For God So Loved the World

Worship Service for February 28, 2021

WELCOME

Good morning and welcome to CrossPointe Community Church’s online worship presentation. I thank God for all of you and for the opportunity to spend these moments with you. If you’d like to reach out to me, I’d love to hear from you. You can e-mail me at randykmeyer@hotmail.com.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Last Sunday as we reopened for in-person worship, 48 persons attended! We still had enough empty chairs left to say that we can handle about 60 persons safely. That is, with everyone wearing a mask and individuals sitting six feet apart. Any way, it was very meaningful to be back together. The musicians and singers and prayer leaders did a great job in leading us in worship and we are all grateful. If you chose not to come for safety reasons, I fully understand. As time moves forward, more and more of you will return, and there will be some point where we need to add a second service. Won’t that be wonderful!

Last week I announced that I will be offering classes to train people who feel called to learn some practical skills in preaching. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have several people within our congregation who could step into the pulpit at any time? What a great asset to the church and to a future pastor this would be.

I am going to do this in two phases. The first will be a four-week class on how to share your faith with another person. This is something that all Christians should be able to do and is in my mind a prerequisite for anyone wishing to engage in preaching. Last week three people expressed interest, two of whom could not make Wednesday nights. So, I have changed it to Tuesday nights. The first class will then be held here at the church Tuesday, March 9th at 7 pm. Then, at the end of that class first segment on how to share your faith, we will continue on with those who wish to further their training. If you have any questions about this, do not hesitate to call or e-mail me.

Lastly, Gail and I will be flying to Florida tomorrow morning for a short trip to visit her son, Brett, and his family. I have to tell you, I’m not looking forward to it. I mean it’s supposed to be sunny and 81! I don’t do well in that heat. Please pray for me. We will be returning to cooler Ohio Friday and will be here next Sunday to celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Communion with you. But I am so grateful that Jim Brandenburg will be delivering the message. Thanks, Jim.

CALL TO WORSHIP

When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit. Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

Ephesians 3:14-19

OPENING WORSHIP SONGS

Your Everlasting Love

Batstone, Bill

Your everlasting love is higher
Higher, higher than the sky,
Your everlasting love is higher,
Higher, higher than the sky
Higher than the sky.
O the wonder of…Your everlasting love
Is higher than the sky.

Higher than the heavens above
Is the glory of Your wonderful love.
I’m lost in the mystery of
Your everlasting love,
Your everlasting love.

Your everlasting love is deeper,
Deeper, deeper than the sea.
Your everlasting love is deeper,
Deeper, deeper than the sea.
Deeper than the sea.
O the wonder of…
Your everlasting love
Is deeper than the sea.

Higher than the heavens above
Is the glory of Your wonderful love.
I’m lost in the mystery of
Your everlasting love,
Your everlasting love.

Your everlasting love is reaching,
Reaching, reaching out to me.
Your everlasting love is reaching,
Reaching, reaching out to me
Reaching out to me.
O the wonder of…
Your everlasting love
Is reaching out to me.

Higher than the heavens above
Is the glory of Your wonderful love.
I’m lost in the mystery of
Your everlasting love,
Your everlasting love.

©1993 Maranatha Praise, Inc.
CCLI License No. 1843349

No Greater Love

Walker, Tommy

There’s no greater love than Jesus,
There’s no greater love than He gives.
There’s no greater love that frees us
So deep within.

There’s no greater love than Jesus,
There’s no greater love than He gives.
There’s no greater love that frees us
So deep within.

We praise Your name,
Stand in awe of Your never ending love.
Love so great that it covers
All my sin and shame.
No greater power,
There is no greater force in all the earth
Than the strength of His love.

There’s no greater love than Jesus,
There’s no greater love than He gives.
There’s no greater love that frees us
So deep within.

©1993 Doulos Publishing (Maranatha! Music [Admin. by The Copyright Company])/ Dayspring Music, Inc. (a div. of Word Music Group, Inc.)
CCLI License No. 1843349

OPENING PRAYER

Our loving Heavenly Father, Your love for us is immeasurable. Although we will never plumb the depths of it, we thank You that we can experience it in Jesus. As we read about who He is and what He has done on our behalf, we can readily see that there is no greater love than the love He offers. May this wonderful love that is reaching out to us flood into our souls as a result of this time of worship for we ask this in Christ’s name, amen.

THE GIVING OF THE LORD’S OFFERING

I will be at the church today until 12 noon if you would like to bring your offering. Or you may send it in to:

CrossPointe Community Church
PO Box 126
Chippewa Lake, OH 44215

As we continue to worship God through the giving of our offerings, I invite you to think about this verse from II Corinthians 8:9: “You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, so that by His poverty He could make you rich.”

PRAYER SONG

Think About His Love

Harrah, Walt

Think about His love.
Think about His goodness.
Think about His grace
That’s brought us through.
For as high as the heavens above,
So great is the measure
Of our Father’s love.
Great is the measure
Of our Father’s love.

Think about His love.
Think about His goodness.
Think about His grace
That’s brought us through.
For as high as the heavens above,
So great is the measure
Of our Father’s love.

Great is the measure
Of our Father’s love.
Great is the measure
Of our Father’s love.

©1987 Integrity’s Hosanna! Music (c/o Integrity Music,Inc.)
CCLI License No. 1843349

MORNING PRAYER

Alan Robbins

Please join me in prayer.

Dear Lord, our Heavenly Father.

Listening to the refrain from today’s prayer song, ”Think about his love.” We are ever more thankful for the opportunity to be back in your house of worship. As we take a meaningful pause in a hectic world and take time to count the many blessings that have been bestowed upon us. It is so wonderful that our greatest blessing of all is the Love of Jesus Christ.

Jesus, please give us the strengths and the words to help others to feel, understand and appreciate your love in our lives. Please wrap your arms around everyone with a comforting hug so that they can truly feel and experience God’s Love for themselves.

Our prayers reach out to our church’s leaders, our community’s leaders, and our country’s leaders to provide love and comfort as we work for the good of all our people.

Lord, we know you will stay by our side. We know you will listen and guide our prayers to Reach Out, to Hold, to give Help, to give Love, to give Peace, and to give Joy to those that are grieving, for those that are ill, for those that are hurting in any way and prayers for our own needs.

Thank you Lord, as we give God’s Glory, and Grace, and Joy, and Refuge, and Strength, and Love, to our community and the world in which we live.

In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

SCRIPTURE

John 3 contains the crown jewel of the Bible: John 3:16. Jesus is, of course, the central figure in this drama. But there is another secondary character. His name is Nicodemus. Nicodemus hangs out with the upper crust of Jewish Society. The gospels tell us he is a member of the Sanhedrin, the 70 member Jewish ruling council that will later meet to condemn Jesus. He was also a Pharisee; a much larger group of official orthodox Jews, who were strict observers of the Jewish Law. Nicodemus was also a rabbi, apparently a teacher of some import as Jesus refers to him not as ‘a’ teacher of Israel but as ‘the’ teacher of Israel.

Nicodemus was also curious, he had heard, maybe even seen some of the amazing things that this new rabbi, called Jesus of Nazareth, was doing. And with that . . .

There was a man named Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader who was a Pharisee. After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus. “Rabbi,” he said, “we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you.”

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”

“What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?”

Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.”

“How are these things possible?” Nicodemus asked.

Jesus replied, “You are a respected Jewish teacher, and yet you don’t understand these things? I assure you, we tell you what we know and have seen, and yet you won’t believe our testimony. But if you don’t believe me when I tell you about earthly things, how can you possibly believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ever gone to heaven and returned. But the Son of Man has come down from heaven.

And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in Him will have eternal life. For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him. There is no judgment against anyone who believes in Him. But anyone who does not believe in Him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.”

John 3:1-18

THE MESSAGE

Randy K’Meyer

For God So Loved the World

Let’s be fair to Nicodemus, who had been weaned to believe two things that kind of blew up in his face during his theological chat with THE rabbi from Nazareth:

  1. that God only loves Jews,
  2. that to maintain God’s love and eventually be accepted into God’s Kingdom, Jews had to keep the Law of Moses, primarily, but not limited to, the Ten Commandments.

So two things that Jesus said shook Nicodemus to his theological core:

  1. God not only loved the Jews, God loved the world, the ‘cosmos,’ which means the sphere of all humanity; 1
  2. and to enter God’s Kingdom did not require compliance with God’s rules, but rather belief in God’s Son.

So, let’s think about God’s love the way Nicodemus did.

The root of the Hebrew word ‘Chasaq’ means ‘to cling,’ and, therefore; speaks of a tethered love, a love firmly attached or bound to the object of its affection.2 Thus when the Hebrew people read Deuteronomy 10:15: “The Lord chose your ancestors as the object of His love (Chasaq)” what they heard was akin to, ‘The Lord binds or tethers Himself to His people.’

Max Lucado in describing this word invites us to picture a mom or dad connected by a harness to a rambunctious five-year-old as they walk through some store; say, Buehler’s. Now some of us think those ‘leashes’ are cruel, but we probably shouldn’t judge until we have walked in that parent’s shoes. “But when you think about it,” Lucado writes, “those tethers serve two functions: yanking and claiming. You yank your kid out of trouble and in doing so claim that, “Yes, he might be a banshee, but he’s mine.” 3

In this case God tethered Himself to Israel and claimed, ‘They might be fickle, but they are mine.’ God bound Himself to Israel, not because they we’re in any way special, but because He choose to.

I recall witnessing this love in Don and Rose Thayer who were at the time married just over 50 years. The last decade they had together on this earth was marred when Don was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. When I first met Don he was a very soft-spoken, humble man. But as time wore on, his personality changed; he became very angry. Rose did the best she could to care for Don in their home, but as he grew sicker and she older, she finally acquiesced and Don was admitted to full-time care in Seville. One day I visited. His room was spotless thanks to her diligence. He was lying on his bed bathed and dressed and seemingly ready to go though he wouldn’t be going anywhere. “I arrive every morning at 6:15,” Rose beamed. “You’d think I was on the payroll; I feed him, bathe him, and stay with him. And I will until one of us dies . . . and she did.

What is this love that patiently endures a decade of waiting hand and foot on another human being who is incapable of giving anything in return? Call it chasaq.

This is the love described in John 3:16; where the Hebrew Chasaq is replaced by the Greek agape.

Like Chasaq, agape is not a feeling, not an emotion, not hugs and kisses; but a deliberate choice made by the one expressing this aspect of love.

However; agape is even higher than the sky, deeper than the sea than chasaq. “For God so agaped the WORLD, not just Jews Nicodemus, or anyone here doubting that proposition; God loves all people.”

And another huge difference between chasaq and agape concerns Nicodemus growing up to believe that yes, God loved all Jews, but that one could thwart God’s love through disobeying God’s Law.

Agape love is not dependent on what we do, obedience or disobedience; but rather, on what Christ has done for us. Jesus did not say, ‘For God so loved the world that He required obedience,’ but rather, “For God so loved the world that He GAVE.” And that makes all the difference . . . or at least it should.

Some of us need to think about that aspect of God’s love. For if we are not careful, we too can be tempted to believe that God’s love for us is tethered, that is, contingent upon our obedience.

And that can really be problematic because we fall short of God’s will every day. How many times this past week did you fall short of doing God’s will? Did you deceive, envy, gossip, hate, judge, lie, lust, retaliate, ridicule, steal, swear? Were you angry, bitter, dishonest, hateful, jealous, prideful, unforgiving?

And when we fall short, we begin to think, ‘How could God love me with His everlasting love when I fail Him so often?’

Now if Jesus had said, “For God so loved the world that He required,” we could rightly doubt God’s love, and by the way, we, all of us, would be doomed! But the good news is He said, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believes.”

Make no mistake, our standing with God is based solely on what Jesus did. And what He did is good for everyone who believes for all time as the writer of Hebrews so wonderfully points out: “For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time” (10:10).

Is it any wonder we sing, “There’s no greater love than Jesus!”

God will not let you go!

I am very fond of the true story that took place on a hot summer day in Florida when a little boy decided to go for a swim in a small lake behind his house. In a hurry, he ran out the back door, jumped in the lake and began swimming; not knowing a small alligator was swimming toward him.

His mother, doing dishes at the kitchen window, saw what was happening, flew out the door, started running and yelling to her son. Just as she reached out and grabbed his hand, the alligator grabbed him. An incredible tug of war ensued. The alligator’s grip was strong, but so was that mother’s. A neighbor heard the commotion, grabbed a rifle, and shot the alligator.

The boy was taken to the hospital where he was treated for wounds on his legs and deep scratches on his arms where his mother wouldn’t let go. Just before he was released, a TV crew returned to do a follow-up story. The reporter asked the boy if he could show him the scars on his legs. But the boy with obvious pride said, “Look at the scars on my arms; I have them because my mom wouldn’t let me go.” 4

God will not let you go! He has handcuffed Himself to you in His love and He has thrown away the key!! You need not win His love; you already have it. And since you can’t win it, you can’t lose it either.

But we can resist it, even though His never-ending love is reaching, reaching, reaching out to you.

You may decide, based upon your experiences with fickle human love that no one, not even God, can love like that. Or you may decide that this love is too good to be true. Or maybe, like Nicodemus, you’d prefer to try and maintain the tether between you and God by being religious. Or maybe you have convinced yourself you have done so many terrible things that God could never love and/or forgive you. Or maybe you just need to think about His love for a little longer.

Can I share with you my all-time favorite story about how much God loves us?

When I was working as a conductor for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, I was told of an incident that happened back in the early 1900’s at Bridge 460 in Cleveland. Bridge 460 is a lift bridge that either allows trains to pass safely over the Cuyahoga or when it is in raised position allows ships to pass beneath it.

A man named Gus, who had a son named Peter, was the operator of that bridge. Peter thought his father had the best job in the world and often asked his father if he could accompany him to work. Gus promised his son that on his 10th birthday he would take him to work.

On that day, Gus took his son into the building that sat at the intersection of the river and the B and O and showed him the two large wooden levers that made the bridge raise and lower. It wasn’t long before a ship came along and whistled for Gus to raise the bridge. So Gus pulled back on the levers and as the bridge began to raise, he began recording in his log the ship name, direction, time and so-forth.

As he was doing so, Gus heard a sound that sent a chill down his spine. It was the sound of the 10:06 southbound passenger whistling for the bridge. The train was running a couple of minutes early, but the ship had just cleared so Gus pushed forward on the levers to lower the bridge.

It was then he noticed that Peter was not with him and about that time heard his son cry out. He instantly realized that Peter had gone down to watch the bridge come down and had fallen into the large gears that operated the bridge. His hand was caught and he was slowly being pulled in.

Gus was faced with the decision that no father wants to be faced with; trying to save the life of his son, or the lives of the passengers on the train.

Gus’ hands remained firm on the lever as the bridge continue its bow of mercy for the passengers on the train.

As the train made its way over the bridge, Gus noticed some of the passengers waving and smiling, never suspecting the great sacrifice that was just made on their behalf.

Maybe you are not quite ready to take the leap of faith to become a ‘whosoever.’ I respect that; I was there once. But once I made the decision to believe, the Lord put His hooks in me. Do I have doubts? Sure I do, especially when I mess up.

That’s when I try to recall I John 4:9-10: “God showed how much He loved us by sending His one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.”

Think about His love, think about His goodness.
Think about His grace that’s brought us through.
For as high as the heavens above
so great is the measure of our Father’s love;
Great is the measure of our Father’s love.

CLOSING PRAYER

(I encourage you to spend some time and pray as you are led).

CLOSING SONG

How Deep the Father’s Love for Us

Townsend, Stuart

How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure.
How great the pain of searing loss.
The Father turns His face away.
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory.

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders.
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished;
His dying breath has brought me life.
I know that it is finished.

I will not boast in anything;
No gifts, no pow’r, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ,
His death and resurrection.
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer,
But this I know with all my heart;
His wounds have paid my ransom.

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer,
But this I know with all my heart;
His wounds have paid my ransom.

©1995 Kingsway’s Thankyou Music
CCLI License No. 1843349

BENEDICTION

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-39

1 Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, Edited by W. E. Vine, Merril Unger and William White, Jr., [Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, © 1985], Page 685.

2 https://biblehub.com/hebrew/2836.htm

3 Max Lucado, John 3:16, The Numbers of Hope, [Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, © 2007], Page 35.

4 Louis Torres, Great Stories for Gaining Decisions, [Gaston, Oregon: TorresLC Ministries, © 2008] Pages 44-45.

Randy K'Meyer

Leave a Reply Text