Love beyond Circumcision

Acts 10:44-48

Luke described what was taking place as Peter was preaching.  The Holy Spirit was much at work (“fell upon”) those who were listening, as described with their behavior of speaking in tongues and in the way they were praising God.  It is amazing to think of what this must have been like to hear the thrice-denying Peter preach now with aptly focused zeal.  What stands out the most here, though, is how the Spirit shows no boundaries in who was to receive it.  The “circumcised” were “astounded” at how the Gentiles were given the Spirit.  God was for everyone, not just a select group. This will be a great reference point for the upcoming Pentecost Sunday.

Psalm 98

The psalmist broke out in an exuberant call to worship, a “new song” of praise for how God had done marvelous things for their nation.  He envisioned not only a band of instruments and their musicians coming together to lead the nation in worship, but the sea, floods and hills would rejoice as well.  This makes for a great Call to Worship for Sunday.

1 John 5:1-6

How can you know if someone is really a child of God?  John provided an answer to this question, in case anyone receiving his letter needed clarification,:  “when we love God and obey his commandments.”  John emphasized that this came from a belief “that Jesus is the Christ.”  Such belief set them apart from those who didn’t believe in Jesus, giving them a faith that “conquers the world.”  John made it clear, however, that such victory is not one of might or force, but of love.

John 15:9-17

Like in the first eight verses from this chapter in last week’s reading, Jesus was teaching the vital necessity of abiding in him and letting his words abide in them.  Such attachment would not only provide “much fruit,” but would fill them to the rim with real joy.  Details are here of the “commands” John mentioned in 1 John 5:1-6.  One such command was for them to love one another.  They would show themselves to be friends with Jesus by loving each other as he had loved them–with sacrificial action.  There are a lot of possibilities here for preaching, even for application on Mother’s Day.  This visibility of this kind of love for one another in our families, neighborhoods, organizations, offices, schools, systems shows that we are really friends with Jesus.

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