Message of the Week

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To Love In Spite Of –Alen W. Harris (Rev. 2-24-18) 

Jesus said, “The truth shall make you free…” (John 8:32)

Jesus also said, “I am the way the truth and the life…” (John 14:6) 

“Anything but the truth is a form of bondage.” –Alen W. Harris

The scriptures above let us know that there is only one RIGHT and TRUE way to do ANYTHING and that is GOD’s Way!

As a preacher, it is important for me to do my very best to communicate to you what God wants to say, not what I feel about what He has to say or what I think He needs to say. My opinion on these matters must be that God is God all by Himself; He doesn’t need or want my help to be Who He is.

I ask you, do you want to be truly free? Then you must seek out the truth. Let’s follow Jesus!

Topic: Unconditional Love: The Kind Of Love That Made Jesus Willing To Die On The Cross.

Theme: If Jesus loves us unconditionally, we should love this way too.

John 13:34, 35

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Jesus loved the way that we should love. He loved in spite of. He loved unconditionally. He loved by faith. He loved based on His word, not on His feelings, but based on His love for His Father (John 14:31a: But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do.) He loved by choice. He loved regardless of color, race or creed, with the hope that all men might be saved. And He loved all of us, ALL of us. Not some. Not the ones that were like Him, but all of them. We should be thankful for what He did and to show our appreciation, we should love the way He loved, UNCONDITIONALLY. Why? Because the way we’re “loving” today is destroying the Church. We’re destroying the faith of one another. We’re cannibalizing each other. We’re hurting each other and the world is watching and we’re driving them away because they don’t want to be a part of the shallow “love” and hypocritical pain they see us going through.

If you knew there was a place where you could go and you’d be immediately infected with a deadly disease, you would not want to go there. The problem is immature Christians don’t understand how deadly division can be for the Church; how deadly not loving each other, or worse, hating can be for God’s people. The world sees this destructive behavior and knows. The world can spot a phony a mile away. It’s the church that doesn’t get it. God has blessed us so much yet we turn our back on the most important thing, LOVE: “they shall know them by the love they have for one another” – John 13:35. Is this what Christ sees when He looks down here, at your church?

Yet, there is hope because we’ve been given an example and the example is that of Jesus Christ. Ah when He went to the cross! We know He had some friends He was close to, twelve men, hand selected. Of course we know one would betray Him. Yet He loved them in spite of that. Even Judas, He was willing to die for, though Judas did what He must do. Though Peter said he was willing to fight, to the death and he cut off the Roman soldier’s ear, thinking he might save Jesus, he would be absent when it mattered most; not understanding that Peter himself was the reason Jesus would have to die and that the one’s Jesus loved the most, gave Him all the more cause to go to the cross. Jesus would have to die to save us all.

I ask you, could you look at a person, see all their faults, knowing that they’re terrible, and allow yourself to get close to them, allow yourself to love them and then be willing to die so that they might live? Could you become willing to put up with their mess, willing to tolerate their foolishness and be willing to tolerate their ignorance, their profanity, their body odor, their poverty, all the worst things in the natural? Could you willing to look past all that…and see a beautiful soul that Jesus went to the cross to die for? Are you willing to fight for that soul? Are you willing for it to cost you something? Are you willing to sacrifice something…to win? That’s the heart of a champion, and that’s the heart Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ had towards us.  That’s what Jesus demonstrated towards us. Unconditional love.

There is a love that sees differences and is willing to ignore those differences so that one can love that person. Many have sang songs that God doesn’t see color, that He looks beyond that. Fundamentally that sounds good, but God made us different on purpose. He made Black people. He made White people. He made Asians, Hispanics, Native Americans. He made all of us. So color is not exactly irrelevant to Him. It was intentional.

Yet there’s a greater love that looks and sees the differences in other people, and even within, and will still love in spite of that, in spite of the difference, in spite of the obvious. There’s a love that will look past all of that and love unconditionally. And that’s the love God’s called us to. It can be a difficult love, but He left the Holy Spirit here to help us! He didn’t call us to ignore the problems of our differences and pretend they’re not there; He didn’t call us to be foolish! But He called us to see! He gave us eyes to see. But if we can see and still trust Him, that requires faith! The kind of love God wants us to have for one another and our fellow man is a love that requires faith because without faith it’s impossible to please Him, for you must first believe that He is Who He is, the Son of God, God the Son!

The Church needs someone to teach them how to love right again. Jesus is that someone. He gave us a perfect example, but we’ve gotten away from the truth. We’ve gotten caught up in the ways of the world. We’ve lost sight of our goals. We’ve taken our eye off the prize and we’re in desperate need of salvation.  What we need is salvation, yet what we seek is gold! Money; stuff has consumed our thought life. We’ve convinced ourselves that we NEED money, yet we don’t. We NEED GOD! You don’t need money for God to give you food! We’re so self-reliant we’d rather ask God for the money so we can BUY the food ourselves! You don’t need money for GOD to GIVE you a house, but we ask Him for money so we can BUY the house ourselves the house WE want, not the one GOD wants for us!

We DON’T NEED money, We NEED GOD!!! When the money runs out, whom do we turn to? GOD! Why then do we keep asking Him for something we don’t need? ASK FOR WHAT YOU NEED –BY FAITH!!! The just shall live by faith! If I need a new car, I should ask for a car. If I need gas, I should ask for gasoline. If I need food, I should ask for food. If I need work, I should ask for work. If I need a wife, I should ask for a wife. If I need a husband, I should ask for a husband.

Now understand I know money “buys” a lot of things. The electric company won’t accept my sermon as payment for their bill, BUT…God is able to supply my need. I believe, because Jesus said, “seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all else shall be added unto you”. I also believe sometimes, God will even supply my want, the desire of my heart! But I also believe the FIRST and TOP desire of my heart should be HIM!!!

We have to learn to see through Jesus’ eyes. We have to let our heartbeat synchronize, to get in step with His. Then, by faith, we can learn to feel like Him, learn to live like Him, and learn to LOVE like Him, loving unconditionally.

Jesus told His disciples (Matthew 22:36-40), that all the law and the prophets, everything about how GOD wants us to live hangs or relies on two commandments: 1.) Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.”

2.)“And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

Now recall our main text:

John 13:34, 35

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Jesus did not say His disciples would be known for their wealth, their fine attire, their church buildings, not for their eloquent speech, not for their knowledge of His word, not for their successes or titles, but for the LOVE they have for one another! What a simple sign!

Now ask yourself the question, “Is this love what people see when they see me?” If not, it’s not too late, but it is time to make a change. If you’re unwilling to do so, you’ve already chosen the wrong side. See, this is a COMMANDMENT, not an option. “Choose ye this day whom you will serve.”

In Closing: Imagine you’re in a building that is on fire. As fear grips you and you are about to panic, a fireman comes out of the smoke and takes you by the hand and says “follow me, I will save you!” There would be no debate, no discussion and no argument. Your will to live would override any and all apprehensions you might normally have, and you would submit and follow him. If He made it in to you safely, he must know how to get you out safely as well. Am I right? Yet when it comes to Jesus we have trust issues… Jesus is THAT FIREMAN. We live in a world that the Holy Bible says, was created to be destroyed -by fire!

(2 Peter 3:10 –“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”) Jesus, GOD The SON, came into this fire – for He sees past, present and future as one; to save you and me. He’s reaching out His hand right now saying, “Come and follow me, I will save you”, yet we turn our back to Him and run toward the fire, eyes wide open, toward eternal damnation! I encourage you today, no; I exhort you, that if anything you have heard has made any sense at all, to turn around. Turn away from the fire and turn to Jesus. Repent and be saved! Go to your brother or sister and make peace! Forgive and be forgiven!

See, on that great and dreadful day when we have to stand before Him, no one else will be able to save you. Not mama, not papa, neither your friends,  nor your money, your pimp or your drug dealer.

Acts 4:12 is clear, “there is no other name under heaven given by men whereby which a man can be saved but the Name of Christ Jesus!” If you’re not sure where you’re headed, or if you feel you’re in the building that’s on fire and the smoke of this life has blinded you so that you’ve been turned around and have lost your way, reach out right now, reach out today and take Jesus’ hand. He won’t let you down.