Sermon No: 177523-LOVE THE CHIEF OF VIRTUES - Part 1



SERMON TOPIC: LOVE THE CHIEF OF VIRTUES - Part 1

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 14 August 2022

Topic Groups: LOVE, SALVATION, LOVE OF GOD

Sermon synopsis: During a tour of the US in 1962, the theologian Karl Barth lectured at the campus of the University of Chicago. During the Q & A time, a student asked Barth if he could summarize his whole life’s work in theology in a sentence.

The famous Reformed theologian said something to the effect of, “Yes, I can … ‘Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.’”

GOD’S LOVE FOR US

During a tour of the US in 1962, the theologian Karl Barth lectured at the campus of the University of Chicago.

During the Q & A time, a student asked Barth if he could summarize his whole life’s work in theology in a sentence.

The famous Reformed theologian said something to the effect of, “Yes, I can … ‘Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.’”

John 3:16 is probably the most well-known and widely quoted verse in the Bible. It has rightfully been called THE GOSPEL IN A NUTSHELL

GOD’S LOVE FOR US

JOHN 3:16

For God SO LOVED the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Thomas Aquinas defined love as “to will the good of another,” or to desire for another to succeed. *

One of God’s attributes is LOVE. God doesn’t just love; God is love (1 John 4:16). The word ‘love’ is used over 500 times in the Bible (NIV).

Love is initiated by God

1 John 4:19 (NIV) We love because he first loved us.

* St. Thomas Aquinas, STh I-II, 26, 4, corp. art. Newadvent.org

GREAT LOVE

Ps 108:4,6 (NIV) For great is your love, higher than the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies… Save us and help us with your right hand, that those you love may be delivered.

Eph 2:4-5 (NIV) But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions …

1 John 3:1 (NIV) See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!

The chorus of the hymn, “The Love of God” goes:

O Love of God, how rich and pure! How measureless and strong! It shall forevermore endure The saints and angels song.

When the author F.M. Lehman (1868-1953) tried to write a third verse to the song, the words just wouldn’t fall into place. He then thought of a card he had once received that had on it a poem about the love of God. He found the card and saw that it told the story of the origin of the poem.

GREAT LOVE

It had been found written on a prison wall some 200 years earlier. It wasn’t known why the prisoner was incarcerated; nor if the words were original. Whatever the circumstances, he had written them on the wall of his prison cell. That third stanza goes:

Could we with ink the ocean fill And were the skies of parchment made, Were every stalk on earth a quill And every man a scribe by trade, To write the love of God above Would drain the ocean dry, Nor could the scroll contain the whole Though stretched from sky to sky.

GREAT LOVE

GREATER THAN A MOTHER’S LOVE

Isa 49:15-16 (NIV) “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands…”

In the Song of Solomon (written 3000 years ago), the romantic love that exists between a man and woman is used as a picture of the love that exists between God and his people. The man says, “You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you… you have stolen my heart with one glance of your eyes…” (4:7-9) and “Like a lily among thorns is my darling among the young women” (2:2).

COMPARED TO ROMANTIC LOVE

Arise, my darling, My beautiful one, Come with me.

See! The winter is past; The rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; The season of singing has come,

The cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms its early fruit; The blossoming vines spread their fragrance.

Arise, come, my darling; My beautiful one, Come with me.

(Song of Solomon 1:10-13 , NIV)

COMPARED TO ROMANTIC LOVE

Isa 62:3-5 (NASB) You will also be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, And a royal diadem in the hand of your God. It will no longer be said to you, “Forsaken,” Nor to your land will it any longer be said, “Desolate”; But you will be called, “My delight is in her,” And your land, “Married”; For the LORD delights in you, And to Him your land will be married. For as a young man marries a virgin, So your sons will marry you; And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, So your God will rejoice over you.

The love between a husband and wife is a picture of Christ’s love for the church.

Eph 5:25-27 (NIV) Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

Jesus loves the church redemptively.

REDEMPTIVE LOVE

In the Book of Ruth, the redemptive love Boaz has for Ruth is the type of the love Christ has for his church.

Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a kinsman-redeemer.

“Spread the corner of your garment over me” was a culturally relevant way of saying, “Take me as your wife.”

God uses a similar analogy when he speaks of his love relationship with Jerusalem:

Ezek 16:8-14 (NIV) “Later I passed by, and when I looked at you and saw that you were old enough for love, I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your naked body. I gave you my solemn oath and entered into a covenant with you,” declares the Sovereign Lord, “and you became mine.” 

REDEMPTIVE LOVE

 I bathed you with water and washed the blood from you and put ointments on you. I clothed you with an embroidered dress and put sandals of fine leather on you. I dressed you in fine linen and covered you with costly garments. I adorned you with jewellery: I put bracelets on your arms and a necklace around your neck, and I put a ring on your nose, earrings on your ears and a beautiful crown on your head.

REDEMPTIVE LOVE

 “So you were adorned with gold and silver; your clothes were of fine linen and costly fabric and embroidered cloth. Your food was honey, olive oil and the finest flour. You became very beautiful and rose to be a queen. And your fame spread among the nations on account of your beauty, because the splendour I had given you made your beauty perfect,” declares the Sovereign Lord.”

REDEMPTIVE LOVE

For God so loved THE WORLD that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

THE WORLD

GOD LOVES THE WORLD (KOSMOS)

Jesus told us that God loves THE WORLD.

The Psalmist wrote:

Ps 145:8-9 (NIV) The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.

THE WORLD

THE GREEK WORD KOSMOS IN THE NEW TESTAMENT

THE WORLD, THE UNIVERSE

THE CIRCLE OF THE EARTH, THE EARTH

THE INHABITANTS OF THE EARTH, MEN, THE HUMAN RACE

THE UNGODLY MULTITUDE; THE WHOLE MASS OF MEN ALIENATED FROM GOD, AND THEREFORE HOSTILE TO THE CAUSE OF CHRIST

WORLD AFFAIRS, THE AGGREGATE OF THINGS EARTHLY

ANY AGGREGATE OR GENERAL COLLECTION OF PARTICULARS OF ANY SORT (cf. James 3:6 “the tongue also is a fire, a world of evil…”)

Thayer's Greek Lexicon http://biblehub.com/greek/2889.htm

THE WORLD (KOSMOS)

It is a fallacy to attempt to restrict universal terms like “world” in contexts which deal of the atonement.

If as 5-point Calvinists say, the world that is loved is the “world of the elect” then holding that logic in the same book, Satan who is called the “prince of this world” is actually the “prince of the elect.”

John 16:11 (NIV) … and about judgment, because the prince of this world (kosmos) now stands condemned.

THE WORLD (KOSMOS)

John 16:8-9 (ESV) … he will convict the world (kosmos) concerning sin … concerning sin, because they do not believe in me …

A word study of the word “world” - particularly in the apostle John’s writings, where it is used 78 times - indicates that the world is God-hating, Christ-rejecting, and Satan-dominated. Yet this is the world that Christ died for. *

* https:// www.ronrhodes.org/ the-extent-of-the-atonement

1 John 2:2 (NIV) He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole (holos) world (kosmos).

*

THE WHOLE WORLD (HOLOS KOSMOS)

For God so loved the world THAT HE GAVE HIS ONE AND ONLY SON, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

THAT HE GAVE HIS ONE AND ONLY SON

The Father demonstrated his love by action.

1 John 4:9 (NIV) This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.

THAT HE GAVE HIS ONE AND ONLY SON

1 John 4:10 (NIV) This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

THAT HE GAVE HIMSELF

Love is sacrificial - Jesus showed his love for us by giving his life for us.

1 John 3:16 (NIV) This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.

THAT HE GAVE HIMSELF

Eph 5:1-2 (NIV) … Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Gal 2:20 (NIV) … The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Rev 1:5 (NIV)…To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood…

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, THAT WHOEVER believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

THAT WHOEVER

That whoever: that includes you and me – and all sinners.

Jesus’s enemies dubbed him “a friend of tax collectors and sinners” (Matt 11:19).

THAT WHOEVER

God loves us while we are still sinners:

Rom 5:8 (NIV) But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

GOD LOVES SINNERS

Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. (Luke 23:34, ESV)

GOD LOVES SINNERS

Jesus loves sinners. He only loves sinners. He has never turned anyone away who came to Him for forgiveness, and He died on the cross for sinners, not for respectable people. ~ Corrie Ten Boom

GOD LOVES SINNERS

Because of his love, God takes no pleasure in the grief of the wicked.

For men are not cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men. (Lam 3:31-33, NIV)

Joel 2:13 (NIV) … Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.

God does not rejoice when sinners die in an unrepentant state and face eternal punishment.

Ezekiel 33:11 (NIV) Say to them, “As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?”

GOD LOVES SINNERS

GOD LOVES SINNERS

2 Peter 3:9 (NIV) The Lord … is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

God’s angels rejoice when even one sinner repents.

Luke 15:10 (NIV) “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

GOD LOVES SINNERS

Jesus instructs us to love our enemies, based on his Father’s own example.

Matt 5:43-45 (NIV) “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

Would Jesus tell us to do something that he himself did not do? Would he use the Father as an example to follow for loving our enemies, if God did not love sinners?

HE LOVES THE BACKSLIDER

Even when we don’t realise it or acknowledge it, God loves us. Even when we drift away, God loves the backslider.

Hos 11:1-4 (NIV) “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. But the more I called Israel, the further they went from me. They sacrificed to the Baals and they burned incense to images. It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms; but they did not realize it was I who healed them. I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love; I lifted the yoke from their neck and bent down to feed them.”

HE LOVES THE BACKSLIDER

Hosea is a picture how God loves the unfaithful backslider.

Hos 14:4 (NIV) “I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them.”

Hos 3:3 (NIV) The LORD said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.”

Hos 2:19 (NIV) I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion.

Rom 9:25 (NIV) As he says in Hosea: “I will call them ‘my people’ who are not my people; and I will call her ‘my loved one’ who is not my loved one,”

The story of Hosea and his troubled marriage with his adulterous and unfaithful wife is used by God as a type of his similar remarkable love for Israel, even when they turned to other gods.

Hos 3:3 (NIV) The LORD said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods…”

God says of unfaithful Israel:

“Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her… There she will respond as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt. In that day… you will call me ‘my husband’; you will no longer call me ‘my master’… I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the Lord.” (Hos 2:14-20, NIV)

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever BELIEVES IN HIM shall not perish but have eternal life.

BELIEVES IN HIM

How do we avail ourselves of eternal life?

By believing in Jesus Christ (John 3:16)

1 John 5:13 (NIV) I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

1 Tim 1:16 (NIV) But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.

BELIEVES IN HIM

We must believe that Jesus can save us.

Rom 10:9 (NIV) That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

We must put our faith in Jesus.

1 John 5:13 (NIV) I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

Believing in Jesus doesn’t just mean believing that He exists. Even the demons do that. It means putting our trust and hope in Him.

John 5:24-26 (NIV) “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself.

By entering into a relationship with God and his Son.

John 17:1-3 (NIV) After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

By walking in obedience to God.

Heb 5:9 (NIV) and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him SHALL NOT PERISH but have eternal life.

SHALL NOT PERISH

As a group of people toured the slums of a city, one of the women, seeing a little girl playing in the dirt, asked the guide, “Why doesn’t her mother clean her up?”

“Madam,” he replied, “that girl’s mother probably loves her, but she doesn’t hate dirt. You hate dirt, but you don’t love her enough to go down there and clean her up. Until hate for dirt and love for that child are in the same person, that little girl is likely to remain as she is.”

SHALL NOT PERISH

SHALL NOT PERISH

Many people might hate our sin. God didn’t just hate our sin - he loved us as well. So he provided a way of salvation for us – the object of his love.

God’s love is a redemptive love. If we believe in his Son we “shall not perish”.

Ps 103:2-4 (NIV) Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits— who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion

SHALL NOT PERISH

Ps 103:8-10 (NIV) The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbour his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.

Titus 3:4-5 (NIV) But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.

SHALL NOT PERISH

Isa 38:17 (NIV) … In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back.

Ps 25:6-7 (NIV) Remember, O LORD, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you are good, O LORD.

Zeph 3:17 (NIV) “The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish BUT HAVE ETERNAL LIFE.

BUT HAVE ETERNAL LIFE

Jesus promised us eternal life.

1 John 2:25 (NIV) And this is what he promised us—even eternal life.

The only other alternative is eternal punishment.

Matt 25:46 (NIV) “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

There are 2 choices and 2 destinies. We can choose to accept God’s way of salvation through his Son, Jesus - or to reject it and face the consequences:

John 3:36 (NIV) “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.”

BUT HAVE ETERNAL LIFE

Rom 5:21 (NIV) so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Jude 21 (NIV) Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

BUT HAVE ETERNAL LIFE

BUT HAVE ETERNAL LIFE

Obtained through faith, it was made possible through Jesus’ death.

John 3:14-15 (NIV) Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.

Is there any other way to get eternal life?

Jesus told the woman at the well, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14)

BUT HAVE ETERNAL LIFE

Billy Graham said:

Drink of the water of drugs, and you will thirst again. Drink of the water of fame, and you will thirst again. Drink of the water of popularity, and you will thirst again. Drink of all the other waters being offered today, and you will thirst again. But drink of the living water that Jesus will give you, and you will never thirst. *

* https:// billygraham.org/ decision-magazine/ april-2005

BUT HAVE ETERNAL LIFE

There are no other ways of attaining eternal life, except through Jesus.

1 John 5:11-12 (NIV) And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

BUT HAVE ETERNAL LIFE

Only Jesus has God’s seal of approval for giving eternal life.

John 6:27 (NIV) “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”

John 6:40 (NIV) “For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”

God has “set eternity in the hearts of men” (Eccl 3:11, NIV).

Though we might have troubles in this life, the benefits of eternal life outweighs them.

2 Cor 4:17 (NIV) For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

1 Pet 5:10 (NIV) And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while …

We deserve death but eternal life is an unmerited gift from God.

Rom 6:23 (NIV) For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

BUT HAVE ETERNAL LIFE

Eternal life was given because of God’s love, kindness, mercy and grace.

Titus 3:4-7 (NIV) But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us … so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

GOD’S LOVE FOR US EVERLASTING SURPASSES KNOWLEDGE

Eph 3:17-19 (NIV) And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

GOD’S LOVE FOR US IS EVERLASTING

Jer 31:3 (NIV) The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”

GOD’S LOVE FOR US NEVER CEASES

Lam 3:22-23 (ESV) The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

UNFAILING

God’s love can be counted on:

Psalm 52:8 (NIV) But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever.

IF GOD IS FOR US

Rom 8:28-34 (NIV) And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 

IF GOD IS FOR US

 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.

IF GOD IS FOR US

At a very young age, Henry Moorhouse was a gambler, gang-leader and thief, who had already been in jail on several occasions. He carried a gun – for the purpose of killing himself should the need arise. One day in 1859 he was radically converted after accidentally stumbling into a revival meeting of Richard Weaver.

Immediately, Henry began to preach in open air meetings, hand out tracts and talk to people about Jesus. He is known as “the man who loved John 3:16”.

Henry would tell of a man who bet on dog fights. His bulldog was one of the best. But after a bad night at the fights he was carrying his torn-up dog under his arm. Disgusted at the dog’s poor showing, as he passed the zoo that night, he threw the creature over the gate into the lion’s den to get rid of it.

Later as he passed the zoo, he spied a strange sight. There was his fighting dog, recuperating from his wounds as he rested under the lazy paw of a great lion.

Realizing his mistake, he went to the zoo-keeper to report his lost property and demanded his dog back.

The zoo-keeper responded, “Go and get him.”

Henry would add, “I had served Satan well, but one day the old devil lost me, and I found myself at the feet of the King of kings and Lord of lords.

Every once in a while the devil comes back to reclaim me, but when he does I just nestle close to the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, and say to the devil, “Come and get me.”

* http:// uplook.org/ 1999/ 04/ henry-moorehouse

IF GOD IS FOR US

Jesus has the power (and the desire – because of his love) to keep us.

John 10:27-28 (NIV) “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.”

GOD’S LOVE FOR US

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?... No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,  neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

(Rom 8:35-39, NIV)

A man was looking for a place in New York late one night. He stopped a police officer and said, “I am looking for a night club named Hell’s Gate. Do you know how to get there?”

The officer said, “Just keep going down this street and will you pass Calvary Church on your right. Just keep going past CALVARY and you will come to HELL’S GATE.”

CONCLUSION

CONCLUSION

You have to pass by so many things to get to hell.

The Cross. Don’t pass Calvary!

Don’t pass the Word of God.

Don’t pass the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

But most of all, don’t walk past the Love of God.

Heb 2:3 (NASB) how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?




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