Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Compelling Love of God - 1 John 4:7-21

1 John 4:7-21  New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.  God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.  Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another.  No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.
By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.  And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world.  God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. 
So we have known and believe the love that God has for us.
God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.  Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world.  There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love.  We love because he first loved us.  Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters,  are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters[d] also.

Fred Craddock is a great preacher and a great story-teller, and one of the stories I’ve heard him tell had to do with a trip in which he and his wife went back to their native Tennessee.

They drove up to a small restaurant in Gatlinburg.  They were tired and hungry and still had miles to drive that day.

Fred looked up and saw a gray-headed older man going from table to table speaking to the customers.

Fred turned to his wife and with a great fatigue said, "Oh, I hope he doesn't come to our table. I'm so tired."

But, lo and behold, there he came and stood by their table.

He said, "What do you do?"

"I teach homiletics – I teach people how to preach", said Craddock.

"That's good," said the stranger, "I have a preacher's story for you", and he pulled up a chair and sat down. 

Fred Craddock recalls how angry he felt when that stranger intruded on his time and sat at that table.  Fred was just so tired he really didn’t want to hear another preacher story – but Fred said that even though he was tired and exhausted, this was a story worth hearing.
The stranger said, “I was born not far from here - just over the mountain. My mother had never been married, and the shame that fell on her fell on me. When I went to school they called me such horrible names that I would take my lunch and go out onto the playground and eat alone. I just hated the rejection and the ridicule and mockery.  But the worst was on Saturdays when I would have to go into town. I could hear people whispering behind by back, 'Who do you think his father is? Honestly, who's his father?’

"I didn't go to church because we didn't feel we were good enough. Then, when I was 14 years old, a minister came to speak at a school assembly. He moved my heart. He was so warm and inspiring, I decided to go and hear him preach in his church. And I would go in and then leave immediately after the sermon was over. I didn't stay around because I didn't want them to say to me, 'What's a boy like you doing in church?' I dreaded rejection more than anything else.

"One Sunday I didn't get out early enough. When I got to the door, people were blocking my way out, so I had to stand in line. Then I felt a hand on my shoulder, and I turned around, and there was the old preacher: He asked, 'Who are you, son?  Whose boy are you"', and I said to myself, 'Oh, my God that question that has haunted me all my life. And, again, I will be rejected.

"The old preacher said, 'That's all right, son. Don't answer. Yes, I see a family resemblance in you. Yes, you are God's son. God in heaven is your daddy, boy! Go claim that heritage for all you're worth. Go out, boy, in pride. You're God's child!"

The old man, sitting there at the table, sharing his story, then said, "Those words -' You are God's child' - were the most transforming words I'd ever heard. They changed my life forever."

At the core of the Christian Faith is the simple but profound fact: God loves you just as you are! Nothing you or I could ever do will change the heart of God toward us. Regardless of who we are, or where we came from, or what we have or have not done with our lives, God loves us.

In our New Testament lesson for today, we have a wonderfully clear statement of how much God loves us.

The Apostle John said, “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.”

That is a powerful love, to allow your son to die for someone else’s redemption.

I have only one son.  He and I get along together great.  I often give thanks that I am fortunate to stand in the middle of three generations of men who got along together so well.

Now I love you guys.  I love y’all a lot.

But I’m going to admit that I don’t love you enough to give my son to die for you.

That’s no insult to you.  I don’t want you to take it personally.  It’s just that I love my son a lot more.  He’s the only son I have.  I don’t want him to die.  

But IF for some reason, I did decide that your life depended on my son having to die, and IF for some reason I had the power to make that awful decision, and IF I decided to let my son die so you could live – we’ll buddy, let me tell you…

…You had better be on the telephone every day telling me how much you appreciate me and how thankful you are to me that I gave my only son to die for you.

And you’d better show that gratitude by buying me lunch every other day and twice on Thursdays!

And you’d better tell everyone you see what a great person I am that I gave my only son so you could live.

Now, I’m not God.  In many ways, I am nothing like God.

I’m too selfish to give up my son so you can have life.

But God loves you more and He DID give his son to die for you.

But there is one way God and I are both alike.

If a Father gives a son to die for you – the Father expects a response from you.

What is your response to God’s love?

Is it to go home for lunch and turn the television on and to think without much thankfulness, “Yep, God gave his son for me to live.  God loves me.  Yadda, yadda, yadda….

Or do you respond in some other way?

God’s love is compelling, and it compels us to respond in some way!

The Apostle John in the New Testament has the answer!  This is what he said in the New Testament lesson… “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.”

Love is the main response that we should have to God’s love.

It stands to reason, then, that our most natural response to the reality of being loved by God is to love.

First – we should love God back again. When Jesus was asked, “what are the two greatest commandments,” his response was “Number one – love the Lord thy God with all your heart, mind and soul. This is the first and greatest commandment, "said Jesus.

The second greatest commandment, Jesus told us, is to love others. Not just those we know and love, but those whom we do not know and therefore may not love. And not merely love them with a polite kind of acceptance, but love them with the same self-giving love with which God has loved us.

God’s love for us is so compelling, because it was so absolutely committed to us.

I love that old story about the chicken and the pig.

You remember, the two of them were out for a stroll on a hot summer morning. After a long and tiresome time they came upon a restaurant with a sign that read "Ham and Eggs".

The chicken said, "Let's go in; I'm starving." The pig responded adamantly, "Not me, pal. For you it's merely a question of a small donation, but for me it's a matter of total commitment!"

I would hazard a guess that for most of us in this room this morning, love is a matter of small donation, not total commitment.

Some time ago, one of my colleagues in the ministry told me about an experience he’d had.  He was in his church office and a high school classmate stopped by to talk with him--he had not seen him for many years and so it was a surprise visit.

After the usual greetings, the classmate said that he was so depressed--that he was so lonely--that he had no commitments--to anyone or to anything.

And then he said, "you know, it's awful being committed to nothing."

My friend said that he was tempted to preach a stewardship sermon to his classmate--"go get committed to something or to someone" is what he was tempted to say.

Instead, something urged him inside to ask this question: "Is anyone committed to you?"

"No one," he answered--"and it's a terrible thing when you don't belong to anyone."

This verse in John tells us that we do--that we belong to God--that we are loved by a God who yearns to hold us close, be committed to us and who claims us as God's very own.

God loves us – he is so very committed to us. 

What are you going to do about that?

And now unto God the Father,
God the Son,
And God the Holy Spirit be ascribed all might, power, dominion and glory, today and forever, Amen.
Copyright 2015. 
Dr. W. Maynard Pittendreigh
All rights reserved

Ministers may feel free to use some or all of this sermon in their own ministries as long as they do not publish in print or on the Internet without ascribing credit to the author.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

They Lied, They Died, and They Fried - Acts 4:31-5:11

 Acts 4:31-5:11
After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.  All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all.  There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.  Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement), sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles' feet.

Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife's full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles' feet. Then Peter said, "Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn't it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn't the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God."

When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him. About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, "Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?" "Yes," she said, "that is the price."  Peter said to her, "How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also." At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.

        Hmmmm, hmmmm, hmmmm!

        There are few things better in life than a slice of Cousin Sylvia’s German Chocolate Cake.

        Cousin Mac gave me the recipe years ago.  He said his sister, my cousin Sylvia, used to make it for him from time to time. 

        Cousin Sylvia’s recipe was a closely guarded family secret.  She had shared it with no one at all.  She told people that she had developed that recipe after years of trial and error.

        When Cousin Sylvia died, we thought her recipe had gone to the grave as well.  All those years of trial and error that Cousin Sylvia put into her secret recipe – gone.

        But shortly after the funeral, her daughter found a small index card with the title, “Sylvia’s Secret German Chocolate Cake Recipe.”  Someone cooked it up and Cousin Mac declared that this was indeed the secret recipe.  YES!  All those years of trial and error that Cousin Sylvia put into developing her recipe were salvaged!

        So not long ago when a friend was looking for a recipe for a German Chocolate Cake, I came to the rescue with the beloved recipe from Cousin Sylvia.  After all, Cousin Sylvia had spent years of trial and error developing the perfect recipe.

        The church member then went out to buy all of the ingredients, including bars of baker’s chocolate.

        On the label of that bar of baker’s chocolate was another recipe for German Chocolate Cake.

        Wait, not just another recipe.  It was THE recipe.  Word for word the same recipe as Cousin Sylvia’s secret German Chocolate Cake recipe.

        I couldn’t believe it! 

        The chocolate company had stolen Cousin Sylvia’s recipe!

        Well, maybe Cousin Sylvia stole it from the chocolate company.

        I suppose I can forgive Cousin Sylvia for telling us a lie about how she had put in years of trial and error searching for the perfect recipe for German Chocolate Cake.

        Lies – truth – honesty – dishonesty.

        Not long ago the anchor of the NBC Nightly News got into hot water for exaggerating things that happened to him as a reporter – and in some cases they were not just exaggerations, but some say out right lies.

        Next thing you know, someone might tell me that politicians lie! 

        Lies – truth – honesty – dishonesty.

        “Excuse me police officer, but I definitely was not speeding.  Your radar must be broken!”

        “Yes dear, that dress looks lovely and no dear, it does not make you look fat.”

        “This brocolli tastes wonderful.”

        “Yes Mom, I’ve already done my homework.”

        Ok, we lie. 

        And we know that lying is wrong.

        In Colossians 3:7-9  we are told, “But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other.”

        In Leviticus 19:11, “'Do not steal.  Do not lie.  Do not deceive one another.”

        In Ephesians 4:25,  “Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to one’s neighbor.”

        Then we come to the book of Acts.  What a strange passage. 

        This fellow named Barnabas owns a field, sells it, and gives all of the money to the church.

        Then another church member, Ananias, comes in, sells his field, and gives money to the church, and claims to be giving all of the money to the church.  It’s not all the money.  He’s holding some of it back.  But he tells everyone that it is all the money.  Then the preacher, St. Peter, fusses at this man and the man drops dead.

        To make matters worse, the preacher calls on the wife of Ananias and she also lies and dies.

        Now it was their money.  Peter says they had every right to do what they wanted to with it.  But they lied. And because they lied, they died.

        And one might imagine that together they went to Hell – so they fried.

        They lied, died and fried.

        What is it that is so bad about the fact that these two people lied?  I mean really.  What’s so bad about this?

        Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying that what they did was not immoral.  Yes, Lying is wrong.

        But in the Bible people murdered others, they raped women, they abused children, they did all sorts of evil, but THEY didn’t suddenly hit the floor, die and fry.

        I am troubled by this passage.  It really bothers me.  This is a horrible text in the Bible.  It’s uncomfortable.  And let’s face it – we all lie.  None of us are without this sin. Are we also going to die and fry?

        I love the way this passage ends.

        “Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.”

        Oh yeah!  That’s the kind of thing that can send chills down someone’s spine.

        But what makes this lie so dangerously unique is that it is an attempt to deceive – not Peter, not the church, not their friends – but God.

        Peter says to these folks in the seconds prior to their deaths, “You have not lied to people but to God."

        It is not the only time in the Bible that people lie to God.

        In the Book of Genesis, Cain killed his brother Able.  God speaks to Cain and asks, “Where is your brother,” to which Able lies, “I don’t know.”

        And it is so foolish for us to lie to God. 

        I mean it is bad enough that we would lie to each other – but to lie to God?

        We might get away with lying about whether or not the broccoli casserole is good, and we might even be able to fool the traffic officer who has caught us speeding. 

        But to lie to God is absurd.

        Psalm 139 says, “Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD.”

        And yet, like Ananias, we lie to God.

        We refuse to confess to God that we have sinned.  We refuse to admit our racism.  Our anger and hatred.  Our selfishness.  And when we refuse to confess, we lie to God.

        We refuse to admit to God that we need His help – we can do it on our own.  But we can’t.  And when we refuse to seek God’s help, we lie to God.    

        And to lie to God is a dangerous thing.

        It is, in fact, a deadly thing.

        You see, when we are not honest to God, then we build a wall between us and the very One who can help us.

        When we are not honest to God about our failures, we essentially bar Him from helping guide us.

        When we are not honest to God about the struggles we have in our family or marriage, we essentially keep God from healing our torn relationships.

        When we are not honest to God about our fears, our anxieties, our anger, our sadness, our shortcomings, our sins, our hopes, our lives – then even though He already knows exactly what we are going through, we have built a wall to keep God away from healing us.

        Some lies really are worse than others. 

        And the lies we tell to God are the worst ones of all – and the most useless, and the most deadly.

        Not that we are going to suddenly drop dead – but when we lie to God, we find that our lives are not healed.
        God loves us, and wants to see us improve our lives, which we cannot do if we are not honets to God.

        But when we open up to God, when we are honest to God, that is when we open our lives and let God in, and the healing of our lives begins.

And now unto God the Father,
God the Son,
And God the Holy Spirit be ascribed all might, power, dominion and glory, today and forever, Amen.
Copyright 2015. 
Dr. W. Maynard Pittendreigh
All rights reserved

Ministers may feel free to use some or all of this sermon in their own ministries as long as they do not publish in print or on the Internet without ascribing credit to the author.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

The Scars of Life - and Easter Sunday Sermon - John 20:19-31

John 20:19-31
When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."
But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe."
A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe." Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe."
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

A friend of mine says that when he went into the Army, he was given a physical medical examination. The recruit in front of my friend was asked if he had any scars or identifying marks. He answered, "No."

The medic at the table said, "Boy, everybody has some scars or other identifying marks. You better tell me yours or I'll have to take you outside and give you some!" Suddenly the guy ahead of my friend remembered a scar or two.

The medic was right, of course. Seems that everyone has at least one scar and a story to tell about it.

When I was a child, I took my father's pocket knife and began to carve a piece of wood. It wasn't long before the knife slipped and I accidentally carved my thumb. I hated to call for help, because I knew I wasn't supposed to be using the knife to begin with, but with blood flowing freely, I decided it would be in my best interest to confess my guilt and ask for help.

Help came from my father, who took a needle and thread and stitched up my thumb. Dad was not a doctor, but he'd spent his life in textiles, and I guess he figured he could sew anything, whether it was cloth or skin.

I look at my thumb today, and every time I reach for a knife, I see the scar and I remember -- I remember to be careful.

In the movie, Jaws, three men are out at sea searching for the man eating Great White Shark. During a lull in their search, they find themselves sharing coffee and sharing horror stories. Each one has scars and each one tries to one up each other. One of the characters has scars from the war, another has scars from a previous shark attack. The character played by Richard Dreyfus rips open his shirt and points to his chest without speaking a word. Another man asks, "What? Bypass surgery?"

"No," answers Dreyfus, "Betty Sue, 7th grade. She broke my heart."

All of us have scars. You can't live life without being hurt.

In Shakespeare's "Henry V" the King makes a stirring speech to his soldiers before they are to fight the French in the battle of Agincourt. The English army is terribly outnumbered and morale is low. The speech made by the King is magnificent and the English go out and win the battle and the war. The battle was fought on Saint Crispian's Day. Henry tells his troops that after this, whenever Saint Crispian is celebrated,

He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian:
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vig'l feast his neighbors,
And say 'Tomorrow is Saint Crispian:'
Then he will strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispin's day.'

In the New Testament Lesson for today, Thomas demands to see the scars upon the hands of Jesus. He is full of doubt and when he is told by one of the other disciples, "We have seen the Lord," Thomas responds with some honest and sincere doubt. He has a "gotta see it to believe it" attitude.

Thomas looks at the other disciples and says, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe."

What do these scars mean?

For Thomas, it serves as proof of the Resurrection.

Thomas has a nickname. It is "Doubting Thomas." He earns that nickname because in our New Testament lesson, he expresses doubts. "Unless I see the scars...I won't believe," says Thomas.

But this like referring to the patience of Job. Job is a long book in the Old Testament and the man named Job lost his patience very early in the book. He spends most of the time in the book of Job very impatient.

So it is with Thomas. Throughout most of the written record we have about this man, Thomas was a man of great faith and belief. It is Thomas who is the first to say to Jesus after the Resurrection, "My Lord and my God."

Actually, it would have been unacceptable for Thomas to have done anything else but express doubts. There is a difference between trust and gullibility. There is a difference between being a person of faith, and a sucker.

Proverbs 14:15 cautions us:  "The gullible believe anything they're told; the prudent sift and weigh every word."

After the Resurrection, God made sure that people served as witnesses. Actual witnesses who saw with their own eyes and felt with their own hands. It was important that there would be people like Thomas who could express doubt and demand evidence, and once confronted with that evidence, believe.

We think of Easter as a one day event, but it actually is a season of several days.  In the Book of Acts, we read that there was a 40 day period between the time Christ rose from the grave and the day he ascended into Heaven (Acts 1:3).

Forty Days! 

Easter season is a lot longer than simply one Easter Sunday. 

Forty days is enough time for Christ to see and to visit a number of people.

St. Paul wrote in his letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor 15:3-8):
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance:
that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
that he was buried,
that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
and that he appeared to Peter,
and then to the Twelve.
After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time,
most of whom are still living, (at the time Paul wrote his letter to the Corinthians)
though some have fallen asleep.
Then he appeared to James,
then to all the apostles,

These scars became part of the fabric of evidence that the Resurrection was not a rumor or a figment of imagination brought about by grief and denial. The Resurrection was real.

To Thomas, that is what the scars of Jesus meant -- the Resurrection is real.

What do these scars mean to us?

For us, it serves as a reminder of the humanity of Christ.

There is something about scars that seems to make a person "more human".

We are sometimes suspicious about people who seem to be "too perfect": about children who don't have some signs of scraped knees, about teenagers who don't show any signs of acne, about models whose hair is perfect the moment they step out of the surf, about people who are in their "twilight years" who have no signs of graying hair or wrinkling faces.

There is something about our scars that makes us real, believable, trustworthy.

Maybe it is because we know that life hands out its damaging blows to all people of all ages, of all backgrounds.

It is sometimes easy for us to accept the divinity of Christ, and to forget the humanity of Christ. But Christ was both divine and human.

In Philippians, Paul said (2:6-7), Jesus, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness."

Those scars remind us that Jesus remains human, just as he remains divine.

Those scars remind us that Jesus felt pain, just as we feel pain.

Those scars remind us that Jesus suffers, just as we suffer.

To Thomas, the scars meant evidence of the Resurrection.

To us, the scars remind us of the humanity of Christ.

But what do these scars mean to Jesus?

Isn't it strange that the Resurrection brought Christ back to life, but left Him scarred.

Here is Jesus, the man, appearing to his friends and showing them the scars that his life, his suffering, and his death, inflicted on him. Isn't it amazing that, in whatever occurred at the time of the resurrection the scars were NOT obliterated? They remained. They are still there.

We have a permanently scarred God. And he comes, scarred, to be with us with whatever scars we bear, with whatever wounds we carry, and with whatever doubts we harbor.

Isn't that incredible? Isn't that an amazing demonstration of God's love for us? That he would continue to carry the scars, the reminders of the pain and humiliation he went through.

Think about what it means for Christ to have scars on his hands.

Our hands are the one part of our body that is almost always in view of our sight. We can't see our ears unless we look in the mirror. We see our feet if we intentionally look down. But our hands are almost always before us. No matter what we do, we usually see our hands as we do it.

That is why in the Old Testament, some people would wear small boxes on their hands. Inside the boxes was a small parchment with a portion of Scripture.

In Deuteronomy, God told the people (Deut 6:6-9):

These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

This way, if a person reached to steal something, there was the Word. If a person went to hit a person, there was the Word. If a person went to touch someone in an adulterous way, there was the Word.

Now what does Jesus sees when He reaches out for us? He sees the scars on his hands...

Therefore, when Jesus reaches out to judge, He sees the scars on his hands.

When Jesus reaches out to bless or comfort, He sees the scars on his hands.

When Jesus reaches out to receive us, He sees his scars.

Thomas needed to see the scars in Christ's hands. Those scars remind us of the humanity of Christ. Those scars remind Christ of his love for us.

Copyright 2015. 
Dr. W. Maynard Pittendreigh
All rights reserved

Ministers may feel free to use some or all of this sermon in their own ministries as long as they do not publish in print or on the Internet without ascribing credit to the author