By Gloria Li
23 Sep. 2012 Sunday
|Sermon: Learning the love that never ends||video||audio||ppt
|Worship song: Above All||video||audio||lyric|
|Worship song: How Great Is Our God||video||audio||lyric|
|Worship song: I Sing Praises To Your Name||video||audio||lyric|
|Worship song: Zai Hu Ni 在乎你||video||audio||lyric|
Worship leader’s prayer:
Lord, we give thanks to your name, we sing praises to your name. May you be with us and watch over us. May we deliver our work, our study and our life to you. Thank you, in Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
Worship song: Above all
|Verse 1||Above all powers above all kings
Above all nature and all created things
Above all wisdom and all the ways of man
You were here before the world began
|Verse 2||Above all kingdoms above all thrones
Above all wonders the world has ever known
Above all wealth and treasures of the earth
There's no way to measure what You're worth
|Chorus||Crucified, laid behind the stone
You lived to die rejected and alone
Like a Rose trampled on the ground
You took the fall and thought of me
Worship song: Zai Hu Ni 在 乎 你
|Verse 1||祢的慈爱比天高 比海深
Ni de ci ai bi tian gao bi hai shen
Bi wo de sheng ming geng hao ni lian min shou shang tong ku de ren
|Verse 2||祢的能力比风强 比山高
Ni de neng li bi feng qiang bi shan gao
Mei you nan cheng de shi qing fu pi ruan ruo wu zhu de sheng ming
Ni de yan jing kan zhe wo cong lai mei you li kai wo
Wo shi ni bao bei zhong jia shu hui de ren
Ni shen chu shi en de shou Ba wo jin jin yong bao
我平安 我生命 在乎祢
Wo ping an Wo sheng ming Zai hu ni
|Verse 1||The height of your love is higher than the heaven,
The depth of your love is deeper than the ocean,
Your love is better than my life,
You are merciful to those who are suffering.
|Verse 2||Your power is stronger than wind
and higher than a mountain,
nothing is impossible in you,
You are the shelter of those
who are weak and helpless.
Scripture Reading: I Corinthians 13:4-8
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
5 It is not rude, it is not selfseeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
Good morning everyone, welcome to our service today. Would you please join me with a prayer:
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for getting us together to worship you. Lord, we know you are in our hearts, you are the Most High; thank you for sending your most beloved son Jesus Christ for us, to die on the cross to wash away all of our sins. Lord, thank you for choosing us to be your children in this temple. Lord, we are nothing, but you are everything. Even though we are not so good, you still love us. As Sophia said, you loved us so much; we cannot image/measure how much you love us. Lord, we love to come to you, and say, thank you Lord. Thank you for what you have done in our whole lives. Lord, I also lift up myself into your hands; may you use me to deliver your words to all the people who are here today. Lord, I pray for all the congregation here; may you be with them; may you quiet their hearts and give them a pure heart to listen to your words; and may your words become our life and road to get our life. Lord, help us, if some of us here may be helpless, may your words be their hope; some of us may be very weak, may your work become our strength. Lord, be with us, I lift up this time into your hands; may you be the center of our service today. May all of us glorify your holy name; may your Holy Spirit come upon us; and your Holy Spirit do the things that even we could not do. Lord, be with us, we pray in your holy name. Amen.
Introduction: reviewing the “Love” sermon series
In July, our English fellowship decided to start a new sermon series; we called it the “Love” series. We delivered five sermons about dating and preparation for marriage. Our purpose for this series is to meet some people’s needs and provide guidance for biblical dating and marriage. I do not know how many of you have already listened to all these five sermons. You may have listened to all the five sermons. Some of you may have only listened to one or two or three or four (of the sermons). But I want to ask you, “What changes have you experienced by following this biblical guidance?” I pray that each of us will gain benefits and blessings from these five sermons.
And our purpose for today’s sermon is to review the main points of these five sermons. Let’s us remember the insights from these messages, and apply them in our own lives. So today we will go over these five sermons and see the main points of these five sermons and also give us some suggestions to apply them in our own lives.
First sermon on the series: Falling in Love with Jesus Christ
So I remember the last Sunday in July, July 29th, I started the first sermon of this “Love” sermon series, which is called “Falling in Love with Jesus Christ”. I still remembered when I prepared for this sermon, I was touched a lot. I was so excited about this point “Falling in Love with Jesus Christ”.
For the first week of this new series, we began by considering how we prepare ourselves when we are still single. So first we need to know how God loves us. The Bible says in 1 John 4:9-10, in that it says,
“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.”
So from what Jesus Christ has done, we know that He loved us more than we loved Him. As the first song of today’s worship, it is said in Chinese: 你的慈爱比天高，比海深；God’s love is much higher than the sky, it is much deeper than the sea. 我是你宝贝，重价赎回的人；I am your treasure, who is redeemed with high price; Even though our grace is free, you do not need to give any coins or dollars or RMB or any money to the church to allow you to come to church or accept Jesus Christ. You do not need to pay any price, but just say “Lord, I would like to accept you; I would like to trust you and I want you be my savior.” The Bible says,
“9 if you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9)
You do not need to pay anything, but just come to Christ. And you can get this precious grace, even though this grace is free, it has been paid at a high price; it is paid by a righteous man, a righteous God’s life to save us. We are His treasure, we are redeemed at a high price. Dear brothers and sisters, you are our Lord’s treasure; you are redeemed at a high price. Some of you here may not be a Christian yet, but I want to tell you there is a God, you can be bought as a treasure in His eyes, and He wants to redeem you at a high price. He loves you more than anything else. His love is higher than the sky. His love is deeper than the sea.
So this is God’s love. He loves us so much. He not only loves us so much, but He chose to love us first. The Bible says,
“19 We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)
So our God, our Jesus Christ loved us before we knew Him, before we believed Him. When we were so bad, when we were so evil, we were so sinful, we were so ugly, but at this time, God chose to love us and laid down Himself for everyone that He had predestinated. So this is how He loves us. His love cannot be counted. You cannot describe how deep, how high, or how long His love is.
In 1Corinthian 13:8, it says,
“Love never ends”.
You cannot say how long He loves us -- forever. So this is how He loves us. So because of His love, because He loves us more than we love Him, because He loves us first, because no matter who we are, He just loves us. He loves you even though you do not change yourself; His love never changes; His love is not because you have good behavior, and He loves you more. It is not because you commit sins, and He loves you less. He loves you no matter who you are. He loves you no matter what you have done. It never changes. So because of this kind of love, I encourage all of the singles to prepare ourselves, to prepare our hearts to seek a life-partner.
First, do not focus your eyes on your life-partner, but focus your eyes on our Savior Jesus Christ to fall in love with Him, to fall in love with our God, to marry Him. Second, to make Jesus Christ our first love, and we should be building a strong and joyful relationship with Him. For most of us, for most of our hearts, we are eager to fall in love with someone else, we are eager to find a life-partner to fall in love with. But first, our God teaches us,
“My beloved ones, come to me, fall in love with me; I am waiting for you; I am eager for your love. First, taste my love, taste my unconditional love, taste my amazing grace”.
Second sermon on the series: Loving and serving each other
If you can understand how amazing His grace is, if you can understand how crazy His love is, you can understand what love is; you can get true love; and you can get the satisfaction in him, not in anyone else. So if we achieve this step, we could move to the next step. Jessica shared a sermon on August 5th on “Loving and serving each other”. In this sermon, Jessica talked about how to learn to love and serve each other. She gave us two points, the first is “loving each other deeply”. She talked about agape love, which is Christ’s love. She said this sentence “the love is about if you love me, I love you; if not, I still love you. I love you unconditionally”. This is Agape Love. 1 Corinthian 13:4-8 is the great song about agape love, and it is also our sermon scripture today,
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails…
I will not explain these words specifically today, but the reason why I chose these verses as today’s reading scripture is that the main point of our “LOVE” sermon series is “Love”. I pray that all of you can remember these verses, to think about them, and to act them out in your lives. Love is a big topic and a great lesson for us to think about and act it out in our daily lives.
Jessica challenged us by asking us to replace love with our own names in this song of agape love. I do not know how many of you have done that. How did you feel if you did that? I shared with some people, and we shared the same feeling in one sentence -- we are so ashamed when we replace the word “love” in this scripture with our own names. We do not have love at all when compared to this standard.
How did that change your perspective on love and on yourself? For myself, I think that I need to learn love more and more, deeper and deeper, and do it again and again. I can have love and patience at this moment, but lose them at the next moment. How about you? How about us? If you have not replaced the word “love” with your own name, how about doing that after the service today? Think about your feelings and how you want to change yourself.
Jessica’s second point is to serve the Lord and each other together, using the gifts He gives us. Everyone receives a gift or some abilities from God. You have the special gifts that only you have that you can use to serve God and others. So dear brothers and sisters, think about it and pray about it. What kind of gifts has God given to you? How can you use them to serve God and others?
Third sermon on the series: Becoming the person God wants you to be
After we fall in love with Jesus Christ, and we are willing to love and serve each other, next, we should think about what kind of person we want to become. The message I shared on August 19th was about “Becoming the person God wants you to be”. In that sermon, I said it was time to turn away from the lifestyle of trying to please someone else, namely your parents, your friends, your spouses, your classmates, your bosses or your teachers, or your children. It is time to think about our lives and our life vision – whom are we living for? What kind of person I want to be? We need to know the truth from the Bible that our purpose is to please God and glorify Him only, not anyone else. We must pursue to become the person God wants us to be. To know that, I took two characters from the Bible, Jesus’ mother Mary and the Apostle Paul. I listed three major points for further explanation:
First is to know our identity;
secondly, to know God’s calling, and
thirdly, to seek God’s kingdom and righteousness first.
Fourth sermon on the series: Deciding in my heart
After these three steps, we should make decisions in our heart. It is not simply about principles, but about the heart. So for the fourth sermon, which was shared by Jessica on September 2nd on the topic of “Deciding in my heart”. In that sermon, Jessica talked about many struggles in people’s hearts. Somebody may keep praying in hope, but they still could not find a godly man or woman to be their boyfriend or girlfriend. Some may doubt whether they should date a non-Christian or struggle with sex. So she said that in our heart, we must decide to follow Jesus Christ in our lives that we may be willing to obey Him. So instead of the principles, she focused on the heart. How can we guard our hearts to make right decisions to please God when it comes to dating? She gave three points of advice on how to guide your hearts.
The first one is to decide in your heart to put Jesus Christ first in your heart always;
secondly, decide in your heart that you will only date a believer; thirdly, to decide in your heart to keep your body pure.
At this point, I wish to share a bit more. It is very sad to see that Christian singles tend to follow the world’s corrupted values about dating and sex. Some of us here today at this sanctuary may be facing some pre-marital sex problems. You may be still facing this struggle. You feel guilty in your heart. But in your behavior and actions you still live in the darkness. We need to know our identity when we are dating. In the time of dating, you are not regular friends anymore. And you are not yet husband and wife. You are boyfriend and girlfriend. We know sex is a precious gift from our God. But it is reserved for marriage. We need to decide in our hearts that both of us need to keep our bodies pure for Christ. We need to decide in our hearts to run away from those temptations. So dear brothers and sisters, I encourage you to run away from those temptations. You may have already done this, but come to God. If you confess your sins, He likes to wash them away. If you have not committed any, keep it and keep your body pure before and for Christ. You will enjoy the true joy of sex after you get married.
The fifth sermon on the series: The helper
The last but not the least, the sermon shared by Cathy last Sunday on the topic of “Helper”, in which she said, in Genesis 2:18,
“God said, it is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
So God made Eve as Adam’s helper and partner. Cathy said the term “helper” is used in other parts of the Bible to describe our God, who is the one who gives help. The primary idea for giving help is protecting, defending and surrounding, but not acting as servants or slaves. So we should imitate God’s way of giving help. So what is God’s way of being a helper? There are three ways. The first is God as the Helper is very humble. Secondly, God as a helper is a lover. Thirdly, God as the helper is a transformer. It means as a helper to each other. I should transform myself first, instead of asking others to transform first. So when I reviewed these messages, I encouraged myself to put them into action.
Comparison between the world’s way and God’s way:
Now I encourage you all to practise these principles and see how God does wonderful things in your own relationships. Now we can look at a chart on the screen and see the differences between what the world is telling us and what God is saying to us. On the left side of the chart, it is what the world is telling us; and on the right side of the chart is what God is saying to us. Those on the left side of the chart are what we must not follow; while those on the right side of the chart are what we must follow. And I will ask you to read with me on the right side of the chart.
The first sermon (Falling in love with Jesus Christ) deals with the question “where we are to find true satisfaction”, and the world is telling us:
“Put yourself and others first before God;
You must fine your satisfaction in others;
You can only get satisfaction by finding a life-partner.”
But what God is saying to us (let’s all read together):
“Make Jesus your first love;
Jesus is your satisfaction;
Trust Him and He will meet all of your needs.”
The second sermon deals with the question “what is true love”, the world is telling us:
“Fall in love with the person of your dreams — the person you think can satisfy all your desires; Pursue your own ambitions and dreams;
Get what you want for yourself;
Try to get to the top where others are serving you rather than you serving others.”
But what God is saying to us (let’s all read together):
“Love each other;
Serve each other;
Find true joy in serving others;
Use your gifts to serve others.”
The third sermon deals with the question “who do you want to be”, the world is telling us:
“Become the person someone else wants us to be;
Work very hard to please others, to get praise from someone you care about;
Achieve your own ambitions;
Become the person you yourself want to be.”
But what God is saying to us (let’s all read together):
“Become the person God wants you to be.”
The fourth sermon deals with the question “where you are to find true fulfillments”, the world is telling us:
“You should date anyone you want;
You can’t deny romantic love or feelings;
You have to give into them;
Sex outside of marriage is more enjoyable than sex within marriage;
Sexual impurity is fun;
Sexual purity is old fashioned.”
But what God is saying to us (let’s all read together):
“You should date only a believer;
God’s design for sex is only in marriage, that is where you will find true fulfillments.”
The fifth sermon dealing with the question is about the “marriage pattern”, the world is telling us:
“Dominate or manipulate your partner to get what you want.”
But what God is saying to us (let’s all read together):
“Serve and support each other mutually.”
So this is what the world is telling us and what God is saying to us from Bible’s perspective.
The differing results of following the world’s way and God’s way:
Next, let us see the difference between the results of following the world’s way and God’s way. Let’s see firstly the results of following the world’s way:
“People move from one relationship to another very fast (they do not think that is very bad);
People get broken-hearted;”
I heard from some girls that they could move from one relationship to another, and they do not feel very well (actually).
“Marriages are not as strong as before (especially in our society, the divorce rate is spiralling);
Marriage is a short-term contract and lacks commitment (they just think if they are not suitable for each other, they could just break up or divorce. Many people are hurt from their parents’ marriage, and the inheritance for them is that they are very afraid of marriage);
People become irresponsible toward the family;
People lack security and deep satisfaction;
Children grow up in a weak family, feel insecure, and lack strong self-esteem;”
When I shared the first sermon on “Falling in love with Jesus Christ”, some people came to me after the service and told me, “Gloria, I am so touched by your sermon.” And the story I shared is what I have experienced in a weak family that you will feel insecure and lack self-esteem.
And the last problem is abortion problem.
And the results of following God’s way are:
“People experience a lasting and stable relationship;
Marriage is a covenant of deep commitment;
People find satisfaction and joy in relationship and marriage;
People become responsible toward the family;
People enjoy security in the lasting relationship;
Children grow up in a strong family with security and strong self-esteem.”
I would like to give you 30 seconds to think about it and to make a decision in your heart to God, which way do you want to follow? So let’s now have some quiet time for a moment.
1 John 2:15-17 says that,
15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. 16 For everything in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives for ever.
It’s time to make a decision, no one force you to do it, but you can come to God. Do you want to say YES to God’s way and say NO to the world’s way?
All of us want to have a relationship with God as the result of God’s way. It is an enjoyable relationship. When you are in this relationship, you will get true satisfaction, and you enjoy each other, and you can get fulfillments, and you will have a deep sense of security because God is the center of this relationship, so do you want to get it? Our God is waiting for us, and He loves giving us blessings, relationship, kiss, sex, etc, all of the precious gifts from our God, He is loving to give us these. It is not a sinful thought, and He is willing to give us these precious gifts. It is just that we need to change our attitude, we need to transform our heart, we need to run away from those temptations, and have a right heart by God’s side.
So I pray that you would make this decision not just once, but repeatedly, for we have to fight every day, for we are weak, for the cause and sins inside us. We need to say YES to God’s way everyday. All the believers, as a fellowship, we need to fight together. We need to support one another and encourage one another in our heart for Christ, for the most beloved God.
So dear brother and sister, dear friends, all of this can be concluded in just one word LOVE. This Love sermon series is finished now, but acting love out never ends, love never ends.
I pray that all of us can use our whole life to learn more about love, learning the love that never ends. Amen.
Transcribed by Emily, Esther, Feel and Franz, and edited by Liu Laoshi, with LOVE and HELP from our Lord.