LOVE and FEAR
In I John chapter 4, two subjects stand out in particular, love and fear. This may seem a bit confusing at first, and I would like to take a moment to write to you about it. The first point that is evident in this passage of Scripture is the source from which love comes to us. Verse 10 reads, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
A fact that is repeated in Verse 19, “We love Him because He first loved us.” Note the source of this love, it is from God, through the once for all sacrifice of Christ. Romans 3:8 says, “But God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
The second point that I would like to make is the proof of this demonstration of God's love. God's love emanates from His being and radiates to and in us who acknowledge Him through Jesus Christ. The Son of God is the visible proof of God's love toward His people. Therefore John writes, “This is how God showed His love among us.” God sent His Son into the world. Note the wording, John mentions not the name Jesus or Christ; instead he uses the word Son to call attention to the intimate Father-Son relationship. God the Father sent His Son into the world. More than that, “he sent his one and only Son. Jesus is not one son among many others. The expression one and only “is used to mark out Jesus uniquely above all earthly and heavenly beings.”
God sent His one and only Son into our sinful world to give us life. If God the Father had given the world as a present to His Son, because He is the heir, God would have demonstrated evident proof of His love toward Him. And we would have no difficulty understanding God's act of love. But the text says that God “sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him.” God gave His Son to die on the cross so that we (you) might have eternal life. He gave His Son to us. This message is at one both profoundly simple, and simply profound: we are unable to fathom the depth of God's love for us (for you).
Let us contemplate for a moment just what this means. Because of this love, we have no fear. There is no fear of eternal damnation, that is certain, but it goes even deeper than that. We are given access to heaven through the blood of Christ. In heaven we shall behold our loved ones who have known and served the King of Glory. They will be beautiful and be whole, bodies restored, no more suffering, sadness, or pain. We shall be “together with them”, and “thus we shall always be with the Lord.” What joy we shall have as we are reunited with loved ones we have not seen for many years, especially knowing that no power can ever separate us again! A child lost in youth is beautiful. A godly grandmother who taught you the Bible at her feet greets you. A father who was faithful in bringing you up in the discipline and knowledge of the Lord embraces you. A mother who prayed for you for years rejoices. A husband who was faithful to love his wife as Christ loved the Church is reunited with the one he cared for on earth. Once we are in heaven, time will be nor more, and after a million years we will realize that it has only been a finite period of time, with all of eternity left to go. Our time of trial and suffering on this earth will seem an insignificant dot of time. This is what is meant when the Apostle Paul said in Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
As much as we shall rejoice over being made whole and reunited with loved ones, whom we shall easily recognize, there will be one exception to being made whole in heaven: the hands, feet, and side of our Lord. Fixing our attention on Him, we worship the nail prints in His hands and feet and the spear hole in His side. He has changed the crown of thorns for a diadem, and His robe is whiter than snow for His purity. All else fades as we behold the Lamb on His throne. Like a tidal wave, we will be overwhelmed with such grace as we bask in His presence. As never ending waves break on a shore, we shall forever have one wave of grace only to be followed by another.
The response to all of this is my third and final point. The love of God in us becoming love for one another. “If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and His love is perfected in us. Hereby know we that dwell in Him, and He in us, because he hath given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love of God that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect…”
As recipients of God's love, we in turn, love one another. This is the summary of the law and the substance of the golden rule. So now let us keep these things firmly in mind, forsaking our sins and confessing our faith in the love and mercy of our Lord and act in obedience to His word, by loving one another.
“O Eternal God, who committest to us the swift and solemn trust of life; since we know not what a day may bring forth, but only that the hour for serving Thee is ever present, may we wake to the instant claims of thy holy will, not waiting for tomorrow, but yielding today. Lay to rest, by the persuasion of Thy Spirit, the resistance of our passion, our indolence, or our fear. Consecrate with Thy presence the way in which our feet may go, so that the humblest work may shine and the rough places may be made plain. Lift us above unrighteous anger and mistrust, into faith, hope, and charity. In all things draw us close to our Savior Christ, that Thy lost image may be traced in us again, and all men, looking at us, may know that we have been with Thee; Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
by The Rev. Craig H. Smith
Missionary of The Month
Rev. & Mrs. Gerhard Meyer (Grace) Esther, Melody, Jessica & Joy. Youth/Camp/Pastoral Ministries. Schwarzenborn , Germany.
If you would like to have your birthday put in the Parish Register, please call the church office with your name, month and day of birth.
Transforming Debt into Blessing
A seminar on finances from a Christian perspective, taught by the Rev. Richard Barnard:
Date: Saturday, May 21, 2005
Time: 1:00 p.m.
Place: St. Andrew's Church
Cost: $49.00 per family (regular price $99.00).
For more information or to register call the church office at (708) 614-7404.
All Saints Anglican Church
This mission of the Convocation of the Church of Nigeria in America began holding Sunday services at St. Andrew's on April 10, 2005 . The Vicar is the Rev. Olugbenga Olajide. They meet at 1:00 p.m. on Sundays. We are happy to share our building with this sister church.
Vacation Bible School will be from June 27 to July 1, 2005.
There will be no meetings of the Guild during the months of June, July and August.
Choir practice will end for the summer months after May 22, Trinity Sunday. There will be a sign-up sheet on the bulletin board in the Narthex for those who would like to sing or play an instrument during the offering.
Date: Saturday, June 4, 2005
Time: 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Place: St. Andrew's Church
5th Sunday Pot Luck Luncheon
May 29, 2005 , following morning worship.
Shield of Faith
Every Thursday at 9:00 a.m., WJYS, Channel 62. We are pleased with the responses we have been getting from the program. Do pray that this ministry will bear fruit for Christ's Kingdom.
VISIT OUR WEBSITE AT: www.andrewrec.org
May 17 – Walter Sellers
May 14 – Alex Rago
May 25 – Jeffrey Stultz
Lest We forget
A shot was heard around the world
Long days ago at Lexington,
And echoes down the passing years
Of battles fought for liberty.
Then, Gettysburg; more death and loss
From flashing sword and booming gun;
The cost of freedom paid in blood
To write our nation's history.
Let us, we said, lest we forget,
Declare a day for memory
Of those who gave the most, the best,
To keep a people living free.
Our young lie still in distant places;
England, France, and Germany.
More fought, and died, in Iwo Jima,
Africa and Normandy,
The list goes on – will it not end?
Saipan, Korea, Vietnam,
Beirut, Kuwait, Samalia,
Have taken lives of cherished ones,
Beloved daughters; cherished sons.
Let us, this day, lest we forget,
Devote our hearts in memory
And pray with thanks for all the rest
Who died so you and I could be
A grateful people living free.