Christian Fellowship Church's Sermons

Love in the Darkness

Advent - 2018

December 09, 2018
Phil Schaefer
John 3: 16-17, Luke 10: 25-37, Romans 5: 6-8

Description

The Advent season is when we are invited to live with our deeper, less comfortable selves. To sit uncomfortably with our angry self, our unbelieving self, our unloving self, our self that is not in control. It is meant to get us out of our own personal goals, our life lived on our terms, our life as we want to control it.

We love to throw the word love around in our songs and movies and language. I love my car, house, dog, cat, boyfriend. I love my church. But for love to be love, it must cost us something. Love means we are giving ourselves away. Love takes big chunks out of you that you don’t get back. Love costs your life.

What God has done for us has cost him everything – his reputation, his authority, his identity. And most personally – it cost the extreme suffering and death of His Son. The baby in the manger was sent on a mission - John 3:17

Love - Agape love - is not a feeling; it is being for others. It is not an emotion; it is a costly serving. It is not passive; it is active. It seeks the good of others; it loses sight of itself. It always believes and has hope for the other. You may feel weak, but agape love gives you a strength beyond yourself; for it is a love that comes from another realm.

Agape is victorious over all the forces arrayed against it.

The parable of the Good Samaritan is about rightly identifying your neighbor. "Who is my neighbor?" the lawyer asks Jesus seeking to justify himself. Luke 10: 25-37

Agape love is more than just saying God loves everybody. In fact, God does love everybody, but the everybody for us has to have a name, a face, an encounter attached to it or it lacks any depth of love.

Romans 5: 6-8 Paul’s words – ‘Christ died for the ungodly’ has a bite in it. Who are the ungodly? I am, and you are.

In verse 8 – ‘But God demonstrates His own love.’ - But God! To understand this agape love of God is to throw yourself on the mercy of God. O God, I cannot love like this, but you can through me. Agape is unattainable by human effort. It is the work of God in us.

Someone this week told me: ‘Fear is a principality. It wants to control us, dominate us, disable us.' Then they said – ‘Fear is tempting us to partner with it. But we are not to partner with fear. We are to partner with faith.’ 'Fear will crush us, but faith will deliver us.’ Perfect love casts out all fear.

Agape lovers are burden bearers. They are ‘enter-the-fray people’. They may feel weak, but they give strength.

Jesus came to lead us into an altogether unknown way of loving. This love comes from another sphere, not of this world. It is the breaking in of God’s love that transforms the human heart.

1 Peter 1 – "Grace and peace be multiplied to you…to you who are kept by the power of God for salvation…in this salvation you greatly rejoice though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved (distressed) by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested (purified) by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, who having not seen you love…and believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory."

Beloved, we shall come through this time. God is deepening our love. He is purifying our faith. He is creating strength in us out of our weakness. We are not in control, but He is.

Let us follow His leading.

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