Summary: As Christians we cease every opportunity to display our love for the Lord.
"I Love the Lord"
Reverend Antonio L. Torrence, Pastor of Cross of Life Lutheran Church
I. Real Christian faith lies, not in outward Christian observances but in the reality of inward religious experience.
a. It is not enough just to have a church home and go to church, but the church must be in you. The very heart of Christianity is the soul’s experience with God. If we are to live a genuine life with God experiencing all his benefits we must allow our souls to encounter God not just our intellect or our emotions. Because many make the mistake of getting caught up in the spiritual philosophy or they simply rely on the emotional impacts that make them feel good. However to have good religion is just to practice rituals and formal worship. Good religion is the devotion of a person’s self to God expressed through spiritual sacrifices for which God calls. “Therefore brethren by the mercies of God…present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God which is your spiritual worship.”
b. And the question we must ask this morning is, "Does your love for Jesus Christ manifest itself into spiritual worship?" Does your love find its voice in songs of praise and worship? Do you really love the Lord and Why? Do you even know how to love the Lord? Many would stand (if coerced) and praise Him for their personal salvation. But if your love is genuine, it should take wings and soar way above your salvation. Or, perhaps our problem is that we don’t know how to praise our King. We don’t know how to praise and worship the Lord of Lords because we may not have any love for Him. Perhaps our love is all invested in ourselves.
c. Love is a wonderful thing. It amplifies the virtues and discounts the faults. That is the magic of love. Love is patient and kind, not jealous, not boastful, not proud. Love is not rude, not selfish, not easily angered. Love keeps no record of wrongs, does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. This could not be seen more clearly than in the love of a mother for her child. To love the lord is the core, the very foundation of Christ living. And although there are many ways in which we can profess our faith. There is no greater confession of faith than to say, I love the lord. That confession touches on the reality of what our profession is. I love the Lord. That’s the greatest proclamation of our faith to the world.
II. And So, I ask you like Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Does thou love me more than these? Many of us do sincerely love Jesus. I believe that it’s the “these” that tend to be an obstacle for most of us. And yet, Jesus knocks at our hearts with this one persistent question. Do you love me more than these? But how much do we really love him? What is the intensity of our love? Do we love him more than our homes, cars, and possessions? Do we give him greater if not equal amount of attention as do “Desperate Housewives” or “the NY Mets”? Do we serve him with the passion that we serve our jobs when we have deadlines to meet?” Simon Peter, “do you love me more than these?” Do you love him more than you love your spouse or your child? Yes, many of us may love him but we may not love him “more than these.”
1) Who is this God we are to love?
a) The Psalmist tells us this God is a gracious and merciful God. We don’t deserve his attention but he gives it too us anyway.
b) This God is a righteous God. He fulfills his promises and his obligations. He will not lie to us or disappoints us.
c) This God is a caring God. He cares not only for my life but the Psalmist says he cares about my death. Even how I die is a concern to him.
2) Why do we love him?
a) Because he has heard my prayer. He heard my voice and supplication. I wasn’t eloquent. I wasn’t a great communicator. Yet he still heard my voice. And if you’ve have never sought him out or prayed, then you really cannot know of his love. You wouldn’t know how merciful he really is.
b) Because he inclined his ear to me.-he met me where I was. He came to me in my sinful state. As I was, he took me in.
c) Because he saved me-After hearing my prayer and meeting me where I was, he did something about it. He saved me. He didn’t leave me as he found me but he changed me. God has designed salvation for each of us. And until we have received the cup; no worship or service is pleasing to God.