apply the Love Dare Challenge this week, or, ask one couple and one single to take the challenge a week ahead of time and have them share their experiences at the end of the message.]

[Author’s note: sentences and phrases in all capital letters are meant to be made into PowerPoint slides.]

Good morning friends.

The story of Roger Bannister is legendary in the annals of sports history. (Author’s suggestion: Google, "Roger Bannister picture" and capture the Sports Illustrated cover there for your PowerPoint show.) On May 6, 1954, Bannister broke the four-minute mile barrier. People said it was humanly impossible to run a mile under four minutes. They thought we were incapable of covering that amount of distance in that amount of time.

The record Roger broke had stood for 9 full years. The record was 4:01.4, set by a Swedish runner named "Gunder Haegg," in 1945. They called him, "Gunder the wonder." Until Bannister, no one approached Gunder’s time; no one threatened it. All but a few dreamers thought it couldn’t be done. But 46 days after Bannister broke the four-minute barrier, an Australian lowered the record still further. Once Bannister proved it could be done, many others did it. Today, hundreds of runners have eclipsed four minutes. John Walker did it 129 times. Steve Scott did it 136 times. Bannister ran a 3:59. The record today is 3:43.

We are learning these days How to Fireproof Our Relationships. Most of us have difficulty doing things we’ve never seen or experienced before. So, throughout the rest of the messages in this series, I am going to give you practical tools and suggestions on how to be a better husband, wife, neighbor, and friend. But for this message, I want to point you to the source of good relational behavior. Like the sub-four-minute mile, many of us have missed out on an experience that God says is essential for the human soul: we’ve missed out on experiencing love at the deepest level. What you have not seen or experienced, you will not duplicate.

This morning I want to point you towards God and His love, so that you can see and experience love.

A few weeks ago, Sherwood Pictures released a film called, "Fireproof." It’s about a marriage teetering on the brink of divorce. The husband, a fireman named Caleb Holt, decided that, just like you never walk out on a partner in a fire, so you never walk out on a partner in a marriage.

Caleb’s dad gives him a book with some practical suggestions on how to love his wife. Caleb tries these steps, but they don’t work for him.

It’s like running a sub-four minute mile. If you’ve never seen one or experienced one, it’s likely you’re not going to be able to run one. Watch this scene from the movie. (Play the Session Two clip from your Fireproof Your Marriage DVD. SHOW CLIP.)

"You cannot give what you do not have."

Most of us grew up in homes where we talked about love. A few of us grew up in homes where we experienced true, deep, unconditional love. As we’ve grown up, what many of us are finding is that it’s really hard to love if we’ve never truly felt loved.

One of the great problems of our world is that many many people are walking around these days trying to give and receive something they’ve never experienced for themselves.

Do you remember the old Beatle’s song I mentioned last week?

"All you need is love..."

What are the next words again? Say them with me: "Oo, oo, oo, oo, oo."

"All you need is love. Oo, oo, oo, oo, oo."

That’s not really true is it?

Last week we said that, in order to give love, we need to practice. We need to take tangible steps in the direction of the people we want to love. -- How many of you practiced the Love/Dare Challenge last week? -- Good for you. We’ll have another one today.

Before we get to that, let me add something else to the Beatle’s lyrics.

BESIDES NEEDING TO GIVE LOVE, ALL OF US NEED TO BE LOVED.

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