READ | SERMON NOTES
Summary l 1 Jn 4:19 (we love because He first loved us) points us to God’s love that reached out to us before we can love.
We know how to love God and each other because God first loved us.
Love owes its origin to God’s love for humankind. When we mirror God’s love, the Holy Spirit empowers us to love as God loves us.
There is fear in love when there is doubt in reciprocity. We have no fear of this since God’s love precedes ours. Freed from self-centredness and selfish ambition, we can love without selfish agenda.
Love can spontaneously flow from a heart of gratitude from God’s initiation of love towards us. God demonstrates His love for us when He sacrificed His Son for us while we were of no use to Him (Rm 5:8).
Jesus calls us to get in touch with God’s love which is present from the point of conception before we receive love from anyone. Unlike God’s selfless and unconditional love, worldly love is transactional, tainted by hatred and resentment where there is misunderstanding and unacceptable action.
Two discipleship lessons:
1) We diligently make time to be alone with God daily. Negligence in this will lead to drifting apart slowly but surely.
2) We give each other time to seek God on matters of disagreement. Allow God to speak into our life and the conflict will resolve over time.
First love from God must be the only motivation to love people with no strings attached. God’s love is that which we want to make visible to one another in marriage, family and all other relationships.
Gary Thomas describes marriage as the sacred place where God’s love is made known to others, where people experience God’s love and discover each other in that first love.
Knowing why we are married or staying married is crucial. When God is the master of marriage, we work hard to maintain the marriage and point others to God who reconciles.
Henri Nouwen writes that our faithfulness in marriage and relationships becomes possible because God holds us together in that first love. Together we look at Him who calls us to His service and develop deep and mature relationships.
Marriage can also be the place in which our capacity to experience and express God’s love is strengthened and further developed.
We show our love for God in part by loving our spouses well and vice versa. When we love well, we please God.
Jesus calls us to love our enemies, do good to those who hate us (Lk 6:27). The best way to start is to love your spouse as we practise daily to pave the way to love others. We learn to cultivate tolerance, humility, patience and forgiveness because God first loved us.
A couple who showed love, hospitality and generosity (Mr and Mrs LHG) have been married for more than five decades. Their capacity to experience and express God’s love is strengthened as their mutual love for God and each other grows over the decades.
They expressed God’s love through their service together in Sunday School in their younger days. Now in their 80’s, they continue to extend God’s love by opening their home to family and friends, sharing God’s love and encouragement to others.
We thank God for raising many Mr and Mrs LHGs who exemplify God’s love and encourage others.
In addition to the discipleship lessons mentioned earlier, some suggestions on next steps we can take are as follows:
1) If you are single, consider inviting a married couple into your life.
2) if you are married, avail yourselves as a couple to singles, other married couples, or your married children to do life together.
3) Take note of an aspect of God’s love mirrored by your spouse that is lacking in you. Pray and ask God to help you respond likewise.
4) sign up for the Alpha Marriage Course in April.
5) sign up for “Best Date Ever: A unique date with forever Date” in March.
6) look out for CORDS-based health check for marriage that is coming up.
May God’s love fill us that others may experience His love and reciprocate with His love for His glory.
(Sermon notes by Woo Choi Yin)
Helpful courses for consideration:
The Marriage Course (Alpha)
Dates: 3 Apr, 10 Apr, 17 Apr, 24 Apr, 8 May, 15 May and 22 May
Visit: https://wesleymc.org/ministries/lifestage/family-life (under Marriage Enrichment Course).
Best Date Ever: A unique date with your forever Date
Dates: 11 March, 7.00-9.30pm
Revive the romance and renew intimacy with your spouse over a curated menu and facilitated programme designed for husbands and wives to connect more deeply with each other. Step out of the marriage routine and give your relationship a new experience!
Raising Future-Ready Kids: Relational Health & Sexual Intelligence
Dates: 4 March, 10am-12pm, Webinar, Focus On The Family
Talking about sex can be one of the most daunting tasks for parents, especially if we never had the subject broached with us when growing up. How then can we confidently discuss healthy sexuality, love and relationships with our children? Derive parental guidance on how to equip your child to make wise decisions from young for their body and their love life!
MWTS/Core Series: Family Worship & Discipleship
Dates: 4, 11, 25 May (Thurs), Online
The sessions taught by Mr David Leong will cover the following:
-Family Worship & Discipleship
-How to have difficult conversations with our children?
PONDER | REFLECTION QUESTIONS
- Why is it critical to know that we cannot love or receive love from others without appropriating the first love from God for ourselves?
- How has your marriage or that of your parents’ and others you observed (if you are single), taught you about the way God loves us?
- How would a married couple manifest God’s love particularly to the singles, single-parent and divorced families in our midst so that they might find God and experience His love for themselves?
- Jesus died for us despite our flaws because of his love for us. How do marriages anchored in God’s love teach us to love people without conditions or limits?
- How would you describe your love for God by the ways you love your spouse? What would you do today to strengthen your marriage?
- What is an aspect of God’s love your spouse mirrors that you are lacking in? Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help you to respond likewise this week.