God’s Great Love

We have heard this over and over again. We sing songs about it, preach sermons about it and see it in the hearts and actions of others. What is this you ask? It is the love of God that surpasses all understanding. In the book of Ephesians 3:18-19, the Apostle Paul tells the Ephesians that his wish is that they might know the breadth, length, depth and height; the very knowledge of the love of Christ. Often, we give mental assent to this fact and would sing in the key of G, “yes, Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so.” But there is a difference between giving mental assent to a particular truth in the Word and knowing that truth as a personal reality. When you begin to realize the breadth, length, depth and height of God’s love on a personal level, your relationship with Christ will grow exponentially.

Let’s try this exercise; look up John 3:16 and begin to read it. Only, instead of reading the words “world” or “whosoever,” put your name in their place. For me, it would sound something like this: For God so loved Chris, that he gave His only begotten Son on Chris’ behalf, that if Chris would just put his trust in Him, Chris will not perish but will have everlasting life.   It is one thing to see God’s love directed toward an enormous creation that spans approximately 6.5 billion people. But when we realize that Christ died for each of us as individuals, that when Christ took our place on the cross, He had you and me in mind; I know it is difficult to fathom but yes, God really loves me too! God saw you when He willingly allowed religious leaders to torment and crucify His only begotten son, Jesus. And Jesus willingly suffered and surrendered His life on your behalf and on behalf of those you hold dear.

Hebrews 12:2 says that Jesus endured the cross and despised the shame for the joy that was set before Him. I believe that joy the scriptures speak of refers to the joy Jesus has knowing that we will be with Him for eternity which is a reflection of God’s love for both you and me; personally. Be blessed this week.

Be blessed,

Pastor Chris

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Love Conquers Fear

The book of 1 John is a powerful book for those who realize the effects that sin has on the sinner and yet realize that God is ready to forgive and cleanse of all unrighteousness, those who turn their lives over to Christ.   I John 1:9 tells us that God is faithful and just to forgive us of all our wrongs if we but come to him humbly and confess said wrongs to Him. He is a Good Shepherd. That brings me to the subject of two, often conjunctive, forces or emotions; they are fear and love.   Many types of fear are antithetical to love, but sometimes they can be symbiotic as one can lead to the other and vice versa.

In the next couple of Sundays, I want to explore this idea of fear, and what appears to some contradictory statements in the Word of God. We want to examine the different understandings of what the Lord is saying when conveying the idea of fear; how fear can either work for or work in opposition to our faith in God and understanding of His love. In 2 Timothy, we are informed that we have not been given a spirit of fear. We are told to “fear not” throughout the Word of God, yet in Proverbs, the “fear of the Lord” is the beginning of wisdom!

How can God tell us to “be not afraid”, turn around and tell us to have the “fear of the Lord” and then make the remark that “perfect love casts out fear” (Isaiah 41:10, Proverbs 1:7, 1John 4:18)? These statements are not a contradiction but can be confusing when not examined in the context and meanings for which they were intended. Yes, fear, types of fear, can lead to terror and torment. Yes, fear, a type of fear, can lead to wisdom and God’s love. Come the next couple of Sundays and find out what we mean.

Be blessed and be grateful,

Pastor Chris

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