Love Bears All Things

Week 1

Shannon Lovelady
September 23, 2018

I don’t deserve the grace and mercy I’ve been given, and I know the person that you need to extend that grace and mercy to, doesn’t deserve it either. But that’s what love does.
— Shannon Lovelady

We're starting a new series called “Love Does.” I love that song that was just sung. How many of you guys can relate? We know that song from way back. Some of you guys are right where that song comes from. How many of you can relate to just the thought of, there is no light except the moon, and the mountains are crumbling into the sea and my world is just falling apart. Anybody? Awesome. Three of you guys. Has anybody else ever had a slightly bad day? Anyone? Okay, good. I'll speak with you guys today then. The reality is that we need each other. You guys know that we talk a lot about how we belong to each other, and how we are the church, and how God did not leave us to do life alone. But the reality is, how do we do that? 

One of our core values is “Love does.” We believe what John talks about that. Don't just say you love each other, but do something. I want to clarify quickly, as we talk about this idea of rallying around each other and loving each other that I know I spoke on this idea of love several weeks ago in John 21, but I want to make sure that we're crystal clear for the next four weeks where we're going with this idea of love. You guys have heard me talk about before that the English language uses that word love for so many different things. I love my pizza, I love my dog, I love my wife, I love hot baths. It's just like, really? What does that word “love” even really mean? That makes no sense. 

What I love about the Greek language is its precision. Some of you guys have asked before. If you weren't here a few weeks ago, I explained these tattoos on my arms. This one is agape love and this one is phileo. Those are Greek words that are used for love and if you weren't here for that John 21 sermon, I encourage you to go back and listen to it. That sermon changed my life. That teaching changed my life many years ago as I understood what the Gospel really meant, who Jesus really is and, therefore, who I am in Christ. But I want us to be clear when we talk about this idea of “love does,” as we go to 1 Corinthians 13, those love verses that I know a lot of you guys probably had in your weddings, that we are talking about agape love.  Agape love is that all in, sacrificial, godly kind of love. So that's what we're going to be looking at over the next few weeks.

1 Corinthians 13 is our base that we're going to be going to. In this chapter Paul talks to the church at Corinth. Everywhere you read the word love, you need to understand that he's using the word “agape” love. He's not using “phileo,” which is a friendship kind of love, of a brotherly, sisterly, friendship kind of love. He's not using the word “storge” which is  a familial type of love. It's that natural love that a parent has for their kids. He's not using that kind of love. He's not using “eros,” which is where we get the word erotic from. He's not using romantic type of love. He is saying, when I talk about what love is, in 1 Corinthians 13, and in just about all of Paul's letters, he is talking about an all in agape, a sacrificial lay down your life, a give everything type of love. Are we clear on that?  ( Amen, from audience) All right, thank you. That’s awesome, one person. I love it when people say, “amen.” Can you just do that for me?  (Amen) Yeah, I know it's old school, but it makes me feel good. 

So in 1 Corinthians 13, Paul says this and I'm just going to read verses one through seven and then I'll show you where we're going to focus over the next few weeks together. 1 Corinthians 13:1, he says, “If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t…” What? Help me out church, “…but I didn't love others.” And again, he's not saying if I didn't feel good about others. If I didn't want to hug others. If I didn't want to go, “bless her heart” to others. But he saying if I didn't have an all in sacrificial, give up my life, kind of love for others, then, “I would be a noisy gong or a clanging symbol.” In other words, we go back to 1 John 3:18 where Paul says, “Don't just say you love each other, but actually show you love each other, or else you're just a noisy gong. You're just running your mouth.” Anybody again? I think if we have kids, we know exactly what Paul is talking about. He's saying, “Don't tell me you love me, show me you love me.” If we have a spouse, “Don’t tell me you love me. Show me with your actions.” Actions speak what? Yeah, we all know it. Right? You're just a noisy gong, if you don't really have a love for each other. “If I had the gifts of prophecy and if I understood all of God's secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains.” 

Paul's getting strong here. Paul's going, “Listen, man, if you had everything that you could ever desire on the planet,” like you're Superman, basically is what he's saying. “If you had the ability to change the world, but you don’t have…” What? Love others! I would be what? Come on, say it like you mean it. I would be what? Nothing. I would be nothing! He says, “If I gave everything I have to the poor.” Okay, Paul is covering all of his bases. He goes,”If you're the most generous person on the planet and you give everything you have to the poor and you even sacrifice your body.” In other words, he says, “If you even lay down your life,” he says, “I could boast about it.” But if I didn't what? “Love others, I've gained nothing.” Paul is getting straight to the heart here. He's going, "All these actions don't mean anything, if it's not rooted in Christ centered, self sacrificing agape love. 

Again, let's be crystal clear because as we move forward in this, all of this, our entire lives and not just this sermon series, I'm talking about our lives have to be rooted in the Gospel. We love the part of the Gospel that says, “Yes, I want to be born again.” but before you can be born again, what must you do? Church? Somebody, help me out. What do you have to do? You got to die before there can be a resurrection. There has to be a death. We don't like to think that way. Church, that's the Gospel. The Gospel is that we desperately want to be god of our own kingdom, but we have a God who loved us so much that He created us anyway, knowing that we would rebel, knowing that we would turn our backs on Him. He created us anyway and sent His Son who lived that perfect life that we're talking about that lays down its life and finds it's worth in the Father. He lived a sinless life, and He died a gruesome death on the cross and He took my sin, and took your sin. A death isn't enough. There first had to be a death, and then three days later, there was a resurrection and because of the resurrection, we go back to Galatians 2:20. It's now no longer I who live, but who? Christ, who lives in me. Why? Because I've sacrificed my life. I have crucified myself. 

My life is no longer about Shannon. My life is now about saying Shannon's desire, Shannon’s wants, Shannon's gifts, Shannon’s, go down the list. They mean nothing. Kill that, Shannon. Crucify that, Shannon. Why? So that Christ can live. Why? Because I'm selfish and I forget where real life comes from. See, I think it comes in being smart. I think real life comes in when people pat me on the back. I think real life comes in myself and my selfishness. When I have the gift of prophecy, or I can speak in the tongues of angels, or I'm the most generous person on the planet and then Paul comes along and he says, “That means nothing. It means nothing. It doesn't mean ‘squat,’ Shannon, without you dying to self so that Christ can live.” That's agape love. 

Then he goes on to explain what love looks like. He said, “Love is patient and kind.” Parents, let me read that one more time, “Love is patient and kind.” Parents? One more time. Love is what, parents? Patient. How many of you guys had to walk that out this morning already? How many guys failed this morning already? Come on, now. Let's be real, man. Thank God for His grace. His grace is sufficient. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. See, even though your outward failure says you're a failure, your identity, Christ, Him crucified and now alive says you're righteous, you're justified, you're holy, you're forgiven. Now walk in that, mom and dad. We’ll talk about what it means to walk in that. 

So, “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It's not irritable and it keeps no record of being wrong. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.” Verse seven is going to be where we camp out over the next four weeks together because Paul sums all this up and he says here's what love is all the time. He says, “Love never gives up.” Say that again. Love what? “Love never gives up. Love never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” 

Now you guys know I normally read from the New Living Translation and  the reason I read from that is because it breaks down these churchy words and it puts it in a sentence that you can understand. Actually many times it gives the definition of exactly what this is. I believe in this circumstance, the ESV actually does this better justice, because he continues to use this word “all.” Listen to what the ESV says, it says, “Love bears all things, love believes all things, love hopes all things, and love endures all things.” We're going to look at that first little one today, this idea of love bearing all things and what that means. We're going to camp out in Mark 2 in a little bit. If you want to mark that in your Bible, we're going to be in Mark 2:1-12 in a few minutes, but I'm going to pray and then we're going to get into that together.

 God, thank you for your love. Thank you for your self sacrificing love that we do not deserve. Thank you for laying down your life so that we could choose to lay down ours, and ultimately find true life. God, I pray this morning, above anything that takes place in this room, that we truly understand who you are, and that we truly understand because of who you are and this free gift of grace that we've been given, God, I pray that we would understand who we are. God, I pray that it would drive us to our knees in thankfulness, and that we would choose to love others the way that you have loved us, God. And that when we leave this place, whether it be in our homes, whether it be in the workplace, in our neighborhoods, whether it be in the car, God, that people would be drawn to you because of the way that we love. God, speak to us now. God, get me out of the way. You know my words are meaningless and useless without your Spirit, and so God, I pray that you would first convict my heart, and God then allow me to speak to your church. God, thank you for giving me the privilege and the honor to be able to stand up here. I don't deserve it. It's only because of your love that I do. In Jesus’ name. Amen. 

So, 1 John 4:8 before we get to exactly what love does, I think it's really important again, that we make it crystal clear what love is and what love looks like.  I'll start in verse seven. “Dear friends, let us continue to love one another.’ And again, this is that agape word for love. “Let us continue to love one another for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God.” But listen to verse eight, he says, “But anyone who does not love, does not know God.” And then what's he say next? “For God is love.” God is love. 

Write that down. Get out your pens, get out your phone, whatever you've got to do to take notes because this is super important, guys. We have to lay the foundation here. God is love. See, the reality is we live in a world today that wants to say that love is God. We do, and it sounds like it's the same thing on the surface. It sounds pretty on the surface, but it just is not. We live in a world that says love is God. Man, if we could all just get along, if we could all just, you know, peace, love, and happiness and smoke some herbs like the world would be great, right? We tried that. We'd been trying for a long time and the reality is love is God and God is love are not the same thing. They're not, and while it sounds pretty on the surface, we have to be crystal clear what scripture says, and this is going to be our truth. Do we believe this is the Word of God? Do you believe this is the Word of God? I mean, we have to have a foundation. If this isn't our foundation, let's go home and just try to figure it out on our own and see how that works. 

Scripture tells us that God is love and the reality is God has to be loved. Love cannot be God, like there has to be a standard. There has to be a definition. If not, we go back to all of our issues in the first place, when it comes to marriage, when it comes to our families, when it comes to about self seeking. If love is God and I get to define love in my life, you get to define love in your life and you know what happens. All of a sudden we got self seeking little mini gods that think they're god, defining love and you know what it turns into. It turns into a train wreck and again, that's what happens in our marriages. We've got two self seeking selfish individuals coming together and saying, “My marriage is about my kingdom. My marriage is about my kingdom, and as long as you serve my kingdom, then things will be great.” And you know what happens? Bam! We don't speak the love languages the right way and everything falls apart. 

I'll give you an example. Scripture teaches this again, and when you say it this way, you go, “Well, duh. That has to be the case.” Scripture teaches us that we were created in the image of God. Flop that around. God is created in the image of us. If I say it that way, we would all go, “No, absolutely not,” saying that cannot be true. But that's what we try to do with love. So again, we're going to use some deductive reasoning here to discover exactly what love is and what love looks like so we can move forward. So scripture teaches us that God is what? God is love. God is love. There is no substitute there. 

Then we flip back to John 14:9. Jesus is hanging out with his disciples for one, His ministry is coming to an end with them. He's trying to explain that to them, “Hey, I'm not going to be here much longer, but you guys have to abide in me.” And we get to Phillip who asks Him. He says in verse eight, he says, “Lord, show us the father and we will be satisfied. Lord, just show us who God is and we’ll be satisfied.” And Jesus replies this way. In John 14:9, He says, “Have I been with you all this time, Phillip? And yet you don't know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. So why are you asking me to show Him to you?” 

So again, God is what? God is love. God is the definition of love. We get to Jesus, who is God in the flesh, and so Jesus would say, we can make the inference here, that Jesus would say, “Listen, if you've seen me…” Who does He say you've seen? “You've seen the Father.” So Church, if we want to see what love looks like, if we want to see what love really does, agape love, we have to understand where the foundation is. It's not about doing a bunch of things. It's about understanding who we are in Christ. It's about truly understanding that Jesus sacrificed His life so that we could live. Now we do the same. Jesus would say, “If you've seen God, you've seen the Father. So who do we need to turn to to see what love does?  So we're going to look at Jesus.

We're going to look at Jesus in Mark 2. There's this incredible story that takes place. Jesus is pretty new into His ministry here. People are just now starting to see who He is. He has started to call His disciples to Him. As we look at this idea in 1 Corinthians 13:7 of this idea of love bearing all things, there's this incredible story that takes place in Mark 2. That word bear in the Greek language is a really cool word. It literally means “to put a roof over, to cover or to put a roof on.” Write that down. It matters a lot. To cover, to put a roof on. So in 1 Corinthians 13:7, Paul says, “All the time, love puts a roof over.” Somebody help me out. What's a roof do? Audience participation time. What's a roof do? It protects. It protects what's inside, right? A storm comes, we get holes in our roof and we go, “Shoot, we're not protected anymore.” We stick out buckets because we're not protected. So what do we do? We fix our roof. So, a roof protects what's underneath it. 

Now, in biblical times, a roof had really two purposes. In some places today, it still has two purposes, but in biblical times, as you'll see here in Mark 2, we have this story about this roof in just a second that I think is totally ironic. In Mark 2, you'll see that in biblical times, the roof actually had two purposes. One, it was to protect what was underneath, but number two, if you look at houses in Biblical times, it either had a stairwell or a ladder that would go up to the roof so that it could carry the burden that was placed upon it. 

So a roof in biblical times had two purposes. Number one, to protect what was underneath and number two, to carry what was placed upon it, because they would go up onto the roof as you'll see here in just a second and do things. So in Mark 2:1 here we go, it says, “When Jesus returned to Capernaum…” Capernaum, this is really cool. I get to go back to Israel here in a couple weeks. On my earlier trip, I got to actually go to Capernaum where Peter's mother-in-law lived. Actually just a few verses before this, Jesus healed Peter's mother in law in Capernaum. So people are freaking out going, “What in the world? He just healed Peter's mother in law.” So people are starting to show up and they want to hear what Jesus has to say. I think it's really funny actually, if you look in Mark 1. He healed Peter’s mother-in-law because she had a fever and you know what she does next? After that, she cooked some food. I think Jesus was hungry and He was just like, “I know you're sick, but make me some dinner." I'm just kidding. That is not biblical. I mean it is what happened, but that's not what you're supposed to take from that story. 

So, “Jesus and His disciples returned to Capernaum several days later. The news spread quickly that He was back home.” Why? Because they had seen what had happened just a few days before and they went to the surrounding towns. He was preaching, telling people about Himself and healing people. “The new spread quickly that He was back home and soon the house where He was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room even outside the door.” Man, underline that for a second. Circle that, do whatever you do in your Bible. Have you ever noticed everywhere Jesus went, people showed up and you’ve got to understand that Jesus hasn't done much at this point. He spent the first thirty years of His life  in relative obscurity. People really had no idea who this Jesus was. John had started talking about this guy. He had been baptized. John is in prison at this point, but Jesus’ public ministry is still relatively unknown. But every single place that Jesus went, He had just been in Capernaum and just been gone for a couple of days and came back. The second He came back, what happened? People showed up. 

Have you ever thought or asked yourself the question, “Why were people so drawn to Jesus?” I mean, seriously. Why? Why were prostitutes, and drunks, and even demon possessed people showing up? Why were people that weren’t even liked? Whenever Jesus showed up, it says that there was so little room that people couldn't even get into the house. And I mean fast forward, flip through all of the gospels and you'll see the exact same thing over, and over, and over again. Jesus is going “Find me a boat. I’ve got to get out of here. People will not leave me alone." Guys, here's what I want to ask you. Are people drawn to you in that same sort of way? Christian, I'm talking to you specifically right now. I mean, seriously, when you show up at home with your kids, Dad, do your kids want to be around you? Don't mishear me. I know kids are kids and they’ve got to go play Fortnight. That's not what I'm saying. But are your kids drawn to you? Do they want to have conversation with you or do they do everything in their power to avoid you? See, I believe with all my heart that Shannon crucified, but Christ alive in me is very, very attractive. 

Just yesterday, Roger, one of my sons, and I were going back and forth on text and he just randomly makes this comment. He said, “Thanks so much, Dad. You're awesome. I love you so much,” just totally unsolicited, and my response was, “You're welcome. You're right, and I love you too.” But honestly, you know where that has come from. That's grown in time as Shannon has daily crucified himself and allowed Christ to live and the way that I parent my child, and not exasperate my child. Scripture says, my kids are being drawn to Christ in me. Just something to think about. 

“So while He was preaching God's Word to them, four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. They couldn't bring him to Jesus because of the crowd. So they dug a hole through the roof above His head. Then they lowered the man and his mat right down in front of Jesus.” So you guys have got to see this scene. Number one, these four guys are showing agape kind of love. These four guys will say, “We will do whatever it takes. We've heard that Jesus has healed people. We've heard about Peter's mother-in-law. We've got to get our friend to Jesus. We will do whatever it takes. We will lay down our lives, we will be exhausted. We will look like fools to get our friend to Jesus.” So they try to get there. They can't get there, and so imagine the scene that they come up the steps to the top of this roof. Jesus is in a room like this. He's preaching just like this, and all of a sudden the roof starts to cave in. People start hearing a stomping and they're like, “What in the world is happening? What's going on?” And then next thing you know, you see pieces of roof falling in front of Jesus. 

He says, “Then they lowered the man on the mat, right down in front of Jesus.” I want you to see what Jesus did. Jesus didn’t get ticked off. Jesus didn't condemn him. Jesus didn't say, “Dude, I'm busy.” I mean, can you imagine if that happened this morning? Our security guys would love to have you out of here so quick. Can you imagine the scene and all of a sudden y’all would be like, and I’ve got to be honest, man, I'm not sure that I would respond the way Jesus responded. But I’ve also got to be honest, I'm not sure that people are that desperate to try to get to me because to be honest, more times than not, I don't respond the way Jesus would have responded. 

“So they lowered the mat right down in front of Jesus and seeing their faith again.” What kind of friend are you? Like is there love? would you really do that in your life? Do you really lay down your life on a consistent basis? Jesus says, “Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, ‘My child, your sins are forgiven.’” So love bears all things. Love protects what's underneath, man. Here's what you need to understand. Church, love forgives. Even when you don't feel like forgiving. I’ve got to be straight up with you. I don't think Jesus’ words were just cute trite sayings. I think when Jesus said, “Pluck out your eye, if it causes you to sin,” you know what, I think Jesus meant pluck out your eye if it causes you to sin. When Jesus said, “When somebody slaps you on the cheek…” you know what Jesus said? Y'all know what He said? We don't like to say it. We don't like to admit it. What did He say? He said, “Turn the other cheek.” I don't think Jesus meant “Okay, that'd be cute, turn the other cheek.” 

Why? Because agape love is self sacrificing, laying down your right to retaliate. If I can just be honest for a second man, don't mishear me. I believe that scripture teaches that we’ve got to love justice and seek mercy. I believe that with all of my heart, that more times than not, the church today is more concerned with justice than we are with the true Gospel. And here's what I mean by this. Hear me loud and clear. In Jesus’ time, it was law that if a Roman soldier told you, “Hey, you carry my bag. I'm tired. You, Jew, carry my bag. Why? Because you're a second rate citizen. You don't matter.” That was law. That was the way it was, and Jesus said, “Listen, if a Roman soldier, by law and as injustice as it is, comes to you and tells you to carry my bag.” You know what Jesus said to do? “Carry it two.” Carry it two! 

Why in the world would Jesus say that? “Jesus, that's not fair.” You're right, guys, hear me loud and clear. The Gospel is not fair because what fair is, is that I deserve death. I deserve condemnation. I deserve separation from God. You want to know why? Because I've chosen death. I've chosen condemnation and I've chosen separation from God and saying that my life is about me and my kingdom, my pleasure, my comfort, my will and my desires. Jesus comes along and He says,” Shannon, listen, I love you so much that I cannot allow you to continue to walk this out. You're missing the whole point. Your life was never about you.” I said that last week. “Your life was meant to find your everything in me and the Gospel is laying down your life and only when you lay down your life,” Jesus says, “only when you lose your life will you find it.” It's so counterintuitive to what we think life is about because I think if I can just get a raise or if my kids will just behave or if my wife would just respect me, or just go down the list of the if I, if I, if I am… God says, “Do you not understand? I love you so much that I gave you my Son so that you could have life, and have it abundantly.” 

So Jesus comes along and says, “Love bears all things. Love protects what's underneath it.” It says to forgive your wife even when your wife doesn't ask for forgiveness. Even when people don't deserve mercy, turn the other cheek, even when it hurts to turn the other cheek. Carry the Roman soldier’s bag two miles, and I believe if Jesus were to continue preaching, He would say to carry it even further. Why? So that people can see that you're different. So that people are drawn to you so that they can understand that this thing that they're chasing in life will never give them joy. It will never give them peace. It will never give them satisfaction. Jesus is the only one that can do that Why did we do that? Paul says in Colossians 3:13, because Christ first did it for us. 

Ephesians 5:21, I think I even referenced it last week, as it's leading into that marriage discussion. Paul actually says, “Further, submit to one another.” He's not talking about husband and wife and that circumstance. He goes on to say, “This is what it looks like in husbands and wives,” but he says, “this is what it looks like to be a child of God. This is what it looks like to be a Christian. This is what it looks like to find your worth in Jesus Christ and Christ alone, to die to self, so that Christ can live.” He says, “Christian, submit to…” Who? One another. Why? Because you deserve it? No, Paul doesn't say that at all. He says, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” So you lay down your life for your wife, for your kids, for your coworker, or your boss that can't stand you, for that person that gossips about you, for the neighbor that keeps letting their dog poop in your yard. Whatever the circumstance is, you lay down your life. Why? Out of reverence for Christ so that people will be drawn to Christ and ultimately as we lay down our life out of reverence for Christ, we find where true peace comes from. We find where true joy comes from. Christ and Him crucified. 

So then he goes on. He sees what they're saying, that they say, “This is blasphemy, and only God can forgive sins. Jesus knew immediately what they were thinking. That's so not fair. Like they could never pull one over on Jesus. They didn't even say anything and He asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts? Is it easier to say to the paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven, or stand up, pick up your mat and walk.’” So Jesus proves to you that He's the Son of Man and He has the authority on earth to forgive sins, and He turns to the paralyzed man and He says, “I'm going to prove to you that I am God in the flesh.” And He said, “Stand up. Pick up your mat and go home.” The man jumped up, grabbed his mat, and walked out through the stunned onlookers. They were all amazed. And what did they do? What did they do? They praised God. They praised God exclaiming. “We've never seen anything like this before.” 

See, your words, Jesus’ words of forgiveness, don't mean squat without action behind it. Have you ever thought about what that man would have done that day, if his friends had lowered him down on the mat and he lays there paralyzed, and Jesus says, “Thank you, guys, for all that hard work. Thank you for your faith. Your sins are forgiven now. Could y'all please move him now, so I can continue to preach?” No. Jesus moved by grace and mercy and compassion said, “”I have the power to do something about your circumstance. I have the power to support this weight that has been put upon me.” Love bears all things. 

Dads, I am begging you. I'm begging you. Quit talking talk. Love your wife the way Christ loved the church. Lead your family, lead your kids. Show them grace and mercy. Don't enable them. I didn't say that. Show them grace and mercy and truth in the way that you parent your kids so that they’ll be drawn to the Lord. Guys, God has given us so many gifts here at Southern Hills Christian Church. He doesn't just want us to talk about the love of Christ. He wants us to actually do something. Do something. Love does. It doesn’t just talk about it. 

So I got a question for you. What would your life look like if you truly understood what you've been given, you've been offered the one thing that you don't even necessarily know you need, that you didn't come to Jesus for, and it's His forgiveness. It's His grace, His mercy, and I'm telling you, it's here this morning and He's offering it to you today. 

You're sitting here thinking, “That sounds sweet.” I'm begging you, do something with it. We'll have folks over here. Come talk with people who will walk through it with you. We belong to each other. We will bear each other's burdens. We will walk through this together, but man, don't just sit there. Then I believe that some of you, because of this forgiveness you've been given, you need to turn and extend this to others. Maybe it's your wife, maybe it's a coworker, maybe it's somebody from the past. Whatever it might be, guys, you need to understand, I don't deserve the grace and mercy I've been given, and I know the person that you need to extend that grace and mercy to, doesn’t deserve it either, but that's what love does. Why? Because Christ did that for us. It's that simple. The freedom, the peace that passes all understanding that comes from that, is a beautiful, beautiful thing. 

Don't just talk about it. Don't just pray about it, today. Don't just think about it, today. I would encourage you, like Jesus, to do something with it. If you need to make a phone call, you need to write a letter, need to have a conversation with your wife in the car on the way home, or whatever it is that you need to do, take those steps and do something with it, but don't leave here without understanding and doing something with love bearing all things. 

God, thank you for your grace. Thank you for your mercy. God, I thank you that you have freely extended that grace and mercy to me, all of us in this room. I thank you that yet while I was still a sinner, you laid down your life so that I could live, so that I might have peace. God, you offer that to us and so God, we embrace that. We take that, but we don't want to be selfish with that. God, help us to walk that out. Help us to leave here different, so the world can know that they have that same offer extended to them. We love you. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.