This is the first part in a short 2 part series called “Rooted in Love” that Pastor John preached in September of 1989. He begins by reading from Ephesians 3:14 but before that he wanted to let us know what he felt in his heart at that time.
I believe God has determined to pour out His Spirit upon Grace Chapel this fall to dimensions that we have never yet known as a church in building us in the Lord. The issue is God is about to do something among us that if we are available to it we will change into greater dimensions of His glory, higher praise and worship, deeper character changes and I believe that is in store for us.”
In part one in this series Pastor John wants to speak on the central foundation of being rooted in love and how this foundation can best be built.
In Ephesians 3 Paul the Apostle was earnestly contending for the continued progress of an already strong and committed church in Ephesus. Pastor John believes that is exactly what the Holy Spirit is trying to do with Grace Chapel. Paul is suggesting a process of not just doing as much as it is increasing the depth of foundational things. Pastor John calls this the “root/fruit principle.”
This is why God deals the way He does. It’s because the whole system that He set up on earth deals on the basis on sowing and reaping, and seasonal harvesting based upon the process of life that He set in motion.”
Paul revealed that’s not only so in the natural realm but in the spiritual realm as well. The whole system deals on seed and harvest and upon rooting and fruiting. How do we grow these roots of love to bear the fruit? We do this by loving God with all our hearts, souls, minds and strength.
Say it with me if you can by faith. Jesus, I love you with all my heart. I love you with all my soul. I love you with all my mind and I love you with all my strength. Amen.”
In part one in this short series on “Rooted in Love” Pastor John looked at Paul the Apostle’s prayer in Ephesians 3 to which he expresses some very important principles of growth. He talked about the root process that the fruitfulness of a tree depends upon and the subterranean unseen root development of the tree.
17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,
It is very imperative according to Paul that we know, understand and grasp the dimensions of God’s love to us, what this means and to know this love surpasses knowledge. It’s knowing through relationship, intimacy, sensitivity and the Spirit more than you can through only in your mind. Paul is talking about a work of the Spirit that comes through a process of time and he says that you may be filled to the measure to all the fullness of God.
What we have to do when we come to the scripture is we have to decide is it possible, is it practical, and is it attainable. Those are decisions of faith.”
Pastor John believes if it is just nothing more than sermon stuff then we waste our time. But if it is something that we can move into and if we will treat it as something that is possible, practical and attainable God has given it away for it to happen. But we must do it according to the roadmap that God has given which starts with us being rooted in love.
In this love is speaking of the agape commitment. It is the love of commitment and decision. It is something that you can do by making a decision. It is a life changing decisions of laying down everything else to accomplish this. This kind of relationship with God has to be the basis of being rooted in love.
In the second part of this series Pastor John wanted to show us how to enter more deeply into the agape relationship through the practice of worship and giving ourselves to God through worship. Pastor John will show us these principles by reading a simple story told by Matthew, Mark and John. It is the story about the anointing of Jesus in Bethany previous to His burial.
I don’t believe we can ever live for God in the fullness of His spirit until we are rooted in a spring of love. Not just the ground of love, but a spring of lavish love for God.”
This is the first part in a 4 part series titled “Returning to Love” that was preached by Pastor John in September of 1976. Unfortunately we are missing the recording of part 3 of this series but Pastor John will review what we missed in part 4.
According to Pastor John every message that a pastor preaches is really a result of life. That every message that he preaches is put together over many years of experience, understanding and severe dealing by God. Eventually you have to come to a place where you decide in the Spirit whether this message is ready in your own heart and life to be preached.
I’m finding that God isn’t really interested in what I say as much as the timing and as the fact that those things be working in God’s people and also in our own lives.”
Pastor John believes that God has given some things on the subject of returning to love that need to be shared and will be helpful to us as we learn how to practically and daily engage in a life of loving. Pastor John sets the stage for this series by talking about a revelation he received from the Holy Spirit in the early 70’s as the church was growing. He was beginning to see there were some principles that God said would relate to the world and he felt the obedient at that time that were getting into a practical expressions of love had much to do with the move of the Spirit and witness that God let this church be during those years.
It was a hippie revival at that time and street people from all over that began to come into Grace Chapel. According to Pastor John we were able to see days of fantastic and tremendous witness in the city of Tucson and he believed they directly related to God’s people learning to move into practical love.
This is the introduction to the series on how we as God’s people can learn to love each other and learn to love one another. Pastor John will have us study practical steps on how we as God’s people can move into this as well as go over how to respond to the love of the Holy Spirit that is shed abroad in our hearts, as we will learn what the fullness of the Spirit really is.
I believe the intention of the Holy Spirit is to reveal and lift up Jesus, and reproduce Jesus within us.”
This is the second in the series of messages on returning to love. It is about the love of God that is shed abroad in our hearts through the Holy Ghost that is given to us and the practical manners in which we should let it work itself out within us. Pastor John hopes the Word would come as a cleansing and purifying agent to our heart so that we can know how to release God’s love in practical demonstrations of commitment.
I am convinced that God has placed a rich well of water springing up in everlasting life through the Holy Spirit and those who believe in Jesus and accepting Him as our Lord and Savior.”
One of the main qualities of God’s love is not feeling but instead it is commitment. We can commit ourselves to one another and to the Lord and that we can give ourselves by faith to one another. Obedience to the Word is the result of believing.
By faith Abraham obeyed – Hebrews 11:8
It was because Abraham believed God that he was able to leave his former living and go someplace he didn’t yet know where he was going. We want to have something before we give up something and yet the Lord would have us repent from our old ways and thoughts so then He can show us something new. But repentance without faith is worthless. We cannot turn away from something and leave ourselves in a void. This is the reason why we have so many temptations and problems in our lives. So many times we forget to not just to turn, but to turn to something else. In this message Pastor John wants to lay down some godly principles to turn to as Christians.
When we react in faith not because we have it together but we believe God when we don’t have it together, this reaction of believing God pleases Him. This is a new kind of trust of throwing ourselves upon God. In order to enter into a higher level of our obedience we have to accept the Word of God in complete trust.
These are practical ways that we are going to get into to imitate Jesus. These practical instructions are declarations of how God is. Many of the things Jesus demanded for us and told us to do are simply a revelation of that’s the way God does.
These are God’s attitudes about things and these are God’s ways, therefor when He asks us to do them it’s because He already does them. The inborn planted seed of God’s Word in your heart that brings up Jesus in the same nature and character, the potential is already there for the same actions within yourself.”
In part one of this series Pastor John spoke about the Ephesian church leaving her first love. In part 2 of this series Pastor John is going to talk about returning to the first love that we left. He is going to read the story of Isaac from Genesis 26 who is following in the footsteps of his father Abraham. He will also read the entire 58th chapter of Isaiah to see all the reasons we should fast. He will tie everything together by talking about church offenses leading into forgiveness.
You can take that reason before God and you can, just like Jesus say Father forgive them they don’t know what they are doing. You can break the yoke of evil, you can break the bondage of Satan and hinder the work of Satan by spreading the oil of God’s spirit right on offenses. I believe every one of us today should face our need of forgiveness. You need to set your brother free from your grudge. You need to set him free from the evil words you have spoken. You need to set the children of God free.”
This is the fourth part of a series on the subject of returning to love. Pastor John will begin his message by bringing a review of the first three sermons in this series. The commands of Jesus that we have received from Him are not empty words, they are creative words. The commands that Jesus has given us about our personal relationship with each other and Him are words that are fruitful if they come into our hearts and if we receive them with the correct attitude.
The way that we receive the Word of God is essential to its becoming fruitful in our lives. Jesus brought this forth in the parable of the seed. It depends on the condition of our heart if the Word of God is going to become fruitful.
I want to encourage you this morning to make sure that the soil of your heart is plowed up and receptive to what God is saying.”
Through all of the wonderful examples of faith that we find in Hebrews 11 we realize that the key of faith as they were able to believe God was because they had heard; they had listened. And when the Lord says simple wonderful promises that are given to us in the form of command immediately our natural mind tries to put them down and not receive them. Therefore obedience is the key to abiding in love and receiving Gods Word.
Faith that does not obey is dead. Faith that does not enter in to what God is saying is not God’s kind of faith.”
Pastor John wanted to begin his final message in this series by encouraging us to not just be a forgetful hearer of the Word and deceiving our own souls, but be a doer of God’s Word. The Word itself is creative enough and it is given to give us the power to fulfill what God is saying. That means we believe it and accept it.
One of the cues of a loving relationship is the obedience that comes from trusting, loving and carefulness about that relationship.”
Pastor John would like us to realize that this returning to love that we have been talking about is not something we are drumming up or getting polished into to be able to perform. It is not self-control even though love will cause self-control. It’s not personality development even though God would develop a new personality within you. He doesn’t want the old one developed. He wants the old personality to be put on the cross and a new one allowed to spring forth and that is the very character of Jesus.
Love comes as a fruit of the Spirit. Fruit comes from a close relationship; a marriage relationship brings forth fruit unto God. As we close ranks with Jesus beginning to walk close with Him the natural result of the offspring of relationship with God is His own love being manifested within you. There is no other way to receive it.
The whole direction that God has given me for these last 3 and 4 weeks has been to declare unto you that God wants us to move into a new kind of living and loving, but that love comes from a relationship and a closeness with Him and an openness to receive the whole and complete package of His blessing and His love to you as an individual. And that relationship will spawn and will cause the very love of God manifest to each other and to your neighbors.”