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Summary: "When love, acceptance and forgiveness prevail, the church becomes what Jesus was in the world: a center of love, designed for the healing of broken people, and a force for God." (Jerry Cook).

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LOVE, ACCEPTANCE AND FORGIVENESS

OPENING: Welcome to church. This morning, I want to share with you the vision that I have for our church family. Who are we? Where are we going? What has the Lord called us to do?

STORY: There is a story about a man who was walking down the street. He passed a used-book store, and in the window he saw a book with the title, "How to Hug." He was taken by the title and, being of a somewhat romantic nature, went in to buy the book. To his dismay, he discovered that it was the seventh volume of an encyclopedia and covered the subjects “how” to “hug.” Everyone knows that the church is a place where love ought to be manifested, and many people have come to church hoping to find a demonstration of love—only to discover an encyclopedia on theology. (illustration from sermoncentral.com)

• IT’S TIME TO CHANGE THAT!

QUOTE:

“When love, acceptance and forgiveness prevail, the church becomes what Jesus was in the world: a center of love, designed for the healing of broken people, and a force for God… One of the greatest services a church can offer a community is to provide a place for people to be brought to wholeness – to be healed physically, spiritually and emotionally… People are fragmented. They are torn. Life doesn’t work for them because they are without Jesus... They need a place to be healed.” (Jerry Cook).

This morning, I want to share with you the vision that I have to see:

1. The church become and

2. For all of us as individuals to become!

1. LOVE ONE ANOTHER:

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35).

• Jesus calls us to love each other as He loves us – unconditionally.

• This is a sign that we are true disciples of Jesus!

HOW ARE WE TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER?

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love will last forever.” (1 Cor. 13:4-7).

• We can’t keep record of when other people have wronged us!

2. ACCEPT ONE ANOTHER:

“So accept each other just as Christ has accepted you; then God will be glorified.” (Romans 15:7).

• It’s one thing to love one another, God also wants us to ACCEPT one another!

• Notice also that God wants us to accept each other as He accepted us.

• ACCEPT = “to take as one’s companion, to take or receive into one’s home, with kindness; to receive, i.e. grant one access to one’s heart, to take into friendship.”

• Acceptance means acknowledging that other people are different than you, and not allowing that to stop you from loving them.

“Jesus said, "Healthy people don’t need a doctor – sick people do… For I have come to call sinners, not those who think they are already good enough.” (Matthew 9:12-13).


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