Grace is so simple, yet it may be one of the most misunderstood attributes of God. For the next few weeks, we will consider a few lessons on grace, beginning with an examination of Ephesians 2, and how mercy, love, and kindness all work together as parts of God’s grace. We are indebted to the work of our brother Dan Winkler in his book Grace: Simply Incredible, Incredibly Simple. It, and other works, can be purchased from Bro. Winkler’s website at https://www.danwinkler.org/shop/.
– When Jesus was asked which commandment was greatest, he answered that question. The great commandment is to Love God. But he added a second, to love your neighbor. Join us this morning as we consider what it means to love your neighbor as yourself.
– 2/14/21 a.m. sermon
– Speaker: Justin P. Sivley
– As we think about love this month, we consider a follow up to our previous lesson on God’s love. Previously, we had considered the width, length, depth, and height of God’s love. Today we consider our love for God, with all of our hearts, soul, mind, and strength.
Based on an article from Bro. Allen Webster in House to House/Heart to Heart, we consider how we can measure God’s love. Together, we consider the width, length, depth, and height of God’s love, and how we see those dimensions expressed in John 3:16
In a time when we are riddled with division and lies, now more than ever Christians need to make sure we are people who are dedicated to both love and the truth. We cannot be the salt of the earth and the light of the world if we are not loving, nor can we fulfill that calling if we are overcome by lies. It’s time for the church to decide what influence we want to leave on the world.
While we are being encouraged to practice social distancing, the Orangeburg church of Christ will not be meeting at our building until at least April 5. During that time, we will be producing audio and video lessons on Sunday and Wednesday. Tonight, we considered some things that we can keep in mind during these days apart.
I know that by now, many people are probably getting a little weary of hearing about COVID-19, otherwise known as coronavirus. It’s basically all anyone can talk about, and it’s affected all of us in one way or another. Some of us are just missing out on common leisure activities (such as sports being cancelled) but many people are being kept from working, and others are actually being infected, and some have died from this outbreak.
Of course, all of us have differing opinions about the matter, and many of us have reacted in different ways to everything that is happening around us. In light of all of this, I’d like to offer a few things that those of us who wear the name of Christ should keep in mind.
Be Reasonable. God created us with the ability to reason for ourselves, and He expects us to use that reason (Isaiah 1:18). When Jesus told his disciples to “be wise as serpents (Matt. 10:16),” surely part of that includes using our own, God-given, good sense as we are dealing with people and situations that arise. Reasonable people will not be whipped up into hysterics by the things that are going on, but neither will reasonable people just discount everything that is happening as “propaganda.” God gave you the ability to think and reason for yourself. Use it!
Be Respectful. If I’m being perfectly honest, I am becoming increasingly aggravated with some of my brethren on social media who are not shining the light of Jesus into the world with the way they are reacting to these recent events. We are all entitled to our opinions, and even the right to express those opinions. But nowhere are we given the right to be rude and/or condescending toward other people in the expressing of those opinions. Love is still kind and is not rude (1 Corinthians 13:4-5) The words of Colossians 4:6 still apply in the 21st century, even when we’re typing of clicking a “share” button. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. (Col 4:6 ESV)
Be Compassionate. Even as busy as the life of Jesus was, he always took time for compassion. (see Mark 5:25-34). A lot of people are suffering in one way or another right now. Are we prepared to help those who may be put out of work, or who may need food or other supplies that they can’t find in the store right now? I know we can’t help everyone, but let’s have an open heart to help meet a need when we are able, to do good to all men, and especially those who are of the household of faith (Gal. 6:10)
Trust in God. Above all, trust in God. That doesn’t mean we should be reckless and not take necessary precautions to protect ourselves, thus putting God to the test (see Matthew 4:6-7). But don’t forget that He is out refuge and our fortress (Psalm 46). Don’t forget that God will not forsake his people (Heb. 13:5). Make sure that whatever happens, you are covered by the blood of Christ, and prepared for that heavenly home.
By the way, all of these things will still be true a month or two from now when COVID-19 is all but forgotten by most people. These things don’t apply to just one place or time, but are necessary for Christians to remember at all times, so that we may shine the light of the Son into this world.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Mat 5:16 ESV)
Paul wrote to the Galatians “Through love, serve one another.” This morning we consider the action of service, and the attitude of service as we conclude the month of January and our look at a number of priorities in the life of a Christian.
As he deals with the subject of spiritual gifts in the church, Paul takes a moment in the middle of his discussion to describe “a more excellent way.” He shows how gifts will pass away and how love will endure long after those gifts have gone.
As we conclude our Thanksgiving series, we take some time to consider an idea that appears in every verse of Psalm 136. God’s love, which is extended to all and expressed in Christ, endures forever.