JESUS! In Word and Song

WEEK 4

ADVENT WEEK 4 – LOVE

Love is the greatest of all the virtues on the Advent wreath and encompasses Jesus’ entire purpose for being on earth. Christ connects all the Advent candles. Through him, we can have hope, peace, joy, and love.1

“It was a holy night. God’s glory came to earth and wrote a love letter to the world in the form of a newborn baby.”2 “God made His love visible.”3

And certainly the greatest truth about Christmas is that God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son. Christmas is really the effect of which God’s love is the cause. God’s love for mankind then is evident in the offer of the gospel to all people. And the path to the gospel has been given to everybody.4

This was the most loving act ever performed in history, for there has never been and can never be a gift greater than the life of the Son of God given for the “sins of the whole world.” Without God’s Spirit indwelling them, people cannot look to the love they have for others or even the “love” they have for God as an example to be emulated for we are born self-centered and remain so unless the Holy Spirit changes our hearts.5

“In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son” (1 John 4:10 ESV).

Christian love comes from God Himself. This love is not natural to fallen humanity. It originates in God and is a divine gift to His people. When we are transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit, we are given a capacity for this supernatural love that has God as its source and foundation. [N]ot every human being who loves another is born of God. The kind of love of which he speaks comes only from regeneration. Without the Holy Spirit’s transformation of the human heart, no one has this capacity for love. No unregenerate person has this kind of love, and no regenerate person lacks such love. Therefore, a person who does not have the ability to love in the way John describes has not been born again. “Anyone who does not love [in this manner] does not know God.”6

The Father sent his Son to make his worst enemies into beloved children, and yet he’s crowded out by other, more earthly details — the kind of details that can be finely painted on ornaments. [W]e have an almighty Father of infinite wisdom and relentless love, a Father who authored that first Christmas and every one since. Nothing compares to the Creator of the universe sending the radiance of his own glory, the exact imprint of his nature, into his creation. Let Christmas remind you that the Son was sent, in love, from heaven, and that you are sent, in love, on earth.7

To purchase song book
see BOOK in main menu bar

ENDNOTES

(4) GOD Came to Us

            1. Hope Bolinger, “What is the Candle of Love and the Christ Candle for Advent. Week 4,” 21 October 2020, Christianity, 26 March 2021 https://www.christianity.com/wiki/holidays/what-is-the-candle-of-love-and-the-christ-candle-for-advent-week-4.html.

            2. Matt Tullos, “Advent Devotional (Week 5): Christ,” 25 November 2015, Lifeway, 26 March 2021 https://www.lifeway.com/en/articles/devotions-christmas-advent-week-five-christ.

            3. Mary Brack, “Advent Week 4: Love,” 18 December 2016, Grace Church, 26 March 2021 http://gracetoledo.org/2016/12/advent-week-4-love/.

            4. John MacArthur, “The Love of God, Part 1” 4 Dec 1994, Grace to You, 22 October 2021 https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/90-77/the-love-of-god-part-1.

            5. “The True Love of God” 2 June 2010, Grace to You, 22 October 2021 https://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/true-love-god.

            6. R.C. Sproul, “The Holy Love of God” 25 June 2014, Ligonier, 22 October 2021 https://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/holy-love-god.

            7. Marshall Segal, “The Forgotten Giver of Christmas” 5 December 2020, Desiring God, 22 October 2021 https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-forgotten-giver-of-christmas.

            8. Quina Aragon, “Advent Week 4: A Savior is Born,” 16 December 2020, Christianity Today, 31 March 2021 https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2020/november-web-only/advent-week-4-savior-is-born.html.

            9. Frederick M. Lehman, “The Love of God,” 1917, Hymnary, 31 March 2021 https://hymnary.org/text/the_love_of_god_is_greater_far.

THANKSGIVING

ELECTION

screen-shot-2016-10-20-at-4-27-07-pm…FATHER, Your Scripture presents a history of man in a state of sin and rebellion and Your plan to bring man back to Yourself (ref#63, p490). Before creation You selected from the human race those whom You would redeem, justify, sanctify, and glorify in CHRIST (Rom 8:29-30) (ref#56, p1630).

“…man is free in that he can and does choose what he desires or is inclined to choose. But man lacks the desire for Christ and the things of God until God creates in his soul a positive inclination for these things” R. C. Sproul (ref#80, p165).

Without Your gift of electing me I would have been unable to choose You for I simply would have not been interested. My nature from birth was to sin constantly.

Therefore I write this page thanking You for loving me and making it possible for me to love You. I also thank You for the opportunity to exercise my faith (ref#152, p136) as I pray You elect all my family, friends, and my enemies.

You forgive me and give me membership into Your family, as well as grant me growth in the Christian life. You keep me faithful to Yourself throughout life as I purpose to respond to You in faith and repentance (ref#63, p669). Thank You, FATHER, for giving me reason to live.

Blessed are You, LORD—

You daily load me with benefits.

You are my GOD of salvation;

and to You belong escapes from death (Ps 68:19-20).

 

The pillars of the earth are Yours,

and on them You have set the world.

You guard my feet

for not by might shall I prevail (1 Sam 2:8-9).

THANKSGIVING

PRESERVATION OF THE SAINTS

Screen Shot 2016-03-15 at 12.06.03 PM…FATHER, when You bless me You bless me forever. It is You, LORD, who makes me continue forever before You (1 Chron 17:27).

“The preservation of the saints means that all who have been elected by the Father, atoned for by Christ, and regenerated by the Holy Spirit will be saved…, and that not one of them will fall away totally or finally” R. C. Sproul (ref#71, p46).

King David conspired to murder an innocent man, yet You caused him to continue desiring You to the end of his life. You even called him “a man after Your own heart” (Acts 13:22). It is not my control of my sin or my submitting to Your commands that will keep me to the end, but Your hand alone.

What You start, You will finish. You began a good work in me and will continue to complete it until the day of CHRIST JESUS (Phil 1:6). I may sin severely and fall into a great length and depth of backsliding but You will keep me from falling completely away. My disobedience will keep me from joy, but it will not keep me from continuing on eternally with You.

FATHER, You alone preserve me. I cannot rely on myself to keep myself. I am “too weak; too changeable; too ready to be led astray; too much disposed to yield to temptation” Barnes’ Notes (ref#16, [Phil 1:6]).

But, lest I willingly slip into apathy because of Your goodness, prick me about You holding me responsible for every careless word from my mouth (Matt 12:36). I must be responsible before You for You are not mocked (Gal 6:7).

SUPPLICATION

NON-SAVING FAITH

“All people are naturally inclined to some form of religion, yet they fail to worship their Creator…” R.C. Sproul (ref#56, p1613, “Mankind’s Guilty Knowledge of God”).

Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 1.38.05 PMFATHER, I fear ____ has decided on (his/her) own to follow You because (he/she) finds it convenient. It’s quite possible (he/she) has a belief like the crowd described in John 2:23 NASU: “Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name…” 

 The crowd’s belief in JESUS was not a life-changing belief. They were quick only to acknowledge Him as a teacher, or a great prophet, or someone who could make their life better. The Amplified version sums it up, they …[identified themselves with His party]…. Surely they figured being close in proximity met He would save them from…whatever they wanted saved from.

FATHER, I fear ____ has found comfort in a faith that does not save. (He/She) may be content to know about JESUS, like Him, and conclude (he/she) identifies enough with Him that (he’ll/she’ll) go to heaven when (he/she) dies.

“To believe, for Paul, involves knowledge of the gospel’s content, mental assent to its testimony about Christ (Rom 10:14), and obedient trust and reliance on Him as Savior and Lord (Rom 1:5)” R.C. Sproul (ref#56, p1617, [Rom 3:22]).

I pray You give ____ ears to hear the Gospel. Convince (him/her) that (he/she) has no righteousness of (his/her) own and needs CHRIST’s righteousness. Be graphic about revealing (his/her) danger of perishing. LORD, give (him/her) a need to look for someone to save (him/her) from Your wrath. And then motivate (him/her) to make the effort to understand that CHRIST cannot save unless He becomes LORD of (his/her) life.

FATHER, give ____ opportunity to understand and grab hold of the faith that saves. By exercising (his/her) faith and by obeying, You will cause (him/her) to joyfully worship You. (He/She) does not need to be punished with everlasting destruction being forever away from Your presence and from the glory of Your power either in the rest of this life or in the life to come (2 Thes 1:9).