Dear BLCF Friends,
Effective April 10, 2022, Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church will reopen by reservation only for Sunday worship under the limitations and guidelines set by Public Health and the Board of BLCF. In order to protect those who are vulnerable at Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship from COVID-19 Virus infection, the BLCF Board mandates that the church will be open by reservation, with the following rules:
- attendees must wear a mask while on the premises
- attendees give their contact information upon arrival
- attendees observe two meters of social distance while seated
- attendees use hand sanitizer as needed
- attendees follow any additional directions given by members of the board, while inside the church
Please be advised that both the BLCF Café Community Dinner and the BLCF Wednesday Prayer Service will continue to remain closed effective March 16, 2020, and until further notice. We pray with the administration of sufficient COVID-19 vaccinations, and following the determination of Health Canada and other Health Authorities, that the danger of the Pandemic will have subsided sufficiently, to allow BLCF to reopen safely more of our worship and outreach activities without any concern of infection to the vulnerable within our community.
– Pastor Steve
Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church Message for Sunday:
‘Demonstrating God’s Love Through Actions, Not Just By Words’
© February 12, 2023, by Steve Mickelson
Based on Messages Shared at BLCF on February 14, 2021, and June 26, 2016
Announcements and Call to Worship; Prayer
Prayer and Tithing Hymn #572: Praise God from Whom All Blessings
Doxology (Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow) – Instrumental – https://youtu.be/Mk4p3rihONU
Music Special: Cochren and Co. – Church (Take me Back) – Lyrics – https://youtu.be/nYYdhqPxpqk
Music Special: O’ Lord (with Lyrics) – Lauren Daigle – https://youtu.be/K42bvpgimTg
Music Special: Dave Hunt – The Steadfast Love Of The Lord [with lyrics] – https://youtu.be/G3zbp6BU1S0
Reading #645 (Christian Conduct – Galatians 5 and 6); Prayer
Today’s Scriptures: Genesis 4:1-16, Matthew 23:29-35, Romans 6:1-14
Message by Steve Mickelson: Demonstrating God’s Love Through Actions, Not Just By Words
Let us pray…
Welcome to Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship for our Sunday Praise and Worship Service. In a couple of days, we will celebrate Valentine’s Day, where we demonstrate our love and affection to those for whom we care and love.
Talking about those whom we care for, next Sunday, Terry Sywanyk will join us at BLCF, guitar in hand, to lead us in the singing part of our Sunday Worship Service.
Now back to today’s lesson. For those of you who heard or read Last Sunday’s lesson, entitled The Love of Jesus as Expressed in a Parable, a Lesson, and a Judgment, we examined three expressions of our Lord’s love, from a parable, a lesson, and the events on Judgment Day.
In this morning’s lesson, entitled Demonstrating God’s Love Through Actions, Not Just By Words, The Love of Jesus as Expressed in a Parable, a Lesson, and a Judgment we will look at the importance of a Christian’s actions as well as words while ministering the Gospel of Jesus as an expression of God’s love as expressed in answering our Commission from the Lord.
So last Sunday, we examined aspects of Jesus’ love and this Sunday we will look at aspects of God’s love. Thinking about the Godhead or Holy Trinity, you may surmise that next Sunday’s lesson will focus on aspects of the love associated with the Holy Spirit, and you would be right!
Before the advent of Jesus, his ministry on earth, his sacrifice on the cross for our sins, his resurrection from the grave as proof of his supernatural powers, his ascension to heaven, and his gift of the Holy Spirit of God on the Day of Pentecost, humanity was expected to make offerings to the Lord both as a demonstration of faith and a sacrifice for sin.
With the advent of sin which began with the sin of Adam and Eve by eating the forbidden fruit, came a self-awareness of their nakedness, a denial of their sin to their Lord, and a gradual widening of the gap between God and His children.
With the next generation, humanity’s sinful nature did not diminish as we read in the account of Cain and Abel:
Genesis 4:1-16 (ESV) Cain and Abel
4 Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten[a] a man with the help of the Lord.” 2 And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground. 3 In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, 4 and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, 5 but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. 6 The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted?[b] And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for[c] you, but you must rule over it.”
8 Cain spoke to Abel his brother.[d] And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. 9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” 10 And the Lord said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground. 11 And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.” 13 Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is greater than I can bear.[e] 14 Behold, you have driven me today away from the ground, and from your face I shall be hidden. I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” 15 Then the Lord said to him, “Not so! If anyone kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the Lord put a mark on Cain, lest any who found him should attack him. 16 Then Cain went away from the presence of the Lord and settled in the land of Nod,[f] east of Eden.
Footnotes: a. Genesis 4:1 Cain sounds like the Hebrew for gotten b. Genesis 4:7 Hebrew will there not be a lifting up [of your face]? C. Genesis 4:7 Or against d. Genesis 4:8 Hebrew; Samaritan, Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate add Let us go out to the field e. Genesis 4:13 Or My guilt is too great to bear f. Genesis 4:16 Nod means wandering
God had asked Cain where his brother Abel was, and Cain replied, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” This statement would become a key part of Christ’s teaching that we love others as Christ loved us.
It is interesting that God does not bring the judgment of death upon Cain for the sin of killing his brother and lying to the Lord, but was to become a homeless refugee, bearing a mark from God lest he is killed as well. Before he killed his brother, God had detected anger and jealousy within Cain towards Abel and had warned Cain not to be consumed by sin which was crouching at his doorstep.
The sins of hatred and murder continued to plague the subsequent generations of humanity, including the actions of the scribes and Pharisees, whom the Lord singled out in Matthew 23:29-35:
Matthew 23:29-35 (ESV)
29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, 30 saying, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 Thus you witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. 33 You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell? 34 Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, 35 so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah,[a] whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar.
Footnotes: a. Matthew 23:35 Some manuscripts omit the son of Barachiah
The Lord’s answer to the sins of hatred is contrary to Cain’s words, that we should act as our “brother’s keepers’ and demonstrate love towards our brothers and sisters as Christ loved us, as we see in 1 John 3:11-18:
1 John 3:11-18 (ESV) Love One Another
11 For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12 We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, brothers and sisters, that the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
Just the Lord admonished Cain to avoid the trap of sin, Christians are admonished to become “dead to sin” and at the same time “alive to God”, as indicated in Romans 6:1-14:
Romans 6:1-14 (ESV) Dead to Sin, Alive to God
6 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self[a] was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free[b] from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
Footnotes: a. Romans 6:6 Greek man b. Romans 6:7 Greek has been justified
In closing, let me wish you joy in God’s Love and His Blessings for a Happy Valentine’s Day on Tuesday!
Let us pray…
Closing Music Special: In Jesus’ Name (God of Possible) – Katy Nichole – Lyric Video – https://youtu.be/R84PqRdZ7_Y
Benediction – (Jude 24-25 – Doxology):
Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen