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Text Sermons : Erlo Stegen : United in love

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1Cor 13:13, “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love..”

1Pet 3:8, “Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous.”

Jesus said in John 13:35, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” God's children have this mark upon them, that they have fervent love for one another. When one of the members suffers, the others have compassion on that person as if they are suffering themselves.

We must be one in the things of the Lord; one in humility, accepting God's Word and applying it to our lives and obey it. We cannot claim to be of one heart when there is division and each one pulls his or her own way. If we are not united then there is something wrong in our midst. We must even be united in our thoughts, and in what we hate. If there is no hatred in your life towards sin and abhorrence for the world, you are rotten and good for nothing in God's Kingdom. You must hate the world and the things of the world – the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride and haughtiness of life.

We must be united in our fight against the devil and the works of darkness. Such unity will drive away hatred, envy and bitterness. There is no envy or jealousy where God's love is. The disciples didn't envy John because of his special place with Jesus. They knew that Jesus loved each one of them too.

Heaven is God's throne and His home. We read in Matt 5 “blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” If God's love reigns in your heart then heaven comes into your life. But if God's love doesn't reign in your heart then it's like hell on earth, wherever you might find yourself. Even the wealthiest people are miserable without God's love.

Caesar Nero was very rich and reigned over the Roman empire. But he was a very wicked man who tortured and killed many Christians, and also had perverse sexual relationships. He also murdered his own wife and mother. There is no blessedness in such a life. It is terrible when God's love is absent.

David the king of Israel lived in a palace made of cedar wood. His son Absalom murdered his own brother and then tried to dethrone his own father. God's love was absent from Absalom's life. However, David knew God's love. When Absolom his son died because of his evil ways, his father David cried for him, “O, Absalom my son, if only I had died in your place.” David was ready to die, but his son Absalom was not.

There was also a woman in Israel named Naomi. Her family went to live in the country of Moab because of the famine in Israel at the time. With the passage of time, her husband and two sons died and she was left alone with her two daughters-in-law, who became widows at a very young age. She also lost all her possessions. Eventually she decided to go back to Israel and bid her daughters-in-law stay and marry again. The one remained behind, but the other, Ruth, had God's love in her heart, and replied, “Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you; for wherever you go, I will go. Wherever you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there will I be buried. The LORD do so to me, and more also, if anything but death parts you and me.” So they went back to Israel and were very poor. They only survived because Ruth gathered corn from day to day in the fields of anyone who would allow her. However they were blessed for God's love reigned in their hearts.

The church in Jerusalem was big and there were some poor people among them. However the disciples brought money to the apostles and they bought food and distributed it among the poor. And when those funds failed, some even sold their houses and lands to provide for the poor. No wonder God could work so mightily through the early church. They loved one another with God's love and had compassion on each other.

Test yourself whether God's love is truly evident in your life, otherwise you need to repent and become a true disciple of Jesus.





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