By Gloria Li
29 Jul. 2012 Sunday
|Sermon: Fall in love with Jesus Christ||video||audio||doc|
|Worship song: We Cry Out||video||audio||lyric|
|Worship song: Draw Me Close to You||video||audio||lyric|
|Worship song: All The Earth||video||audio||lyric|
Our Father in Heaven, thank you for sending Jesus to come to this earth and save us; thank you for your love and this wonderful sacrifice that you have given to us; thank you for saving all of us from our sins. Lord, thank you for teaching us what is love and how to love; we thank you for this church, this beautiful family---all the brothers and sisters here and thank you for love among us. Lord, we lift today’s service in your hands; please let your Holy Spirit come and lead us. Especially we pray for the worship team. Please let the music touch our hearts and we also pray for Gloria. Let your wisdom guide her, let your words from her mouth bless people here and thank you. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen
Worship song : Draw Me Close to You
|Verse 1||Draw me close to you. Never let me go
I lay it all down again
To hear you say that I'm your friend
|Verse 2||You are my desire. No one else will do
Coz nothing else could take your place
To feel the warmth of your embrace
Help me find the way, bring me back to you
|Chorus||You're all I want. You're all I've ever needed
You're all I want. Help me know you are near
Scripture Reading: 1 John 4:9-10,19; Matthew 22:37
1 John 4:9-10
9 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.
10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
1 John 4:9-10
19 We love because he first loved us.
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’
Good morning everyone, welcome to the service today. First would you please join me with a prayer to our Father.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you so much for saving us from our sins. Lord thank you for joining us in the service to worship you today. Lord we want to lift up the sermon into Your hands. May Your Holy Spirit come upon me, may Your Word come out from my mouth, and may Your Word become my strength, wisdom and comfort. Lord please help me deliver Your message. I pray for all the congregation here, may You be with them, may Your Holy Spirit open their hearts, open their eyes to know Your Word, to love You as their response today. Lord, help us fall in love with You, help us understand Your Word, help us live in Your Word. I pray in Your name, Amen.
I don’t know how many of you still remember several months ago, our English fellowship held a special activity called “dating workshop”. How many of you came to that dating workshop. Could you please raise your hand? I remember several months ago, we had a dating workshop on a Thursday night. So how many of you came to that dating workshop, could you raise your hand? Not too many. I want to ask another question: How many of you here are still single? So many. How many of you already have boyfriends or girlfriends? Just a few. How many of you are looking for a boyfriend or a girlfriend? So could you please raise your hands? So many of you want to be single in your whole life? Because I see many people who are single raise their hands, but when I ask you how many of you want to have a boyfriend or girlfriend in the future, just a few of you raise your hands. So how many of you have already married?
We know, as human beings of our age, sometimes we think we want to look for a boyfriend or a girlfriend, we want to know how to look for a life-long partner in our life, we want to know how we could spend time when we are single, who is the person God has prepared for us, what is God’s will for my life, how can I have a very healthy relationship, what can I do during my dating time, how can I be a Godly husband or wife in my marriage?
We know many people have those needs, so our English fellowship has decide to have a new sermon series, called “Love Sermon Series”. We want to use this series to fill some people’s needs and provide guidance for Biblical dating and marriage. So in the following weeks, we will start a new sermon series, which is called Love Series, and we want to encourage you to bring your friends to come to listen to this series. We hope this series can fill you needs and provide a Biblical guidance to your dating or marriage right now and in the near future.
For the first week, we want to start by thinking how we prepare ourselves when we are still single? I know some of you have already raised your hands because you’re already married. But I think some principles we teach today are suitable no matter what the situation is. When we are still single, how shall we prepare ourselves? How do we live a lifestyle that pleases God? There’re many young people attending this English fellowship every week. As for myself, I’m a college pastor and I’ll see many young people in my life. At this age, many young people are eager to have a relationship. It’s very normal. It’s the time of life that we need to think about relationships. Some people may find a life partner very easily and very quickly, but for others, they’ll be single for many years before they have a life partner.
Some people may ask a question like this: I want to find a Christian boyfriend or girlfriend, why is it so hard? I have a desire, that from Bible’s perspective, believers should marry believers, I have this pure heart and I want to look for a Christian boyfriend or girlfriend, but it’s so hard to find. Do I still have to obey this principle from Bible’s perspective? Or I can just find a non-believer? Why doesn’t anyone like me? I have loved God so much, why doesn’t God give me a life partner? I love God and I’m willing to wait for God, so why hasn’t God yet answered my prayers? I have been praying for my life partner for years and years, why God still hasn’t answered my prayers? Why? What’s God’s will for me? Single forever? For my whole life? For how many years I still have to wait? As a single person, how can I prepare my life for marriage? God hasn’t given me a life partner, is it because I haven’t prepared well? Or is it because I’m not good? Or because God doesn’t like me, or God doesn’t love me? Or is it because I’m not worthy to have a life partner?
I don’t know how many of you have those questions, or other questions you are facing now? Dear brothers and sisters, have you had questions like these? Have you been struggling for looking for a life partner? I pray that God’s Word will comfort you today, will comfort you this morning. I know some young people when they face some relationship problems, they would commit suicide. If you open up websites or TV, you can see one of the reasons people committing suicide is relationship problem. So for our church, we hope we can get to know the right attitude from Bible, and such attitude will guide us to a happy life, to have a happy marriage and also a happy single time.
So as singles, we first need to know what love is. What’s the definition of love? Where does love come from? Why we love each other? Why do we need love? Why does love exist in this world? And from the Scripture, we know, we love because He first loved us (1John 4:19). Who first loved us? Our God, our Trinity God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This Trinity God loved us first, so we need love. Because He loves us and God’s nature is love so when He created the world, He put the desire of love in our hearts. So we need love, we need parents’ love, we need friends’ love, and we also desire a lover’s love.
First we need to know how God loved us. Bible says in 1 John 4:9-10, He sent his one and only son into the world that we may live through him. Why did God have to send His one and only Son into the world? Because we are all sin against God, we are all sinners, we all commit many sins. Because of sins, we are separated for God. And because He loves us, He sent His one and only Son, His most beloved Son to die on the cross to save us.
Dear brothers and sisters, do you think you’re sinners? I totally agree with this. I cannot imagine how sinful I am inside. But our God sent His most beloved Son to die on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins. We have so many sins, we are so bad, if you can see someone’s heart, if you can see someone’s inside, you’ll see how evil he/she is. But our God chooses to love us and He loves us just as who we are. He loves us, He loves all the sinners. He would like to die for us. For all the sinners, to wash away our sins and also to give us eternal life, this tells us what love is, what a wonderful and amazing love is.
Many years ago, some girls might ask their boyfriends a question like this: If your mother and I dropped into water at the same time, who would you save first? Do you think this question is so stupid, isn’t it? Yes. But even for this stupid question, we can see deeply in our heart we wish someone will love us and they will sacrifice they own life to love us. And also for many girls, I heard some senior people give advice to some young people: While looking for a life partner, it’s better for you to find a man who can love you more than you love him. And if he loves you more, he will treat you as a treasure, and you will get a very happy life. So for us in our hearts, we are eager to find this kind of love, but who can die for us? Who will love us more than themselves? Only one person, only one God, it’s our Jesus Christ.
From what Jesus Christ has done we know He loves us more than we love Him. We can totally agree with this statement. Jesus Christ loves us more than we love Him. Not only does He love us more, in the meantime, He loves us first. It’s not because we love Him first, but Jesus Christ loves us first before we know Him, before we believe in Him. But first He loves us, He loves us to save us. He loves us as we have a lot of sins, when the we are so bad, so sinful, we are so ugly, but God chooses to love us at this time.
So dear brothers and sisters, you may have been in some relationships before. Sometimes, you would ask your boyfriend or your girlfriend, why do you love me? Some people may say because you are beautiful, because you are so smart, because you like to help others, because you are so sweet, but no one will say because you are so bad, because you have a lot of sins, so I love you. No, of course not.
But our God, He looks at each of our eyes and says ”dear, my sweet heart, I love you, I love you as who you are. I love you even though you have a lot of sins, and even though you have some evil thoughts in your heart. But I choose to love you, I love you more than you love me, I love you first, I love you so that I’d like to die for you. I’d like to save you, I’d like to give you eternal life.” This is God’s love.
So dear brothers and sisters, for all the singles. I want to encourage you, when we experience this kind of love; we could never, ever find another person in this world who can love us as our savior Jesus Christ does. So let’s fall in love with Jesus Christ. I want to share two stories with you this morning. One is mine and the other is my sister’s story. It’s very hard for me to share my story in public, because I feel it was a big hurt, a deep hurt in my heart. So I don’t like to share. But this morning, I want to share my own story to testify how God transformed my life.
When I was a little child, my mom and dad divorced. Later, my mom told me, when she was pregnant, she thougfht she would have a boy in the future. But unfortunately, when my mom gave her birth, it was a girl. You know in the old days in the countryside, many families hoped to have a son. So after I was born, my dad and my grandma didn’t like me at all. My father didn’t see me or even hug me in my first month. And after that, they didn’t treat my mom very well. My dad and my mom started to fight. In the end, they divorced. So I would think they divorced because of me. Because I’m a girl, they didn’t like me. I was so bad. I became sensitive and lost security in my heart. So I was eager for father’s love, and I was ashamed to tell others I didn’t have a father. When I was in junior high school and high school, I always kept lying to my classmates. I didn’t tell them and no one knew I didn’t have a father. And I always told myself: Gloria, you are so bad, you are a bad girl, no one would love you, you are not worthy having a happy marriage. You will be single forever.
So after I knew God, I started to believe in Him. I prayed, dear Lord, if you really love me, could you please give me a boyfriend? You didn’t let me experience what a father’s love is like. Could you please give me a husband to let me feel a father’s love? And from the Bible, from the preaching sermons or the knowledge in the seminary I know, God should be my only satisfaction. But in my heart, I still have hope of getting a boyfriend, it’s hard to fall in love with Jesus. It’s hard to say, to really say, to be honest to say, God is my only satisfaction. I didn’t know how to solve this problem. I knew that was a truth, I knew God should be my satisfaction. But it was very hard to apply that truth in my own life.
So maybe you can’t imagine why I couldn’t make God my satisfaction. And you may not understand this. You can’t imagine how painful my heart was. How deep hurt my heart has experienced in the past. But God didn’t blame me for my wrong heart. He attracted me with His wonderful love. I started to pray for a life partner for years. But He didn’t answer. So I doubted. I was very sad. I talked with some Christian friends, and they helped me a lot. Even though I felt there was no difference during that time, actually it was different and God transformed me step by step.
First, God helped me make Him Himself my only satisfaction in my life. I still remember last April, I went to Atlanta. I went to a church, and during that worship time, a worship leader sang a song called My Reward. I was touched a lot. And the worship leader sang these sentences “nothing can compare with knowing you. Nothing can compare with loving you. I’m giving my life to follow you, my King”. The worship leader sang those sentences again and again. Suddenly, I felt God was my only satisfaction. I couldn’t tell how it worked; I could only say it was the Holy Spirit was working The situation had not changed, but my heart was transformed by God at that moment. And I made a prayer: Lord, nothing can compare with knowing you. Nothing can compare with loving you. Dear Lord, my dear savior, now I want to give my life to follow you, my King.
After that, God used several pastors and friends to help me know that God love me so much. God was starting to build my security in my heart in Him. God told me I was so special and precious in His eyes. And some of my friends told me how amazing I was. They prayed for me to remove insecurity in my mind. They helped me discern Satan’s work and rely on God to overcome it. They told me how special I was in God’s eyes. How amazing and how charming I was in God’s eyes.
And God also taught me through a sister. Previously, many people were encouraging me that I will have a life partner in the future if I have this desire, God will fulfill this desire for me. But that sister told me, Bible never said everyone should be in marriage. Bible never said that. Bible says some will have marriages, and some will be single for the whole life. But for us, let God be the NO.1 place in our life. And He should be in charge of our life. And we should surrender our life to Him.
From that, I made a prayer: Lord, if your will is that I will be single for the whole life, I will say yes; if your will is I will have a life partner in the future, I will say yes. I’m willing to put you in the position of head, I’m willing to let you be the master of my life. So Lord, please help me. I need to obey Him no matter what His will is.
Recently, when we prepared to start for this new sermon series, I kept thinking about it: what was the most important thing for singles to prepare for marriage? I think it is that Jesus Christ should be our first love, and we should be building a strong and joyful relationship with Him. But how do we fulfill our longings? The answer is our topic “Falling in love with Jesus Christ.” We are eager to fall in love with someone else. We are eager to find a life partner to fall in love with him or her. But first, our God teaches us to fall in love with Jesus Christ.
So from the Bible, we know we always describe church is the bride of Jesus Christ. And Christ is the bridegroom. But how many of us think we are the bride of Jesus Christ. We are the most beautiful bride of Jesus Christ in this world. How many of us we think in this way? How many of you put yourself, not the church but your individual, as the most beautiful bride of Christ in this world? It’s personal and individual; you are the most beautiful bride of Christ in this world. Who is the bride of the Savior, the bride of the one who loves us and sacrifices himself for you; who’d love to lay down his life for you; who’d love to save you and give the eternal life to you; who’d love to give himself to you, do you want to be his most beautiful, wonderful and amazing bride in this world? So I would like to encourage you to meditate how to be Jesus Christ’s most beautiful bride in this world, and how to start to fall in love with Him?
The other testimony is from a sister’s story, and I was touched a lot when she shared with me. She has been learning how to put God into the NO.1 position, and how to fall in love with Jesus Christ, and she also knew the truth from the Bible and Christians that she should put Jesus Christ as her first love, but still she was praying for a life partner or a boyfriend. For the first time she met a non-Christian, she fell in love with him, but it did bot go very well because of the non-Christian. At that time, a wise sister talked to her,” my friend, I want to pray for you, you will break up with him, because you are all not on the same level.” And in the end, they broke up. Did she get hurt? Yes absolutely, and with a broken heart.
Then, the sister said to herself that “I will be looking for a boyfriend in Christ next time”. And several months later, she met a Christian, but they did not plan to start going into a relationship, they broke up as well, and this time she got hurt more. She asked,” why God? Isn’t it a Christian? Why do you end this relationship? And I obey you this time.” But one day she got over the pain after they broke up, because she felt her friend did not really love her. Even he did not say” I love you” during their dating time, she felt so painful and sad.
At that moment, these pains reminded her how painful was Jesus Christ on the cross. When Jesus was on the cross, many people did not believe in him, millions of people did not love him, and this sister thought that she was so painful just for one person, but Jesus Christ faced to the millions of people; there was much greater pain than she experienced. So from then on, she decided to truly love the Lord with all her heart, all her mind, all her body and all her soul, just like Matthew 22:37 says. So that day, she made Jesus as her first love, and learnt to tell Jesus Christ” I love you”. These are the sweetest words in this world. She just really paid her attention to the Lord, she fell in love with Him, and now she’s married happily to a Christian with two children. It also reminds me that Jesus Christ died on the cross for me.
Last Sunday the worship team sang a song named” Here I am to worship”, it goes like this: “I’ll never know how much it costs to see my sins upon that cross.” When I sang this sentence, I started to cry. I’ve never known how much Jesus Christ has paid for me, I’ve never understood how painful it was on that cross, so I prayed to God: “ Dear Heavenly Father, my dear Savior, I do want to marry you, I do want to fall in love with you from now on; and I do want to be your bride and learn how to be your beautiful bride; I do want to get your love, and respond to your love at this moment.”
So dear brother and sister and dear friends, if you are still single, start to fall in love with Christ. I do not know what God’s will for you, you may have a life partner soon, but first fall in love with Jesus Christ; you may be single for your whole life, but first fall in love with Jesus Christ, for He is very handsome and secure man in this world to have. Some of you may have already entered into a relationship, but may not fall in love with Jesus Christ; I truly encourage you to fall in love with Him. Some of you may have been married for years, but you never thought about you are the bride of Jesus Christ, so I want to challenge you to fall in love with Christ Jesus from today, from this moment. Some of you may have experienced deep hurts as I did, you may not have any confidence or hope for marriage, you may question God the reason. You may have a very spiritual life but could not understand why that person still has not appeared, but have you ever thought that you are the bride of Jesus Christ? Have you already put yourself into this precious and special role?
So I would like to encourage you to stop planning or dreaming, but allow the Lord to give you the life partner, try to love Him crazy, try to treat Him as your bridegroom, try to treat Him as your first love, try to taste how He loves you, try to taste His love. In the book Crazy Love by Frances Chan, it mentions:
“The best news- the best news in the world, in fact- is that you can have God Himself. Do you believe that God is the greatest thing you can experience in the whole world? Do you believe that the Good News is not merely the forgiveness of your sins, the guarantee that you won’t go to hell, or the promise of life in heaven? The best things in life are gifts from the One who steadfastly loves you. But an important question to ask ourselves is this: are we in love with God? Or just as His staff?”
What a beautiful gift is to have the one you love, look you in the eyes and say: “I love you, not your beauty, your money, your family or your car, just you.” Can you say this to God? Can you say “Dear Lord I love you; Not because you will wash away my sins, you will give me a blessing, or you will give me the eternal life, just you, Lord, I love you just because who you are. So I want to say the best gift you have ever got is that you have God Himself, it’s not that you can get eternal life, but you are able to fall in love with Jesus Christ our Savior. Our Savior’s love is the most wonderful, beautiful and amazing love story in this world. No one will die for you but Jesus Christ did, no one will love you more than themselves because all of us are selfish, but our Savior loves us more than we love Him. Our God not only loves us more than we love Him, but He chooses to love us first, invites us to love Him and fall in love with him. How much He loves us and what a wonderful love it is!
Our God today is encouraging us: “My dear children, my dear beautiful bride, I am waiting for your love, I am waiting for you to fall in love with me. I am waiting for you to make a decision to marry me, I will protect you, I will save you, I will care about you, I will love you unconditionally, no matter who you are, no matter healthy or sick, rich or poor, beautiful or ugly, I love you just for who you are.” I hope we can love Him back, and if we really love him, He will be our satisfaction and we can find security in Him, only He can give this to us.
So if you want to make a decision, could you please bow down your heads and we pray together? Dear Heaven Father, my dear Savior, my dear bridegroom, at this moment we come to you, we want to marry you, we want to fall in love with you, we want to make the most holy promise to you. O Lord, please help us taste your love, your wonderful love. Please help us fall in love with you to taste the most beautiful wonderful, amazing and charming love story in the world. May you be our first love, may you be our first life partner, may you be our bridegroom, and we shall be satisfied with your love, we shall be happy in you, and we shall only depend on you in this world. Lord helps us, be with us, may your love fill our hearts, and we will enjoy the time with you and we pray in Jesus’ Name. Amen