Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Bethany Bullet Sermon Message - Week of April 22, 2018

Sermon: “LOVED & LOVING: Loving”
YouTube clip: “I’m Loving It”

When “loving” has become the term for identifying our connection to a burger and fries (regardless of how good they are) you know we as a society have clichéd love. Our Lord’s call to love however, oh let’s call it what it is, Our Lord’s command to love is not bumper-sticker behavior.  Let’s make no mistake about it; He has commanded us to love.  “This is His command: to believe in Him and to love one another.”  1 John 3:23

Those words are the summation of the motion John put into place in the 16th verse of the same chapter, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.  So we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.”  Stop and re-read those words.  Let that sink in for a moment!  Our love for others is not simply to reach the standard of common decency nor merely to the level of culturally expectancy, certainly not to the norm of personal reciprocity; No, we are commanded to love with Christ-like quality.  

Yet He loves everyone!  Though underserved, He loves fully, completely, unconditionally, unilaterally – without expectation for return.  He gives and gives, weeps over, cheers on and picks up over and over again, often only to have His children demean that which is given and demand more, act as if they are owed, harbor anger, dishonor Father, He who became both brother and neighbor in Christ’s incarnation and remain resentful.  It is a painful thing to consider, yet our Loving God still loves and will not stop loving! 

“As He hath so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” 1 John 4:11.  The boundaries of this love are stretched beyond the comfort level.  This love goes beyond recognizing need it aids one in need; this love is not satisfied with speaking platitudes it busies itself with plentitude. This “full supply of love” is loving as we’ve been so loved by God – even when such love is difficult, demeaned, dismissed, dishonored and “undeserved.”

This love is harder to give than one might anticipate or estimate.  Walking beside someone you just as soon kick in the rear is not easy.  Giving more and more time, when you’re running on fumes yourself is tough.  Relieving the load of a weighed down brother when you’re carrying plenty already can be painful; loving as commanded is more difficult than we might anticipate or estimate.  Especially when you consider that this love is not limited to those who are part of the flock. 

Jesus’ words read each Easter VI include these, “I have other sheep of this pen and must bring them in also.”  We too, the flock, like the Shepherd are called to welcome and love those who maybe aren’t like us.  Somewhere a city dwelling vegan has been called to love a field and stream sportsman as a brother, and vice versa.  Somewhere a successful capitalist has been called to love a needy redistributionist as a dear neighbor, and vice versa.  Somewhere King’s fan has been called to love a Golden Knights fan and vice versa.  Recipients of His great love become the proponents of the same, for being loved by Him leads to loving His.   
 -Pastor Kevin Kritzer


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