Saturday, July 16, 2011

It Ain't Over Yet

Intro.: Yogi Berra used to say, “It ain't over till its over.”

  1. or, “It ain't over till the fat lady sings.”

  2. or “Don't count your chickens till they're hatched.

Trans: John is coming to the end of his letter.

  1. He has said a lot.

  2. But now he is ready to close the book.

  3. His work is finished – now he does two things.

  4. The first, the topic of today's message, is to restate the most important lesson for his listeners.

  5. The second, which I will postpone for another day, is to review many of the topics which he has discussed.

Read: I John 5:11-12


T.S. In I John 5:11-12 John restates the most important lesson that his audience is to draw from this letter

  1. God gave us eternal life

    1. There are many ways to say, “I love you”

    2. Gary Chapman has written a fairly well-known book entitled, “The 5 Love Languages”. In that book he identifies five ways that we say and hear “I love you.”i:

      1. Words of affirmation – Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important—hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten.

      2. Quality Time - In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says, “I love you,” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there—with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby—makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful.

      3. Receiving Gifts - Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous—so would the absence of everyday gestures.

      4. Acts of Service - Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter.

      5. Physical Touch - This language isn’t all about the bedroom. A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face—they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive.

    3. Chapman goes on to say, “There are really two questions each of us has to ask”:

      1. How do I best hear “I love you.” ? - now I don't know your answer, but I know mine, “receiving gifts”

      2. How does the one I want to say “I love you” to best hear “I love you”? We tend to use our prefered method to communicate to others. For example, I will buy Sandra flowers, I will buy you knick-knacks – why, because that is how I hear “I love you.” But if I really want to tell Sandra “I love you”, I need to know how she will best hear it. And I don't always do that as well as I should.

    4. Now the reason I said all this is to tell you, that the best way for someone to communicate to me their love is through gifts – for example the Payday candy bar Sandra brought home on Friday afternoon.

    5. And I think it is why I appreciate God's gift that allows me to experience eternal life.

  2. This life is in his son

    1. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

    2. God's gift was His Son.

    3. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

    4. There is no other way – and God gave us that way. It might be a bit harder for some to hear the message – but it is important to realize that God was showing His love when he sent His Son. It was not arbitrary, it was not unplanned, it was not a random act of kindness (as some say); but it was an act of love. It was God saying, “I love you so much that I will provide a way for you live eternally in my presence.”

  3. Whoever has the Son, has life;

  4. whoever does not have the Son of God, does not have life.

(Ill.) Anne Graham Lotz, daughter of evangelist Billy Graham and his wife, Ruth, was asked if those who died in the explosions of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, but had not confessed Christ as Savior would go to heaven. She replied:

In my little book Heaven: My Father’s House, I tell about people who want to visit my father’s home in western North Carolina. They drive up the long drive and come to the gate. They knock on the gate and say, “Billy Graham, let us in. We’ve read your books, we’ve watched you on TV, we’ve written to you, and we want to come to your house.”

And my father says, “Depart from me, I don’t know you. You’re not a member of my family, and you’ve not made any arrangements to come.”

But when I drive up that same driveway and knock on the gate, I say, “Daddy, this is Anne, and I’ve come home.” The gate is thrown right open, and I go inside, because I’m the father’s child.

Because heaven is God’s house, he has the right to decide who comes in and who stays out. He says he will welcome anyone inside his home, but they have to be born again into his family through faith in Jesus Christ.

That gives us a wonderful hope that when the time comes—whether death comes as a thief in the night, as it did for those in the [World Trade Center] towers, or as an angel of mercy after a long illness—we can be assured that at the end of the journey, we’ll step right into our Father’s arms. We’ll be welcomed there because we are our Father’s children.ii

    1. One of the reasons it is so difficult to share our faith is that we don't like this big thick line that separates the believer from the unbeliever -

    2. - but it is not our line. It is a line that God has put down. And it is only a line – it is not a wall. One merely needs to say “yes” and cross over that line.

(Ill.) A common expression today is to “draw a line in the sand”. According to ledgend, the phrase is most commonly associated with Texas history surrounding the Battle of the Alamo, as it is attributed to Colonel William Travis, commander of the Alamo defense forces.[1] In the waning days of the Battle (somewhere between March 3–5, 1836), with Mexican General Antonio Lopez de Santa Annahaving the Alamo completely surrounded, Santa Anna sent a messenger to Travis demanding surrender, or else everyone in the compound would be killed. According to the legend, Travis called the Alamo defenders together, explained that defeat was almost certain, and read the letter of surrender; Travis then (having chosen to die instead of surrender) reportedly pulled his battle sword, drew a line in the sand of the Alamo, and asked for volunteers to cross over the line and join him, understanding their decision would be irreversible. The legend states that all but one of the defenders (including Jim Bowie and Davy Crockett) joined Travis on his side of the line; Moses Rose being the only holdout. Travis then responded to Santa Anna's letter with cannon fire, whereupon Santa Anna replied by playing El Degüello. iii




iiLarson, Craig Brian and Phyllis Ten Elshof. 1001 Illustrations That Connect. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 2008.


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