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        2 Cents a Meal Offering

        December 9, 2018 - 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM
        This offering goes towards providing food for those in need. It supports our local foodbank.
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      • Download

        2 Cents a Meal Offering

        December 9, 2018 - 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM
        This offering goes towards providing food for those in need. It supports our local foodbank.
  • Hosanna
  • Hosanna Loud Hosanna
  • All Glory Laud and Honour (Saint Theodulph)
  • Agnus Dei
      • Luke 19:28–40NIV2011

      • John 15.12-14ESV

      • John 15.15ESV

      • John 15.16-17ESV

  • Such Great Love

    One of the dangers for any preacher is that when we preach we are limited by time and space, and are not able to share all that we might want to impart to our hearers. When we preach from Scripture we are preaching from God’s Word and yet all of God’s Word has a context. The same is true for our passage this morning.
    Today’s Scripture comes from the Gospel of John. John’s Gospel is 21 chapters. And often when we think of the Gospels we think of them ending with the crucifixion and of course the resurrection. What we often miss is just how much of the Gospels are taken up with the final week or so of Jesus’ life here on earth.
    Matthew is 28 chapters long, yet beginning in chapter 16 he begins his journey towards Jerusalem and what we now call Holy Week.
    Mark is 16 chapters, and for him the journey begins toward the end of chapter 8 when Jesus foretells of His Death and Resurrection.
    For Luke that turn begins in chapter 9 of his 24 chapters.
    And for John, our Gospel for today, the turn towards Jerusalem happens as he hears of Lazarus’ death in chapter 11.
    So, when we read the Gospels, and so often such short excerpts from the Gospels we must recognize the bulk of each of them is telling of God’s love for the world exemplified through Jesus as he journey’s to Jerusalem to lay down his life for you and I.
    Each of them in their own way, really are an retelling of the greatest love story ever told about God’s love for His creation and those called.
    When we think of love, what is it that you think of? C.S. Lewis spoke of four loves:
    Philéo - as in a friendship, from which we get the city name of Philadelphia. Brotherly Love
    Storgé - familial love - the love a parent has for their child.
    Éros - from which we might thing of romantic love or desire.
    Agapé - which is selfless love.
    In this list of loves, Agapé has always been considered the highest form of love. It would seem to give no thought of oneself. It is selfless.
    And so in our passage this morning, we read:
    John 15:12 ESV
    “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
    The command to love one another, that would seem simple enough, however, immediately we must recognize that there is a comparison clause here. We’re not only told to love one another, but how to love one another. And the standard is not an easy one, it is the highest of ideals.
    John 15:13 ESV
    Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
    And as we know, that is exactly what Jesus did. Paul recounts it this way in his letter to the church at Philippi:
    Philippians 2:6–8 ESV
    who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
    Jesus literally laid down his life for us. As a quick side note, we often hear pushback from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians where he calls wives to submit to their husbands, but note the next part of that passage:
    Ephesians 5:25 ESV
    Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,
    As Christ laid down His life for the church so husbands are to lay down their lives for their wives.
    Jesus said to lay down your life for your friends - can there be a better friend to the husband than their bride?
    And as John tells us, Jesus, God’s One and ONLY Son, calls us friends! Do you hear that?
    John 15:14–15 ESV
    You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.
    Let’s think about this for a moment here. Jesus, the Lord Himself, does not call us his servants, but his friends. Why? because he has told us what the Father is doing. But wait, there was something else there wasn’t there?
    Yes, in verse 14, “You are my friends if you do what I command you.” Whoa, that still sounds like servants, doesn’t it?
    It’s not, and this is why, Jesus has shared with us everything that the Father is doing, and in doing so has revealed why God is doing it.
    In verse 16 we read,
    John 15:16 ESV
    You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
    Who doesn’t want to bear fruit? Good fruit! Fruit that lasts. That is what the disciples have been told about, and not only told about, but appointed to go and bear.
    And then look at the promise, we too often forget that God’s Word does not just guide us in what we are to do, but there is a promise within it on what we will reap if we do so.
    God has invited us to join in what God is doing through His Son, Jesus Christ, and as we get that kind of mindset look at the promise that has been given to us -
    John 15:16 (ESV)
    ...so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
    I was pondering this thought this week. Think about it, “Whatever you ask the Father in [Jesus] name, he may give it to you.” How does that new kitchen sound, or that new car with self-driving capability? Or what about all those bills just disappearing? This is the prosperity gospel right there, right?
    Wrong! (Buzzer Sound) Thanks for playing.
    Prosperity preacher say, “It says...” In fact, they often point back a few verses to John 15:7
    John 15:7 (ESV)
    ...ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
    But they miss a key element of that context. Here’s the entire verse:
    John 15:7 ESV
    If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
    And in our passage this morning:
    John 15:12 - “This is my commandment...”
    John 15:14 - “…if you do what I command you.”
    John 15:16 - “I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit...”
    John 15:17 - “These things I command you...”
    There is a tie between the commands of God, our obedience to them, and the answers to our prayers.
    As I study this passage, and as I study the gospels I believe it is all exemplified in what is summed up for us here in verse 13.
    John 15:13 ESV
    Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
    Jesus paid our debt of sin to God in the sacrificial way that he went to the cross for us. As we celebrate Palm Sunday today, we celebrate the direction Jesus was taking, not for himself, but for us. Jesus knew full well the reason for his going to Jerusalem. He announces it up to three times prior to going there depending on the Gospel you read. In each account the gospel writers let us know that Jesus knew he was going to Jerusalem to die, to lay down his life for us.
    Throughout our Lenten Journey, I have shared with you several times the verse that keeps coming to mind for me, and that is Galatians 2:20
    Galatians 2:20 ESV
    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.
    In our passage this morning, we’re invited to do just that. As we reflect on the fact that Jesus came to go to the cross, we’re invited to lay down our lives for Jesus as well. To lay down our desires, our wants, our thoughts of what is right and wrong, our hopes and dreams, and to give them over to Jesus.
    It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.
    Jesus calls us friends, do we call Jesus friend?
    One of the marks of a vital congregation according to the research and our studies is Caring Relationships. What does it mean to truly be caring? It is about dying to oneself and living for another. It is about laying down one’s life for another. I watch you all do this in a myriad of ways. It’s the sacrifice of time to make sure a friend has a ride to that doctor’s appointment. It’s the delivering of meals to a friend who’s family member has been ill. It’s the offering up a prayer of concern for a member at church, but even more calling them to be sure they have someone to talk to and vent about what’s going on in their life. It’s about inviting the stranger to sit with us during worship so they don’t have to worship alone. It’s about inviting the friend to lunch because they look like they could use some cheering up. It’s about going out and shopping for those less fortunate because Jesus commands us to love those that may not even know us.
    I want to challenge you in one thing on this Palm Sunday. As those chosen by God and appointed to bear fruit, fruit that lasts, so that we might ask God for whatever...
    What is your “Whatever?”


    What is your Whatever?
    I don’t want to know some nice trite little thing. No, Jesus says, “Whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” That is Big. That is Huge. That is something that you would not expect that could be done by anything that you could do on your own.
    i went on a pastors retreat once where they encouraged us to come up with something that they called a BHAG, a Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal - something that was so big that there would be no way that we could accomplish it on our own. Something that only God could do. Something that would be truly a God thing, and then prepare for it to happen.
    This is not some wish. like a birthday wish where we ask for a winning lottery ticket, or something silly. This is bold. This is God inspired. This is confident. This is faith. This is what I believe Jesus calls us to. Jesus is laying down his life, not to give us a nice sentiment.
    Jesus is laying down his life to be life changing. Shouldn’t laying down our lives be life changing as well? What are you laying down your life for?
    We’re not servants of Jesus, no, we’re friends. God’s plan, what God is doing has been revealed to us. So, this is not something that you make a wish that fulfills your most selfish desires. No, it’s far greater than that. This is a God sized dream.
    But note it comes with a cost. It comes with our laying down our life.
    This was found in a missionaries journal shortly after he was martyred for his faith. I love its resoluteness:
    I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed. I have Holy Spirit power.
    The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I am a disciple of His. I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away or be still.
    My past is redeemed. My present makes sense. My future is secure. I’m finished with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, worldly talking, cheap giving, and dwarfed goals.
    I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudity, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on His presence, walk by patience, am uplifted by prayer and labor by power.
    My pace is set. My gait is fast. My goal is heaven. My road is narrow. My way rough. My companions few.  My guide is reliable and my mission is clear.
    I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded or delayed.
    I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the adversary, negotiate at the table of the enemy, pander at the pool of popularity or meander in the maze of mediocrity.
    I won’t give up, shut up, let up, until I’ve stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, preached up for the cause of Christ.
    I am a disciple of Jesus. I must go till He comes, give ’til I drop, preach till all know, and work till He stops me. And when He comes for His own, He’ll have no problem recognizing me. My banner will be clear!
    This is my commandment, Jesus says, that you love one another as I have loved you.
    It is Such great love.
    To God be the glory.
      • John 15:12ESV

      • Philippians 2:6–8ESV

      • Ephesians 5:25ESV

      • John 15:14–15ESV

      • John 15:16ESV

      • John 15:7ESV

      • John 15:12ESV

      • John 15:14ESV

      • John 15:16ESV

      • John 15:17ESV

      • John 15:13ESV

      • Galatians 2:20ESV

  • We Will Glorify
  • In the Name of the Lord
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