The First Lesson was Acts 8:26-40. This passage tells the story of Philip being told by an angel to go to meet with an Ethiopian eunuch who was returning home from a worship service. The Eunuch was reading the prophet of Isaiah but did not understand it. Philip offered to explain it to him and ended up converting the eunuch and baptizing him. Philip later proclaimed the good news to all towns he passed through in his travels.
The Second Lesson was 1 John 4:7-11. In this passage we are told the importance of love in our lives. God is love and He wants us to love others as he has loved us. “By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us his Spirit.” God loved us enough to give his only Son to atone for our sins. Christ loved us enough to suffer and die for our sins.
Reverend Gooch read the Gospel of John 15:1-8. Jesus used the metaphor of a vine, its branch and its fruit to explain how we are able to do his work and live in love with one another. He is the vine, we are the branches, and the fruit is the work we can do through him and his power. “Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.”
Reverend Gooch asked, “How do you know you are loved?” Love is not real if only expressed in words. Showing your love involves action. Words are not enough. The Gospel tells you, you are loved. However, this love was expressed in the action of God giving his only Son to sacrifice for your sins. Jesus gave up his life for you. True love shows itself in action. Jesus tells us: keep my commandments; obey me if you love me; love one another as I love you.
How is Christianity judged? It is by the love we show one another. We are to show love to everyone, not just to our family, friends, and church community. We are asked to give up our ego and selfishness and care for others. True love is not conditional. Do you love God? It calls for a decision to show it as fully and completely as we are able. It is like choosing life or death. Love is life, but without love is death. He will abide in you and you in Him. Life instead of death. Light instead of darkness.
Believe and love one another.
Next Sunday’s service will be at 9 a.m. St. Matthew’s welcomes all who wish to attend.