Summary: A discussion of the four concepts: Faith, Hope, Love and The Word.
We have completed CONNECTED month, but I encourage you to keep on wearing your CONNECTED bracelets. I originally asked you to wear them for at least 40 days which expires February 20, but you don’t have to “disconnect” then. If you’ve had an interesting bracelet story, please email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re putting a lot of the bracelet stories on our weekly electronic Life Support newsletter.
Some of them are pretty funny. Tina Morrison emailed me this week saying she is the office manager for a local real estate company. Her boss passed by her without saying anything, and then she turned back without getting too close and said, “Tina, what’s wrong with you?” Tina said, “What do you mean?” Her boss said, “I see you’re wearing a bracelet that says you’re INFECTED. What do you have?” Tina started laughing and explained to her what it means to be connected. Tina wrote she actually IS infected with Jesus, but she doesn’t recommend we use that slogan for a future theme.
There’s a lot going on in our world these days. Someone sent me the following email entitled “Why are we still there?” Every night on the news we hear of Americans dying there. It’s impossible to police all the territory. The government is unstable and in the process of changing. Troublemakers are crossing the border by the thousands. Why are we still there? Because California is worth saving!
You probably thought that was about Iraq, huh? Well, there are problems all over the world, even here in America. You can’t avoid trouble, but you can sometimes keep it from spreading. We need to pray our President and our troops as we face the challenge of this war.
After the detour into “Get Connected” we’re back in 1 Peter, studying God’s Word verse by verse. As we consider our text, take a moment and glance at the verses beginning with verse 19. The context is that Jesus Christ, like a perfect Lamb shed His blood for us. Verse 20 says Jesus existed before the creation of this world, but now He has been revealed for our sakes. Then pick up with 1 Peter 1:21-25:
Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your FAITH and HOPE are in God. Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere LOVE for your brothers, LOVE one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring WORD of God. For, (Quotation from Isaiah 40:6-8) “all men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the WORD of the Lord stands forever.”
Today’s message is entitled “The World’s Greatest Gospel Quartet.” When I was growing up as a child in L.A. (Lower Alabama) I was exposed to a lot of gospel quartet music. I can remember my parents loading the three of us kids into our trusty 1955 Chevrolet station wagon and driving down to Graceville, Florida (about an hour away) for an all-night gospel singing (it’s pronounced “sanging” down there). The sanging was held in a high school stadium and different groups sang all night long. I don’t remember much about it other than I slept on a pallet my mother made in the back of the station wagon. It’s the closest to camping out we ever did. And every Sunday morning before church, we tuned our black-and-white television to one of the three stations it could pick up and watch “Gospel Jubilee.”
Later, when I was in high school I was part of a gospel quartet. We dressed in white suits, white shoes, white hats, dark navy blue shirts and white ties. We named ourselves The Ghostriders. Sideburns were “in” back then, and I couldn’t grow them very well, but I discovered my sister’s eyebrow pencil. One of our songs was a quartet favorite made famous by the Florida Boys: “On the wings of a snow white dove; He sends his pure sweet love; A sign from above; on the wings of a dove.”
So, I know something about gospel quartets. Take a moment to examine our text again. I want to pick out four great words that form what I’m calling The World’s Greatest Gospel Quartet. In verse 21 circle the word “faith.” Then in the same verse circle the word “hope.” Then in verse 22 circle the word “love”–it appears twice. For the final member of our quartet, look at the last of verse 23. Do you see the phrase “enduring word of God?” Circle the word “word.” Today we’re going to talk about Faith, Hope, Love, and the Word–the world’s greatest gospel quartet. Now I could devote an entire series of messages to each one of those great concepts, but for our purpose today, let me just talk about each member of this quartet for a few minutes.