Home Service: Sunday 20 September2020 ~ compiled by Louise Ratcliffe on the theme of ‘Love’.
Lord Jesus, take me this day and use me. Take my lips and speak through them. Take my mind and think through it. Take my will and act through it. And fill my heart with utmost love for you. As we worship you this day, lead us and guide us by your Holy Spirit. Amen
Song: ‘How deep the Fathers love for us’ by Stuart Townend https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzQj7XvKFmA
How deep the Father’s love for us, How vast beyond all measure, That He should give His only Son To make a wretch His treasure. How great the pain of searing loss – The Father turns His face away, As wounds which mar the Chosen One Bring many sons to glory. Behold the man upon a cross, My sin upon His shoulders; Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice Call out among the scoffers. It was my sin that held Him there Until it was accomplished; His dying breath has brought me life – I know that it is finished. I will not boast in anything, No gifts, no power, no wisdom; But I will boast in Jesus Christ, His death and resurrection. Why should I gain from His reward? I cannot give an answer; But this I know with all my heart – His wounds have paid my ransom.
Do you remember these cartoons from the 70’s and 80’s?
God’s love is so much more powerful than our worldly view of love, his love is an Agape love. We read about this in:
1 Corinthians 13 (New International Version)
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
A song maybe from our childhood but with words so relevant and true. His is the greatest love we can experience.
Song: Jesus Loves Me https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0NkzLLNPmA
Jesus loves me, this I know For the Bible tells me so Little ones to Him belong They are weak, but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me Yes, Jesus loves me Yes, Jesus loves me The Bible tells me so. Jesus loves me, He who died Heaven’s gate to open wide He will wash away my sin Let His little child come in. Yes, Jesus loves me…
Lord we come before you now and bring before you all those folks that we love………… We bring before you our families and friends our neighbours our workmates. Lord we dare even to bring before you those that we try hard to love but sometimes it is difficult………. Help us love one another as you love us, unconditionally and with no prejudice. We thank you for your Agape love for us and the unconditionality of it, even when we screw up and get it wrong Lord you still love us and we are special to you. Thank you. Amen
God has made us and he loves us so much.
The following is called “The Fathers Love Letter” and contains wonderful scripture to show us how much love he has for us. Great scriptures to reflect on and cherish.
My Child, You may not know me, but I know everything about you. (Psalm 139:1) I know when you sit down and when you rise up. (Psalm 139:2) I am familiar with all your ways. (Psalm 139:3) Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. (Matthew 10:29-31) For you were made in my image. (Genesis 1:27) In me you live and move and have your being. (Acts 17:28) For you are my offspring. (Acts 17:28) I knew you even before you were conceived. (Jeremiah 1:4-5) I chose you when I planned creation. (Ephesians 1:11-12) You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book. (Psalm 139:15-16) I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live. (Acts 17:26) You are fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14) I knit you together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13) And brought you forth on the day you were born. (Psalm 71:6) I have been misrepresented by those who don’t know me. (John 8:41-44) I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love. (1 John 4:16) And it is my desire to lavish my love on you. (1 John 3:1) Simply because you are my child and I am your Father. (1 John 3:1) I offer you more than your earthly father ever could. (Matthew 7:11) For I am the perfect father. (Matthew 5:48) Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand. (James 1:17) For I am your provider and I meet all your needs. (Matthew 6:31-33) My plan for your future has always been filled with hope. (Jeremiah 29:11) Because I love you with an everlasting love. (Jeremiah 31:3) My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore. (Psalm 139:17-18) And I rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17) I will never stop doing good to you. (Jeremiah 32:40) For you are my treasured possession. (Exodus 19:5) I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul. (Jeremiah 32:41) And I want to show you great and marvellous things. (Jeremiah 33:3) If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me. (Deuteronomy 4:29) Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4) For it is I who gave you those desires. (Philippians 2:13) I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine. (Ephesians 3:20) For I am your greatest encourager. (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17) I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4) When you are broken-hearted, I am close to you. (Psalm 34:18) As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart. (Isaiah 40:11) One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes. (Revelation 21:3-4) And I’ll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth. (Revelation 21:3-4) I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus. (John 17:23) For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed. (John 17:26) He is the exact representation of my being. (Hebrews 1:3) He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you. (Romans 8:31) And to tell you that I am not counting your sins. (2 Corinthians 5:18-19) Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled. (2 Corinthians 5:18-19) His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you. (1 John 4:10) I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love. (Romans 8:31-32) If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me. (1 John 2:23) And nothing will ever separate you from my love again. (Romans 8:38-39) Come home and I’ll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen. (Luke 15:7) I have always been Father and will always be Father. (Ephesians 3:14-15) My question is… will you be my child? (John 1:12-13) I am waiting for you. (Luke 15:11-32) Love. Your Dad. Almighty God. (Father’s Love Letter used by permission Father Heart Communications ©1999 FathersLoveLetter.com)
Song: ‘The Father’s Song’ by Matt Redman https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esapsbVXXsc
I have heard so many songs Listened to a thousand tongues But there is one that sounds above them all The Father’s song, the Father’s love You sung it over me And for eternity it’s written on my heart Heaven’s perfect melody The Creator’s symphony You are singing over me The Father’s song Heaven’s perfect mystery The King of Love has sent for me Now You’re singing over me The Father’s song
Thought: “What’s love got to do with it”
(1 Corinthians 13:1-13)
“Love is not merely an emotion, it is an exercise of the will to build up the other person, even at the expense of yourself.”
Do you remember the song from the 80’s by Tina Turner “What’s Love Got to Do with It?” Tina Turner in her song is singing about how there is a difference between the chemical “love” of infatuation and the deeper feelings of “love” that involves a commitment and emotional investment.
Tina is not alone in navigating these crazy feelings. Love is an important part of life that so many of us have a hard time understanding. For many Christians, as soon as we hear “love is patient, love is kind” we start hearing wedding bells! This profound and wonderful passage is often read at weddings. However, 1 Corinthians 13 has a greater depth of meaning.
One of the reasons that Paul wrote this letter to the Corinthian Church is because it was a mess. The congregation was full of all kinds of drama and sinful behaviour that threatened to ruin the witness of the Church to Jesus Christ. This is the context that we must think of the love passage.
This section of Corinthians about Love is all about how to correctly use the gift that God has given all of us. Love is about how to correctly use the freedom that we have as a Christian who has eternity to look forward to. And the love that Paul is speaking about is not the love of romance and infatuation. Paul is using the Greek word “Agape” which means self-sacrificing love. Agape love is behind all actions that put others first. This is the love with which God loves us by sending His son Jesus to die in order to restore our relationship with God.
This “agape” love is the same love that motivates people to give their lives up to save others. This love is the same love that motivates people to live their lives for others. It is the love that allows two people to remain married for many years, long after the infatuation has worn off.
Paul tells the Corinthians three things about the Love of God, which they are called to imitate.
Firstly, love is essential. Verses 1- 3. Anything we do, no matter how heroic, or fantastic needs to be motivated by love. This means that we must be doing the actions for the benefit of others and not ourselves. Otherwise, Paul says it is nothing, or useless. We can practice this kind of love by periodically checking our intentions. Everyone loves others when it feels good. When there is a benefit for the self. But what about when loving someone doesn’t feel good and is difficult. After all, time and time again, that is what Jesus did. We know “Agape” love is essential for Christians. How do we know if we are doing things for the right reasons? Motivations can change over time.
Secondly love is effective. In order to know if the essential love of God is present in our lives, we need to know what to look for. Paul spends verses 4 -7 describing what “Agape” love, or true Godly love looks like in our lives. For us, we can use this list of attributes of Godly love as a sort of litmus test to determine if our actions are motivated and carried out with Love. Sometimes it’s hard to look at ourselves objectively.
Thirdly, the Love of God that we are called to imitate in our actions is eternal. In verses 8-13 Paul explains to the Corinthians that all spiritual gifts, and all things of the world will end. But our choices, specifically our choices motivated by love, they will follow us into eternity.
The love of God is an action, not simply an affectionate feeling. This is the love with which God created us, and the love that caused God to sacrifice part of himself to save us. This love is essential to the life of a follower of Jesus.
This love is eternal. Love lasts longer than this world because we carry this love with us into eternity. This is the kind of love that each one of us is called to practice every day of our lives
Song: ‘Nobody Loves Me Like You’ by Chris Tomlin https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SG_IXFEO8yE
Morning, I see You in the sunrise every morning It’s like a picture that You’ve painted for me A love letter in the sky. Story, I could’ve had a really different story But You came down from heaven to restore me Forever saved my life. Nobody loves me like You love me, Jesus I stand in awe of Your amazing ways I worship You as long as I am breathing God, You are faithful and true Nobody loves me like You. Mountains, You’re breaking down. The weight of all my mountains Even when it feels like I’m surrounded You never leave my side, Nobody loves me like You love me, Jesus… Oh, what a song to sing. Jesus, You love me And I love You, God Nobody loves me like You love me, Jesus…
May the grace of God uphold you, the peace of God surround you, the love of God flow from you and the strength of God protect and bring you safely through this day. Amen