Lots of firsts with this sermon. This is actually the first sermon I ever wrote, but not the first time I ever gave it, (that happened with the folks at Waldheim UMC who received that "honor"). This is also th first time I got to speak in the main sanctuary at St. Timothy's. Special thanks to Rev. James Mitchell for his trust and leadership and Rev. Chris Fryou for his trust, leadership, and patience.
We define our Christian faith in many different ways. But Jesus said His disciples would be identified by only one characteristic.
“My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
1 Corinthians 13:1-8
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
This sermon is based on the writings of Eugene Peterson, C.S. Lewis, Andy Stanley, St. Francis of Assisi, Rob Bell, Adam Hamilton, Francis Chan, and Saul of Tarsus.