Love without Hypocrisy – Part 2
Good morning. Today we will continue our study in the book of Romans chapter 12 verses 9 and 10 where we were last week. We started our study with verse 9, where Paul says “Let love be without hypocrisy”. We looked at love in general and what the Bible teaches us about the nature of and the definition of love.
We also referenced First Corinthians 13:1-3 were Paul unequivocally says that love makes everything meaningful and without love meaning is lost. Even if a person has a spiritual gift, a miraculous manifestation, but the exercise of that spiritual gift was without the motivation of love, it would mean nothing. It would profit the person, nothing. Those are some powerful thoughts when we think about the place of love and the importance of love.
Though our text is from Romans 12, I want to continue in our study with 1 Corinthians 13 noticing again as the Bible defines love for us in this passage that it contrasts feeling or emotion with what is presented to us as more of an activity. Someone said that love is a practical asset; it is something that an individual has or possesses which has real practical value in their life. It is what you, as a person, could put to use. It is not, in biblical terms, something that is abstract. It is rather concrete; it has real meaning when a person puts it into action.
The Bible has a very concrete use for the term love particularly in the examples of love. Contrast that with society today and even our language where we use love in a very general or abstract way. We talk about a lot of different things that don't all have the same meaning. We talk about loving a certain kind of food or loving our new house. We love our puppy or our spouse, or our mother,... and we love God. We use the same English word to describe all those things, all those connections yet those connections are not all the same.
Those connections certainly don't carry all the same intensity nor do they describe in anyway the same activity. In the practical language of the Bible though, when God calls us to love one another, it is based upon the love He has already expressed to us. Because of that there is a practical foundation for God's demand that we love one another and that we love Him in the same way that has already been clearly defined for us.
The Bible defines agape love for us within the context of real events. We have passages like we're going to look at this morning where we can see a concise step by step definition of the nature of love. We also have events that tell us about love where individuals do certain things and they are either pleasing to God or displeasing to God. These are events that help us to understand the nature of God.
How can we ever talk about love without talking about the crucifixion? Perhaps more to the point how can we ever talk about the crucifixion without talking about love?
There is no way to understand those events as they are revealed to us without coming to understand that God loves us. There's no way to explain why God would allow those things to happen apart from love. There's no way for us to come to a concrete understanding of why suffering exists in the world without understanding the nature of love and God's love for us. Agape love is active, not abstract or passive. It does not simply feel patient, it practices patience. It does not simply have kind feelings, it does kind things. It does not simply recognize the truth, it rejoices in the truth.
When the Bible describes these concepts and puts them into concrete terms it does it on the basis and understanding of the love of God. It is most clearly and intricately described in 1 Corinthians 13:1-8. Paul provides 15 specific characteristics of love in contrast and rebuke of the way in which the Corinthian church was acting and treating each other.
Turn to 1 Corinthians 13. We are going to read those passages again beginning in verse 4 were Paul describes what love is. Some have called this description of love a spectrum of love. It is as if Paul shines love through a prism and we see 15 of its colors and hues, the spectrum of love. Each ray gives a different property of agape love. The English translation includes several adjectives, but the Greek forms of all those properties are verbs. I rather like this analogy and I would suggest to you that what we will find here helps us answer the question; what’s the loving thing to do in any particular situation?
I. Verse 4 – “4. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up 5. does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6. does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7. bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8. Love never fails...” It goes on to say that there are some things that would fail, prophecies, the working of miracles and revelation itself would fail but that love would never fail.
A. There is, I believe, a reason why this is found in the Corinthian epistle, and that is because of the actions of his audience. We know from previous chapters that there are a lot of problems in the church at Corinth. They were failing to treat one another properly, taking one another to law (6:1-8). They failed to understand the nature of the Lord supper. They failed in many ways to understand the humility of preaching the gospel and the importance of the crucifixion. Some saw no problem entering an idol temple (10:14-22). They were divided over one another and that fractious spirit was in the church to be seen by others.
1. If we look at what Paul says about love here, we see that these characteristics of love, contrast to what already existed among the Christians at Corinth as described earlier in this letter. That's a sad way to look at it, but when we consider what Paul says in terms of what love does not do and compare that to the rest of the book we recognize that's exactly what was happening.
2. They were jealous they were haughty. They were tolerant of evil, they were puffed up. Paul is effectively telling them in other places in this letter, “You folks are not acting the way God wants you to act”. When we get to Chapter 13 we find that what they lacked was love. It shouldn't surprise us then to find this treatise on love in this particular book.
3. As Hodge puts it in his commentary; “They were impatient, discontented, envious, inflated, selfish, indecorous, and unmindful of the feelings or interests of others, suspicious, resentful and censorious.” At least some of them were. What would solve that? Just learn to love one another and understand what love is all about. This particular description has a very real place for the audience in the church at Corinth.
B. As I mentioned in this passage the English translations include a number of adjectives. In the Greek these are all verbs which I find insightful. In the original language Paul is describing love in the context of activities not in an abstract notion not even a passive notion of what a person possesses, but rather in the active sense of what a person does or does not do. Love can't be described in the biblical sense without applying it to an activity a person is doing or not doing.
1. Love does not simply recognize truth it rejoices in truth. Love does not simply have kind feelings it actually does things that are kind. It's not just that it feels patient, love actually practice's patience, longsuffering.
2. This is an important concept to understand about love because there's a lot of discussion in the religious world today about love as though it is an abstract feeling, something that makes you feel good. Therefore if you feel good about doing something, it must be something that you're doing out of love. That's not a biblical oriented concept of love. Let us examine this list that Paul gives and keep in mind we are looking to understand what God says love is.
II. Love suffers long– Paul begins by saying love suffers long. The word literally comes from a 2 word phrase (μακροθυμέω makrothyméō, mak-roth-oo-meh'-o) meaning "long-tempered" or long in patience. Vine describes it as "the quality of self-restraint, in the face of provocation, which does not hastily retaliate or promptly punish." Its use implies the power to retaliate or react, but the unwillingness to do it.
A. Perhaps we can understand long-tempered best by looking at our understanding of its opposite. We might talk about somebody that's short- tempered. We know what short-tempered means. It means that you don't have to push that person very far before something happens. Long-tempered is just the opposite; you could push a person a long way before anything happens.
1. What this is not talking about is inaction because you can’t do anything about the situation. Perhaps the way we think of our taxes. We endure them because we can’t do anything about them. That is not long-suffering.
2. The aspect here of being long-tempered is that you have the opportunity to do something, or say something, or act in a certain way, but you decide not to do that. The Bible points this out as a virtue; God's word describes this as something that's good.
3. Patience however, was not a virtue to the Greeks. Their view was that you should be ready to strike back at any provocation. "Stand up for your rights". Hesitation to retaliate was viewed as a sign of weakness and indeed their view is very prevalent in today’s society.
4. In a sense then, this quality of love that Paul describes here is something that was countercultural when it was first being preached. Individuals were told that they shouldn’t stand up for their rights, but rather they should stand up for God and for the other person. That's an important concept for us today. We still struggle with whether or not we ought to “stand up for our rights”. Isn’t it just a matter of respecting and defending ourselves? -- What's the loving thing to do? Some brethren behave that way. If they are wronged they are ready to punish.
5. But what about when something must be said or done, when there cannot be a toleration of any evil that is occurring? Even our rebuking it is to be done with longsuffering... as Paul tells Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:2 – “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.” Even when we must speak and sometimes we must, we are to do it with patience and longsuffering.
B. The standard for that is God. II Peter 3:9 – “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” That's one of those qualities of God that every one of us can personally applaud isn’t it? God's omnipotent, we see it in the creation around us. God’s longsuffering—I can see that in my own life and recognize that God bears with me and endures with me.
C. Robert Ingersoll, a well-known atheist of the last century, often would stop in the middle of his lectures against God and say, "I’ll give God five minutes to strike me dead for the things I’ve said." He then used the fact that he was not struck dead as proof that God did not exist. Theodore Parker said of Ingersoll’s claim, "And did the gentleman think he could exhaust the patience of the eternal God in five minutes?" No, you really can't, can you? Sometimes not in a lifetime.
III. Love is kind – We generally have an idea of what kind is. Biblical kindness is a compliment to longsuffering in the sense that it is the activity that comes as a result of longsuffering. It pays back an injury that's done to the person with good things and again this concept of love is painted for us in the environment of adversity. When something is done against me and I’m called upon to react; what's the loving thing to do? The loving thing is to repay that which is evil with that which good. When someone treats me unkindly, I need to come back with something that's kind.
A. Interestingly enough this Greek phrase (χρηστεύομαι chrēsteúomai, khraste-yoo'-om-ahee) literally means to show oneself useful, to put oneself to a useful purpose. It's more than just a sweet attitude– it is doing kind deeds. In doing kind things you produce a product, a fruit.
1. The proverb writer says that a soft answer can turn away wrath or anger (Proverbs 15:1).
2. If you’re kind in response to evil it can disquiet the evil, it can bring an end to the discussion, it can deescalate the conflict. Kindness is described as one of the fruits of the spirit in Galatians 5:22.
B. Again God is the standard in all of this.
1. Boaz was drawn to Ruth because of her kindness to her mother in law. (Ruth 2:11 NKJV).
2. Abraham’s servant used kindness as the test when choosing a mate for Isaac. (Genesis 24:14)
3. God’s kindness is called to our attention many times in scripture. Titus 3:4-5 – “4. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5. not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,” God’s kindness was shown to us in Jesus. Paul says that it was not only the love but it was an element of that love, it was the kindness of God that brought salvation. It was that activity of sending Jesus and allowing Him to die and giving to us what we did not deserve to receive. That shows God loves us. Love is kind.
IV. Love does not envy – The word “envy” in the scriptures is closely related to the word jealousy as translated into English. Strong defines the Greek as to have warmth of feeling for or against, covet, desire, envy, be jealous over. The word zelot is the root which means to boil over as you would take a pot and put it on a fire and let it sit there until it would boil over.
A. Sometimes the word is used in a positive sense but in most places it’s used in a negative sense. Jealousy is contradictory to what God would have happen in a person's life. Jealousy as described in the Bible it is often the sin that is connected to further sin. It's like a starting point.
1. It is an emotional response to what happens to somebody else. Then this response leads to a person making the wrong choice.
2. We see the first example of this with Cain in Genesis Chapter 4. Cain is jealous of the fact that his brother’s sacrifice was more approved of by God than his own, that jealousy then led him to murder his brother. Cain envied God’s approval of Abel’s sacrifice.
3. In between the jealousy and murder there was even the admonition of God to Cain personally to be careful here. God told Cain that sin was lying at the door and it would rule over him if he did not rule over it. (Genesis 4:6-7) Cain needed to make the right choice. In essence what God was saying; Cain, you must do the loving thing here. Love does not envy your brother. He didn't do the loving thing and he became a murderer.
4. We see that with Joseph and his brothers. We see that as well in Jesus’ own death. Individuals whose jealousies led them to do something in a violent way that caused greater sin.
5. James points out in James 3:14-16 – “14. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. 15. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 16. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing will be there.” James says that where there is jealousy and envy there is a depository or a treasury of all types of other evil ready to be let out. It's like a Pandora's Box. That's pretty harsh isn't it?
B. I know some Christians who I believe struggle with jealousy. They struggle with class envy, they struggle with their relationship with people who have more money then they have, with individuals that are more blessed in life, with people that are more successful. People who struggle with envy in their life need to heed this warning; if the envy is there—there is a Pandora's Box of other evil that could be unleashed because of it. We recognize that love does not envy.
V. Love is not boastful, is not puffed up- The root word for the first expression is "wind -bag". Strong defines this verb as “braggart”. (περπερεύομαι perpereúomai, per-per-yoo'-om-ahee). The root for the second expression is "bellows" with the primary sense of blowing to inflate. It's an inflated view of oneself and again the picture of this boastful attitude, this puffing up, is what leads to greater sin.
A. It is a springboard for doing things that would be in violation of God's law. It is pride and pride is a real enemy of love. Pride destroys the ability of an individual to truly love another individual.
1. We're all tempted to think more highly of ourselves than we ought, Romans 12:3, that's certainly what Paul addresses there. In terms of the quest for spirituality we simply must humble our self as Christ has humbled Himself. The Bible emphasizes the humility of love.
2. Love can not exist when I think myself greater than another person. If I truly love the other person I have to always think of them as greater, or certainly more deserving, than myself.
B. Certainly that's true in the marriage relationship. Pride is a destroyer of marriages. When a person seeks their own because they think they are better than the person they married, think they deserve better, that it is a seed of destruction.
VI. Love does not behave rudely – Have you ever met a rude person? We meet them all the time, don’t we? A person that's irritable and bitter in their attitudes and maybe expresses that in a public place, a grocery store, or in the checkout line, or in traffic. They’re just rude. That's precisely what the scripture means here in the words “behaving rudely”. Another translation says “unseemly”. It carries the idea that a person is un-formed and that's what the original word meant. Something that was shapeless or un-formed, that they did not have the parameters of character which would cause them to do things that would be best for the other person.
A. That's what the rude person does. They simply do not care if what they do affects another person in a negative way. They do not care if what they say makes you angry, or makes you sad. They cut in front of you in line. They do not care because they are all important to themselves and they deserve to be there and you deserve to be behind them.
1. They are people who are unformed and unshaped. That in essence is what Paul’s saying here. It is not love, could never be love because love does not act that way. We might say immature, no mater how old they are.
2. Think about that, it means that in order to love someone, I have to care how my actions affect them. There can be no other way around it. I can't claim to love somebody and then say well I don't care what he thinks about that. I don't care if what I do affects them. I have to care about how it affects them.
B. Paul brings that out later when he talks about individuals in a congregation that have differing levels of conscience, differing levels of knowledge of the truth. Individuals described by Paul as being stronger or weaker in faith. Is the stronger brother to care about the weaker brother?
1. If he loves him he does. It's absolutely imperative that if he loves his brother, he cares. He cares so that even in the exercise of his liberty, something that he has the right to do, he not be negatively perceived by the other person and cause them to sin.
2. Christians who are rude when they speak to other individuals, even with whom they disagree, and then proceed to say they love them as brothers are hypocrites. They don't understand what love is all about.
3. I Peter 3:8 - Peter says; “Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous;” That's not hard to do is it? It doesn’t take a lot of energy just to be courteous to another person. It is an integral element of what love is all about. Thoughtlessness is the opposite of that. Thoughtfulness is an expression of love.
VII. Love does not seek its own – This is portrayed several ways in the Scriptures in terms of what God demands of us as Christians. One is in the aspect of servitude and that's how the Bible pictures our relationship to God and to other individuals. In Romans chapter 6 he says; “When you were in sin you were slaves of unrighteousness but when you became a Christian you became free from the slavery of unrighteousness. But you in essence became a slave to righteousness itself that you were just as much in servitude to do what was right as you were in servitude to do what was wrong. When you become a child of God you can no longer live in any way other than in the lifestyle of service. ” [para].
A. Our welfare is not our primary concern. We have to be willing to sacrifice and do for someone else. Think of that in terms of the New Testament concept of what a servant was all about. Servants or slaves in New Testament times were not in essence a person themselves. They were the property of another person. When they got up in the morning and started to plan their day there were no thoughts about “I want to do today”. That's primarily how we start our day. We have ideas of what we want to do, though there are some things we have to do, we have obligations.
1. Living in a free society there are limitations to that. My job—my boss wants me to do these things, but I don't have to work there. I can quit and go do something else. I have thoughts of my own welfare.
2. The slave of the first century could not entertain any thoughts of their own welfare. They got up in the morning and their thought was what does the master want me to do, what are my obligations to him. How can I make his life better? How can I serve him? That mindset is the spiritual environment of a Christian as you serve God.
B. Paul said that we are to be pleasing to Him in all things and in all ways. We have to recognize that love does not seek its own. When God calls us to love, to love Him, and to love one another, it is always focused on what's best for the other person. Even in the beginning thoughts of that, it does not pursue what I want but rather what the other person needs.
VIII. Love is not provoked - some translations say not easily provoked. The Greek verb translated as provoke (παροξύνω paroxýnō, par-ox-oo'-no) is a common word in the New Testament and means to sharpen or to stimulate. Passages like Hebrews 10:25 talk about stimulating one another to love and good works.
A. To make a tool sharp. In the negative sense Paul says here love is not provoked. It doesn't rise quickly and easily into anger. It is not ready to fight. It does not feel insecure in the relationship it’s in. It's not threatened by the evil of others.
1. Love gives us the ability to be that way, to not be threatened by the evil of others, to not feel as though we must react in order to save our self-esteem or to save our position.
2. Love is able then to allow time to pass before a reaction and to fight off the urge to be angry and to express that anger in a sinful way. Paul in Ephesians 4:26 says “be angry and sin not”. Don't let the sun go down upon your wrath.
3. In Psalms 4:4 the psalmist gave even more instructions. He says when you're angry sit down on your bed and meditate on it in the night and dissolve the anger [para].
B. Love gives us the ability to do that.
IX. Love thinks no evil – Connect this with love is not provoked. That's probably one reason why love is not provoked because it doesn't initially begin to think about evil. That doesn't mean that loving people don't recognize evil when they see it or that they don't ever think about the existence of evil. The word we translate as “thinks” is from the world of the accountant. The Greek word (λογίζομαι logízomai, log-id'-zom-ahee) carries the idea of “to take inventory”, “to number”, “to reckon”, “compute” or “calculate”.
A. The accountant begins keeping inventory. They start counting the things that are on the shelf and write them down. Why do they write them down? Why does the accountant write something down in a ledger? Why do they keep track of things a record? Because they want to remember it, they don’t want to forget it so they write it down. Love does not write down or keep a record of evil, it doesn't record it. It has no interest in remembering evil later on.
B. I believe this is connected with the aspect of forgiveness. Love gives us the opportunity and the ability to forgive the other person. Before the actual forgiveness though, this aspect has to do with how the mind deals with the injury over a long period of time.
1. Sometimes folks will say I forgive you but they don't ever really forget. They don't ever erase the account of the evil that’s done. The same word is used to describe the parting act of God to the blood of Jesus Christ.
2. In Romans 4:8 – Paul says; “blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin” The word translated as “impute” (λογίζομαι logízomai, log-id'-zom-ahee) is the same word we looked at a moment ago translated as “think”. God does not impute evil to us. Why?
3. Because the blood of Christ covers it, because He forgets it, He never brings it up again. It's done. It is off the books, erased.
4. Love has the ability to set evil aside in such a way it does not resurrect or reoccur. Like the husband said the problem is that when he and his wife fight it’s not so much that she gets hysterical as she gets historical.... Things are brought up again—things talked about a long time ago but are not forgotten.
C. This is born out not only in the language, but maybe even in a more profound way in the events of the Bible.
1. Think about Joseph. Most of us know the story and were probably taught it when we were quite young. In the story of Joseph we see this aspect of anger and how individuals deal with it, some good some bad.
2. Joseph as a young man dealing with the jealousy of his brothers is sold into slavery. Then put in an unfair situation, falsely accused, thrown into prison, forgotten and neglected. Then his brothers are reunited with him in Egypt.
3. Everything relies upon what Joseph will do even the salvation of his family. The spotlight is on this man who has been mistreated all his life. What will he do? How would he react?
4. Genesis 50:15 – “When Joseph's brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, "Perhaps Joseph will hate us, and may actually repay us for all the evil which we did to him.” “16. So they sent messengers to Joseph, saying, "Before your father died he commanded, saying, 17. 'Thus you shall say to Joseph: "I beg you, please forgive the trespass of your brothers and their sin; for they did evil to you.'' ' Now, please, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of your father.'' And Joseph wept when they spoke to him.” “18. Then his brothers also went and fell down before his face, and they said, "Behold, we are your servants.'' 19. Joseph said to them, "Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God?”
5. The reason he asks that rhetorical question “Am I in the place of God” is because Joseph understood that God was the one that had the right and the prerogative to execute vengeance for any evil done.
6. Just like Paul says Vengeance belongs to the Lord—not to Joseph not to anybody else. Joseph understood that, so for his brothers to worry about whether he would take revenge, Joseph’s question is; am I God? “20. "But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. 21. "Now therefore, do not be afraid;”
7. Joseph loves his brothers. Despite all that they had done to him, he loved them. How do we know? Because he did not think of the evil, he did not hold it to their account, he did not seek vengeance.
X. Love does not rejoice in iniquity but rejoices in the truth – Again the story of Joseph. What is Joseph happy about? Was he thrilled that he could look back on what they've done to him and he finally had them under his thumb? Did he rejoice when they said they were his servants and he really had the upper hand? No. Joseph did not rejoice in inequity and unrighteousness. He rejoiced in the truth.
A. What was the truth? God meant this for good and now I have the opportunity by what God has done to save my family, not to hurt them, to save his brothers, not to punish them, but to save his family. You see Joseph loved his brothers.
B. After all these things had taken place in the midst of all the adversity, love was what showed through in Joseph’s life. In that way he becomes an emblem of the coming of Jesus Christ and the one who would show us love in its perfect form. I believe that's one reason why there's so much about Joseph in the Bible.
C. Love takes no pleasure in sin. It rejoices when the truth is found, even if it demands great change. Love does not gloat over the sin of others; it causes men to mourn over those that are lost. Love cannot compromise on the issue of truth. It does not seek unity apart from the platform of truth. "I don’t want to judge him, I just want to love him".
XI. Love bear all things, believes all things hopes all things endures all things – The word translated “bear” comes from a word (στέγω stégō, steg'-o) that primarily means to protect and preserve, covering, to put a covering over something, hide, conceal. By covering to keep off something which threatens, to bear up against, hold out against, and so endure.
A. Love covers things up so that even those things that happen in the course of the human experience do not become disasters. Somebody misspeaks, expresses something they should have kept to themselves. Some word is said, some emotion let go and is thrown into my court how do I react to that?
1. Love covers a multitude of sins. If I love the person I can let that go. I can endure it. I can bear it, excuse it, cover it up.
2. Love will do everything it can to protect and cover the other person from spiritual harm. It's not ready to denounce the offender, is not ready to kick the person out. It gives them the benefit of the doubt because you love them. You believe the good things first, you hope better things for the future.
3. You look to what is good and when things turn out for good for the other person—you're happy about it, even if it costs you.
B. Love will endure. Love will put up with, it will persevere. I think all of that terminology can be clearly seen in the marriage relationship. If you've been married very long you know that’s true. What does a person do with all of the difficulties in the relationship, the adjustments, and the disappointments?
1. I know what love does. Seeking what's best for the other person gives us the opportunity to protect them when harm would come their way. To think what's best for them, to give them the benefit of the doubt, to endure through the difficult times.
2. When people in marriage vows say I love you, what they ought to be saying and maybe what they are saying if they really mean it, is “I will not give up on you no matter what!” I will not give up on you because that's what God says when He says He loves me, He will not give up on me.
3. He will endure with me to the end. That’s security isn’t it? How much do we need security today? That's real security to be found in the love of God.
4. To know that there are people I have a relationship with who will not give up on me, who are always eager and willing to do what's best for me, who want what's best for me no matter what—that's real security.
XII. And then Paul says Love never fails - We’re out of time, but I don't think we need to spend a lot of time on this because we know this is true. The reason we know that love never fails is because God is love. God does not fail when He sets out to do something. Even something as ominous and as difficult as paying the price for every sin that will ever be committed in a sin cursed world, God does this. Even when that particular payment has to be paid through a series of sufferings and difficulties and providential events that none of us could have imagined nor ourselves orchestrated or endured.
God did it all for me. Why? Because he loves me and because he loves you.
Love never fails. It is the essence of our salvation. Jesus Loves Me This I know for the Bible Tells Me So, in simplest language, understood and sung by children. The most profound truth you and I will ever entertain—is that God loves us. The Bible tells us about that love. We hope that that love motivates you as you understand it and that above all else you want to serve the God who loves you. No matter how deep and dark sin has become in your life, God has not given up on you. His spirit still speaks to you from His word and calls you to do what is right. The blood of Christ for the forgiveness of those sins is still as current as it ever was, as powerful as it will ever be to take away every sin. The forgiveness that comes from the love of God is absolute; when God forgives you He will put it behind and will never bring it up.
Come to that security through obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. It requires a decision on your part that you repent of sins, and be baptized for the forgiveness of those sins into the death of Jesus. If we can assist you in any way we invite you to come forward while we stand and while we sing.
Invitation song: ???
Reference sermon: David SchmidtPrint
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