When the word overflowing comes to mind, I always think of the disasters that occurred over the years. The pots on the stove that overflowed while cooking, creating a huge mess. The clog toilet that overflowed. One of the biggest things that comes to mind is the time the creeks, lakes, and rivers overflowed during the flood and we saw people paddling down the streets, and houses and roads devastated by flood waters. Something that overflows is excessive and unable to be contained.
Now think of overflowing love. This is a love that pours out of us in excess. It is outrageous. It is uncontained. It is something that comes from God. Remember, God the Father loved us so much that He sent His one and only Son (John 3:16). Jesus Christ commanded us to love one another just as He loved us (John 13:34). The Holy Spirit poured out to all believers produces fruit, and love is the first mentioned (Galatians 5:22).
God’s love is described as unfailing, unconditional, and eternal. God’s love is overwhelming, immeasurable, and relentless. The Spirit of God can help you to love deeper and wider. Pray for the compassion, love, for a heart for people. Ask the Spirit to help you to love like God loves. Pray that your love with overflow. May this love be excessive. May this love be outrageous. May this love pour out everywhere you go and point everyone you encounter to the One Who is Love.
“I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding.” – Philippians 1:9 [NLT]
The other night I left the van windows open. It’s so easy for me to overlook as I’m not sitting back there. Of course it rained that evening. Thankfully it did not rain inside the van. I did not learn my lesson. Last night, I left the van windows open again. This time, the outcome was different. At the end of the day, I understand that it is not good for me to keep the van windows open at night. Perhaps practicing this bad behavior does not have any consequences most of the time, but there comes the moment when the downpour arrives.
We live in a world where most people believe that every road leads to God. I won’t argue that statement. I agree. Every road leads to God. At the end of your life here on earth, you will in fact meet God. For some people, this meeting will not be pleasant. Judgment arrives. After all of those evenings of leaving the van windows open without much consequence, the final judgment comes. And without Jesus Christ, the road leads to hell. Why? Because every road does NOT lead to heaven. Only through Jesus Christ do you receive the free gift of salvation. Only through the grace of God do you receive eternal life. This is why they call the road to heaven a narrow road.
Today, consider how you are living your life. Consider also the lives of those around you. You can leave the van windows open every night, but one day the downpour will arrive. Don’t wait for the downpour. Close the van windows at night! Ask Jesus into your heart. Begin to do life with Him and then write His Word on your heart. Treasure His commands. Embrace His presence.
“For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” – Matthew 7:14 [ESV]
“For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16 [NIV]
It really upsets me when I hear people say that God sends people to hell. The truth is that hell is a choice. People choose to go to hell because they don’t want a life with Jesus—Who is in heaven at the right hand of the Father. God “wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth” (v. 4). In 2 Peter 3:9, we read that “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise… instead He is patient… not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (NIV).
Jesus Christ gave His life as a sacrifice—to purchase freedom—FREEDOM FOR EVERYONE. In John, we read that God loved the entire world, everybody, that He gave His one and only Son and everyone who believes in Him will not perish (3:16). God loved the entire world. Jesus purchased freedom for everyone.
Hell is a choice. Heaven is a choice. You have a choice. Jesus Christ paved the way for you to have these two options, instead of it ending at the wages of sin being death. There are two options. You decide. Everyone chooses for themselves. God wants you to choose freedom. He wants you to choose heaven. He wants you to choose life. He wants you to choose Jesus. But He loves you so much, He’s given you the choice. It’s the only way for you to truly love Him, to truly have freedom, to truly have life. You decide.
“Who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth… He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time.” – 1 Timothy 2:4, 6 [NLT]
Parents understand the word sacrifice. Most parents do for their children before they do for themselves. Parents sacrifice time, money, and energy. If you and your child both need to get an eye exam, chances are the kid will get taken to the eye doctor first. When it is time for a new pair of shoes, you realize your kid needs a new pair so you put your shoes on the “wish list.”
This week, I noticed my daughter Jess struggling with her headphones. She saved up money for new headphones that were not an improvement to her half broken old headphones. She returned to using the old headphones for half the time. I had the same headphones that I used for work. I decided to switch my good headphones for her broken ones. She was so grateful and she didn’t understand why I would take her broken headphones in exchange for good headphones.
I am not mentioning this to make you think highly of such sacrificial parenting. The truth is, when she noticed the sacrifice and I had to explain to her what it meant to sacrifice as a parent, I was reminded of the greatest sacrifice, the Lamb of God. I was reminded of the sacrifice our Heavenly Father made by sending His Son to die for my sins, for your sins, so that we could no longer suffer the wages of sin, but instead have Eternal Life. I only gave headphones. His sacrifice we should remember each day. Thank you Jesus!
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16 [ESV]
JOY is all about JESUS and the gift of salvation He offers. Because of JESUS, we wanderers can come back home to our Heavenly Father. This relationship was always God’s plan for us. It is only possible through CHRIST JESUS. Only through faith in JESUS are we children of God. Salvation is a gift from God. JESUS, our greatest gift – this is the cause of our “Overwhelming Joy.”
When you live with the Overwhelming JOY of JESUS, this JOY will become Overflowing JOY.
Luke 2:10-11 – But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. [NIV]
What JOY isn’t:
- Positive thinking
- Happiness because things are going your way
- A glass half-full attitude
NO ONE WILL ROB YOU OF YOUR JOY – John 16:22 says “So you also have sorrow now. But I will see you again. Your hearts will rejoice, and no one will rob you of your joy.” No one can rob you of your JOY because it is founded in JESUS, in your salvation.
What is JOY?
1 Peter 1:8 – “You love (Jesus) even though you have never seen Him. Though you do not see Him now, you trust Him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy.” [NLT]
- Glorious joy – ascribing weight by recognizing real substance/value – personally acknowledge God in His true character – JOY [POINTS TO GOD]
- Inexpressible joy – unable to fully describe, impossible to adequately convey with words, unspeakable – JOY [WORDS CANNOT DESCRIBE]
Definition of JOY:
“Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation.” – Kay Warren
The JOY OF JESUS
The JOY of JESUS was His absolute surrender and sacrifice of self to His Father. He had JOY in doing what His father sent Him to accomplish. Hebrews 12:2b says, “Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now He is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.”
Why did this all happen….
- God loves you – John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” JESUS WAS BORN TO COMPLETE A MISSION – A SINLESS LIFE, A SACRIFICE, SALVATION FROM THE WAGES OF SIN.
- God is for you – Romans 8:31b “If God is for us, who can be against us;” John 3:17 “God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him” (NLT). JESUS CAME TO SAVE YOU
- God is with you – Joshua 1:9 “wherever you go;” Deuteronomy 31:6 “He will not leave you or forsake you;” Isaiah “(He) is with you;” Matthew 28:20b “I am with you always, to the end of the age;” Immanuel means “God with us” – prophesied in Isaiah 7:14, mentioned in Matthew 1:23. THE HOLY SPIRIT WAS SENT TO US.
IT’S ALL ABOUT JESUS AND RELATIONSHIP
What Jesus say about JOY:
- All of heaven celebrates those who repent. Luke 15:7 – Parable of Lost Sheep – “Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” [JOY OVER REPENTANCE]
- Jesus celebrates faithfulness with you. Matthew 25:21 – “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’” [JOY OVER FAITHFULNESS]
REPENTANCE IS THE FIRST STEP
FAITHFULNESS IS ALL OF THE STEPS AFTER
JOY is grounded upon God Himself:
- Joy is glorious gladness & deep delight in the person of Jesus
- Joy is greater and stronger than any trouble in life
- Jesus is the source of all JOY (Psalm 43:4)
- In His Presence is fullness of JOY (Psalm 16:11)
- His Word is a JOY & delight of heart (Jeremiah 15:1-6)
- Faith in Him causes us to brim with JOY (Psalm 33:20-22)
JOY is Good News – Entire Gospel is full of JOY at every turn:
- Birth of Jesus (Luke 2:10) – Good news of GREAT JOY that will be for ALL the people.
- Triumphal Entry (Mark 11:9, Luke 19:37) – Whole multitude of disciples began to PRAISE GOD.
- After the Resurrection (Matthew 28:7-8) – So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled WITH JOY, and ran to tell his disciples.
- The Promise Yet to Come (Isaiah 51:11) – Those who have been ransomed by the LORD will return. They will enter Jerusalem singing, crowned with everlasting joy. Sorrow and mourning will disappear, and they will be filled with joy and gladness.
How does the JOY fade?
- Sin – going against God – Pastor Miles spoke the first week about Repentance
- Past – focusing on past mistakes – I spoke about the past – about how we should only look back when we are remembering what God has done.
- Fear & Doubt – not believing/trusting God, doubting God – Pastor Ryan spoke about trusting God
- Selfishness – pride tries to control rather than rest in Him. Pastor Matt spoke about our need to surrender control and admit we need Jesus.
- Lack of prayer – JOY is fruit of the believer. (Galatians 5:22). Every believer is to share in the JOY of CHRIST by walking with Him daily. Prayer & Bible reading. JESUS said in John 15 that it is MY JOY IN YOU – JESUS’ JOY in you – if you abide in HIM. You cannot produce this JOY alone. It needs to be cultivated. It’s linked to your relationship with JESUS.
Great Example of JOY in the Bible
Churches of Macedonia – 2 Corinthians 8:2 – “In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.”
This doesn’t make sense if you define JOY using the world’s definition. But it certainly makes sense when you have encountered JESUS and you walk with Him.
If you haven’t taken that first step to JESUS, do it now! Enter into His JOY!
If you already have taken that first step, where are you at with the steps that follow? If you are walking with JESUS, where is your joy?
2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” He did this so we could do life with JESUS, so that we could be in the presence of God. JOY is wrapped up in His presence.
Romans 14:17 – the Kingdom of God is RIGHTEOUSNESS, PEACE, & JOY in the Holy Spirit. The Kingdom of God is about righteousness, peace & joy—and it’s all from the Spirit of God. No one can take the Spirit of God from you. No one can take the joy & peace & righteousness.
Psalm 16:11 – “You will show me the way of life, granting me the JOY of Your presence and the pleasures of living with You forever.”
May this be your prayer.
“And I ask Him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God” 17-19 [MSG]
17 – Rooted deep in love… founded securely on love
18-19 – Strength to comprehend…
BREADTH – extends to all
John 3:16 – For God so LOVED THE WORLD
LENGTH – everlasting duration
Romans 8:37-39 – Nothing can separate you from LOVE of GOD
DEPTH – Christ’s humility saves those from pit of sin
Ephesians 2:4-5 – When dead in trespasses made alive
Romans 5:8 – While still sinners, Christ died for us
HEIGHT – raises to glory
Ephesians 2:6 – Raised & seated with God because united with Jesus
2 Corinthians 4:14 – Raises us with Jesus and brings us into His presence
Know the Love of Christ that…
Fills you with all the fullness of God
“We should be astonished at the goodness of God, stunned that He should bother to call us by name, our mouths wide open at His love, bewildered that at this very moment we are standing on holy ground.” – Brennan Manning
Bible Study Questions:
- We usually gauge the depth of someone’s love for us by the cost of that love. Many times we look at the sacrifices, the money, the time we give as a way to measure the love. How can we measure Christ’s love by what it cost Him?
- We can gauge the depth of someone’s love for us by how much we actually deserve the love. If we are not so nice to someone and they love us compared to someone who loves us when we treat them well, there is a difference. It’s more difficult to love some people. How can we measure Christ’s love by how much we deserve it?
- We can gauge the depth of someone’s love for us by the greatness of the benefits we receive from being loved. What are the benefits we receive from Christ’s love?
- We can gauge the depth of someone’s love by the freedom with which they love us, meaning that the person isn’t doing something because they are made to do so, but because they choose, they so desire. How free is the love of Christ?
- What gets in the way from you accepting the love of Christ? What gets in the way from you showing the love of Christ to the body of Christ (the Church)?
This is one part of a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on Ephesians. The 12 weeks include:
Valentine’s Day is not a day single people usually like to observe. When you don’t have a Valentine, the day seems pointless—or even like a slap in the face. Valentine’s Day can be a day people feel even more alone because they hear about all of the flowers, candies, and fancy dinners enjoyed by friends and acquaintances.
For me, Valentine’s Day was just another day. I went to work and was at a vantage point where I saw what people were buying their Valentine for later that evening. So many people poured into the store seeking out flowers and candy. Roses. Chocolates. Hours passed. Then someone came up to me with a single carnation. We didn’t sell single carnations. The lady handed me the carnation, smiled and said, “Everyone needs a Valentine.”
I looked down at the slip of paper attached to the flower. It was a church outreach with John 3:16 written along with their church information. I smiled and placed the flower to the side. You see, some people might consider themselves alone on Valentine’s Day, or any day for that matter, but you always have a Valentine. For God so loves you. You are never alone. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not on Valentine’s Day. You are loved.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16 [NIV]
Money has been tight and we have had to make some cuts; one of the cuts we have made was the dog bones. When things are going okay, we give the dog a bone daily to help him clean his teeth, and he gets this bone first thing in the morning. The dog remembers he is to receive a bone in the morning; however, when it doesn’t come, he still sits by my side, still wants to be with me. He loves me with or without the bones.
God loves us with or without us doing anything. His love for us is not based on what we do, but on who He is—His character. He showed us this love before we were even born by sending His Son Jesus to die for our sins and then be raised on the third day. He did this all before you were born because He values you—He loves you—because He wants to do life with you. He knew where you would be right now, this very second, and still wanted to be with you.
Today, consider His love for you—consider how much you are worth to God. God made a way for you to return to Him and He has a great purpose for your life.
“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” – Genesis 1:27 [NIV]
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16 [NIV]