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Sunday, June 22, 2014

06222014 First Sunday After Trinity

Sermon Audio

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer.  AMEN.

“Greater love hath no man than he lay down his life for his brother.”  This was epitomized so clearly from the movie “Lone Survivor” how the main character Marcus Luttrell was willing to fight to the very end to save and protect not only his Seal Team Unit, but the very village that protected him.  This act, not only of bravery, but also love is exactly what we have heard this morning from our epistle reading.

The love that one has for his fellow brothers and sisters in Christ is something that God calls us to be.  God has this love for us which is clearly manifest through what His Son and our Savior Jesus Christ did on the Cross of Calvary.  Jesus Christ loves us so much that He gave Himself up so we might live.  John wrote, “God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

God is in each of us daily, sometimes we choose not to show our love, we hide it, not only from our family, our spouse, children and even our parents, but even our church and community.  Yet God is still present in us and through us, He still loves us and daily impacts each of us.  We are the result of the love of our parents and God honors us with His sacrifice.  John goes on to explain that “We love, because He first loved us.”  The love God has for us is manifest not only in the world we live in that is provided oxygen for us to breathe, food to eat, a government that protects us by soldiers like Luttrell, but also here in the church that we are a part of and worship with weekly.

Today we the people of Emmanuel show our love for our community by welcoming Sky Ranch into our midst and providing them not only a place to lay their heads, the means to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but also the opportunity to have a kingdom impact here at Emmanuel and in Goodland.  By our congregation stepping up and bringing water, snacks, meals, a place to minister, and coming to the program on Thursday night, we show our love for one another.  All because God first loved us and died for each of us.

There are times when we cower in fear of saying something to our brothers and sisters in Christ, because we are fearful of the ramifications upon our relationship with them and the history we have had from raising kids, watching sporting events together or even spending the evening or weekend together or in Denver, but what we harm is our relationship with Jesus Christ.  John says, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.”  But God offers us daily the opportunity to become perfected in love.  God wants us to ‘abide in love’ and overcome evil with love.  God sees the love in each of us.  I don’t say it often enough, but I love each of you sitting here in the pew and our brother’s and sisters that are not here this morning.  You are my brothers and sisters in Christ and I not only love you as your Pastor, but especially your brother.

We need reminded that the love we have for one another can overcome and has overcome evil in our world through Jesus Christ.  And this is what we the church of Emmanuel can do through God working through us, in us and enabling us to stand together in love.  In recent months we have had numerous deaths within our congregation.  Yet, as a congregation we have stood together loving each other hugging each other and holding each other up in prayer, serving the funeral dinners that minister to the family and even attending the funerals of our friends, neighbors and brothers and sisters in Christ.

Just as in the Old Testament before Jesus came into Bethlehem, God inspired people to show the love and grace He was offering for the Israelite people.  We are not just their ancestors, but we have Jesus Christ among us and we remember His coming and sacrificing for us here at Emmanuel and we can show the love.

Recently at one funeral, I saw a long-time member of our church, instrumental in many behind the scenes ways, who does not currently attend regularly, but they felt it was important to come and not only pay respect, but love and support the family during their time of loss.  This is huge as a congregation.  We are showing our love and our true nature by being the body of the CHURCH, being the Body of Christ, being ‘perfected in love’ as we are in this world that we live in as God’s Children of Emmanuel.

Not only have we supported each other when death knocks at our door, but we also support one another in life.  Specifically I was witness of someone here at Emmanuel not well known for compassion, showing or revealing themselves when faced with a most difficult situation.  A very intimate part of a members life was shared and they not only did pastoral ministry and I was proud of them, but they showed their love for this person and their family.  This is the beauty of we the body of Christ here at Emmanuel.

There was once a little girl who lived in an orphanage.  She wasn’t liked by anybody and even the administrators wanted to get rid of her, because she wasn’t from the local area.  One day she was seen by another little girl writing a note and leaving it outside of the premises, which was against the rules.  The administrator immediately ran to where the note had been hidden and found the ‘illegal note’.  What the little girl had written in fact wasn’t what the administrator imagined.  It was a simple note with the following:  “To whoever finds this….I love you.”  That little girl epitomized what we as a congregation are doing this week, spreading the love we have from our Savior Jesus Christ for all of Goodland.

Just as Paul and John both wrote in Holy Scriptures, this is a commandment from God to love.  John ends saying, “And this commandment we have from Him [Jesus Christ], that the one who loves God should love his brother also.”  And this is exactly what we do as a congregation here at Emmanuel.  We are living this out, not just individually, but collectively this week with our Vacation Bible School, supporting each other in our troubles and being the church of God for all mankind.  Including all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel this morning preparing for a fun filled week of Vacation Bible School, loving our community and showing the love of God that resides in each of us.  AMEN.

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