A Spring coolness returned to Louisville, but that didn’t keep a number of members and guests from gathering to worship the LORD this morning.
Deacon Joe Gross read Psalm 89:1-15 and said a prayer to open today’s service. Minister of Worship and Praise, Johann Kim, recalled the Psalm is full of wonder and awe, and how it begs the listener to hear God speaking, “Who is like me? There is no one like Me.” The opening set of songs testify to this truth.
- God is so Good
- Heavenly Hosts in Ceaseless Worship
- The Power of the Cross
After a time of fellowship and greeting, the choir ensemble sang “O Jesus, I Have Promised.” The gathered joined in the singing on the last stanza. Pastor Ben Dockery led the congregation in a time of pastoral prayer after a brief introduction to today’s sermon.
Diane Blair read Acts 1:1-11 and the entire body sang “At the Name of Jesus.” Pianist Mia Kim played quietly while the offering was collected.
Dockery returned to the pulpit and began today’s lesson from the word by encouraging everyone to stand for the reading of 1 John 4:7-5:5.
First the fist time, John has actually said, “Treat each other with love.” This isn’t surprising because all the passages leading up to this talk about love.
Similar to Marcel Duchamp‘s art piece, Fountain, asking the art observer to try to define what is art, John is trying to get his listener to define love.
- Love is from God (He gives it)
- Love is God (the nature, character of God.)
- Love is revealed to us. (we can have knowledge, access)
- God loved us. (we didn’t initiate it.)
- Love is costly. (there is a price to pay for love)
- Love one another (treat each other)
- Love is without fear. (not waiting on judgement)
- Love is a response to God’s love for us.
What Love is not:
- Is not simply self-sacrifice. (Just because you sacrifice for someone else’s benefit doesn’t mean you love them)
- Is not tolerating. (To say that everything is “OK” calls God a liar. To say that “That’s just the way that person is” demeans the cross)
- Is not a response to our own loveliness or our own value. (God sees us and loves us despite of who we are.)
- God’s love is not safe. (Brokenheartedness will happen
- God’s love is not out of a need, but out of abundentness.
What will happen with this love:
- Giving of ourselves for the benefit of others. (Jesus – leaving His throne in Heaven and came to Earth)
- Going to others (Jesus – went to heal the sick, was in the same room with them.)
- Knowing people’s real needs and speaking to them. (Jesus – provided.)
- Love is a gift. What we receive from God is so we can love others.
Conclusion: What is love? Just like with Duchamp’s piece, had people open their mind to expand the definition of art, the Cross of Christ caused people to consider how a piece of wood that people are tied to and killed became a symbol of Love.
You can listen to the sermon by clicking on the player, or right-click on the link and save the file to your computer.
April 18, 2010 AM (Ben Dockery)
The service concluded with announcements and a benediction.