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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
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Loving the Unlovable

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We had an excellent service this Lord's day. Our Scriptural reading and sermon centered on both Exodus 34:1-9 and Luke 17:3-5. As I was listening to our Pastor speak, I found so many applications. Today is my 5th anniversary, and if I can say my prayers were answered, this particular sermon was a gift. I'll post it when it becomes available Tuesday. It dealt with our children, our spouses, friends, and brethren. Some of the key notes were to not take the guilt of another upon ourselves.


For example, if your child is an addict, unless you bought them the drugs or encouraged them to take them, etc., then the sins are theirs. With children avoid feeling unnecessary guilt. Don't condone their actions, and don't take away their ability to recognize their own responsibility.


Think about this:


There are some things to avoid: Believing that we can fix the person or fix the situation (some people don't want to change). Remember, it is God's job to fix the person. God's mercy is His understanding of how His people have failed, but He responds with Mercy: Mercy is given by God when we receive what we deserve (consequences, conviction of conscience for our sins, guilt, etc).


Graciousness is a result of God's mercy and compassion. Kindness when we have no reason to expect that Grace: Grace is given by God to us when we don't deserve it.


Exodus 34:1-9


The Lord said to Moses, “Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke. 2 Be ready in the morning, and then come up on Mount Sinai. Present yourself to me there on top of the mountain. 3 No one is to come with you or be seen anywhere on the mountain; not even the flocks and herds may graze in front of the mountain.”


4 So Moses chiseled out two stone tablets like the first ones and went up Mount Sinai early in the morning, as the Lord had commanded him; and he carried the two stone tablets in his hands. 5 Then the Lord came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the Lord. 6 And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.”


8 Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped. 9 “Lord,” he said, “if I have found favor in your eyes, then let the Lord go with us. Although this is a stiff-necked people, forgive our wickedness and our sin, and take us as your inheritance.”


And Luke 17:3-5


3 So watch yourselves.


“If your brother or sister[a] sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. 4 Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”


5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”


With our spouses, children, brethren, etc we shouldn't support destructive lifestyles and bad decisions. Sometimes they have to face the consequences, because not everybody is ready to make changes. Help a person make positive changes by not being stingy and judgmental. Don't give help to be detrimental, but to expect change.


And lastly, when reading Luke 17:3-5 I note "rebuke them" which is not a free license to really dig into another. Admonition is said with compassion - not condemnation but to bring change of heart and reconciliation.


Hope this is helpful, and I will follow up with the sermon come this Tuesday.


God bless,


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