“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-
and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God”
– Ephesians 2:8

Love Sermons from Pastor John Casteel

BELIEVING HIS LOVE – 10AM SERMON – July 18th, 1999

Pastor John begins his message on “Believing in His Love” by pointing out that it was a very important time of renewing foundations for Grace Chapel.  We are digging all of those flowing wells that flow up out of God and he wanted to touch on the foundation of the love of God.

I believe my foundations are in the love and fear of the Lord. Those are my root processes. Those are not seen. Those are the personal things that create fruitfulness in our lives, those rooting places in God.”

Pastor John will be reading Paul the Apostle’s prayer to the Ephesians in Ephesians 3:14-21 talking about loving Him and believing in His love.

A Prayer for the Ephesians

14For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15from whom every familya in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 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, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

20Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Paul prayed this prayer because it was not just a philosophical wish, it was what God was intending to do among the Ephesian believers. He wanted for us to be rooted and grounded in love, which happens below the surface and behind the scenes. The rooting process causes us to comprehend and prepares us to know the love of Christ and the fullness of God.

This is one of the major keys to revelation. Rooted in love you can comprehend and know the love of Christ.”

Jesus says all the commandments hang on two things and are set in an order. We need to love the Lord first which is the fountain in order to increase and break open the fountain of love for people. According to Pastor John most Christians sit in absolute conviction about not being able to love each other the way God has commanded. That command is impossible outside of participating and loving Him to receive the love to love with. We have to receive His love in order to love on that dimension. It has to come from God and it comes from God in our own love relationship with Him. Why is that so important? It’s because it is in that, that we are equipped to become what He has called us to be.

I am believing in God not for all the great signs and wonders and not for a 10,000 member church or new buildings. The vision is that we would love Him and that we would love each other. I believe if that happens and if we move in this process of loving God until we love each other and keep His commandments everything else will take its right place. There will be revival because I believe that is revival.”

How do we love God then? We do this by becoming a worshiper. Worship is the expression of love done in the spirit of prayer. It is devotion to the Lord itself and gives us the opportunity to return His loving advances and not just worshiping on Sundays. Loving as brethren Peter called it. Walking in love as Paul commanded.

Father in Jesus name we pray this prayer that Paul prayed. We join and we pray it for the church and we pray it for our own lives that we would be rooted and grounded in love.”

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In recent weeks leading up to this message Pastor John had been looking closely at the stewardship of finances. By taking portions of scriptures from both the New and Old Testament we have tried to let God’s own word create within us the faithfulness and stewardship that will please Him. The way this works is at first it creates within us a desire to be like Jesus then we perform.

The actual transformation of our attitudes and character follows the implantation of desire by the Holy Spirit. It too is the work of God.”

As we look closely at the parables and the teachings of Jesus, the theme of stewardship many times takes the turn towards the care and ministry of love to those called neighbors and each other.

The first commandment is the enabling commandment as we truly learn to love the Lord with all our hearts, minds and souls.   We are given ability from that well spring relationship with God and from His presence to begin loving each other by first loving the Lord and then loving our neighbors. For this message Pastor John feels the Holy Spirit is dealing with him to talk about how the Holy Spirit supplies us with the correct attitude of loving towards one another.

The new love relationship begins in a priority system. First we begin to love our spouses in a way that pleases God. Then we begin to love our children and the greater family. After that we begin to love our brethren, which follows on to people we work with and our neighbors. Finally we begin to love people in foreign lands and love people we don’t know, beginning with compassion to release our loving and caring towards them and their needs.

In John 13 Pastor John looks at some of the hindrances to love and the way Jesus handled them. Ultimately looking at how do we learn to love one another.

I believe it is God’s Will for us to begin a renewed love commitment in the body. A greater love commitment that we have ever known before where we begin to really be a group of committed people. Not committed to a program, not commitment to building a program or a vision alone but committed to each other. Having made a commitment to lay down our lives, joining together, becoming identified with and being part of lives that the brethren may prosper. This has to be what Jesus meant. I want you to love each other as I have loved you.”

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THE STEPS OF LOVE – April 29th, 1979

The title of this message is “The Steps of Love” and according to Pastor John it is so far from complete and so incomplete that he hates to put such a grandiose title on it but he still believes that these are things that the Lord will lay upon us.   He begins his message reading from John 13 verses 33-35.

 33Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you. 34A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Pastor John wants us to notice that Jesus used these as some of his last words. He is leaving and is telling the disciples a new commandment to love one another that as He has loved them and by this all men should know they are Jesus’ disciples. Pastor John then talks about the symbolism and power of Jesus washing the feet of the disciples.

I have noticed when I have had my feet washed or washed feet, and yes I have done this and do this, that it is harder to have your feet washed then to wash feet sometimes. There is a pride in us. Loving is not only giving love but it is knowing how to receive love isn’t it. Many of us don’t know how to receive love.”

Pastor John believes that just as in those days when Jesus was washing the disciples feet even so today there are people who do not merit the blessing of God just like you and I didn’t. The only reason we merit it today is His own gift of love upon us. Many of us think that the only time to come to the Lord is when things are really rough. To exhaust all of the blessings you have now and then come to God when it is all gone not knowing that it is God’s goodness to lead you to repentance.

You know you and I have walls. Some of us have been hurt and use it as a self-defense, but Jesus demands that we turn the other cheek or remain vulnerable when we are hurt. That we go right back in there again and don’t pull back so that the Spirit doesn’t stop moving. I believe that God would teach us through these simple practices like this and I believe you will be happy if you do this as Jesus said and you learn to wash feet and learn to humble yourselves.”

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Many times in the past years of ministry at Grace Chapel Pastor John has endeavored to lead us as a church into the love of God by using instructions and steps of cleansing, warnings and scriptural examples. According to Pastor John we have come over the years to a better love relationship in our body than he had ever witnessed especially a larger church with all the difficulties of not knowing everybody personally.

However in my heart I know that we have only begun to enter in to the love of God as the Lord has directed us. I am not satisfied here are you?”

One of the essential parts of teaching is that faith be in those that hear. Faith is something that goes beyond experience that reaches into and accepts the Word of God and the admonitions of the spirit of God even above our own failures. Pastor John wants us to see that we do become the participants and partakers of the very presence of Christ our Lord if we hold that beginning confidence and faith in the Lord.

Reading in Exodus starting in chapter 19 and going through chapter 34, Pastor John will look at the life of Moses and see how God brought about change in his life right in the midst of adversity.

I want to challenge you that it is the presence of God that will make a difference in your life. It’s you moving from where you are at and pressing into the Lord coming before Him and putting away that fear and tendency that the old nature has to flee from the glory of the Lord and press in and stand in his presence that you will find you beginning to believe, understand and change.”

What is it that is going to change us when Jesus comes? What is going to make us like Him?  In 1 John 3 He says we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is. The changing power is seeing, knowing and experiencing Him.

What we are talking about is you and I coming to a place in God where we begin to move in the spirit of God and in power like we have never known before, and that will only come as you experience His presence.”

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The difference in a believer and a disciple is the believer believes but a disciple disciplines his life to follow. We must be believers and then we are called to discipleship. Disciples make decisions before God and are learning from God and His Word.

This is part of a series of classes on discipleship that Pastor John gave throughout the year.  This particular class focuses on the commandment that Jesus gave his disciples. This commandment had never been given to anyone before as He leaned across the table during the Last Supper and told his disciples to love one another as I have loved you.

In this double command with the qualifier of the way that they were to love we are commanded by the Lord as His disciples to love one another. This one another is a specific group of people and other disciples who commit to the body and those that are walking in the same level of decision that we are to the Lord to become a love relationship.

The disciples at that time were not loving like this. They had never heard of such a thing before because the common teaching of the day given by the verbal law was love your neighbor and hate your enemy. With this in mind this fifth command to the disciples which was really the first command to the Church that Jesus gave is what Pastor John will be speaking on as we learn about this love.

If you don’t believe you can love this will go right past you, but if you believe that God has placed love in your heart and commanded love He has also given you love to love with.”

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