They’ll Know We Are Christians By Our Love
Preached at Skillman Bible Church
June 5, 2005
Main Sermon Text:
1 John 4:7-5:4
1 John 3:11-24
Central Proposition: Christians must love each other fervently and this is displayed through our actions toward each other in the working out of our faith together and in our service in the church and in each other’s lives.
Sub proposition 1: Christ is the ultimate model for love.
Sub proposition 2: Out of the three character qualities listed in 1 Cor 13:13, Love will be all that remains in the new creation.
We will have no need for faith or hope in heaven.
So if we are to live by God’s standards with heaven in mind, we must practice love.
1) We must love each other with our actions (or in deed) and not just give lip service (in word).
2) We must love each other “in truth” and not simply “in tongue”
3) Three blessings will come to the believer who practices Christian love:
a. Assurance - A Christian who practices love grows in his understanding of God’s truth and enjoys a heart filled with confidence before God.
b. Answered Prayer - love for the brethren proves that you are living in the will of God where God can answer your prayer.
c. Abiding - when a believer walks in love, he finds it easy to obey God, and therefore he maintains a close communion with God.
4) We must follow Jesus’ example and lay down our lives for each other.
\\ I just finished a class at Dallas Seminary titled “Eschatology” in which we discussed and examined Biblical texts and theology concerning End Times events.
It fits really well into the series that Pastor Terry has been taking us through in Revelation.
You would think that the majority of this class would be discussing the cataclysmic destruction of the world, the battle of Armageddon and so on… but in fact much of our discussion focused on the three basic tenets of Christianity, the three core values of a Christian: Faith, Hope and Love.
Most of you know the scripture in 1 Corinthians 13. It’s a famous one which is spoken at many weddings.
The last verse of this chapter states, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.
But the greatest of these is love.”
Faith, hope and love.
Three core values of the Christian’s life.
Faith being that we believe in Jesus, that which is unseen.
Hope in that we trust that He will come back again in His Second Coming, some of which Terry has spoken about in Revelation.
Love, which is the greatest of these three, in which we have been created and in which we have been redeemed.
Love is the reason why we are here.
It was out of love that God created the World.
It was out of love that He chose to redeem His creation when it fell to sin, instead of wiping it out and starting anew.
God is love.
His very essence radiates this fact.
During the recent class I took we looked at the doctrinal statement of Dallas Seminary.
Under the section on the church the statement reads that believers in the community of the church should love “one another with a pure heart fervently.”
Today we’re going to look at one of the major texts of the Bible which expounds to us this mystery of love and how it applies to us today in this fallen world.
Open your Bibles to 1 John 4 verse 7. It’s fitting to look at this passage as we begin the work on the Cook building renovation because it deals with Christian love within the community of believers, within the church and with all of mankind.
Please follow along as I read:
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.
Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.
8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
9 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.
10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
13 We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.
14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.
15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God.
16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love.
Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.
17 In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him.
18 There is no fear in love.
But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.
The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
19 We love because he first loved us.
20 If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar.
For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.
21 And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.
*5:1* Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well.
2 This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands.
3 This is love for God: to obey his commands.
And his commands are not burdensome, 4 for everyone born of God overcomes the world.
This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.
One of the central themes of the Bible is community.
We see this from the very beginning when God said “It is not good for man to be alone.”
He knew that what was good, what was best, was for man to exist in community… so he created a partner for the man, a mate, the woman.
The first community existed.
The first two humans were in communion with each other and with God.
Then the fall came, and sin entered the world.
This corrupted God’s original intention for mankind and enmity and strife existed in the first community.
Yet God still desired for mankind to live in community and so through Abraham, He created a nation, a community, Israel.
Sometimes good things happened in this community… we see the first educational system set in place in Deuteronomy 6, a community oriented educational system.
And the nation came together under Joshua and work together to conquer the land.
Yet still sin was present and strife existed.
Yet when the community worked together in brotherly, or phileo, love we see God blessing it and working through it, such as when Nehemiah brought a remnant back to Jerusalem to rebuild it after the Babylonian captivity.
When the Messiah came, He also exhorted His followers to live in community through love when he exclaimed that the second greatest commandment after loving God is to love your neighbor.
We see his disciples, living in community, struggling with this concept as they fought with each other over which of them will be greatest in Heaven.
But eventually, they get it and we see them as the Apostles in Acts in agreement and in community for the sake of Christ and His message of love.
“Dear Friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.” It’s not a request.
It’s not a philosophical or idealistic statement.
It is a command in scripture from the mouth of our Lord.
Love your brother or sister.
And we are to do so in community.
And what is love?
Well, verse 9 and 10 state it plainly: “He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
God showed His ultimate example of love for us in that He sacrificed His Son on our behalf.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son so that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but will have everlasting life.”
This is a free gift from God. Unmerited grace.
We have done nothing to deserve this gift.
There is no way to earn this gift.
It is given by God through the spilled blood of Christ.
This is what love is.