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Scriptures & Message for Twentieth Sunday After Pentecost, Oct. 10th, 2021

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First Reading   –   Lamentations 3:22-32

 

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in Him.” The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. Let him sit alone in silence when it is laid on him; let him put his mouth in the dust— there may yet be hope; let him give his cheek to the one who strikes, and let him be filled with insults. For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though He cause grief, He will have compassion according to the abundance of His steadfast love

 

 

 

Second Reading   –   1 John 4:7-21

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.  Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.  In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent His only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him.  In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and His love is perfected in us.

By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.  And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world.  Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.  So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.  By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as He is so also are we in this world.  There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.  We love because He first loved us.  If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.  And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

 

Gospel   –   John 11:28-37

When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying in private, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.”  And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to Him.  Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met Him.  When the Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary rise quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there.  Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw Him, she fell at His feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”  When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in His spirit and greatly troubled.  And He said, “Where have you laid Him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.”  Jesus wept.  So the Jews said, “See how He loved Him!”  But some of them said, “Could not He who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?”________________________________________________________________

MESSAGE
    “God Is Love” Text: 1 John 4:16

Let’s pray, May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, my Rock, and my Redeemer. Amen.

Our sermon text for today is found in 1 John 4:16: “So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him (and in her).

When we talk about stewardship, three words often come to mind. If I asked for a response, most of you would probably know which three words that I’m thinking about. Stewardship is often referred to as time, talents, and treasures. These are good words, and they would make a good sermon. However, stewardship is more than time, talents, and treasures, so, how do we define stewardship? Websters Dictionary gives us a good definition: “Stewardship is the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care.”

There is great theology in this definition because it talks about things entrusted to you. What does God entrust to you? Life, breath, food, shelter, all that we are and have.

Our focus is on something even more important and that is “love.” Love has everything to do with stewardship. God has entrusted us with His love. Because it has been entrusted to us, we are responsible for the management of it. We are stewards of the love that God gives to us. Love has everything to do with stewardship.

He has entrusted us with His greatest gift. That gift is faith. Faith in what Jesus has done for us. What have we done to receive His gifts? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Because God has given us faith, we can embrace His love and share that love. God’s amazing love for us has achieved its purpose in us when it causes us to love others. The faith that God gives us prevents the world, Satan, and our flesh from placing doubts in our minds. God creates and sustains our faith. Faith, hope, and love.

In any wedding that we’ve attended we hear that love is “patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way…love bears all things, believes all thing, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13). What Jesus asks of us is to reflect His love to others. What a deal that is. We receive all of God’s love and all we are asked is to love others. How do we understand what love is? From our Scripture verse for today, we learn that God is love. “God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

When you and I refer to love, we use one word: love. However, in scripture, love is communicated through four Greek words: Philia, Storge (pronounced STOR-jay), Eros, and Agape.

  • Philia love is the type of intimate and affectionate love in the Bible that most Christians practice toward each other. It is friendship type of love.
  • Storge love refers to family or familiar love. Love for others because you have something in common. The love that exists between parents and children, and brothers and sisters
  • Eros love refers to sensual or romantic love. It refers to sexual desire
  • Agape love defines God’s immeasurable, incomparable love for mankind. It is the divine love that comes from God. John 3:16 tells us: “For God so “agaped” the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Let me give you an example how the different forms of love were used. Following Jesus’ resurrection John 21: 15-, Jesus and Peter were having a conversation.

  1. Jesus asked: “Simon son of John, do you love Me?” The love word that Jesus was using was “agape.” He was asking Peter if he loved him unconditionally. The word that he used was Philia or brotherly love.
  2. For the second time, Jesus asked the identical question with the same agape love, “Simon, Son of John, do you love Me?” Peter answered the same way, in a philia love.
  3. When Jesus sadly questioned Peter the third time, He changed the Greek word for love (agape) to match the one Peter was using (Philia). It’s as if he was saying, “Okay, Simon, I won’t insist on a full-blown, sacrificial love. Jesus was trying to broaden Peter’s understanding of love. From the beginning of time, God has entrusted people with the management of His things. Through faith, we understand that God is the creator and owner of all things. He is the owner, and we are the stewards.

I want to share a wonderful hymn that conveys what stewardship is all about. “When I Survey the Wonderous Cross.”

Listen to these words, “When I survey the wondrous cross on which the prince of glory died, My richest gain I count but loss and pour contempt on all my pride…See from His head, His hands, His feet, sorrow and love flow mingled down. Did ever such love and sorrow meet, or thorns compose so rich a crown? Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were a tribute far too small; Love so amazing, so divine, Demands my soul, my life, my all!

That is stewardship. May God’s love overflow through us to others and may God’s love compel us to be the stewards that we were created to be.

Amen and Amen.