God with Us Brings Love

“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17–19

 

Name a Love Song:

 

Name a Love Story:

 

LOVE: Advent and Beyond is possible because…

 

 

  1. God is Love

 

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 1 John 4:16

 

  1. God gives Love

 

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

 

  1. God’s Love Flows through us

 

“Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.”

 John 13:34-35 (The Message)

Les Miserables

As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.  But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:14-16

 

Why did Jesus come?

 

First, Jesus came to justify

 

And you know that Jesus came to take away our sins, and there is no sin in him. 1 John 3:5

 

Secondly, Jesus came to sanctify

But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil. 1 John 3:8 (NLT)

 

Three Truths about personal holiness…

 

Truth #1: Holiness is a response

 

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. Romans 12:1-2 (MSG)

 

Truth #2: Holiness is a realization

 

Could it be any clearer? Our old way of life was nailed to the cross with Christ, a decisive end to that sin-miserable life—no longer at sin’s every beck and call! Romans 6:6-7 (MSG)

 

Truth #3: Holiness is a re-clothing

 

So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it. Colossians 3:12-14 (MSG)

Finding Nemo

What we learn about the lost…

 

Reason #1: The lost wander away

 

“If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Luke 15:4 (NLT)

 

Reason #2: The lost are neglectful/careless

 

Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Luke 15:8 (NLT)

 

Reason #3: The lost are willful

 

“A man had two sons.  The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons. Luke 15:11-12 (NLT)

 

What we learn about God…

 

 

  1. God is concerned for the lost.

 

 

  1. God is seeking the lost.

 

 

  1. God rejoices when the lost are found.

 

 

What we learn about ourselves…

 

 

We are active participants in God’s mission

JAWS

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

 

When to expect an attack…

 

  1. Attacks will often come when we are alone.

 

  1. Attacks will often come when we are pursuing God’s will.

 

 

How to win over temptation…

 

  1. Recognize your vulnerability

 

So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 1 Corinthians 10:12

 

 

  1. Run (don’t chum) from temptation

 

The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NLT)

 

 

  1. Resist the devil

 

So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. James 4:7 (MSG)

 

  1. _Root your life in Christ

 

My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him. You’re deeply rooted in him. You’re well-constructed upon him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught. School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it! Everything of God gets expressed in him, so you can see and hear him clearly. You don’t need a telescope, a microscope, or a horoscope to realize the fullness of Christ, and the emptiness of the universe without him. Colossians 2 6-7, 9 (MSG)

Do I Wonder Enough?

They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. Luke 24:2-4

Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened. Luke 24:12

“Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time.” Oswald Chambers

 

Three Things to Remember about Faith…

 

  1. Faith is never proven

 

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

 

  1. Faith comes from remembering

 

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3

 

  1. Faith comes from wonder

 

And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith. Matthew 13:58

Do I Care Enough?

When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it… Luke 19:37-38, 41

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort.  He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NLT)

If we want to care more we have to remember:

 

  1. Compassion requires proximity

 

The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. John 1:14 (The Message)

 

  1. Compassion requires passion

 

Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me. Luke 9: 23 (NLT)