Worship Service – December 5, 2021

Advent theme; “Faith over Fear”

2nd Sunday in Advent we light the Love Candle.

Scriptures; Deuteronomy 6:1-9, Matthew 22:34-40, Philippians 1:3-11

Message: “Love Forever”

Deuteronomy 6:1-9

Love the Lord Your God

(1) These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess,
(2) so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life.
(3) Hear, O Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord , the God of your fathers, promised you.
(4) Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
(5) Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
(6) These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. (7) 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.
(8) Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.
(9) Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Matthew 22:34-40

The Greatest Commandment

(34) Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. (35) One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: (36) “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
(37) Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ (38) This is the first and greatest commandment. (39) And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (40) All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Philippians 1:3-11

(3) I thank my God every time I remember you. (4) In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy (5) because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, (6) being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
(7) It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. (8) God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
(9) And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, (10) so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, (11) filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ–to the glory and praise of God.

This is the word of God, for the people of God. Thanks be to God.

Being that this is the second Sunday of advent and we light the candle of love I thought appropriate that we look at the greatest commandment, and that is a command to love. And then consider what Paul wrote about this love to the Philippians.
Do you remember the first time you told a boyfriend or girlfriend those three words, “I love you?” When did you first say it to the one you married? I don’t remember the particular occasion, but I remember thinking about it. Do I dare tell her how I feel? I really think I love her, but should I tell her yet? Then I thought, what if she doesn’t have any of these feelings for me? Will she be embarrassed? Will I be sticking my neck out? Will it change our relationship if I tell her that I love her? Should I wait until I’m more certain?
That is probably one of the best examples in my life when it was most important for me to have,”Faith over Fear”.
That was a long time ago,almost 50 years. I still say those words – perhaps not as often as I should. And I still love to hear them said to me, “I love you.” Those three words are powerful. To say them, to hear them said, can make a big difference.
Not too long after we were married we decided that we should say: I Love You Forever. We would add the Forever, at the end of cards we would exchange and still do today as a reminder of the promises we made on our wedding day.
While reflecting on that statement, on that promise, I began to ask myself questions like; ”If we are made in the image of God can we “Love Forever”?
God does. Can we love each other too much and if so, how much is too much?
In a southern city newspaper there was an ad inviting people to a seminar entitled, “Women who love too much.” Some time ago a young widow told her pastor how deeply she had loved her husband and that she sometimes felt guilty because maybe she loved him too much. She added, “Sometimes I wonder if I loved my husband too much. Could that be the reason God took him away from me? The Bible says we serve a jealous God in the Ten Commandments” (Exodus 20:5). “For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God,”.
So one might be tempted to ask: “Can we love God too much?” In a recent church magazine a retired pastor lamented that he gave too much time and effort to the church. He wrote, “I was a fool to give so much time and effort to the church to the neglect of my family and friends.”
Should love of family or friends come before love of God? Can love of God make you spend too much of yourself in church work?
The only place we can find answers to all these questions are in the Word!
(John 1:1) “In The beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Apparently, Moses, who wrote our first text, believed that we should love God with our whole beings. We are to love God with an “all”. All our hearts, all our souls, and all our might. According to our second text, Jesus believed and taught the same. He repeated what Moses had said and added another dimension: “with all your mind.” When you add up heart, soul, mind, and strength, what do you have? Isn’t it the total person, your whole self? That’s a tough assignment. That’s why Jesus called it the first and greatest commandment. If you and I obey it, all other laws will automatically be obeyed won’t they. Is it possible to obey the greatest commandment ? If so, how?
In Philippians 1:9-11, we read Paul’s apostolic prayer. After telling of his love for the Philippians and of his thankfulness for their generosity, Paul proceeds to pray for them. Although such prayers are standard features of first-century letters, Paul uses this prayer to advance his pastoral concerns for the Philippians.
He begins his prayer for the Philippians with a petition for the congregation to grow in love and discernment and then states the purpose of this love: a life of holiness. He first prays that the Philippians abound in love and the truth of the gospel. Love and discernment go together for Paul. He calls the Philippians to love in such a way that their love is founded on truth and understanding. Paul desires for the Philippians to have this love and discernment so that they may live a life of holiness and obedience to God, so that they may “be pure and blameless for the day of Christ”.
We know that a life of holiness is evidence of the truth of the gospel, and Paul calls the Philippians to live up to that calling. In the final part of his prayer, Paul tells us the characteristics of this holy life. It is first and foremost filled with the “fruit of righteousness”. This fruit is the outworking of love, which finds its ultimate source in communion with Jesus Christ. He is the source of the fruit that will show itself in the Philippians’ lives and in our lives still today, if we are to “abound in love”. More than that, Christ is the supreme example to follow on our path to holy living. One hallmark of a holy life is that it gives glory and praise to God. Praise and glorification of God is the goal of right discernment and correct conduct. This Second Sunday of Advent, we do this in our singing of Christmas carols and in the partaking in Communion as we come to His table and remember all that Jesus did for us in His outworking of love.
This love, Paul trusts, will be accompanied by: “Knowledge and depth of insight”. Paul was not blind to the dangers of emotion uncontrolled by intelligence. He was determined, by his own account, to pray and sing “with my spirit, but … also … with my mind” (1 Cor. 14:15), and he was equally concerned that he and his converts, as well as us today, should love in spirit and mind alike.
Paul reminds us still today, that it’s love that fosters the growth of true knowledge and discernment or spiritual perception. “Knowledge,” divorced from love, “puffs up,” whereas “love builds up” (1 Cor. 8:1). But if love is absolutely essential, “knowledge and depth of insight” are necessary.
The truth of the gospel is liable to be corrupted when ignorance and faulty judgment provide a foothold for the unsound teaching. With so many competing forms of doctrine and ways of life are presented for acceptance. We need the Word. Remember this, true knowledge and depth of insight will enable Christians to discern what is best. When the writer of Deuteronomy tells us that above all we are to, “fear the Lord your God”, and teach it to our descendants, that fear of God, is to Love God with a Forever Love, and that Love becomes Faith. Faith by which we may overcome any fear we may encounter in this life.
May I use the words of Paul in telling you, “this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight”. Understand this, Deut.6:4 tells us, “The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” This same Jesus who’s birth we celebrate this advent season is, One with the Father and the Holy Spirit. And that is first and foremost, true knowledge and depth of insight we need. Only then can we begin to “Love Forever” The God who Created us, Saved us and Abides with us. If we have, “Faith over Fear’.
Our love can only abound if we obey the commands of Christ. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Now you have the knowledge and depth of insight so that your love may abound and grow and the ability to, “Love Forever” with “Faith over Fear”.
Any questions? Check with The Word !!
In His Service,
Pastor Joe
Listen To Audio: Sermon 20211205
Listen To Service Service 12052021
Prayer of Confession   Compassionate God, as the calendar gets more crowded, help us to focus ever more on watching and waiting for the refinement you seek to do in us and through us. Help us to be a blessing to our family and friends as we strive to be people who embody forgiveness and repentance. Amen.



Pastor Joe will be available at the church on Thursday afternoon from 2 to 4.  If you need to speak to him, contact Pastor Joe at 570-267-4570 (cell) or Email: joe.s.travis@gmail.com

Social Hour TODAY following church.  Greeting cards for signature are in the Community Building.

Loose change goes to Local Missions

Sunday School starts at 8:30am

Choir practice will be on Thursday at 1:00! 

Our mission for the Children’s Home in Binghamton (Bill’s Kids) ends today.            Christmas Joy starting on December 12th.

LADIES’ CHRISTMAS TEA at the Montrose Bible Conference, December 7th 2021.  Christmas music, devotional thoughts with our speaker, a light lunch, assortment of seasonal goodies and teas.  11am to 1 pm

Trustee meeting December 8th at 9 AM  

PW will meet on December 9th at 11:00 A.M.  Christmas Party, please bring covered dish if able.  All women are invited.

Men’s Breakfast Wednesday December 15th at 8:00 A.M.

Session Meeting Tuesday, December 21, at 9am

Newsletter Deadline – Tuesday December 28th, 2021.

The PW is selling Franklin Hill Presbyterian Cookbooks called “Recipes From The Hill” at $10.00 each.  All proceeds go to missions.  See Debbie Stalker.

Please sign up to host one of the social hours on the Sunday after Communion Service on the first Sunday of the month. 

Listen to WPEL 96.5 for church cancellation if your internet is down during a storm this winter.




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