Inter-Community Church of God
April 11, 2021 Service
      • Psalm 133GS-NETBIBLE

      • Acts 4:32–33GS-NETBIBLE

  • The Results of God’s Love

    For the next several weeks until Pentecost, I will be teaching and preaching from the First Epistle of John, as series I an naming the Results of God’s Love. We just celebrated, once again, the reality of the resurrection of Jesus the Son of God, the Christ we put our hope in.
    The Cross is the symbol of the sacrifice God made for us as his own son Jesus died for sin in place of us; Jesus suffered Hell in our place; and the empty tomb is the symbol that God raised Jesus from the Dead because the work of the cross was complete.
    >>>Yet, as I shared last week, statistics show that more Americans believe in the reality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ than there are that believe that Jesus Christ makes a difference in their lives. So that brings me to another question that Americans face.

    Do I Need What God Offers?

    For some of us, that seems like a dumb question. In the past year, some of us have prayed harder and more often than ever before. We have been challenged by so many things that we know are bigger than ourselves, and there is nothing better we can do than pray to our Father in Heaven.
    But that is not the case for all of us. For many others, it has been a year of self-reliance. The mystery of what it might take to become infected by our latest unseen enemy has caused us to stockpile paper products, make sure we have lots of sanitizer and even more sanitizing wipes. The past year has been all about what we must do for ourselves to clean, protect, and feel secure in our own little capsules of life.
    Some have drawn closer to God. Some have found God. Some have forgotten God, and some have turned away from God.
    Some have re-made God in their own image, while others are more sure than ever that we are made in God’s own image. We are such two-faced personalities that what was certain for us 13 months ago is certainly suspect right now.
    We long for normalcy, and certainly for hugs. We long for God’s intervention in our despair and our depression. We are tired of worrying, tired of health departments and political figures telling us what we can and can’t do. The fact is that we are just plain tired of it all.
    Do I Need What Got Offers?
    Maybe what he offers is just the uncertainty of living.
    >>>Maybe what He offers is the constant worry of sickness.
    [CHART: Cases, 7 Days]
    After all, in the US there have been 31 Million cases of COVID-19; in the world there have been 136 Million cases, and that number is rising.
    >>>Maybe what He offers is the stark reality that our lives on earth will end.
    [CHART: Deaths, 7 Days]
    After all, if nothing else, we have been able to track the deadly results of a new virus in our modern day. In the US there have been 560,000 deaths, and in the World there have been 3 Million COVID-19 deaths. And the rate is rising again.
    But a little closer to home, we need to discover numbers that don’t make our heads spin. Like yesterday, when I heard that one of the 350 people that were in the 4 year high school the same time I attended in Rainier Oregon died just last week from a COVID-19 infection.
    Maybe what God offers is less than we need. Or maybe what he offers is just different than we have ever expected.
    Over all the pandemics and plagues the world has survived in recorded history, God has proven to be unchanged and ever-present.
    Yet that reality of God’s constancy has not kept us from the effects of these plagues.
    Do I Need What God Offers?
    I have had continuing opportunities to respond to some of the desperate needs of people over the past year, with some of the wisdom God has offered. And I find that we are more needy of God than we have ever been.
    Some people have discovered their inability to cope with life around them; others have found strength in applying themselves to the challenges at hand and seen how God’s hand has been apparent.
    Some have faced brutal pasts or childhood or teen or young adult abuses. God has proven faithful in doing the healing work that begins for us when we take the problems of our past and offer them to the God, the only Guardian of the eternal hope we have in Christ.
    You see, I don’t know exactly where any one of you are in your own dealings with the Love of God, the Grace of God, the Power of God, the Provision of God and in fact of just dealing with God.
    I continually hope and pray that for you the record of your own life has revealed just how active God has been at every step of the way.
    God allows us to match our many missteps, mistakes, and mis-behaviors with his manifold mercy and many at first unseen interventions in our situation. I pray that God’s work in your life has come to mind for you and your family.
    But like the rest of the world, we each have faced some kinds of the challenges of this last year.

    Struggles, Stress and Sadness

    Sickness, Sorrow and Suffering

    Assault, Sexual Abuse, and Shootings

    Psychological Struggles, Sexual Addictions and Sexual Fixations

    Scared, Scarred and Stuck

    Strength, Selfishness and Sinfulness

    In all of this, God is present. In all of this, God is still Good.
    But our strength can lead to selfishness and selfishness always leads to sinfulness
    Do I Need What God Offers?
    Yes—because what God offers is what we most need.
    As John writes his first epistle, perhaps before he wrote the Gospel of St John, he begins with his testimony.

    The Apostle John’s Testimony

    Even though there was hardly a more well-known Apostle in the the early church, John starts by telling us why we should believe what he says about the Results of God’s Love
    1 John 1:1–2 CSB
    1 What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have observed and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—2 that life was revealed, and we have seen it and we testify and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us—

    The Reason John is Writing

    1 John 1:3–4 CSB
    3 what we have seen and heard we also declare to you, so that you may also have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

    Our Need for Truth

    1 John 1:5–6 CSB
    5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light, and there is absolutely no darkness in him. 6 If we say, “We have fellowship with him,” and yet we walk in darkness, we are lying and are not practicing the truth.

    Our Need for Light

    1 John 1:7–8 CSB
    7 If we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say, “We have no sin,” we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

    Our Need for Forgiveness

    1 John 1:9–10 CSB
    9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say, “We have not sinned,” we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

    Our Need for Atonement

    1 John 2:1–2 CSB
    1 My little children, I am writing you these things so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ the righteous one. 2 He himself is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for those of the whole world.
    1 Peter 2:24 CSB
    24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree; so that, having died to sins, we might live for righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
      • 1 John 1:1–2CSB

      • 1 John 1:3–4CSB

      • 1 John 1:5–6CSB

      • 1 John 1:7–8CSB

      • 1 John 1:9–10CSB

      • 1 John 2:1–2CSB

      • 1 Peter 2:24CSB

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