Lent According to Advent: Love

Sermon scripture: John 3:16-17
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but to save the world through him.

The idea that God loves the whole world is a new idea.

For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all
and richly blesses all who call on him, for,
“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
-Romans 10:12-13

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love.
Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.
-1 John 4:8, 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 and sisters.
-1 John 3:16

God demonstrated His love in the most perfect way possible:

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
-Isaiah 53:5-6

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
-John 15:13

God’s Love is Salvation

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance:

Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.

For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus.
-1 Timothy 1:15, 2:5

Lent According to Advent: Joy

Sermon scripture: Nehemiah 8:10, John 15:11
Nehemiah 8:10
Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks,
and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord.
Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

John 15:11
I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

The joy of Christ:
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2

The joy of believers is the joy of Christ Himself reigning within their hearts.

Joy is divine.
And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
Acts 13:52

Joy does not depend on circumstances or happiness.
But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.
Psalm 5:11

Joy springs from faith.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13

Joy of future reward makes and keeps one faithful.
However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race
and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying
to the good news of God’s grace.
Acts 20:24

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now,
you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,
But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ,
so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
1 Peter 1:8, 4:13

The joy of believers is fulfilled as believers study His Word,
the promises and commandments which He made.

When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight,
for I bear your name, Lord God Almighty.
Jeremiah 15:16

I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world,
so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.
John 17:13

Lent According to Advent: Peace

Sermon scripture: John 14:25-27, Luke 2:13-14
John 14:25-27
25 All this I have spoken while still with you.
26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Luke 2:13-14
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

There is the peace of the world.

There is the peace of Christ and of God.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

There is the source of peace.

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,
Ephesians 2:13-14

and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.
Colossians 1:20-21