Sermon December 31, 2008 : Without love everything is in vain

Posted in Sermons
[Mercedes Lopez de Miranda]
  • Presenter: Mercedes Lopez de Miranda
  • Date: December 31, 2008
  • Location: Congregación León de Judá, Boston MA

This year, more than ever God has led me to think and meditate upon the concept of love. You know, it’s possible that sometimes when you get to a certain age in your life you begin to evaluate your life and to think about it and you start to think particularly on certain aspects of your life. It’s also this year that we came to 25 years of marriage, celebrate our 25th anniversary. It was also the year that one of our daughters married. And the first time that we are experimenting the feeling, the great joy of being grandparents. And it always leads us to think about how did I get to that point, and also to think about the future as well.

And I have discovered that the greatest treasure that I have is the love of my heavenly Father. The awareness of his presence in my life, the fact that he is the pilot of my plain, so to speak, and that all of the aspects of my life are under his control, that there is nothing that escapes his vigilance, even what I don’t see God can definitely see. And I want to tell you tonight that the love of God is never changing. It has always been upon your life and it will continue to be upon your life. None of us came about as a mistake and none of us is away for a moment from the loving gaze of our God.

Our God is a searching God, he always seeks his children, seeks them out with the zeal and with the compassion, with passion and he desires to have an intimate relationship with each one of us. The word of God says in the books of Jeremiah, with eternal love have I loved you. God’s love is a love that never ends and the love of our God manifests itself in all aspects of our life. It begins with the vision of the future with the destiny that he has placed within us. The love of God manifests itself through his complete forgiveness, continual forgiveness, also in the attention that he gives to every detail of our lives, the way that he provides for all of our needs and even as he consoles us and he affirms the aspects of our lives that make us up.

And I have learned that God loves so much, he appreciates so much what we do, our efforts on behalf of his Kingdom, but more than what we do for him he’s delighted in who we are in relationship to him, who we are in our moments of intimacy and privacy, the inner motivations of our hearts, our attitudes, that’s more important to him. And the moments when I feel most the presence of God in my life it’s not when I am doing things on behalf of God but when I am being in relationship to him, when I remain and am his daughter, in those moments when I get special awareness of who I am in relationship to him, I remain conscious of that, and I make an effort to receive actively his tender words of love for me and his tender loving embrace and even when he corrects me, when he confronts me in a certain way. Those are the moments when I really feel God’s presence, those are the most significant moments when I am in intimacy with him, not so much doing things for him but being in love with him in the relationship with him.

And I want us to go to that excellent passage on love, First Corinthians 13, verses 1 to 3 which says:

“… if I spoke with an angelic or human tongues and I have not love then I am like a resounding metal or cymbal that simply makes gonging noise. And if I had prophesy and I knew all the mysteries of the world and all science and if I had all faith in the world, in such a way that I were capable of moving mountains, and yet I have not love then I am absolutely nothing. And if I gave away all of my belongings to give them to the poor, and even if I gave my body to be burnt and I have not love, then it’s worth nothing to me….”

So this is a confirmation of what I was saying earlier that no matter how much I do and how many efforts I undertake on behalf of the Lord it’s totally worthless if it is not submersed and saturated with the feeling, with the attitude, the value of love. I’ll continue reading from First Corinthians 13, verse 4 to the first part of 8, and there it says:

“… love is patient, it’s long, it has a long patience, it is benign, it is kind, it doesn’t have envy, it’s not envious, it doesn’t boast of itself, it doesn’t puff up, it doesn’t do anything that is undesirable, or inappropriate, it doesn’t seek it’s own interest, it is not irritable, it doesn’t bear a grudge, it doesn’t take pleasure in injustice but rather it rejoices in truth. It awaits for everything, it believes everything, it waits for everything and it holds on or it suffers through no matter what….”

And the last part that I will read it says, “…love shall never disappear, it shall always be…”

This is the love that I aspire to embody and evidence in my life. Some of you have heard perhaps that love is not a feeling. Although there is a part that it’s related to feelings, but especially love is a decision. Love has to be founded on a genuine desire to please God and when it comes from that unceasing fountain of love that is God that’s when really our love acquires a supernatural quality to it. Never underestimate the power that the power there is in the actions of love that you carry out in the name of God.

At the end of this year I’d like to charge you with three challenges and they’re related to the concept of love. The first challenge is this: dedicate yourself to getting to know your Father as he truly is. Try to get away from that worldly image of, that corrupted image of who God is. We all need to do that because many times we do not know God as he truly is. Sometimes we do God the injustice of dealing with him and seeing him on the basis of the bad experiences that we have had with other people or with father figures, or experiences that we have had that corrupt that image of who God truly is.

So I want to encourage you, open your heart to God as if you were a child, in innocence. This is what Greg was referring to earlier in his meditation. How does a little child come near to his or her loving dad; he does it freely, completely devoid of fear, with confidence and trust. He gets up in the lap of his dad and hugs him and goes close to him, he seeks his dad’s protection when he needs it, she needs it, she seeks his dad’s comfort when she needs it, that child brings the broken toy to his father that he might fix it, and sometimes we have learned, we’ve been trained to come to God with all kinds of formalities and fear and yet what really God wants is that we come to him with freedom, the freedom of a child.

So that’s the first challenge that I want to …. you, get to know God as he truly is, separate from any bad, corrupting experience that we may have because when you do that, when you’re able to do that you will find true freedom as you relate to the Lord.

It comes to my mind right now when I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit what God repeated to me in that experience time and time again as I went through it, it was this phrase, this is the love of a father, the love of a father. And for an hour God kept repeating that to me, the love of your father, the love of the father manifests. That was really the beginning of my ability to deal with God as my father for the first time because until then my experience God was of a judge, of somebody who was distant, somebody who was sort of judging me and observing me and evaluating me. And from that moment on ….., I was able then to draw near to God as his little daughter and to call him aba, daddy. In my mind I understood then that this was the image that I needed to hold of God and from then on I’ve had this desire to draw near to God, I have had a hunger a thirst for knowing him as my dad, and that has made me such a better person, it has made me more complete human being, it has freed me.

Now I’m going to leave with you a second challenge as well, and this is it, do not be satisfied with how much you’re able to love today. Always seek to grow in your capacity to love others. Evaluate where you need to change in that respect. Are you able, for example, as we have read here in First Corinthians, are you able to love with that kind of purity and perfection that we read in First Corinthians 13? Acknowledge your faults, acknowledge your flaws. You know many of us cease to grow and we become satisfied with a mediocre love when in reality we have all the resources of heaven at our disposal to continue growing and to learn how to love, the way that God loves.

That would be my second challenge, ask God to transform your heart that you might be able to love as a child, that innocence and abandon of a child. There’s a principle in counselling which is if there’s no change in you, then really change is not possible, things must change. So if you want better relationships with others, with your spouse, with your children, or your siblings, or your fellow works, your neighbours, whoever it is, you must change. So that’s the second challenge.

And then again, don’t wait for others to change, you begin the process of changing. Many times we become stagnant, we remain fixed on a particular stance, particular attitude, always pointing to another person, they’re the ones who need to change so I don’t need to change, when in reality we can begin the process of changing, really to change. But the beautiful thing is that when we begin change in our way of loving others, in the way we deal with others, then that frees, you know, that makes it possible then for God to work in that situation that is bringing confidence to our life, because we are beginning this process, we are becoming obedient to God to take the initiative and to begin the process of change.

So the first challenge is to knowing God as he truly is, independent of bad examples in your past. Secondly, aspire to grow in your capacity to love others, and the third is to be able to grow in expressing your love to others. You know, each one of us is an ambassador, a representative of the love of God. A home where love is central and powerful, where grace is dominant is absolutely the best expression of the transforming power of Jesus Christ and it is in that kind of home where the children that we saw up here, that’s where they will also learn how to love others.

So my dear brothers and sisters, it doesn’t matter what age you are, or what status you find yourself in, right now you have ahead of you 365 days of opportunities before you to evidence, to manifest genuine biblical love.

So I urge you to take the opportunity to grow in these areas of love each day. Amen. Let’s pray. Why don’t we stand?

We present ourselves before you, Lord, before you, just as we are and we ask you Lord, that you help us to understand better how to know you as you truly are. Lord, we present ourselves before you as we are and we ask you to make changes this year in our lives, so that we can be more sensitive to your love.

Open our hearts, Lord, in order that it might be sensitive to your love. Help us to grow being like children in order that we come and draw near to you just the way you want us to draw near to you, with complete abandonment, with complete giving of ourselves, and joy and love. And I ask you, Lord, that in each home there will be a transformation, first in the power of your love, for this eternity that you put in our heart, for the grace that you manifest in every life. And Lord, for the changes also that you want in each of us, that each of us is going to carry out in our homes, in all of our relationships so that truly we can witness to your love.

Help us to love, Lord so that even when it is difficult to love we might be able to love. Help us to love even those who have wounded us, and I ask that you would tear down every barrier that prevents us from loving the way you want us to love. That your love, your healing love will be the sign of each family, each person here. Teach us, Lord. We cannot do this in our own strength, we depend on you, like children we sit in your lap, and we take refuge and delight in your love, and we prepare ourselves to love others as well. Thank you, Father, in Jesus’ name.

Sermon delivered by Mercedes Lopez de Miranda (translated by Roberto Miranda) December 31, 2008 at Congregation Lion of Judah Listen | Watch (100K) | Watch (400K)


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Comments

 
 

God has given me a loving heart. I refuse 2 give up on humanity no matter the injustices that I have personally experienced. I feel u my sister. Love on!

 
 

" you have ahead of you 365 days of opportunities before you to evidence, to manifest genuine biblical love. "

Mrs. Miranda touched very core of human existence as children of God.
I feel joyful and tearful the same time.

 
 

The Lord led me straight to this message tonight and I'm in awe. I have been really struggling the past couple of weeks, and through journaling and focusing on Him he just gave me clarity through you! Thank you faithful servant!

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