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Costly Love - Would U Die for Me 1 John 3 11-24

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Sunday 1st of April 2007

6.30pm Service

Costly Love – Would you die for me?

1 John 3:11-24

It is amazing that after so many thousands of years of so-called human advancement we are still so unclear as to the nature of true love. Perhaps it is because love is such a powerful force. It is so powerful that we hardly know how to adequately describe it. There is no doubt that love has been the most written about topic of all time. In prose, poetry, plays, television, and movies, we see this notion of love popping up over and over again.

In whatever way we define love, we all find ourselves longing for it. The words "I love you" are powerful words indeed. To hear those words is a wonderful thing. It makes us feel warm inside. Those words cause us to feel good about ourselves. That’s because love is dynamic. Love has the power to liberate. And we all have a need to be loved and to express love ourselves. This need is basic to human existence itself.

Now this brings us to an interesting question. In a world where love is in such great demand, why isn’t there more love? Why are people hateful, cynical, critical, and downright belligerent? Sometimes it seems that our society, while desperately in need of love, produces precisely the opposite. Even in the church, where love should abound, we find unloving people.

There seems to be a tension in our world between love and hate. While love is a powerful force, hate can also be powerful as well. In fact, hate is the enemy of true love. Hatred is the tool of the Devil and he uses it with great skill to destroy people’s lives. Love, on the other hand, is the high calling of every Christian. Love is a reflection of the very nature of God Himself. When we truly love, the power of God is unleashed in our lives – a power powerful enough to defeat hatred.

Our text today reminds us of the power of love in the life of Christian believers. As we look at the lessons it teaches, we will not only be made aware of the priority of love but we will also be directed to the greatest example of true love ever given and inspired by that example in how we let love show through in our lives.

Love one another

 11This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 12Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother's were righteous. 13Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you. 14We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death. 15Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.

 16This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 19This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence 20whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

 21Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him. 23And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.

God wants His followers to Love One Another

 11This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.

How to love? – Not Like Cain

Who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother

He killed his own brother because of hatred and rage

12Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother's were righteous. 13Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you. 14We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death. 15Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.

How – Like Jesus

Who laid down his life for us

Jesus gave his own like for his enemies because he loved them

16This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.

We should love one another like Jesus loved us laying down our lives for our brothers.

This means that our lives should be a continual giving –out on behalf of other believers. Even being ready if necessary to die for them.

And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.

Eg Church unity – Jesus prays that they would be one, I will never be found trying to coerce or encourage someone to leave another church to come to ours. I believe strongly that JESUS is at work in other churches in Wodonga. I am on the same team as Faith City, the Church of Christ, Lutherans, and so on. If I am trying to encourage people to leave their church to come to mine I might just be acting completely against Jesus’ prayer for unity.

What Does that look like? –

 

Negatively – Not helping those in material need

17If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?

If anyone sees another brother in need open your heart to him…

Deuteronomy 15:7-9

 7 If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother. 8 Rather be openhanded and freely lend him whatever he needs. 9 Be careful not to harbor this wicked thought: "The seventh year, the year for canceling debts, is near," so that you do not show ill will toward your needy brother and give him nothing. He may then appeal to the LORD against you, and you will be found guilty of sin.

Positively – love not with words or tongue but with actions and in truth

18Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 19This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence 20whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

As a pastor of this church we will continue to have special offerings at our communion times and encourage you to give to the groceries box up as you enter the church. We give away as a church so much to others, because not only as individuals but as a church we want to be serving each other.

The Bible is saying that if you don’t give to people in need – the love of God can’t be within you. Part of your giving that goes into the offering each week is to go to help those in our church that are going through difficulty – needing food, other emergency items. So keep giving and if you hear of a need try to meet it. I heard just this week of someone anonymously giving a person $100 in cash as they went on a trip just to spend. Wow! They were thrilled. They needed it!

“Thankyou for the hamper and the load of water you gave us. So practical and very much appreciated. We thank God that we are part of such a generous and caring church family & we are blessed to be recipients of that generosity and love – God is so good!”

“Many thanks to the Wodonga District Baptist Church for your kindness and for being sensitive to the need of others. Thankyou so much for the cheque you gave us. It came in handy.”

“To the Wodonga Baptist Church – Thanks for visiting me in hospital. The prayer support through our church with phone calls, visits, meals, ironing etc. has been overwhelming. We thank and praise God for people like you those in the church.”

“This person writes about the way in which the prayer support and being able to talk about what they needed in their time of care was so helpful and talks about the visits, phone calls, meals from the church, cards, including our small group in the care, and she says this was all overwhelming. Then she writes, “The special loving care shown to us and the love of God has meant more than words could ever express. God Bless you!”

   

 21Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him. 23And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.

In verses 19-22 the author warned his readers against succumbing to meanness of heart and encouraged them to practise generosity in face of material needs of fellow believers. When they did this, he said, they would be obeying God’s command and doing what pleases him. In verse 23 John makes explicit what God’s command is…

The primary command!

 

23And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.

 

 God’s fundamental command to human beings is “to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ.” In John 6:29 when Jesus was asked by the crowd “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” To believe in his name is the same as believing in the person. To believe in the name of Jesus involves total commitment and obedience to Him. In John 8:31 Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching you are my disciples.” In Matthew 7:21 Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” And this always involves doing what he commanded, ‘to love one another.’ There can be no obedience of God’s commands if there is no love for one another, there can be no love for one another if people close their hearts to those in need, and there can be no confidence when approaching God in prayer when people close their hearts to fellow believers in need.

24Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.

Romans 8:15-16 “or you did not receive a spirit that make you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of Sonship. And by him we cry Abba Father.”

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