Ephesus Baptist Church
Service 2-28-2021 AM
      • John 13:34–35ESV

      • Bible Trivia
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  • In The Presence Of Jehovah
      • Psalm 130:3–5ESV

      • Isaiah 6:1–13ESV

      • John 12:36–50ESV

  • In Your Presence O God
  • I Love to Tell the Story
      • John 13:34–35ESV

  • Call to Worship

    There's Something About That Name

    Welcome

    Extemporaneous.
    Ephesians 3:14–19 ESV
    14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

    Old Testament Scripture Reading

    Stephen
    Psalm 145 ESV
    A Song of Praise. Of David. 1 I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. 2 Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. 3 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable. 4 One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts. 5 On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate. 6 They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds, and I will declare your greatness. 7 They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness and shall sing aloud of your righteousness. 8 The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. 9 The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made. 10 All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord, and all your saints shall bless you! 11 They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom and tell of your power, 12 to make known to the children of man your mighty deeds, and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. 13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations. The Lord is faithful in all his words and kind in all his works. 14 The Lord upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down. 15 The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. 16 You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing. 17 The Lord is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works. 18 The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. 19 He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them. 20 The Lord preserves all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy. 21 My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord, and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.

    New Testament Scripture Reading

    Wayne
    1 Corinthians 12:27–13:13 ESV
    27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 28 And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way. 1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

    Prayer of Invocation

    Wayne Sullivan

    Songs of Worship

    I Sing Praises
    At Calvary

    Introduction

    If someone were to ask you to narrow down the Christian faith to one word that would mark or identify Christianity, what word would you choose? What is the greatest mark of Christianity?
    Would it be something found on a t-shirt or a bumper sticker? Would it be the fish magnet found on the back of your car? What about the Bible, that you hopefully read everyday? Or the cross you wear around your neck? What would you say is the greatest identifying trait of our faith?
    The greatest mark of the church, the greatest mark of Christianity is “LOVE!” The more excellent way described by Paul in 1 Corinthians 12:31.
    1 Corinthians 13:1–3 ESV
    1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
    Without love Christianity falls apart at the seems!
    What kind of love should we represent to the world?
    C.S. Lewis wrote a book called The Four Loves, dealing with the four classical loves, usually spoken of by their Greek names, Eros, Storge, Philia, and Agape. Only the last two are used in explicitly in the Bible, but the first two are clearly implied as well, albeit in a less important role.
    Eros, ἔρως | Storge, Στοργή | Philia, Φιλία | Agape, Ἀγάπη
    Eros, ἔρως (romantic, sexual love) is a good gift of God to human beings when used in the right container of holy matrimony. Next we have Storge.
    Storge, (Affection as Lewis calls it) is there too. Στοργή is a familial affection, the kind that comes from kinship or close contact. God feels this for us in our role as His adopted children and in His role as our Parent. Eros, Storge, then we have Philia.
    Philia, Φιλία is the love of friendship, often called brotherly love, it is where we get the name of Philadelphia from, you know, the city of brotherly love.
    This is not an affection that comes from kinship or long contact. This is the kind of love that is voluntarily acted upon due to a shared interest or viewpoint or activity that fosters the blossoming of friendship; you don’t choose your family, but you do choose your friends.
    Its opposite is called phobia. Something is said to be hydrophilic when it readily mixes with or is attracted to water, while something hydrophobic naturally repels or doesn’t mix with water. So with humans: we just mix with and are attracted to certain people, and become fast friends with them. Finally, we have Agape.
    Agape, Ἀγάπη, is a word that is relatively unused in Classical Greek outside of the New Testament. It is the love that was revealed to us in the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ and made real in us by the Holy Spirit.
    Agape love is a spontaneous love that is uncaused by merit. Agape is a love that creates value in the one loved and opens up the way to fellowship with God. This love is radically different than anything that the world calls love. Agape is the love displayed by God to fallen mankind saved by His grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
    Agapē, in the sense of Godlike love, is clearly distinguished from the rest. The first three are all natural, even to fallen man, whereas Godlike agapē-love is not. All four are essentially God-given, but sin in fallen humanity has badly distorted the first three, and effectively banishes agapē until the grace of the Holy Spirit of Christ begins to recreate it in regeneration, and renews a person progressively in God’s image.
    Romans 5:5 ESV
    5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
    When we become a believer in Christ, notice that the inspired Word of God says that God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the gift of the Holy Spirit.
    This pouring or more literally outpouring suggests to us a free flowing of God’s abundant love into our hearts. We are inundated by God’s love. This is a finished work of the Spirit of God, not an ongoing work. Our hearts are flooded with the knowledge of God and the flood waters never recede. We live, in the words of J.I. Packer, “…in the enjoyment of a strong and abiding sense of God’s love for” us.
    Casting Crowns recorded a worship song over a decade ago that catches a glimpse of this love that we are flooded with. Listen to the lyrics.
    Your love is extravagant
    Spread wide in the arms of Christ is the love that covers sin
    No greater love have I ever known; you considered me a friend
    Capture my heart again
    God’s love is extravagant and our love should be also. Extravagant is a word that means exceeding the limits of reason or necessity. It also carries the connotation of costliness or lavishness. God spent much more than was necessary to reveal His love toward us!

    Sermon Series: Extravagant Love!

    Today, we are going to start a three week sermon series titled Extravagant Love: This week we are going to meditate upon “The Extravagant Love of God!” Next week, we are going to ponder anew “How we show Extravagant Love to our Neighbor!” Finally, brother Stephen Nobles, will discuss “how we should be defined by our extravagant love for one another.”

    The Extravagant Love of God!

    If you have a copy of God’s Word, please join me in 1 John 4:7-21. Please Stand in Honor of the Reading of God’s Word!
    1 John 4:7–21 ESV
    7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 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. 10 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. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 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. 17 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. 18 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. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 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. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
    Prayer for Illumination
    Don’t fear, I know our time is getting short. We are not going to focus on that whole passage, but I wanted us to read it for the context. Today, we are going to focus on one main phrase that is repeated twice in our passage, “God is Love.”
    The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition Chapter 4

    ὁ θεὸς ἀγάπη ἐστίν.

    God is Love!

    The God of whom John is teaching is the God who created the Universe, who judged the world by bringing a global flood, who called Abram Abraham and promised to make him into a peculiar nation for God’s glory, who chastened and disciplined the people of the Old Testament, who sent his only Son Jesus into the world to save it, who would cast off unbelieving Israel and destroy Jerusalem right before John wrote his letters and gospel, who will one day judge the whole of humanity in righteousness. This is the God that John says agape estin, is love.
    When we discuss God’s attributes or what makes God..God, Love is often one of the qualities most associated with Him, and rightly so. Love is the quality of God that provides us ground for hoping that we as sinful humanity have any basis for obtaining a right relationship with God.
    The great news is that God is not only loving. The Bible teaches us that God is not easily defined by one attribute alone, there are many ways that God has revealed Himself to us.
    In our day, as in John’s, many people have a hard time reconciling God is Love with the other attributes of God. What they fail to realize is that it is impossible to argue that a loving God cannot also be a just and holy God.
    John, who under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit wrote the passage we just read, who wrote to us that God is love, also wrote that God is Spirit and that God is light! Let’s briefly look at what that means as we wrap our minds around God’s extravagant love for us.

    God is Spirit

    When John recorded Jesus’ interaction with the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4, John teaches us that Jesus taught that God is Spirit. Not God was a Spirit, God is Spirit.
    John 4:24 ESV
    24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
    Jesus was making the point that God, being Spirit, is not limited in the scope of His being or in this case of His locality. We can worship God anywhere so long as our heart is receptive and responsive to His revelation.
    God is not flesh, he has no body, therefore He is free from all restrictions of space, time, and distance. He is everywhere at all times…He is omnipresent.
    As Spirit, God never changes.
    James 1:17 ESV
    17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
    There are no inconsistencies with God. He is what He says He is. When He tells us He is love, then He means it. The love of God is set in stone, it cannot be quenched.
    Song of Solomon 8:6–7 ESV
    6 Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the Lord. 7 Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If a man offered for love all the wealth of his house, he would be utterly despised.
    Romans 8:35–39 ESV
    35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
    John also defined God as light.

    God is Light

    1 John 1:5 ESV
    5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
    In this verse, John is dealing with believers who have lost touch with the reality of sin in their own lives. John says, “that God is light.” Light always means holiness in reference to God. Light is pure.
    John goes on to say, “…in Him is no darkness at all.” Darkness means sin, impurity, unrighteousness. John calls his readers to walk in the light. He wants us to be like God in holiness and righteous living.
    1 John 1:6–7 ESV
    6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
    There is a growing tendency to define love in terms of tolerance in our society, when in reality tolerance is far too weak for biblical love. Biblical love is holy love because God’s love is holy love.
    God’s extravagant love cares too much for us to tolerate impurity and unholy living.
    God’s extravagant love cares too much for us to allow sinful self-destructive attitudes and actions to manifest themselves in our lives.
    Tolerance accepts others as they are and leaves them as they are. Tolerance is not love, but cowardice.
    Love accepts others as they are, but cares too much for them to allow them to harm themselves. Love yearns for others to be all that they can be in God.
    Love seeks by all possible means to motivate and encourage others to pursue the light and righteousness of the God who is love.
    Tolerance is easy and deadly.
    Holy love is much more costly, but provides life.
    J.I. Packer has said,
    The God whom Jesus made known is not a God who is indifferent to moral distinctions, but a God who loves righteousness and hates iniquity…He will not take into His company any person, however orthodox in mind, who will not follow after holiness of life.
    God’s love is stern like a loving Father’s love for His children.
    Hebrews 12:6–11 ESV
    6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” 7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
    God’s love is extravagant toward the individual sinner. So much so that angels rejoice at the repentance of every sinner.
    Luke 15:10 ESV
    10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
    Romans 5:8 ESV
    8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
    John 3:16 ESV
    16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
    Galatians 2:20 ESV
    20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
    Romans 8:32 ESV
    32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
    1 John 4:9–10 ESV
    9 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. 10 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.
    God is Love!
    A few points of application based on 1 John 4:7-21.
    Let us love one another, for love is from God.
    How we love reveals if we know God.
    Since God has loved us extravagantly, we should love one another likewise.
    As we love like God, His love is perfected in us.
    How we confess God before others indicates if God abides in us.
    God’s love flooding our soul should cast out our fear of this world and give us confidence in the day of judgment.
    Whoever loves God must also love his brother.
    The only reason we can experience agape love, is because God first loved us.
    God is Love and that means the world to us.
    Ask yourself:
    Are you content in the circumstances that God has placed you in because you know that He loves you?
    Why do I get fearful or depressed?
    How can I allow myself to ever grow cold, calloused and half-hearted in service to the God who loves me so extravagantly?
    Why do my loyalties become divided in light of God’s love for you?
    Today is Valentine’s Day.
    *****Share from your heart. ******
    Invitation:
    Meditate on these things and examine your heart before the God of love today!
    Prayer
    Hymn of Invitation:
    I Am Thine O Lord (I Am Thine)
      • John 13:34–35ESV

      • John 13:34–35ESV

      • Matthew 22:40ESV

      • John 13:34ESV

      • Leviticus 19:33–34ESV

      • Romans 13:7–10ESV

      • Galatians 5:13–15ESV

      • Ephesians 5:1–2ESV

      • James 2:8–9ESV

      • John 13:34–35ESV

      • John 13:34–35ESV

  • Just As I Am (Woodworth)
      • John 13:34–35ESV

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