Four Dimensions of God’s Love, Part I

Worship Service for April 19, 2020

WELCOME

I pray that your time spent here on CrossPointe’s website will rejuvenate and reinvigorate your faith in the Risen Lord Jesus to more confidently and peacefully face the difficult days in which we are presently living.

But before we begin to worship, I have a few church announcements:

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Although it seems like the day is getting closer, we still do not know when we will be able to resume corporate worship. I am hopeful that it will be at least by June 13th which will mark the 20th Anniversary of CrossPointe. Wouldn’t that be wonderful!? Actually it will be wonderful whenever that days comes. And believe me that day will come! It’s Friday, Sunday’s a comin’!

Once again, let us open our hearts to praising and hearing the Word of the Lord by reading through the worship service. Please take advantage of the opportunity to read, pause, reflect and pray when you feel led. I hope you also noticed that most of this service is also available in video format on the same page where you accessed this.

I will be at the church building again between 12:00 noon and 1:00pm for those of you who choose to drop off your offering. Look for a box on a stand in the lobby. If you wish to send it in the mail, the address is

CrossPointe Community Church
P. O. Box 126
Chippewa Lake, OH 44215-0126

Our church leaders have decided to proceed with this month’s Community Meal this coming Friday, April 24th from 5 to 6:15 pm. Once again, it will be served to people in their cars as they drive up. We still need two more volunteers and will take the first two who contact me.

Because the wisest man who ever lived wrote: “A cheerful heart is good medicine” (Proverbs 17:22).

When she saw her first strands of gray hair she thought she’d dye.

I didn’t like my beard at first; then it grew on me.

Did you hear about the crossed-eyed teacher who lost her job because she couldn’t control her pupils?

When you get a bladder infection, urine trouble.

When chemists die, they barium.

Last but certainly not least, announcement-wise, here is one of those letters written by members of my Disciple I Bible Study Class, in this case, Jared Reid, to the CrossPointe family:

To the Wonderful People of CrossPointe Community Church,

Thank you for being a beacon of light in our community. Your love for each other and those around you is truly remarkable. I am blessed to be part of the small group that meets Thursday nights. It has helped me grow in the Lord and feel the support of a loving church in good times and in bad. The variety of small groups and outreach ministries this church offers is a testament to your dedication to making Chippewa Lake a great place to live. May the Lord bless you all and continue to lead you in your faith.

With Love in Christ,
Jared Reid

And now, let us worship the Lord together.

CALL TO WORSHIP

Leaving that region, they (Jesus and His disciples) traveled through Galilee. Jesus didn’t want anyone to know He was there, for He wanted to spend more time with His disciples and teach them. He said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of His enemies. He will be killed, but three days later He will rise from the dead.”

Mark 9:30-31

SPECIAL MUSIC

Glorious Day

Michael Bleecker / Mark Hall

One day when Heaven was filled with His praises
One day when sin was as black as could be
Jesus came forth to be born of a virgin
Dwelt among men, my example is He
Word became flesh and the light shined among us
His glory revealed

Living, He loved me, dying, He saved me
Buried, He carried my sins far away
Rising, He justified freely forever
One day He’s coming, Oh glorious day, oh glorious day

One day they led Him up Calvary’s mountain
One day they nailed Him to die on a tree
Suffering anguish, despised and rejected
Bearing our sins, my Redeemer is He
Hands that healed nations, stretched out on a tree
And took the nails for me

Living, He loved me, dying, He saved me
Buried, He carried my sins far away
Rising, He justified freely forever
One day He’s coming, Oh glorious day, oh glorious day

One day the grave could conceal Him no longer
One day the stone rolled away from the door
Then He arose, over death He had conquered
Now is ascended, my Lord evermore
Death could not hold Him, the grave could not keep Him
From rising again

Living, He loved me, dying, He saved me
Buried, He carried my sins far away
Rising, He justified freely forever
One day He’s coming, Oh glorious day, oh glorious day

One day the trumpet will sound for His coming
One day the skies with His glories will shine
Wonderful day, my Beloved One bringing
My Savior Jesus is mine

Living, He loved me, dying, He saved me
Buried, He carried my sins far away
Rising, He justified freely forever
One day He’s coming, Oh glorious day, oh glorious day
Glorious day, Oh glorious day

© Warner Chappell Music, Inc, Essential Music Publishing, Capitol Christian Music Group
CCLI License No. 1843349

SONGS OF WORSHIP AND PRAISE

Crown Him with Many Crowns

Bridges, Matthew/Thring, Godfrey/Elvey, George J.

Crown Him with many crowns, the Lamb upon His throne.
Hark how the heavenly anthem drowns, all music but its own.
Awake, my soul and sing, of Him who died for thee;
And hail Him as thy matchless King through all eternity.

Crown Him the Lord of love: behold His hands and side,
Rich wounds, yet visible above, in beauty glorified.
All hail, Redeemer, hail! For Thou hast died for me;
Thy praise and glory shall not fail throughout eternity.

Crown Him the Lord of life, Who triumphed o’er the grave,
Who rose victorious to the strife; for those He came to save.
His glories now we sing, Who died and rose on high.
Who died, eternal life to bring; and lives that death may die.

© Public Domain
CCLI License No. 1843349

Lord, I Lift Your Name on High

Founds, Rick

Lord, I lift Your name on high.
Lord, I love to sing Your praises.
I’m so glad You’re in my life;
I’m so glad You came to save us.

You came from heaven to earth to show the way.
From the earth to the cross, my debt to pay.
From the cross to the grave,
From the grave to the sky;
Lord, I lift Your name on high.

Lord, I lift Your name on high.
Lord, I love to sing Your praises.
I’m so glad You’re in my life;
I’m so glad You came to save us.

You came from heaven to earth to show the way.
From the earth to the cross, my debt to pay.
From the cross to the grave,
From the grave to the sky;
Lord, I lift Your name on high.

Lord, I lift Your name on high.
Lord, I lift Your name on high.
Lord, I lift Your name on high.

©1989 Maranatha Praise, Inc.
CCLI License No. 1843349

OPENING PRAYER

O Risen Lord Jesus, please accept our worship today as our best attempt to crown You with many crowns and to lift Your name on high as we offer the whole of our lives, body, soul and spirit to You for the sake of Jesus, in whose name we pray, amen.

THE GIVING OF THE LORD’S OFFERING

(see announcement above)

PRAYER SONG

Near to the Heart of God

McAfee, Cleland

There is a place of quiet rest, near to the heart of God;
A place where sin cannot molest, near to the heart of God.

O Jesus, blest Redeemer, sent from the heart of God,
Hold us, who wait before Thee, near to the heart of God.

There is a place of comfort sweet, near to the heart of God;
A place where we our Savior meet, near to the heart of God.

O Jesus, blest Redeemer, sent from the heart of God,
Hold us, who wait before Thee, near to the heart of God.

There is a place of full release, near to the heart of God;
A place where all is joy and peace, near to the heart of God.

O Jesus, blest Redeemer, sent from the heart of God,
Hold us, who wait before Thee, near to the heart of God.

©Public Domain
CCLI License No. 1843349

THE MORNING PRAYER

Brad Winter

Dear Heavenly Father

Thank you very much for the wonderful day you’ve given us. We give thanks to the talented leaders of our church for doing their best to bring us together during this challenging time.

Over the last several weeks many have been darkened by constantly being saturated with continuous bad news, restrictions, negative media, sickness, uncertainty, fear and death.

Your Love shines through. Just a week ago we celebrated the death and resurrection of your Son Jesus paying the ultimate sacrifice by hanging on that cross. It was Love that saved us from our sins.

As we continue to experience this global pandemic may we not be shaken. God, we know you are riding this storm with us, that will eventually be calmed with your steady hand.

We look forward to once again meeting at your house in Chippewa Lake at Crosspointe Community Church. We know your steady and loving spirit is among us. Let us be reminded by the warm Spring sunshine, the cheerful singing of the birds and the budding of the beautiful trees and flowers that a new beginning is near.

May we be inspired by simple acts of kindness and love during this challenging time. It seems that times of crisis bring out the best in people.

Please protect our healthcare workers and those in direct contact with the sick and injured.

If someone is listening in on our service today and has never visited our church we pray they will visit us and experience the love we have for serving you and our community.

We pray that each of us will walk away from this service re-energized and ready to serve. Help us to be a bright shining light for someone who is experiencing darkness.

In Jesus name, Amen.

THE SCRIPTURES

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.

John 3:16 (NIV)

And this is God’s plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus. By God’s grace and mighty power, I have been given the privilege of serving him by spreading this Good News.
Though I am the least deserving of all God’s people, he graciously gave me the privilege of telling the Gentiles about the endless treasures available to them in Christ. I was chosen to explain to everyone this mysterious plan that God, the Creator of all things, had kept secret from the beginning.

God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was his eternal plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence. So please don’t lose heart because of my trials here. I am suffering for you, so you should feel honored.

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.

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.

Ephesians 3:6-21 (NLT)

THE MESSAGE

Randy K’Meyer

Four Dimensions of God’s Love, Part I

In his letter to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul is praying for his readers; first as well as 21st-century readers.

A careful examination of this prayer reveals five petitions. The first petition is that we will be empowered with inner strength through God’s Spirit. Second, that Christ will make His home in our hearts as we trust Him. Third, that our roots will sink deep into God’s love and keep us strong. Fourth, that we may comprehend how wide, long, high and deep God’s love is. And lastly, that we may experience that love of Christ.

Did you notice that the latter three requests have something in common? That our roots will sink deep into God’s love. That we may grasp how wide, long, high and deep God’s love is. And that we may experience the love of Christ.

Seems to me that to sink our roots down deep into God’s love and to experience the same will begin with comprehending how wide, long, high and deep God’s love is.

These four dimensions of God’s love are what I would like to explore the next four Sundays; today how wide, next week, how long, and then how high and deep God’s love really is.

As those prayers are answered Paul promises that we “will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God” (3:17). Now that’s something to shoot for, is it not? Especially in the trying time in which we now live.

Before we examine the first of four dimensions of God’s love, let’s take note of a seeming paradox.

Where on the one hand, Paul prays that we ‘have the power to understand,’ as all God’s saints should, the love of God. But before he’s even finished the sentence, says, it is ‘too great to understand.’ Perhaps Paul had a little too much wine?

But after I thought about it for a while, I realized He is simply encouraging us to do the best we can to get our minds around it but at the same time wants to express that regardless of how deep we dive in our search for understanding we’ll never touch bottom; regardless of how much time we spend mining we’ll never hit the mother lode.

What Paul wants his readers to know is that although we human beings have the capacity to inquire into God’s love, our finite minds are not capable of fully grasping the enormity, the giganticness, the vastness of God’s love.

It’s interesting to me that Paul tries to describe God’s love using four dimensions. You and I know that the entire cosmos is defined by only three dimensions. The concept of a three-dimensional universe was originated by the Greek mathematician, Euclid, who lived and taught in the second century BC. We know that Paul received a Greek education at the University of Tarsus and was probably exposed to Euclidean geometry. If so, Paul is expressing that the love of God is so indescribable that it exceeded the scientific way the keenest minds at that time described the world in which we live.

So I asked myself, where do we begin to get our minds around this love of God? And I recalled something I learned in seminary: Whenever possible, start by allowing scripture to shed light on scripture.

But what scripture even begins to probe the depths of what Paul is describing? Wait a minute; what about the crown jewel of the Bible, John 3:16: “For God so loved the world” describes how wide God’s love is. “That He gave His only Son” the length that God went to show His love. “That whosoever believes in Him might not perish” indicates the depths to which reached to show His love. “But have everlasting life” the height to which God’s love raises us.

Today, let’s explore how ‘wide’ God’s love is . . . “For God so loved the world.”

There are three words in the Greek language John could have chosen here for world. ‘Ge’ is the word to describe our world and everything it is composed of; rock, soil, salt, and fresh water, oxygen, etc. 1 But John didn’t choose that word.

I would have thought he would have chosen ‘Oikoumene’ which refers to the inhabited, civilized world of humanity. 2 But he didn’t choose that word.

He chose a word that many of us are familiar with; “For God so loved the cosmos,” which to the Greeks meant the beautifully ordered creation; 3 “For God so loved the beautifully ordered creation.”

In other words, God’s love doesn’t stop with us who have accepted His Son by faith. Sure, it includes all those who have responded by faith to the claims of Christ, but also those who have not; Buddhists, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, agnostics, and yes, even atheists. In other words, God’s love encompasses all human beings.

But wait a minute, God’s love doesn’t stop there. It includes dogs and cats and lions and tigers and bears, and yes, even mice and rats and snakes and bats.

But wait a minute, His love doesn’t stop there. It includes all plant life, from the mighty redwood to the minuscule mustard seed.

But hey, wait a minute, John wants us to know God’s love doesn’t stop there. From the mountains to the prairie to the oceans white with foam.

But wait a dog-gone minute, God’s love doesn’t even stop there. It includes the moon, stars, the planets, our galaxy. It includes the entire vast cosmos.

All of His creation is near and dear to God’s heart. Indeed Paul writes the Romans:

With eager hope ALL creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay.

Romans 8:20-21

Oh how wide the love of God really is! It includes ALL of God’s handiwork, including ALL of God’s humanity.

Now in light of the global pandemic we are in the midst of, with about 150,000 deaths world-wide, some of us may be wondering what that says about the love of God. And to be sure, I am going to address that very thing next Sunday. In the meantime, I want to strongly encourage you to read the e-book I e-mailed you last week; Coronavirus and Christ by John Piper.

For now there are two applications I wish to bring to your attention; the first just might be a challenge, and the other, for sure, will be a comfort.

First, all people matter to God, therefore all people ought to matter to us. God’s love includes all people; therefore our love should include all people. His wide circle of love should stimulate us to widen our own circle to include anyone we sometimes tend to exclude.

I would encourage you to take a few minutes to think about that.

That well-respected British Bible commentator, William Barclay, writes:

Jerome said that the love of Christ reaches up to include the holy angels; that it reaches down even to include the evil spirits in hell; that in its length it covers the men who are striving on the upward way; and in its breadth it covers the men who are wandering away from Christ. … No man is outside the love of Christ. 4

No man is outside the love of God, and if we are to be like Christ (and we are) then no man or woman ought be outside our circle of love.

There is an old hymn, “The Love of God,” written by Frederick M. Lehman in 1917. Lehman was a California businessman who had recently lost everything. He took a job in Pasadena packing oranges and lemons into crates for shipment. One Sunday he was especially moved by a sermon on the love of God. Monday morning, he began jotting down lyrics while he was working. When he got home, he began putting together a melody on his piano. He quickly had two verses, but songs in those days were considered incomplete without at least three stanzas. Then he remembered a poem someone had given him years before.

At the bottom of the page after the poem, Lehman found this written: “These words were found written on a cell wall in a prison some 200 years ago. It is not known why the prisoner was incarcerated; neither is it known if the words were original or if he had heard them somewhere and had decided to put them in a place where he could be reminded of the greatness of God’s love – whatever the circumstances, he wrote them on the wall of his prison cell.”

Amazingly, the poem Lehman found fit the melody he had just written, and he had found his third verse!

Could we with ink the oceans fill,
And were the skies of parchment made.
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade.

To write the love of God above,
Would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky. 5

For God so loved the cosmos.

As for the comfort, in 2nd application, let me affirm that the cosmos includes you.

You who for some reason have convinced yourself that God could never love you because (you fill in the blank).

As Dr. Bob Smith and Bill Wilson first devised their 12 step program, they reached out to a Bill Dotson, a prominent Akron attorney and city councilman, who had bailed out of eight separate detox programs in six months. Strapped in a hospital bed because he had attacked two nurses, he had no choice but to listen to his two visitors. They shared their own stories of addiction and the hope that they discovered through belief in a higher power. As soon as they mentioned a higher power, Bill sadly shook his head. “No, no, it’s too late for me. I still believe in God all right, but I know mighty well that He doesn’t believe in me anymore.” 6

Some of us very well might feel the same way as Bill Dotson did, but listen up! John doesn’t say “For God so loved the beautiful or the great or influential or the religiously perfect people of the world. He said, “For God so loves the cosmos,” and that includes you and me.

A Bishop Watts tells about one day when he was a child in the house of a very old woman, who asked him to read a framed text hanging in her kitchen. It read “Thou God seest me.” It’s a quote from Genesis 16:13 spoken by Hagar after she encountered an angel.

Then the woman said to the boy, “When you are older, people will tell you that God is always watching you to see when you do wrong, in order to punish you. I do not want you to think of it in that way, I want you to remember all your life that God loves you so much He cannot take his eyes off you.” 7

No matter how many times we mess up, make mistakes, drop the ball; God’s love prevails.

One of my favorite sermon story books is Stories for the Heart, compiled by Alice Gray. In it is a story about a boy who learned a wonderful lesson from his mother:

A beautiful vase had belonged to his mother’s great grandmother and he knew he had to be very careful. The vase was one of his mother’s dearest treasures; she had told him so. The vase, placed high on the mantle, was just out of reach of little hands, but somehow he managed. He just wanted to see if the tiny rosebud border went all around the back. He didn’t realize that a boy’s five-year-old hands were sometimes clumsy, and not meant to hold delicate porcelain treasures. It shattered when it hit the floor, and he began to cry. That cry soon grew to a sobbing wail that grew louder and louder.

From the kitchen, his mother heard him crying and came running. Her footsteps hurried down the hall and came around the corner. She stopped, looked at him, and saw what he had done. Between his sobs, he could barely speak, “I broke the vase.”

And then his mother gave him a gift. With a look of relief, his mother said, ‘O thank heavens, I thought you were hurt.’ And then she held him tenderly until his sobbing stopped. She made it very clear: he was the treasure. Though now a grown man, it is still a gift he carries in His heart. 8

God will not let us go! By His love, He has handcuffed Himself to us. And He owns the only key! We need not win His love; we already have it. And since we can’t win it, we can’t lose it!

Max Lucado writes,

If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it.
If He had a wallet, your photo would be in it.
He sends you flowers every Spring and a sunrise very morning.
Whenever you want to talk, He’ll listen.
He can live anywhere in the universe, but He chose your heart.
What about the Christmas gift He sent you at Bethlehem,
Not to mention that Friday at Calvary.
Face it, He’s crazy about you.” 9

“Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love?” Paul asks the Romans.

Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, hungry, destitute, in danger, or even threatened with (coronavirus or unemployment or dwindling savings and/or retirement accounts) death? No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loves us.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today, nor our worries about tomorrow; not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below, indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord

Romans 8:35b-39

It was Friday morning and a young businessman decided to ask his boss for a raise. Before leaving for work he told his wife what he was going to do. All day long he was apprehensive but finally summoned the courage to ask and was delighted when the boss agreed to reward him. When he arrived home, the table was set with china and candles. Smelling the aroma of prime rib, he figured his secretary had called and tipped his wife off. Finding her in the kitchen, he shared his good news and they danced around before sitting down to enjoy the wonderful meal she prepared.

Next to his plate was an artistically lettered notecard that said, “Congratulations, I knew you’d get the raise. This dinner is to show you how very much I love you.”

After dinner, as he followed her into the kitchen, he noticed another card that fell out of her apron pocket. He picked it up and read it. It said, “Don’t worry about not getting the raise. This dinner is to show you how very much I love you.” 10

Total acceptance, total support, total love. She stood behind him no matter what.

And so will our God, who so “loves the cosmos that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him might not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16) and who wishes that we might “have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is” (Ephesians 3:18).

CLOSING PRAYER

Lord God, You loved this world so much, that you gave your one and only Son, that we might belong to You. Thank You for Your indescribable love. Thank you for accepting us and standing by us through thick and thin. May the love You have for us spur us on to love and good deeds on behalf of Christ and His Kingdom.

(From this point I encourage you to pray as you feel led).

CLOSING SONG

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

SCRIPTURAL BENEDICTION

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.

Ephesians 3:20-21

1 Vine. W. E. An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, Volume 2.
[Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company, © 1966]. Pages 12-13.

2 Vine. W. E. An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, Volume 4.
[Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company, © 1966]. Pages 233-234.

3 Ibid.

4 Barclay, William. The Daily Bible Study Series; the Letters of the Galatians and Ephesians. 2nd Edition. [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: The Westminster Press, © 1975]. Pages 132-133.

5 http://www.redeemerrr.org/blog/2016/10/26/anchored-song-stories-pt2-by-chris-mallonee

6 https://toledoaameetings.com/aa-3-the-man-in-the-bed-bill-dotson/

7 Sunday School Times.
http://www.moreillustrations.com/Illustrations/god’s%20love%203.html

8 Stories for the Heart. Compiled by Alice Gray. Heirloom (Ann Weems)
[Sisters, Oregon: Multnomah Publishers, © 1997, 2001]. Page 149.

9 Stories for the Heart. Compiled by Alice Gray. He’s Crazy About You. (Max Lucado) [Sisters, Oregon: Multnomah Publishers, © 1997, 2001]. Page 145.

10 Stories for the Kindred Heart. Compiled by Alice Gray. I Love You Anyway (Dr. Joe Harding) [Sisters, Oregon: Multnomah Publishers, © 2000]. Page 101.

Randy K'Meyer

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