Sermons

Summary: As believers abandon this world and seek after God's perfect love, they will find that they have nothing to fear. God's unconditional love grants us peace of heart and mind.

I BELIEVE THAT WE HAVE MANAGED TO REACH A SHAMEFUL MILESTONE IN THE UNITED STATES. WE HAVE BECOME “PHOBIA” CRAZY AND HAVE DECLARED “PHOBI-WARFARE” WHEN SOMEONE SAYS SOMETHING THAT APPARENTLY OFFENDS US!

WHEN WE DECLARE SUCH “OFFENSE,” WE STAGE OUR OVER-DRAMATIC, THEATRICAL PERFORMANCE TO LET EVERYONE KNOW HOW GREATLY WE’VE BEEN OFFENDED. WE THEN WORK TO ACCUSE OUR OFFENDER OF BEING SOME TYPE OF “PHOBIC!”

WE PILLAGE THE DICTIONARY TO FIND WORDS THAT WE CAN ATTACH THE WORD “PHOBIA” TO, IN ORDER TO PROVE THAT WE HAVE BEEN INSULTED! WORDS LIKE: HOMOPHOBIC! ISLAMAPHOBIC! STULTOPHOBIC, AND MY FAVORITE…AS CHARLIE BROWN LEARNED FROM LUCY: PANTOPHOBIC…THE FEAR OF EVERYTHING!

ONE THING THAT THIS COVID-19 PANDEMIC HAS TAUGHT THE WORLD IS THAT IT CAN BE EASILY LED AND SWAYED BY FEAR. WE, AS CHRISTIANS, ARE TRULY BLESSED THAT OUR GOD, HIS SON JESUS, AND THE HOLY SPIRIT HAVE SHOWN US A BETTER WAY TO LIVE THAT DOES NOT INCLUDE FEAR.

WHEN WE ARE FACED WITH TIMES SUCH AS THIS IN WHICH “FEAR” IS EXPECTED OF US, MAY WE, ONCE AGAIN, HEAR THE WORDS OF JESUS AMIDST THE RAGING STORM IN MATTHEW 8:26, “[JESUS] REPLIED, “YOU OF LITTLE FAITH, WHY ARE YOU SO AFRAID?” THEN HE GOT UP AND REBUKED THE WINDS AND THE WAVES, AND IT WAS COMPLETELY CALM.”

WHEN WE ALLOW JESUS CHRIST TO BE PRESENT WITH US AND ALLOW HIM TO BE OUR SAVIOR, OUR LORD, OUR “EVERYTHING,” WE CAN SOON DISCOVER JUST HOW “COMPLETELY CALM” THINGS CAN BE AMONGST A WHIRLWIND OF UNHINGED EVIL IN THE WORLD.

JESUS, WAS, BY NO MEANS, KIDDING WHEN HE SAID IN JOHN 14:27, “I AM LEAVING YOU WITH A GIFT—PEACE OF MIND AND HEART. AND THE PEACE I GIVE IS A GIFT THE WORLD CANNOT GIVE. SO DON’T BE TROUBLED OR AFRAID.”

THE REDEEMING LIBERATION FROM FEAR THAT WE HAVE BEEN GIVEN AS BELIEVERS IS THE ABILITY TO CAST OUT SUCH FEAR AND ACCEPT THE GIFT OF CHRIST’S PEACE – PEACE OF MIND AND HEART. IT IS A SACRED TRUST AND BY FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST. WE MUST WANT IT ENOUGH TO PURSUE IT, DEVELOP IT, AND LIVE IT OUT.

HOW DO WE DO THAT? THE ANSWER IS IN VERSE 16, “WE KNOW HOW MUCH GOD LOVES US, AND WE HAVE PUT OUR TRUST IN HIS LOVE. GOD IS LOVE, AND ALL WHO LIVE IN LOVE LIVE IN GOD, AND GOD LIVES IN THEM.” CASTING OUT FEAR AND LIVING IN CHRIST’S PEACE OF MIND AND HEART ALL CENTER IN THE LOVE OF GOD.

LOVE HAS A DOUBLE RELATIONSHIP TO GOD. IT IS ONLY BY KNOWING GOD INTIMATELY THAT WE LEARN TO LOVE, AND IT IS ONLY BY LOVING THAT WE LEARN TO KNOW GOD. LOVE COMES FROM GOD, AND LOVE LEADS TO GOD. FIND IT. DWELL THERE!

THE WORD “ABIDE” MEANS TO “LIVE IN” OR “TO REMAIN,” “TO LAST” OR “TO ENDURE.” ABIDING IN GOD’S LOVE IS NOT PASSIVE. IT IS A SOBER, INTENTIONAL, COMMITTED, FOCUSED, AND DISCIPLINED DETERMINATION TO LOVE GOD FULLY AND PASSIONATELY.

GOD MUST BE OUR HIGHEST LOVE….NOTHING ELSE. IN COMMANDMENTS ONE AND TWO IN DEUTERONOMY 5:7-9, “YOU MUST NOT HAVE ANY OTHER GOD BUT ME. YOU MUST NOT MAKE FOR YOURSELF AN IDOL OF ANY KIND, OR AN IMAGE OF ANYTHING IN THE HEAVENS OR ON THE EARTH OR IN THE SEA. YOU MUST NOT BOW DOWN TO THEM OR WORSHIP THEM, FOR I, THE LORD YOUR GOD, AM A JEALOUS GOD WHO WILL NOT TOLERATE YOUR AFFECTION FOR ANY OTHER GODS.”

I BELIEVE THE TIME IS AT HAND FOR US TO TEAR DOWN THE IDOLS WE MAY HAVE BUILT AND RETURN TO GOD UNLIKE EVER BEFORE. THE PANDEMIC HAS SHAMEFULLY EMBARRASSED A LOT OF CHURCHES, IN MY OPINION, BY CATCHING THEM OFF-GUARD, UNPREPARED, AND ILL-EQUIPPED TO BE CAPABLE OF ANYTHING OUTSIDE OF THE FOUR WALLS OF THEIR OWN CHURCH BUILDING.

WE HAVE LEARNED THE LESSONS FROM THE CHURCH AT EPHESUS IN REVELATION 2:4-5, “BUT I HAVE THIS COMPLAINT AGAINST YOU. YOU DON’T LOVE ME OR EACH OTHER AS YOU DID AT FIRST! LOOK HOW FAR YOU HAVE FALLEN! TURN BACK TO ME AND DO THE WORKS YOU DID AT FIRST.”

I THINK THE COVID-19 SHUTDOWN AND PANDEMIC MEASURES HAVE ACTED LIKE A “REPORT CARD” TO ALERT MANY CHURCHES THAT THEY ARE RECEIVING “FAILING” GRADES FOR BECOMING BOGGED-DOWN IN APATHY, LEISURE, ROUTINE, AND BLINDNESS.

THE SAYING IS TRUE: “CHRISTIAN BELIEF AND CHRISTIAN LIFE ARE INSEPERABLY LINKED. AS A PERSON BELIEVES, SO THEY LIVE. AS A PERSON LIVES, SO IS THEIR REAL BELIEF.” WHAT WE TRULY BELIEVE IS HOW WE WILL TRULY LIVE. AS I’VE SAID BEFORE, “YOUR WALK TALKS LOUDER THAN YOU TALK, TALKS!” NOWHERE, IN ALL THE BIBLE, WILL YOU FIND THE ADVICE ADVOCATING THAT YOU SHOULD “FAKE IT UNTIL YOU MAKE IT!” WE NEVER PRETEND TO LOVE AS THIS LEVEL OF FLATTERY IS THE WORST FORM OF HYPOSCRISY.

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