Program Air Date - 8-8-04



In Ecclesiastes 12:13, the wise man Solomon said, "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man's all." Today, it is my hope and prayer that we have all come together, before the throne of God as complete servants. Which means we are all those who fear God and keep His commandments.

How glorious it is to assemble this morning, and to come before such a mighty and awesome God, to worship and praise His name, as He has commanded. So thank you for joining us and for doing your part as we offer these sacrifices to our God.

At this time, let's approach our Father's throne in prayer:


Our first song of the day talks about a rest which we have as laborers of God. In fact, it reminds us that the rest which God offers, will far out weight the toils and labors of this life. So at this time, let me encourage us all to join together in our first song of the morning. The name of the hymn, "Hark The Gentle Voice Of Jesus!"

(SONG # 1)


Ever met anyone in this life who thinks they are perfect or maybe they just act like they think they are! In all of the arrogance and pride of this world, we certainly find many who think they are the cats meow!

However, let me remind you this morning, of one who truly is perfect and good in every way - our God! I love the way David put it in Psalm 18:30, there we read, "As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him." Here we find that God's way is perfect and through history He has proven it. But we also find in this verse that our God is a shield and there to help all those who follow Him. Wow, isn't this comforting? To know that our God is perfect and yet He loves us enough to care for, protect and guide us in all walks of life.

But now back to us, are we to be perfect? The Bible says, "Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect," Matthew 5:48. In this passage Jesus Himself clarifies that our goal must be to strive for perfection or completeness! But again, can we accomplish it? The reality is, as humans who love and follow God, we still mess up, make mistakes and sin. No matter how hard we try, we will never be perfect as God is. However, what God has asked of us is that we strive toward that goal and do our best. And if we do our best we will be seen as perfect and complete before Him, thus by His grace and mercy we will receive the reward. So, are you striving for perfection? Are you trying to be more like your Creator?

In just a few minutes it will be time to begin our main study of the day. Our topic of study will again focus on our, "Privilege to be in God's Family." Our specific lesson of the morning is entitled, "God's Family Has Love For Him." So please stay with us for this study from God's Word, and I will be leading our thoughts at the appropriate time. Now let's join together in our next song of the morning. The name of this hymn, "How Great Thou Art."

(SONG # 2)


Speaker: Ray Sullins

We're glad you've stayed with us today as we again look to God's family. We've had a good study thus far in looking at the family of God and finding that it certainly is a Biblically based concept. Today, we want to continue that as we've been looking together from the text of 1 Corinthians 13 and verse 13 as Paul proclaimed three great things that abide in the family of God, in the household, in the life of a child of God. He mentioned there faith, hope and love. Thus far, we've not only looked at the family of God, but we've looked at the concept of faith, the need for it, and as well last week, looking at the concept of hope, the hope that we have through Jesus Christ.

And then today, we want to look at what Paul refers to as, "The greatest of all," or "the greatest of these," faith, hope and love. The greatest again being love. Love is such as important thing because the more that we learn about God, the more that we study His Word and the more that we find out about what He would have us to do, then the more we understand that love is truly at the heart of all. If I am to have faith in God, love is at the heart. If I am to have hope in the things that God has promised, love is at the foundation. If I am to be able in this life to have good relationships and do the things that I should and act as I should, love again is that basis by which I am able to do all things with the help of Christ, because of that love and that strength, not only that He gives me, but that I myself have learned to practice and demonstrate in my everyday life.

If you'll notice with me there then in the text some concepts that love is seen in. Certain we find that love was seen in the fact that Jesus came and died for us, giving His own life, His own flesh that we might be able to be His children, that we might be able to be saved. Notice the love that He had, the compassion, the care as He helped those who had needs, physical, those who had spiritual needs. He was always there. Oh, what love He had, and oh, what extent He was willing to go for you and for me.

As we also look to the Bible, we further see evidence that love is great. In verses like Matthew 22, beginning there in a verse 36. We are reminded there of a question asked by a man who said, "What are the greatest commandments?" An educated man, a man who seemed to have been one who knew the law well himself, but Jesus responded by saying that "You love your God with all of your heart. There, the first and greatest commandment. And the second," he says like it, "To love your neighbor as yourself." The two greatest commandments in which all the law and the prophets hung everything on again was what? Love. And the type of love was first God, or love for God, and the second was love for a neighbor, love for other individuals and people.

Today, I'd like to break our lesson down into these three parts. First of all, we must love God. Secondly, we must love our brethren. And thirdly, we must love all men. In these areas, we are reminded that God certainly has said that love being the heart of all must then be demonstrated to all beginning with Him, loving the Lord thy God with all thy heart, all of thy soul, thy mind, thy strength, with all of man love God. That's what God has always wanted of those who say they follow Him and claim to follow Him and that's what He wants of us even today, that we truly love Him.

If you'll notice with me in verses like 1 John chapter 4 there's a lot of discussion about love and about the love that we must have for God and why we must have it and as well, a lot of discussion as to why God has loved us and how He has shown that love to us. Go with me if you will to verse 7 of chapter 4 again the book of 1 John. "Beloved," John says, "Let us love one another for love is of God and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love, does not know God, for God is love." Stop there for a moment in this passage and look at what God has to say through this inspired man. He says first of all that there is something that we must do. Love one another. We must love one another. Why? Because love is what God is all about. God demonstrated it first to all of us as we'll see in a moment. God has proven love to us. That's what God has said the world is all about, love. And so therefore we must love one another. In fact, He goes on to says that not only is that how we are known to be of God, but He says here that it is how we are known that we are born of God and that we know Him. Have you ever thought that when we show love to God that it really shows that we are of God and born of God and that we love Him and know Him through our obedience? Well certainly that's what the writer here is saying. Then he goes on in the next verse there to clarify why it is so important. Because God is love. God started it. He's all about love. The very foundation of what He has set in force in all areas and realms is based on that same love. So if God hath love, what then should we do? In turn, we also love.

Verse 9 goes on, "In this the love of God was manifested toward us that God sent His only begotten son into the world that we might live through Him." In this is love not that we loved God first, but that He loved us and sent His son to be a propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

We again see there that God has loved us and how did He really show in fullness that love was what He was all about? In giving His son. How many of us as parents would give our children for others, others that we know, even friends and neighbors, people we like? How many of us would give our own children and their own lives, the very breath in their bodies for another individual? Well God expressed the greatest love that He could to us by not only giving someone to die for us, but His only begotten son. His son there who became flesh and dwelt among men. Oh yes, God loves us and there through which He has proven it, He has shown us that His love is what was first established. You know God hasn't just come out in scripture and said, "You must love and you must love your brethren. You must love God and you must love..." He didn't say that until He first said, "I love you." And how did He say that? He made the world. He created us. he has given us the breath in our bodies. He has given His son. He has given us the Word. He has given us the church. God first said, "Here is how much I love you." Then He in turn asked us to respond to that love by doing our part in loving Him. Isn't that why we go on there in the same passage, verse 19 of chapter 4, and it says, "We love Him because He first loved us." God did it first. Therefore, we reciprocate. Why is it that we often do good to our friends? Because they do good to us. The golden rule. Why is it that we often to our siblings or our parents, obey? Because they first have demonstrated something to us that shows us the same character. You know as the golden rule states there that that is the type of people we are. When we do to others, that's what we generally find is given back to us or reciprocated and vice versa. When we see those things being done to us, that's how we generally will react. If someone is ugly towards us, we'll react ugly towards them. If they are kind to us or gentle, we'll react in the same way towards them. "God hath first loved us, therefore," He says, "you love God," and you love Him like He loved us by being willing to do whatever it takes. What did God do? He gave His own son. What are you willing to do to show your love to God?

Isn't that what He really goes on to clarify in verses like John 14 and 15 where there in the very words of Jesus He proclaimed, "If you love me, keep my commandments." How do we know really God? We know Him by love and what He has done for us. How does God know us? He knows us by the same type of love demonstrated in obedience.

Notice with me in chapter 14 of the same book there, John 14 and verse 21 of the same book goes on to clarify the same point saying that, "He who has my commandments and keeps my laws is he who loves me." When you do what God asks and you obey and you follow His commands, it means you love God. Oh how wonderful it is to know that we have a way that we can be able to prove to God that we love Him because we obey. Isn't that also why our parents know that we honor and respect them, because of obedience? Because of our honor and the things that we do and the way that we speak to them and how we do what they ask us to do? Certainly it is. Love is an active thing, something that demonstrates. How many times do we have to say to someone we love them? It means nothing if we tell our wives but yet our actions show something the opposite. Certainly love is seen. So we must love God.

The verses we've already read there in 1 John chapter 4 reminded us that we love one another. We looked there at verse 7 and then we looked at verse 19. We looked also at concepts there about how that we loved one another as brethren, as Christians. Why? Because God first loved us.

There are other verses in scripture that help us to understand this concept such as John 13 verses 34-35 that tell us certainly that as we love one another that others know that we are His disciples. They know we are His children. I'm also reminded of a verse in 1 John chapter 2 and verse 9 that says, "If we say we love God, but we hate our brother, we are liars. We are of darkness and the truth can't be in us." Why? Because we can't love God whom we've not seen and claim we hate someone that we can see. Well you see the reality is that just as we love God, one of the ways we demonstrate that love to God is by loving one another and that's how true love is seen, not just between one another, but that others look at us and they say, "Wow, look at the love they share. Look at God in them. Look at how they exemplify Christ." Certainly, we demonstrate God by loving one another, by being there for each other, Galatians chapter 6 and verse 1.

Also verse 2, "Bearing each other's burdens." Helping those who need help among us. Encouraging and showing them the love that they need. And as well understanding that as we help others, we express love to them and ultimately express love to God.

In Matthew 25, look at the examples there. Jesus said, "When did you not help me in prison and do all of these things, because if you had done it, I would have known you loved me?" Well we find there again that Jesus said, "I did not see love in you because you did not do these good things to others and therefore, you did not show love toward me."

When we do good to others, guess what. We are showing love to God. So we must love God. We must love one another especially our brethren. But what about all men? Jesus taught us some hard lessons about all men especially in Matthew 5 and verse 44 where He goes so far as to use the word "love" again, but He says, "Even to love your enemies." Ooh, that's a tough one. To do good to those that despitefully use you and persecute you and do good to those who do bad to you. Wow, what love. Isn't that what Jesus did? He died for those who were sinners. He died for you and I even knowing that when we would be born that we would mess up and that we would sin even as His children, we would still make mistakes and sin. He still loved us enough even though we were enemies outside and apart from Him and although that there are many in this day and time that He as well died for who spit in His face through their actions and their words. God still loved us. You see, we've got to have that type of a love, that love that is demonstrated so that God might know that we love Him and not only that, but so that others might see that we love God in action.

You know it has been said that sometimes the greatest sermons that we can preach and the greatest effect that we can have on others in this life is when they see what we believe, not just hear it. We can talk all day long, but when people see that we love God through our actions and our words, praise be to God. When they see that we love God because we love our brethren and we treat each other as we should and we talk to each other as we should and we're together as we should be and we're really there as brethren, as the family of God, certainly God sees that love and all men see the love that we have one for another.

And what about that enemy again and those that normally dislike who they are, what they are about or how they act towards us? How wonderful it is for the sake of God when people see that we act good toward all men even our enemies. Oh what love that shows we have for God because He receives the glory. He receives the praise.

So the question is your this morning. Do you love God? Are you demonstrating through your life not only that you love the Father, but that you love your brethren and ultimately that you love all men so that in the end when you are judged, you will be given the great reward because of your perfect obedience.

(SONG # 3 - "His Yoke Is Easy!")


Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today. I hope our time together has been an encouragement and blessing to us all. We invite you to join us every First day of the week, at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this time of Worship before God!

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As those who see the love of God in every facet of our lives, isn't it wonderful to have the opportunity to return the favor by loving Him. Just how well are you doing God's Will, in order that He might truly know that you love Him?

(Program closing)