moving apart: following paths or courses that become increasingly different or separate
not matching something: deviating from something such as a typical pattern…
Moving beyond the watershed moment of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we see the results in the lives of his closest followers.
Last week we talked about the resurrection as the watershed moment – if Jesus did not rise, our faith is worthless. We are liars (and so was Jesus). But if He did rise, that changes everything – it means our last enemy – death – is defeated.
We are going to look at how some of Jesus closest friends wrote about who Jesus is. They are eyewitnesses. Their opinion matters. Their experiences are valid.
Was a disciple of Jesus. He was close to Him.
Experienced and expressed the Message of Jesus primarily as love (dozens of references in 1-3 John).
I was going to call this “All You Need is Love.” But I was raised by Builders, not Boomers, so I missed the Beatles.
So I went with the “1984 power ballad recorded by the British–American rock band Foreigner.”
Love is the subject of a good chunk of our pop music and at least half our movies.
We might mock cheesy 80’s power ballads (and for good reason), but we’re definitely searching – we want to know what love is.
The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves.
Who, being loved, is poor?
…And we’d be here all night if I started quoting song lyrics.
Awhile back, we figured out that those who have the hardest time loving have never been shown love. This has made it’s way into our collective psyche. We try to understand WHY someone is harsh, violent, or a bully. It’s even made its way into pop culture with a series of revisionist stories that attempt to understand the REASON villains become villains – and it’s usually because they have been unloved in some way.
The Grinch – the Grinch’s heart is two sizes too small because he was teased and unloved in school.
Wicked – A cautionary tale about love, friendship and trust, Wicked effortlessly reveals that there are indeed two sides to every story.
Our understanding of love is often limited by how we have been loved.
To know love, to give love, I must first BE loved.
When I am loved – unconditionally, sacrificially, it empowers me to love others. I can love deeply, because I am loved. I am secure. I am safe. I have love to give.
I John 3
More on Love and Hatred
16 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 and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them,how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children,let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
This is how we know what love is.
Such great love demands a response
Our response is to love others
Love goes beyond words. Real love takes action.
THE MESSAGE: If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God’s love? It disappears. And you made it disappear.
THE MESSAGE: – “19 let’s practice real love. This is the only way we’ll know we’re living truly, living in God’s reality. It’s also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves.
21-24 And friends, once that’s taken care of and we’re no longer accusing or condemning ourselves, we’re bold and free before God! We’re able to stretch our hands out and receive what we asked for because we’re doing what he said, doing what pleases him. Again, this is God’s command: to believe in his personally named Son, Jesus Christ. He (Jesus) told us to love each other, in line with the original command. As we keep his commands, we live deeply and surely in him, and he lives in us.
Believe in Jesus
Jesus’ command was that we love as we have been loved.
I John 4
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.
Les Miserables – “To love another person is to see the face of God.”
…In this world we are like Jesus. (we have the same status as Jesus in God’s eyes). 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 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen,cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.
Story of work conversation: “I always had a problem with Jesus going to the cross. I would have just said no.” Me: “That’s what makes it so amazing.”
When you believe in Jesus:
You are forgiven, free, and deeply, unconditionally, sacrificially loved.
This is love – not that I loved God, but that God loved me and gave up EVERYTHING for me.
When you are deeply and sacrificially loved, not only MUST you love others, but you CAN love others.
I want EVERYONE to know that kind of love.
I grew up wondering if anyone loved me.
I met Jesus. I’ve never had to wonder again.
I can love because Jesus loved me. I can forgive because God forgives me. I can give because Jesus gave me everything.
Have you had the same experience with God John had and describes?
Do you have a hard time accepting any of this? Why or why not?
John says we must love in word AND deed. What are some practical ways you could love someone in your life this week?