Resurrection – Matthew 27:57-28:15 – Sermon Notes

As it’s Easter Sunday, it was no surprise that the sermon was on the great news of Jesus’ resurrection.

In order to have a resurrection, there needs to be a death. Jesus really did die. Death by crucifixion was designed to be painful. Why was the tomb empty? The Jewish enemies and religious leaders didn’t challenge the apostles when they said Jesus had risen from the dead.

Why does it matter?

Jesus said he was going to rise from the dead and he did. There is no one else who has done that. He has risen, as he said. What Jesus says can be trusted. He speaks the truth because he is the truth. God so loved the world (John 3:16) even though we are all sinners (Romans 3:23) and he shows his love for us (Romans 5:8). God’s judgement on our sin was dealt with. We all have a choice between wages (that we deserve) and free gift (that we don’t deserve).

The resurrection really does matter. When the apostle Paul was in Athens, he found lots of idols. He told them how God commands all people to repent as he’ll judge the world (Acts 17:30-31). One day Jesus will be the judge. He will judge with justice. We often say we want justice for our nation but what about God’s justice for us? It’s not just feeling sorry, it’s choosing to go his way.

Jesus is risen from the dead. He’s alive. What choice are you going to make?

Heading to the Cross – John 12:20-33 – Sermon Notes

What does heading to the cross look like?

Heading to the cross is hard

Jesus begins by telling the truth about himself. Without the death of a single seed there can be no harvest crop. The death of Jesus is God’s solution to man’s biggest problem. The Bible says we are dead in our sin. We can’t live in sin and live with God at the same time. Jesus says his soul is troubled (v27). He knew that his death was the only way to deal with the problem of human sin. He then makes this picture of himself also a picture of us (v25-26). Jesus calls us to hate our lives, deny ourselves, take up our cross. follow him, and serve him. It is hard to serve Jesus and others when you feel people are taking advantage of you.

Heading to the cross is glorious

If the seed dies, it will produce many other seeds (v24). If we hate our lives, we will keep our lives for eternity (v25). What are we willing to sacrifice for Jesus? If we follow, we will be with Jesus our King (v26a). If we serve, the Father will honour (v26b).

Heading to the cross is triumphant

It’s through Jesus’ death that God is glorified. Jesus says the last judgement will be dragged from the future into the present. At the cross God passes his punishment on sin and instead of placing it on us, he places it on Jesus. This is the time for judgement on the world and for when Satan will be driven out. Death will not hold Jesus. Satan won’t see it coming. The Christian will have the power within them to say no to sin. Jesus says it’s also the time he will draw all people to himself.

Like the Greeks, are you wanting to see Jesus? The death of Jesus on the cross was God announcing “here I am”. We see the hard road Jesus took to be the only sacrifice good enough to rescue us from the clutch of sin and death. We see God’s glory revealed and we can be sure of our future. God invites us to know life forever in his name. Will we allow the cross and the death of Christ to change our lives?

The Life of Jesus – Luke 4:14-30 – Sermon Notes

In this passage is Jesus’ mission statement as he begins his earthly ministry. Throughout the life of Jesus on earth, he went to the poor. He was anointed to preach good news to the poor. Jesus often spoke about spiritual blindness. All kinds of things can oppress people in their lives. Jesus came to release the oppressed. Why did Jesus stop reading the scroll before “the day of vengeance of our God”? John 3:17.

How should we look at Jesus?

By seeing what people said about him. Firstly we need to hear what his Father said when he was baptized and during the transfiguration. We also need to look at what Jesus himself said – Luke 2:48 & John 4:34.

Why did Jesus come? To seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). Though Jesus knew that going to Jerusalem was going to mean his death, he was determined to go. Everything in his life was pointing towards it. When he went into Gethsemane, he’s contemplating the agony he’s going to face (Luke 22:42). It’s impossible for us to imagine. We don’t know what it’s like to be perfect as our hearts are full of sin.

What the crowds said

Mark 7:37 – people were overwhelmed with amazement. They recognised that he has done everything well. Luke 4:22 – all spoke well of him. When Jesus received the approval of the crowds, he wouldn’t entrust himself to them (John 2:23-25).

What his enemies said

At the time when guards were sent to arrest Jesus (John 7:40-48), they were asked why they didn’t bring him in. They said no one ever spoke the way Jesus did. Even his enemies had to recognise that. In John 8:42-47, Jesus challenges the Pharisees on belonging to the devil. He asked them if they could prove him guilty of sin. They didn’t. Jesus’ sinless perfection is vital to the whole gospel story. He didn’t come to call the people who thought they were righteous. He came to call sinners.

What his family said

On one occasion they said he was out of his mind (Mark 3:20-22).

What his disciples said

When Jesus was bringing some hard teaching, some people left. He asked his disciples if they wanted to leave too. They said he had the words of eternal life (Mark 6:66-69).

What do you say?

There’s no neutral ground. Either Jesus is who he says he is, or he isn’t. Jesus doesn’t just call us to believe (John 5:24), he calls us to follow (Matthew 4:18-20).

Showing Love – Luke 10:25-37 – Sermon Notes

What does it look like to love someone? Loving is the high cost of following Jesus. The whole of the Old Testament is summed up by love (v27). Jesus said the same thing lots of times. Love is hard and costly. If you’re a Christian what does it look like to love God in a particular situation, and what does it look like to love this person in this situation?

Love comes from God

1 John 4:7-8 says love comes from God. God is the source of every good thing. We can love others because we’re made in the image of God. God’s love is like a never ending fountain. It’s not only Christians who love. Whether you’re a Christian or not, you can love because God made you. If we want to love others, we need to stay under the fountain of God’s love.

Love is a choice

Jesus told this parable of the good Samaritan. How many people do we pass by without a second thought? The priest and Levite were sticking with their law. There might be all kinds of reasons for why they walked past. Do we do the same? Love is a choice. Are we going to do the more costly thing of loving that person or just walk by? We don’t often think love is a choice. The security of love means choosing to love. If we choose to love, emotions will follow. The opposite is also true. God calls us to make this choice.

Love is self-sacrificing

Human love is self-serving but heavenly love is self-sacrificing. Do we choose our friends or partners based on what they can do for us? 1 John 4:9-10 says God sent himself as a sacrifice so we can be united with him. Look at the cross of Jesus. If we are to be followers of Jesus we are to love in the way that he loved. We are loved because we are secure in the love of Jesus. Jesus has already loved us, so we can love others. It means putting others before ourselves. That’s what God calls us to. Our call is to keep choosing to sacrificially love others.

What might it look like to choose to love others in the situations we find ourselves in? There are countless ways in which we can practically love others, even if it’s costly.

What Should a Christian Wedding Look Like?

Photo by Photos by Lanty on Unsplash

I’ve attended many Christian weddings over the years. All had several things in common, with their own unique touches. They provide a brilliant opportunity for God to be glorified and for the gospel to be proclaimed, particularly to friends and relatives who aren’t Christians. There is no definitive answer as to what a Christian wedding should look like, but there are several things that should be considered.

The Ceremony

Arguably the most important part of the day is the wedding ceremony. Aside from the usual formalities (vows and exchange of rings), the bride and groom are free to choose what to include.

Entrance / Exit Music

Traditionally, the bridesmaids walk down the aisle at the start of the ceremony one by one, followed by the bride and her father. This is a dramatic moment in which the bride is revealed to everyone present and is usually accompanied by music. Popular choices include Pachelbel’s Canon in D or Jeff Buckley’s Hallelujah.

Instead of opting for a piece of classical music or popular song, why not consider a Christian song? When my sister got married, she walked down the aisle to Phil Wickham’s You’re Beautiful. While unexpected, this gave everyone something to think about and was a lovely choice.

It’s also worth considering something similar for the exit of the bridal party at the end of the ceremony.

Songs

All Christian weddings that I’ve attended have featured songs of worship or hymns during the ceremony. These are usually celebratory and upbeat – it is a happy occasion after all! It’s entirely up to you as a couple to decide on the songs, but those that proclaim the gospel and sing of what Jesus has done are best. From my experience, the most common ones are:

Once you’ve chosen the songs you’d like, it’s worth thinking about musicians. You could just opt for a singer with a guitar, or go for a fuller sound and add drums, bass, piano, or other instruments. It’s also worth checking out the sound system at the venue to see what’s viable.

Bible Readings

I would say that having one or two Bible readings is essential to a Christian wedding, as this will provide a focus for the address. When we think of wedding Bible readings, we tend to think of passages about love (such as “love is patient, love is kind” or “God is love”). While there is nothing wrong with them, you don’t have to choose these.

In fact, most of the Christian weddings I’ve attended have had alternative Bible readings. For Christians, marriage is a picture of the relationship Jesus has with his bride, the church. So for instance, you could choose a passage from Revelation 21 or 22. While a wedding is indeed a fantastic celebration, it is nothing compared to the events described in the book of Revelation.

I attended a wedding recently, during which Philippians 2:1-11 was read. In this passage, Paul talks about Christ’s example of humility, particularly by “counting others more significant than yourselves.”

Other possibilities include Romans 12:9-21 or Colossians 3:12-17, which talk about living as Christians and how we should glorify God in all that we do. Alternatively Matthew 6:19-21, in which Jesus commands us to not store up treasure on earth, reminds us that marriages on earth are temporary.

The Address

Whichever passage you choose, remember the potential for evangelism. The address, while primarily aimed at the bride and groom, is a fantastic chance for the gospel to be proclaimed. I would therefore advise against choosing a passage that is obscure or difficult to understand.

Hopefully you’ll know several people, either through your church or other connections, who can confidently deliver a clear, biblical address at your wedding. Once you’ve identified your preferred speaker, have a conversation with them well in advance and see if they’re willing to fulfil this role.

Prayers

All of the Christian weddings I’ve attended have included a slot for prayers during the ceremony. This gives you the chance to be prayed for as a married couple in front of the whole congregation. Consider choosing two close Christian friends or family members to do this for you.

Signing of the Register

If the venue permits, you may be able to sign the register during the ceremony (otherwise this is typically done at a registry office a few days beforehand). As this takes a few minutes, consider having a performance of a piece of music or a song that means something to you both.

Order of Service

When you have decided on the individual elements of your ceremony, you’ll need to decide on the order of service. The choice is entirely up to you, but here’s an example:

  • Entrance of the Bride
  • Welcome
  • Song 1
  • The Marriage
  • Songs 2 & 3
  • Bible Reading
  • The Address
  • Song 4
  • Signing of the Register (if applicable)
  • Prayers
  • Song 5
  • Final Blessing
  • Exit of the Bridal Party

Once you’re happy with the order, you can decide on a design for the printed copies that will be given to the guests on arrival. You could even include a Bible verse on the back. If the venue has a projector, it may be worth considering having song lyrics on a screen instead of printed (or you could have both). It’s also worth checking the lyrics thoroughly as some songs (such as Be Thou My Vision) have several versions.

The Reception

The wedding reception will also provide subtle opportunities to show your guests what your faith means to you.

Speeches

The wedding speeches (or toasts), where possible, could include references to your faith. For example, the groom could talk about how valuable the support of a church family is. At my sister’s wedding, my brother-in-law’s best man highlighted the importance of praying for the newlyweds.

Meal

Before serving the meal (or wedding breakfast), consider having someone pray. A brief prayer giving thanks for the food and for the newly married couple speaks of how all good things come from God.

First Dance

Your first dance as a married couple is an iconic moment. Guests are excited to find out which song you’ve chosen, and to see you dance together for the first time. From Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud to Aerosmith’s I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing, from Jason Mraz’s I’m Yours to Lonestar’s Amazed, there are countless options.

How about considering a Christian song? My sister and brother-in-law had Jeremy Riddle’s Fall Afresh for their first dance. While unexpected, the song’s tempo was perfect for the occasion. Its thought-provoking lyrics also gave opportunities for non-Christians to ask, “why have they chosen this?” It was a simple yet profound way of sharing their faith.

Cake

The wedding cake will be the biggest and most expensive cake you’ll ever buy. Why not add something unique that speaks of your faith? Cake toppers come in all kinds of varieties. For example, check out this Christian cake topper, featuring the message “God gave me you.” It’ll put the icing on the cake (sorry).

Favours

Wedding favours are a way of thanking your guests for joining you on your special day. Instead of opting for traditional gifts, consider these personalised wedding magnets, engraved with your names, wedding date and Song of Solomon 3:4. Your guests can stick them on their fridges to remember your special day.

Gift List

Many of your guests will want to buy you a gift for your special day. By creating a gift list, you can let your friends and family know what you would like. This means that you get exactly what you want and guests don’t need to worry about what to buy.

By creating a free wedding registry or wedding list on Amazon, you can choose which items you’d like from the millions on offer. You’ll be given a link to share with your guests who can choose what to buy, and everything will be delivered to your door. You can highlight your favourite products and Amazon will keep track of who bought what, so you can say thank you. It’s extremely easy to set up as it’s all online and will save you lots of time.

Why not create an Amazon Wedding Registry (US) or Wedding List (UK) right now?

Further Reading

I’d highly recommend Tim Keller’s Meaning of Marriage. It’s a brilliant book not only for engaged or married couples, but for everyone, regardless of relationship status. In the book, Tim and his wife, Kathy, explore what marriage is, why God gave it to us, and what it means for all of us. The insights are biblical and thoughtful, and provide an honest perspective on the reality of marriage.

For me, one of the most helpful insights is that we never marry the right person. The idea that each of us has a soulmate and that we must spend our lives searching for “the one” is nonsense. No two people on the planet are 100% compatible. Therefore, marriage requires lots of hard work and love.

There’s also lots of helpful, practical advice on what makes a successful marriage, and a chapter that explores the theology of singleness. Why not consider reading it together before you get married? You can pick it up on Amazon.

I hope you’ve found this post helpful. I wish you all the best as you plan your wedding!

Speaking – Acts 5:12-33 – Sermon Notes

There are situations when we bottle speaking up about Jesus. We might think we don’t know enough, or someone else would be better. We might think Jesus isn’t what they need, or we’ll be rejected, or there’s too much pressure. There are times when we don’t speak, even though we know we should.

The gospel can be summed up in a verse such as John 3:16 or Romans 10:13, but the whole Bible speaks of it. The Bible tells us that we’re stuck and can’t bridge the gap between God and people ourselves, but Jesus can. That’s why he came. We can’t save ourselves but Jesus offers to save us.

We can give the reason for the hope that we have and we need to know that God has put us in our places for a reason. We need to remember that Jesus is the answer and that true love casts out fear. It’s not all down to us. Sometimes people will hate us for sharing the gospel, but that’s very rare. They might not accept it but at least recognise that we care.

In Acts 5, as people are meeting at the temple, others are watching them. They hear the gospel, become Christians and join them. Some people don’t like that (v17) as the gospel is ultimately offensive. Peter and the apostles obey God instead of man. Whatever a human being might do, God is for them and is giving them eternal life.

Speak because you are secure in God’s love and because you are secure in God’s people. We don’t know how people will respond, but we are called to speak. Jesus calls us to share the gospel and to invite people to follow him. It might lead to hatred or rejection but it might lead to people following Jesus for themselves.

Bible Verses For Strength

Life isn’t easy. We often go through times of suffering, or see friends and family suffer. It’s during hard times that we need to seek the Lord and the strength that only he can provide. I know that’s easier said than done, but throughout the Bible, we see how God gives strength to his people when they need it the most. Here are some of my favourite Bible verses for strength:

Exodus 15:2

The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.

This verse is part of the song of Moses and is a great example of praise. We can be encouraged that the Lord doesn’t just give strength, he is our strength. Moses also recognises that we can’t save ourselves. Instead, God becomes our salvation.

1 Chronicles 16:11

Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.

Seeking the Lord is just one of the ways we can worship and glorify him. David wants to praise God for what he has done, just as Moses did.

Psalm 18:32

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.

David knows who gave him strength to be triumphant – God. He gave him what he needed and kept him on the right path. God does the same for us.

Psalm 28:7-8

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. The Lord is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.

David praises God, who has become his strength and his shield. We too can endure life’s hardships through the strength that God gives us.

Psalm 29:11

The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.

David acknowledges that God, who has complete power and authority, gives strength to us. Not only that, but we can take comfort in how he blesses us with peace.

Psalm 46:1

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

The psalmist begins Psalm 46 by talking about his experience in times of difficulty. God wasn’t far away, but was ever-present, and only he could provide refuge and strength; there was no third party involved.

Psalm 73:26

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

We are weak. Our earthly bodies will perish. The psalmist recognises this and says God’s strength will endure and last forever.

Psalm 105:4

Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.

We are called to not only seek the Lord himself, but to seek his strength. As we seek him, we receive strength.

Psalm 118:14

The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.

Here, the psalmist quotes the song of Moses from Exodus 15:2. When God is our strength, we look to him for comfort and satisfaction. When God is our salvation, we can trust that we are forgiven and saved by grace.

Psalm 119:28

My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.

The psalmist is troubled and feels that he has no strength within himself. He responds by praying for strength that would come from God’s word. Perhaps we should consider following this example.

Isaiah 40:28-31

28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. 29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah explains how great our God is and reveals that he gives strength to the weak. We can’t be proud and claim that we don’t need strength, because deep down, we know that we do. In order to receive it, we simply need to hope in the Lord. He will give us the strength to keep going, to move forwards, and to glorify him.

1 Corinthians 1:8-9

He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Even in hard times, God will sustain you to the end. Though the Corinthian church had problems, Paul could be confident that they’ll be presented blameless because God is faithful.

1 Corinthians 1:25

For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

God was at his most weakest at the cross, yet it was still stronger than anything anyone could ever do.

Philippians 4:13

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

I usually quote the NIV, but I love the way the NKJV (New King James Version) puts this verse. Paul has learnt to be content in every situation and this is only possible through the strength Jesus gives. Note that he isn’t saying he can achieve anything. Rather, Jesus has enabled him to be content, even in times of suffering.

2 Thessalonians 3:3

But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.

Paul was confident in God’s power to protect us from the evil one because of his faithfulness to his people.

Bible Verses About Faith

Faith is often hard to describe. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, faith is:

  1. Complete trust or confidence in someone or something
  2. Strong belief in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual conviction rather than proof

But what does the Bible say about it? Here are some of my favourite Bible verses about faith:

Hebrews 11:1

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

Notice the similarities between this definition and the two above. Just as we see things with our eyes that are visible, faith is like seeing the invisible, spiritual side of the world.

Hebrews 11:3

By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

None of us saw the world being made – we only know of it by faith. We trust that God spoke the world into being (Psalm 33:9). This verse also confirms that God made the world out of nothing.

Hebrews 11:6

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

We must believe in God and that he reveals himself to us, through the faith that we have. If we don’t have faith, we simply cannot please God.

2 Corinthians 5:7

For we live by faith, not by sight.

In line with Hebrews 11:1, the Apostle Paul says faith should be part of our everyday lives. True faith helps us to live for a God we’ve never seen.

James 2:26

As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

If we have genuine faith in Jesus, it will be accompanied by good deeds. It’s not that we’re saved by works, but rather, if there are none, do we have the right kind of faith?

Romans 1:17

For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

The righteousness that we have only comes through faith in Jesus. This faith, or trust, is the basis for how we live. We are not only saved by faith, but we live by faith.

Romans 3:21-22

21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.

Notice that we cannot earn righteousness by doing good things, as it is apart from the law. We do not earn righteousness by having faith, we receive it through faith in Jesus.

Romans 10:17

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.

Where does faith come from? Hearing the gospel. At the time Paul was writing, most people relied more on hearing rather than reading. While most people now grow up learning to read, it’s still important to speak of the Christian message, so that they might have faith for themselves.

Galatians 3:26

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.

To be a child of God is truly astounding. It means God loves us and cares for us, just as a father cares for his children. This special relationship isn’t given to us based on merit; it’s only through faith in Jesus. We can trust him now, and forever.

Ephesians 2:8-9

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.

Paul makes it clear that we can’t save ourselves. We are only saved by God’s gift of grace, through faith. If we were saved by works, we’d be able to boast about it, but through God’s salvation plan, only he receives the glory.

1 Corinthians 16:13

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.

Paul calls us to stand firm in the faith. We are to be like soldiers, keeping watch and waiting for the return of Jesus.

2 Timothy 4:7-8

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

Paul often used the image of a race to describe the Christian life. At this point, he knew his race was almost over, but that there was a crown waiting for him in heaven. It’s so important for us to encourage each other to keep the faith, just as Paul did.

Bible Verses About Love

Love is at the heart of the Christian message and so the Bible has lots to say about it. Here I list some of my favourite Bible verses about love.

1 John

The book of 1 John talks about love a lot. In 1 John 4:7-21 (entitled God’s Love and Ours in the NIV), love is mentioned a staggering 27 times. The passage talks about how ultimately, love comes from God, because God is love. God has shown us his love and therefore, we should show this love to others. Let’s explore some key verses in this letter:

1 John 3:11

For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.

Love is at the centre of the Christian message. As Jesus said in John 13:34, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

1 John 3:16

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 

The greatest demonstration of love is that Jesus died for us, so that we can be free from judgment.

1 John 4:7-9

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.

Love originates from God. He didn’t wait for us to love him before he loved us; he always has. What’s even more powerful is that God doesn’t just say he loves us, he acts on it. He shows us this love in the person of Jesus.

1 John 4:10-12

10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

In sending Jesus as an atoning sacrifice for our sins, God did something incredibly costly to himself. He has always been full of love and chose to deal with the consequences of our sin himself.

1 John 4:16-18

16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

I really like the phrase “there is no fear in love”, as it shows we don’t need to fear or worry about judgment. We can have confidence that the punishment we deserve was poured out on Jesus on the cross.

1 John 4:19-21

19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

God loved us first, and so we should love him, too. As a result, our love for God, whether it exists or not, will be shown in our actions.

Other Bible Verses About Love

John 3:16

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

This is one of the most famous verses of the entire Bible. I have often thought of it as the gospel in a nutshell. It speaks of the wonderful truth that God so loved the world.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

This passage is commonly read out at weddings, and it’s easy to see why. As two people declare their love for one another, these verses tell us about what love looks like in practice.

Romans 5:8

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

The Apostle Paul highlights how God shows us his love, just as we saw earlier in 1 John 3:16.

Matthew 22:37-40

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

What’s the key to being a Christian? Love God, love others. If we live out these two commands, everything else will follow naturally.

Proverbs 3:3

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.

I love the book of Proverbs. It’s full of wisdom and offers some fascinating insights into how we should live. Here, Solomon is telling his son to keep God’s love and faithfulness (sometimes translated as mercy and truth) close together so that others will see it too.

Forgiveness – Matthew 18:21-35 – Sermon Notes

It’s good to want justice. Christians are to be forgiving because we have been forgiven much, much more. If we don’t know how much we have been forgiven, we won’t think we need to forgive others very much. Forgiveness sees that other people are the same. The specifics may be different but we all hurt each other. Being unforgiving to someone is saying they are less than you.

The Bible says that all of our relationships give us a glimpse of how we relate to the God who made us. Forgiveness of anything significant is never easy.

Forgiveness is a choice, so choose to forgive

The servant had a choice. They chose to forgive. When it’s something small, it’s easy. When it’s something bigger it can be harder to choose to forgive. The Bible gives us the perfect example to follow in Jesus. Every human being is rebellious. We live in God’s world and live as though he’s not there. God, through Jesus, chooses to offer forgiveness. If you don’t forgive others, you haven’t grasped the forgiveness Jesus has offered you. As Christians we should ask for forgiveness when we do wrong. We should take responsibility.

Forgiveness costs, but it is a price worth paying

When we are sinned against, there is a cost. When we forgive, we are taking upon ourselves the cost of that betrayal. That’s what the servant does. He has a choice. When Jesus went to the cross, it was his choice. If we won’t forgive, Jesus won’t forgive us. There is a warning.

Forgiving is ongoing, so keep working at it

When God tells his people he will remember their sins no more, he’s saying he doesn’t hold our sin against us. Jesus’ forgiveness means that he walks with us as we deal with the consequences of our sin. Both parties have to work at it.

Forgiveness comes from God, so keep your eyes fixed on Jesus

We all sin in our own ways. God tells us we are fearfully and wonderfully made. We are all offered unconditional forgiveness through Jesus on the cross. At the cross, Jesus offers forgiveness to all people.