Summary: We find unity within the church as we gather around the cross. Sermon designed to immediately precede the observance of the Lord’s Supper.
<>We have different likes and dislikes.
------Some folks like coffee, others don’t.
------Some folks prefer Coca Cola, others opt for Pepsi products.
------Some like “active” vacations (skiing, motorcycle touring, camping; others prefer more rest and relaxation.
------Some prefer fruit as a treat for their palate, while others want chocolate.
------Some like yogurt, others think even its name sounds nasty.
<>We have different backgrounds.
------Some grew up in permissive households, others were raised in more restrictive environments.
------Some were raised in Christian homes, others were not.
------Some grew up on farms or in rural settings, others were city dwellers.
------Some were born in the U.S.A., others came here from other countries.
<>And we’ve had different experiences that have helped in shaping us.
------Some were raised in one house or in one town, others moved around a lot.
------Some had the benefit of wealth, others have experienced poverty.
------Some have served in the military, some have remained civilians.
------Some have had reasonably few medical challenges, others have had repeated surgeries or have battled physical handicaps.
<>Therefore, as a church family, we have a choice to make...
---->We can choose to focus on that which separates us or how we’re different from one another.
---->Or we can choose to focus on that which brings us together.
<>What brings us together is pretty simple...
---->It’s all around the cross of Jesus...and the grace of God.
--------1 Corinthians 12:13 -- “For by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.”
WHAT BRINGS US TOGETHER...WHAT WE HAVE IN COMMON WITH ONE ANOTHER...
1) WE’RE ALL LOVED BY GOD.
-------John 3:16 -- “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not -perish, but have eternal life.”
-------1 John 3:1 -- “See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are.”
-------1 John 4:10 -- “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
-------1 John 4:19 -- “We love, because He first loved us.”
---<>We’re not loved by Him because of anything we’ve done, but because Who He is...God is love.
---<>We’re not loved by God because we’ve chosen to love Him...He loves us all, regardless of how we treat Him.
--------->He loves us with agape love, “warts and all” kind of love.
---<>God loves us for WHO we are, not for WHAT we are or WHAT we’ve done.
----------ILL>A businessman called the pastor of a city church and told the pastor he thought his son was in his city and involved in the drug culture. He asked the pastor if he would try to find the boy and do something with him. About four months later the boy was found and told the Gospel. He accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. The pastor then told the boy to pick up the extension on the phone and he would call his father. The pastor told the father his son had been found and that he had accepted Christ. The father replied, “Oh, I don’t care about that, I want to know how long his hair is, if he’s taken a bath, and will he apologize to his old lady?” The boy, listening in, ran out of the study and his father never saw him again.--You see, the father’s love was conditional: if you meet these requirements, THEN I’ll love you.
---<>Fortunately, for us, God’s love is unconditional. He loves in spite of our sins.
---------ILL>Nansen, the Norwegian explorer, tried to measure an extremely deep part of the Arctic Ocean. The first day he used his longest measuring line but couldn’t reach bottom. He wrote in his log book, “The ocean is deeper than that.” Next day he added more line, but still couldn’t measure the depth, and so again in his record book he wrote, “Deeper than that!” After several days of adding more and more pieces of rope and cord to his line, he had to leave that part of the ocean without ever learning its actual depth. All he knew was that it was beyond his ability to measure.
---<>That’s how it is for us and God’s love...We can’t plumb the depths of His love. Our human measuring line is too short.
2) WE’VE ALL SINNED.
--------Romans 3:23 -- “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”
--------Romans 6:23 -- “For the wages of sin is death...”
---<>Sin simply means we’ve “missed the mark”...we’ve failed to hit the target of perfection.
---<>Your sin is no worse than anyone else’s sin, and your sin is no better than anyone else’s sin either.