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SERMON DATE AND TITLE: 2011-02-06:"God's Love Letter"

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GOD’S LOVE LETTER

SERMON STARTER

 

HOW VALENTINE'S DAY BEGAN

There was a priest by the name of Valentine who lived in Rome about 250 AD.  At that time, Rome was ruled by an emperor by the name of Claudius.  Some people called him Claudius the Cruel.  St. Valentine didn't like Emperor Claudius. Claudius wanted a big army.  He thought men should volunteer to join.  So, not many men signed up to fight.  This made Claudius angry. 

 

He had a crazy idea that if men were not married, they would not mind joining his army.  So Claudius decided not to allow any more marriages. Young people thought his new law was really cruel. Valentine thought it was ridiculous!  One of Valentine’s favorite jobs as a priest was to marry people.

Emperor Claudius passed his new law, but Valentine kept on performing marriage ceremonies – but secretly.  He would whisper the words of the ceremony, while listening for soldiers on the steps outside.  One night, he did hear footsteps.  The couple he was marrying escaped, but he was caught.

 

Valentine was thrown in jail and told that his punishment was death.  St. Valentine tried to stay cheerful. 

Many young people came to the jail to visit him.  They threw flowers and notes up to his window.  They wanted him to know that they, too, believed in love.  One of these young people was the daughter of the prison guard.  Her father allowed her to visit him in his cell.  They often sat and talked for hours.  She believed he did the right thing by ignoring the Emperor and performing marriage ceremonies.  On the day he was to die, he left her a note thanking her for her friendship and loyalty.  He signed it,

"Love from your Valentine."


           That note started the custom of exchanging love notes on Valentine's Day.  It was written on the day he died, February 14,

GOD’S LOVE LETTER, cont.

 

269 A.D.  Now, every year on this day, people remember.  But most importantly, they think about love and friendship.  And when they think of Emperor Claudius, they remember how he tried to stand in the way of love, and they laugh -- because they know that love can't be defeated!

 

Pastor Phil   <><<

 

 

 

February 6, 2011 - Sheepfold Ministries,

Pastor Phil Roland

GOD’S LOVE LETTER

 1 Corinthians 13:1-13

“Jehovah is defined in many ways, but none so accurately as Love. Every time we meet to worship, we celebrate God’s Love.”                         Pastor Phil 

 

Romans 5:8

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”


I.  THE GREATEST GIFT IS GOD’S LOVE

            A. God’s Love has Healing Power

                        1. The apostle Paul compares love with other prized gifts

                        2. Talent and Accolade in this world is meaningless w/o Love

            B. Dr. Carl Menninger believed that God’s Love is everything

                “If people can learn to give and receive love, they will usually recover

                  from their physical or mental illness.”

            C. Love is the greatest commandment – Matt. 22:37-40

               “Jesus said to him, " 'You shall love the LORD your God with all your

                 heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' "This is the first and

                 great commandment. "And the second is like it: 'You shall love your

     neighbor as yourself.' "On these two commandments hang all the Law

     and the Prophets."

            D. Jesus gave a new (to his disciples) commandment – John 13:34

    "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have

      loved you, that you also love one another. "By this all will know that you

      are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

            1. He loved them Forgivingly

            2. He loved them Understandably

            3. He loved them Sacrificially

            E. Jesus’ Love is a Radical Love – Matthew 5:43,44

   “You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate

     your enemy.' "But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who

     curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who

     spitefully use you and persecute you,”

            1. You get Radical Love by Receiving Christ into your life

            2. By Allowing His Love to Prevail in Adversity

            3. Allow His to love your enemies through you

            F. The Radical Love Friendship of Jim and Jack     

            G. “I love you” in 25 words or less

                       

II.  GOD’S LOVE IS GREATER THAN WORDS – v. 1

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.”

A. Corinthian Orators prized Oratorical Gifts

           

GOD’S LOVE LETTER, cont., p.2

 

1. They possessed the most gifted Orators

            2. Demosthenes, Sophocles, Euripides

            B. Possessed the gift of Persuasive Speech

                        1. U.S. History – Patrick Henry

"The gentlemen may cry, Peace, peace! But there is no peace. The

war has actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north

will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are

already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that the

gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear or peace so

sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid

it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for

me, give me liberty or give me death!"

                        2. Winston Churchill – WWII Quote

            “We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in

 France, we shall fight on the seas and the oceans, we shall fight with

growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend

our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches,

we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and

in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”

            3. President Ronald Reagan – The Great Communicator

            4. Martin Luther King, Jr. could move men into action

            5. Hitler could motivate with words, too!

C. Paul says that w/o God’s Love Dissonant Brass / Crashing Cymbal
            D. Jesus taught us how to Love in Concrete, Visual ways

            1. Love with a Towel and Basin

            2. Love with a Whip of Ropes

            3. Love with a Cross

            E. Love from the Outstretched Hand of a Stranger  

            In Stockholm, Sweden, a woman was injured as she rushed to catch

a streetcar. She stumbled in front of the moving car and was caught

beneath it. The police sent for a crane to lift the car off her body.

While waiting for the crane a crowd of people gathered. One man

pushed through the crowd, crawled beneath the car, and said to her,

“Take my hand.” As she took his hand she felt warmth and courage.

 This calmed her and prevented her from going into shock. After the

crane arrived and the woman was released, she said, “I never

thought an outstretched hand could mean so much.”

            1. God has stretched His Hand to help us

2. It has a nail print in it

3. Let’s do the same.

 

!II.  GOD’S LOVE IS GREATER THAN PROPHESY – v. 2

A. God’s prophets hear His Word and Proclaim it
                        1. Today’s Prophets for Profit

            2. “Prophetic Consultant” gets $200 for a half hour

GOD’S LOVE LETTER, cont., p.3

 

3. Shades of Baalim!

            B. Church is founded by Apostles and Prophets – Ephesians 2:19-20

“Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow

citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been

built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself

being the chief corner stone,”

            1. God provides for His called servants who do His bidding

            2. His Gifts are not for sale, but used to build Christ’s church

 

IV.  GOD’S LOVE IS GREATER THAN KNOWLEDGE – v. 2b

            A. Knowledge minus Love can be Horribly Destructive

                        1. Look at Saddam Hussein’s “Chemical Ali”

                        2. Killed 5,000 Kurds in village of Halabja in 1988

            B. Forty Million Babies have been killed since “Roe vs. Wade”

                        1. Knowledge and legality to do it

                        2. Morally and Ethically wrong

            C. Human Knowledge minus God’s Love Compounds Problems

                        1. Love transforms Information into real Power

                        2. Love puts Feet to Facts

 

V.  GOD’S LOVE IS GREATER THAN FAITH – v. 2b

            A. Faith is both a “Gift” and a “Fruit” – 1 Cor. 12; Gal. 5:22

                        1. Gifts are given freely through grace

                        2. Fruit is developed over relationship and time

            B. Risen Jesus doesn’t ask Peter, “Do you believe in me?”

                        1. He asks Peter, “Do you Love Me?”

                        2. Love is greater than Faith- “Faith, Hope and Love. . .”

 

VI.  GOD’S LOVE IS GREATER THAN BENEVOLENCE – v. 3

            A. It is possible to give w/o Loving

                        1. Obligation

                        2. Guilt Motivation

                        3. Admiration of Others

            4. Tax Breaks

            5. Buying Influence

            B. You can give w/o Loving, but you can’t Love w/o giving

 

VII.  GOD’S LOVE IS GREATER THAN MARTYRDOM – v. 3

            A. God’s Love is greater than a Fanatical Devotion to a cause

                        1. Homicide Bombers in Iraq and Afghanistan

                        2. Buddhist Monks during the Vietnam War

            B. It takes more Courage to Live for God that die for Him – Rom. 12:1

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your

bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual

act of worship.”

C. Our challenge is to Live in the Love of Christ every day

 

God’s Love Letter, Text:

1 Corinthians 13:1-13

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.

2  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

3  And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

4  Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;

5  does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;

6  does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;

7  bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8  Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.

9  For we know in part and we prophesy in part.

10  But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

11  When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

12  For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

13  And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

 

VALENTINE ILLUSTRATIONS:

A woman woke up one morning, turned to her husband and said,

"Honey, I just had a dream that you bought me a new gold necklace. What do you think it means?"

He answered,

"I don't know, but Valentine's Day is coming soon. Then you'll know."

A few nights later, she again woke up after having a dream. She said,

"This time, I dreamed you gave me a pearl necklace. What do you think it means?"

"You'll know on Valentines' Day," he replied.

The morning of Valentine's Day, she again woke up telling him about her dream:

"This time I dreamed that you brought me a diamond necklace. What do you think it means?"

"Honey, be patient," he said. "You'll know tonight."

That evening, the husband came home with a package and gave it to his wife. Delighted, she opened it--and found a book titled,

”The Meaning of Dreams."

 

THOMAS ALVA EDISON:

          When Thomas Edison was 38 years old, his wife died, leaving him a very lonely man. Six months after her death, Edison began looking for a new mate. He would leave no stone unterned in a systematic search reflecting his scientific nature. Although he liked to be portrayed in the media as a genius who worked in solitude, Edison had quietly assembled a fine research team to search for a new wife. He hated social events, but dinner parties in the home of friends in Boston helped him meet many candidates at one time. He was proud of this efficient approach.

But, rather than making a calm, rational choice, he fell head over heels for an 18-year-old young lady from Ohio. She was everything he wasn’t religious, cultured, and beautiful, plus young enough to be his daughter. He threw his normal caution to the wind and acted like a lovesick fool until Mina Miller would agree to marriage. An iron-willed, self disciplined, workaholic found himself bitten by the love bug. He was unable to concentrate in his research lab and whiled away weeks writing silly notes to an 18-year old. Finally, Miss Miller agreed to marry him and soon he settled back into his inventive routine.

She wasn’t bothered by Edison’s poor hearing or even his chronic halitosis. She just brushed the dandruff off his coat and fell in love with him.
This is the type of love that sees the best in others. Miss Miller totally accepted Edison because love is not always practical or rational.

 

THE RADICAL LOVE FRIENDSHIP OF JIM AND JACK

 

Jim and Jack were the best of friends. Devoted. Inseparable. So when Jim lost both his legs in a railroad accident, Jack did everything he could to help. At first Jim was certain his career with the railroad was finished.. Then the company gave him another job, “signalman.” His outpost was to be a lonely little stop more than 200 miles from anywhere. Jack went along to be whatever help he could be. After all, what are friends for?

          Jim had barely recovered from the trauma of a double amputation when the RR had given him the new assignment. He would live in a little wooden shack about 150 yards from the signal tower. It was going to be lonely out there. And there would be many difficult adjustments. But Jack would help for a while anyway long enough for Jim to overcome those initial adjustments.
          In the beginning Jack stuck around mostly for company. He swept out the shack and pumped water from the well and tended the garden, all things that Jack could not do. There was a little trolley, a single seater that led from the shack to the signal tower. Jack pushed Jim on that trolley several times a day and stood there while Jim operated the big levers in sequence. Eventually, Jack got so familiar with Jim’s routine that he began to walk out and operate the signal system himself.

Sure enough, pretty soon, in addition to house-cleaning and the rest, Jack gradually began to take over all the duties for the railroad though officially he was not an employee! There was a lot to remember on that job, a lot to be done. Daily responsibilities at the signal tower included working the levers as well as the tower controls that opened and closed siding switches. But Jack never complained. After all, Jim was his friend. It was the least Jack could do.

 

For more than nine years Jack kept house for Jim. For more than nine years he made the daily trip to the tower to operate the heavy equipment until one day when he died of tuberculosis.

In all those years, Jack never made a mistake, never threw a switch incorrectly never sided a car in error. Not one accident or even a narrow miss was reported on that line.

Jack is buried in Cape Colony, South Africa, not far from the outpost where he worked for almost a decade, for his love for a friend. His grave is a silent testimony to selflessness. Oh, by the way, I don’t think I mentioned that Jack, Jim’s devoted friend, who cleaned house and pumped water and tended the garden and manned the switch tower was not a man at all. He was a baboon!

Now if an ape can demonstrate that kind of love, can’t we who call ourselves Christians be know for our love more than anything else? Love is for giving away, not hoarding.

LOVE IN 25 WORDS OR LESS

The teacher in an adult education creative writing class told her students to write “I love you” in 25 words or less, without using the words, “I love you.” The assignment was to be completed in less than 15 minutes.

A woman in the class spent about 10 minutes looking at the ceiling and wriggling in her seat. Then she began to write frantically. Later she read the results to the rest of the class. Three statements was all she needed.
“Why, I’ve seen lots worse hairdos than that honey.”
“These cookies are hardly burned at all.”
“Cuddle up, I’ll get your feet warm.”
Need I say any more? She got the highest grade.