Sunday, April 10, 2011

How Deep the Father’s Love Is for Us

After a warm greeting, the following announcements were highlighted.

Brooke shared with enthusiasm that it’s time for volunteers to begin signing up for Vacation Bible School. There was an orange insert in the bulletin with a list of needs to help orient us, which will also be available in the Narthex over the next several weeks as well. VBS will again be held at the Twig Town Hall.

There have been two important meetings in preparation for our needs assessment for the new building. They have gone well and two more are slated for next Sunday from 4-6 and Monday evening 6-8. Brad’s goal in this project is 100% participation.

This coming week is Palm Sunday. Among the activities schedules is a Good Friday service at 7:00 p.m.

The worship time began with Chuck Vanderscheuren reading the passage from Acts about Phillip and the Ethiopian. This was followed by two songs from the quartet, “Behold the Lamb” and “Worthy of Worship.”

Ken from the Gideon’s shared with us about the work they have done in sharing Bibles with the world in more than 190 countries and more than 180 languages. This was followed by the quartet singing “On the Jericho Road” and a time of prayer.

How Deep the Father’s Love For Us

Today Pastor Brad’s sermon centered on three incidents in the life of Jesus as recorded in Luke 7. Brad began by noting, perhaps with envy, Jesus’ strength. During the course of his years in ministry He poured Himself out, continuously being available to teach and meet needs. Luke 7 takes place immediately following the Sermon on the Mount, a day that was undoubtedly exhausting as Jesus ministered to a multitude.

The first incident occurs when a Roman soldier requested help from Jesus to heal his servant boy. Brad emphasized that there are no second class citizens in God’s economy. Jesus’ love does not discriminate between haves and have not, between sheiks and shoeshine boys. There is not partiality with Jesus. The fullness of His love is available to all, distributed freely. It’s only a matter of opening our hearts.

In verse 10 the boy is indeed healed.

In the next town on His journey Jesus is interrupted by a funeral. He asks who passed away and learns that it is the only son of a woman who has already lost her husband. Jesus felt a deep compassion and his heart went out to her. In response He goes to the casket and says, “Get up.” The young man comes to life again. Even though Jesus did not know this woman, His heart was moved.

The third incident in this chapter takes place in a town where all the important people have thrown a party for this special guest. It is an A-list type of crowd consisting of movers and shakers. At a certain point an uninvited guest arrives. It is the town’s “sinful woman” who enters and throws herself at the Lord’s feet, bathing them with her tears. She then pours ointment on His feet, as if to say, “You’re the only one on earth who can help me, I have sunk so low.”

The others at this party of bigwigs are mumbling to themselves, “If He knew what kind of woman this was He would not be allowing her to do this.”
But in God’s eyes, people who make big mistakes and cry sincere tears of repentance receive massive amounts of love and grace. This is why verse 47 underscores a significant truth: He who is forgiven much loves much.

Brad stated that if anyone should be most loving it should be him, for he has been forgiven much. But then , who amongst us has not?

If we are to be like Jesus, we need to become indiscriminate lovers of other people.

When the dinner party ended, the people there were asking, “Who is this man?” It’s a question people have been asking for more than two thousand years.

As noted earlier, Jesus stands at our heart's door, knocking, asking to be invited in. What will be your response?

Brad closed with a candid acknowledgement, “The fact that I am still loved by the creator of the universe still blows me away.” An apt introduction to our celebration of the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.

Reminder: Next Week Is Palm Sunday, the commencement of Holy Week.

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