Monday, March 4, 2024

Sermon and Announcements March 3, 2024


March 3, 2024

Lord Teach Us To Love

Mark 12:29 – 31

In four weeks, we will celebrate Easter. This was the moment God

proved, even though he did not have to, how much he loved all the

people--past, present and future. We will begin looking in depth at all

the events leading up to Jesus’ death and resurrection next Sunday.

Before we look at those events again, I would like for us to look today

at what Godly love really is like. Is it flowing through out lives as it

should be? If not, why? How can we get it and day in and day out put it

into practice? One of the best ways to know if we have God’s love

flowing though us on a consistent basis is our ability to forgive. Jesus

taught his disciples how to pray as written in Matthew 6. One of the

points in the prayer Jesus taught his disciples was to ask God to forgive

us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors. Jesus then bluntly

states in verses 14 and 15 of chapter 6, “For if you forgive man when

they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if

you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your


So, as we consider the verses, we first read which stated what the

greatest commandment was, we saw that the love of God and the love

for our neighbor covers all of the other commandments. Now as we

consider these two verses about forgiveness, we can see if we do not

have the ability to forgive one another, we really don’t love God or our


When Cathy and I were gone we spent a total of around 20 hours in

planes. Several years ago, I bought the book, Mere Christianity by

C.S. Lewis. I had started on it some time ago but had not completed it.

So I took it with me hoping to complete it. I wish reading was

something that came naturally to me but it does not. Anyway, I began

reading this book again and found several points interesting that

C. S. Lewis was making. Quick quiz--What book is C.S. Lewis probably

best known for? Chronicles of Narnia. I do not know how many of you

have read Mere Christianity or any of the other books C.S. Lewis has

written but if you are familiar with him, you already know in early

adulthood he was an atheist. C.S. Lewis felt God’s presence in ways

around him he could not keep on denying and he ultimately accepted

Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior from that time on and all his books

had a Christian theme to them.

Mere Christianity reflects the journey he has been on as a Christian and

tells of his observations about Christianity, Christians and the world.

Some of you may know C.S. Lewis is from Great Britian. Early in the

chapter entitled “Forgiveness” he makes this statement. “Everyone says

forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive, as we

had during the war.” Those of you who know history know Germany

bombed London day after day, killing hundreds of thousands and C.S.

Lewis recognized God is compelling His people to find forgiveness in

their hearts for everyone, even those who sought to kill you. How easy

is that to do?

C.S. Lewis went on to tell of a news story where someone was accused

of doing terrible things. It was a person easy to dislike, easy to hate. But

it turned out the person had not done the things he was accused of

doing. He goes on to say how disappointed many were that the person

had not done the things he was accused of. Because they had created

such dislike, they wanted the person to be punished. He goes on to

suggest the true evil person may be the one who still holds the grudge.

Can that at times happen to anyone of us? What C.S. Lewis writes in

this chapter is consistent with what the Bible says. We are to hate evil,

this is true. We must condemn sin when it is in direct contradiction to

God and His word. However, we must always promote love in all

circumstances. While many today do not believe in the death penalty,

C.S. Lewis said this as he wrapped up the chapter on forgiveness. “We

may kill, if necessary, but we must not hate and enjoy hating. We may

punish, if necessary, but we must not enjoy it.” He goes on to say,

“Even while we kill and punish, we must try to feel about the enemy as

we feel about ourselves to wish that he were not bad, to hope that he

may, in this world or another be cured; in fact, to wish his good.” That

is what is meant in the Bible by loving him, wishing his good, not feeling

fond of him nor saying he is nice when he is not. I admit that this means

loving people who have nothing lovable about that.”

Let’s face it, some people are not easy to love. Some are not easy to

forgive, but Jesus made it clear if we expect God to forgive us, we must

be willing to forgive. If we expect God’s love and mercy, we must be

wiling to show love and mercy to one another. Every night on the news

you can hear stories of evil done to someone across this country. How

often do we take a minute to pray for the victims and their families?

How often do we pray for those who have committed those evil

crimes? Jesus not only commanded us to love the Lord our God and

love our neighbor as ourselves, he also said in Matthew 5:44-45, “But I

tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that

you may be the sons and daughters of your Father in heaven. The

sermon title is “Lord Teach Us to Love”. C.S. Lewis identifies how

difficult it can be to love as Christ loves us. Without the Holy Spirit’s

help, it is impossible to love as God loves us. May we admit to our

prejudices and our shortcomings and honestly ask God to teach us to

love as he loves us.

Pastor Larry


Sunday School 9:00

Tuesday 9:30 Bible Study

March 10—Commissions and Board meetings after worship

March 20—12:00 Women’s Fellowship luncheon and

meeting—meal provided, in the Fellowship Hall

--Newsletters are available in the back.

--Please sign up to give a children’s message during worship

and/or children’s story lesson in the nursery during the sermon.

We need your help.

Pastor Larry Traxler- (217) 454-2362

Donation Box for March: Camp Emmanuel

First Sundays: Food Bank donations

Keep in Your Prayers

Carole McClarey; Dave White; Louis & Carol Sulwer; Ava; Nora

Hanaver; Jan Bower; Larry Traxler; Randy and Michelle West; Mike

Gentry; Eli Brunner; Nancy Fansler; Doug Larrick; Ron & Kathleen

Petersen; Debbie Leibrock; Dorthea Wood; Tina Wilhelm; Mike and

Carol Seidenstricker; Adiline Young; Kim Lehmann; Mayo & Darlene

Hanaver; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests;

victims of disasters; victims of shootings; shut-ins; the Nigerian

church; Haitian Brethren; Ukraine; Israel and Hamas war

Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers

District Prayer Calendar: Pray for the York Center congregation and

for Children’s Disaster Services.

No comments:

Post a Comment