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2011-07-17 Love Never Fails

Time: 2011-07-17 Click:

By Rachel He
17 Jul 2011 Sunday

  

 

 

Worship song: Open the eyes of my heart

 

 

 

Verse Open the eyes of my heart Lord,
Open the eyes of my heart,
I want to see You. I want to see You.
Open the eyes of my heart Lord,
Open the eyes of my heart,
I want to see You.
I want to see You.
Chorus To see You high and lifted up,
Shining in the light of Your glory.
Pour out Your power and love,
As we sing
holy,
holy,
holy.
Bridge Holy, holy holy.
Holy, holy, holy.
Holy, holy, holy,
I want to see You.

  

 

Scripture Reading: John 13:1-5, 34-35

1 It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.
2 The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus.
3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God;
4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist.
5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

34 "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

 

 

 

 

 

Sermon Outline

 

A.     The Extent of Jesus’ Love

Jesus knew some of His disciples were going to deny Him; some of them would run away from Him; and one of them was even planning to arrest Him and kill Him. But still He chose to love them and washed their feet.

Applicable Question No.1:

How does God’s love encourage me to love others?

a.      I can forgive my parents

b.      I can forgive my friends

c.      I can forgive my fellow workers

d.      I can forgive…

 

B.    The Extent of Jesus’ Humbleness

Even though our Lord is the Almighty God, He still lowered Himself to be a servant, and He served by washing His disciple’s feet.

“The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28)

“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” (John 13:14-15)

Applicable Question No.2:

How can we learn from Lord Jesus’ humbleness and serve others today?

a.      I can willingly serve my family members

b.      I can willingly serve in the church

c.      I can willingly serve my friends and fellow workers

d.      I can willingly serve…

 

C.    Jesus, the Loving and Humble Lord, Has a Command for Us

“A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another, by this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John13:34-35)

It’s crazy love that our God gives His only son to us. No one else can do it. So we should love our Lord in the crazy way, offering our time and hearts to Him.

 

 

 

 

 

Sermon in Detail

 

Good morning, dear brothers and sisters. I’m so happy that we can share God’s word together this morning. Can you join me in a short prayer?

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for gathering us here to worship you today. God, we want to ask you, please purify our hearts and send your Holy Spirit to work in our hearts. Give us the wisdom to understand your words. I want to deliver myself and all my brothers and sisters here into your hands; please be with us. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Brothers and sisters, we have been going through the Gospel of John. Today we will focus on chapter 13. This chapter talks about the last supper before Jesus was crucified.

 

At that time He knew the time had come for Him to leave this world and go to the Father, so He had the fellowship with the disciples. He wanted to teach them how to serve and love each other.

 

The Bible tells us: before they had dinner, Jesus took off His outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around His waist. He poured water into a basin and began to wash His disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around Him.

 

Jesus did these things as if He were a servant; this impresses me a lot.

 

What does this teach us?

 

1.      The Full Extent of Love

First, it shows us the full extent of love. “Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.”(John 13:1)

 

Brothers and sisters, I want to ask you a question: “Have you ever washed someone else’s feet?” If you have, please raise your hands. Okay, thank you.

 

I have washed my parents’ feet as well. What do you feel when you wash others’ feet? You feel that you love this person. If it were someone who hurts you, will you love them and wash their feet? I think maybe you won’t.

 

Usually when we love others or when we give gifts to others, we hope we could get the same in return; or at least a “thank you”.

 

But as Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, He knew who was going to betray Him and who would deny Him. But He chose to love them and washed their feet. He chose to serve them and to show His everlasting love. Even when He was on the cross, He prayed: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

 

I was so touched when I read this passage. So I asked Jesus how I can show the full extent of love in my life.

 

Several weeks ago, when I was waiting in line for the bus to church, there was an old lady standing behind me. But as the bus arrived she stepped forth to stand in front of me, jumping the queue. At first I felt so uncomfortable; but later I thought it was okay, because I had asked God for help so that I could love others. I took into consideration the lady’s old age and agreed that it was fine for her to get on the bus first. But to my surprise all the people originally standing behind that lady followed her lead and brushed past me to get on the bus, so that there was no way for me onto the bus. I got very angry at that time so I argued with the queue jumpers. I asked them why they did not wait in line and said that I myself had been waiting for a long time as well. One of them, a girl, relied that it was no business of mine and that all they did was following that lady unto the bus. I was speechless. I didn’t know what to say.

 

When I finally squeezed unto the bus I looked around. I started to think about all the things that had just happened. I realized that since I was going to preach in church that day, I was dressed in the pastor’s clothing, just like the one I am wearing today. When I noticed that I started to worry: what if the people with whom I had argued knew I was a pastor? What if they came to church and saw me and realized that I was a servant of Jesus? What would they think of the Christians? What would be their response to my preaching?

 

Another thing I realized was that when I allowed the lady to get on the bus first, I was a little proud in my heart. I thought: “Have you seen, Lord? I could love people just as you do.” In fact I could not. When the others started to jump the queue, I became angry.

 

At that moment I understood the situation Jesus was facing. Jesus knew some of His disciples were going to deny Him; some of them would run away from Him; one of them was planning to arrest Him and kill Him. But He still showed them the full extent of His love.

 

What should we do?

 

I think God really taught me a lesson.

 

Brothers and sisters, can we love others all the time? Can we love our friends as Jesus did? Can we love those who have hurt us? If there is someone in your family, your company or in the church that you don’t like, what should you do? Do you run away from them or show them God’s love?

 

I think we should appreciate the love of Jesus Christ and learn this lesson from our Lord.

 

Applicable Question No.1:

How does God’s love encourage me to love others? 

 

I hope for this week you could reflect on Jesus’ teaching of love.

 

2.      Serve Others

 

 “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.  I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” (John 13:14-15)

 

The Bible tells us when Jesus had finished washing His disciples’ feet, He put on His clothes and returned to His place and asked them a question, “Do you understand what I have done for you?” Then He said: “I, your lord and teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”

 

●Washing Others’ Feet Means Serving Others in Love.

 

We have to know some background here. Usually, washing one’s feet is the way to welcome guests in Israel. However the master does not do this; it is the servant’s job. So when Jesus washed His disciple’s feet, they were astonished. Peter asked: “Lord, are you going to wash my feet? You shall never wash my feet.” From this, we know how humble Jesus was and how much He loved His disciples. He wanted to teach them to be humble and to serve.

 

I know in some churches, they follow Jesus’ example in washing brothers and sisters’ feet so as to remember what Jesus has taught. Through this, they learn how to forgive others, how to love and serve others, and how to think about other’s needs. Even if we don’t practice that in our church, we still need to humble ourselves and to serve.

 

●The Values of God’s Kingdom——“If You Want to be the First, You Should be the Last”.

 

“Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave--just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:26-28) 你们中间谁愿为大,就必作你们的用人。谁愿为首,就必作你们的仆人。正如人子来,不是要受人的服事,乃是要服事人。并且要舍命,作多人的赎价。(20:26- 28)

 

“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” (1 Peter 4:10)

 

Even though our Lord is the Almighty God, He still lowered Himself to be a servant, and He served by washing His disciple’s feet.

 

What should we do?

 

There was a sculpture in Yanjing Seminary where I studied. The sculpture depicted Jesus washing Peter’s feet. There was one sentence on it: “the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve”.

 

I remember there was a brother in the Seminary. Some people thought he has mental problems, so sometimes they looked down on him. I always saw him standing in front of that sculpture. Sometimes I realized that he was praying. I didn’t know what he was asking for, but one thing I did know: every afternoon for three years, he went to different classes to collect the trash and threw it away. He did this for three years, even though no one asked him to do so. How come no one appreciated it?

 

However I think that was the true service in God, because the brother knew Jesus’ teaching and applied it in his daily life. I think in God’s kingdom he will be the greater one. No one can look down on him there.

 

Many years have passed, but that sculpture and that brother are still in my mind.

 

Applicable Question No.2:

How can we follow Jesus’ example today?

 

I know there are many volunteers here in our church. We have the host team, the worship team, the talk-time team, the website team and the prayer team. The volunteers come to church early to greet us and help us find the seats; to practice for the worship songs; to make the video and show the power point, to pray for us and etc. Sometimes they cannot even find a seat for themselves. But they still come to serve.

 

Why do they do that? Because they want to follow Jesus’ example and to show God’s love by serving their brothers and sisters here in church. I think we should give them a hand.

 

Dear brothers and sisters, no matter what kind of jobs we do or how much education we receive, we still need to humble ourselves so as to serve and to build God’s body together. We are the disciples of Jesus. Let’s all serve together. I hope more and more people will come to serve.

 

Applicable Question No.3:

What can I do for God at Haidian Church?

 

 

 

 

3.      To love one another

“A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another, by this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” .(John13:34-35)   

 

When Jesus says it is a command, it means this cannot change and we have to obey it.

 

l        Love is the Sign of Christians.

Jesus wants us to be the salt and light in this world. Here He also tells us, who want to be the disciple of Jesus Christ, that “if you love one another, all men will know that you are my disciples”. Love is the sign of Christians.

 

There is a story. Even though it is not a true story, it has a good meaning. It is about a man who had a chance to visit both heaven and hell. When he went to hell, he found all the people there very weak and sick. When he went to heaven, however, all the people there were healthy and happy. So he wondered what made such differences between heaven and hell. Later he found out that both the people in heaven and hell had the same food and the same chopsticks. But the chopsticks were so long that they couldn’t eat food by themselves. In hell, everyone was selfish. They tried hard to help themselves, but it didn’t work. The chopsticks were too long and they couldn’t eat anything. They became weak and sick. But in heaven, everyone was selfless, so they fed one another. All the people there were healthy and happy. I think maybe it was the Chinese who made this story, as foreigners do not use chopsticks. But anyway, serving each other with love is important.

 

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”( 1 Corinthians 13:13) “如今常存的有信,有望,有爱,这三样,其中最大的是爱。”(林前13:13)

 

Love never fails. When we see our Lord one day, our faith and hope will be complete, but we still need to experience the true love of Christ and to love others. We need practice love now when we are still on earth.

 

l        Love covers over a multitude of sins.

We are sinners, but God loves us first and He doesn’t judge us n our sins, so what should we do?

 

“The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear-minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. ” (1 Peter 4:7-8)

 

We are sinners full of guilt. If we confess our sins to our God, He will forgive our sin with His love.

 

Last week, I got a message from a sister. She just got married, but she was unhappy and was considering a divorce. After we met and talked, I found that one of the reasons for that was before she was married, she didn’t need to do any housework, as her parents loved her so much and did everything for her. But after she was married, she had to do the housework. She thought that she became a maid in her husband’s family. So I asked what the housework was. She said she washed the clothes, cleaned the floor and so on. I encouraged her to think about the true meaning of marriage. It was not about being a maid, but about serving each other.

 

As a Christian, God wants us to change our own attitude first. Getting married doesn’t mean that you should be served by your spouse, but that you should serve your spouse and the family with love. If we couldn’t love our family members, how can we expect a happy life? How can we show God’s love to others?

 

It’s true that when two people fall in love, they would usually love to do anything to please their girlfriend or boyfriend. But when they get married, things will change. They will argue about washing dishes and cleaning windows. But serving each other with love is what Jesus would do.

 

 

“Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God”. (Romans 15:7)

 

John told us that “dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth”. (1 John3:18)

 

Applicable Question No.4:

How should I show God’s love to others?

 

4. Love Comes from God

 

 “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” (1 John 4:7-12)

 

We should serve and love others. But how can we do it from the bottom of our hearts? If we try to do a good job by ourselves, we will find that it doesn’t work. We have no patience to love others forever.

 

God is love and love comes from God. When we rely on our God, and when we have a new life in Him, we can love others from our hearts.

 

In Haidian church, each time before people are baptized, our pastor will interview those brothers and sisters. We always ask one question: “Do you have any change after you become a Christian”? Most of them will share their testimony with us: how they have changed and how God influences their attitudes in all circumstances. Before becoming Christians, they put themselves first; but God has led them to think about others and from then on it has been easier to love others.  It is God’s love that changes us, so that we can love others.

 

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old had gone, the new has come! All this is from God.”(2 Corinthians 5:17)

 

Yes, it’s true that when we have a good relationship with our God first, we’ll have a good relationship with the people who are around us, because God has loved us first.

 

When we think of God’s love, we know that His love is positive, as He died for us when we were still sinners. His love is considerate and His love is accepting. He talked to the adulterous woman, and He talked to the men with leprosy. He never gives up on people.

 

What are our responses to this love?

 

I read a book several days ago, it was called Crazy Love. What does “crazy love” mean? Let’s watch a video.

 

Just like the author has mentioned, “it’s crazy love that our God gives His only son to us. No one else can do it. So we should love our Lord in the crazy way, offering our time and hearts to Him. As the Bible says: “love our Lord with all our hearts and with all our souls and with all our minds”. “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

 

So we need to think about how we can apply God’s words in our life. If you couldn’t show the full extent of love to others; if you couldn’t forgive your parents, your friends or your neighbors and if you haven’t taken an action to serve God, I encourage you to ask God for a change in you. It is time to think about what you should do to serve God, and it is time for you to ask God to give you strength to love others.

 

Summary by Kiki and Chong, based on Pastor He’s original script for this sermon.

 

 
 

 


 

 

 

Media Resources:

Sermon: Love Never Fails video mp3
Worship song: Father Long Before Creation mp3 lyric
Worship song: Hosanna mp3 lyric
Worship song: Open The Eyes Of My Heart mp3 lyric
Worship song: Wonderful Cross mp3 lyric
Welcome song mp3 lyric

  


 

 

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