Summary: A sermon about trying to live into the love of Christ.
“I say, ‘What is It?’”
By: Rev. Ken Sauer, East Ridge united Methodist Church, Chattanooga, Tn eastridgeumc.org
What is “it”?
In any language, “it” is the most powerful expression of the most powerful emotion and experience in the world.
“It” is what everyone is looking for.
“It” is something everyone is starving for.
“It” is something many people have not yet experienced in this often dark and cruel world.
“It” is why Jesus came and died.
“It” is why there is a Christian Church and why Christianity has been spreading for the past 2,000 years!
“It,” of course, is “Love.”
An old song says: “You’re nobody till somebody loves you.”
And if that is true…then everybody is somebody because God loves us all!!!
But, as I said, not everyone knows about the love of God.
I was speaking with a colleague who had been ministering to a teenager who has all the talent and potential in the world, but keeps doing things to harm herself…
…due to a self-loathing.
Recently she tried to commit suicide.
My colleague told me that he went to have a heart to heart talk with her a few days later.
She is a young person who has never experienced unconditional love.
She has been abused and used all her life.
During their conversation, my colleague stood up, went into another room where a Cross was hanging, took that Cross off the wall and brought it over to the teenager.
“Look at this!” he told her.
“This is how much you are loved!
This is how deeply you are loved!
This is how important your life is!”
I think we all need to take a good look at the Cross…every day…and tell ourselves this very same thing!
“This proves your self-worth.
This is how much God loves you and everyone else!
Now, go about your day believing it, and ask God to help you in your unbelief!”
The love of God is what changes us.
The love of God is what gives us a hope and a future.
The love of God is what gives us self-worth.
The love of God is what allows us to love others!
Karl Menninger once said, “Love cures people—both the ones who give it and the ones who receive it.”
Jesus opened our eyes to the true nature of love in Matthew Chapter 22: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
This is the first and greatest commandment.
And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
A commentator on television the other morning was saying that guilt from our past causes us to want to punish ourselves through drug and alcohol abuse, and other dangerous and self destructive activities.
And we aren’t even aware that this is why we are doing these things.
This is one reason why the passage I read from Colossians is so important to ingest and rejoice over!
“When you were dead in your trespasses and sins…God made you alive with Christ.
He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing to the cross.”
Forgive yourself; you can because Christ has forgiven you!!!
Of course, that is easier said than done.
But knowing you are forgiven and loved is the greatest starting place in the world!!!
It is also the greatest place to stay!!!
I think all of us should pin this Scripture to our bathroom mirror, so we can read it, be reminded about it every morning, every day and every time we look in the mirror!
Smile, rejoice, move on and live!!!
Christ has forgiven you!!!
I know I’ve told this story before, but…
Several years ago in a large city in the far West, rumors spread that a certain Catholic woman was having visions of Jesus.
The reports reached the archbishop.
He decided to check her out.
“Is it true, ma’am, that you have visions of Jesus?” asked the archbishop.
“Yes,” the woman replied simply.
“Well, the next time you have a vision, I want you to ask Jesus to tell you the sins I confessed in my last confession.”
The woman was stunned.
“Did I hear you right, Bishop? You actually want me to ask Jesus to tell you the sins of your past?”
“Exactly. Please call me if anything happens.”
Ten days later the woman notified her spiritual leader of a recent apparition.
“Please come,” she said.
Within the hour the archbishop arrived.
“You just told me on the phone that you actually had a vision of Jesus. Did you do what I asked?”