May 8, 2023

A Courageous Sacrificial Faith

Sermon Summary

Lot, Abram's nephew, is captured. When Abram finds out, he rescues his nephew from the powerful kings who abducted him. In doing so, Abram displays a courageous, sacrificial faith.

Sermon Transcript

Amen. You may be seated.

Well, every so often, our phones start making a siren-like noise, and a message with something like this pops up on our phones. It's an Amber Alert and alerting us to what really no parent wants to hear, which is that a child has been abducted. And any time I get one of these alerts on my phone, I can't help but think about what if, you know, what if one of my children or one of my sons or my daughters was taken from my wife and me? What would I do? And as a father, I have actually thought about this a number of times. And where my brain naturally goes is, you know, Liam Neeson in the movie series Taken and as a father, as a man, I love watching movies like this. I love watching men who will give whatever it will take to get their sons or their daughters back, to rescue the ones that they love. It's one of the things that gets my heart racing, my blood pumping, and why? Well, in part, because I would do the same thing. I would do whatever it would take to get my son or my daughter back within the law, of course. So maybe not quite like Liam Neeson, but I would do whatever it would take, and so would you. You would do whatever it would take to get someone you love back into your arms.

We find this morning in Genesis 14, we find Abram rescuing his nephew Lot. Lot is in Sodom, and Lot is taken. We find Abram doing whatever it takes to get his nephew, Lot, back. And in doing so, we find Abram showing great courage and sacrificial love due to his faith in God.

There are two scenes this morning. Scene one is the abduction of Lot. Scene two is the rescue of Lot.

We'll start with scene one, the abduction of Lot. Now to remind you who Lot is, because you might be thinking, who is Lot? Well, Lot, in case you don't remember, is Abram's nephew. And he parted ways with Abram moving near the city of Sodom. And eventually, as we find in verse 12, moving into the city of Sodom near Gomorrah. But more on that to come.

First in verse 1, “In those days King Amraphel of Shinar, King Arioch of Ellasar, King Chedorlaomer of Elam, and King Tidal of Goiim waged a war against King Bera of Sodom, King Birsha of Gomorrah, King Shinab of Admah, and King Shemeber of Zeboiim, as well as the king of Bela (that is, Zoar). All of these came as allies to the Siddim Valley (that is, the Dead Sea).” Now you say those names five times fast and your tongue will surely get twisted. And just so you know, I just make that up. I don't know what the right pronunciation is. You just kind of say whatever comes to your mind at the moment.

Moses gives us these two sets of kings and these two sets of kings that have alliances with one another. And here's how the alliances are broken down.

In this Eastern King Alliance, we find King Chedorlaomer of Elam, which is modern-day Iran, King Amraphel of Shinar, which is kind of modern-day Iraq, and King Arioch of Ellasar and King Tidal of Goiim, which is modern-day Turkey. And here's a little map of this area. They're coming from the east, all the way down from Elam, moving up towards what we'll find the west, here, towards the Dead Sea, where these other kings are at. And here's a picture. Google Maps is kind of giving you a sense of the modern-day Middle East where things are. So we have Iraq there and that red dot, or whatever that is, is kind of where King Chedorlaomer would have been in that area, modern-day Iraq. And so this is where we are kind of set up.

There's this eastern alliance of kings, and then there's this Western Kings Alliance, which is the king of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, as well as Bela or Zoar. So there's a map here of where these cities are at. And if you see, it's kind of hard, I know, but the Dead Sea is in the middle, and down to the south there, a little bit east of the Dead Sea is where these cities are presumed to be located.

And so this is where we have these two sets of kings aligning together. In verse 4, what we find is they, these western kings down by the Dead Sea, were subject to Chedorlaomer for twelve years. But in the thirteenth year, they rebelled. But after twelve years of being subjected to this king of Mesopotamia, these western kings of the Siddim Valley, the Dead Sea area, decided they were done. They had enough. They didn't want to be subjects any longer to this king. So they rebelled.

And what we find in verse 5 is that “In the fourteenth year Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him came and defeated the Rephaim in Ashteroth-karnaim, the Zuzim in Ham, the Emim in Shaveh-kiriathaim.” I don't know what that is, I just made that up. “And the Horites in the mountains of Seir, as far as El-paran by the wilderness.” And so here's kind of where they are set up. I'm going to go back to that map. It’s up towards the north part. You see Damascus way at the top. And if you kind of come down, you see this area, Succoth, Ham, Rephaim, where these cities or these areas are.

So a year later, this king, King Chedorlaomer, and these armies, these other kings that have aligned with them, they decide we're going to go attack the kings of the West down by the Dead Sea to punish them for their rebellion. And on their way down to the bottom of there of the Dead Sea, they begin to attack these other cities on the east side of the Dead Sea. More than likely because they, too, have probably withdrawn or rebelled against his dominion.

So there's this war plan that's twofold.

One is to subdue this Transjordan area coming down on the east towards the Dead Sea and then to subdue the Dead Sea kings. So first they rout or they destroy the cities and take over the cities of the Transjordan and the Sinai. The first tribe to fall was the Rephaites. And why is that matter important? Well, they were known like the Anakim to be famous for their height, to be these giants, to be these huge people. So the first stroke or the first city that they subdued is the most intimidating of all the opponents, these giants of the Transjordan, which means everyone else is looking at what's happened to that city and thinking, oh, no, what's going to happen to us.

King Chedorlaomer works his way all the way down as far south to the bottom of the screen there into El-paran, conquering this whole area. And King Chedorlaomer led his army, this alliance of kings, to this sweeping victory, taking out just massive amounts of land and cities.

Then we find in verse 7, “Then they came back to invade En-mishpat (that is, Kadesh), and they defeated the whole territory of the Amalekites, as well as the Amorites who lived in Hazazon-tamar.” Going back to that map again, you see they go down all the way to the south and they make their way back up to the north, to the Kadesh, to the Amorites, to the Amalekites, and back up towards the Siddim Valley. They turn northwest and they begin just taking out these different cities on the western side of the Dead Sea.

Now, this is a well-conceived, well-executed strategy, and it left the five kings, the western alliance, down by the Dead Sea just at their mercy, right? No tribe could be summoned to help them because there was no one there. They had nowhere to flee.

In fact, the Transjordan was so crippled on the eastern side that when the coalition nations returned back to their eastern kingdoms, none would have had the capacity to attack them. One archaeologist wrote, “I found that every village in their path had been plundered and left in ruins, and the countryside was laid waste. The population had been wiped out or led away into captivity. For hundreds of years thereafter, the entire area was like an abandoned cemetery, hideously unkempt, with all its monuments shattered and strewn in pieces on the ground.” This was a massive defeat, leaving this whole area decimated.

Then this leads to verse 8 and the battle between the king of Sodom and his cohorts and King Chedorlaomer and his. Verse 8, “Then the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the kin of Admah, the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar) went out and lined up for battle in the Siddim Valley against King Chedorlaomer” and all of his alliances. So five kings verses our kings.

The King of Sodom gets his boys and lines up his allies that are out there ready to fight. If you go to that map, you see just where there's this kind of like a star thing, that's Siddim Valley right below the Dead Sea. That's where the battle is presumed to have taken place. They're lined up and ready to go. But what they find is what everyone else found that they were no match for this powerful army. They were no match.

Their rejection of this king and being under his authority led to devastating consequences. Verse 10, “Now the Siddim Valley contained many asphalt pits, and as the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, some fell into them.” That tar and asphalt pits were native to the Dead Sea area, which the famous Jewish historian, Josephus, actually called the asphalt sea.

Here's a picture of what an asphalt pit may have looked like near the Dead Sea. Something like this. Or you go to the next picture, which is not near the Dead Sea. But I think it gives a good illustration of these pits, this tar that people were falling into. As they're running and escaping, trying to escape this army. There are these asphalt pits that ooze this heavy liquid asphalt just south of the Dead Sea.

And many of the soldiers met a horrific death in these tar pits in the Siddim Valley, falling head-first into this black ooze as they fled. I mean, you just think about that. You're running away and you're falling into these pits. I don't know if some people are just jumping in or they're not seeing where they're going or exactly what's happening, But nonetheless, they're in these pits of tar. I mean, what a horrific way to die.

And the rest, we're told in verse 10, “but the rest fled to the mountains. The four kings took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their food and went on.” So many died in the asphalt pits. Those who could escape fled into the mountains. What we find is all their stuff is taken. And these kings just keep marching on. But there's one more important thing that was taken by these kings. King Chedorlaomer, the kings of the Mesopotamian area.

Verse 12, “They also took Abram's nephew Lot and his possessions, for he was living in Sodom, and they went on.” They also took Abram’s nephew Lot and all of his stuff. Now, a question that might be asked is how did Lot get to Sodom to begin with?

Well, remember what was happening in Genesis chapter 13. Lot and Abram were traveling together. Abram had just received all of these possessions from the Pharaoh of Egypt. And he gave some to Lot and their flocks and their herds. They were growing and the land was unable to support them. And there's this fighting that breaks out between Lot's herdsmen and Abram's herdsmen. And Abram says, “No, no, we're not going to fight. We're not going to quarrel. We're not going to argue. So what we're going to do is we're going to separate you. Lot, if you go left, I will go right. If you want to go right, I will go left.” Abram is generous to Lot and lets him choose where he wants to go. So Lot looks out into the land.

Verse 10 of Genesis 13, “Lot looked out and saw the entire plain of the Jordan as far as Zoar was well watered everywhere like the Lord's garden and the land of Egypt. So Lot chose the entire plain of the Jordan for himself. Then Lot journeyed eastward, and they separated from each other. Abram lived in the land of Canaan, but Lot lived in the cities on the plain and set up his tent near Sodom. (Now the men of Sodom were evil, sinning immensely against the Lord.)”

How did Lot end up in Sodom? We're told that he looked out and saw, and you might be thinking, well, what's the big deal with that? Another way to say this is that he was dazzled. His eyes were caught. They laid hold of something. Dazzled by what? Dazzled by the appearance of prosperity. The land was well watered, like the Lord's garden, like the land of Egypt. He was dazzled by what he saw and he got sucked into it.

What we learn about Lot is that Lot does not look through eyes of faith, but he looks through the eyes of his flesh. What Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians is that we're to be people who walk by faith, not by sight. Lot does the exact opposite.

What does it mean to walk by sight? Well, I think John encapsulates that pretty well in 1 John 2. He says the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride in one's life. That when we live by sight as opposed to by faith, we pursue what feels good, what looks good, and what makes us look good to others.

Lot, he sees and his eyes are caught. We've all been there. We see something and our eyes are caught in something. We can't get it out of our minds and we want to have it. We covet it. It's the greed, the covetousness of Lot that drives him, that moves him to the city near Sodom. Then eventually he moves into this horrific city of Sodom. Where men are sinning against God, rebelling wickedly against the Lord. Not just like they were sinning, but the language that Moses is using is to get our attention to say these were some horrible people. Their finger is up at God.

So Lot moves to Sodom and he's eventually captured by these kings that are moving through from the east down to the west. Lot and everything he owns is taken. This wasn't just like they came in, kind of took some stuff and walked off. I mean, this was horrible. More than likely, Lot saw agonizing deaths. Women being raped, all of which was so common in ancient warfare. Perhaps he lost his own children and loved ones taken to some other place by some other people. And as he's trudging across the Transjordan towards Canaan's borders, what hope or what Lot is more than likely thinking is that his hope is lost. He has no hope. All his hopes are gone. As he's taken by this powerful army.

Lot is abducted, which leads us to scene two, the rescue of Lot.

Verse 13, “One of the survivors came and told Abram the Hebrew, who lived near the oaks belonging to Mamre the Amorite, the brother of Eshcol and the brother of Aner. They were bound by a treaty with Abram.”

So, remember, those who escaped - some fell into tar pits, and others fled into the mountains. Sometime, perhaps after night had fallen, one of these men comes upon Abram’s camp. Abram’s camp, scholars say, was only about 20 miles away. So it’s realistic to assume that someone may have come into Abram’s camp, and that it actually happened.

What happens when this man comes into Abram’s camp?

Verse 14, “When Abram heard that his relative had been taken prisoner, he assembled his 318 trained men, born in his household, and they went in pursuit as far as Dan.”

Abram hears, he hears that Lot has been taken. What Abram does is he gets his men. These men, they're Abram's private militia – members of his extended family, therefore loyal, dependable, faithful men, highly skilled bodyguards, and protective forces of all of his possessions. He says that he assembled them, and the Hebrew language here is dynamic. So when he says he assembled 318 of them, it literally means he drew out 318 men as you would draw a sword from its sheath.

So, Abram. His 318 men were his sword unsheathed, ready for war. As one commentator put it out came the quivers and the bows. The swords were wetted to a razor's edge. Spears thrusted into the sky. And these men went in pursuit of Abram's nephew, Lot. These men, the train men of Abram, along with his allies, assembled together, and they pursued Lot, the rescuing of Lot.

Verse 15, “And he and his servants deployed against them by night, defeated them, and pursued them as far as Hobah to the north of Damascus. He brought back all the goods and also his relative Lot and his goods, as well as the women and the other people.”

Apparently King Chedorlaomer was just unaware. He wasn't expecting any type of threat. I mean, if you were him, he had no reason to worry. He just had dominated everybody in this whole area. Just moving his way down the east of the Dead Sea, all the way south, and then back up to the west of the Dead Sea. He is just destroying city after city, taking over people after people. In their minds, nobody could stop them. They had no reason to worry about anyone attacking them.

But as night fell, Abram and his 318 men descended upon the king and his army and stored swords start swinging and clanging. Men start yelling. Men in the camp getting struck by swords and spears and dying. They're defeated. They stand no chance. This little army of Abram defeats this mighty army that has taken over this gigantic territory in many civilizations.

It reminds me of last week, my kids, we were about to eat lunch or dinner. They were looking out the back window, and one of my kids was like, Dad, there's a hawk on the swing set. There's this red-tailed hawk on the back of our swing set, and in its talons, it had another bird like a robin. It was holding this robin in its talons. The bird was trying to move around to escape, and the hawk just pounds it down on top of the swing set. He just keeps pounding it down, and then he takes his beak and starts going at it. There are feathers flying everywhere in the air. My girls are looking at it horrified, like, that's so gross, and my boys are like, yeah, let's go get the video camera, you know, like the phone, and record it. So they record it on their phone, and I was going to show you a picture, but I didn't get very good quality. They got to learn their video-taking skills or increase those skills. But this hawk just dominating this other bird.

That's what happened to all these other cities. Yet the script is flipped and there's Abram and this small army that then turns and dominates this king from Mesopotamia. Abram’s well-planned attack and the surprise destroying the evil armies of the East. Abram drives this army out of the promised land north of Damascus. You can see here on this map again. He went all the way up the red, driving them up all the way north past Damascus. Pushing them back into their own territory. This incredible feat.

I don't know what to compare it to. I'm a sports guy. I like sports. So I just think about USA hockey beating the Soviet Union in the 1980 Winter Olympics. I mean, this was a huge feat in the sports world. The Soviet Union captured the men's ice hockey gold five of the six times in the previous Winter Olympics. Then you have team USA, youngest team in the Olympic tournament and in national history, and they win 4 to 3 against the Soviets right in the middle of the Cold War. Then they move on and they take gold from Finland. I mean, this massive accomplishment. That's the idea. There's this massive accomplishment, this massive feat by Abram and his men.

Now, here's the question I've been thinking about this week. Okay, so that's great. So there's this war and kings and fighting and all these things. But why? Why did Abram rescue Lot? That's the thing I've been trying to think about. Why did he go and put himself in harm's way? To rescue? I mean, think about Abram and Lot here. Abram could have easily just elected to do nothing. I mean, Lot had made his own bed. He'd made his decisions. He saw the land. It was well-watered. He's like, that's where I'm going, and he goes and he lives near Sodom. He's got to know that the people of Sodom are just wicked. He’s got to know that. Then he moves into Sodom. You're like, what are you doing?

If you’re Abram, you have all these reasons, like, man, you've kind of made your own bed, you've carved your own path. You got to lay in it now. You got to deal with the mess that you made. Or I'm sure Abram is thinking, you know, wisdom would save, but people are going to get hurt at the expense of my nephew, who seems to be kind of an idiot and not thinking straight. Or if you're Abram, you were like, I'm kind of the indispensable guy here. Like, God has made the promise to me that I'm going to be this great nation. From me, I'm going to bless all other nations.

Yet Abram doesn't make excuses. He doesn't justify not doing something because of Lot or what he thinks or whatever. But Abram takes action. Why? Why does he do this? Well, I think there are probably a number of reasons, but one reason is because of his faith in the word of God. Because of his faith, he trusted God.

Now, let me connect this a bit. Abram. Remember when he went to Egypt? Remember, he's in the land. There's a famine in the land. And so he decides to go down to Egypt. Egypt is well-watered on the Nile. They have plenty of resources. And he's trying to escape the famine. As he's on his way to Egypt, he thinks to himself and then says to his wife, “Honey, you're very beautiful and other men are going to see that you're beautiful and other men are going to want to take you as their wife. So here's what we need to do. You need to tell them that you're my sister.” Now, Abram's not lying. He's just being somewhat deceitful because Sarai was his half-sister.

So they go into the land. But what happens? Well, it kind of worked until Pharaoh hears about Sarai and her beauty. So Pharaoh sends his men and he takes Sarai into his harem, into his court. Now Abram's kind of up a creek without a paddle. What am I going to do? How am I going to get my wife back from this most powerful king in the land? Well, as we know, God steps in and He rescues Abram and Sarai. Abram goes to Egypt, leaning on himself, trusting in himself, scheming, and devising his own plans. Then he comes out of Egypt, learning that he needs to depend on God, not himself. And we find him at the end of chapter 13 that he has built an altar to the Lord worshiping God. So He's in this place where He is trusting in God, believing the Word and the promises of God.

That God, that the land that God had promised him would go to his descendants, that he, therefore, knew and believed that God was with him and that even if he was defeated, he knew God would stay true to his promises.

So two things here about faith. One is when we think about faith, faith produces courage. It leads to courage. Now, to be clear, when I say faith, I'm talking about faith in Christ, faith in His promises, not faith in some general abstract way, just in anything, but in the word of God. Abram was filled with courage, with boldness, in part because he believed God. Because he believed God, because he trusted God, he went out and he was willing to risk his life to get Lot back.

We see this throughout the scriptures. We see men and women who are pictures of faith or they have faith. And because of their faith, they have the courage and the boldness to do things that others would not do.

Think about David. In 1 Samuel 17, David and Goliath. Israel is lined up for battle against the Philistines, the Philistines on one hill and the Israelites on another hill. Out comes Goliath, this nine feet nine inch man. His armor was 125 pounds and the tip of his spear was 15 pounds. He's just this giant of a human being, and he's taunting the Israelites.

In fact, in 1 Samuel 17:8-11, he comes out and he's telling them – Israelites, just choose one man to come and fight me. If you beat me, then we'll be servants to you. If I beat you, then you can be servants to us. Then verse 10 says, “Then the Philstine said, ‘I defy the ranks of Israel today. Send me a man so we can fight each other!’ When Saul and all Israel heard these words from the Philistine, they lost their courage and were terrified.” They were terrified. Then enters David, the shepherd boy, the son of Jesse, and he hears what's going on as he's bringing some things to his brothers. He hears what's happening and what this Goliath man is doing. And he says no. He is not going to defy God. I will deal with him. His brothers mock him, and people laugh at him.

But in verse 31, “What David said was overheard and reported to Saul, so he had David brought to him. David said to Saul, ‘Don’t let anyone be discouraged by him; your servant will go and fight this Philistine!’ But Saul replied, ‘You can’t go fight this Philistine. You’re just a youth, and he’s been a warrior since he was young.’ David answered Saul, ‘Your servant has been tending his father’s sheep. Whenever a lion or a bear came and carried off a lamb from the flock, I went after it, struck it down, and rescued the lamb from its mouth. If it reared up against me, I would grab it by its fur, strike it down, and kill it. Your servant has killed lions and bears; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.’ Then David said, ‘The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.’”

David, this boy, but yet such great confidence and boldness. He goes out to the Philistine, out to Goliath. And we know the story with a few rocks in his sling. He kills the giant who's defying the armies of the living God. And why? Why did David operate with such confidence and boldness? Well, because he believed God. He trusted in the promises of God.

Think about Hebrews chapter 11. This is known as the hall of faith, these men and women who lived lives of faith, and what the author of Hebrews does, he kind of tries to sum it all up in the end in verses 32 through 40.

He says, “And what more can I say? Time is too short for me to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets, who by faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the raging of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, gained strength in weakness, became mighty in battle, and put foreign armies to flight. Women received their dead, raised to life again. Other people were tortured, not accepting release, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Others experienced mockings and scourgings, as well as bonds and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawed in two, they died by the sword, they wandered about in sheepskins, in goatskins, destitute, afflicted, and mistreated. The world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and on mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground.”

How did these people live with such courage and boldness?

Verse 39, “All these were approved through their faith.” They had faith in the God who made all things. Faith in the God who promised greater things, a life to come, eternal life.

Brothers and sisters, what we need is courage. We need to have a backbone. We need the courage to preach the truth in a culture that is rapidly deteriorating and hostile toward the truth. We need the courage to protect our kids from being indoctrinated with destructive ideologies about sex and gender equality. We need the courage to tell our children no when other parents might be saying yes. We need the courage to hold to our convictions, provided they're right and well-reasoned when others do not. We need the courage to open up our mouths to share with our neighbor or co-worker or family member the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Brothers and sisters, what we need is courage and we will find the courage to do what is right, no matter the consequences that we might face if we believe God and His promises.

Faith leads to courage and boldness. We will say things and do things we may not otherwise do, or in the face of adversity, consequences that are before us that we may not want, because we believe God. We trust Him and therefore we do what is right and honoring to Him. But there's something else associated with faith, not just courage, but sacrificial love. When you think about faith, we should think about love and we should think about it in terms of sacrificial love.

Abram rescuing Lot. What Abram did took sacrifice. There's a cost. He gathered his men. He put them in harm's way. I mean, they're going against this powerful army. They've just destroyed city after city, taking over civilization after civilization. Abram sends his men into this lair, into their camp, to fight this army. The one to whom the promise of being a great nation and blessing to all the other nations was given. Who has yet, though, to have the child in which that nation would come from. Abram put himself in a place of sacrifice. All for who? For a nephew who made foolish decisions.

You see faith. Faith will move you towards others, towards loving others, towards making decisions that will cost us for the benefit of others. You see, to love someone, in part, means that we're meeting a need in a person's life at a great personal cost to our own life. This is love. Love is meeting a need in a person's life at a great personal cost to our own life. Lot was in need. Abram stepped up to that plate to meet that need at a personal cost to himself.

Faith, then, is not separated from sacrificial love, but it's rather deeply connected to it. In fact, in Galatians 5, Paul connects these ideas. Verse six, he says, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision accomplishes anything; what matters is faith working through love.” Paul here, he's wrestling with the false teaching that if you get circumcised then you can be saved. That getting circumcised and doing other things will earn or merit your salvation.

What he says in verse 2, then he says, “I, Paul, am telling you that if you get yourselves circumcised, Christ will not benefit you at all.” In other words, if you look at your own work, your own merit, or the merit of other things, things that you do. The all-sufficient worth of Christ dying for your sins to obtain your salvation will be of no use. That when you depend on your works, on doing things yourself to earn salvation, the work of Christ is rejected.

So if our works don't merit salvation, the salvation Christ offers, then how do we receive it? What's the connection? Well, it's faith. What connects us with Jesus, so the salvation he accomplished becomes ours is faith in him – trusting in his forgiveness, banking on his promises. When he went to the cross 2000 years ago, he didn't go to the cross because he had committed crimes against the Roman government. He went to the cross to die for the crimes that we have committed against God. The wrath of God was poured out on Him so that the wrath of God would not be poured out on us and we would be forever separated from him in hell. That faith brings that reality into our life.

What makes verse six so remarkable is that faith connects us with Jesus and receives this justification as a faith that works through love. In other words, it's a kind of faith that proves its reality by producing love. Love does not merit or earn salvation. Loving others is not how we become right with God. But love proves the reality of the faith that receives salvation. There's this link between Christ's love for us and our love for one another. Faith is a link between Christ's love for us and our love for each other. That if we are a people of faith, who trust in Christ, then we will be a people who love like Christ.

How did Christ love? Verse 16, 1 John 3, “This is how we have come to know love: He laid down his life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”

That if we truly believe that the Lord Jesus Christ – left heaven, came to earth, and died on the cross to pay for our sins to rescue us from the wrath of God and the punishment for our sins. If that faith is a genuine faith, then we will love like Christ has loved. We will meet needs and others' lives at great personal sacrifice and cost to our own life.

So, brothers and sisters, this is who we want to be. We want to be a people who are living with courage and boldness and living with a sacrificial love due to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Let's pray.

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