Summary: This sermon deals with the element of love which holds us together.
It’s a Charles Schultz classic. Linus has just told Lucy that he plans to become a doctor. Lucy stops skipping rope to offer her usual constructive criticism: “That’s a big laugh! You could never be a doctor! You know why?”
Then, as she turns to skipping rope again, she offers her acid analysis of Linus: “Because you don’t love mankind, that’s why!”
And Linus, with a straight back and obviously disturbed appearance, comes back with his defense: “I love mankind…its people I can’t stand!” - Larry Dipboye
Each one of us, at some time or another, has said something similar to what Linus said. I marvel at the world God has created and I believe it is wonderful. Then on the other hand the world is in such a mess. What is the problem? The world itself is alright, it is the people who make such a mess of it.
If we look at some of our churches, we will find that some members are at odds with other members. Sometimes this situation brings about a decline in membership because people will leave to go to another church or they will stop going to church.
I have seen visitors attend one or two services and never come back because they were not recognized or were not made to feel welcome. Some of these visitors were of a different culture and some of them were of a different race.
Families have fallen apart because one member chose to step outside his culture or race and form a relationship with an individual the family does not approve of.
Not too many years ago the Afro-American people of the South were shunned and looked down-upon by the Caucasian people. Slavery ended with the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, but segregation continued in the South until the 1960’s.
Scripture says that “God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27).
Scripture goes on to say “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good”
Since God never created anything that was useless or valueless, why is there ill-feeling and dislike between the people God created? Why can’t people live together like one big family? I believe that it goes back to the sinful nature of man. Once man sinned things changed.
Adam and Eve’s first child was Cain and the second was Abel. When they grew to manhood, Cain became a farmer and Abel a shepherd. The family relationship was good at this point until Cain “brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD and Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock” (Genesis 4:3-4).
For whatever reason, God rejected Cain’s offering but accepted Abel’s offering. Maybe Cain’s offering was not the best of his fruits of the soil. Perhaps Cain’s attitude was not in accordance to what God expected. It might have been that Cain did not present his offering with thanksgiving and a joyful heart. We really do not know. The only thing we know is Cain’s offering was rejected.
Instead of Cain rejoicing with Abel, he became angry and jealous. His anger moved to the next level and that was the murder of his brother Abel.
There was something missing in this first family. That something was necessary to hold the family together. Just as glue or paste is necessary to hold objects together, love is necessary to hold human relationships together.
This was demonstrated by God when Adam and Eve first sinned. As we said before, God loved what he had created and he did not want to destroy mankind. God’s love is what brought us to the point we are this very day. It is because of God’s love we are together in this room.
John tells us “Beloved, let us love one another…” (I John 4:7). This seems so simple, yet it is so difficult for people to understand. People have a tendency to think of love as a feeling. Someone might say, “I love you” meaning “I have a feeling for you now, but I might not have a feeling for you tomorrow; hence, I may not love you tomorrow.” True love is not lust or a feeling type of love.
Story: “These Hands”
A young man and a young woman became engaged and were looking forward to a near wedding day, when the young man was suddenly called into the service of his country. From the field of warfare letters regularly came and went, and love shined brightly in all of them. Then letters from the young man abruptly stopped. A few weeks passed and then there came a letter in a strange handwriting. In it the young woman read: