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The Sunday Love Song

Mar 08, 2020

Brian spoke about God's love.

 

To see Brian's slides, click here.

The Sunday Love Song

Last week Phil focused on the love of God, the need to know and receive that love and Neal focused on the immeasurable greatness of God

If you haven’t worked it out, this morning I want to explore one love, a many splendoured thing.

Maria and I had only been worshipping with you a few weeks when Phil asked, what the next wave of the Spirit would be. I felt compelled to say that it would be a wave of kindness, something that appears to be in short supply in our world at the moment.

Many of the posts that pop up on social media are intolerably trite but now and again, one post captures a moment, and this one came following the suicide of Carolyn Flack

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Somehow, the desire to be kind, to somehow affect change in the world through selfless acts of kindness is often just below my skin, but I’m not as good at it as I like.

Buying a subway for a homelessguy and his friend, listening to their stories, somehow trying to be Jesus when words are not enough.

The world is crying out to love, to be accepted, to be empowered, but the loud voices of power and money and sex compete to drown it out, but love is stubborn and finds a way to seep in

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A brief flick through the TV channels and streaming services shows that love is big business.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but rather just a representation of what our culture and society is binging on. It may not always be pretty and often we just want to shut it down, but for all its faults and flaws, this is love, imperfect and messy.

Love is the dominant force not just in viewing, but in commerce, capitalism, but love, real love that is world changing, sacrificial, unconditional, earth shaking, selfless and profound can be so much better.

I hope and believe that the next wave of the Spirit will be a release of this love – an opening of floodgates to release love individually and corporately so that we, His Church can see many lives transformed.

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The Western view of love is too narrow. We use love when we talk of chocolate, the weather, sport, pets, people sometimes, kitchen cabinets. Greeks were far more expressive

Eros (romantic, passionate love) The first kind of love is Eros, named after the Greek God of fertility. ...

Philia (affectionate love) ...

Agape (selfless, universal love) ...

Storge (familiar love) ...

Mania (obsessive love) ...

Ludus (playful love) ...

Pragma (enduring love) ...

Philautia (self love

Our society tends to view love through the combined lenses of eros and philautia – romantic, passionate and gratifying ultimately to ourselves with the odd wander into agape.

This is not the Love that God intends, demonstrates or wants to release – it is far too narrow.

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Ephesians 3:17-19 reads;

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

We are surface dwellers often when it comes to experiencing this profound love of God.

Real, agape love scares us – it costs.

By nature I am introvert, by practice I have moments when I appear extrovert – but I mostly control those moments – some days I can be gregarious, others I want to retreat into my shell and stay there with wine, Maria and Netflix. Sorry, Maria, wine and Netflix.

When we give of ourselves there is a danger that we will get wounded emotionally, misunderstood or rejected – all very human things.

I need a fresh infilling and outpouring of this love if I am truly going to see the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven – love costs.

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Jesus is of course the ultimate demonstration of what love looks like.

When people are preparing for marriage, you can almost guarantee that they will pull out this scripture

(our marriage pics – the cross)

1 Corinthians 13 New International Version (NIV)

13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Spiritual gifts are awesome – I love them – but compared to love they are considered to be empty, clanging – all the things we value the most seem be as nothing compared to this love – that may be tough to hear if you love all things charismatic like I do

4 Love is patient (that is a dumb question) , love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast (badge for being humble) , it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs How good are we at dropping those things that have hurt us? . 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love

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As we approach Easter, the retelling of the events surround Jesus last days come sharply into focus.

In nearly all the translations bar one, it states that Jesus loved his disciples till the end – but in this translation it offers up a richer and more challenging picture of love

How did Jesus show the ‘full extent of his love’? Through servant hood and sacrifice – Jesus, God incarnate, creator of the universe washing stubborn humans feet so that they could understand his nature; Jesus that broke the bread as surely as his body was about to be broken and poured the wine as certain as his blood was to be spilled in total surrender and servant hood – this is love.

This is love – the love that washes feet, the love that understands true humility, that is not self serving, he who in very nature God, did not seek equality with him, but made himself nothing and took on a servant’s nature.

This is love that comes alongside the outcast, heals the sick, raises the dead, but all from a position of servant hood and absolute surrender.

This is love – am emptying of self and a filling of the Holy Spirit.

It is true that we cannot pour from an empty cup and we cannot love or even begin to mirror the selfless love of Jesus without this infilling.

I know I want to begin to crack open the floodgates in my own heart – ‘test me and see if there is any wickedness in me’ says the Psalmist – if we are to release this kind of love in our own lives, then where do we start?

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Here is the great news

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

A result of the work of the Spirit in us is Love – selfless, servant heart, passionate, empathetic, love – that allows us to see the world as God sees the world.

Weirdly for people who speak on Sundays’ I always feel less than up to the task – its not false humility, I just know me better than you do, and I don’t always like the me I see and I long for the me that Christ sees. So for the next few minutes I’ll be giving myself some guidance, if it applies to you, feel free to take it on board.

I need a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit – and I need to take a few steps.

  1. I need to allow God to examine me, test me, shine a light – help me to let go of past hurts, whether they be recent or ancient history
  2. I need to invite the Holy Spirit into the broken places to bring healing, to fill me again
  3. I need to be willing to offer my life as a living sacrifice if I am to live the love that I crave.
  4. I need to allow God to let the things that break his heart, break mine
  5. I need to allow God’s love without limit or condition into my own life, perhaps I need to keep asking until he feels truly welcome

Let’s walk a few steps together.

I know that, apart from your Spirit, I can’t believe the gospel and love Jesus, the way I want to. So Father, by the power that raised him from the dead, free me from my under-believing and over-compensating. Open the eyes of my heart to see more of Jesus. Dazzle me with his delights; buckle my knees with his beauty; put me face down on the ground from a renewed awareness of his glory and grace; grant me jaw-dropping wonder and awe, in response to Jesus’ majesty and mercy of Jesus, and the perfection and completion of his work for us.

Grant me power, with all your children, to know the height, depth, width and breadth of Jesus’ love—a love that surpasses knowledge; the only love that is better than life; the only love that is enough. You’ve poured out his love into my heart before; do it again, and again and again. May the love of Jesus be the most compelling and propelling force in my life; turning my whining into worship; my timidity into fearless faith; small dreams into a kingdom vision; my hesitation to risk much, into a life of gospel adventures.

By the grave-robbing, kingdom-advancing, Christ-exalting power of the Holy Spirit, restore to me the joy of your incomparable salvation; renew my love for the beauty and freedom of holiness; and intensity my awareness and excitement about the occupied throne of heaven. (Scotty Smith 2013)

 



Tags: Brian Rice
Category: Talks

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