Today’s message was presented by guest speaker, Jeff Stone, and is based on 1 Timothy 1:3-11. Jeff is a life-long member of Lake Harbor. He has been active in Ray Post’s adult Sunday School class for many years. Jeff became a certified lay speaker about nine years ago. Below is an abbreviated version of his message.
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A lawyer wandered through a certain place with a down look.
“Why are you down?” another man asked.
“Everything is at peace. There is love and freedom. I’m not needed,” replied the lawyer.
“My friend you are in heaven and the only law is love.”
In Jesus’ day the law was used by the Pharisees, but Jesus spoke openly about two laws, “Love God” and “Love your neighbor.” These are the laws of the prophet that should be written on our heart.
Many in the early church spoke of a need to be circumcised, to be saved, or to follow certain rules and ritual. That is one way to look at Paul’s message to Timothy as the law was sometimes used as another gospel. They led people away from the Gospel as preached by Jesus.
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There is a need for law to avoid chaos, but we are commanded to worship God (Exodus 20). “One God.” “No graven images.”
Law is good, if used for the good of love. The fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth Commandments show love of neighbors. If you love, then you have kept the commandments. But if you put the law above love, you are idolizing the law.
Love is good, but must be careful not to put love above God, who created it. A balance is needed to keep it straight.
Those people were lead to believe in rituals and laws, i.e. traditions, such as circumcision, not healing on the Sabbath, no touching a dead body, and according to the Pharisees, no following Jesus. I wonder if we are that different today. Do we make laws and rules for loving and accepting our neighbors. Or do we make laws keeping them out? I believe we need to be careful not to worship law or love, but use them for the good of all.
God loves us all. Jesus did miracles to show who God was. The leaders of Israel could not accept that.
Do we keep people out because we will not be comfortable sitting next to someone who acts and thinks differently than someone else? Doesn’t our mission statement say, “Welcoming all. Empowered by Christ. Sent forth to serve.”?
We cannot forget the basic golden rule, “Do unto others like you want them to do to you.” Show love, kindness, and respect. That is the Gospel, the true Gospel. Law is needed, but so is love.
In conclusion, we must always be ready to go out of our comfort zone; love and accept; and agree to disagree so that love can be reflected off us and people will know Him by our love.