THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT

PROGRAM AIR DATE – 12-6-15

LESSON TITLE: “ABOVE ALL THESE THINGS.”

WELCOME

IN WHAT IS OFTEN REFERRED TO AS THE “SONG OF MOSES,” WE HEAR THESE WORDS, “THE LORD IS MY STRENGTH AND SONG, AND HE HAS BECOME MY SALVATION; HE IS MY GOD, AND I WILL PRAISE HIM; MY FATHER'S GOD, AND I WILL EXALT HIM.” THE LORD OUR GOD TRULY IS OUR GOD AND THE ONE AND ONLY GOD OF ALL! FURTHERMORE, WE MUST PRAISE AND WORSHIP HIM FOR HE HAS OFFERED US HIS GRACE AND SALVATION!

WHAT A PRIVILEGE IT IS THIS DAY, TO ONCE AGAIN ASSEMBLE BEFORE OUR CREATOR AND TO WORSHIP AND PRAISE HIS NAME. MAY WE EACH FOCUS OUR THOUGHTS ON GOD AT THIS TIME AND GIVE THIS TIME FULLY TO HIS REMEMBRANCE. THUS, AS WE START OUR DEVOTION TO GOD THIS MORNING, LET’S BEGIN BY TALKING WITH OUR FATHER IN PRAYER. BOW WITH ME PLEASE!

PRAYER: OUR GOD AND FATHER IN HEAVEN, WE THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS DAY AND THE MANY GREAT BLESSINGS OF LIFE - THE PRIVILEGE THAT WE HAVE AS YOUR CHILDREN TO KNOW THAT YOU GIVE US ALL PHYSICAL THINGS AS WELL AS ALL SPIRITUAL THINGS. AND FATHER, WE ARE THANKFUL FOR YOUR GREATEST GIFT OF ALL, YOUR SON JESUS, HIS SACRIFICE ON THE CROSS, AS WELL AS HIS RESURRECTION. FOR THROUGH THIS FATHER, WE KNOW THAT WE HAVE BEEN GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY - NOT ONLY IN THIS LIFE AND THE GREAT BLESSINGS OF IT - BUT THE LIFE OF ETERNAL THINGS. FATHER, WE THANK YOU FOR THIS DAY THAT WE ARE FOUND TO BE YOUR CHILDREN AND JUSTIFIED THROUGH THESE GREAT AND WONDROUS ACTS. AND WE ASK THAT YOU'LL HELP US NOW TO RETURN TO YOU A PORTION OF OUR LOVE AND COMMITMENT BY DOING FAITHFULLY THOSE THINGS YOU HAVE COMMANDED IN WORSHIP. IN JESUS NAME WE PRAY, AMEN.

LET’S BEGIN IMMEDIATELY WITH OUR SONGS OF PRAISE THIS DAY. THE FIRST SONG OF THE DAY REMINDS US THE REWARD WHICH AWAITS THE FAITHFUL AT THE END OF THIS LIFE. SO, WON’T YOU DO YOUR PART AT THIS TIME AND JOIN IN WITH THE CONGREGATION AS WE SING TOGETHER, “THE LAST MILE OF THE WAY!” DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

AS A PARENT MYSELF, I FINALLY KNOW WHAT IT IS LIKE TO HAVE CHILDREN OF MY OWN. WHAT A GREAT BLESSING OUR FAMILIES ARE FROM GOD AND WHAT A PRIVILEGE IT IS IN THIS LIFE TO HAVE LOVED ONES TO HAVE, HOLD AND, GOD WILLING, TO GROW OLD WITH.

THERE IS A VERSE IN PROVERBS 17:6, THAT REMINDS US OF JUST HOW WONDERFUL CHILDREN ARE IN THIS LIFE. THERE WE READ, “CHILDREN'S CHILDREN ARE THE CROWN OF OLD MEN, AND THE GLORY OF CHILDREN IS THEIR FATHER.” NOTICE HOW THIS VERSE REMINDS US OF JUST HOW PRECIOUS CHILDREN ARE, BUT NOT ONLY CHILDREN BUT GRANDCHILDREN ALSO. IN FACT, OUR CHILDREN ARE TO BE OUR CROWN AND GLORY IN THIS LIFE. WE SHOULD BE ABLE TO LOOK AT THEM AND SMILE, REJOICE AND KNOW THAT WE HAVE HAD A GREAT PART IN MAKING THEM WHAT THEY ARE. IN FACT, IN THE SAME VERSE WE SEE THAT THE “GLORY OF CHILDREN IS THEIR FATHER!” WOW, WHAT AN AWESOME RESPONSIBILITY!

HERE WE LEARN THE GREAT IMPORTANCE OF EACH PERSON IN A FAMILY FULFILLING THEIR RESPECTIVE FUNCTIONS ACCORDING TO GOD’S WILL! IF WE ALL DO WHAT GOD WANTS AND GIVE OUR BEST, WE BECOME A GREAT BLESSING, A GLORY, AND AN HONOR TO THE OTHER PARTS OF OUR FAMILY. THE FATHER IS A GLORY TO THE MOTHER AND CHILDREN, THE MOTHER IS A GLORY TO THE FATHER AND CHILDREN, AND THE CHILDREN ARE A GLORY TO THE FATHER AND MOTHER! HOW BEAUTIFUL IT IS TO SEE A FAMILY OF GOD ALL FUNCTIONING AS HE COMMANDS AND ULTIMATELY BRINGING HONOR TO HIM, THROUGH OUR LOVE AND OBEDIENCE!

FINALLY, CONSIDER THE COMPARISON GIVEN OF THE PHYSICAL FAMILY TO THE CHURCH FAMILY. JUST AS THE PHYSICAL FAMILY BRINGS HONOR TO ONE ANOTHER AND ULTIMATELY TO GOD, THE CHURCH FAMILY DOES THE SAME. JESUS THE HEAD, BRINGS GLORY TO THE CHURCH AND THE CHURCH BRINGS GLORY TO THE HEAD, JESUS! WE READ THIS IN EPHESIANS 5:27, THERE WE READ, “THAT HE MIGHT PRESENT HER TO HIMSELF A GLORIOUS CHURCH, NOT HAVING SPOT OR WRINKLE OR ANY SUCH THING, BUT THAT SHE SHOULD BE HOLY AND WITHOUT BLEMISH.”

THE BIBLE IS CLEAR! WHAT WE ARE STRIVING FOR IN THIS LIFE IS TO FULFILL OUR RESPECTIVE POSITIONS IN LIFE JUST AS GOD WOULD HAVE US TO. WHY, SO THAT AT THE END OF THE DAY WE WILL BRING GLORY ON THOSE WHO ARE AROUND US AND ON ALMIGHTY GOD HIMSELF. WHAT A BLESSING IT IS TO BE ABLE TO “LIFT GOD UP,” THROUGH OUR OBEDIENCE TO HIS PRECIOUS WILL!

AS FAR AS OUR SERIES, WE WILL BE CONTINUING OUR STUDY ENTITLED, “THE ELECT OF GOD! OUR SPECIFIC LESSON OF THE DAY IS CALLED “ABOVE ALL THESE THINGS.” SO, PLEASE STAY WITH US THIS MORNING AND AFTER OUR NEXT SONG I WILL BE LEADING US IN THIS STUDY FROM GOD’S WORD. NOW LET’S JOIN TOGETHER IN OUR SECOND SONG OF THE DAY. THE NAME OF THIS HYMN, “THERE IS SUNSHINE IN MY SOUL TODAY.”

LESSON

BY RAY SULLINS

WE CONTINUE OUR SERIES THIS MORNING IN RELATIONSHIP TO A THEME TAKEN FROM COLOSSIANS CHAPTER 3 WHERE WE HAVE BEEN DISCUSSING TOGETHER THE ELECT OF GOD. THE ELECT OF GOD WHICH REALLY MEANS THE CHOSEN OF GOD OR THOSE WHOM HAVE BEEN SELECTED THROUGH THE GREAT PLAN THAT GOD GAVE, THAT IS THE FATHER THROUGH HIS SON JESUS CHRIST. WE KNOW, ESPECIALLY THOSE OF US WHO FOLLOW GOD AND LOVE GOD, WE KNOW THAT IT WAS THE PLAN OF GOD EVEN BEFORE THE WORLD BEGAN THAT HE WOULD SEND HIS SON JESUS AND THAT JESUS WOULD DIE ON THE CROSS AND THAT IT'S THROUGH THAT SHEDDING OF HIS BLOOD THAT WE MIGHT HAVE HOPE, NOT ONLY IN THIS LIFE, BUT LIFE ETERNAL.

SO TODAY AS WE CONTINUE TO LOOK AT MANY OF THE CHARACTERISTICS THAT MAKE US WHAT WE NEED TO BE IN OUR SERVICE TO GOD AND HELP US TO UNDERSTAND WHAT REALLY THE CHOSEN OF GOD ARE ALL ABOUT OR WHAT BEING THE ELECT OF GOD INCLUDES. WE CONTINUE THERE IN VERSE 14. AND THE FIRST THING THAT HE SAYS HERE IN THIS VERSE IS, “AND ABOVE ALL THESE THINGS…” NOW OBVIOUSLY WE IMMEDIATELY HAVE TO THINK OF THE CONTEXT THAT WE HAVE BEEN CONSIDERING TOGETHER. THAT CONTEXT OF THOSE WHO ARE THE ELECT OF GOD BEING HOLY AND BELOVED. THE CONTEXT OF PUTTING ON TENDER MERCIES AND KINDNESS, HUMILITY, MEEKNESS, LONG-SUFFERING, BEING THOSE WHO BEAR WITH ONE ANOTHER. AS WELL AS WHAT WE SAW IN THE PREVIOUS VERSE, BEING THOSE WHO ARE WILLING TO FORGIVE EACH OTHER AS GOD HAS FORGIVEN US. AS HE'S MENTIONED ALL OF THOSE GOOD, RIGHTEOUS, AND WHOLESOME THINGS THAT ARE ACCORDING TO GOD'S PLAN FOR THE FAITHFUL.

HE THEN SAYS, “ABOVE ALL THESE THINGS,” AS THE ELECT OF GOD, “ABOVE ALL THESE THINGS, PUT ON LOVE.” WHEN WE THINK ABOUT THIS IDEA OF PUTTING ON CLOTHING OURSELF IN LOVE, WE THINK ABOUT IN THE MORNING WHEN WE GET UP AND WE PUT OUR CLOTHES ON. AND THIS MORNING I PUT MY SUIT ON, THEN I PUT MY COAT ON AND AFTER CLOTHING MYSELF OR PUTTING ON ALL THOSE THINGS, THEN I HAVE COMPLETED THE PROCESS OF PREPARING MYSELF THEN TO GO OUT AND TO DO THE WORK THAT IS BEFORE ME. WELL, WE MUST PUT ON, AS THE ELECT OF GOD, LOVE. BUT NOT JUST PUTTING ON LOVE BUT ABOVE ALL THINGS WE MUST PUT ON LOVE.

WELL, WHAT IS LOVE? I THINK THE BEST WAY TO OBVIOUSLY DEFINE LOVE IS WITH SCRIPTURE ITSELF. AND LOVE IS ACTUALLY DESCRIBED AS GOD. IN FACT, IN 1 JOHN 4:7-8 WE LEARN THAT GOD IS LOVE. WELL, THAT KIND OF SUMMARIZES IT WELL. IF GOD IS LOVE, THEN CERTAINLY I BEGIN TO UNDERSTAND THAT LOVE IS SOMETHING BEYOND THE CHARACTERISTICS JUST OF THIS EARTH OR THINGS THAT WE MIGHT FIND OR THE EMOTION THAT WE MIGHT FEEL TOWARD SOMEONE ELSE BECAUSE GOD IS THE VERY ESSENCE OF LOVE. GOD IS THE VERY ESSENCE OF THAT CHARACTERISTIC CALLED LOVE - IN WHICH WE FEEL CLOSE TO OTHERS OR THAT WE HAVE COMPASSION FOR OTHERS OR THAT WE REALLY FEEL ENDURED TOWARD SOMEONE ELSE OR THAT WE FEEL LIKE WE WANT TO BE WITH SOMEONE ELSE OR THAT WE ALWAYS WANT TO BE AROUND THEM OR TO SHOW COMPASSION TO THEM OR TO SHOW CARE AND CONCERN AND INTEREST, AND SO ON AND SO FORTH. LOVE LOVE, LOVE - THAT AGAPE LOVE, THAT LOVE THAT IS SO IMPORTANT, NOT ONLY IN OUR DAILY LIVES, BUT ESPECIALLY IN RELATIONSHIP TO THOSE THAT WE HAVE SPECIAL CARE AND CONCERN FOR; LIKE OUR FAMILIES AND OUR BRETHREN.

THAT'S THE LOVE THAT HE REALLY BEGINS TO MENTION HERE. THAT WE SHOULD CLOTHE OURSELVES IN. THAT WE SHOULD PUT ON THAT WE SHOULD BE BOUND IN THE LOVE OF GOD. THE LOVE NOT ONLY OF GOD AND THE CONCEPT OF WHAT GOD HAS DONE FOR US AND THE RESPONSE THAT WE HAVE TO GOD AS WE OBEY HIM AND TO PROVE OUR LOVE TO HIM. BUT WHAT REALLY HAVE WE SEEN IN THE CONTEXT? WE SAW BACK IN CHAPTER 13 THAT WE ARE TO FORGIVE OTHERS. KIND OF SOUNDS LIKE A LOVE FOR OUR BRETHREN DOESN'T IT? WE FIND THAT IDEA THAT WE ARE TO BE THOSE WHO LOVE BY DOING WHAT? PUTTING ON THE TENDER MERCIES OF KINDNESS AND HUMILITY, KIND AND HUMBLE IN LONG-SUFFERING TOWARD WHO? OUR FELLOW MAN, ESPECIALLY OUR BRETHREN.

NO WONDER WHEN WE BEGIN TO THINK ABOUT THIS IDEA OF LOVE THAT WE BEGIN TO UNDERSTAND THAT REALLY LOVE IS STRIVING, NOT ONLY TO KNOW WHO GOD IS AND HOW GOD DEMONSTRATES HIS CHARACTER, ESPECIALLY IN THE PATTERN THAT WAS LEFT BY JESUS CHRIST, BUT IN OUR ABILITY NOT ONLY TO RECOGNIZE IT BUT TO IMITATE THAT. IMITATORS OF GOD AS DEAR CHILDREN; EPHESIANS 5:1. LOOKING FOR THOSE FOOTPRINTS PETER SAID THAT JESUS LEFT THAT WE MIGHT DO WHAT? FOLLOW IN HIS FOOTPRINTS.

IF GOD IS LOVE AND JESUS IS THE VERY ESSENCE OF LOVE, I NEED TO KNOW WHAT IT IS ABOUT THE LIFE OF JESUS THAT DEMONSTRATES LOVE. WAS IT NOT BACK AGAIN IN VERSE 13 PREVIOUSLY IN THE SAME TEXT - COLOSSIANS CHAPTER 3 THAT WE ALSO SAW THE IDEA OF THE DEATH OF CHRIST FOR US. THE CONCEPT OF HIS WILLINGNESS TO SACRIFICE THAT WE MIGHT WHAT? BE FORGIVEN BY GOD OF OUR SINS. WELL, CERTAINLY THAT DEATH ALSO APPLIES WITHIN THE CONCEPT OF LOVE. BECAUSE WE KNOW THE SCRIPTURES TEACH US THAT GREATER LOVE HAS NO MAN THAN THIS. THAN TO DO WHAT? THAN TO LAY DOWN ONE'S LIFE FOR A FRIEND. DO YOU LOVE OTHERS LIKE THAT? DO YOU HAVE THAT KIND OF LOVE? HAVE YOU PUT ON THAT LOVE? WHICH IS AGAIN ABOVE ALL THESE THINGS.

WE AS WELL SHOULDN'T FIND IT SURPRISING THAT LOVE IS DESCRIBED IN SUCH A WAY. BECAUSE WE CAN GO TO THE GREAT LOVE CHAPTER OVER IN 1 CORINTHIANS CHAPTER 13. AND YOU REMEMBER WHAT IT IS THAT PAUL SAID THERE TO THE CHURCH AT CORINTH AS HE BEGAN TO TELL THEM ABOUT THOSE THINGS THAT LOVE DEMONSTRATED AND THOSE SAYINGS THAT LOVE DOES NOT PARTAKE IN OR DOES NOT DEMONSTRATE. AND THEN AS HE DISCUSSES ALL THESE THINGS HE MENTIONS IN VERSE 13 - HE SAYS, “AND NOW ABIDE FAITH, HOPE, LOVE, THESE THREE.” AND THEN HE SAYS, “BUT THE GREATEST OF THESE IS LOVE.” OH WOW! FAITH IS CERTAINLY GREAT BUT TO HAVE HOPE, WE KNOW HOPE IS REALLY WHAT GIVES US THE EXPECTATION OF SALVATION. AND CAN YOU IMAGINE NOT HAVING HOPE IN SPIRITUAL THINGS? BUT EVEN GREATER THAN FAITH AND HOPE, WHICH CERTAINLY THESE THINGS ARE PARAMOUNT IN THE LIFE OF THE CHRISTIAN, EVEN GREATER MY FRIEND, MY BRETHREN, IS LOVE. WHEN WE ARE ABLE TO NOT ONLY KNOW THE LOVE OF GOD BUT TO DEMONSTRATE THAT LOVE OF GOD.

NOW, KIND OF COINCIDING WITH WHAT WE SEE OVER IN COLOSSIANS CHAPTER 3, NOTICE THAT HERE IN 1 CORINTHIANS 13 HE SPEAKS ABOUT THE DEPTH OF LOVE REALLY. THE GREAT WE MIGHT SAY THING THAT LOVE DOES, NOT ONLY FROM WHAT GOD HAS DONE FOR US, BUT WHAT WE DO FOR OTHERS. AND NOTICE WHAT HE SAYS THERE FOR INSTANCE IN VERSE 7 THAT LOVE, TRUE LOVE, BEARS ALL THINGS. LOVE BELIEVES ALL THINGS. LOVE HOPES ALL THINGS. LOVE ENDURES ALL THINGS. LOVE NEVER FAILS! OH, WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT THE ELECT OF GOD AND LOVING AS GOD HAS LOVED. AND ABOVE ALL THOSE CHARACTERISTICS THAT WE CAN HAVE, THE GREATEST IS LOVE! ABOVE ALL THESE THINGS, LOVE, PUT ON LOVE. CERTAINLY AS GOD IS LOVE, OH THEN HOW WE STRIVE TO BE KNOWN NOT ANY LONGER AS THOSE OF THIS WORLD, OR THIS LIFE, OR THE FLESH, OR AS OUR OWN MAN, OR INDIVIDUAL, OR PERSON, OR BY OUR OWN NAME, BUT WE DESIRE TO BE KNOWN AS FOLLOWERS OF GOD...CHILDREN OF GOD.

IS THERE ANYTHING MORE PRECIOUS IN THIS LIFE WHEN PEOPLE SEE GOD IN US EVEN SOMETIMES WHEN UNEXPECTED? WHEN PEOPLE ACKNOWLEDGE THAT WE DEMONSTRATE AND BEHAVE OURSELVES AS A CHRISTIAN, HAVE YOU EVER HAD SOMEONE ASK YOU WHERE DO YOU GO TO CHURCH? OR ARE YOU A CHRISTIAN? AND THE REASON THEY ASK IS BECAUSE THEY CAN TELL SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR TONE OR YOUR DEMEANOR IN A CERTAIN SITUATION. SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR ACTIONS OR YOUR WORDS IN A GIVEN SETTING THAT REALLY SHOW THEM THIS PERSON DOESN'T BEHAVE LIKE THE WORLD. THIS PERSON DOESN'T DEMONSTRATE WHAT THE WORLD WOULD DO OR HOW THE WORLD WOULD REACT IN SUCH A SITUATION. BUT RATHER THIS PERSON DEMONSTRATES THE CHARACTER OF CHRIST. THIS PERSON DEMONSTRATES LOVE; THAT LOVE WHICH SHOWS MERCY DESPITE THE FACT SOMEONE IS UNDESERVING. THAT LOVE THAT SHOWS GRACE DESPITE THE FACT THAT SOMEONE IS UNDESERVING. THAT LOVE OF GOD THAT OFFERED HIS OWN SON DESPITE WE WERE NOT REALLY DESERVING OF THAT SACRIFICE BECAUSE OF OUR OWN IMPERFECTION. BECAUSE OF OUR OWN WEAKNESS. BECAUSE OUR OWN SIN WE ALSO ARE GUILTY OF HAVING PUT JESUS HIMSELF ON THAT CROSS. BUT BY THE LOVE OF GOD, GOD WHO IS LOVE, WE HAVE HOPE OF SALVATION AND ETERNAL LIFE. OH, TO THINK THAT WE NEED TO HAVE THE LOVE OF GOD! THE LOVE THAT IS PRACTICED OF GOD - AND ABOVE ALL THESE THINGS - PUT ON LOVE. FOR LOVE IS GREAT!

AND LOVE, BRETHREN TO ME, NEXT IS THAT FOUNDATION OF EVERYTHING ELSE. WHEN I THINK ABOUT THE REASON THAT I'M GOING TO BE MERCIFUL TOWARD ANOTHER, IS IT NOT LOVE THAT IS THAT FOUNDATION? WHEN I THINK ABOUT THE FACT THAT I NEED TO SHOW HUMILITY OR KINDNESS TO ANOTHER, IS IT NOT LOVE THAT MOTIVATES ME TO BE WILLING TO DO THAT? WHETHER IT IS SOMEONE THAT I KNOW, WHETHER IT IS SOMEONE WHO IS A BROTHER IN CHRIST. WHETHER IT IS A FAMILY MEMBER, WHETHER IT'S AN ENEMY. EVEN JESUS SAID LOVE YOUR ENEMIES; MATTHEW CHAPTER 5:44. YOU SEE, LOVE, THE PRACTICE OF LOVE, LOVE IS THAT FOUNDATION BECAUSE IT'S LOVE THAT IS THAT MOTIVATOR ABOVE ALL THESE OTHER THINGS. LOVE, FORGIVE BECAUSE YOU LOVE OTHERS, WHETHER THEY AGAIN ARE DESERVING OR NOT. WHETHER THEY ARE YOUR FAMILY OR NOT. WHETHER THEY ARE FRIENDS OR NOT. NO MATTER WHO THEY ARE, FORGIVE BECAUSE YOU LOVE AS GOD HAS LOVED. AS WE WERE NOT DESERVING, HE LOVED AND OFFERED ANYWAY. AND THEREFORE, WE MUST LOVE IN THE SAME WAY.

A FINAL THOUGHT THAT HE GIVES THERE IN VERSE 14 ADDS ANOTHER BEAUTIFUL CONCEPT AS HE HAS JUST MENTIONED THE FACT THAT WE AGAIN WOULD PUT ON OR CLOTHE OURSELVES IN LOVE - THIS LOVE THAT IS CERTAINLY SIGNIFICANT AND IMPORTANT ABOVE ALL THESE THINGS THAT ARE AS WELL VERY IMPORTANT IN THE TEXT. HE THEN ADDS THIS, “ABOVE ALL THESE THINGS PUT ON LOVE, WHICH IS THE BOND OF PERFECTION.” WHICH IS THE BOND OF PERFECTION. YOU SEE, THAT LOVE THAT WE PUT ON IS A BOND. A PERFECT BOND. THERE ARE A LOT OF REFERENCES TO THOSE THINGS THAT ARE LIKE A BOND OR WE MIGHT SAY A GLUE, SOMETHING THAT BINDS US OR TIES US TOGETHER. SOME OF THOSE THINGS FOR INSTANCE ARE THE BOND OF PEACE, WHICH IS MENTIONED IN EPHESIANS CHAPTER 4 THERE IN RELATIONSHIP TO THE SEVEN ONES. HE FIRST SAYS THAT WE ARE TO BE THOSE WHO AGAIN PUT ON THE BOND OF PEACE. THAT'S THE PERFECTION THAT WE'RE GOING ON TOWARDS.

SO THERE ARE MANY THINGS THAT WE ARE BOUND BY - AND IT IS QUITE SIGNIFICANT AS WELL THAT WITHIN THE SCRIPTURE THAT WHEN THIS IDEA IS MENTIONED IT USUALLY IS IN RELATIONSHIP TO THOSE THINGS THAT THE BIBLE ALSO SAYS SURPASS UNDERSTANDING. PAUL SAYS THAT LOVE IS REALLY BEYOND OUR COMPREHENSION; THAT LOVE OF GOD. PAUL, THERE TO THE PHILIPPIANS IN PHILIPPIANS 2, SAID THAT PEACE IS REALLY THAT WHICH SURPASSES UNDERSTANDING THE GOD OF PEACE AND THAT PEACE THAT HE OFFERS US. BUT THEN THESE ARE THE VERY THINGS HE TURNS AROUND LATER AND CALLS THE BOND OF PERFECTION. WELL, HE SAYS THAT LOVE THAT WE PUT ON IS THE BOND OF STRIVING FOR WHAT?

COMPLETENESS, THAT BOND THAT GLUES US TOGETHER, THAT HELPS US TO BE WHAT? UNIFIED, TO BE ONE - CONSISTENTLY BOUND AND FIT AND WOVEN TOGETHER AS WHAT? A FAMILY OF GOD, A UNIT OF GOD, A GROUP WHO IS FOCUSED ON THE THINGS OF OUR CREATOR. ISN'T THAT A BEAUTIFUL THOUGHT TO THINK ABOUT HOW WE ARE BOUND IN SUCH? AND THE FACT IS, IS IT THAT WHEN WE ARE BOUND IN SUCH, ARE WE NOT THEN ABLE TO BE THOSE INDIVIDUALS WHO CAN COUNT ON ONE ANOTHER BECAUSE OF LOVE? WHO KNOW THAT WE ARE BOUND TOGETHER - THICK AND THIN, GOOD AND BAD, THAT YOU CAN ALWAYS KNOW THAT YOU'RE NOT ALONE BECAUSE YOU ARE BOUND IN LOVE.

IS GOD EVER GOING TO FORSAKE YOU? THE BIBLE SAYS NO. IS GOD EVER GOING TO LEAVE YOU AS THE FAITHFUL? IS HE EVER GONNA SEE YOU WITHOUT HOPE? CERTAINLY NOT! IF YOU'RE STRIVING TO DO HIS WILL, GOD IS SOMEONE WHO IS BOUND. YOU ARE BOUND TO GOD, YOU CAN COUNT ON GOD. HE IS THAT BOND OF COMPLETENESS. AND DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND BRETHREN THAT IN JESUS CHRIST, WE NOT ONLY HAVE THAT BOND WITH OUR GOD, BUT WE HAVE THAT BOND WITH ONE ANOTHER - WHICH GIVES US THE ABILITY THEN TO DEMONSTRATE THAT SPIRIT THAT GOD WOULD HAVE US TOWARD ONE ANOTHER. SUCH AS, ABOVE ALL THESE THINGS, PUTTING ON LOVE. THINK ABOUT WHAT IS SAID IN EPHESIANS CHAPTER 2 THERE. HE SAYS WE'RE NO LONGER STRANGERS OR FOREIGNERS BUT WE ARE OF THE HOUSEHOLD OF GOD. IN VERSE 21 IT SAYS, WE ARE FIT TOGETHER. WE ARE BOUND TOGETHER. WE ARE THE TEMPLE OF THE LORD. WE ARE THE BUILDING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT - AND THEN HE SAYS IN VERSE 22, WE ARE THE DWELLING PLACE OF GOD.

WHAT A BEAUTIFUL THOUGHT WHEN WE THINK OF THE CHURCH - THE CHURCH AS THE PEOPLE OF GOD WHO ALL LOVE ONE ANOTHER, WHO ARE BOUND PERFECTLY TOGETHER, AND THAT WHICH ABOVE ALL THINGS WE MUST PUT ON - WHICH IS THE LOVE OF GOD. HAVING LEARNED PERFECT LOVE FROM GOD THAT WE MIGHT THEN STRIVE TO PRACTICE SUCH LOVE, SUCH COMPLETE LOVE TOWARD ONE ANOTHER, SO THAT WE MIGHT EXPERIENCE EVEN WITHIN THIS LIFE ONE OF THE GREATEST CHARACTERISTICS THAT WILL EVER BE KNOWN TO MAN, WHETHER IN THIS LIFE OR THE LIFE TO COME. ARE YOU HAVING THAT SORT OF LOVE THAT GOD DEMANDS? ARE YOU SHOWING THAT LOVE TO YOUR BROTHER? WHY NOT TODAY PUT ON THE LOVE THAT GOD REQUIRES, THAT YOU MIGHT HAVE ETERNAL LIFE.

CLOSING COMMENTS

MAY I AGAIN TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO THANK YOU FOR JOINING US TODAY. I HOPE OUR TIME TOGETHER HAS BEEN AN ENCOURAGEMENT AND THUS A BLESSING TO US ALL. PLEASE REMEMBER THAT YOU ARE INVITED BACK TO JOIN US EVERY FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK, AT 7:30, AS WE COMMIT OURSELVES TO THIS TIME OF WORSHIP BEFORE GOD!

BUT FOR NOW, LET ME ASK IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS ABOUT TODAY’S LESSON? MAYBE, YOU WOULD LIKE A FREE TRANSCRIPT OR A CASSETTE TAPE OF THIS PROGRAM? POSSIBLY, WE COULD ASSIST YOU WITH FREE BIBLE MATERIALS OR CORRESPONDENCE COURSES? NO MATTER WHAT YOUR NEED IS, PLEASE CONTACT US AT THE FOLLOWING ADDRESS:

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ARE YOU STRIVING TO BE DILIGENT IN GROWING AS A CHILD OF GOD? IF NOT WHY NOT FULLY OBEY HIM TODAY AND BE FULLY COMMITTED TO DOING HIS WILL, FOUND IN THE BIBLE. FOR AS WE KNOW, GOD’S WORD IS THE ONLY PLACE TO FIND TRUE HOPE AND SALVATION UNTO ETERNAL LIFE.