How He Loves Us

Reading 1 / 1 Corinthians 15:1-8

I am reminding you, brothers and sisters, of the Gospel I preached to you, which you indeed received and in which you also stand.  Through it you are also being saved,
if you hold fast to the word I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.  For I handed on to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures; that he was buried; that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures; that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve.  After that, he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at once, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.  After that he appeared to James, then to all the Apostles.  Last of all, as to one born abnormally, he appeared to me.

  • With 3 Kids ages 16, 13, and 7, we must tell them things like “just trust us” and “make your bed” 20 times before it really sinks in.  That’s what Parents do; we guide with loving hearts even when our Children keep falling down.  We pick them up, give them a hug, course-correct, and encourage them to try again.  It’s not that different with how God loves us.  It’s easy to forget that we are God’s Children.  It’s also easy to slip into a worldly coma where we don’t think about or remember that God so loved us that He sent His only Son to die for us (John 3:16).  Even while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8).  St. Paul is reminding God’s Children about all that just happened in and around them.  That must have been frustrating; but he held fast to it and reminded them what is most important.  How, through the trials and tribulations of life, can we do a better job of holding fast?  What can we do daily to help keep us focused on what’s most important?

Responsorial Psalm / Psalms 19:2-3, 4-5

R. (5) Their message goes out through all the earth.

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.  Day pours out the word to day; and night to night imparts knowledge.  Not a word nor a discourse whose voice is not heard; Through all the earth their voice resounds, and to the ends of the world, their message.

  • There’s a fantastic documentary that I would highly recommend called, “The Cross – The Arthur Blessitt Story“.  There is a lot of scuttlebutt about the end of the world – when it will come; how it will happen.  But, just like Jesus told the Disciples in Matthew 24:14:
    • “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the world as a witness to all nations, and then the end will come.”
  • I remember a Preacher telling me that we were “safe” from Armageddon before May 14th, 1948 when the State of Israel was reinstated post WWII.  I would add that in addition to Jerusalem being re-established through God’s chosen people in Israel (and vulnerable to attack per the Book of Revelation), then we must also consider that the Word of God has been preached to the entire world via Arthur Blessitt, the Apostles & Disciples of Jesus, and all of the various Missionaries throughout the ages.  There’s a great song that most of us know from Hebrews 3:15 (also in Psalm 95), as follows:
    • Refrain: If today you hear God’s voice, harden not your hearts. (repeat)
      1. Come, ring out our joy to the Lord. Hail the Rock who saves us.  Let us come now before our God. With songs let us hail the Lord.
      2. Come, let us bow and bend low.  Let us kneel before God who made us,  for he is our God, we the people, the flock that is led by God’s hand.
      3. O that today you would hear God’s voice,  “Harden not your hearts, as on that day in the dessert,  when your parents put me to the test.”
  • How do we as Men as Christ make sure that we don’t harden our hearts?  In this Presidential Election?  In this generation?  In our own homes and Churches?

Alleluia / John 14:6b, 9c

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

I am the way, the truth, and the life, says the Lord;  Philip, whoever has seen me has seen the Father.

  • Philip.  A man of Gospel mystery like many of the Apostles.  But, a quick bible internet search of “Philip” reveals so much more; especially in John and Acts.
    • He is the third Apostle called to Jesus after Andrew (#1) and Peter (#2).
    • He’s from the same town, Bethsaida, as Andrew and Peter.
    • Jesus simply told him (not asked him), “Follow Me.”
    • He brings Nathaniel to Christ, who is the 1st to ask “Can anything good come from Nazareth?”
    • He is promised by Jesus, “Truly, truly, I say to all of you that you will see heaven open and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
    • It’s Philip that Jesus asks to find food for the 5,000 that He miraculously feeds; to which Philip initially answers, “Two hundred denariia would not buy enough bread for each of them to have a small piece.”
    • People would come to Philip to ask if they could meet/see Jesus.  At one of these requests Christ replies that, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.”
    • He constantly is questioning the Lord (and being rebuked for it), at one point asking Jesus, “Lord, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.” To which Jesus replied, “Philip, I have been with you all this time, and still you do not know Me?  Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?”
    • He was one of the most courageous Apostles in the Book of Acts.
    • He went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed Christ to them. The crowds gave their undivided attention to Philip’s message and the signs they saw him perform.
    • He performed miracles exercising demons and healing the paralyzed and lame.
    • He famously converted a Sorcerer (Simon) and lots of men and women in Samaria; so many so that Peter and John made a special trip to see it.
    • An angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Get up and go south to the desert road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.”  He would meet a very powerful Ethiopian eunuch along the way that reported to the queen of the Ethiopians who would eventually beg to be baptized in Christ along their journey on the side of the road.
    • He also appeared at Azotus and traveled through that region, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he came to Caesarea.
    • Philip would become a leading missionary in Asia.  Eventually, he traveled to the Egyptian city of Heliopolis, where he was scourged, thrown into prison, and crucified in 54 AD.
  • How are we like Philip?  Why are we courageous at times and fearful at others?  How do we become more like the Philip in Acts than the Philip in John?

Gospel / John 14:6-14

Jesus said to Thomas, “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father  except through me.  If you know me, then you will also know my Father.  From now on you do know him and have seen him.”  Philip said to him, “Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.”  Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time
and you still do not know me, Philip?  Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.  How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?  Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?  The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own.  The Father who dwells in me is doing his works.  Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else, believe because of the works themselves.  Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father.  And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.”

  • I believe that whatever I ask of God, with His intentions ahead of mine, He will do.  It’s promised to us.  There are some great lines in the movie, “Soul Surfer“, where Bethany Hamilton, a 13 year old at the time, had her arm bitten off by a 14 foot tiger shark in a horrible surfing tragedy in Hawaii.  Her Youth Group Leader, played by Carrie Underwood, tells her after the tragedy, “I don’t know why terrible things happen to us sometimes.  But I have to believe that something good is going to come of this.”  Hamilton goes on to not only recover, but to become very successful surfing professionally.  At one point in her “comeback”, she asks her Dad, played by Dennis Quaid, “I don’t need easy.  I just need possible.”  Bethany “believed” in Christ’s plan for her and she’s done great things in His name – including thanking Jesus in front of millions of people when she won the “Comeback Athlete of the Year” award at ESPN’s ESPY’s awards in 2004.  “With God, all things are possible.”  Matthew 19:26.  How do we believe more freely in God’s plan?  How can we allow Him to lead, but still remember to ask Him for His help and guidance?

Focus for the Week:  Watch “How He Loves” by Crowder (lyrics below)

“How He Loves”

He is jealous for me, [note: Exodus 34:14]
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden,
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realize just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.

And oh, how He loves us, oh,
Oh, how He loves us,
How He loves us all

He is jealous for me,
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden,
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realize just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.

And oh, how He loves us, oh,
Oh, how He loves us,
How He loves us all

Yeah, He loves us,
Oh, how He loves us,
Oh, how He loves us,
Oh, how He loves.

And we are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,
If his grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.
And Heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss,
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest,
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets,
When I think about the way…

That He loves us,
Oh, how He loves us,
Oh, how He loves us,
Oh, how He loves.
Yeah, He loves us,
Oh, how He loves us,
Oh, how He loves us,
Oh, how He loves.

Yeah, He loves us,
Oh, how He loves us…
Oh, how He loves us…
Oh, how He loves us.

Published by Gregg McDonald

Gregg McDonald is a Founding Member of Men As Christ (MAC); an int'l Christian Faith Group that shares the Word of God with ~30,000 people around the world in 114 countries. He is all about Faith, Family, and Love and enjoys the opportunity to share God's love with everyone.

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