Jesus is Our Hope in that He Will Bring Peace

I recently listened to an audio book about Lincoln and in the end it talks about his impact. I found a similar account in a New York Times article. The Times quotes Tolstoy.

Tolstoy said:

Once while traveling in the Caucasus I happened to be the guest of a Caucasian chief of the Circassians, who, living far away from civilized life in the mountains, had but a fragmentary and childish comprehension of the world and its history. The fingers of civilization had never reached him nor his tribe, and all life beyond his native valleys was a dark mystery. Being a Mussulman he was naturally opposed to all ideas of progress and education. I was received with the usual Oriental hospitality and after our meal was asked by my host to tell him something of my life. Yielding to his request I began to tell him of my profession, of the development of our industries and inventions and of the schools. He listened to everything with indifference, but when I began to tell about the great statesmen and the great generals of the world he seemed at once to become very much interested. 

The conversation continued. Descriptions of the Czar. Napoleon. Frederick the Great. But the Circassian chief was clearly unhappy. Something was missing. 

‘…You have not told us a syllable about the greatest general and greatest ruler of the world. We want to know something about him. He was a hero. He spoke with a voice of thunder; he laughed like the sunrise and his deeds were strong as the rock and as sweet as the fragrance of roses. The angels appeared to his mother and predicted that the son whom she would conceive would become the greatest the stars had ever seen. He was so great that he even forgave the crimes of his greatest enemies and shook brotherly hands with those who had plotted against his life. His name was Lincoln and the country in which he lived is called America, which is so far away that if a youth should journey to reach it he would be an old man when he arrived. Tell us of that man.’ 

[Remember who is telling the story. Not some run-of-the-mill humdrum storyteller, but the supreme master of Russian literature. Indeed, the Circassian chief as quoted by Stackelberg sounds more like Tolstoy than how I imagine a Circassian chief might sound. Regardless. Tolstoy told him everything he knew about Lincoln. But the Circassian chief was not satisfied. He wanted something more. The story tells us that mere words are often not enough. He needed a photograph.]

I can hardly forget the great enthusiasm which they expressed in their wild thanks and desire to get a picture of the great American hero. I said that I probably could secure one from my friend in the nearest town, and this seemed to give them great pleasure…

One of the riders agreed to accompany me to the town and get the promised picture, which I was now bound to secure at any price. I was successful in getting a large photograph from my friend, and I handed it to the man with my greetings to his associates. It was interesting to witness the gravity of his face and the trembling of his hands when he received my present. He gazed for several minutes silently, like one in a reverent prayer; his eyes filled with tears. He was deeply touched and I asked him why he became so sad. After pondering my question for a few moments he replied: ‘I am sad because I feel sorry that he had to die by the hand of a villain. Don’t you find, judging from his picture, that his eyes are full of tears and that his lips are sad with a secret sorrow?

Abe Lincoln did a lot of good, but did he bring peace, I mean real peace? Will politics bring about peace? Will our next President bring peace? Who is the hope of the world?

We are beginning our Advent series titled, “Jesus is the Hope of the World.”

Today, I want to focus on Jesus bringing peace.

My theme: Jesus was prophesied as the hope of the world, who will bring peace.

Let’s read: Isaiah 2:1-4:

This is what Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem:

In the last days

the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established
as the highest of the mountains;
it will be exalted above the hills,
and all nations will stream to it.

Many peoples will come and say,

“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the temple of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways,
so that we may walk in his paths.”
The law will go out from Zion,
the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
He will judge between the nations
and will settle disputes for many peoples.
They will beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
nor will they train for war anymore.

  1. Jesus will bring peace.
    1. This passage was written some 700 years before Christ. This is a prophesy that still hasn’t been fulfilled.
    2. By the way, you can find, almost the exact same prophesy in Micah 4:1-3.
    3. I want to mainly focus on verse 4, but let me give some background.
    4. I stand here and say that Jesus is the hope of the world and you may be wondering, how is He the hope of the world.
    5. Listen, Jesus is the hope of the world and that He will bring peace.
    6. I know you may be thinking, “Why don’t we have peace yet, what is He waiting on?” I will tell you He is waiting for me to be saved. When peace comes judgment will also come. You can see 2 Peter 3:9: The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, cnot wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
    7. In this passage Isaiah is writing about a future day. Many think this is the Millennial Reign which you can read about in Revelation 20:2-7. This could be talking about a time after that.
    8. Either way, it says that the Mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as the highest mountain. In that day and age it was a big deal for the mountain to be the highest.

The Weidner Chronicle declares that the city of Babylon should be elevated and exalted in all lands. In addition, Assyrian building inscriptions often talk about elevating the temple by restoring it and increasing its height. In Babylonian literature the Marduk Prophecy (from several centuries before Isaiah) announces the future elevation of Babylon with the temple doubled in height. That text also mentions returning the scattered ones (by which it means the statues of the gods that have been disenfranchised from their temples). It continues by describing a period of peace, justice and prosperity, including the dismantling of fortresses. This general language of city restoration and elevation is therefore familiar in the rhetoric of the ancient Near East.

  1. That imagery would be familiar to the people.
  2. The passage says that everyone will come to Jerusalem. God will teach, the Law of the Lord will go out.
  3. Then we get to verse 4: He will judge. He will settle disputes.
  4. They will beat their swords into plowshares.
  5. This means that instead of swords, you’ll need a plow.
  6. You won’t need to be prepared for battle or defense.
  7. Beat their spears into pruning hooks.
  8. Instead of spears for defense, you will need to farm.
  9. Jesus the hope of the world will bring peace.
  1. Let’s apply
    1. Who is your hope? Jesus is the hope of the world.
    2. Will a politician bring peace? No, the baby in Bethlehem will bring peace.
    3. Will a business leader bring peace? No only Jesus, the Messiah who did not have a home or business (Matthew 8:20; Luke 9:58).
    4. What if we could get the right economy, will that bring peace? No, Jesus’ economic policies were about self-sacrifice and giving and He will bring peace (Matthew 10:39; 16:25; Luke 9:23; 17:33).
    5. Only Jesus will bring peace, He is the hope of the world.

Close:

In 1864, one of America’s great poets, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, wrote the poem which became the well-known carol, I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.
When I first heard this song, I wondered, “Why does he suddenly shift from joy at hearing the Christmas bells into such deep despair?” It starts with:
I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men!
Then he says:
And in despair I bowed my head:
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men!”
The question is clearly answered when we see two verses of the original that are not included in our hymn. In these verses Longfellow speaks of the horrors of the American Civil War that was tearing the country apart. In fact, his son had been seriously wounded in that conflict not long before he wrote the song. (The death of Longfellow’s wife two years earlier may have contributed to his mood too.) Listen to what they say:
Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good will to men!
It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearthstones of a continent
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good will to men!
Little wonder he is tempted to despair. And yet he concludes with the resounding affirmation, “God is not dead, nor does he sleep!” Through the Savior whose birth the angels celebrated, God will accomplish what he has promised.

Jesus will bring peace.

Do you know Christ?

Luke 9:23

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

 

c 1 Tim 2:4; Rev 2:21

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Are we thankful for the church?

Introduction:

A father and his son were seated at the dining room table, while the mother was finishing the final preparations on the family’s dinner. While the father and son were seated, the father asked the son if he would say the prayer for the meal. The youngster nodded his head, and said that he would pray. The mother placed the last of the meal on the table, and sat down. The boy looked around the table at the food for a moment, and began to pray. He said, “God, I’m not sure what it is. But thanks anyway. And I’ll still eat it.”

C.S. Lewis said:

“We ought to give thanks for all fortune: if it is good, because it is good; if bad, because it works in us patience, humility, contempt of this world and the hope of our eternal country.” 

We are continuing our short series on being thankful.

Today, I wish to talk about the church family.

My theme is: We are thankful for our church family.

Let’s read Ephesians 1:16:

I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.

  1. Is the church worth being thankful for?
    1. In this passage Paul is thankful for their faith.
    2. This is one long sentence in the Greek. Verses 3-14 are a sentence and verses 15-23 are one sentence. If we look at verse 15 it says: For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people
    3. So, Paul is not just giving thanks for them in general, he is giving thanks for their faith and their love for all the people. He is giving thanks that they live the Christian faith.
    4. I’ll tell you it is encouraging to serve a church that cares about people.
    5. I have to be thankful in the same way here at First Baptist.
    6. I am thankful for your commitment to serve the Alliance Community in Alliance Mission Encounter.
    7. First Baptist has many that I can call at the drop of a hat and they are ready to help people in need.
    8. I remember a few years ago I heard that someone who was near ninety years old was cutting up a tree that fell in a storm. I called two of you and you took care of it that very day.
    9. A few weeks ago I heard of someone who needed help moving things and two of you helped the next day.
    10. How many times have we helped people move.
    11. You have been on the receiving end and the giving end.
    12. I give thanks for the church family.
    13. Do you give thanks for the church family?
    14. In some countries the church family are the only family someone has:
      1. Tariku Fufa was thirteen years old when he decided to follow Jesus. Upon hearing the news, his father gave him an ultimatum: “Tariku, I give you a choice between Jesus and family.” When the boy remained firm in his commitment to Christ, his father beat him, cut his face with a knife, and threw him out into the streets of Begi, Ethiopia, to fend for himself. Without his medication, Tariku nearly died from an asthma attack, but felt God’s assurance that He had something else in store for this young man.[1]
      2. When this happens the church steps in and fill the void, being the family.
    15. It was Paul’s practice to give thanks for the church:

Romans 1:8:

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. 

1 Cor. 1:4:

I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus.

Phil. 1:3:

I thank my God every time I remember you.

Col. 1:3:

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you…

1 Thess. 1:2:

We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers.

 

2 Thess. 1:3:

We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters,[a] and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing.

 

  1. Are we thankful for the church?
  2. Are we thankful in general?
    1. Fable of the

Porcupine
It was the coldest winter ever.  Many animals died because of the cold.

The porcupines, realizing the situation, decided to group together to keep warm. This way they covered and
Protected themselves; but the quills of each one wounded their closest companions.

After awhile, they decided to distance themselves one from the other and they began to die, alone and frozen. So they had to make a choice: either accept the quills of their
Companions or disappear from the Earth.

Wisely, they decided to go back to being together. They learned to live with the little wounds caused by the close
Relationship with their companions in order to receive the heat that came from the others. This way they were able to survive.


The best relationship is not the one that brings together perfect people, but when each individual learns to live with the imperfections of others and can admire the other person’s good qualities.

The moral of the story is:

Just learn to live with the Pricks in your life!

 

  1. I know the church has problems. We have a fallen nature so we have problems. We get stung. I realize that, but in the end I believe the church is better off with you than without you. I believe you are better off with the church than without the church.

Close:

A large family sat around the breakfast table one morning. As the custom, the father returned thanks, blessing God for the food. Immediately after, however, as was his bad habit, he began to grumble about hard times, the poor quality of the food he was forced to eat, the way it was cooked, and much more.
His little daughter interrupted him, “Dad, do you suppose God heard what you said a little while ago when you were giving thanks?”
“Certainly,” the father replied with the confident air of an instructor.
“And did he hear what you said about the bacon and the coffee?”
“Of course,” replied the father with a note of caution in his voice.”
Then his daughter asked, “Dad, which did God believe?”

 

WHEN ONE IS THREATENED

A Mouse looked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a package. “What food might this contain?” The mouse wondered. He was devastated to discover it was a Mouse-Trap Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed the warning. “There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!”

The Chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said, “Mr. Mouse, I can tell this is a grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me. I cannot be bothered by it.”

The Mouse turned to the pig and told him, “There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!” The Pig sympathized, but said, I am very sorry, Mr. Mouse, but there is nothing I can do about it but pray. Be Assured you are in my Prayers.”

The Mouse turned to the Cow and said, “there is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!” The Cow said, “Wow, Mr. Mouse, I am sorry for you, but it’s no skin off my nose.”

So, the mouse returned to the house, head down and dejected, to face the farmer’s mousetrap alone. That very night a sound was heard throughout the house – like the sound of a mousetrap catching its prey.

The Farmer’s wife rushed to see what was caught. In the darkness, she did not see it was a venomous snake whose tail the trap had caught. The snake was furious and bit the farmer’s wife. The farmer rushed her to the hospital and she returned home with a severe fever.

Everyone knows that you treat a fever with a fresh chicken soup. So, the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup’s main ingredient. But his wife’s sickness continued, so friends and relatives came to sit with her around the clock. To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig.

The Farmer’s Wife did not get well and she died. So many people came to the funeral, the farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide enough meat for all of them.

The mouse looked upon it all from his crack in the wall with great sadness. And, Said, “I warned them about the mouse trap but they did not take my warning into account…”

I believe thankfulness changes our perspective. When we are thankful for the church we realize how important the church is. I ask that you are thankful.

In your bulletin we have a First Baptist Church thank you card. I encourage you this week to write in that card and send it to someone this week. It doesn’t have to be someone from this church, it could be a friend or family member, but send it to someone. Thank someone. You don’t have to thank them for doing something for you, just thank them for being a friend. Wouldn’t it be neat if we all received cards this week?

Do you know Christ?

Luke 9:23

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation

[1] http://www.todayintheword.org/titw_devotion.aspx

Give thanks for Salvation

Intro:

How do you respond to the devil’s attacks?

Martin Luther said the devil came to him every night “to dispute with him.” Luther said he learned two things would chase the devil away. One was to say, “Satan, I am baptized. I have left your wilderness. You have no more jurisdiction.”

The other way — and I’m not sure how else to say this — was to pass gas. Luther believed that because the devil was proud and hated mockery, passing gas in his face was a way of mocking him and making Satan flee. I kid you not.  

Baptism follows salvation and to Martin Luther he was clinging to his salvation when the devil attacked him. Baptism sealed the deal for Luther. Baptism tangibly represents the intangible.

Where would you be without Jesus? What would your life like without Jesus?

Does your salvation give you hope for eternity?

What do you think about at funerals? Does your salvation give you hope when you think about death?

Does your salvation give you answers?

I have a thank-you card in my hand, do any of you send thank-you cards? Do any of you receive thank-you cards? Do any of you say thank-you?

Now, what are you thankful for? Food, clothing, shelter, children, family, friends, work, retirement, money, our country, etc.

When you thank God, do you thank Him for your salvation?

Theme:

Today we will look at Colossians 1:12-14 and talk about thankfulness for salvation. 

Read with me Colossians 1:12-14:

and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

  1. In Col. 1:12-13 we see God’s great rescue mission.
    1. I know verse 12 starts midsentence. Paul is in the middle of one long sentence. Paul was the master of long sentence. This sentence starts in verse 9 and is an extended sentence with 218 words. So, verses 9-20 are one long sentence in the Greek.
    2. This is a prayer that Paul is praying.
    3. These three verses are about giving thanks to God for our salvation.
    4. The NIV says “Joyful” thanks.
    5. God has qualified us, you, to share in the inheritance.
    6. Who qualified you? God qualified you. Only Jesus. Ephesians 2:8-10 says that we are saved by grace.
    7. We give thanks for gifts and our salvation is a free gift.
    8. We don’t have to give thanks for what we earn. We give thanks for gifts.
    9. Psalm 51:12 says to restore to me the “joy” of your salvation. Do you ever ask God for that restored joy? I think that joy would cause us to be thankful.
    10. We have an inheritance in Christ. We are considered sons and daughters of God. We are family. (Romans 8:14-17; Galatians 4:4-5; Ephesians 1:5) We have an inheritance in Heaven.
    11. We are part of the Light, as opposed to darkness which was a common contrast which Paul would use.
    12. Our salvation was God’s great rescue mission.
    13. Verse 13 says that God rescued us from darkness.
    14. Think about a rescue. This makes me think of a good action movie going to rescue someone.
    15. In the Patriot Mel Gibson’ character rescued prisoners by outwitting the British
    16. Maybe show clip
    17. God outwitted the devil and rescued us.
    18. We aren’t simply rescued from darkness and left wondering. No, we are transferred to the Kingdom of Jesus.
    19. Verse 14 says that He redeemed us and this means that He bought us, just like you buy a slave.
    20. Verse 14 says that we also are forgiven.
    21. So, ae you thankful for your salvation?
    22. John Macarthur shares:
    23. First Chronicles 16:23Psalm 96:2says, “Proclaim the good tidings of His salvation day to day. Way back in 1 Chronicles, way back in the Psalms, people were proclaiming on a daily basis the good news of the salvation of God. That has always been the greatest preoccupation of the people of God, to praise Him for salvation. Revelation 7, “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne and to the Lamb,” that’s heaven. All the beings in heaven are praising God and the Lamb for salvation.
    24. So we can say it is the theme of the Holy Spirit’s revelation…the theme of the Holy Spirit’s revelation. I will simplify the Bible for you. The main theme in the Bible is salvation, right? That’s the theme of the Bible. It goes from corruption to salvation, from the Fall to eternal glory. The theme of the Bible is salvation and so it is the theme of the Holy Spirit’s inspiration. Everything that the prophets in the Old Testament knew about salvation was given to them by the Holy Spirit. They…verse 11 says that they were prophesying of the grace that would come because the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating, was communicating, predicting the sufferings of Christ and the glories that followed. The Holy Spirit was revealing the sufferings of Christ in Psalm 22, Psalm 69, Isaiah 52, Isaiah 53, Daniel 9, Zechariah 12, Zechariah 13. The Holy Spirit was revealing all of this, the sufferings, death, trial, beating, crucifixion and the glories to follow. The Holy Spirit revealed truth about the resurrection, the ascension, the enthronement. The resurrection, obviously, implied everywhere that the Messiah is seen reigning because if He dies, He has to rise to reign. The resurrection in Psalm 16, the resurrection in Psalm 22, the resurrection in Psalm 69, the resurrection, exaltation of Christ, Isaiah 9, Isaiah 53, the end of the chapter, Daniel 2, Daniel 7, Zechariah 2, Zechariah 14. They were prophesying about His suffering and about His glory because that was the message of the Holy Spirit. Those two things were the theme of Old Testament prophecy.
    25. Are we thankful?

Conclusion:

I have a long rope up here. This rope represents time. Our life is just a small part of time. James says just a vapor in James 4:14. But eternity is forever. But we only usually focus on our life now, not on eternity. How do we find out about eternity? We find out about eternity through the Bible. The Bible teaches us about our salvation which is effective for all eternity.

Are we thankful?

In your bulletin there is space for you to write a thank-you prayer to God. Write this out as if you are writing a thank you card to God. You are thanking Him for your salvation.

Do you know Christ?

Luke 9:23

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

 

We are thankful for God’s Love (Psalm 136)

There was a little girl walking beside her mother in a pouring rain and loud thunderstorm. Every time the lightning flashed, her mother noticed she turned and smiled. They’d walk a little further, then lightning, and she’d turn and smile. The mother finally said, “Sweetheart, what’s going on? Why do you always turn and smile after the flash of lightning?”

“Well,” she said, “Since God is taking my picture, I want to be sure and smile for Him.”

God Is good [wait for them to respond with “All the time.”]

God Is good [wait for them to respond with “All the time.”]

God Is good [wait for them to respond with “All the time.”]

Do we believe that? Do we believe that God is good? Do we believe that God is love?

Are we thankful?

I knew of someone who was a missionary for a long time, for decades actually, yet there was no word for love in the language of the group he was working with. How do we share the gospel without a word for love?

Have you ever heard someone say, “I wouldn’t believe in a god who…” You fill in the blank. But think about the logic of that. How can we determine who God is? Last I checked I was limited by space and time. I cannot walk through a wall. I cannot go into outer space. I cannot go outside in the cold without a coat. I cannot even go without sleep that long. Can I determine other things to believe or not believe in? Suppose it was cold outside, suppose it was negative twenty-five below zero, can I say, I don’t believe in a temperature that is cold? Whether I believe in it or not, it is what it is. If it is cold, it is cold and it will sting. I hate being sick, I especially hate vomit sicknesses. I think I have a phobia of vomiting. Can I say, “I wouldn’t believe in a virus that makes me vomit?” I can say what I want, but I still may get sick. I can’t pick and choose reality. In like manner, God is who God is and I can’t change that. I can choose to not believe, but that does not change God’s existence. Really, the galaxy is big, the universe is big, so whoever created all that must be great. I believe God created it all and He is great and awesome and powerful, but I also believe God is love. So, since I cannot choose who God is, I am thankful that God is love. I am thankful for God’s love.

I am beginning a short sermon series on thankfulness.

My theme today is: Be thankful for God’s love.

Let’s start with a passage, Psalm 136. Let’s read it responsively. I want you to respond with the part: “His Love Endures Forever.” We did it a few weeks ago, let’s do it again.

Psalm 136

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever.

to him who alone does great wonders,
His love endures forever.
who by his understanding made the heavens,
His love endures forever.
who spread out the earth upon the waters,
His love endures forever.
who made the great lights—
His love endures forever.
the sun to govern the day,
His love endures forever.
the moon and stars to govern the night;
His love endures forever.

10 to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt
His love endures forever.
11 and brought Israel out from among them
His love endures forever.
12 with a mighty hand and outstretched arm;
His love endures forever.

13 to him who divided the Red Sea[a] asunder
His love endures forever.
14 and brought Israel through the midst of it,
His love endures forever.
15 but swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea;
His love endures forever.

16 to him who led his people through the wilderness;
His love endures forever.

17 to him who struck down great kings,
His love endures forever.
18 and killed mighty kings—
His love endures forever.
19 Sihon king of the Amorites
His love endures forever.
20 and Og king of Bashan—
His love endures forever.
21 and gave their land as an inheritance,
His love endures forever.
22 an inheritance to his servant Israel.
His love endures forever.

23 He remembered us in our low estate
His love endures forever.
24 and freed us from our enemies.
His love endures forever.
25 He gives food to every creature.
His love endures forever.

26 Give thanks to the God of heaven.
His love endures forever.

  1. So, be thankful that God is love.
    1. I want to focus on thankfulness, but why? Why are we to be thankful? We are to be thankful because God loves us.
    2. It is hard to be thankful when you have never known anything different. I have never known a God who is not loving and I don’t think you have either.
    3. I am more thankful for my health after being sick.
    4. I would be more grateful for food, if I really went hungry.
    5. Maybe, if you came from a different religious tradition where God was not love, then you would be really grateful committing to Christianity. Ephesians 2:8-9, we are saved by grace. God is love.
    6. God’s love never ends.
    7. The Bible teaches in 1 John 4:19 that we love God because He first loved us and gave Himself for us.
    8. Think about a minute: yes, there is evil in this world and some doubt God because of that, but understand that humans cause most of the evil. Also, if you read the rest of the Bible we can read that God is going to fix it. Also, if you read the beginning of the Bible we can find out that evil is from our own free will. Actually, once again, we cause most of the evil.
    9. Continue thinking, knowing that the Bible teaches that God is omnipotent, omniscience and omnipresent if He was not love what would things be like? What could they be like? God could pick on all of us, all the time. This could go on for eternity.
    10. Right now, we face hardship, but knowing that God is love means that He will use it for the good and we know there is eternity without hardship and suffering.
    11. God is love, we see the Scripting encouraging us to be thankful.
  2. Applications
    1. Be encouraged. When bad things happen, set your minds on things above (Col. 3), set your mind on God’s love. Be encouraged that God is not making us earn our way to Heaven. Be encouraged that God is not making us earn His love.
    2. Be thankful: think about all that God provides. Go home and make a list: food, clothing, shelter, SALVATION
    3. Share: Don’t keep God’s love to yourself.

Swindoll shares:

Shortly after World War II came to a close, Europe began picking up the pieces. Much of the old country had been ravaged by war and was in ruins. Perhaps the saddest sight of all was that of little orphaned children starving in the streets of those war-torn cities.

Early one chilly morning an American soldier was making his way back to the barracks in London. As he turned the corner in his jeep, he spotted a little lad with his nose pressed to the window of a pastry shop. Inside, the cook was kneading dough for a fresh batch of doughnuts. The hungry boy stared in silence, watching every move. The soldier pulled his jeep to the curb, stopped, got out, and walked quietly over to where the little fellow was standing. Through the steamed-up window, he could see the mouth-watering morsels being pulled from the oven, piping hot. The boy salivated and released a slight groan as he watched the cook place them onto the glass-enclosed counter ever so carefully.

The soldier’s heart went out to the nameless orphan as he stood beside him.

“Son . . . would you like some of those?”
The boy was startled, “Oh, yeah . . . I would!”

The American stepped inside and bought a dozen, put them in a bag, and walked back to where the lad was standing in the foggy cold of the London morning. The soldier smiled, held out the bag, and said simply: “Here you are.” As he turned to walk away, he felt a tug on his coat.

He looked back and heard the child ask quietly: “Mister . . . are you God?”

We are never more like God than when we give. “God so loved the world, that He gave” (John 3:16).

Let me encourage you, in spite of the high cost of giving and the small number of servant-models you may see around you, to determine to be different. God tells us He “loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7), and He promises us that the one “who is generous will be blessed” (Proverbs 22:9). Let’s believe Him!

Deep down inside most Christians I know is a deep-seated desire to release instead of keep . . . to give instead of grab. It is worth whatever it takes to let that start happening. Moms, dads, singles, kids, teachers, preachers, businessmen, professionals, blue-collar workers, students—it is worth it!

Become a giver . . . and watch God open the hearts of others to Himself. We are never more godlike than when we give.[1]

 

Close:

Let’s read Phil. 2:5-11:

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

 

God’s love is most evident in Jesus dying on the cross for us.

 

We remember Jesus’ sacrifice as we take communion.

 

Let’s pray, sing and then take communion:

Pray

The Power of Your Love

Lord’s Prayer with Communion

Communion

[1] Excerpted from Improving Your Serve: The Art of Unselfish Living, Copyright © 1981 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.