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Let His Love In - 1 John 3:1-3

Taught on | Topic: God's Love | Keywords: love, sinners, incredible, consequential, eternal, practical, body, heart, character, return of Christ, satisfying

The heart is like a strong fortress that doesn’t easily admit outside forces in, even if God Himself is the One who is knocking at the door. I’ve found that even Christians can have a difficult time believing that God really loves them, and few experience that love regularly. Our Battledrums worship team has composed a song with this in mind, inviting you to let His love in. Our text in 1 John is a survey of this incomparable love of God, and will help you open your heart to it.

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8/23/2015
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Let His Love In
1 John 3:1-3
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
The heart is like a strong fortress that doesn’t easily admit outside forces in, even if God Himself is the One who is knocking at the door. I’ve found that even Christians can have a difficult time believing that God really loves them, and few experience that love regularly. Our Battledrums worship team has composed a song with this in mind, inviting you to let His love in. Our text in 1 John is a survey of this incomparable love of God, and will help you open your heart to it.
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War is Over, The

War is Over, The

As Battledrums releases its debut album, The War Is Over, we take a look at these songs and how they apply to our life as we live in victory over sin. Join Skip Heitzig in celebrating these songs and what they symbolize for our Christian walk. The war is over--Christ has won!

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Outline

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  1. God’s Love Is Incredible (v. 1a)

  2. God’s Love Is Consequential (v. 1b)

  3. God’s Love Is Eternal (v. 2)

  4. God’s Love Is Practical (v. 3)

Study Guide

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Connect Group Recap: August 23, 2015
Teacher: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: Let His Love In
Text: 1 John 3:1-3

Path

People crave love. Mother Teresa said, "The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread." Our text in 1 John 3 is a survey of God's incomparable love, helping you open your heart to it.
  1. God's Love Is Incredible (v. 1a)
  2. God's Love Is Consequential (v. 1b)
  3. God's Love Is Eternal (v. 2)
  4. God's Love Is Practical (v. 3)
Points

God's Love Is Incredible (v. 1a):
  • Behold means to observe or to see. It's a word of amazement and wonder.
  • Manner of love is a unique phrase, meaning from another country, race, tribe; a faraway realm. God's love is foreign to human experience.
  • Human love is object-oriented. God's love is subject-oriented, based on His character and nature--not ours. We don't deserve God's love, but He chooses to love us.
  • When did God's love begin? God began loving you while you were still a sinner--even long before people were around (see Romans 5:8; Ephesians 1:4).
  • Can God's love end? No--nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God (see Romans 8:38-39).
  • Probe: What does it mean to say God's love is foreign? What encouragement can you take from the nature of His love?
God's Love Is Consequential (v. 1b):
  • The word know can be translated understand. Because you're a Christian, the world won't understand you; your love for God is foreign to non-Christians.
  • The world finds it strange when someone wants to follow Christ. Why? Because you don't live like you used to. Some see this as a superiority complex. Bottom line: don't look to this world for approval, or you'll be disenchanted.
  • Probe: What relationship fallout have you seen after experiencing God's love in your life? What has best helped you navigate those fallouts?
God's Love Is Eternal (v. 2):
  • The love of God that began in real experience (salvation) will continue until we see Jesus face to face. Though we don't have all the details of the future, God's love will follow us through life until Jesus returns and changes everything for us, including giving us an "extreme makeover."
  • As a Christian, you are not what you used to be, nor quite what you ought to be, but one day you will be with Christ: you will be a purified person with a satisfied heart. The grueling process of sanctification will be instantly completed when you see Jesus.
  • God's love is not just an experience of the present but an expression of the future.
  • Probe: When we see Christ, we'll get a "makeover." What changes are you looking forward to then--both in yourself and the world?
God's Love Is Practical (v. 3):
  • You aren't any earthly good until you are heavenly minded. Heaven is an incentive to be pure, upright, and just; our belief should affect our behavior.
  • Christ can come back at any moment. This holy motivation should purify your life and inspire you to live for Christ.
  • Just around the corner is your Savior. Be excited! God's love produces appreciation, hope, holiness, and anticipation.
  • Probe: In what ways has your relationship with Jesus purified your life? How does His imminent return affect your response to those who ask you why you're different?

Practice

Connect Up: How does God's love toward you help you love Him? How can you show your love toward God practically?

Connect In: Knowing that God loves you with incredible love, how should this influence your service in the body of Christ? How should His love lead you to love your fellow Christians?

Connect Out: God loves the whole world. How does knowing that He loved you while you were still a sinner affect the way you reach out and respond to unbelievers? What can you do to show God's love to a hurting world?

Detailed Notes

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  1. Introduction
    1. Many people do not know what real love is
    2. As human beings, we all crave real love
    3. The most significant love we experience is the love we receive from our parents
    4. The greatest discovery you can make in your life is how much God loves you
    5. He knows everything about you and He still loves you
    6. "The love of God is the most transforming truth there is" —Dwight L. Moody
  2. God's Love Is Incredible (v. 1a)
    1. Behold means to observe or to see something amazing
    2. "What manner of love" means "What foreign kind of love; from what country, race, or tribe; from what faraway realm is this love?"
      1. When Jesus calmed the sea, His disciples asked, "What manner of man is this?" meaning "Where is this man from, that He can do these things?"(see King James Version of Mathew 8:27; Mark 4:41; Luke 8:25)
      2. God's love is unique
    3. Human love is object-oriented; God's love is subject-oriented
      1. Object-oriented: based on the worth or value of the object
      2. Subject-oriented: based on God's nature; God is love
    4. When did this love begin?
      1. He loved us when we were still sinners (see Romans 5:8)
      2. He loved us before the foundations of the earth
    5. Can this love ever end?
      1. No external force can separate us from the love of God (see Romans 8:38-39)
      2. There is nothing we can do to diminish God's love for us
  3. God's Love Is Consequential (v. 1b)
    1. The world does not understand the love we have in God (see 1 Corinthians 2:14)
    2. They think it is strange that the believer doesn't participate in the same activities they used to
      1. 1 Peter 4:4
      2. It makes them feel guilty
    3. Life does not magically become perfect when you put your faith in Christ
    4. John 15:18-19
    5. Do not look for approval from the world
    6. All love has consequences, especially God's love
  4. God's Love Is Eternal (v. 2)
    1. God's love will be there until the return of Christ
    2. We will have a glorified body
      1. When you see Him, you will be transformed and be like Him (see Philippians 3:20)
      2. There will be no more pain, aging, or death
    3. We will have a purified character
      1. The struggles we have with sin won't be struggles in heaven
      2. Achieving sanctification, a struggle in our earthly lives, will be instantaneous when Christ returns
    4. We will have a satisfied heart
      1. We will never be truly satisfied until we see God's face
      2. Psalm 17:15
    5. God's love is not an experience in the present; it is an expression of the future (see Ephesians 2:7)
      1. If you are not a believer, the worst experience is growing old
      2. There is nothing to look forward to, only memories to look back to
      3. If you are a believer, you look forward to when you will be with Christ (see Revelation 21:4)
  5. God's Love Is Practical (v. 3)
    1. No one is any earthly good until they are heavenly minded
      1. Our belief should affect our behavior
      2. If we really believe Christ is coming, it should be an incentive to live a life that is pleasing to Him
    2. Our Father will be home soon
      1. We want to live in such a way that God will be pleased when He comes back (see 2 Peter 3:11)
      2. His love is uniquely satisfying and the most practical truth to guide our lives
  6. Closing
    1. Let God's love into your heart, and you will experience love as you have never known it before
    2. Look for the blessed hope of His return

Topic: God's Love

Keywords: love, sinners, incredible, consequential, eternal, practical, body, heart, character, return of Christ, satisfying

Transcript

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Hello and welcome to this message from pastor Skip Heitzig of Calvary Albuquerque. Our series called The War is Over celebrates the songs from our worship team, Battledrums, debut album now available on iTunes, Google Play, and at battledrumsmusic.com.

In this series, Skip looks at how these songs apply to us as we live in victory over sin. If you'd like to support this ministry financially, you can give online securely at calvaryabq.org/giving.

The heart is like a strong fortress that doesn't easily let outside forces in, even if God himself is knocking at the door. Battledrums wrote the song "Let His Love In" with this in mind, inviting us to let God show his love to us. We invite you to mark your Bible in I John 3. But before Skip begins, check out this sneak peek of "Let His Love In."

[MUSIC BATTLEDRUMS, "LET HIS LOVE IN"]

Would you turn in your bibles, please, to 1 John, 3. 1 John. It's almost to the end of the book. Almost to Revelation. 1 John. 1 John 3: 1-3, where John writes, "Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called Children of God. Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be. But we know that, when He is revealed, we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure."

1 John 3: 1-3 is one of the first set of verses that I committed to memory. Probably because that was one of the songs we used to sing in the church I was a part of. We'd get together and sing, behold what manner or love the Father-- I'll spare you the rest. It was just seared into my mind. It's a great truth.

What's interesting about that is that here was this sort of post love generation era of people who really spoke a lot about love but didn't understand what real love was for the first time discovering God's love. And what that meant to us was so profound. I don't think there is any subject that is so universally treated as the subject of love. Certainly it is the theme of more songs than any other subject.

Love for a girlfriend, love for a boyfriend, love for a wife or a husband, parents, children, friends, and even love for God. Why? Simply because, as human beings, we all crave real love. We would do almost anything to get it. Years ago when Mother Theresa was being interviewed by Time magazine, she said something that was really profound. She said, our hunger for love is harder to remove than even our hunger for bread, for food. It's that strong.

One researcher said the two greatest fears that people have is, number one, that they will never be loved for who they really are. And the second great fear is that they will never be able to give unconditional love to another person. Then I read a list of maladies that one physician wrote several emotions that produced disease. First on the list, fear. Second, frustration. Followed by rage, resentment, hatred, jealousy, envy, self-centeredness, and then ambition. And this doctor said, all of those can be cured by a single antidote and that is love.

The most significant love we experience is our first love. That is, the love that our parents give us as children. That makes or breaks a human it seems. To know that that parent is close by and will never leave, will never walk out, will always care for me is such a wonderful foundation. My little grandson Seth recently has been fond of asking a question. He'll look up and say, Papa, do you love me forever and are we friends forever? And I love him asking that question because I love answering that question.

But let me also say that the greatest discovery you could ever make in your life is the day you discover how much God loves you. There's nothing like the love of God. And let me put it this way. He knows everything about you and he still loves you. That's the amazing discovery. In fact, I think that can cure a person from all of the broken heartedness and all of the deep wounds of rejection from other past relationships.

Years ago, I met a man from India in India. And his name was A Stephen. A was the initial of his first time. I don't remember his name but they went by initials. A Stephen. And what made him interesting is, his testimony is that he was the son of a Hindu priest, but that this young man, A Stephen, converted to Jesus Christ. He went home to tell his parents he's now a believer. They did not take kindly to it. His father went after him with a knife to kill him and so he ran away from home.

While he was fleeing from home, he had a Bible and he opened his Bible and he just happened to come across Psalm 27 where it says, "When my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will take me up." He said, that has made all of the difference in my life, discovering God's love for me.

Dwight L. Moody was a pastor and evangelist from Chicago a century ago. He said the love of God is the most transforming truth there is. He went on his own journey to take a Bible and a Concordance and trace every single incident of the love of God in the Bible. And he walked away from that saying these words. "I know of no truth in the whole Bible that ought to come home to us with such power and tenderness as that of the love of God. And there is no truth in the Bible that Satan would so much like to blot out as that same truth."

Here's my question to you. Has God's love transformed you? I know it's saved you. But has it changed you? I know it has changed your status before God judicially, but does it make any difference to you personally? On a daily basis? Does the love of God, does it change the way you process your thoughts, the way you speak words, the things that you might do?

Well, first three versus of 1 John: 3. John helps us inspect God's love and he gives to us four attributes, four features, of God's love. There are many more, but these are four that were remarkable to John. And with each one of these truths I'm praying that you, as the song says, will let God's love in. Picture it like we're opening a curtain and light is flooding the room. And with each truth we pull the curtain open just a bit more.

The first is the most obvious truth. John wants us to know that the love of God is incredible. It's incredible. Look how he puts it. "Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God." Now, the word behold isn't a word you use. It's an old word. I doubt very much you got up this morning and said the word behold. I don't think you got out of bed and said, behold, it is I. You'd be a little weird if you did.

It's an older word. It simply means to observe but we don't use it anymore. Behold means to see something. Or we might say in a modern vernacular, hey, check this out. It's a statement of wonder, it's a statement of amazement. It's like saying, have you ever see anything like this?

Disneyland is a behold a moment for a child. I took my grandkids to Disneyland this past Monday-- and they'd been there before, I'd been there before, of course-- but for them, even though they'd been, if-- let me just put it this way. When you're driving a car with kids and you're anywhere near Disneyland, it's painful until you get there. Where is it? Are we there yet? And then you pull in to Disneyland and it's like, ahhhh, behold, the kingdom of the mouse. Right? You just see it in their eyes. Behold. Look at that.

That's what John is stopping to get us to notice. Look at this, think of this great love of God. Behold, what manner of love. That's an interesting verbal construction I discovered. What manner of love literally means what foreign kind of love or from what country, race, or tribe, from what faraway realm is this love.

Do you remember when the disciples saw Jesus calm the Sea of Galilee? It was a miracle. And this is what they said. What manner of man is this? It's like saying, you're not from around here, are you? You're not from this neighborhood. You're like from a faraway realm, a foreigner. What manner of man can do this.

So that is why Kenneth Wuest, a Greek scholar, translates verse one of 1 John 3 this way. "Behold, what exotic foreign to the human heart, love the Father has permanently bestowed on us." In other words, what kind of love is this that would forgive sinners and then make them the children, sons and daughters, of the living God? It was in Charles Wesley's mind when he wrote the famous hymn-- popularized by Chris Tomlin but written by Charles Wesley-- "Amazing love! How can it be, that thou, my God, shouldst die for me?"

God's love is unique. God's love is otherworldly. It is foreign to the human experience. And here's why it's foreign to the human experience. Human love is object oriented. God's love is subject oriented. Human love looks at an object, a person says, oh, she's beautiful or he's handsome. That object pleases me. That thing I'd like to buy because it's an object I want. It is object oriented. It is based on the worth, the value or the beauty of the object.

God's love is not that way. It is subject oriented. It's not based on the object, it's based on Him. It's His nature. God is love. So it's not like you deserve it but it's based on Him.

Which begs two questions. Question number one, when did this love begin? And question number two, could this love ever end? I want you to think about that. When did God start loving us? Was it the moment you received Christ? Did God stop and go, oh, there you are, receiving me now, I'm going to show my love to you. Or was it the day you decided to make a full hearted commitment and say, I'm going to serve the Lord from this day forward. Did God then find you irresistible and start loving you?

No. What does the Bible tell us? Romans 5:8. "But God demonstrated his own love toward us in this. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Before the foundations of the earth, really. And then when you came on the scene and you were rebellious against Him, he loved you.

But let me ask you another question. Could there ever be something in your nature and in your character, in your behavior, that would ever diminish God's love for you? Would he ever find something in you that would so disappoint Him that He would say, I'm done loving you? It's a question that Paul asked. He said, what shall separate us from the love of God? Romans 8.

He answers his question. "I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future nor any powers, neither height nor depth nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." So here is John saying, oh, what glorious, measureless love, both qualitatively and quantitatively.

I heard that when Balboa discovered the Pacific Ocean-- let me put it another way-- when Balboa, for his country for the first time, saw the Pacific Ocean, and he saw what that meant to the old world and to the new world, Balboa-- Vasco Nunez de Balboa-- when he saw the Pacific Ocean it is said that he fell down on his knees and he thanked God for the honor of having made that discovery. And that's how John feels here. That's what he means by the words behold what manner. I've discovered something.

So while Taylor Swift is still looking for her love story, and while John Mayer is singing you love who you love who you love who you love, and Amy Winehouse is singing love is a losing game, John the Apostle says, I've discovered something you need and you don't have. And that is the love of God.

One of my favorite songs of all times is an old hymn called "The Love of God" by Frederick Layman. Listen to the lyrics. "Could we with ink the oceans fill, and where the skies of parchment made, were every stock on earth a quill and every man a scribe by trade, to write the love of God would drain the oceans dry. Nor could this scroll contain the hole those stretched from sky to sky. The love of God is greater far than tongue or pen could ever tell. It stretches to the farthest star, it reaches to the lowest hell."

All of that is behind these words, behold, what manner of love. So number one, God's love is incredible. Let's pull the curtain back a little further and see the second feature. God's love is not only incredible, it is consequential. You know what I mean by that? Here we are experiencing the great love of God. It's different than anything else but we live in a bad neighborhood. And the neighbors in the neighborhood won't appreciate the love you say you experience.

Look at what John writes in the second part of verse one. "Therefore, or because of that love, the world does not know us because it did not know Him." Now, the word know you could substitute with the word understand. That's how newer translations put it. Know means to understand. They don't understand you, they don't get us. This love of God is so foreign to them, they just think your kooky. They just think you got your head in the clouds, you're singing about God's love, yeah, I've experience, I'm saved. And they just think, what are you talking about?

Paul put it this way. The natural man-- that's the unbeliever-- does not receive the things of the spirit of God. They are foolishness unto Him. They don't understand. They don't get it.

I still remember the look on people's faces when I told them that I had become a follower of Christ. I wanted to put it that way now that I've become a Christian because so many people they have in their minds what that is. I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I've received him personally. And I remember going back to my friends and telling them that. And most of their responses were these polite little puzzled looks like, that's nice. They didn't get it. One of them was very honest. I told him I had received Christ, he said, why?

The apostle Peter writes that you used to hang out with a crowd that is into what he called lust and lewdness and carousing and drinking. And this is what he said after that. "They think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation."

I know what that's like. When I was 18, right before I-- a few months before, I may have been 17-- but I was with a friend in his house and we were practicing pharmacology one day. You know what I mean by that? We were doing drugs. And this was a Saturday. The very next day, 24 hours later in the same house, he's preaching to me. And I got so mad at him.

I said, excuse me, what could have possibly happened between yesterday and today at the same time? He said, well, I'm glad you asked. Last night I went to a meeting and I walked forward and gave my life to Jesus. And I'm different. I'm here to tell you, you need to change. And I just-- it's like, no, nobody can change that fast. You don't have the right to change that fast.

And it just-- it threw me for a loop. They think it strange. Interesting. They don't think it strange when people ruin their lives with drugs, they don't think it that strange if people ruin their lives with immorality, they don't think it's strange that people ruin their employment with hangovers. But they think it really strange if suddenly a person says, I want to read the Bible and go to church. What? What happened to you? Is it really that bad?

When Paul the Apostle preached before the Roman court, Festus, a Roman official, said, Paul, you are out of your mind. They think it's strange. God's love is like that. It is consequential. Jesus even said, not only will they not understand it, they'll hate you for it.

Now, I don't know what you had in your mind when you came to Christ, what expectations you might have had of what it's like to be a believer. But maybe you thought all of life will just be perfect from now on. Well, Jesus said this, "Marvel not if the whole world hates you. And if they hate you, know that they hated me first." And then he said this. "If you are of the world, the world would love its own. But because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore, the world hates you."

You see, it's a spiritual issue here. Satan-- who's called in the Bible the god of this world-- hates Jesus. You happen to be in the crossfire. Because you're experiencing this great, foreign, exotic kind of love and you're telling people about it and they're seeing it in you. And that upsets them. And you get caught in the crossfire.

You don't do what they do anymore, you don't think like they think anymore, you don't go where they go anymore. And they will misinterpret this as you having some kind of superiority complex. What do you think you're better than we are? It makes them feel guilty.

I read an interesting little quip about a fifth century BC philosopher statesman named Aristides from Athens, Greece. Aristides was so up right, he was so moral, he was so just, that people started nicknaming him Aristides, the just. And it seems that the people of Athens bristled at having to call somebody just or holy or righteous that they banished him from Athens. That was their solution. Get rid of him so he doesn't stand among us and show us all up.

So don't look for approval from this world or you're going to be awfully disappointed. Just know that love has consequences. God's love has consequences. All love has consequences. A young couple might fall in love and one or both parents may or may not approve of that love.

It's funny, when I first introduced my girlfriend, fiancee, now wife, Lenya, to my parents, there was a bit of disapproval. Not of her, but of me. You know, they were taken by her. And I remember one night at dinner my dad said to Lenya, so what do you see in him anyway? I thought, thanks, Dad, for your vote of approval.

Love is incredible, God's love. But God's love is also consequential. But now we move into verse two where he gives us a third feature, God's love is eternal. Beloved-- love that term. Beloved, now we are children of God. And it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed-- another translation says, when he appears-- this is the second coming of Christ-- we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is.

In other words, one day you're going to see Jesus yourself face to face. And when you see Him, you will be totally changed. You'll have a makeover. Did you know that Mickey Mouse turns 86 in November? 86. I saw him at Disneyland. I looked for him all day long. Finally, in the afternoon, I see Mickey and Minnie kind of walking fast like this. And they had security around them. The first time I ever saw a mouse with security but they had little radios on. They, obviously, didn't want to mingle with the crowd but they were walking from one place to another.

And I looked at Mickey and I thought, he looks pretty good for 86. Of course, what was wrong with that? I wasn't seeing him for who he really is. Just pull off the little mouse hat and you will see the guy or girl dressed up like Mickey Mouse. It's figmentary, of course.

But-- and here's the point of John-- God's love, which you begin to experience in this life, will be there all the way until the return of Christ. And when you see Him, you will be changed. You will be like Him. You will see Him as He is. And it will be transforming.

Every follower of Jesus Christ is in for an extreme makeover one day. This is good news, especially to guys like me. It says in Philippines 3, "Our citizenship is in heaven from which we eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it might be conformed to His glorious body." I am so stoked that one day there'll be no more sciatic pain, no more bad eyesight, no more wrinkles. I'm going to have an extreme makeover.

So as a Christian, you're not what you used to be. Thank God. You might not be what you ought to be, but you're certainly not what you're going to be. And part of the what you're going to be is you're going to have a glorified body. But not only that, you're going to have a purified character.

The struggles you have today with your old behaviors, the struggles you have today with sin while you're here, you won't struggle with there. What is a process to us now, that arduous process of sanctification, will be an instantaneous reality and accomplishment there. You'll have a glorified body, you'll have a purified character, but you'll also have a satisfied heart.

Do you know that you'll never be totally fulfilled, never be really satisfied, until that day when you're in His presence and you see His face. That's where you'll be satisfied. That will be the ahhhh moment for you.

In Psalm 17 the author says, "I will behold your face in righteousness. I will be satisfied when I awake in your likeness." A friend of mine is a missionary doctor. He was serving in Africa. And after he was done with a surgical procedure, he was walking back from this little hospital to his barracks and he walked through a cemetery. He likes to look a grave stones and see what's on them. He found one grave stone that had a person's name and then underneath that was Psalm 17-- it just said Psalm 17-- and underneath that one word, satisfied. Is if to say, now, finally, I am satisfied. Beholding His face in His presence.

So God's love isn't the experience of the present. It's the expression of the future. Do you know it's going to take God all of eternity to fully revealed his love to you? Ephesians 2:7. "That in the ages to come, he might show the exceeding riches of His grace and his kindness toward us in Christ Jesus." Now, I will tell you, this is to me one of the distinguishing factors of the Christian experience. It is one of the most remarkable things about a believer as opposed to a unbeliever.

If you are not a believer, the most wretched experience I can think of is growing old because you have nothing to look forward to. Nothing at all. Hopelessness. You have only one way to look and that's backward. All you have to do, all you-- all the comfort you have is looking back over wonderful, beautiful, blissful memories and holding on to those memories from your past. And even that is an unpleasant experience because we have to all sift through unpleasant memories.

But if you're a believer, no matter what memories are part of your past, good or bad, you look forward to the day where it says in Revelation, "And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." There will be no pain, there will be no sorrow. God's love is eternal.

There's a fourth feature that John wants you to know about. And that is, God's love is practical. This is, to me, the best part. As incredible experience as knowing and enjoying God's love, there's something practical to it. Look at verse three. "And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself just as He is pure."

So I remember people years ago saying about me, oh, you're so heavenly minded you're no earthly good. I've come to discover something. Nobody's any earthly good until they are heavenly minded. Really. You are earthly good when you realize there's more beyond just this Earth. If I really believe that Jesus is coming back, and if I believe that when He returns He's going to reward the just and punish the unjust, that should make a difference.

My belief affects my behavior. If my behavior is not affected by my belief, you have every question-- every reason to question my belief. Fair enough? Anybody can say, I believe, I believe, I believe. So the belief ought to affect the behavior.

And if you really believe that this is going to happen, something occurs. A change occurs. He purifies himself. One of the most purifying, incentivizing beliefs and truths is that Jesus Christ could come back at any moment for me.

When I was young and my dad would work during the day and my mom would have to watch four rowdy boys, and their fourth youngest boy named Skip could be a handful. My mom was a little lady, short lady, five foot. But she could handle all of us. And she would say something in the afternoon when I was particularly rowdy that just was the tiebreaker. She just smiled and said, your father will be home soon. She could say it just like that. Your father will be home soon.

I know what that meant. Dad was a loving dad but he kept a tight ship. Knowing that my father would be home soon made me want to live in such a way so that he would be pleased when he came back. You see, Peter the apostle said this. Seeing that all of these things in our world are going to be dissolved, "What manner of persons ought you to be in a holy conduct and godliness."

Like the young teenage girl who went out one night with their friends, got in the car and her friend said, let's go to a party, let's get wasted. And she said, I will not do that. And one of her friends shot back and said, why? Are you scared your dad's going to hurt you? She said, no, I'm scared that I'll hurt my dad. Different motivation.

Or like the young man who joined the Marines and knew that life as a soldier overseas would pose all sorts of temptations. But he decided, I'm going to keep myself pure. And all of this other friends put pressure on him and he said them down one day, he goes, guys, let me tell you why I'm doing this. Back home is a girl, I'm in love with her, when I get home I'm going to marry her. I'm saving myself for her. Different motivation.

Folks, just around the corner is a Savior who is coming. Keep yourself for Him. Let His love in. It is unique, it is uniquely satisfying, it is forever. And it is the most practical truth to guide your life.

Father, we close where we began. We began the service in prayer and in worship. We close it asking you to examine our own hearts, our own lives. We are in a place where songs have been sung and where truth has been heralded. And that will make absolutely no difference at all in any of our lives unless we appropriate it, unless we grab a hold of it and cooperate with the work you are wanting to do by your spirit in our lives.

We know salvation is a sovereign work. We know it can't be done apart from you drawing us. But we trust, Lord, that you will draw us closer even now. We pray that the truth, this great truth, of the most unique kind of love ever, the love of God, which will have consequences with people in our lives, family members, friends, people we work with. I pray you lift up our eyes from that and we realize how long it's going to last.

And as eternal as it is, it brings us back to the present where we have an incentive and a motivation to be purified and to keep ourselves in the love of God as we look for the blessed hope of your return. Lord, people who are hearing this message, many of them-- most of them, probably-- know you personally, they walk with you, it's a real experience of faith.

But still others, Lord, it's sketchy. They themselves are not certain that they're saved. They don't know, they can't say for sure that if they were to die today they would go to heaven. All they can do is, I hope so. But Father, you are calling us to step out of shadow land and into the light and to experience the kind of love the cannot be experienced at any human level anywhere else except in you.

And if we haven't done that, then we have absolutely nothing to lose in making a very important decision and we have everything to gain. So I would pray, and I do pray, for those who have gathered here this morning who have been teetering with this idea of following Jesus or not. Others have wandered away and need to come home to their first love.

As we are praying, if that description that I just mentioned about people in my prayer befits any of you, maybe for the first time you need to receive Jesus, maybe you've wandered from Him and you need to come back to Him, I want to know you are, I want to pray for you. If you're ready to turn around and see your life changed by His love and you want to give your life to Jesus Christ, I want you to raise your hand up in the air just so I can see it. I'll acknowledge your hand and then you can put it down. But raise it up.

God bless you, sir. And you, in the middle. God bless you. And toward the back and right here in the front. Again, in the back, several of you. Anybody else, raise that hand. You're saying, I need to come back home or I need to come to Him for the first time. God bless you, guys, on my left.

Like many of you I was raised in church but I didn't know Jesus until much later on when I made a similar decision. If you're outside, raise your hand. A pastor is there. Say, no, I just like to come and hang out in the courtyard and go home. But do you know Jesus personally? Are you sure that you have salvation? Raise your hand up.

God bless you, in the balcony. Thanks for that. So, Lord, I pray now for those who had those hands raised. They're more than hands, these are people, you love them. They're men and women, young and old, have stories, a set of experiences, but they all have something in common. They all need you. They all need forgiveness, they all need to experience the love of God.

I pray, Lord, that you would reveal yourself to each one in a very profound way and that their lives would be different from today onward as they make Jesus the king of their life, the one they follow. As they pledge allegiance to Him, they turn from whatever-- they turn from whatever their past is and they turn to you. Amen.

Let's all stand. We're going to close with a song. But I'm going to give those of you raised your hand an opportunity. I'm going to ask you, as we sing this last song, to get up from where you're standing, find the nearest aisle, and just stand right up here where I'm going to lead you in a prayer. Jesus called people publicly. And I'm going to give you an opportunity to make that public profession. And you're going to find encouragement as you come. We're all going to hoot it up for you and shout it out for you and clap because we're excited about the decision you made.

So whether you're in the balcony, please, come down the stairs. We're going to wait for you. If you're in the back or in the middle just get up from where you're standing and stand right up here in the front. Right up here in the front.

[APPLAUSE]

Awesome. Awesome. That's right. Come on up. We welcome you.

[APPLAUSE]

[MUSIC - BATTLEDRUMS]

That's right. I saw lots of hands go up so I'm just going to wait a little bit.

[APPLAUSE AND MUSIC CONTINUES]

Awesome. Welcome. So good. So good. Bless you.

[APPLAUSE AND MUSIC CONTINUES]

Is there anybody else? Real quickly. You don't have to wait for the right chord or the right note. Just say, yep, I'm coming. I knew-- I've known that I needed to do this for a long time. Just get up and come. Just say excuse me to the person next to you. Come on down here.

[APPLAUSE AND MUSIC CONTINUES]

And if you're thinking, well, I don't deserve to be down there. Look at me. He saved me when. I was a mess. Everybody here, none of us deserve God's love. But you could receive it. It's a free gift. Come and open your package. Anyone else?

Well, those of you who have come-- and there's quite a lot of you-- we're glad to see you all up here. And I'm going to lead you now in a prayer. I would like you to say this prayer out loud after me. OK? So I'm going to say it in little parts, little phrases. And just say these words from your heart to the Lord. If you can, try to tune all of us out for just a moment. All right? Let's pray. Say, Lord, I give you my life.

Lord, I give you my life.

I know that I am a sinner.

I know that I'm a sinner.

Please forgive me.

Please forgive me.

I believe in Jesus.

I believe in Jesus.

I believe that he died on a cross.

I believe that he died on a cross.

That he shed his blood for me.

That he shed his blood for me.

And that he rose from the grave.

And that he rose from the grave.

And that He's alive right here.

And that He's alive right here.

I turn from my sin.

I turn from my sin.

I turn to Jesus Christ as my Savior.

I turn to Jesus Christ as my savior.

I want to follow Him as my Lord.

I want to follow Him as my Lord.

Help me, Father.

Help me, Father.

In Jesus' name.

In Jesus' name.

Amen.

Amen.

[CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]

If God just saved us from hell, it would be enough. But He does more than that, bringing us into His family and lavishing His love on us. How has God shown you His extraordinary love? Let us know. Email us at mystory@calvaryabq.org. And just a reminder, chick out Battledrums' album "The War is Over" on iTunes, Google Play, or at battledrumsmusic.com. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from Skip Heitzig of Calvary Albuquerque.

Additional Messages in this Series

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7/12/2015
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The Light Has Come
John 1:1-9
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
Music is an integral part of the human experience and expresses our deepest feelings, fears, and hopes. Worship music in particular conveys our dependence on God and celebration of Him. Our worship team has written fresh expressions of praise in their brand-new project, The War Is Over. This summer, we will consider the biblical themes from which these songs are drawn. "The Light Has Come" is a song that celebrates one of the great themes of John’s gospel—God’s life that enlightens us has come in the person of Jesus Christ.
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7/19/2015
completed
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Rend the Heavens
Isaiah 64
Skip Heitzig
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The song "Rend the Heavens," written by our worship team, echoes words first uttered and written by the prophet Isaiah. His heartfelt cry for his people was that they would experience the presence of God in the most profound way. It is our prayer that we would all do the same. As we examine Isaiah's plea, we'll see how it has been answered and yet awaits a further and fuller answer. His prayer shows us three incentives in our relationship to God.
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7/26/2015
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Our God Will Fight for Us
Nehemiah 4
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
Nothing is more comforting in war than knowing you’re on the winning side. When you face a hostile enemy with the knowledge that your cause is just, your resources are many, and your companions are brave, you’re ready for anything. And when you have a Commanding Officer who has never lost a battle, your confidence level is at an all-time high. Our worship team wrote the song “Our God Will Fight for Us” with these thoughts in mind. Let’s consider a fourfold strategy for facing the battles in our lives.
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8/2/2015
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Now I Live
Romans 5-6
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
Our worship team has managed to put the most salient truths of the Christian experience into this single song. Every step detailed in this section of Paul’s letter to the Romans is expressed in condensed form in this new anthem of praise. Today we will walk through the four essential steps of spiritual growth and examine where we are in relationship to them. Some may still be on the first step, while others have camped on the second and third. The challenge from Paul’s message is to press forward to that fourth step of triumph.
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8/9/2015
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The Valley
Psalm 23
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
Everyone knows pain and suffering to some degree. It’s guaranteed for all. As Job said, "Man is born to trouble, as the sparks fly upward" (Job 5:7). He meant that hardship is as predictable as flames and flickers rising when a fire is lit. King David poetically referred to such adversity as walking down into a valley. Though everyone suffers, not all suffer well. Today we rediscover why the valleys are necessary and how they can even be rewarding.
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8/30/2015
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All to You
Matthew 11:1-11
Nate Heitzig
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Message Summary
In times of difficulty, we tend to ask God, "Why am I going through this? Is this really Your will for my life?" We expect God to solve all our problems, when really He wants to use the problems to work on us. In this message, Nate Heitzig explains that though external difficulties can lead to internal doubts, God refocuses us by giving us eternal direction.
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9/6/2015
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By Your Stripes
Isaiah 53:4-6
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
Today I bring you "Christianity 101." These verses in Isaiah not only capture the heart of our worship team’s song, but they present the very heart of the gospel itself. These three monumental truths are the cornerstones of the Christian faith and show our need for Jesus Christ. Though the passage itself highlights many profound aspects of the person and work of Christ, I want to keep it simple and confine it to three. Let’s discover the love of God afresh.
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9/13/2015
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Great and Awesome
Daniel 9:1-19
Skip Heitzig
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Have you ever been shaken to the core, disillusioned, and disheartened? When such times occur and fear rises up inside of you, what assurance do you have that life will get better and you’ll be able to even go on? This song penned by our Battledrums worship team speaks to this, and Daniel the prophet instructs us with his prayer. Daniel held onto three assurances that God’s work in us and through us isn’t over but will keep marching on.
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9/20/2015
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Victory (The War Is Over)
1 Corinthians 15:50-58
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
Victory is a decidedly Christian term. It is used in our spiritual vocabulary almost without effort or thought. We frequently celebrate that Jesus went to the cross and volunteered His life to be the payment for sin in order to justify us before God. But this is more than a simple concept. In this final message explaining the scriptural foundations of our new worship project, we now turn to the future when we will become winners over the last enemy of life—death itself.
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There are 9 additional messages in this series.