Participants: Pr. John Lomacang
Series Code: TWH
Program Code: TWH000007A
00:32 Let's bow our heads this morning.
00:37 Our loving Father in heaven, we open Your word now,
00:41 as we open our hearts.
00:44 And, Lord, we pray that You will come now
00:46 and speak to us.
00:50 Father, the beauty of it is you know us so well.
00:53 You know what each one of us needs to hear.
00:57 And so speak to us today, Lord, in a way that will bring us...
01:04 to the plateau that You know that
01:06 You will have us to stand on.
01:09 The plateau of possibilities in Jesus.
01:16 May Your word come alive in us
01:18 and find fertile soil to accomplish the work
01:23 that only You can accomplish.
01:26 This we ask in Your precious name, amen.
01:35 Our scripture reading is I John 4:18 and 19.
01:39 I'd like to invite you to turn there with me.
01:42 I John 4:18 and 19,
01:48 and I'd like to read,
01:50 with you supporting me on that, we'll read that together.
01:55 "There is no fear in love,
01:58 but perfect love casts out fear,
02:02 because fear involves torment.
02:05 But he who fears has not been made perfect in love."
02:09 And verse 19 together.
02:12 "We love Him
02:13 because He first loved us."
02:19 I was raised in New York City.
02:23 There's so many
02:24 what they might refer to as
02:27 tourist attractions in New York City.
02:30 Lots of them.
02:32 You can go almost anywhere
02:34 and find some kind of tourist attraction,
02:37 whether it was the former World Trade Center,
02:40 the Empire State Building, the Guggenheim Museum,
02:44 Central Park.
02:47 But down in lower Manhattan where I worked,
02:51 almost all of the jobs I worked was in lower Manhattan.
02:56 And right off the coast in lower Manhattan
02:58 was the Statue of Liberty.
03:02 And whenever I would take lunch,
03:04 and I would go down in that area
03:05 to purchase lunch or sit down and have lunch,
03:09 I would see boat after boat going to the Statue of Liberty.
03:14 And it was not until we moved out of New York
03:16 that I came to the realization
03:17 that I've never been to the Statue of Liberty.
03:22 I was raised in that city.
03:24 I was raised there when we were allowed to go
03:27 all the way up into the torch,
03:30 walk all those spiral staircases,
03:33 meandering, figuring our ways
03:36 through the little narrow openings,
03:38 until you got to the torch and stood out on the edge
03:41 of that saucer-like torch tip,
03:44 and looked over
03:46 the magnificence of New York City,
03:49 never ever have I gone to the Statue of Liberty.
03:53 I only saw it at a distance,
03:55 but I never had the experience of being in it.
03:59 While I use that story to illustrate
04:02 why this message to me is so vitally important.
04:06 You know, you would think after 30 years of ministry,
04:09 and being married 33 years and growing up in the church,
04:14 that we would have such a clear definition
04:16 and understanding of love that
04:19 we could talk about it as though it's second nature,
04:22 but I would like to begin by confessing.
04:26 In all my understanding of love,
04:28 I have been looking at it from a distance.
04:31 I've never been in it.
04:33 Now, let me clarify, being in love
04:37 and being immersed
04:40 is a different thing altogether.
04:42 And so when God actuated my heart to
04:46 study I Corinthians 13, I recognized, wow!
04:53 I'm actually getting in a boat
04:56 and I'm on my way to the Statue of Liberty,
04:59 for the very first time,
05:02 I'm about to get into the Statue of Liberty
05:06 as a New Yorker who is now in his 50s.
05:10 And I asked myself the question,
05:13 what prevented me from doing this earlier?
05:16 And the answer is nothing.
05:18 I just didn't think it was that important.
05:23 You know, when I hear people say,
05:26 "Are you going to preach about God's love again?
05:30 Is there anything else to preach about?"
05:34 And I thought,
05:35 what else is there to preach about
05:38 than God's love.
05:40 I mean, I, as a young man,
05:42 I was a zealot for prophecy.
05:47 I mean, you pull me aside
05:50 and I will rattle off Bible prophecy
05:53 like a Gatling gun in the middle
05:57 of a fight for my life,
05:59 you got to be military
06:00 to understand the Gatling gun, it just...
06:06 and I would always win, but if I didn't win,
06:09 I wouldn't act like I lost,
06:11 'cause I would think of another round,
06:13 that's how I was when it came to prophecy.
06:17 When it came to the 28 fundamentals,
06:19 we had 27 at that time, now we have 1 more,
06:22 and I would be able to defend
06:24 the 28 fundamentals like a soldier
06:26 in a battlefield
06:28 that will rather die than to not win
06:32 the argument over the 28 fundamentals.
06:41 But God said,
06:42 "I want to take you on a journey.
06:45 We're going to go to the Statue of Liberty."
06:48 Liberty in the love of God, liberty in the power of God,
06:54 liberty in the understanding of God's love.
06:59 And so I want you to go on this journey with me
07:02 because I believe
07:03 that as we go on this journey together,
07:05 there's something that we could learn collectively,
07:09 that we may have missed independently,
07:12 so when I read this text,
07:15 "There is no fear in love,
07:17 but perfect love casts out fear."
07:21 I remember that statement made by Ellen White,
07:24 and whenever we read her writings,
07:26 we bump into it where she says,
07:29 "We ought to read I Corinthians 13 everyday,"
07:34 or however frequently she recommends.
07:40 And so I decided to get off of the boat
07:42 and step into that, that picture of liberty,
07:48 that structure of liberty called the love of God.
07:54 And I want you to know
07:56 and I will tell you this, my wife and I,
07:58 I want you to know,
08:00 we have been all week long saying,
08:03 "You know, we thought we knew what love was."
08:08 And just the knowledge of God's love
08:12 and the depth, or the depth,
08:16 and the height, and the breath, and the length, and the weight,
08:21 of God's love...
08:26 has taken us to a place
08:28 that I wish I had been before I left New York.
08:35 Last week was part one.
08:38 And what we've learned so far about part one
08:40 when we went to I Corinthians 13,
08:43 if you have your Bibles, go there with me.
08:46 What we learned in part one was the three roadblocks
08:51 that the Corinthian believers
08:54 had to deal with as a multi-cultural
08:56 center of worship, this city of commerce,
08:59 this place in Greece,
09:02 where languages, and cultures, and diversity,
09:05 is in the rich and the poor worship together,
09:07 the haves and the have-nots worship together,
09:09 the slave and the master worshipped together,
09:11 at this place where people thought
09:13 they knew it all and had it all,
09:15 but they realized they didn't know it all
09:16 and didn't have it all,
09:18 and when they came to
09:19 the centers of worship on Sabbath morning
09:21 to lift up their voice to honor God,
09:24 they recognized, wait a minute!
09:30 There are more of battles with what we prefer
09:32 than what God prefers.
09:35 What language should we speak in?
09:37 And Paul says, "You can speak in any language you want to,
09:42 but if you don't have the love of God of prophets,
09:43 you're absolutely nothing."
09:46 They had racial division and we discovered so far
09:48 that the antidote, that the antidote,
09:51 antidote to division is,
09:53 love eradicates division and love breaks down walls.
10:04 I tried to figure out how that works,
10:06 but I read a story, I read a story,
10:07 when I went down to Alabama, we went down to...
10:11 I forgot the name of this, Wildwood, I'm not sure,
10:13 down in Alabama, we were down there,
10:14 invited down there to do a week of prayer,
10:18 we had a chance to go over to the,
10:20 to Tuskegee Airmen field,
10:22 so now we're so close,
10:23 you might as well just go there,
10:25 we went from Tennessee,
10:27 I did a camp meeting in Tennessee,
10:29 I was a week speaker there, for the weekend of the revival,
10:32 then we went down to Wildwood down in Georgia,
10:36 whichever one is in Alabama.
10:40 Uchee Pines.
10:41 Thank you, I knew I was in a different state.
10:46 And we stopped at the Tuskegee Airmen field
10:48 and we went there
10:49 and we began to read the story of these men
10:52 who were second class in their time in the war
10:58 when they were flying these P51s.
11:02 And we read their stories
11:04 and one of the most frightening stories to me that
11:07 just almost broke me was,
11:08 that there was a plane in distress,
11:14 filled with airmen
11:15 and was looking for a place to land.
11:20 And when they called the control towers, they said,
11:21 "Well, the nearest field
11:23 is the Tuskegee Airmen's field,"
11:26 which was a field at that time that was only for Negroes.
11:32 Later known as Blacks, now known as African-Americans,
11:36 Lord have mercy.
11:39 And they said,
11:40 "Your only chance is to land there."
11:43 And I thank God
11:45 that we don't live in the time like it used to be.
11:47 Come on, somebody, say, amen.
11:49 I could be a pastor in southern Illinois...
11:56 meet people all over southern Illinois that
11:58 in my New York mind, I thought,
12:00 "We would never ever even meet, never be on the same page."
12:03 I was in Walmart Thursday, I was in Walmart Thursday,
12:07 and this is not a political statement,
12:08 I was in Walmart Thursday,
12:10 checking out at the cash register.
12:14 And I'm at Walmart Kroger.
12:20 can I pause here and say something?
12:22 God, forgive us for judging each other
12:25 based on what we see.
12:30 Lord, forgive us
12:32 for judging each other based on what our eyes see.
12:41 I was checking out,
12:43 and there was a lady at the counter,
12:45 in my mind's eye, you know, we're in the...
12:47 I'm thanking you, you go out looking for that prayer.
12:50 Our nation needs healing.
12:55 Our nation needs healing but healing can't happen,
12:59 healing cannot happen in the nation
13:01 if it doesn't first happen in the church.
13:05 I'm checking out and this lady,
13:08 she just broke out in this conversation
13:10 with my wife and I.
13:13 And, please, don't go in any emotional place,
13:15 I'm just sharing a story with you.
13:20 She says, "I've been following the Obamas on Instagram.
13:24 Oh, I miss them."
13:27 And, Lord, forgive me.
13:30 I looked at the color of her skin,
13:33 I'm confessing, and I thought,
13:35 I would not expect her to miss the Obamas.
13:41 But she kept going on and on and on and on.
13:45 And I said, well, as I walked out,
13:47 I said, "Lord, forgive me."
13:51 Because you know what?
13:52 And I know that all of us learned this,
13:55 we live in a world where
13:56 there is prejudice and preference
13:58 on both sides of the things.
14:04 I was raised in New York, I know.
14:07 And I'm not going down this path too long,
14:09 I'm just going to peek there and leave it.
14:11 But I remember growing up in a,
14:13 and I didn't finish the Tuskegee story yet.
14:17 But I remember growing up in New York City,
14:18 at Bethel Seventh-day Adventist church,
14:19 in the middle of Brooklyn,
14:21 in the middle of the inner city,
14:25 and if a person of another color
14:27 came to church on Sabbath,
14:28 everybody would be looking.
14:35 Who's friend is that?
14:38 And now, it fits into the article
14:40 that I read to you last Sabbath,
14:43 that the weekend in church
14:44 is probably one of the most segregated days of the week
14:48 but not here in Thompsonville.
14:49 Come on, somebody,
14:50 not here in Thompsonville.
14:53 Not here in Thompsonville.
14:57 To finish the story...
15:02 the pilot was told
15:03 that your only chance of making it
15:06 is to land in the Tuskegee Airfield
15:10 and his response was,
15:11 "I would rather die than land in that field."
15:16 The sad reality of it, 17 airmen lost their lives
15:21 because one pilot decided
15:23 that his feelings about another person
15:26 was more powerful than the life of somebody else.
15:31 When we cannot get past our feelings
15:33 about each other,
15:35 it could claim the life of someone else.
15:40 And then and only then did I began to understand,
15:43 is I begin to understand
15:44 that the antidote to division is,
15:46 love breaks down walls, eradicates division.
15:49 The antidote to thinking so much of ourselves,
15:52 love moves mountains, not intellect.
15:54 Intellect does not move mountains,
15:56 God's love moves mountains.
16:00 The antidote to self appreciation thinking that
16:03 we've got it all and we, nobody else should have it,
16:06 the antidote to that is disinterested benevolence,
16:10 doing for someone
16:11 without expecting anything in return.
16:18 But as I said last week
16:19 and I say this again as I dive into the message,
16:22 that the issue of the Corinthian,
16:24 that they faced was not that the church was in Corinth
16:29 but that Corinth was in the church.
16:32 The issue that we face
16:33 is not that the church is in the world
16:35 but that the world is in the church.
16:39 Vow to God that we get back to the gospel,
16:43 I'm saying this,
16:46 vow to God that we get back to the gospel,
16:49 and focus more on the things that unify us,
16:54 than the things that divide us.
16:58 How clever the enemy is!
16:59 There was a time that
17:00 we wouldn't do this or do that
17:02 but now we have come down to labels,
17:05 conservative, liberal, independent, tea party,
17:10 hot chocolate party, all these ridiculous things
17:14 that divide us, useless,
17:16 we spend our energies on things
17:17 that can't get us an inch off the ground,
17:19 when the Lord is coming to us and He says,
17:22 "I want to revolutionize something about My people.
17:24 I want to change them."
17:26 And what I've discovered
17:27 is the commission to the Christian
17:30 is to impact the world with greater force
17:33 than the world has impacted the church.
17:38 I mean, the Lord said, "It's possible, it can happen."
17:41 He said, "The gates of hell
17:42 will not prevail against the church."
17:45 Meaning when the church goes forward
17:47 in the way that God intends for us to go forward,
17:50 united, filled with love,
17:53 supporting each other, upholding one another,
17:55 forgiving one another, embracing one another,
17:58 when we go forward like that,
18:01 the gates of hell
18:02 cannot prevail against that kind of divine bulldozer.
18:08 When I understood that text,
18:10 "The gates of hell will not prevail against..."
18:12 I recognized that
18:13 this is not something that's human,
18:15 this is something that's divine.
18:17 And the greatest journey
18:20 that the Jesus embarked on
18:21 is getting finite sinful humanity,
18:25 finite sinful humanity, us,
18:29 to the place
18:30 where we can reveal and reflect
18:32 the love of the infinite sinless God.
18:37 Finite, infinite.
18:41 Sinful, sinless.
18:45 What was Jesus thinking about
18:47 when He came down here
18:49 to try to get us to love each other?
18:54 Matthew 5:43,
18:56 "You have heard that it was said,
18:58 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemies.'
19:03 " And I can imagine if Jesus stopped right there,
19:05 they would have said, " You're right, you're right."
19:07 But He didn't stop there, notice what He said,
19:09 "But I say to you," Together.
19:12 "Love your enemies, bless those who curse you,
19:16 do good to those who hate you,
19:18 and pray for those who spitefully use you
19:22 and persecute you."
19:24 Why, Lord?
19:26 "That you may be sons of your Father in heaven,
19:30 for He makes
19:31 His sun rise on the evil and on the good,
19:34 and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
19:37 For if you love those who love you,
19:39 what reward have you?
19:42 Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
19:45 If you greet your brethren only,
19:49 what do you do more than others?
19:52 Do not even the tax collectors do so?
19:55 Therefore you shall be..." What is the next word?
19:59 "Perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect."
20:05 I cannot make a confession.
20:08 I'm not perfect yet.
20:12 If you are,
20:14 meet me in the office and tell me how you did it.
20:16 But let me pause and say another statement,
20:19 "We can be perfect in Christ."
20:23 What I learned in that statement
20:25 was Jesus wasn't saying,
20:26 "You need to try hard to be perfect."
20:28 He said, "All you need to do is implement
20:31 and allow into your life
20:33 a love that right now is off the coast for you."
20:37 You've been looking at it for years,
20:39 but I want you to get into that boat of faith,
20:42 take a journey to the island of possibilities,
20:44 and step into a place that you've never been before,
20:47 that is the divine elevating love of God,
20:49 so that somewhere along the line,
20:51 when your torch is lit,
20:53 people can see that God's love radiates
20:56 and emanates from every one of us.
21:02 A man by the name of Rodney H Delaney once said,
21:07 "Love builds bridges where there were none."
21:10 And he was right. Love has no boundaries.
21:13 In love, everything is possible.
21:15 Love doesn't see differences,
21:17 it doesn't see the ethnic dimension
21:19 or tension between families,
21:22 it doesn't see popularity and social groups,
21:25 it doesn't see separation between people,
21:28 love views everyone the same,
21:31 because it happens to all of us,
21:33 whether it is loving your family,
21:35 loving your spouse, or loving your friends.
21:41 He goes on to say,
21:42 "Love makes what was deemed impossible possible.
21:45 In love, there is hope. In love, there is trust.
21:48 In love, there is respect. In love, there is strength.
21:51 With all that is in love,
21:53 it has the strength to build bridges
21:55 where there were none, it has the power,
21:58 it has the power to make things happen."
22:02 God's love.
22:05 And so when, when, when, when, when,
22:07 when Peter had this confrontation
22:09 with Jesus, "Lovest thou me?"
22:13 "Lord, you know." "Do you love me?"
22:15 "Lord, you know." "Do you love me?"
22:18 "Lord, you know."
22:19 When the Lord had this
22:20 interrogating confrontation with Peter,
22:24 divinity was speaking to the natural tendencies
22:27 in a carnal man
22:28 who had not yet been broken down
22:30 to the place where we can understand
22:32 what Jesus was asking him, "Do you love me?"
22:35 "Yeah." "Do you love me?" "You know."
22:36 "Do you love me?" "Lord, come on, you know."
22:43 And Jesus interrogated...
22:48 the minister in Peter.
22:50 He interrogated the minister in Peter.
22:53 You know why I say the minister in Peter
22:55 because Jesus had plans for Peter
22:58 on the day of Pentecost that could not have happened,
23:02 if Peter had not been broken and converted in Christ.
23:08 Couldn't happen. Listen to Desire of Ages.
23:11 The question that Christ had put to Peter was significant,
23:14 He mentioned only one condition of discipleship and service.
23:18 "Lovest thou Me," He said.
23:22 This is powerful
23:24 This is the essential qualification,
23:26 loving God first.
23:29 Now, let's, let's not separate the two and say,
23:31 "Okay, we have to love God and love our fellowman."
23:33 No, it is one.
23:34 If we can love God,
23:39 we don't have the power to love our fellowman,
23:44 as I go into the gas station to,
23:47 you know, you fill your heart with the fuel you need
23:51 to take the journey that is ahead of you,
23:53 Jesus fills us with the divine fuel
23:55 we need to take the journey
23:57 of loving one another that is ahead of us.
24:00 You don't go to the gas station,
24:02 your car got to be beautiful but it ain't going anywhere.
24:04 You don't get filled with the love of God first,
24:07 and always, and you know what happens?
24:10 Isn't it amazing that when we see
24:12 our needle going low, what do we do?
24:13 We look for a gas station.
24:17 Vow to God we did the same thing
24:19 when we sense our love was going low.
24:22 Vow to God we did the same thing
24:25 when we sense we're losing love for someone
24:27 and our journey is about to end with that in...
24:29 Vow to God that we pulled after,
24:31 I got to find a love tank somewhere,
24:36 'cause my journey is going to end
24:38 if I don't get filled up again.
24:42 Ellen White goes on to say,
24:44 "Though Peter might possess every other,"
24:47 that is every other qualification,
24:48 "Yet without love, without the love of Christ,
24:51 he could not be a faithful shepherd
24:53 over the Lord's flock.
24:56 Knowledge, benevolence,
24:57 eloquence, gratitude, and zeal,
25:00 are all aids in the good work
25:04 but without the love of Jesus in the heart,
25:06 listen, the work of the Christian minister
25:10 is a failure."
25:12 I was reading a devotion by Oswald Chambers
25:14 and he talked about how Peter, James, and John.
25:17 Peter, James, and John slept on Jesus.
25:21 And instead of Jesus giving them
25:23 the one, two, three, He said to them,
25:25 "And now, let's move on to another place.
25:30 Let's move on to the next thing."
25:33 Jesus didn't spend time accentuating their failures,
25:37 He said, "I can't do a thing about that,
25:39 you slept, can't go back and wake you up,
25:42 so now let's move on to the next thing."
25:44 And so often, many of us find ourselves
25:46 in the place where we recognize our failures,
25:49 our shortcomings, and we spend so much time there
25:52 that we are not only
25:54 not moving on to the next thing
25:55 but until we move on to the next thing,
25:58 we are incapable of allowing somebody else
26:02 to move on to the next thing.
26:04 So we hold them at that place because we are at that place.
26:09 Are you following me?
26:10 Some of us want people to stay where we are.
26:13 I don't like you, so you better not like me.
26:18 'Cause your liking of me
26:20 is going to make me uncomfortable,
26:21 so as long as we stay at odds, I'm good with that.
26:25 There's some Christians that battle every week.
26:29 Don't like each other, let it be known to other folks,
26:31 "I don't like her.
26:33 I don't like him either." And I'm serious.
26:38 Then there are those that forget
26:40 God forgave them,
26:42 so they lord over the $20 that you owe them,
26:48 and forget that God just forgave them of
26:50 $10,000,000 worth of sin.
26:54 You've got to read that story.
26:55 Man that was in jail
26:56 'cause he couldn't pay his debt,
26:58 he got out, and I read that story,
27:00 and I recognized
27:01 that the amount of money he owed
27:04 was in the millions of today's currency.
27:07 He got...
27:09 His debt was forgiven, he was set free,
27:12 and he went out on his way home and he saw Bob
27:15 that owed him $20,
27:17 and he grabbed him by the collar and said,
27:19 "You better give me my money."
27:22 And the judge heard it and said,
27:25 "Go, get that guy and put him back in jail.
27:27 He didn't learn his lesson."
27:29 You see those of us
27:30 who are forgiven much loveth much.
27:34 But when we think that everybody else
27:36 has the problem, but us.
27:40 When we think everybody else
27:41 need to come up to our expectation...
27:47 until they come up to our expectation,
27:49 they are not deservant of my love.
27:51 If God were that way,
27:53 90% of us wouldn't be sitting here today.
27:58 Thinks no evil.
28:00 When you are under the constraint of love,
28:01 love does not search for the faults in others
28:03 or even suggest
28:05 that someone's actions are selfishly motivated.
28:08 Paul held the Corinthian, Paul,
28:11 one of that church he raised up to succeed so much,
28:14 that he said, he was specific about
28:18 the issues that
28:19 the Corinthian believers struggle with,
28:21 and I thought to myself,
28:23 "Well, maybe some of us are like
28:24 the Corinthian believers.
28:25 Maybe we might find ourselves
28:27 in something they struggle with,
28:29 because maybe we struggle with that too."
28:33 So as I read through these,
28:34 I'm not saying that you do struggle with this,
28:37 I'm saying you might, we might.
28:40 well, it goes on to say, verse six.
28:45 "Does not rejoice in iniquity."
28:49 I told you these Bible commentators
28:50 were under the influence of God's Holy Spirit
28:53 when they put these comments down.
28:55 Man, as we walk through this,
28:57 and my wife and I did this last week
28:59 and this week, together.
29:01 Walking through these together.
29:04 Love does not rejoice over the vices of others,
29:10 or find happiness
29:11 because others are found guilty of wrongdoing.
29:14 Ever heard people say, "Good, good for him."
29:18 Finally, got what was coming to.
29:21 Love doesn't do that. Come on, somebody, say, amen.
29:24 It does not take malicious delight
29:26 in hearing a report that someone else has fallen.
29:31 Finally, got her. Finally, got his.
29:34 That's a love, that's a love that when Jesus came
29:37 and, you know, when we read the stories in the Bible,
29:40 we love John 3:16,
29:42 but would somebody read the next text already,
29:45 "For God sent not His Son
29:48 into the world to condemn the world,
29:52 but that the world through Him might be saved."
29:55 That was not just
29:56 the declaration of Jesus' agenda
29:59 but He lived that out in His life
30:01 and we look at the woman at the,
30:02 we look at the woman at the well
30:05 who couldn't get it together,
30:07 and God, Jesus got it together for her.
30:10 We'll look at Mary
30:11 who was found at the feet of Jesus
30:13 as guilty as all daylight and He said,
30:15 "Neither do I condemn thee.
30:16 Go and sin no more."
30:18 We looked at the man who was paralyzed
30:20 and Jesus knew his own choices got him
30:23 on that bed
30:24 and Jesus forgave him and healed him.
30:29 Sometimes, sometimes we rejoice in iniquity.
30:34 And we say, "Finally now,
30:36 Mr Perfect got what he deserved."
30:40 We got to pray to God to root that out.
30:43 We got to pray for God
30:44 to take that kind of spirit out of us
30:46 and you'll find out as I get to the end,
30:48 you'll find out exactly
30:49 why it's important for God to root that out
30:51 because when we hear,
30:53 you know, we sing the song,
30:54 "When one has a heartache, we all shed a tear,"
30:57 I wish that were true.
31:01 In some cases, I'm not white-washing it
31:03 but it would be so nice
31:05 that if we hear our brother or sister struggling somewhere,
31:08 that it will hurt us so much
31:10 that we will rush to their side,
31:13 to help them through their difficulty,
31:16 rather than saying, "You go.
31:18 Now you go."
31:21 Can't go.
31:26 "Love rejoices in the truth,"
31:29 verse six,
31:30 "love finds pleasure not in vice
31:33 but in virtue of others."
31:35 Love says, "I just love Bob.
31:41 Man, he loves to talk. He talks about Jesus.
31:44 Larry always says, 'Thank God for another beautiful day.'
31:48 I love that about Larry."
31:52 We look at the good in people and we accentuate that so much,
31:57 that people say, I wanna meet Larry.
31:59 What's up with this guy
32:00 that talks about another beautiful day?
32:02 When Larry doesn't do it, Bob says,
32:03 "Well, since Larry is not here,
32:04 I wanna thank God for another beautiful day."
32:08 And, you know,
32:09 any day above the ground is what?
32:11 A beautiful day.
32:14 Don't have to have 85 degree weather,
32:16 although it would be nice.
32:19 But if you're breathing,
32:20 if you can feel cold, it's a beautiful day.
32:25 "Love bears all things." This was a hard one for me.
32:29 The commentator said, "Love conceals.
32:34 Love conceals and is silent about such things
32:38 as the faults of others,
32:43 which the selfishness
32:45 of the natural heart would gladly expose."
32:52 Like the three guys at the golf course,
32:53 you heard that story.
32:56 Three guys at the golf course,
32:58 three pastors playing golf together.
33:01 And they decided to go ahead and bear all their sins
33:03 to each other since they're all pastors.
33:05 One guy said, "Oh."
33:08 One guy said, "Just as that we bear all the,
33:09 you know, we're all clergy,
33:10 let's just tell each other each other's dirt."
33:13 One guy said,
33:14 "All right, all right, all right, all right.
33:15 Okay. Let's pause a second."
33:17 One guy says, "I gotta confess.
33:20 I, every now and then,
33:21 I take a little sip of alcohol."
33:26 And since that guy felt good about that,
33:29 the other guys said, "Oh, okay.
33:30 Since he told his dirt, let me tell mine.
33:32 Every now and then,
33:34 I take a little wig of a cigarette."
33:39 Talking about their faults,
33:43 and the third guy said, "And my fault is gossip.
33:45 I can't wait to leave here
33:47 to tell somebody about what I just learned."
33:54 I mean, come on now, you know, why we laugh?
33:56 'Cause that's how some of us is.
33:59 Am I right? That burning knowledge.
34:05 We say, "I can't tell you but if I could,
34:08 I would tell you.
34:09 I'm not going to tell you who it is
34:11 but they're tall, well, I hear let's pray.
34:16 Not going to tell you that he sings,
34:17 but he might be able to.
34:20 Not going to tell you that he's a, well,
34:23 you know, I can't give you more details
34:25 'cause you might figure out who it is,
34:27 but I like his car."
34:28 You know.
34:30 You might as well just say it and remember this,
34:34 this is crazy.
34:36 If it's a secret, don't tell nobody...
34:44 'cause it ain't no secret no more.
34:47 There's something
34:48 that should be only known between you and God.
34:52 Bears all things, it goes on, verse seven.
34:55 Love conceals, well, I said that.
34:58 Now it believes all things.
35:00 This is the attitude of love
35:01 because love seeks to make others happy
35:03 and will not believe anything
35:05 to their detriment except on irrefutable evidence.
35:10 I want to say to people, when somebody says something,
35:11 rather than you going crazy about it, check it out.
35:15 Check it out, don't just be
35:17 the bird that flew out the window.
35:19 That's why Peter says in I Peter 4:8,
35:21 "And above all things
35:22 have fervent love for one another,
35:24 for love will cover a multitude of sins."
35:28 Fervent love.
35:30 The alcoholic don't need to be told
35:32 he's an alcoholic.
35:33 The drug addict don't need to be told
35:35 he's a drug addict.
35:36 The person that
35:37 stole something don't need to be told he's a thief.
35:40 He knows that. We know what we did wrong.
35:42 When we accentuate that,
35:44 we fail to be the redemptive arm
35:46 that God wants us to be.
35:48 Don't be the broken arm, be the redemptive arm.
35:51 Amen, somebody. "Then hopes all things."
35:54 Verse seven.
35:56 However dark appearances may be
35:58 and whatever grounds there may be
36:00 for questioning the sincerity of others,
36:04 love still hopes
36:05 that everything will be well in the end.
36:11 Hopes all things, and not only that,
36:13 because of love,
36:15 they will maintain this position
36:16 until all possibility
36:19 of its being confirmed has disappeared.
36:22 Now I've got to break that down.
36:23 Sometimes, we don't want to move forward
36:25 until we have,
36:26 until we're sure it's going to work out.
36:29 You, follow me.
36:30 Some people say,
36:32 "No, I'm not going to commit to it
36:33 if I know it's not going to work out."
36:34 You know what?
36:36 Anything that we commit o the Lord, He will keep it.
36:38 Anything that we say,
36:39 "God, you've got to solve this."
36:41 He will solve it.
36:42 You don't need irrefutable evidence
36:44 that God will solve it.
36:45 You just simply need to trust Him
36:47 that God is able to keep what you commit to Him
36:49 and He can solve it.
36:55 It's called the process.
36:57 Some people don't commit to the process
36:59 because they want evidence
37:01 and let me take, let me get even further,
37:02 let me get deeper here, are you ready?
37:05 Some people say, "I forgive you,
37:06 but I'll never ever give you
37:08 a second chance to do that again."
37:11 Well, then, you haven't forgiven them.
37:15 Now let me tell you why.
37:17 The vulnerability of Christ was that He put Himself
37:21 in the hand of man who He knew,
37:23 He knew Judas was going to betray Him.
37:28 But He put Himself...
37:33 under the influence of a man who He knew,
37:35 his heart was turned against Him.
37:40 He walked around with guys that He knew
37:42 didn't have right motives.
37:45 He walked around with guys
37:46 that were just as frail and broken as every one of us.
37:56 "Endureth all things."
37:59 Love suffers quietly under all difficulties,
38:01 trials, and prosecutions, and injuries inflicted by man.
38:07 And all the attacks, this is powerful,
38:09 and all the attacks that God may see fit
38:14 to allow the adversary to make.
38:18 I want to say that again.
38:20 Did God allow Satan to attack Job?
38:23 Yes or no. Of course, He did.
38:26 Did the Lord allow Satan to sift Peter?
38:29 Yes or no.
38:30 He never said,
38:32 "I'm not going to let the devil sift you."
38:33 He says, "He desires to sift you."
38:37 And He allowed the adversary to sift Peter.
38:42 He allowed the Hebrews to end up
38:45 in the fiery furnace.
38:47 He allowed Daniel to end up in the lions' den.
38:51 You see, it's not where we end up,
38:53 it's the attitude we have because of where we end up,
38:57 that's what made all the difference,
38:59 it's the attitude,
39:01 what happens to us in our spirit
39:03 when we end up where we don't think we should be,
39:05 that's the big question here.
39:06 Because a lot of us are in situations,
39:08 we say, "How did I get myself into this?
39:12 Or how does somebody, how could I let that happen?"
39:15 And we're there, we're in the lions' den,
39:18 rather than trusting God and saying,
39:21 "I know that in the morning, He's going to get me out."
39:24 We complain all night long.
39:29 And, you know, why we do that?
39:31 Because we haven't had a connection with that God
39:32 before we got into the lions' den.
39:34 You see, you can't trust God in difficulty
39:37 if you haven't trusted Him in prosperity.
39:41 If you don't know His address
39:43 when He was living next door to you,
39:45 you're not going to be able to trace Him
39:46 when He moves.
39:49 If you're not staying connected with Him on a day-by-day basis,
39:52 when difficulty comes,
39:53 you won't even know what to call Him
39:56 because you have no evidence,
39:58 you have no experience
40:00 that He's ever been there for you
40:01 because you've never sought Him
40:04 That's why He says, "Seek me while I may be found.
40:06 Call upon me while I am near."
40:09 That's a deep love,
40:11 that's a love that endures all things.
40:14 Love is prepared to look upon
40:16 the unfavorable conduct of others,
40:20 and with an understanding,
40:21 patience, and sympathy, inspired by God,
40:24 we look at people that are broken
40:26 and messed up and jacked up.
40:30 And we look at them with the patience and sympathy
40:33 that Jesus looks at a person with.
40:38 So what is that?
40:39 No wonder, in the Laodicean message,
40:41 the prayer is, "Lord,
40:44 anoint my eyes with eye salve that I may see."
40:48 It's not see prophecy,
40:50 it's not see your future and your destiny,
40:53 the anointing of the eyes with eye salve
40:56 is that we might be able to see each other
40:58 like God sees us.
41:03 But we think that if He anoints our eyes
41:04 with eye salve
41:05 we'll have a better understanding of prophecy,
41:07 I'm not done yet,
41:09 but I'm going to move more with a greater pace.
41:11 Verse eight. "Love never fails."
41:14 Love never fails.
41:16 I'm going to move at a greater, greater pace.
41:17 Love never fails.
41:18 When I got to that verse I had to pause
41:20 because the commentator said so much about
41:22 that kind of love that has forced me to pause,
41:25 and to just take up,
41:26 you know, you know, when you,
41:27 when you sweep your carpet with a broom,
41:29 have you ever done that before?
41:31 Sweep your carpet with a broom,
41:32 you can't take up as much as when you vacuum it.
41:36 This text made me get the vacuum out.
41:40 And pull out of it everything that
41:41 the Lord wanted me to get
41:43 and this is a powerful illustration,
41:45 you see, the illustration
41:46 that commentators use is the flower,
41:48 the flower, it says, the flower,
41:52 when the flower has given its fragrance
41:54 and beauty during the hours of sunshine,
41:58 it has served its purpose.
41:59 That's what flowers do, when the sun is out,
42:01 you go to the botanical gardens and it smells so good
42:04 because the sun is out
42:05 and it's radiating on those flowers
42:07 but go there in the winter time,
42:09 and you'll discover that the cold winds and frosts
42:12 cause that same flower to wither
42:15 and to fall off of its stem.
42:20 And you'll say, what happened to the flower?
42:23 And the commentator said, love is not like that,
42:26 love never falls off of its stem.
42:30 Love is there when the sun is out,
42:32 love is there when the ice is there,
42:34 in the days of stress and strain,
42:37 as well as when it is all bright and fair,
42:40 love remains the same,
42:42 shedding its fragrance of trust and hope
42:45 and faith all around.
42:49 When I bought my wife roses for Valentine's Day,
42:51 whether you believe it or not, I bought her roses.
42:55 I thought a wealthy man could have gone
42:57 into that same store and bought roses,
42:59 or a man with just a few cents left
43:02 could have gone in that store,
43:03 store, and bought the same roses,
43:06 and took it home to his wife who has very little,
43:08 or took it home to his wife who has so much,
43:12 you know what?
43:13 They both will be cheered just the same,
43:16 the wealthy and the poor smiles,
43:20 just the same.
43:28 And for years,
43:29 when Valentine's Day came,
43:32 we said, "I ain't getting drawn into that.
43:37 It's just flowers, and chocolate, and cards,
43:40 it's just another commercial thing."
43:43 But as I was studying this,
43:46 see, we don't, we don't get into that,
43:47 we've never got into Valentine's Day,
43:50 but as I was studying about love...
43:56 go get some flowers for your wife.
44:00 Go get her a car and tell her how much you appreciate her.
44:03 You see, what I'm after,
44:05 get up off of your hind parts
44:06 and think that you have it all put together.
44:09 And I said to my wife, "Honey,
44:12 this, every chance I get to tell you
44:15 how much I love you
44:17 will never pass by unnoticed ever again."
44:22 It's so funny.
44:24 My wife looked at Facebook,
44:27 her brother bought his wife
44:29 the same car I bought my wife and he lives in Florida.
44:34 Great minds think alike.
44:37 We got to understand the flower,
44:39 the fragrance of love is for everyone.
44:43 And then Paul goes on to say in verse eight,
44:45 he continues,
44:47 "But whether they are prophecies..."
44:48 Come on now, "Whether they are prophecies,
44:50 they will..."
44:51 What? "Fail."
44:53 Prophecy will only lead us to the coming of Jesus
44:56 but after that, we don't need prophecy anymore,
44:59 but we will need love
45:00 throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity.
45:03 Prophecies gonna...
45:04 Don't get hung up in prophecy so much.
45:06 It's important, it's necessary to understand what's coming
45:09 but a prophecy is more important to you
45:11 than love, then you are on the wrong journey,
45:15 whether there are tongues,
45:16 so many Christians say, "I speak in tongues."
45:19 Are you saying you love me in a different language?
45:22 If you ain't doing that,
45:24 your tongues and you will cease.
45:28 Whether there is knowledge, some people got more degrees
45:31 and they have letters in their first and last name,
45:34 and the Lord says, "Whether there is knowledge,
45:36 it will vanish away."
45:37 You can't take your D, your PhD, your MD, your M Div,
45:40 your whatever, you can't take that to heaven,
45:42 you got to take your BA, born again.
45:49 What was being said by the Bible commentators here,
45:52 is God has given us, Jesus has supplied,
45:55 the Holy Spirit has equipped us with everything
45:57 we need to preach the gospel,
45:59 but when the gospel is finished,
46:01 you don't need prophecy, you don't need tongues,
46:03 you don't need knowledge, but you need love.
46:07 So whenever we have these prophecy seminars,
46:09 Lord, have mercy,
46:10 can somebody do a seminar on God's love?
46:17 Had to say that.
46:19 People on prophecy know,
46:21 what people need is an understanding of God's love.
46:26 Here's why verse nine and ten, "Prophecy, knowledge, tongues,"
46:31 put all that together, "For we know in part..."
46:33 We don't know it all, "And we prophecy in part..."
46:35 We don't understand everything about prophecy,
46:38 "But when that which is perfect has come,
46:40 then that which is in part will be done away."
46:42 Don't hold on to things like your life depends on it,
46:46 other than if your life depends on it,
46:49 and my life and my end
46:51 depends on the love of God for me.
46:56 Look at I John 4:20,21.
47:02 Jesus was ruthless.
47:05 When it came to getting all this nonsense out of the way
47:08 and revealed His love.
47:10 "He who says, 'I love God,'
47:12 and hates his brother is a liar,
47:13 for he does not love his brother
47:16 whom he has seen..."
47:17 The next word is powerful.
47:19 "How can he love God
47:23 whom he has not seen?"
47:28 You don't even, when last have you seen God.
47:30 No man has seen God at anytime.
47:33 How you can love somebody you haven't seen,
47:35 when you can't love those that you do see?
47:38 That's transforming.
47:41 And the Lord allows people to be in our space,
47:44 that are like iron sharpening iron,
47:48 so we can discover how dull we really are
47:51 until somebody of the same fabric
47:54 and intensity just like us,
47:55 as hard headed as us, as recalcitrant as us,
47:59 as determined to hold onto their past as us sometimes are,
48:02 as we sometimes are, until iron sharpens iron,
48:05 we will never get sharp.
48:08 Why does God allow difficulty to come?
48:10 So you can be sharper in the future than you are now.
48:13 We want to avoid those folks,
48:15 so we got this island that isle,
48:16 we avoid them, we don't talk to them,
48:17 we don't hug,
48:19 and we don't confess our sin, we don't ask for forgiveness,
48:21 we don't try to bring reconciliation,
48:23 we don't want their iron to touch our iron,
48:25 but the Lord said, "If you let their iron touch your iron,
48:27 you're both going to end up sharper
48:29 than you used to be."
48:31 That's God's plan and He ends by saying.
48:35 "And this commandment we have from Him,
48:37 that he who loves God must love his brother also."
48:43 You see, Jesus came to people
48:44 that had deep scriptural knowledge.
48:47 John 5:41 to 43.
48:50 John 5:41 to 43.
48:52 Don't slow me down, I'm about to wind up.
48:55 John 5:41 to 43.
48:57 Notice the word Jesus said to these scripturally
49:00 deep Pharisees and scribes,
49:01 listen to what He said.
49:03 He said, "I do not receive honor from man,
49:06 but I know you,
49:08 that you do not have the love of God in you."
49:11 That's why Jesus didn't receive honor,
49:13 'cause they didn't have God's love in them.
49:14 What did they have?
49:16 They had degrees, they had knowledge,
49:17 they had, Pharisees,
49:19 scribes, Sadducees, Essenes,
49:21 high priests, low priests,
49:23 priest priest, they had it all,
49:25 and they infected their followers
49:27 to reject the Christ
49:29 because they did not have the love of God in them.
49:31 He says, "I have come in My Father's name,
49:33 and you do not receive me,
49:34 if anyone comes in his own name,
49:37 him you will receive."
49:39 You see, when we get to heaven,
49:40 there will be revelations
49:42 that have never made sense in this life,
49:44 until then, everything about this life is in parts,
49:47 it's reflective, it is dim,
49:50 you can't understand it fully.
49:52 What about love?
49:55 Philosophy cannot describe the nature of love.
49:58 Psychology can't deny the power of love.
50:01 Anthropology cannot explain the origin of love.
50:04 Death cannot kill love.
50:06 Darkness cannot hide love.
50:08 The grave cannot bury love, that's why Jesus says,
50:12 "Now abides faith, hope, and love, these three,
50:17 but the greatest of these..."
50:18 Together is...
50:21 Now why?
50:23 I like to invite the musician to come.
50:26 Why is the greatest of these, love?
50:28 Let me tell you, the last message
50:29 is not going to be about the mark of the beast,
50:31 amen, somebody, the last message
50:34 that the Seventh-day Adventist Church
50:35 has been given to preach is not about Babylon,
50:38 not about the seven last plagues,
50:39 not about the seven trumpets, not about any of that stuff.
50:43 Ellen White says in Christ Object lessons,
50:45 page 415 and 416,
50:47 "The last message of mercy to be given to the world
50:51 is a revelation of His character of love.
50:56 The children of God..."
50:58 The who, church?
51:00 Talk to me, the who?
51:02 "The children of God are to manifest His glory."
51:06 "In their own life and character,
51:09 they are to reveal what the grace of God
51:12 has done for them."
51:16 What has God's love done for us?
51:18 So now you see why,
51:20 when the love of God has done something for you,
51:22 there is no fear in love,
51:24 perfect love casts out fear because fear involves torment.
51:29 But he who fears has not been made perfect in love,
51:32 so why should we love Him?
51:34 Because He first loved us.
51:36 You see, we cannot love the invisible God,
51:42 if we don't love the visible brother and sister.
51:46 So how many want to love the visible brother and sister,
51:50 so that we can let the world know that
51:52 we are connected to the invisible loving God?
51:56 We have to stand together and sing that song,
51:58 "More love to thee."
52:00 Let that be our testimony, is that it?
52:04 More about Jesus, more about Jesus.
52:07 That's right, let's sing that song.
52:09 Let that be our testimony today,
52:11 more about Jesus.
52:15 More about Jesus
52:18 I would know
52:22 More of His grace to others show
52:29 More of His saving fullness see
52:36 More of His love who died for me
52:41 Raise that chorus together.
52:44 More, more about Jesus
52:50 Give me more, more about Jesus
52:58 More of His saving fullness see
53:06 More of His love who died for me
53:12 More about Jesus let me learn.
53:14 More about Jesus...
53:18 Let's raise that chorus together.
53:21 More of His holy.
53:22 More of His holy will
53:29 Spirit of God, my teacher be
53:36 Showing the things of Christ to me.
53:44 Give me more, more about Jesus
53:51 I need more, more
53:55 About Jesus
54:00 More of His saving fullness
54:08 More of His love
54:11 Who died for me
54:16 As the music is played softly, Father in heaven,
54:21 how are we going to show the world
54:25 Your love,
54:29 unless Your love abides in our hearts, in our minds,
54:36 unless Your love is practiced through thick and thin,
54:40 through the uphill climb, and the downhill slide?
54:46 How can we let others know
54:48 about the beauty of this message,
54:51 if they don't sense the love of God in our hearts
54:54 and hear Him in our voice, and sense Him in our lives?
55:00 Lord, you've given us a task that seems impossible
55:02 but you said to us,
55:05 "Christ in you is the hope of glory."
55:07 So, Lord, today, come in and renew us
55:10 that we will not be children anymore
55:14 in our display of love but we will be mature,
55:18 we will grow, we will reflect,
55:22 we will reveal, by Your grace,
55:25 and Your power, and Your strength,
55:27 and Your ability,
55:28 we will by what you do in us,
55:32 let the world know that we are Your disciples.
55:37 We will forgive as you forgave,
55:39 and care as you cared and embrace as you embrace,
55:43 we will look beyond the faults and failures,
55:46 not only of others but of our own.
55:51 We will hold ourselves
55:52 to a higher place of accountability
55:54 than we require that of others.
55:58 And finally, we will say, Father, love through me,
56:04 speak through me.
56:07 Turn the light of Your divinity on,
56:09 through me,
56:11 that when we come in contact with someone,
56:15 that may even be difficult to love,
56:18 that the love of Christ will constrain us,
56:23 and that heart will be broken to find Jesus,
56:26 so, Lord, now, send us forth from this place
56:29 but never from Thy presence,
56:33 and may your constraining love in all of its glory and power
56:37 make a difference in our hearts, in our lives,
56:41 and in this church.
56:43 In Jesus' name we pray, amen.