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The Greenhouse - Called to Love

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Text: 1 John 4:7-21 (March 5th, 2006)

Theme: An environment of Love

• In our Greenhouse series we’re focusing on the two aspects of Jesus’ “Everyday Commandment” to love God and love our neighbors. In the 1st part of the series we looked at 3 foundations to help us love God: Intimacy. Prayer. The Word of God. Today we start the 2nd part of the series and will look at 3 Foundations to help us love our neighbors: Foundation #1 - Called to Love. #2 - Called to Connect. #3 - Called to Community

• Puppet Skit - Narrow Gate - The necessity and call to love!

• We hear the words. We know God is love but the question can still remain: What is love? 1 John 4 helps us here. From John (the apostle of love) we learn some things about love: (1 found 5) (The word for love used means “selfless devotion”)

1. Love comes from God. He is Love’s source. Because God is love, love becomes the quality that distinguishes those who know God and those who do not.

2. God demonstrated His love for us by sending His Son Jesus.

3. When it comes to love, God made the first move. He initiated. (Vs. 10) - vs. 19 - “We love because he first loved us!”

4. Because of who God is, we now have an “ought”! An obligation to love each other. So much so that there must be a correlation between God’s love and ours. (Vs. 20-21). Pretty clear statement. God wants to show His love in and through us.

5. There is no fear in love. Why would people be afraid of God? Why do we fear his punishment? Why would people be afraid to draw close to him in worship in prayer? Because people don’t know that God loves them. They don’t know that he is perfect love! We need to know that he loves us. You need to know that God loves you!

• So our call is clear this morning. It is to LOVE! One key thing that stands out to me when I consider the call to love. It has more to do with action than words. Love is not a feeling - it is an act of the will. Look at 1 John 3:16-18! Let us love with “actions and truth”.

• So here is a definition that has helped me: “Love is intentionally doing something in Jesus’ name, regardless of the cost or consequence to oneself”.

• Let’s unpack this definition: “Intentionally doing something” - on purpose! Love is a verb and a command of Jesus. Something we must do and it doesn’t always just happen! “In Jesus name” ? Why? There is something about His name that puts our love into context. All authority is in His name. Every knee shall bow! (Edger) “Regardless of the cost or consequence to yourself” - and it will cost you! The old loving the young - it will cost you. The young loving the old - it will cost you. Love means we often will be called to lay down a preference for someone else in Jesus name!

• (Definition again) - Our greatest example of love is therefore Jesus!

• So it is obvious isn’t it: The Call is to love. I believe this: “The degree to which we are effective in communicating God’s love is the degree to which we will see lives changed” (Sonlife). God’s love will ultimately melt hearts and change lives. If we’re going to communicate His love we have to know and experience it ourselves!

• Hebrews 10:24 - “let us consider how to spur one another on toward love and good deeds”. “Spur” = urge, prompt, encourage, exhort, incite, prod, propel, provoke.

• We need to be intentional about this. Do it on purpose! What are we going to do in and through our fellowship to promote an environment of love?

• What one the things each one of us can do practically to promote love is to know and practice your love language. It was Chapman and Smalley who popularized the concept of the 5 human love languages. Basically the belief is that each of us are wired to both give and receive love in particular ways.

• Here are the 5 love languages. As I unpack each of them consider which one may be your dominant language.

1. Personal Attention - you show and receive love by understanding the value of a person, an individual. For you love is one person at a time. People are starving and dying from a lack of personal attention.

2. Verbal Affirmation - those with this love language give and receive love verbally or in written form. For you, love needs to be verbalized and not just shown. For you, words are important!

3. Physical touch - you both show and receive love through touch. Gentle and appropriate touch. Affirming touch. (Pastor Garth) Eye contact is considered physical as well. UCLA Alumni News, just to maintain emotional and physical (and I’ll add spiritual) health, men and women need 8-10 meaningful touches each day. According to the journal of psychology, touch had been documented to lower blood pressure, help to protect children from later immorality, and add as much as 2 years to your life

4. Acts of Service - those with this love language show love by serving someone else. You roll up your sleeves and get busy! Do you love to serve? Does it give you joy and pleasure? Acts of service is probably your predominate love language. It is also how people can show you love as well - even thought you may not like it. I find that servers find it hard to be served, but it is important!

5. Extended Time. For these folks love is spelled: T.I.M.E. Both quality and quantity of time. Don’t tell me you love me, spend time with me and lots of it!

• 5 love languages. Personal attention. Verbal or written affirmations. Physical touch. Acts of service. Extended time.. What your love language and how can you start speaking your language?

• Let’s consider how we can continue to get love flowing in and through our church. If we are going to love our neighbors and our community, we had better start here. With each other!

• It reminds me of the story of a new pastor that came to a church and preached a moving sermon on the need to love one another. People were so thankful and just raved about it. The next week he preached the same sermon. People though OK. But again the next week - same sermon on love. Finally after another week of the very same message the pastor was confronted. “Well”, the wise pastor said, “When you start living the first sermon I’ll give you another one”!!!

• There is lots of love to go around here. Because God is love. He loves this world so much. He’s shown that love through Jesus Christ. So church, he has given us the responsibility to let His love flow in and through us. The love of God in particular is more caught than taught.

• “This 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. . . Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth”!

• The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever!

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