Four Dimensions of God’s Love, Part II

Worship Service for April 26, 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 for sure when we will be able to resume corporate worship. But 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

Thanks to John and Amy for preparing last Friday’s Community Meal. And thanks to Jim and Gale Arthur, Alan and Vanna Robbins, and Larry Warner for being exceptional car hops . . . lol . . . as they served 59 meals, the most we have ever served!

Now because Psalm 126:2 says, “Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.”

And so that the people of Chippewa Lake will say of us, “The Lord has done great things for them” here are three quick funnies!

I stayed up all night to see where the sun went,
and then it dawned on me.

I’m reading a book about anti-gravity.
I just can’t put it down.

Those who get too big for their pants will be totally exposed in the end.

We received a card in the mail I would like to read:

The food pantry is vital at this time. Thank you so much for your donations of food items plus $295. Thank you CrossPointe for caring.

Chippewa Church at the Lake

During last Sunday’s message, I mentioned in passing that today I was going to address what it says about God’s love in light of the coronavirus pandemic. And then realized when I reviewed that message later that day, that I actually answered that question. Or, I should say, the Apostle Paul did in his letter to the Romans:

Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, hungry, destitute, in danger, or threatened with coronavirus or unemployment or dwindling savings and/or retirement accounts) or even 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.

Romans 8:35b-38a

God’s love is not diminished one iota because of the coronavirus, or anything else that might threaten to undo us. The Love of God will hold up always and forever for “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

And so we will continue today with second of a four part mini-series on the love of God.

With that in mind, allow me to invite you to worship with a beautiful verse from the prophecy of Jeremiah:

CALL TO WORSHIP

Long ago the Lord said to Israel: “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.”

Jeremiah 31:3

SONGS OF WORSHIP AND PRAISE

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

Shout Your Fame

Bedingfield, Natasha/Galanti, Jonas Myrin/Nevison, Paul

Some say You’re just a good man,
Some say You are kind.
Some say You are in the grave,
But I say You’re alive.

Some say You’re just a prophet,
Some say You were wise.
Some say You were just a man.
But I say You are God.
You are my God.

I will shout Your fame to all the earth,
I will lift Your name on high.
And the world will know
Your greatness,
You are my God,
I will shout Your fame.

I know You’re the Messiah,
You gave Your life for me.
And I know You’re the only way
Jesus You are God,
You are my God.

I will shout Your fame to all the earth,
I will lift Your name on high.
And the world will know Your greatness,
You are my God, Jesus I will

Shout Your fame to all the earth
I will lift Your name on high
I will show the world Your goodness
As I live a life that shouts Your fame
As I live a life that shouts Your fame

Jesus I decide to live, live a life that
Shouts Your fame…shout Your fame
Jesus I decide to live, live a life that
Shouts Your fame…shout Your fame
Jesus I decide to live, live a life that
Shouts Your fame…shout Your fame
Jesus I decide to live, live a life that
Shouts Your fame…shout Your fame

Shout Your fame. Shout Your fame.
Shout Your fame. Shout Your fame.

©2003 Hillsong Publishing (admin in the US and Canada by Integrity’s Hosanna! Music).
This arrangement ©2008 Hillsong Publishing (admin. in the US and Canada by
Integrity’s Hosanna! Music).
CCLI License No. 1843349

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

Lemmel, Helen H.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth
Will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.

©Public Domain
CCLI License No. 1843349

OPENING PRAYER

O Risen Lord Jesus, because of Your great and everlasting love, help us to live the kind of lives that shouts Your fame wherever we go and with whomever we encounter and as we turn our eyes upon Jesus now. Amen.

THE GIVING OF THE LORD’S OFFERING

(see announcement above)

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

THE MORNING PRAYER

Alan Robbins

Please join me in prayer.

Dear Lord, our Heavenly Father.

As your loyal and faithful servants of Cross Pointe Community Church

And as the song sang we think about your love.
We think about your Goodness.

We pray about the ultimate love of Jesus Christ, by his sacrifice on the
Cross and the Grace he has given to us all.

We pray for the comfort that God’s love gives us,
as we work our way through these troubling times.

Lord we know you will listen and guide us as we want our prayers to reach out and to hold….. to give help….. and to give Love to those that are grieving, for those that are ill, for those that are hurting in any way and prayers for our own needs.

We pray for our church, we pray for our members, we pray for our community, we pray for our friends, we pray for leaders to help us do the right thing and to give God’s Glory and Grace to our community and the world in which we live.

For these things we pray. 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)

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 (NLT)

THE MESSAGE

Randy K’Meyer

“Four Dimensions of God’s Love, Part II”

A mother was concerned about her first grade son, Timmy, walking to school.

He didn’t want his mother to walk with him. She wanted to give him the feeling that he had some independence. Her neighbor learned about the mother’s dilemma and offered to follow the boy. The next, the neighbor and her little girl set out following behind Timmy as he walked to school with another neighbor boy he knew. After a week, Timmy’s friend asked, “Do you know that lady following?”

“Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s Shirley Goodnest and her daughter Marcy.”

“Who the heck is she and why is she following us?”

“Every night, my mom makes me say the 23rd Psalm with my prayers and near the end it says, ‘Shirley Goodnest and Marcy shall follow me all the days of my life,’ so I guess I’ll just have to get used to it!”

Surely the goodness and lovingkindness of God’s love will follow us all the days of our lives, so we might as well get used to it.

In fact, Paul prayed that we might comprehend four dimensions of God’s love: how wide, how long, how deep and how high the love of God is.

Last week we assigned those four dimensions to one of the four phrases contained in 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.

Last Sunday, How wide is God’s love? “For God so loved the cosmos” the beautifully ordered creation. That includes all humanity, and that includes you and I.

Today, we ask, ‘How long is God’s love?” What is the length to which God goes to love all creation? “That He gave His only Son.” (John 3:16).

The length of God’s love should take into account that God had this in mind from the beginning.

Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ.

Ephesians 1:4

Dr. David Lloyd Jones, in his wonderful set of commentaries on Ephesians writes:

Christ’s love to us did not suddenly come into being, it was there before the beginning of time. Hence we read in the Book of Revelation that our names “were written in the Lamb’s Book of Life from the foundation of the word” (Revelation 13:8. 17:8). That is, to me, one of the most staggering things of all, that I was known by Christ in eternity. I, in particular, and every one of us who belong to Him, in particular. We were known to Him and our names were written in His book. What a dignity it adds to human life, and to our existence in this world, to know that He has set His heart upon us, that His affection rested upon us, even in eternity! That is the beginning; if such a term is possible, of the length of His love toward us. Before time! 1

We opened this morning with Jeremiah 31:3, the first half of which says, “I have loved you, My people, with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3a); a word that implies from the beginning, and the permanent nature of God’s love. His is not a fickle sort of here today, gone tomorrow, human kind of love.

A New York Times study is one of the latest to state what’s been known in the scientific and psychological world for at least the last 50 years. That after people are smitten by the love bug and begin to experience infatuation, with all its feelings of joy and giddiness and passion, they have somewhere between a year and two years before that aspect of what we call love sadly fades away.

Christian author Gary Thomas illustrates this by using the image of an hourglass.

The moment you become smitten by someone—the second you find yourself deeply ‘in love’ is the moment that hourglass gets turned over. There is enough sand in that hourglass, on average, to last you about 12 to 18 months.4

The point is our human brains are not wired to maintain a life-long infatuation.

But God says His joy over his people is like a bridegroom for his bride (Isaiah 62:5). He is talking about honeymoon excitement and honeymoon enthusiasm. He is trying to get into our hearts what He means when He says He rejoices over us with all His heart.

As I mentioned last week, Max Lucado says, “Face it, God’s crazy about you.”3

And, with God the honeymoon never ends; it is everlasting!

Part of the length of God’s love can be measured by it’s from the beginning, everlasting nature.

Next, the length of God’s love needs to take into consideration the truth
that Jesus went to great lengths to indicate how much God loves us.

I think it’s important here that we recall what Paul wrote the Philippians in 2:6-11:

“Though he was God”

Christ was God. ‘In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God
and the Word was God’ (John 1:1). Jesus said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30)

“He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.”

Even though divinity rightly belonged to the Christ, He did not insist on maintaining His royal status.

“Instead, He gave up His divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.

Try to imagine it; if someday human beings figure out how to create life; let’s say you learn how to make a worm and the worm you created was in danger of death. Could you, would you become a worm so you could help it? That’s what God did for you and I. The One who created human beings lowered Himself to become one of us.

I remember going to visit my grandson Noah when he was about three years old. When I got there he was standing up in his playpen crying crocodile tears.

When he spotted me, his face lit up and his hands reached out for help. What grandfather could resist? So I walked over and reached down to lift Noah out of captivity.

Just then, however, “Law and Order” stepped into the room and spoke sternly, “Noah, you know better; you’re being punished; leave him right there dad,” and Jennifer went back onto the kitchen.

I didn’t know what to do. Noah’s tears and outstretched hands were tugging at my heart, but I didn’t want to interfere with a mother’s discipline either. I couldn’t take being in the same room and not being able to do anything, but I couldn’t leave Noah without feeling like a traitor. There was only one solution: I couldn’t take Noah out of his playpen, so I climbed in with him.

That’s the beginning of the beautiful picture of what Jesus did for us; He climbed in the crib with us. And not only did He become one of us, Paul continues,

“When He appeared in human form, He humbled Himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.”

Think of it; in the Book of Revelation, Jesus claims, “I am the first, the last and the living One” (1:17-18a). And yet the Book of Acts says we “killed the author of life” (3:15).

Why did God allow this atrocity?

So that we could be reunited with God the Father.

His plan from the beginning was a plan of reunification.

We were created to be with God, to live with God, to receive all of the blessings of God; including life forever.

But Adam and Eve chose to do what God told them not to. And as a result of that original sin, God and Adam had to part ways. And God placed an angel to guard the entrance to the Garden of Eden, the garden of God’s presence. And God told Adam and Eve, “You were made from dust, and to dust you will return” (Genesis 3:19).

That intimate relationship enjoyed by God and His creation was over.

But God had a plan. It was God’s desire to bring about a reunification between Himself and His creation. And the key to the reunification was the forgiveness of sin.

In the Old Testament God set up the system of sacrificing an animal for the forgiveness of sin; whereby the animal died in your place, as your substitute.

The New Testament says,

The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship.

Hebrews 10:1

But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins,
good for all time.

Hebrews 10:12

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son” to be our substitute.

God gave Jesus and Jesus gives us a choice. We can pay the penalty for our sin, we can die for our sin if we choose to. Or we can choose to embrace Jesus who died in our place!

When we choose Him as our substitute, and not until we do, we are forgiven and we are reunited in the Spirit with God the Father.

When He appeared in human form, He humbled Himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

Philippians 2:7b-8

Now think back to our illustration when I asked you if you be willing to become a worm in order to help. Now I am asking you to consider not only becoming a worm but dying in that worm’s place so it could live!

That’s what God in Christ has done for us!

Is any wonder that Paul concludes with:

Therefore, God elevated Him to the place of highest honor and gave Him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:9-11

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.

So why did God go to such great lengths for you and I? Because He loves us and wants above all other things to bring us back to Himself.

With unfailing love I have drawn you to Myself.

Jeremiah 31:3b

When you think about it that’s our greatest need. Our greatest need isn’t for immunity from the coronavirus! Our greatest need is for God in our lives!

To think about His love, that God in Christ set aside His exalted place as Lord of the Universe and came all the way from heaven to earth to take on human flesh for the express purpose of suffering and dying so that we who ran away from Him in the first place, could be reunited with Him and live with God forever and ever should not only cause all of us to wonder at this everlasting, magnificent love but to also unreservedly bind ourselves to Him in love and devotion.

I have been attempting to help us think Biblically about God’s love as the Apostle prayed we should; while at the same time realizing that try as we may we’ll never fully appreciate the length to which God went to get us together with Him.

I want to close with a human illustration of the length someone went to get two people together in hopes it will help us connect to the length of God’s love.

In 1984, as Arnold Fine, senior editor of the Jewish Press, walked home from work in New York City, he stumbled upon a red-laced wallet someone had lost. He looked inside for some info to contact the owner, but the wallet only contained 3 dollars and a crumpled letter that looked as though it had been in the wallet for years. The envelope was badly worn and the only thing legible was the return address. So he opened the letter hoping and saw it was written in 1924, 60 years earlier. It was written in a beautiful feminine handwriting on powder blue stationary with a little flower in the upper left-hand corner. It was a “Dear John” letter written to a Michael, who although she loved him dearly she could no longer see him because her mother forbade it. The letter was signed by, ‘Hannah.’

Arnold wished he could give it back to its owner, but he didn’t have much to go on. When he told his wife his desire, she advised him to not even try. But, Arnold couldn’t, or wouldn’t let it go without at least trying.

He called the phone company to see if they could find a number for the return address. Sure enough, there was a number but the operator could not give it out. “Please, isn’t there anything you can do?” Arnold implored. When he explained, she offered to call and ask if they wanted to be connected. A few minutes later a woman came on the line, agreed to talk to Arnold who asked if anyone lived there who was named Hannah.

“No,” but said, “we bought this house from a couple who had a daughter named Hannah, but that was 30 years ago.”

“Do you know where that family could be located now?”

“I remember that Hannah had to place her mother in a nursing home years ago,” and she gave Arnold the name of that nursing home.

They told him that the lady had passed away a few years before, but that they still had a last known phone number for Hannah. The woman who answered that number said that Hannah herself was now living in a nursing home.

About this time, Arnold began to think to himself that he was wasting his time. Why was he making such a big deal out of finding the owner of a wallet that had only 3 bucks and a letter that was 60 years old?

Nevertheless, a little voice inside spurred him on and he placed the call to the nursing home where Hannah was supposed to be living. “Yes,” the man answered, “Hannah is staying with us.”

Even though it was already past 10, Arnold asked if he could come by to see her. “If you want to take a chance, she might still be in the day room watching TV.”

Arnold drove to the nursing home where he was met at the door by a guard and a night nurse, who took him to the 3rd floor day room and introduced him to Hannah. She was an elegant, silver-haired lady with a warm smile and a twinkle in her eye. He told her about finding the red-laced wallet and showed her the letter. The instant she saw the powder blue envelope with the flower in the corner, she took a deep breath, and whispered, “Michael.”

She looked away for a moment deep in thought, and then said softly, “I loved him very much, but I was only 16 and my mother felt I was too young. He was so handsome. He looked like Sean Connery. If you should ever find him, tell him that I think of him often.” “And,” she hesitated for a moment, “tell him I still love him.” Then she told Arnold she never married because no one ever matched up to Michael.

Arnold thanked Hannah and said good-bye. He took the elevator down to the first floor where he ran into the guard who asked him if Hannah had been a help to him. She told me who owned the wallet, “I’ll begin to try and find him tomorrow.”

But when the guard saw the wallet with the red lacing, his eyes got big and he said, “Hey, that’s Mr. Goldstein’s wallet; I’d know it anywhere. I’ve found it in the hall at least a dozen times.”

“Michael Goldstein?” Arnold asked, as his hand began to shake.

“He’s one of the old-timers on the 8th floor. That’s Mike’s wallet all right;
he must have lost it on one of his walks.”

Arnold thanked the guard and quickly ran back to find the nurse, and together they went up this time to the 8th floor as he prayed that Michael would still be up. The nurse said, “I’ll bet he’s still in the day room. He loves to read.”

They walked in to the day room and there he was reading a book. The nurse went over and asked him if he lost his wallet. He looked up in surprise, put his hand in his back pocket and said, “It is missing.”

“This kind gentleman found a wallet and wondered if it’s yours.”

Arnold handed Michael the wallet and the second he saw it, he smiled with relief, “Yes, that’s my wallet. I must have dropped this afternoon.”

Arnold said, “I have something to confess to you. I read the letter in hopes of finding the owner.”

The smile on Michael’s face suddenly disappeared. “You read the letter?”

“Not only did I read it, I think I know where Hannah is.”

Michael suddenly grew pale; “You know where Hannah is? Please tell me. I would like to call her tomorrow. You know something mister? I was so in love with that girl that when that letter came, my life literally ended. I never married. I guess I have always loved her.”

“Mr. Goldstein, come with me.” They took the elevator down to the 3rd floor. The halls were dark; only a couple of night-lights lit their way to the day room where Hannah sat still watching TV. The nurse walked over; “Hannah, do you know this man?”

She adjusted her glasses, looked for a moment, but didn’t say a word.

Michael said softly, “Hannah, its Michael, do you remember me?”

“Michael, I don’t believe it! Michael, it’s you!”

He walked over and Michael and Hannah embraced for the first time in 60 years.

Three weeks later, Arnold got a call from the nursing home “Can you come to Michael and Hannah’s wedding?” It was beautiful wedding with all the people of the nursing home dressed up to join in the celebration. Hannah wore a powder blue dress as she and Michael rejoined their hands and hearts together in a love that had never died. As their best man, Arnold, stood at their side. 4

That’s a human story about the length that one person, Arnold Fine, went in order to help two people rediscover their love. But that doesn’t hold a candle to the length that our God went in order for you and I to rekindle a love relationship with Him.

“Your everlasting love is reaching, reaching, reaching out to me; reaching out to me, oh the wonder of your everlasting love is reaching out to me.”

Surely the goodness and lovingkindness of God’s love will follow us all the days of our lives, so we might as well get used to it. Amen.

CLOSING PRAYER

(I encourage you to pray as you feel led).

CLOSING SONG

Wonderful, Merciful Savior

Rodgers, Dawn/Wyse, Eric

Wonderful, merciful Savior,
Precious Redeemer and Friend.
Who would have thought that a Lamb could
Rescue the souls of men?
Oh, You rescue the souls of men.

Counselor, Comforter, Keeper,
Spirit, we long to embrace.
You offer hope when our hearts have hopelessly lost the way.
Oh, we hopelessly lost the way.

You are the One that we praise,
You are the One we adore.
You give the healing and grace
Our hearts always hunger for.
Oh, our hearts always hunger for.

Almighty, infinite Father,
Faithfully loving Your own.
Here in our weakness You find us
Falling before Your throne.
Oh, we’re falling before Your throne.

You are the One that we praise,
You are the One we adore.
You give the healing and grace
Our hearts always hunger for.
Oh, our hearts always hunger for.

You are the One that we praise,
You are the One we adore.
You give the healing and grace
Our hearts always hunger for.
Oh, our hearts always hunger for.

©1989 Word Music, Inc. (a div. of Word Music Group, Inc.)
Dayspring Music, Inc. (a div. of Word Music Group, Inc.)
CCLI License No. 1843349

SCRIPTURAL BENEDICTION

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.

2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

1 Lloyd-Jones, David Martyn. The Unsearchable Riches of Christ; an Exposition of Ephesians 3. [Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, © 1979]. Pages 222-223.

2 Matt Woodley, managing editor, PreachingToday.com; sources: The New York Times, “New Love: A Short Shelf-Life,” Sonja Lyubomirsky (12-1-12); Gary Thomas, Sacred Search (David C. Cook, 2013), pp. 29-30
https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2013/may/5052713.html

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

4 Stories for the Kindred Heart. Compiled by Alice Gray. The Wallet (Arnold Fine) [Sisters, Oregon: Multnomah Publishers, © 2000] Page 89

Randy K'Meyer

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