Notes from talk by Pastor La Fayette Scales
What Should Our Response Be to the Love of God? by Pastor La Fayette Scales
Now we are entering into the season of booths, the Feast of Tabernacles where God comes and tabernacles with us. Pastor Scales said this was a time when people moved their worship out of the Temple and into the community.
To move the witness out of the Temple and into our house. To bring God out of the Church and into the community. To let the people see that God is a healing, caring, loving God.
Abundance in the Temple and abundance at Home.
We all want peace, wholesomeness, love, and prosperity.
Pastor Scales said the Apostle John lived to about 90-100 A.D. He wrote about God being light, love and life.
1 John 3:1-2 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
Behold what manner of love, the Father’s love. God is a relational God. He is not a lofty God far off from us, but God came down to relate to us. Pastor Scales told us that God created man in His own image and likeness. He had an executive meeting with Himself – The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit, and made man.
Genesis 1:26-28a Then God (Heather’s note that is a plural form of God – Elohim) said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them (man) have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them…..
God blessed them, and made them in His image. We are the image of God. Some people wonder how God – one God – can be the Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit simultaneously. Pastor Scales told us it is similar to a university, where there are many diverse schools contained within one university, one university with multiple colleges.
So we have the Father Eternal indwelling in us as the Holy Spirit, and the Son who died for us.
We are made in God’s image. A man can be a man, husband and father. A woman can be a wife, a woman, and a mother. We are three in one also.
In Genesis 2 God stoops down to form the dust of the earth into the form of a man, then God lays on top of him and breathes into the body, and man becomes a living soul.
Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
In Genesis 3 man hides from God, for he sinned by disobeying God. We laughed when Pastor Scales said, God went on the first missionary journey, reaching the sinful fallen man to give him His grace.
Pastor Scales said this next message was for someone in the congregation who is blaming themselves for what their children have done. He said God created a perfect man, in a perfect garden, with perfect instructions, and who had the perfect father, and His child still “jacked it up.” If the children of the perfect Father sinned, we can raise children, be perfect parents, and the children can still make wrong choices.
But what manner of Love God bestows on us! In Exodus, God went after His children to free them from bondage. Jesus came down to earth to cleanse us from our sins.
We are sons of God. One day we shall see Him as He is. What should our response be to the Love of God?
Matthew 22:34-36 But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”
The leadership of the Jews used to meet in discussions about the law because, by the time of Jesus they figured out it was impossible to keep all the laws God gave them, so they kept trying to find the most important ones. The ones that, if they kept them, they thought they could be justified.
Pastor Scales said not all questions asked in church are to find out real information. Sometimes people ask questions to show that the teacher doesn’t know everything, to play the advocate by bringing up difficult challenges to the teaching, to debate, to hear one’s self talk, and sometimes a question is a genuine search for knowledge.
Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.
This is a great response to the love of God. Because the Lord loves us, what is my response to be?
1. Love God with all your heart, all your motivation, your soul (mind, will, emotion), when you worship, not just sing a song to sing, but sing a song to Him.
Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
I worship God with my life. So I don’t just sing to sing, I worship with my all. I love God by obeying Him, by following His ways, by sacrifice of myself for Him.
Pastor Scales talked about how God is using weight loss in his life as a way of worshipping God. That he is holding himself accountable to God, and seeing that taking care of his temple (body) is important to God because God has a plan and a purpose for his life, and God does not want his life to be cut short by ill health. His doctor told him to eat 1/2 of what he used to eat – so now, he joked, instead of eating 3 pieces of pound cake, he eats 1 1/2 pieces.
Part of Pastor Scales’ worship of God now involves taking care of his body, so that he can fulfill his purpose in life. It is not a diet, it is WORSHIP! He is walking out Romans 12:1-2 (see above).
He had to renew his mind, for his childhood family belonged to the Clean Plate Club, and also served huge portions. He had to figure out where the “enough line” is for being full. Had to begin to see food is fuel for his body, kind of like gas in a car. He had to make sure not to binge. So often we eat by the clock, not when we are hungry – thus we never feel what real hunger is. Pastor Scales is presenting his body as a living sacrifice.
He has found in hotels, since he travels a lot, there is a Fitness Center, he can use. And the Holy Spirit has begun to change him into a person who likes carrots, broccoli, lettuce, and other foods that are good for his body. He has also made himself accountable to God, and knows the doctor will take a blood test (so those fatty foods will be detected in his blood), and has to weigh in. This worship goes far beyond just singing a song at worship, but it involves all of Pastor Scales’ mind, will, emotions, his whole being. It is his love offering to God, all about worship.
We then looked at John 21 when Jesus reconciles Peter back to Himself after Peter denied Him three times. Pastor Scales loves John – John who wrote the book of John, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John and the book of Revelation. John refers to himself in the third person. He calls himself the one whom Jesus loved, the one who leaned on the Lord’s breast at Passover. During the Passover Jesus informed his disciples that one would betray Him, and all the disciples were replying, “Is it I?”, not John! He leaned over and asked Jesus, “Lord, who is it?” Pastor Scales said, It was like John saying, me and You are blood, He was secure in his relationship. So He was curious at the conversation that Jesus was having with Peter.
Peter had denied Jesus three times the night before the crucifixion, and Jesus set up this encounter so Peter could be reconciled.
John 21:15-17 So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord: You know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed My Lambs.” 16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.
John 21:20 Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said, “Lord, who is the one who betrays You? There is John talking in the third person!
John 21:21-23 Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?” 22 Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.” 23 Then this saying went out among the brethren that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you?”
When Peter failed, it took time to restore him. Not everyone that starts in the Kingdom of Christ will always walk forward. Some will take a step back (backslide). The pressure of satan, the pressure of people, the choices we make can cause us to step back. Even if we backslide and step back, He (God) stays with us.
Pastor Scales told us how he had his church members bar hop. What happened is God told him to do this. He asked if any members were recently saved from alcohol, those stayed at the church to pray. The other members went out to the bars with the following rules. The were not to drink, but were to go to the bar and sit where the people are sitting, and fellowship with them. Then they were to offer to pray for people. What they found interesting is the people recognized who they were, that it was Pastor Scales and church goers, and they were puzzled. When we love Jesus, people know who we are, they can tell we are connected to Jesus. Your light shines way out there, far more than a Christian tee-shirt or pin does. The Church members, when asked why they were there, said they were there to apologize to them. All this time they had been waiting in the church, praying for people to come to church, when Jesus had said, “Go out into the world.” And then they prayed.
Pastor Scales told us people who go to bars are going to a counterfeit church. They have fellowship, singing, dancing, and drinking (alcohol instead of the Holy Spirit), and counsel (the bartender). He told people, “My goodness, Jesus loves you. Can we pray with you.” People accepted the prayers, cried, and backsliders who were out of fellowship with Jesus began to get in line. The bartenders told them this religious stuff was not good for their business. He also told us that often, people who are getting high on drugs are preaching the truth, “God I shouldn’t be doing this….”
People are so messed up they look for love and affirmation. Some go to bars, but they will not find the true love and affirmation Jesus can give them. Do you love people the way the Lord loves you? Some believe they have screwed up so badly Jesus would not want them. Love will come after you. God’s love doesn’t stop even when you keep messing up. Jesus will go anywhere. You can do foolishness and He will still be where you are and see you. Jesus’ love is everlasting.
The kind of Love Jesus talks about is AGAPE (Strong’s 26) love, always seeking someone highest good all the time. In Greek there were different kinds of love, but Agape Love is the term given for God’s love. The first time Jesus asked Peter in verse 15, he asked, Peter, do you AGAPE me? Peter answers that he PHILEO (Strong’s 5368) Jesus – which is brotherly love, as a companion or friendship. Jesus asks the second time, “Do you AGAPE me.” Peter replies, “I PHILEO You.” The third time Jesus asks, he changes the word, He asks, “Do you PHILEO me?” Do you really love Me as a friend? Peter is grieved that the Lord kept asking him, but he never changes his response from PHILEO to Agape. Jesus is saying, OK, if that’s where you are, that’s where we will start. He will meet us where we are. Pastor Scales then sang, “What a friend we have in Jesus.”
Jesus will meet us right where we are, We are a friend of God. Sometimes we start out as a friend of God, and then move into abiding in God. Some of us have an image of God as unapproachable, sitting on a throne hiding a baseball bat behind His back, ready to smack us when we mess up. But He is reaching for us in Love, so He can help us back into relationship with Him.
In verse 15 (see above) Jesus wants us to Love Him COMPARATIVELY, more than anything else. Do you love Me MORE than these? Do we love Jesus more than our car, do we love Jesus more than our house, do we love Jesus more than our stuff? Sometimes our time with God is interfered with because of our stuff. Pastor Scales found, when he got a cable TV with 160 channels, that he spent more time channel surfing. He had to cease that. Then he got a phone with text messaging – because he has 20 or more pastors under him and they all wanted to reach him – so they texted his phone. Pastor Scales was spending time he used to read the Bible with answering text messages.
Things, even if not physically addictive like alcohol and drugs, can still be addictive and prevent our spending quiet time with God. So God is asking us, Do you love ME more than these?
Sometimes we can read books and listen to shows that tell us about the Bible, when what we need to do is take our Bible and a journal and see exactly what God is saying to us, not listen to someone else’s revelation from the Word.
Gadgets like the iPod, music, movies can keep us so occupied we fail to sit at the feet of the Master and listen to His voice.
While what we are doing may not be inherently sinful or evil, it can be distracting.
In verse 16, Jesus is asking about Personal love – and Pastor Scales said he imagines the emphasis is, “Peter do you love ME,” personally. We have corporate love – We love you God. But do YOU love Me, with a personal love? What is the state of your personal devotional life?
In a relationship with someone, before you have romance you have friendship. In fact, friendship is the one quality in a marriage that can help to sustain the marriage. So many people try to love others by doing for them what they would want done for themselves. But people have a different love language, and each person needs certain things to feel loved. We have to find out what the other person needs and do those things. For example some respond to gentle touch, others to service (like Pastor Scales knows his wife loves breakfast in bed, so on his day off, he makes sure to cook for her – making it beautiful and spending time and care on what he does), etc.
Jesus asks us do YOU love ME? Do we bring Jesus a sacrifice of praise? Do we spend time with Jesus and tell Him how much we love Him? Do we sing a new song to Him?
The third time (V. 17) Jesus is saying do you LOVE me? It is a qualitative love. Will you seek my highest good? Will you spend time with me? We get so busy that we don’t spend time with Jesus.
When we have a relationship with another person we need to learn to trust the love relationship. We want to know: Do you love me when I am good? Will you also love me when I am not so good? Do you love me when I am wealthy? Will you still love me when I am poor?
Pastor Scales told us he used to have a huge afro, was very muscular because of the sports he played and it is comforting for him to know that his wife loves him when he is a little more “fluffy.” He told us to be honest, as we get older, we will start sagging. (By this time, we were laughing so hard). But it is true that we want to know that we will be loved as we are. That we will be loved during hot flashes and mid-life crisis. (Another round of laughter occurred when he discussed the hot flashes of menopause – as a woman having her own private seasons -hot, cold, hot cold. In an understatement, he said, “It is an interesting time.)
So Jesus is looking for a personal, comparative, and qualitative love.
What kind of love are we offering Him? When we are having tough times, we spend time with Jesus, but will we still love Him qualitatively when abundance comes, when we have all our stuff in place?
Do we love the Lord with all our heart, mind, soul?
Tonight Pastor Scales will teach on how to love our neighbor as ourselves. I know it will be beneficial to hear this teaching. If you live anywhere near our church, (see link), please know you are welcome, praise and worship begins at 7:00.
Have a blessed day!
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