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October 3, 2016 10:18 am
My oldest grandson Alexander John Monroe was just two minutes old.
I was not there for the birth are certain things I just don't want to see but approximately two minutes after he was born. I went into the hospital room here in Prineville. My three grandchildren of all been born there wonderful hospital for the commode speaking with southern accent so I'm not sure about that but I went in and I was handed this little baby boy and I stood. I'm sure some of you have had this experience.
I was absolutely overwhelmed with the love of God absolutely overwhelmed with love. The strange thing isn't it because it's not as if God in his grace only gives us a certain amount of love so that as a husband I can love my wife.
I do love my son I can love my friends and there's only so much love here is a new human being coming to this world that never seen before. True, I prayed for the birth of the baby for nine months and now he was here, and as I was holding that little baby. I was overcome by emotion I could hardly speak as we thank God for this amazing little boy who is now eight years old and is right there in the second front seat and we ask ourselves, I'm sure you have what does this love come from a trust of all experience this amazing experience of love in the depths of your heart and your soul. And we asked this morning which is not love come from. I want to say without God there would be no love in this world.
Not only does God love he does.
Not only is God loving he is.
The Bible says very clearly and profoundly. God is love that Islam is central to who God is and what he has done and inner cities next steps in following Jesus.
I want to talk this morning about the love of God about loving God. One of the deepest desires of the human heart is to be loved by someone. Only the very cynical only the disillusioned.
Only the emotionally disturbed reject love. We want to receive love. We want to give love to others, and so as we think of the subject of loving God, we must begin not with us, loving God, but rather with God's love for us and the essential key to loving God is to understand the love of God and personally to experience the love of God. The apostle John writes so brilliantly about the love of God says in one of these letters. We love because he first loved us extend and read the story about the love of the father and the love of God. This Jesus tells this brilliant story in Luke chapter 15 were going to read together the first seven verses read with me now. The tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to him and the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, this man receives sinners and eats with them. So he told them this parable. What man of you having 100 sheep if he has lost one of them does not leave the 99 in the open country and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it, and when he is finding he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing, and when he comes home. He calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, rejoice with me, but I find my sheep that was lost just so I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous persons who need no repentance. Please be seated. Let me read verses eight through 10 to use.
Still in Luke chapter 15 or what women have been having 10. The silver coins. If she loses one coin does not like the lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it, and when she has funded she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, rejoice with me, for I have found the calling that I had lost just so I tell you there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents. Luke 15 is telling us that God in his love searches for the lost God in his love searches for the loss. That is, people who are lost matter to God. In Luke chapter 15 there is a lost sheep.
There's a lost coin, and there's a lost boy but even when they are lost. They continue to be of value to the shepherd to the woman, and certainly to the father.
One lost sheep represented only 1% loss of your business is a lie can handle that. That's only 1% loss. I have 99 still there but the shepherd did not write off that one lost sheep.
One lost sheep matters to the shepherd. One lost crying matters to the woman and the father certainly did not write off his lost son Noah's were going to see is Jesus continues to teach with these magnificent parables. The father loves his boy that lost son.
That son who had wandered away from the father matters to the father. Jesus is teaching us this profound truth that lost people matter to God to realize that God made you in his image. Therefore your life is of value to God, value and meaning in life is filing defined in connecting with God not going your own way, not shutting God out, but rather to live a life of joy, a life of fulfillment life which glorifies God and blessing rises. Others is a life in connection with God and in great love. God searches for the lost on you like that left to ourselves. All of us are disconnected from God straying like sheep but as we read this passage as I read the second parable did you notice what happens when that shepherd understands that one of the sheep is lost. What does he do he searches and searches for that one lost sheep verse four stays on until he finds it, I don't know how long it took.
I don't know how far he went, but Jesus makes it very clear that this shepherd regards that shape what of such value.
He's not going to give up until he finds that one lost sheep. He searches and searches on until he finds it. The woman who attend Clines certainly knows the value of a silly silver coin and cheese sandwiches diligently for that one kind verse eight Jesus said, doesn't she light a lamp.
She sweeps a house she searches diligently on until she finds it the shepherd the woman are not going to give up until they find that lost sheep until they find that lost coin, and even when the sun is in a foreign country wasting his father's inheritance acting in a very self-indulgent selfish way.
The father back home, never ever stops loving his son. I want you to grasp that to realize by whoever you are with you regard yourself as having a living, vital relationship with God. Whether you're someone who's confused or someone who is shutout God from your life. Do you understand that God loves you we were singing about that I'm loved by God, you are of value to God. God made you for a purpose. You matter to God, he is your creator people you on this planet are for the purpose he is wonderful plans and purposes for your life and when you wander off as all of us do. Jesus is saying that the father continues to search and he searches until he finds us to do that Luke is going to tell us later in his gospel. The answer to that that the father sends his son to seek the lost. God has gone through to tremendous lines to unbelievable lands to find you look 19 verse 10 Jesus says, for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.
That's great thousand you glad we were God like a God who doesn't write yourself we sometimes right of other people.
We get tired of them. The disappointed as we don't like what they do.
I will perhaps self-righteous and we shut them I we want nothing to do with them and even if they are to darken a church we see in a sense, what are they doing here.
They don't belong here you glad that God is never like that. He comes to seek and to save you in his love. God is searching for you.
We have tested in the news this morning confirming this that you matter to God and even when we stray, particularly when we stray the father always loves us the searching for us and Jesus came not just to seek the lost. He came to save lost. How did you do that by dying on the cross for our sins. We who are selfish. We are self-indulgent we who don't want anyone to tell us what to do. Christ comes in great love searches for us and provides a way of salvation through his death on the cross through his burial through his glorious resurrection. He provides salvation for people like you and for me to ask you saved couple of the people in the testing we talked about being saved is a what does that mean it means being saved from your sins. It means being forgiven. It means being found and meant it means being brought back to be the person that God created us to be or are you still lost. Yes, I'm asking you or have you personally received this salvation not weather here in church or in church is great, but I'm asking you, have you received personally the love of God in your hearts through receiving his son, who came not only to CQ but to save you.
God in his love searches for the loss. We told him assays and tenderness.
He sought me weary and worn with certain and on the shoulders brought me back to his fold again, while angels in his presence sign until the courts of heaven running or the blood that sought me all the grace that brought me all the love that brought me to the fold.
Do you realize that one sinner coming to Christ causes all of heaven to rejoice, then we read that I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous persons who need no repentance there stand just so I tell you, Jesus is emphasizing the point. There is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents God in his grace searches for the loss. Secondly, God and his love welcomes home the loss. Let me read to you, Luke 15 verse 14 about this young man. Like many a young man he knew he thought he knew better than his father, tired of life on the farm. One thing to live it up heading for the big city and so he goes to his father and says like I know when you die am going to get something good so give me at no I want to use it now. I want to enjoy life now, so the father gives him his inheritance. Verse 14 and when he, the son had spent everything a severe famine arose in that country and he began to be in need. I wonder how long the father had worked for the inheritance. Think of the hours and hours and hours and investment of time and energy that the father had put into that inheritance and no probably in a few months it's quickly blown up the farm and comes verse 15 so this young man went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of the country who sentiment to his fields to feed pigs and he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate and no one gave him anything when he came to himself. He said many of my father's heart hired servants have more than enough bread but I perish here with hunger. I will arise and go to my father most item father I've sinned against heaven and before you are no longer worthy to be called your son.
Treat me, make me as one of your heart servants by running away from home but know Jesus as he stops running. Eventually the sun stops running is good when we stop running away from God is in the of the sun had obtained his inheritance from his father. What was his philosophy give me give me give me give me was due to millions of the great plans offended by the big city I live a great time spending your money that so he does. He goes to the big city to the faraway country is not many friends there.
He becomes as well a party animal notice, incidentally, that is father let him go, although that son leaving the home must've been a dagger in the father's heart wouldn't some of your dad. You know what that means. And for a while the son's life is absolutely brilliant and other foreign countries and exciting place to be the big city is a cool place to be going on very different from home. It is absolutely great and for a time the sun has a great time but only for a while.
Famine comes in the son's economic life and social life abruptly come to an end is money and his friends. This appears been well said in prosperity. Our friends know us in adversity.
We know our friends you find that you I find that true in adversity. We know her friends. Adversity comes to this young man in the far country, and he finds out he has absolutely no friends.
Jesus said no one gave to him wherever all the friends then gone, the money had run notes trying to survive.
He gets a job looking after pigs. How weird a great job for Jewish boy is even the pigs are better off than he is. At least they got something to eat but when he's in the gutter something wonderful happens that you notice that verse 17 and when he came to him self he came to his senses and as he came to his senses, his thoughts turned to father and home is why so important dads moms that we bring up our children in the ways of the Lord.
They may well rejected as this young man did, but what we teach them what we model Christ of them will never be forgotten about them by them at this young man in crisis. He comes to his senses and his thoughts turned back to his father and his home. I hope you come to your senses can ask you to take a look at yourself today a look at yourself. Take a look at your life. Are you happy with what you are is this what you want to live life to take a good look at yourself. This young man did that and he didn't like what he saw, but notice what happens. This young man says in verse 18 I will arise and go to my father and will say to him. Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you all that's it, I've sinned, I've sinned against heaven first and foremost, his sin was against heaven. Yes he sinned against his father, but he realizes his father must've taught him well that his greatest sin was not against his father. His greatest sin was that it sinned against God needs sinned against heaven, and I also like this young man that he does something that we need to follow the notice.
He makes no excuses. He makes no rationalizations.
I'm sure we could've conjured up a case for him warily. His mother collapses his father is a widower. We just don't know and he might've thoughts. You know I miss my mother. There was no woman in the home and the elder brother of mine.
What I call the legalistic fish he is in the father is so involved in his work. He didn't have time for me. He could hardly take me to McDonald's for breakfast.
This man is is just terrible. Yes, it's always possible to point the finger at others and and sometimes there's some truth in it who has a perfect father who has a perfect mother who is perfect siblings siblings who comes from a perfect home who has never been treated unjustly in life.
Yes, there are always reasons that are always rationalizations, but this man, this young man, we have to say this about him. He doesn't do that.
He's a broken young man. He knows he is sin and his running on this rebellion of this self-centeredness and this self-indulgence now are coming to an end and he saying to him what a fool I've been here I am deep in the servants in my father's house better off than I with this verse 18, say I will arise and go to my father was smart. The biblical word for that is repentance. And Jesus uses it in verse seven about over one sinner who repents verse 10 just so I tell you that is joy. Before the angels of God over one sinner who repents what is repentance repentance is a change of mind, leading to a change of action. The change of attitude change of direction on this young man who was so self focused, so self absorbed. Now he begins to think about Holman's father says I'll arise and go. This young man. Also we can commend him for this that he knows he no longer deserves the privileges of son ship verse 19 I no longer. He says of an essay to my father. I no longer worthy to be called your son. You're absolutely right, son.
You got your inheritance. You blotted your father's name you brought disgrace on your home. You're right, you don't deserve it. He understands that this is a ministry to my father not give me but make me treat me as one of your hired servants before it was leave me me know what my dad to make something of me is prepared to come home and work for his father, not as a son, but as a servant and with a changed heart and a humble spirit deny returns for father in the home with the parables. I love the way that Jesus has constructed these three parables with the parables of the sheep and the lost coin we see the father is aware, searching for the lost with the parable of the sun. We learn that we must repent. If we are going to receive salvation.
Anyone running away from God. I think all of us know that, to a greater or lesser extent, running away from God. Jonah tried that this young man tried that many of us have tried that you know that when you're running away from God.
You're also running away from yourself some time ago a friend told me said John you know that the toughest person to live with. I can think of a lot of people to live with is that the toughest person to live with his yourself. This young man realized that he was really running away from himself because he forgotten that God made him and God made them for purpose. How can you know and fulfill your existence for planet Earth when you're running away from God. So I'm asking you today. All of us to take a good look at yourself, what are you heading for in life, you're running you're running you're running your full of excuses you're trying to convince yourself that what you're doing is right. But in your heart you know it's wrong is the time to stop running from God is time to start running start running from yourself, but you notice the story. Verse 21 you love this verse 20 Jesus as he arose and came to his father and while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion and ran and embraced him and kissed him, and love. The father runs to the boy who I know it's a parable. I know it's just the story but we can picture this father every day of his life.
Perhaps almost every minute thinking about his son going up to the roof of his house and looking out to as far as he could to the horizon. Could it possibly be that this day would be the day his body returns. Indeed, it is in the father does something remarkable older man in the Middle East on run, it was regarded as undignified. It was regarding as lacking the courtroom. They don't do that.
But when this party comes home. The father is watching for and he runs to welcome the business or pleasure or know if we know God the son confesses that he is sinned against heaven, as well as his father.
That's true repentance, no excuses, no rationalizations not pointing the finger at others not pointing the finger at you, dad didn't spend enough time with me and that older brother of of mine want to see him doesn't do that with as a father do he extends grace, love, forgiveness and acceptance to this boy who heads it has acknowledged his sin and the son deserves to be treated like a servant but the father calls him my son.
Verse 24 for this my son, you can almost hear prying in the man's voice country, not this product go now this waste are not this loser. Now this man who disgraced me and was so selfish. No father says for this my son this is my boy. My son was dead and is alive again. He was lost and is found in the began to celebrate his welcome, not as a settlement, but as a son, a boy who his dad is now alive I son who is lost is not found his boy has come home is time to celebrate this calf, which was founded for a special occasion is not killed is a tremendous celebration going on. All of heaven rejoices over one sinner that repents. I hope you're rejoicing this morning when you have these testimonies we can become so what's the word for ritualistic cold can you understand what happens in heaven joy in the presence of the Angels over one sinner who repents that heaven is looking down and here is one sinner or not. 99 righteous people. They don't think they need repentance they think they got it all together there judging others there.
The elder brother. With over one sinner that repents all of heaven rejoices. That's one of the themes is in the Luke chapter 15 or the elder brother. He's critical and better use of I could understand it. From his point of view, he was working hard all the time.
His son gets his inheritance. He wasted and of all things, a father, no not only accept some back calls of my son puts them in the position of privilege and then throws the whole party for him and I've never had such a party with my friends in the parable is the elder brother Luke 15 verse one. The tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear them and the Pharisees and the scribes grumble saying this man receives sinners and eats with them.
The elder brother is the Pharisee, the elder brother is the legalist of the elder brother is the one who I would lay appears to be good, but inwardly is better critical legalist leg judge mental never come across these people keep coming to church. If you find unserious people don't seem to rejoice when a sinner saved people who don't rejoice when a string brother is restored by the rather want to remind him all over and over and over again. #That's over Jesus and say sin is gone covered with the blood of Christ and brothers and sisters, we should be showing the praises of God over one sinner that repents over one person who is restored can asking to receive God's love to receive Christ. Now what are we to do turn to Mark chapter 12 having received. This is the point I'm making this morning an obvious point, having received the love of God in our hearts through Christ. No, we are able to love God. Mark chapter 12 again the brilliant teaching overlord Mark 12 verse 28. One of the scribes came up and had them disputing with one another and seeing that the ends of the well last which commandment is the most important of all duties answered the most important is hero is really squirting from Deuteronomy 6 the great Shema confession of faith of Judaism hero, Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one, and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind with all your strength. The second is this you shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no good. There is no other commandment greater than these Northerners the order of these two commands first love God. Secondly, love your neighbor the most important love God. Verse 29 the second verse 31. Love your neighbor.
We must understand that is impossible to love your neighbor will think of this next week is impossible to love a neighbor as ourselves. Unless we first receive the love of God, we can love God until we first receive his love. We can love our neighbor as ourselves until we receive this love and we love God and the more we love God, the more we will love your neighbor as ourselves.
That is the point. John says this in first John 47. Love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.
And so we must surrender our ego, repent of our sin, open our hearts to the love of God revealed perfectly. Through Jesus Christ, to receive Christ to experience the depth of the love of God through the Holy Spirit who shed abroad in our hearts pulses in Romans five verse five and then medical takes place. The more we follow Christ and the more we receive his love. The more and more we are freed from our self absorption under selfishness and their self-indulgence that is love. God's, and everything else falls into place. Augustine said it well, love God and do what you want. That's the answer to legalism. Legalism is saying don't do this don't do that do this do this don't do that, struggling with unholy thoughts and attitudes and actions. The Christian faith is not just stop doing that. That's legalism as moralism the way of Christ is this love God, the more you love God, the less you'll be concerned about yourself, the more you love God, the holy are you will be the more you spend, loving God, the less likely you're going to spend time in sinful pursuits. CS Lewis said, I believe in Christianity as I believe the sun has risen not just because I see it, but because by it. I see everything else. Not a great quote.
We believe in Christ as we believe the sun has risen today because because the sun has risen, we can see everything else because we see God because we love God.
Everything else falls into place is not what Jesus meant when he said seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added unto you. Loving God enables us supernaturally to clearly see everything in life until workouts are priorities.
Jesus rose here in Mark 12 love God supremely and totally was only one God is unique and because he's unique and because he's the only God. He must've no rivals. He alone is the supreme sovereign God. Therefore, I am to love God supremely, there can be no rivals in my love for God and to love God, not just a little bit and to love God supremely. He's the one God, no rivals first two Commandments. Love God totally, completely, supremely young girls young man says to his girlfriend, darling, one you to know that I love you more than anything else in the world. I love you so much I want to marry you. Now I know I'm not as rich as Johnny Browning. I don't have the same big yacht as Johnny Browning has I don't have the big house that Johnny Browning has. I certainly don't have $1 million in the bank to the Johnny Browning has but I do love you and wants to marry the young girl looks at the young man is says I love you with all of my heart as well. But tell me a bit more about Johnny Browning know that's not loving God supremely. If you love God. If you love someone supremely, there are no rivals that are no Johnny Brown's there is a unquestioning surrender and commitment to this God. True love has no rivals was wrong. What's the rivals in your life and lifestyle. Your comfort your home, your pleasure, your money, your family, your career, you support what is it what is its all of that must go your love for God must be above everything else. God is a jealous God. He has no rivals love God supremely love God totally. I'm not just a love God a little bit him to love them with all of my heart, with all of my soul, with all of my mind with all of my strength 100% commitment to God is what Jesus Christ is saying the word. All is mentioned four times in verse 30.
This is total love. This love for God is to be the consuming passion of her life. How can it not be based on God's love for us, so the Scripture says that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. This is a love which glorifies God the love which enjoys God a love which seeks the interests of God above our own love, which obeys Jesus says if you love me you will keep my commandments. So being a follower of Jesus is not obeying some religious totally legalistic rituals and regulations is about living in the loving relationship with the living God to ask you receive God's love, your loving person in your home buying with your wife say that you're a loving kind person love your children loving person at work similarly love God, the greater will be our joy.
This is the great anti-door to sadness to un-fulfillment to frustration you will be frustrated if you don't love God because God made you in his image Christ comes to seek and to save you.
And so our greatest fulfillment.
Our greatest joy is not running away from God is the last thing we should be doing, but it is running the Christ and as we run to him. We find that the father is running to us. God's love comes to you today God's love embraces everyone not one of us is concluded. John says we have seen and testify that the father has sent his son to be the Savior of the world, the Lord Jesus is used in in John four.
Think of all of the titles of her Savior. I think this is going to be one of my favorites. He is the Savior of the world comes to save you, whoever you are, whatever your backyard with a very diverse congregation. No one is excluded in this great great love of God, and I know this because the cross of Christ is the greatest revelation of God's self giving love and the message of God's love is not. I got the climber slather and be a good person so that I am worthy of the slope none at all. The sun was not worthy of the father's love the father would be justified if it said to the sun. You got some now get out of here. I never want you to see you again, and there are fathers who do that. But not this is a picture of course of our heavenly father is the father who runs who has compassion so that God demonstrates his own love towards us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Both can save the son of God who loved me and gave himself for me. Five sisters being baptized were saying, the son of God loved them loved me and gave himself. Can you open your heart to Christ.
We do that we receive Christ we stop running from him.
And if you're a believer in Jesus Christ and a lot of tangent you've gone your own weight is not trying to come back you similar father welcomed me.
Of course he will today. Your heavenly father is waiting for you as you come ever. Before you begin to come to him. He is coming to you running as it were, the Savior to restore your to fill you with the Holy Spirit so that you can be the kind of person God has created you to be before we sing in closing, let me ask you to pray with and had a wonderful song about a father's running through his son. When asked no one to leave at this important point. Unless there's some medical emergency.
Let's just keep this holy secret moment and if you've never received Christ never received the love God, we open your heart and say Lord I come from ice and messed up come save me and cleanse me believe that you're the Savior. Not just of the world, but you're my Savior dying for my sins and rising again.
I trust her, perhaps your follower of Jesus in the stranger cut off track. I'm so glad you're here want to tell you a reminder of God's grace will welcome you to forgive all of that sin you matter to him. He loves you. We love you, want you to live a life to the glory of God.
When you confess your sin as you do that, he is faithful and just to forgive your sin and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness. Let's take a moment of silent prayer father would overwhelm that your grace of your love and your compassion. We don't deserve to be your sons and daughters. Far from it but we thank you that Jesus came not only to seek us but to save us, and I pray from all of our hearts will be afresh coming from our sin and trusting Christ, we thank you Jesus says come to me.
We thank you that your father who runs the Cletus may many of us experience your compassion and your salvation and your forgiveness this day in Christ