Love One Another

1 John 3
  /  February 11, 2024
Speaker: John Parker

I wanna invite you this morning as we look into God’s word to first John chapter 3. And as I understand it, that was actually part of your Sunday school, at least the young adults this morning.

And while you’re turning there, and I hope you have your bible or some means of looking into the word of God. I’d often am using a tablet or but I want my bible nearby Sometimes you just need to mark something You need to underline something. But while you’re looking for it, 2 things I wanna say. So delighted to hear doctor Peake speak or sing this morning. I I told, pastor earlier this morning with doctor Peake being here.

I said, oh, I’d I’d love to hear him sing. He said, he is. Wow. Thank you, doctor Peake. I love that song.

It touched me most deeply. And first, at, watching Ruth Graham Bell or Ruth Bell Graham, doctor Billy Graham’s wife’s funeral. It was the first time I heard part of that, give me Jesus. Thank you. The second thing, and I’d asked pastor’s permission to say this, is that when Kathy and I retired and and made our plans to move back here, I I did discuss it with my pastor.

I’ve been a member of this church all along, but I discussed it with my pastor and I said, now, you know, we’re coming back. I’m more than comfortable to just stay busy in other places doing ministry where and there here and there, But with us, being with our parent my parents and caring for them, I’d love to be able to be in in Easley Bible Methodist Church. This is my church and has been now for wow. 40 some years, I don’t know. 1982 Figure that out.

So, he said, oh, no. We want we want you to come. And and I said, now listen. Please understand. Is there any time anywhere any place I can be an asset or help or blessing I’m ready but I’m gonna be very comfortable and blessed to be able to sit under your ministry and just let that in the Lord’s hands And I have to say God has used my pastor to minister to my heart over and over in these recent months since July.

And, I have had opportunity to speak on other occasions and I am delighted to have that opportunity this morning So I thrilled to be a part of this church, continue to be a part of this church, and, very thankful for what God is affording me today and over the next few weeks. I think it’s every other Sunday I’m speaking in in three, messages Our scene for this series is love one another and I don’t think there’s ever been a time when it was more desperately needed than right now because we’re living in a polarized world of conflict. And and, the political scene is just it’s a train wreck. And and then our own culture with all the racial tensions and the the cancel culture, there’s just everybody’s out to get everybody else. And I have said even in our own circles, I’m very very distressed about the mentality that tends to divide people even within the church and and, our identification as conservative holiness people into us and them.

Folks, we’re not us and them. We’re the family of God. Amen? Yes. May God never allow us to be comfortable putting people in some other basket.

We are in God’s basket, the family of God, and the call of the word is as clear, as powerful, and specific as it can be to love one another, and first John 3 is a great place to start with that. We’re reading beginning at at verse 1 of first John chapter 3 behold what manner of love the father has bestowed on us that we should be called the children of god? Therefore, the world does not know us because it did not know him. Beloved, now are we the children of God and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when he is revealed we shall be like him and we’re not yet there we’re still seeing through the glass darkly and and failing to fully understand one another but we shall be like him for we shall see him as he is and everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself even as he is pure. Verse 10.

In this, the children of god and the children of the devil are manifest. Whoever does not practice righteousness or purify himself is not of god nor is he who does not love his brother. For this is the message that you’ve heard from from the beginning, that we should love one another, not as Cain, who was of that wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous.

Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you, we know that we have passed from death to life because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death Whoever loves or hates his brother is a murderer and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him By this we know love because he laid down his life for us and we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world’s goods and sees his brother in need and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of god abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue but in deed and in truth. And by this, we know that we are of the truth and shall assure our hearts before him.

Reading down through verse 18 of first John chapter 3 What does love truly mean in these verses? So what is the implication of it? There’s so many various levels and implications of the word love in our english language. Everything from loving a good hot dog, which I’m guilty of, to loving God or loving your wife or loving your children. And people learning the English language are confused as to what you mean.

You love hot dog I thought you only love your wife no, well okay In the Greek language in which our new testaments were written there are 4 words that are used for love the first two of them are actually more implied than they are specifically used. There’s the the the basic form of love which is eros from which the word erotic comes and has been misconstrued and it simply refers to or or speaks of fleshly passion natural desire the desire of a mate. And, again, it’s not used specifically in the new testament, but it’s referenced on a number of of occasions throughout the new testament. The second one less familiar is storge and s t o r g e, and it speaks of family love and that is instinctive or natural even animals have family love love their offspring, and, it is truly the love of a mother, that is just instinctive and natural. That word is not used specifically but Paul writes of those who’s in the in the last days in Romans 1 who are without storge without natural affect affections so the, contrast of that word is used and of course the New Testament is very clear in its admonitions to family love and we need it in these days by the way.

We need a revival of good family love. Amen? The last 2 are very clearly and often used in the scriptures and that is fileo from which the word the name of the city of Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love comes and it is simply brotherly love but it is not necessarily instinctive. It is more, a chosen love. In other words, I choose to love Jonathan Slagan White.

He’s my brother. He’s my friend. I choose to love Bob Ravenscraft. It’s not just because I can’t resist liking them, you know. It’s it’s more a choice, and it’s less instinctive.

And you don’t find this necessarily in the animal world, but you do find it among humans. And you would think that might be the word that that the apostle John is using in this passage, but it’s not. There is one higher and that is the love that god has for each and every one of us, and it’s the word agape, which many of us are familiar with. It’s a word that’s often used, in churches, and, you’ll you’ll read of agape love. And it is, and I like to base my definition on what I learned from doctor Leslie Wilcox, who used to attend our church many years ago.

Doctor Wilcox said it is simply the love of choice, not innate passion or desire, not necessarily attraction but choice. And it is divinely sourced and divinely enabled. So that is the love that John is writing of here in these these verses in first John chapter 3. Now for a clear understanding of that, turn over the gospel of John, if you with will with me this morning, and chapter 15 of John’s gospel. And there Jesus himself lays out what agape love is.

We find it beginning in verse 9. As the father loved me, agape love, I also have loved you. Every one of these are agape. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I as I have kept my father’s commandments and abide in his love.

These things I have spoken to you that my joy may remain in you and that your joy may be full. This is my commandment that you love one another agape as I have loved you. So what is the level God is calling us to love one another? It’s agape, the highest form of love love, the love that brought Jesus from heaven to this world, to be our savior. And this is what he says about that love.

Verse 13, greater love has no man than this, than to lay down his life for his for his friends. You are my friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants for a servant does not know what his master’s doing, but I have called you friends. For all things that I heard from my father, I made known to you. You did not choose me.

Here it is. I chose you. God doesn’t love you because you chose him. He just couldn’t resist you. You were just so cute.

You know? He just couldn’t resist. No. He loved you when you were anything but cute. He loved you in your worst estate.

You didn’t choose me. I chose you and appointed you that you should bear fruit and your fruit should remain. And whatever you ask the father in my name he may give it you these things I command you. Why? That you love one another.

I call you friends. I think about that. Wow. God calls me friend. You did not choose me.

I chose you. I’m I’m so thankful that I wasn’t raised or taught that god randomly elects or selects some people to be saved and some to be damned. Aren’t you? Are you thankful that you’re not taught that? No.

It’s my understanding in God’s word that it’s whosoever will. Amen? That it’s not God’s will that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. How serious is God about it? Jesus said I lay down my life for you.

That’s how serious he is about it. So let’s look in this passage again and let’s get a better understanding of the biblical command to love one another and go a beat a bit deeper in this. And we are coming back to this this evening in our in our breakup groups to discuss it. So it’s important that you maybe make a note or 2 as we go through this. First, I wanna talk to you about the inspiration to love one another.

And I’m just gonna give you a list of verses straight from the word of God. Okay? And you’ll have those in your notes this evening, but, they’re also here this morning. 1st John 4 verse 11 and John is the apostle of love he writes a lot about it most of our references to this matter of love come from John’s writings Beloved 1st John 411 If God so loved us we also ought to love one another Amen. First John 4:19, we love because he first loved us.

First, John’s gospel chapter 13 in verse 34, a new commandment I give you, Jesus, that you love one another even as I have loved you that you also love one another. John’s gospel chapter 15 verse 12. This is my commandment that you love one another as I have loved you. Are you getting it? We’re talking about the inspiration to love one another.

And then in the writings of Paul in Romans chapter 13 verse 8, Owe no man anything except to love one another for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. The inspiration to love one another comes straight from the mouth of our lord, from the law, from the word of God. Amen? And exemplified for us in Christ himself. The inspiration is modeled for us in God’s love for us.

Well, there may be somebody here this morning that is not really feeling love. You’re not feeling it, the love of God for you. And maybe you’re not feeling much love from other people as well. May I affirm to to you this morning from my heart and I’ve prayed about this earnestly over the last few days and especially this morning. God, help me to help somebody today realize you love them.

You care about them. This church loves you. This church cares about you because we are God’s people expressing God’s love. And may I affirm to you the most familiar verse in all the Bible probably, and I need you to say it with me. For god so loved me.

Change out the word the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever amen Whosoever that includes me. I’m thankful for that this morning. But it includes you whosoever believeth in him need not perish but have eternal life. Hallelujah. God didn’t send his son into the world to condemn the world.

The next verse says, but that the world through him might come to know his love and be safe. You know, Israel was feeling alone and forsaken taken and forgotten and God said to them in Isaiah 49 verse 15 through his prophet, can a nursing mother forget her child? No. He said, I have inscribed you in the palms of my hands. I see Jesus holding out nail scarred hands as he says that, saying to us, I have the reminder of my love for you right here in the nail prints in my hand.

Friend, may I emphasize to you this morning, you’re not forgotten God loves you Most of our concepts of love are based on emotional or physical attraction my love of hotdogs is based on that only not on my doctor’s advice but on just how I like hotdogs And there’s something about whatever it is we say we love whether it’s our dog, our hot dog, your family, your car, or truck It it’s just something appealing about it, you know? And all of us have a different taste whether it’s food or automobiles, vehicles, there’s just something about it that appeals to us. Some of us like fishing. Some of us like hiking. Hiking.

Some of us like whatever. Well, this is not the case with agape love. And that’s why some people struggle with it. They want this overwhelming euphoric desire to sweep over them. And and they’re willing to let God do that to them.

So they’ll kinda go to church and say, well, here I may am, Lord. If you want me to love you, make me love you. Well, God’s not gonna make you love him. You have to do what Jesus said god has done there in John 15. You didn’t choose me.

I chose you It’s a decision It’s a choice And Paul writes about what God did in Romans chapter 5 in verse 6 When we were still without strength in due time, Christ died for the ungodly. Scarcely for a righteous man will one die, but perhaps for a good man some would die. But God demonstrates his love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. God loved us. God sent his only begotten son to die in our place when we were aliens and strangers and enemies in our minds by wicked works and unloving.

He chose to love us. Amen? Are you thankful He loved you when you were unlovely and unloving His selfish, sacrificial love for us to whom he owes nothing. He owes us nothing when we were at our worst is the inspiration for us to love him and not only love him but to love one another. So do we love one another just because we just can’t resist loving each other or liking each other?

Well, that’s the case in some place. You know, some of you are just so likable you can’t be resisted. I’m trying to think of who that is. It’s in my notes but okay. Cathy.

I know Cathy is the one. There you go. That’s the world’s concept of love, isn’t it? You just can’t resist. They’re just so they’re such nice people.

How can you not like them? Well, friends, that’s not why we love one another in the church. Amen? We need to get this this morning. It’s not because we just can’t resist one another.

It’s because we are part of the family of God and we love one another because he loved us first And let me tell you what my friends, that love is redemptive. When you love people on purpose, you love people when they’re not lovely and they’re not loving. They’re actually everything but lovely and loving. They’re ornery and resistant, but you still love them. Amen?

A dear friend of mine in ministry many years ago lost his way, backslid, wound wound up homeless in another state and lost. We no one knew where he was or what he was. His family broke apart. His marriage. It was just disastrous.

But one of our friends got him on his heart and just set aside days in his schedule and went to the area, the general general area that he knew he was, that he started to search an investigation. He was the next military guy with some knowledge. And sure enough, he started making contacts and tracking, and he finally narrowed it down till on a hot summer day on a sidewalk. He saw him, and he’s walking down the street behind him, and he called his name. And that man who had been so gifted in ministry turned around in all of his lostness and brokenness and looked into the face of a former friend and he said the the the the lost man said to him, why?

Why? Why are you pursuing me? Why do you care? Why are you here? And my friend wrapped his arms around him and said, because I love you, and God loves you, and he’s not done with you.

I’m glad to report to you that started that poor man on a return journey. It hasn’t been easy, but it’s been a return journey. I’m thinking of a day when I went to a far distant state, and some of you would know who I’m talking about this morning, to preach in a bible college. And god put a young man on my heart that had been in our church here in Easley that had a powerful testimony, but it had a brokenness in his life. And last I knew was angry and bitter and lost as he could be.

And I managed to figure out how to get a message to him. And I said to put you on my heart. I’m in the area. I’m gonna see you. I’m coming to see you or you’re coming to see me, 1 or the other.

And he showed up and had every plan to sneak away, but I had somebody watching for him to grab him and took him out to a restaurant that night after the service. I sat across the table from looked him in the eyeball, and this is what I said. You may be done with God, but god is not done with you. Folks, there’s people in this community that used to sit in our pews that have somehow become convinced god didn’t love them anymore. The church doesn’t love them.

Somebody needs to look those people in the face and say, you may be done with God, but God is not done with you. He loves you. That’s redemptive. God is calling us as his people not to love because we can’t resist it, but because he loves. To love on purpose.

Amen? To love by choice. You probably ought to just look at somebody right now and say I choose to love you I choose to love you I don’t love you because I can’t help it I choose to love you You know what? That’s a good thing to say to your wife once in a while. Because once in a while your wife is not well, let’s don’t go there.

Probably good thing to say to your husband because sometimes your husband is just not is not it’s just irresistible. Right? You love him anyway. You choose to love. And yes, your kids, especially your kids I love you though I don’t like you Amen?

Got it? The inspiration for this loving one another, the second is the indication and boy, I gotta move. How significant or critical is it that we love one another? Is it an is it optional? Is it a nice add on to the Christian life?

Is it a personality thing? It’s just a gift. Some people are just gifted at loving people. Do I have to? I can hear somebody asking that right now.

Well, let’s let the word of god speak to it again. You ready? 1st John chapter 3 verse 14. We know that we passed from death to life because we dress a certain way or we give a certain testimony or we’ve had these experiences at an an altar. No.

Because we love the brethren and whoever does not love abides in death, spiritual death. First John 47, beloved let us not love one another or let us love one another for love is from God and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. It’s pretty important. Right? 1st John 4 verse 8.

The one who does not love does not know God. So how critical is this? If you don’t love, you don’t know god for god is love. First John chapter 4 verse 12. No one has seen God at any time.

If we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. That’s how important it is. 1st John 4 verse 20. If someone says I love god and doesn’t love his brother or hate his brother, he’s a liar. Wow.

For the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen how can he love god whom he’s not seen? And then John’s gospel 13, chapter 13 verse 35 by this all men will know that you’re my disciples if you have loved one for another. That’s how important this is. So the indication of love of our love for one another is that we belong to God. We are modeling that love.

But somebody says, but preacher I’m not naturally a loving person I’m just not naturally loving I’m not gifted in that way I would just reemphasize. We’re not talking about natural here. We’re not talking about gifts. We’re talking about choosing to love. Agape love.

Loving because we’ve been loved. Jesus said to the woman who broke the priceless alabaster box and anointed the feet of Jesus the one who has forgiven little loves little but the one who’s forgiven much loves much. So the question I have for you this morning is have you been forgiven? Then love. If God’s loved you, if God has forgiven you, if God has cared about you, that ought to inspire all the love in the world.

You cannot say you love God and love your or not love your brother or sister and that’s why this series is weighing so heavily on the heart of our good pastor He wants us as a congregation of people to love God. He wants the blessings of God on us. And, we’re not talking about something that’s a nice not optional add on to the church or in our lives. This is critical. We know that we passed from death to life not just individually but as a church because we love one another and he who does not love abides in death Folks, a good pastor doesn’t want his church abiding in death amen So we must love one another and we need a revival of genuine genuine heart love for one another.

Love for God but also love for for one another. Otherwise, we’re abiding in death. We’re dying church. The third thing we’re gonna talk about is the confirmation of our love for one another how will this love for one another be manifest? How is it demonstrated in our lives?

1st John chapter 3 verse 18 Little children let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. It’s not just rhetoric, folks. Not just romance. It’s not just a nice song we sing from the songbook like we did this morning. It’s not testimony.

It’s not doctrine. It’s indeed and in truth. It’s not fakery. It’s not pretending. It’s real 1st Peter chapter 1 verse 22 Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren fervently love one another from the heart.

And what does that look like? Paul tells us in Ephesians chapter 4 verse 32, be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you. Peter writes in 1st Peter 4 and 18, above all, keep fervent love in your heart for one another for love this kind of love covers a multitude of sins. Oh, don’t let that rock your doctrine too hard Amen? Divine love caused you to be compassionate, loving, tenderhearted, forgiving.

And it it, by the grace of god, deals with the sin issue within the church, within your own life. So the word of god’s clear 1st John 316 we know love by this he laid his life down for us we ought also to lay down our lives for the brethren. So it’s clear that this love, this agape love is manifested in tenderness towards one another and readily forgiving one another and willing to put failures behind us and giving selflessly, sacrificially for one another and that’s so contrary to the spirit of our culture and of our age this age, this culture is all about me all about me kindness and selflessness and consideration and thoughtfulness and humility wow Those are not the spirit of this age. But those are the spirits of this love. And that’s how it’s manifest in our world.

Can I just vent for a moment with a little pet peeve? Just an illustration of what I’m talking about. Leaving your shopping cart in the middle of the parking lot. When there’s a cart corral 50 feet away. Y’all hear what I’m saying?

That’s inconsiderate. That’s not kind. That’s not loving. Okay. I’m done with that.

There’s a 1,000 ways our current culture is living out the polar opposite of what the preacher is trying to preach this morning. And we need some good examples of people who are selfless. Amen? Considerate I love how our young parents in this church are training their children to be considerate and loving towards especially us older people loved it this morning. They’re holding the door open for us when I pulled up to let my parents out for church today.

I love it. I love it. That’s what I’m talking about. And you know what? It wouldn’t hurt you as you’re going into the store or whatever to look around and see some elderly person coming and and just forget your hurry for a minute and back up and hold the door.

Most of these doors open on their own these days. But if you need to hold a door, open a door or get a shopping cart for them or help them. Could I give you a little homework for this week? You alright with that, pastor? You okay with that?

Could you think of some ways that you might one time a day, just once a day, do something considerate for somebody something that you might not have done otherwise and and just maybe we’ll have a pop quiz next Sunday night I’m joking but my guess is if you do that you’ll find there will be some people that will be very expressive of gratitude and appreciation. I’ve been asking I’ve been forcing myself, making sure that I when I when I go through a cashier and boy, I don’t like the self checkout thing because it breaks down some of this and it’s robbing people a job. But nonetheless, sometimes I’ll choose the cashier over the self check simply because it gives me an opportunity to do a little interaction. And I’ve been saying to myself, don’t let this moment pass without saying something nice to the cashier. And you know, it’s as simple as saying, how’s your day going?

And sometimes they’ll say, hey. Great day. Having a good day. And one young man the other day gave me a testimony. But many times, most of the times, they’re saying, hey.

It’s been rough. It’s been hard. I’m sorry. I hope it goes better for you. And sometimes, I’ll just open the door.

If there’s a bunch of people in line behind you, you probably shouldn’t go too far with that, but no. Just little things like that. The nurse at the doctor’s office wherever it is, let people know there’s compassion in your heart And then the last thing I wanna talk to you about is the interconnection of our loving one another. That’s what God wants to do in his in his church. 1st Thessalonians 312, increase and abound in love for one another and for all people, just as we also do for you.

That loving one another brings an increasing and abounding until God’s people have become known as a loving people and by this people know. 1st Corinthians 12 25, that there should be no schism in the body. Members should have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all the members suffer with him. And if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with him.

You are the body of Christ. Amen? 2nd Corinthians 1 verse 3 to 7. Blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the father of mercies, the God of all comfort, who comforts us in our tribulation. Why?

That we may be able to comfort those who are in tribulation or in any trouble with the comfort wherewith we’ve been comforted. Amen? Yes. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us so also cons our consolation also abounds through Christ. Now if we’re suff or if we’re afflicted, it’s for your consolation.

Salvation which is effective for the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer. If we’re comforted, it’s for your consolation and salvation. And our hope for you is steadfast because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings so also you will be partakers of the consolation. So that is what Christ’s church should look like. When we go through uses pastor, uses other members of the body of Christ of the church to be an encouragement and blessing, we realize this is a blessing.

And then when someone else is going through it, we think about how it was a blessing to us, and we do the same for them. And often, we can we can comfort them through what God did for us in those moments. That’s what it’s supposed to be. So the question this morning is, am I enabling the church to look like that? Or am I hindering Easley Bible Methodist Church from truly demonstrating the love of Christ within the body and within the world.

That’s what the church should look like. Some time ago I was preaching a camp meeting evangelism team, get it out, from hope’s And I And I was just very blessed watching a beautiful young lady, very gifted, very talented, and very used of God in that camp. And then God put on my heart to share a message and I called that girl up to stand beside me and scared her half to death. And I said, I gotta tell you a story. Easy Bible Methodist Church many, many years ago, couple in that church, both are gone.

Couple in that church that were about as countrified, I guess I could probably say redneck, and it wouldn’t have been to them as it gets. Some of y’all figuring out who I’m talking about already. She’s amazing. He’s just a redneck. One of my buddies.

God really worked in their lives. And he’s a seabear. And boy, some of you remember, he couldn’t stand it till I had a CB radio in my little pickup truck. I had one of them antennas that you had to tie down. It was so tall.

I got a handle. My handle was the circuit rider. He had a big powerful base station, lived up in the country in the middle of nowhere. Some of you been to that house, way back down the lane, pit And the fire usually going in the evenings and sometime a pot of beans cooking on it. And he’d get on that radio and just talk.

It was a teenage boy roaming around in an old beat up pickup truck in this town. Parents had divorced, broken, and lost as he could be. Pretty well homeless, just bouncing from place to place, making it through school simply because he was a good ball player. But he had a CB radio in his truck. And guess who found him and said to him, hey.

You like to eat? What teenage boy doesn’t like to eat, especially if he doesn’t have a mama cooking for him? How about coming up here and eating supper with us? He found his way down that long lane and sat down at that table, and they put that amazing spread in front of him, and he was hooked. I mean, the hook was set.

And they began to reel him in and Sam said to him, you know, the only way you can eat my table is if you go to church with me. So come Sunday, he was sitting on a pew beside him. God got a hold of that boy in an amazing way. He came to an altar and gave his heart and life to Jesus Christ. Wound up at Hope’s Sound.

Met and married a wonderful Christian girl, have lived their lives serving the Lord to this day. And that teenage girl doing that youth ministry in that camp is their daughter. Some of you probably saw a Facebook post recently that Danny’s celebrating his 50th 50th birthday. I believe it was. Raised a beautiful family, been involved in ministry, including missions.

How? Why? Because people that weren’t highly equipped with all kind of evangelistic things just loved. Just loved. Just loved.

I could not help but think. There are people like that all around us, touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness, cords that are broken can vibrate once more. Rescue the perishing. I cannot tell you personally this morning how thankful Kathy and I are that we got to raise our children in Easley Bible Methodist Church, a church that I said across the years has never had anything of major schism or conflict. It just loved one another, Been unified.

What a legacy that is. But folks, I believe God is calling us and I believe the purpose and aim of our pastor is not just to call us to be more loving within the walls, within the social structure of this church, but that that love would get out, Lorraine. I can’t help but think of so many illustrations back in the day. God used you and Paul to touch base. It’s good to see you.

God used you and Paul to touch base. It’s good and arranged here this morning. God wants to do that again. There’s girls like Valerie standing under a railroad trestle, wet and pregnant, that Lorraine brought to church. God wants to do that again.

We’ve got to get our minds off of just being comfortable. We’ve got to start loving intentionally. Some of you need to love some family members intentionally that have become hard to love. You need to say to God, God, I need a fresh baptism of agape love. I believe he wants to do that.

Pastor, I want you to come. I want us to stand this morning. I want the pastor to close as he sees fit this morning. May God help us. And I would just remind you before you leave here today, it wouldn’t it would be a good thing for you to just go up somebody and say, god loves you, and I choose to love you too.

Amen. Let’s sing this little chorus together. He is here. Hallelujah. He is here.

His name again. He is here. Listen closely. Hear him calling out your name. Touch him.

You bow your head with me? Lord, you are here today and you’re calling us to love. Lord, we confess as a congregation that the love that you’re calling us to is hard. Brother Parker shared, it’s divinely sourced, and we acknowledge that there are times in our humanity it’s not easy to love. There are people that are unlovely.

There are times that we just recoil. And yet, lord, you demonstrated the way in which we’re called to love. And so I pray this morning as your holy spirit is speaking to us, maybe there are some here this morning that you’re saying you’ve allowed things to get between you and someone else, maybe within the church. And as a result of that, the love relationship has been broken. Maybe there are some here this morning that we’ve gotten so comfortable sitting in pews, have nice padding, and we’re just comfortable with the people around us that we’ve lost sight, that there’s a world out there that’s broken, and they understand hate.

They don’t understand the love that would compel somebody to be a like a Sam who would just say, why don’t you come over for lunch or dinner? Lord, would you help us to see others as you see them, and would you put within our hearts a love that is deep within that flows because you’ve forgiven us. May our love for one another stem from that truth that you have forgiven us. And as a result of being your children, we bear the marks of your life and that is a life of love for others. And so I pray that you would help us to divinely love one another.

Would you help us tonight as we work through these passages of scripture and this idea that it would become more than just a message that we hear, but a life that we live. Help us to know how to walk this truth out this week, I pray. In Jesus name, amen. Amen. The lord bless you.

You are dismissed. Let’s look forward to our time together tonight.

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