INTRODUCTION: Jesus said, “But the words that come out of your mouth come from your heart. And they are what make you unfit to worship God” (Matthew 15:18 CEV).The way we speak reveals our faith commitment. More than any other New Testament writer, James writes about our speech and the power of the tongue to do harm or good. He warns us to use our words carefully and to control our tongues. What we say and how we say it shows our true character.
Teachers are judged by the way they speak. “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly” (1).
Speech reveals a person’s character. “We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check” (2).
Small things can control large things:
The bit and bridle in a horse’s mouth. “When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal” (3).
The rudder of a ship. “Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go” (4).
The tongue in the body. “Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts” (5).
The tongue exposes a person’s inner life:
The boasting tongue is like a fire in the forest. “Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark” (5).
The tongue is a hellfire of iniquity that defiles our body and sets the destination of our life toward destruction. “The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell” (6).
Creatures can be tamed but the tongue is uncontrollable. “All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison” (7-8).
An uncontrolled tongue is unnatural for a Christian.
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water. (9-12).
Jesus said, “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (Luke 6:45).
Conclusion: The way we speak reflects our inner spiritual state and who is in control of our life.
INTRODUCTION: On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther posted his ninety-five theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. Luther’s protest against Catholic church doctrine and practice led to what is now known at the Protestant Reformation. The Reformation recovered the Bible as the sole authority for true belief (sola scriptura) and faith in Jesus Christ, not good works, as the means of salvation (sole fide). This year marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation yet the issue of faith versus works continues to be a current topic. What constitutes true faith? Who is saved and who is not? How does a person become a Christian? Does it matter how I live my life if I believe in Jesus? We all struggle to define faith and how to put our faith into action. James clarifies faith and works.
FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS USELESS (2:14-17).
The example of the unclothed and the unfed believers. What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food (14-15).
Common sense says that Christians have a responsibility to feed and clothe the needy.If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? (16).
Principle: Faith without works is dead.In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead (17).
ANOTHER COMMON ERROR (2:18-20):
Wrong assumption: All I need is works. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds (18).
Demons also believe there is one God but their actions deny him. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. (19).
Faith and works are bothnecessary.You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? (20).
EVIDENCE OF FAITH IN ACTION (2:21-26):
Abraham was justified by works.Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? (21).
Principle: Faith and actions work together to prove genuine faith. You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness” and he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone. (22-24).
Rahab was justified by works.In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? (25).
Principle restated: A true Christian will show evidence of salvation.As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. (26).
If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?
INTRODUCTION: James says the trials of our faith bring us joy (James 1:2). James lists a series of tests that each one of us go through to develop our faith. He begins with tests of character. Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ changes our attitudes, our speech, and our actions. We become like Jesus in our character and our conduct. This affects our relationships. James quickly turns to the tests of love and how we treat other people. True love does not show partiality or favoritism.
THE TEST OF FAVORITISM (2:1-7).
*Partiality is an attitude of personal favoritism. My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism (1).
*A common example of favoritism: the rich and the poor. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves (2-4).
*The nature of the sin of distinction. have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? (4).
Evil motives (i.e. Greed).
Judgment (see ch. 1:13-15).
*The rich compared to the poor: Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong (5-7)?
The poor (5-6) are
Chosen by God
Rich in the faith
Heirs of the kingdom of God
Loved of God
Dishonored among men
The rich (6-7)
Oppress the church of Jesus Christ
Take believers to court
THE TEST OF FULFILLING THE ROYAL LAW OF LOVE (2:8-11).
*The GreatCommandment forbids partiality. If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right (8).
*Partiality is a transgression of the royal law. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers (9).
*Even one “little” sin violates the whole Law. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker (10-11).
*Love is the Law of Liberty. Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment (12-13).
Let your words and actions be guided by this law (12).
INTRODUCTION: James says the trials of our faith bring us joy (James 1:2). James begins his letter by explaining the difference between a test and a temptation. Trials have a good purpose but temptations pull us down. Trials are a training ground for our faith development. Endurance produces maturity. The more you persevere, the more you mature. James will list a series of tests that each one of us go through to develop our faith. He begins with tests of character. Tests of character reveal how we put our faith into action.
THE TEST OF ANGER VERSUS SELF-CONTROL (1:19-21).
*A strategy for self-control: My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry (19).
Be slow to anger.
*A principle to follow: because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires (20).
*A remedy for anger: Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you (21).
Confess your sins.
Allow the word of God to grow in your life.
THE TEST OF DOING VERSUS HEARING THE WORD OF GOD (1:22-25)
*Doing the Word proves your faith is legitimate. Hearing but not doing leads to self-delusion. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says (1:22).
*The example of a reflection in a mirror.. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like (1:23-24).
*Obedience to the word of God brings blessing. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do (1:25).
THE TEST OF TRUE RELIGION VERSUS FALSE RELIGION (1:26-27).
*How can you recognize false religion? Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless (1:26).
Religionists have big talk but no action.
Their uncontrolled speech reveals their heart.
*True religion balances faith and action. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world (1:27).
True religion practices compassion and acts of kindness.
Genuine people of faith practice personal purity and piety.
Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ changes our attitudes, our speech, and our actions. We become like Jesus in our character and our conduct.
INTRODUCTION: The Epistle of James was most likely written by James, the brother of Jesus (Gal. 2:9) and the head of the church at Jerusalem (Acts 15:13). James resisted Jesus’ early ministry (John 7:2-5) but became a follower of Jesus after the resurrection (1 Cor. 15:7). James probably led his other brothers to the Lord and was present at Pentecost (Acts 1:14). He calls himself a “bond-servant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ” and writes his letter to the “diaspora,” fellow Jews scattered across the world (James 1:1). A main leader in the Jerusalem church, James headed the Jerusalem Council and supported Paul’s gospel ministry (Acts 15). Tradition has it that James was thrown down from the Temple gable, stoned, and beaten to death with a club. The theme of the letter is found in James 1:2: The trials of our faith bring us joy. James begins by explaining the difference between a test and a temptation. Trials have a good purpose but temptations pull us down.
*Trials provide a testing of our faith and challenge us to overcome trying circumstances. As we succeed, we experience joy and learn endurance. Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance (1:2-3).
*Trials are a training ground for our faith development. Endurance produces maturity. The more you persevere, the more you mature. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything (1:3-4).
*Trials often cause us to question God and ask why we are going through such difficulty. The best response is to ask God for wisdom and discernment in our time of trouble. We should not doubt God’s willingness to answer our requests but we should be bold and trust God to give us understanding. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything fromthe Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do (1:5-8).
*Our identity and status are not based on our circumstances and wealth. Our relationship with the Lord enables us to face any trial. We need to trust God where we are and depend upon him. Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business (1:9-11).
*God has promised a reward to those who persevere and remain faithful in all trials. Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him (1:12).
*Temptation is not from God. Temptation arises from our lusts and entices us to do what is contrary to God’s will and way. When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed (1:13-14).
*Yielding to temptation produces sin and death. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death (15).
*A warning: Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters (1:16).
GOD’S GOAL (1:17-18).
*God gives good gifts. God wants the best for you. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows (1:17).
*God wants us to be born into his family. He wants our lives to reflect his goodness and his purposes. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created (1:18).
When we face our trials with faith and resist temptations to sin, we experience the joy of being part of the eternal family of God.
Gregory Magruder Parkview Baptist Church Gainesville, FL 10-01-17
You Reap What You Sow
INTRODUCTION: By any definition, growth is a miracle. A single dormant seed mysteriously springs to life and with proper nurture produces a bountiful harvest. But what we plant is important. “Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow” (Galatians 6:7 NRSV). The seeds we plant determine the harvest we reap. Christians can develop (grow) in their spiritual life. There are three good seeds we can plant so we can GROW in our Christian life. The Lord causes these seeds to GROW.
SOW SEEDS OF WORSHIP.
*We can sow seeds of the flesh or we can sow seeds of the Spirit. Worship is focusing everything we do to please and honor God. “If you plant in the field of your natural desires, from it you will gather the harvest of death; if you plant in the field of the Spirit, from the Spirit you will gather the harvest of eternal life” (Galatians 6:8 GNT).
*God deserves our PRAISE. “Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the Lord” (Psalm 150:6 NIV).
*God chooses to DWELL where He is praised. “Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel (Psalm 22:3 ESV).
*The Lord rewards those who earnestly desire to KNOW Him. “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:6 NIV).
*We can GROW through worship. God rewards our worship.
SOW SEEDS OF WITNESS.
*Jesus said every one of His FOLLOWERS would be a witness. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8 NIV).
*A witness gives a personal TESTIMONY about what he or she has seen or heard or experienced. “The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:2-3 NIV).
*The Lord gives SUCCESS to those who tell others about Him. “So let us not become tired of doing good; for if we do not give up, the time will come when we will reap the harvest” (Galatians 6:9 GNT).
They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony” (Revelation 12:10-11 NIV).
We can GROW through our witness. God rewards our witness.
SOW SEEDS OF WORK.
*Labor is necessary for success and GROWTH. “Lazy people want much but get little, while the diligent are prospering” (Prov. 13:4 TLB).
“Never be lazy in your work, but serve the Lord enthusiastically” (Romans 12:11 TLB).
*God’s work requires WORKERS. Jesus said to his disciples: "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” (Matthew. 9:37-38 NIV).
*God honors our EFFORTS for Him. “So then, as often as we have the chance, we should do good to everyone, and especially to those who belong to our family in the faith” (Galatians 6:10 GNT).
“Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain”(1 Corinthians 15:58).
*The best work is TEAMWORK. Paul wrote: “God is important because he is the one who makes things grow. Apollos and I are working as a team with the same aim, though each of us will be rewarded for his own hard work. We are only God’s coworkers” (1 Corinthians 3:7-9 TLB).
We can GROW through our work for the Lord. God rewards our work.
Gregory Magruder Parkview Baptist Church Gainesville, FL 09-24-17
How to Survive a Hurricane and Personal Storms
Psalm 46:1-3; Galatians 6:9-10
INTRODUCTION: Jamie Aten and his family moved to Mississippi six days before Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. They evacuated during the storm but Jamie soon began to help with the relief efforts. The experience led him to study the role of faith and the church in disaster relief. He became Director of the Humanitarian Disaster Institute at Wheaton College. He soon faced a personal storm in his life, stage 4 colon cancer. His study of hurricane response helped him respond to his cancer with faith and resolve. We have faced Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose and Maria in recent days. Some have been more impacted than others but all of us have had our lives disrupted in some ways. All of us at times face personal storms that challenge us. Professor Aten’s faith principles of surviving disasters can help us overcome life’s storms.
*All of us will face trouble in life. The search for meaning in the midst of the storm helps with recovery and stress. God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging (Psalm 46:1-3).
*Giving up control to God in our circumstances enables us to face reality as it is and to reconcile our losses. Letting go let’s God do his healing work. God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear…(Psalm 46:1-2).
* People recover better from disaster and personal loss when they have strong spiritual and community support. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers (Galatians 6:10).
*Perseverance through adversity trusts that God can work through our brokenness and loss. Hope moves us forward to full recovery. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up (Galatians 6:9).
Gregory Magruder Parkview Baptist Church Gainesville, FL 08-13-17
INTRODUCTION: Santa Fe College and the University of Florida will have their convocations soon. The leadership gathers the faculty and students to challenge them to reach new goals and to work together to build a successful school year. Convocation means “to call together.” I am calling us together today to rally us to our cause and to remind us of our common purpose and goals. I want us to remember our reason for being. Why are we here? What are we called to do? There are three essentials for a healthy church. They show us why we are here and what we need to do. The Three Essentials Triangle shows us how we can move people into our fellowship and become committed followers of Jesus. The three essentials of Contact, Connections and Consistency will lead us to grow. Acts 2:37-47 describes the three essentials at work.
A HEALTHY CHURCH MAKES CONTACTS.
*Principle: The more people you reach, the more people you retain. When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day (Acts 2:37-41).
*Our motivations for outreach are the Great Commandment and the Great Commission:
Love God and Love Others - Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:37-40).
Make Disciples – Jesus said, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20).
*The basic functions of the church spring up from the two commandments:
Evangelism, Discipleship, Fellowship, Ministry, Missions and Worship.
*A healthy church constantly looks for ways to make contact with others.
A HEALTHY CHURCH CREATES CONNECTIONS.
*Principle: Connected people stay. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need (Acts 2:42-45).
*The process of growth requires Making Disciples, Maturing Believers, and Multiplying Ministries. People will stay when they connect to a small group and make lasting friendships. People will stay when they serve a common cause. People will stay when someone cares for them.
*A healthy church helps people connect and build relationships.
A HEALTHY CHURCH PROVIDES CONSISTENCY.
*Excellence breeds loyalty. Regular, reliable and stable programs create an atmosphere of trust and commitment. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved (Acts 2:46-47).
*The steady process of growth will lead to Numerical Growth, Spiritual Transformation, Ministry Expansion and Kingdom Advance.
*A healthy church consistently brings people in, builds them up, trains them for service, and sends them out.
Let’s agree together this year at Parkview Baptist Church to contact people, connect them to small groups and consistently provide them with opportunities to be renewed and to serve.
**based upon Kingdom-Focused Church Model and Process (Mims)
INTRODUCTION: Hosea married a woman who eventually became unfaithful and left him. His relationship with his wife was broken. God used Hosea’s marriage as a symbol of the broken relationship he had with his people Israel. Could Hosea’s marriage and God’s covenant with his people be restored? That is what we all ask when our relationships break down. Whether it is in the marriage bond, family ties, work associations, friendships or neighbor contacts, we all have had broken or strained relationships. How can we repair or restore broken relationships? Hosea chapter 2 is a poem that describes how God restored his broken relationship with Israel. We can use the same process to reestablish and repair our relationship breakdowns.
RECOGNITION OF THE BROKEN RELATIONSHIP (2:2-5).
*First, you must identify and admit that there is a problem in the relationship. “Rebuke your mother, rebuke her, for she is not my wife, and I am not her husband. Let her remove the adulterous look from her face and the unfaithfulness from between her breasts…She said, ‘I will go after my lovers, who give me my food and my water, my wool and my linen, my olive oil and my drink’” (2-5).
RESULTS OF THE BROKEN RELATIONSHIP (2:6-13).
*Every action has consequences. You either live with the results or learn from the consequences. Firm boundaries can reset the relationship. “Therefore, I will block her path with thorn bushes; I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way. She will chase after her lovers but not catch them; she will look for them but not find them. Then she will say, ‘I will go back to my husband as at first, for then I was better off than now’” (6-7).
RECONCILIATION OF THE BROKEN RELATIONSHIP (2:14-23).
*Time, tenderness and trust can rebuild a broken relationship. God has restored us and we must work to do the same in our relationships with others. “Therefore, I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her…I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the Lord” (14-20).
“God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:19).
INTRODUCTION: Twenty years have passed since Hosea was told to “go and take a woman” (1:2). Now he is divorced, older, with grown up children and God tells Hosea to “go and love a woman” (3:1). Hosea is told to love an unfaithful, adulterous, former wife. He is told to “love one who is unlovely, unloved, and who loves others” (Peter Craigie). This is unheard of. Gomer left Hosea, committed adultery, became a prostitute in the Baal worship cult, and finally ended up a slave in a relationship with another man. She was the lowest of the low and certainly did not deserve a second chance. Yet Hosea is to learn how to love as God loves. Hosea’s unheard-of love for Gomer reveals the heart of God for his wayward people and for you and me. Hosea learns how to love the unlovable and restore that one to a loving relationship. We are to love as God loves. Hosea’s story reveals God’s love.
GOD’S LOVE RESCUES.
*Show your love unconditionally. Love seeks and reaches out to those who do not deserve or even desire to be rescued. Hosea loves because God loves. The Lord said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes” (3:1).
*God loves us unconditionally and demonstrated it by sending Jesus. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Jesus said, For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).
GOD’S LOVE REDEEMS.
*Show your love in actions of reconciliation and redemption. Love acts and takes the initiative even at great cost. “So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and about a homer and a lethek of barley” (3:2).
*Jesus Christ voluntarily laid down his life for us so we could be redeemed and become part of the family of God. “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us” (1 John 3:16).
Jesus Christ…gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good (Titus 2:13-14).
GOD’S LOVE RESTRICTS.
*Healing love involves rebuilding trust. Boundaries must be set to regain trust and bring healing. The restrictions are temporary and designed to reestablish the bond of love. Discipline, repentance, and faithfulness restore the broken relationship. Then I told her, “You are to live with me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will behave the same way toward you.” For the Israelites will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or household gods (3:4-5).
*God sets us free from sin so we can live abundantly. We are to put off the old way of life and put on the new way of life in Christ. “Count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore, do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:11-14).
GOD’S LOVE RENEWS.
*Renewal means a complete restoration of the relationship. Remove all substitutes and return to a right relationship. Divorce becomes remarriage. Mercy replaces wrath. Grace replaces judgment. Love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8). Trust brings healing and hope. Afterward the Israelites will return and seek the Lord their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the Lord and to his blessings in the last days (3:5).
*God gives us new birth in Christ and makes us completely new. He restores us to a right relationship with himself through the finished work of Jesus. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17).
“Love conceived in the heart of God triumphs over faithlessness and broken relationships” – Roy Honeycutt