Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Word from Pastor Stan

I have been thinking a great deal about the Folks at ICCS while I am in LA. One of the things I think about is friendships.

I really miss the friends at ICCS. There are great people there and there has been plenty of history with many of them but… There is something very special about ICCS friends.

Some of them have been with us for all the time ICCS has been. Some came to the very first Sunday and have been faithful ever since. Some of the people who started with us are no longer with us. John writes about some of them in 1 John 3:11.

11 This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.

My first reaction to that is “Of course we are to love one another. That is a no-brainer.” And, of course, I would be wrong to say that. That is not easy-in the flesh. We really want to have our way in which we are to love. There are some people—you know who they are—who are not very loving. The Lord does not mean them, does He?

You guessed it! He does and He even loves them AND He even loves the likes of you.

So end of discussion. We should love one another.

But that sounds like there is a way out. We “should” love. Does that mean we might not have to love certain people after all? No. We are to love them because the Lord has told us to. It is THE way we KNOW we have eternal life! If we do not love, then the Love of the Father is not in me. I cannot afford that position. I need His love so I guess I need to love.

Why not? It is the Way of the Cross. Not that it is a cross I need to bear. No, it is our joy to do so.

We are not to act out our lifestyle as Cain did. He was jealous of his brother so he killed him. We don’t like someone so we EXCLUDE them from fellowship and that is the same thing. We kill relationships all the time and God does not want that of His Children. We are to love.

John goes on and touches our hearts: 16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 19 This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in His presence 20 whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything.

Just a few things about these verses. ONE: John always hits the button right on the hot spot. Our actions and the way we use money affects our relationship with Him. If we say one thing and we do another, the Love of the Father is not in us. Again with the Love of the Father!

Verse 19 says how things should be IF we walk in the Truth. We know when we belong to His Truth. It is reflected in our hearts and in our actions. There is REST when it ‘works’. After all, there is no thing we can hide from our God. He knows it all anyway. Why try to hide-- like Cain?

TWO: We need to obey the Truth because … 23 And this is His command: to believe in the Name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as He commanded us. 24 Those who obey His commands live in Him, and He in them. And this is how we know that He lives in us: We know it by the Spirit He gave us.

Do you know this? Do you act this way? Are there areas of your life that do not match up with what He wants of us? I am not talking about works vs. faith. I am talking about walking in His Truth and letting that way of life show how much we love the Father.

So I miss those people because I have seen them walk this way. “…this is how we know that He lives in us: We know it by the Spirit He gave us.” This unity shows us (and the world) that we are in Him. United in Him.