SINGING>> Speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth in love.
ROBERT >> Only the love of God can keep our families together. I want you to see something about that love with me this morning.
John 3:16, Jesus said, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
One thing we learn from that verse is that God loves everybody. God loved the whole world. God loves me and God loves you.
Look at Romans 5:6-8, where we also read about this tremendous love that God has for us. Here in verse 6 the Bible says,” For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. You see, even when we were helpless and lost, desperately lost in our sin, Christ died for us. He goes on to say in verse 8, But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.”
Yes, God loves us in spite of who we are or what we’ve done. Though we’re undeserving, Christ still came and died for us. The story is told of a young woman who was brought up in a very abusive home, and she became very bitter with her parents. Later on, she got cancer. And that caused her to have a change of heart. Her mother moved in with her, and every day she would tell her mother, I love you. Every morning when she left for work for about three months, I love you, Mom. But never a response. Her mother never responded until one day when this woman was running late, and she forgot to tell her mother. And she ran out, and it was then that her mother got up and also ran out after her. She said, You forgot something. What, the woman asked. You forgot to say I love you. It was right then that reconciliation began. They embraced, they cried, and their hearts began to heal. That reminds me of God’s love for us, how he loved the world, how he loved us while we were still sinners, and how he wants to be reconciled with us today.
1 John chapter 4 also tells us about this kind of love that God teaches us, that he had for us.
1 John 4:9, the Bible says, “In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. In verse 19 he says, We love Him because He first loved us.”
Yes, God loved us first. And in that love he provided for our sins a propitiation, or an atoning sacrifice. This is equivalent to the Old Testament word covering. It was in reference to the lid of the ark of the covenant, that golden box inside the most holy place of the tabernacle. The high priest would come in once a year through the veil into that most holy place and sprinkle the blood of a lamb upon that covering, that lid of the ark. All of this symbolized the covering of the sins of Israel. It pointed, however, to a greater lamb, a greater sacrifice. That is the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the lamb of God.
As John proclaimed in John 1:29 when Jesus walked on the earth, he said, “Behold the lamb of God which takes away the sins of the world.”
So God in his love provided for us a covering for our sins through the blood of his only son, Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 4:8, the Bible tells us that,” Above all things have fervent love for one another; for love will cover a multitude of sins.”
Yes, you and I must love one another as God has loved us. That’s how sins are covered, through God’s love.
Let me read this passage from Proverbs 17:9. Here the wise man says, “He who covers a transgression seeks love.”
Reminds me of a story about a preacher who came over to visit a family for dinner. And at the meal there at the table, one of the children spills their tea on the table. He was very embarrassed. And so the dad spilled his tea purposefully to try to cover up for his child. Everybody began to laugh. He saved her from that embarrassment. He deflected her shame by sharing in it. And in a much greater way, this is what Jesus has done for us.
I want you to notice a passage that was written by Isaiah hundreds of years before Jesus Christ ever came into the world. It tells us about what he was going to do for us.
Isaiah 53:5, But He was wounded for our transgressions,” He was bruised for iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way, and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”
God’s love has provided for us a way of forgiveness, a way of reconciliation. And what God’s love teaches us, he teaches us to love everyone in our family unconditionally. God’s love is the only love that is totally unconditional. He does not say to us, I’ll love you if, no. He says I love you, period. End of sentence. No strings attached. Now, what if we learned to love our families that way, no matter who they are or what they’ve done or not done, unconditionally? Well, that has to begin with me. It has to begin with you in our families. If we wait until we think our families are deserving of our love, we might be waiting a long time.
It’s like the child who prayed to God, I bet it’s very hard for you to love everybody in the whole world. There are only four people in my family, and I could never do it. Sometimes it’s hard to love one another. But this is what God teaches us. It’s not what a family has, it’s not what a family doesn’t have, but whether they love each other that matters most.
The Bible says in Proverbs chapter 15:17, “Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fatted calf with hatred.”
It’s not how much we have or don’t have, but do we really love each other. That’s what makes a home. My parents have told me of what it was like when they were kids growing up on the farm. They didn’t have hardly anything compared to what I had when I was a child. They were almost literally dirt poor. They didn’t always have meat on the table. Sometimes it was just cornbread and cabbage. But they had love.
When I was a kid, we didn’t have half of what most kids have today. But the only thing that matters to me today is the love that was shared in my home. When you kids out there today, when you grow up, you’re not going to care about how many things you had or didn’t have, but whether or not there was love in your home. Family relationships are to be loving relationships, where love is responding to love. You see this throughout the scriptures.
For example, in Ephesians 5:25 the apostle Paul tells “husbands, Love your wives even as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.”
In Titus 2:4 the “older women are to teach the younger women to love their husbands, to love their children.”
Our relationships with one another in the home are to be loving relationships so that husbands, wives, parents, children are all seeking to love one another. Then we’ll have love responding to love in all our relationships in the family. This is the very best thing you can do for your family, is to love them like God has loved you.
Look with me today in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, because I think from this chapter we can see how that love is to play out in our homes and really in every relationship of life. Let’s notice this together, 1 Corinthians chapter 13, and we’ll just read a little bit as we go along and talk about it together.
1 Corinthians 13:4 begins by saying,” Love suffers long. Love suffers long.”
When people live together in the same house, they’re going to offend one another. There’s going to be difficult times. But as we develop and as we mature, so will our relationships. But that takes time and patience. A married couple will go from young, immature lovers to best friends, to so wrapped up and bound to one another that nothing but death could ever separate them. But that doesn’t usually happen overnight. It takes years of hard work and commitment. That same kind of patient love will be needed to develop and to mature in our relationships as parents, as children, as brothers and sisters. Love suffers long. That’s what we’ve got to bring home.
Secondly, he goes on to say, Love is kind. Sometimes we’re the meanest to those we should love the most, our families. And why is that? Well, maybe it’s because they’ve mistreated us. Maybe we just began to take them for granted after a while. As the saying goes, Familiarity breeds contempt. So we need to learn to be helpful, to be comforting, to be encouraging to one another in the family because love is kind.
And then he says, Love does not envy. Instead of having bad feelings toward a family member because they’re doing better than you, be happy for them. Rejoice in their success.
The Bible says that,” A sound heart is life to the body; but envy is rottenness to the bones”, Proverbs 14:30.
It’s like a malignancy that must be removed from your heart before it destroys your health. Then he goes on. Love does not parade itself, is not puffed up. He’s talking here about someone who has a big head, is always boasting about himself. Such proud persons, they tend to look down on others and put others down and insist on having their own way. Their needs and desires come before everybody else.
Paul warns each of us not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, Romans 12:3.
And then he says, Love does not behave rudely. A little common courtesy will go a long way in strengthening our relationships in the home. Bad manners can ruin those relationships. We could probably all work on being more considerate of those in our family, learn to say please and thank you, yes, sir, no, sir; yes, ma’am and no, ma’am, to share with others, to let others go first, to wait on others. It’s just a matter of common courtesy. And then, love does not seek its own. It’s not selfish. It seeks what is good for the family. Ask not what your family can do for you, but what you can do for your family.
Next, love is not provoked. It’s not incited and stirred, but it maintains control of the emotions. We’re especially sensitive, aren’t we, to what’s said, to what’s done in the family? And so we’ve got to be careful to keep our anger and our frustration, anxiety and fear and all of our emotions in check. And failing to do this, we risk injuring our family physically and emotionally.
Let me read this passage to you from Ephesians 4:26-27, where the apostle Paul speaks of this self-control as one of those most difficult emotions to keep in place. Here he writes, “Be angry, and do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.”
Yes, love is something that takes control of those emotions so that we’re not so easily provoked and incited to do and say things we wouldn’t do normally. Then he says, Love thinks no evil. Don’t be so disposed, so quick to charge your family members with evil intention or evil conduct. In other words, don’t assume the worst about them, but learn to be charitable towards them.
Then he goes on to say that, Love does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth. Iniquity is perverseness, it’s crookedness, evil, sin. But truth sets us free from sin to live for God. I wonder, what does your family celebrate?
Iniquity or truth? Finally here in 1 Corinthians 13 Paul says, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things; love never fails.”
It doesn’t matter what goes on in the family, love will never leave, never quit believing, never give up hope, never quit. No matter what challenges it faces, love always wins.
There’s a great passage in Paul’s letter to the Colossians, Colossians 3:14, that reminds us of the power of God’s love in the home, in the church, in every relationship in our life. Here’s what he says: ‘But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.”
You see, love is that glue, it’s the cement that keeps us together. When a husband or wife has been unfaithful, love can forgive, redeem and restore. When a child comes to realize that his father, like other men, has feet of clay, love still honors, appreciates and obeys. And when a mother comes to realize that her beloved daughter is not that innocent, perfect child, or when a father realizes his son is not going to be that tremendous success of which he had dreamed, love still reaches out to bless and to guide. Even when the child for whom they had such high hopes rebels, love hopefully looks down that road, longing to see the prodigal come home. It would be good for all of us to often read 1 Corinthians chapter 13 and apply it individually to our relationships in the home, to love one another as God teaches us to love. It’s clear that love’s not just a feeling or something we say. It’s our attitudes and our actions toward each other. The difference between a house and a home is love. It must first be in your heart before it can be in your home. Understand today that though God loves us unconditionally no matter who we are, no matter what we’ve done or how many times we’ve done it, his salvation is conditional. You see, God in his mercy did not give us what we deserved, but in his grace gave us what we did not deserve.
He provided the sacrifice of Christ for our sins. Our sins were paid for at Calvary. And he offers us that forgiveness freely, without charge. God provided it. He loved us first. Before we took the initiative, before we said or did anything, God unconditionally expressed and demonstrated his love toward us in a way that we could not miss it. So when we look to the cross of Jesus today, we can see there that God is saying I love your, I want to forgive you, I want you to be with me now and forever.
You can receive that love today if you’ll accept it, if you’ll open your heart to God’s love today. If you see what Jesus did for you there, if you trust him for that, if you believe in him for that, you’ll turn from your sins and you’ll confess your faith in him as the Christ, the Son of God, the Lord of heaven and earth, and you’ll give yourself to him in the waters of baptism. It’s there that we give ourselves to Christ, that we die to sin, that the old man is buried, and we’re raised to walk in newness of life.
The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “If any man is in Christ Jesus, he is a new creation. Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
Yes, it’s the love of God that is able to change our hearts and to change our lives, to set us free from sin, to live for God. We here at The Truth In Love want you to know God’s love today. We want you to let us know how we can help you towards heaven.
If you need someone to talk with you, to study with you, to help to bring you to Jesus Christ, if you need someone to help you to grow up in the Lord as a child of God, we hope you’ll let us know here at The Truth In Love how we can help you towards heaven today.
SINGING>> Jesus, lamb of God, worthy is your name.
Jesus, lamb of God, worthy is your name,
worthy is your name, worthy is your name.
SINGING>> Will your anchor hold in the storms of life, when the clouds unfold their wings of strife?
When the strong tides lift, and the cables strain, will your anchor drift or firm remain?
We have an anchor that keeps the soul steadfast and sure while the billows roll.
Fastened to the rock which cannot move, grounded firm and deep in the Savior’s love.
It is safely moored, twill the storm withstand.
For tis well secured by the Savior’s hand.
And the cables passed from His heart to mine,
can defy the blast through strength divine.
We have an anchor that keeps the soul steadfast and sure while the billows roll.
Fastened to the rock which cannot move,
grounded firm and deep in the Savior’s love.
SINGING>> Sing to me of heaven, sing that song of peace.
From toils that bind me it will bring release.
Burdens will be lifted that are pressing so.
Showers of great blessing over over my heart will flow.
Sing to me of heaven, let me fondly dream of its golden glory, of its pearly gleam.
Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall, sing to me of heaven,
sing the sweetest song of all.
Sing to me of heaven tenderly and low
till the shadows o’er me rise and swiftly go.
When my heart is weary, when the day is long,
sing to me of heaven, sing that old sweet song.
Sing to me of heaven, let me fondly dream of its golden glories, of its pearly gleam.
Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall,
sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all.
ROBERT >> Thank you so much for watching our program today. We have but one goal, to help us all towards heaven. This is the mission God has given us, to go and make disciples of Jesus Christ, baptizing and teaching them, Matthew 28:19.
We know that “the gospel of Christ is God’s power unto salvation,” Romans 1:16.
Jesus said,” I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but by Me,” John 14:6.
Yes, “There’s no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved,” Acts 4:12.
And therefore, like Paul said in 1 Corinthians 2:2, We seek to preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Unlike so many other religious television programs, we’ll never ask you for any money. Everything is provided by churches of Christ and individual Christians who support us so that we can bring it to you absolutely free of charge.
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Again, remember that you’ll never have to pay for any of our materials and services. We want to thank the many churches of Christ who help support this program. And let me also encourage you to visit one of them in your area very soon. Their names will be scrolled on the screen at the end of the program. We just want to do what we can to help us all towards heaven. So let us know how we can help you, and please join us next time right here on The Truth In Love.
SINGING>> Unto the hills around do I lift up my longing eyes.
Oh, whence for me shall my salvation come?
From whence arise?
From God the Lord doth come my certain aid,
from God the Lord whom heaven and earth hath made.
From every evil shall he keep thy soul, from every sin.
Jehovah shall preserve thy going out, thy coming in.
Above thee watching, he whom we adore shall keep thee henceforth, yea for evermore.