John Gray - Love Letters
Tonight, I'm gonna give you my title upfront because normally I preach like 32 minutes and then give then give the title of my message at the end. You just taking notes like, well what's the title? The title tonight is "Love letters". Ooh! Love letters. How many people ever got a love letter? Let me see your hands. Put your hands down wife. I'm your love letter. Let me see your hands again, how many people that got love letter, how many? How many of us didn't get a love letter? You just sad, "I was like I already don't like this message".
Remember when we used to pass notes in high school? Maybe y'all don't, some of y'all are like, what are notes? You used to actually write them with a thing called a pen. Before everything was digital, you couldn't just text your love. You had to write it, with a heart and then you put a arrow through it. And when you liked the girl, you wouldn't just go up to her you'd hit her with that note, put it in that locker right there on that side. You don't know what I'm talking about, with the corner out. Let her know with the initials, J.G to A.C. Aha, I got you maiden name, you thought I was gonna bring up one of my old boos, not tonight, I wanna go home happy.
Oh, oh. And you thought you was real deep, you thought you were real profound. Girl you look good, I like your outfit. I'm gonna sit next to you at lunch. You going to the dance Friday? We gonna match, we're gonna have red T-shirts and blue jeans with the white high-top converse, we gonna kill them. We gotta work on our dance moves. Stick, and bring it down, you know what I'm saying? It was something exciting about a letter and do you remember going back and forth? When you would send the letter and then they write on it and put it back? No, alrighty. Well I do.
So you'd write something, they'd write something back and fold it back up and you'd read it and be all excited. And it's funny because we were on the way to the church and I said, babe you used to ever get love letters? She was like, mm I still got a shoebox full, I was like, that's what you think. They've been in the trash. I found them, you was hiding them. When you, wanna get somebody's attention, back in those days you didn't just say terrible things, you said the sweetest things you could. You look good! Start quoting lyrics from songs.
When I'm alone in my room sometimes I stare at the wall and in the back of my mind I hear my conscious call, telling me I need a girl who's as sweet as a dove, for the first time in my life, I see I need love. She'd be like, oh he is such poet, girl read this. But then when you wanted to take it to that next level, where you ain't just writing letters. I got enough feedback in the letters to know you like me, so let me go on and take this to the next level and let me get you this one. And then you put, you know, the marker around, your initials and she opens it. Will you go with me? Check yes, or no.
How many people got that one? See I wasn't the cute dude in school so I didn't put the no on there. I was just, check yes or later. I hate rejection. And when she checked yes, ooh, thank you Jesus. We go together! Don't even know what means, we 14 but we go together! That means we are an item, we got to the ice-cream truck together. We hold hands when our parents ain't around. Something about those letters, something about the fact that someone took time to write, to tell you how they feel. Something about it, it just reaches you because there's power in words. It's one thing to speak them but when they're written it just has a different authority.
And when I think about the ultimate love letter, I have to come to the Word of God. If you look at the history of how the Bible came to be, over 1500 years of written history, over 40 different writers. Historical books, you've got poetry books, you've got the law. You've got the minor prophets, the major prophets. You've got the Gospels, the synoptic Gospel then you've got epistles, you've got revelation. You got this prophetic thing, you've got 66 different letters, from multiple hands but from one singular heart.
And I feel the Holy Spirit tonight because somebody didn't know that God sent you a love letter. See, because life beats you up. We've had enough rejection, we've had enough loss. I was praying with someone today who said, "We've lost everything, right now we're living in a hotel, I need you to pray". And I prayed that the Lord would bless them, and their children and I said to them, at the end of the prayer I said, "God is as good today as he was on your best day. He has not changed, and he has not forgotten about you". It's hard to believe those words when you're in the middle of that situation, but if I can refer back to my love letter I can identify that the character of my God is greater and to be trusted more than the current circumstance that I'm in.
I wanna talk to you about faith. Because we are here as people of faith, you are here tonight, it's a statement of faith. This is not vain religiosity, you did not just come here tonight because you don't have other things to do. This was a labor of love, you had to go through something to get here and I believe I can speak from God's heart where it honors him, and I believe God is blessed that you have sacrificed to be here tonight. And don't you think for one second that your God has not seen your labor. He's seen it, don't you think for one second that any of this has gone passed heaven's notice. God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him!
And I just believe prophetically I'm supposed to say to someone tonight, and people who are watching. You've been diligently seeking him, so expect the reward. In fact, expect it now, elevate your expectation for right now. I thank God for tomorrow but some of us need a right now reward. Two, three, for, five, six, seven, eight. I'm gonna count me and you, nine, ten. Anybody else need that now? I need God to do something in my heart, to do something in my spirit, to do something in my body to do something in my finance, to do something in my emotions, to do something in my will.
Your faith is rising. I wanna encourage you tonight that though you may not see the external work, do know that the internal work is happening even at this very moment. Nothing like a good love letter. And I want you to know, that because you're here, I believe that there's something in you that believes God at his word. How many people just believe God at his word? I love your enthusiasm when pastor Lisa was talking about the tithe and you just began to clap like you've had a relationship with God to the point that you know that when you give him the first and the best he blesses the rest.
And let me tell you something, pastor Robert's message wasn't just for you, I've been ruminating on that thing. I've been chewing on that thing the entire, since Sunday when I heard it and I told my wife, I said we gotta make sure that our tithe goes out first. It goes out first and my wife told me a couple of months ago she was like, if we get paid on Thursday you need to go ahead and sow and Wednesday since you know what's coming Thursday. I was like whoa, you better go ahead! That's the kind of wife you want, somebody that will be in faith with you and when you miss it, she'll be your Holy Ghost.
Thank you, so we make sure we're not robbing God, love you honey, that's how it works. I thought I had it right, Lord I'm gonna go ahead and get that tithe to you on Sunday. But you get paid on Thursday, I know but I ain't at church on Thursday, but you get paid on Thursday but you at church Wednesday. But it ain't in my account yet, once I get it then i, no! Faith! And so I wanna celebrate the people of faith tonight. Sitting here in your blue jeans and your brown shoes and your multiple color shirts, you all look like saved skittles out here. Just, whole lot of noun laters, just all the colors.
I wanna encourage you to stop trying to argue about your faith. This is a time when people are always gonna try to talk you down from you faith, but notice, it's your faith. And no one can talk you down from your faith because it's faith. It's not always about the things that you fully understand, I believe on faith that God created the heavens and the earth. I believe on faith, that he created man from the dust of the ground, I believe on faith that everything in this word is necessary for me to develop the kind of life that the father wants for me to have in the earth, because it's his earth, it's his heaven, he created it. I believe this on faith and I cannot make anyone else believe what I believe, but I will not be talked down from my faith, it is not up for discussion. I've been reading this love letter too long. He talks so good, he mesmerizes me with his love and the tales of his exploits and what he went through for me.
Somebody say, "Love letters". But there are those who would, laugh at our faith. Laugh at our our belief, laugh at our commitment to the calling of God on our lives. There are people who would like to point you to the law and say, oh you believe in that God? The God that was doing all that stuff in the Old Testament, if you didn't wear this with that, or if you ate this instead of that, you were supposed to be stoned, you believe in that God? They wanna tear you up based on choosing certain parts of the word even though they don't believe it. And if you don't believe it, why are you bringing it up? Unless you've been thinking about it. Unless God's been tugging on your heart and you're trying to fight it but you can't fight love because love wins every time, talk to me boo.
You tried to walk passed daddy but I kept on, there's a persistence to God, he just loves you into submission. Let me go, let me go, let me go, let me go. Don't let me go, don't let me go, don't let me go. Anybody got that testimony that God just loved you into the kingdom? When we were not on his side, when we weren't on his team? I got a amen in the second row, I got a couple of people hitting the kitchen table at the house. Couple of folk up in the upper echelons know what I'm talking about. When we were not on God's side, weren't thinking about God, he start whispering to us, I love you. What are you talking about, I'm in the middle of the club, what are you talking about?
I love you, I gotta keep you covered, I got a plan for your life, anybody know what I'm talking about? That God has overdone it with his love, he's been lavish. It's one thing to be loved, it's another to be loved good. It's another to be loved right and nobody loves you like God because his love is never predicated upon what you do for him. His love ain't like Janet Jackson, what have you done for me lately? I knew you knew the song, don't act like you all saved in front of these folk. You know all them song non-believers would sometimes attempt to use the law to invalidate our faith. They use it as an attempt to dishonor and discredit us, folk who meander through scripture in order to impugn the character of God, make light of our beliefs. But the law was not sent to condemn us, the law was sent to protect us.
People say, "You know, the law says". Well first of all, I'm not Jewish. I don't live in ancient Israel and God did not redeem me out of Egypt where these laws were specifically for these people at this time, to differentiate this culture from the peoples that they were being delivered from. And so, I am a product of grace, I've been grafted into the promise so you can't put the law on me because it didn't apply to me. I never heard of God and by the time I heard of God I heard of God, not through the law but through a man. And not just any man, but a good man, what a man, what a man, what a mighty good man. That's my Jesus, that's my king. He is the lover of my soul who fought for me and who walked in the earth with holiness and integrity and compassion, and he did whatever it took to win me back to the father.
That's a man worth worshiping, that is a king worth serving, that is my Savior. That cross that he was on, I lift it up above my life, above my shame, above my guilt, above my doubt. He is my king and I'm not the only person in here who loves Jesus tonight. Too many men interpret the law as loss. But the law was love, because it was love that sets boundaries. It's love that protects. You can't have love without boundaries, you can't have love without protection.
If I say I love my son and then let him do whatever he wants I don't love him. Love says, don't you go out in that street. Love says, don't touch the stove, it's hot. Love says, go to bed! Maybe that's just me but, we get this idea that somehow love means you can just do whatever you want and "If you love me, you'll let me". That's not true, if I love you then I'll fight for you even when you can't fight for yourself. If I love you then I'll give you instruction so that you don't make bad decisions that could cost you in your destiny. That's the kind of love that God gives in his word.