What to look for below…Today’s video presentation is centred on God’s love based on the scripture passage from the Bible – 1 John 4:7-12. It begins with worship songs followed by the video message, a closing prayer and my sermon manuscript. Today is also Pentecost Sunday where we remember the coming of the Holy Spirit as promised by Jesus and the birth of the Church or Bride of Christ. Let us give thanks for the presence, the power and the gifts of the Holy Spirit that will keep us focused on Jesus until He returns! Hallelujah!
To hear the closing prayer below please click the arrow…
Sermon Manuscript: The Duty of Every Christian
Scriptures used in this manuscript are from New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
What was your first introduction to Christianity? If you didn’t grow up in a Christian church, I am assuming your first exposure to Christianity most likely happened through a Christian who invited you to a church service, youth group event, children’s program or some children’s camp sponsored by a church. Am I right?
I am also assuming that your decision to go was influenced by the person who invited you because they showed some genuine care and love for you.
Evangelist D.L. Moody wrote: Show me a church where there is love, and I will show you a church that is a power in the community. In Chicago, a few years ago a little boy attended a Sunday school I know of. When his parents moved to another part of the city the little fellow still attended the same Sunday school, although it meant a long, tiresome walk each way. A friend asked him why he went so far and told him that there were plenty of others just as good nearer his home.
“They may be as good for others, but not for me,” was his reply.
“Why not?” she asked.
“Because they love a fellow over there,” he replied.
How easy it is to reach people through love. Those who are successful in showing love will be successful in winning people to Christ. Source: Life and Labours of Dwight. L. Moody, Henry Davenport Northrop.
The apostle John in his first letter to the churches is making a bold pronouncement that the duty of every believer in Christ is to “love one another.” Why is it so important for believers to love one another?
The apostle John writes in 1 John 4:7-12 that love among children of God is a primary duty because of three reasons. Can you find these reasons as you read this passage below?
1 John 4:7-12, “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.”
Let’s look at the three reasons believers need to do their duty in “loving one another.” I have received the help of Theologian John Stott to formulate these three reasons.
Three Reasons Christians need to Love One Another
1. God is love
The first reason children of God need to love one another is because God is love. We find this support in verse 7b, “for love comes from God;” and verses 8 and 16b, “God is love.” God is the author of love and His very nature is love which means everything He says, does, sees, commands, creates is done in love. When God disciplines His children that too He does in love. John Stott writes, “Far from condoning sin, his love has found a way to expose it without destroying the sinner, but rather saving him.”
Therefore, if God is love and love comes from Him then it only makes sense that His children must also resemble His character of love. This is what the apostle John is concluding as well. In fact, he takes a direct shot at false teachers who did not relate to God as a loving God in verse 8, “Whoever does not love does not know God.”
Love needs to define us as believers just as much as righteousness defines us. If we are sour pusses in the pews than we are no longer being proper representatives of God. If we fail to love our brothers and sisters in Jesus, then we are living out of our old nature which is at enmity with God.
A group of teenagers were enjoying a party, and someone suggested that they go to a certain restaurant for a good time. “I’d rather you took me home,” Jan said to her date. “My parents don’t approve of that place.” “Are you afraid your father will hurt you” one of the girls said sarcastically. “No,” Jan replied, “I’m afraid I might hurt my Father.” She understood the principle that a true child of God, who has experienced the love of God, has no desire to sin against that love. (Source Unknown).
Are you a child of God? If so, knowing that God is love and love comes from Him, make it your life’s pursuit to be like God in His loving nature. Is this your desire?
2. God demonstrated His love by Sending His Son
The second reason children of God need to love one another is because God demonstrated His love by sending His Son. We find this supported in verses 9 & 10, “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.”
Love is not just an emotion, but it is best defined when it is put into action. God showed His love for us by not allowing us to die in our sins, but to save us from our sins by sending His Son Jesus to be our atoning sacrifice on the cross. In the original Greek language, the word for love here is “agape” which is a benevolent love that is other-focused. It is a love shown by a person who is truly selfless and sacrificial in showing love. This is what God demonstrated by sending His Son Jesus to die for us that we might have eternal life when we accept Jesus as our Saviour. John wrote about this power of love in 1 John 3:16, “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.”
A certain medieval monk announced he would be preaching next Sunday evening on “The Love of God.” As the shadows fell and the light ceased to come in through the cathedral windows, the congregation gathered. In the darkness of the altar, the monk lit a candle and carried it to the crucifix. First of all, he illumined the crown of thorns, next, the two wounded hands, then the marks of the spear wound. In the hush that fell, he blew out the candle and left the chancel. There was nothing else to say.
The love God demonstrated to us cannot be earned because the apostle John highlights the truth that “He first loved us.” Therefore, when we love each other as believers we do it not gain acceptance from others, but to follow God’s example and bring praise to Him.
This week ask God to make your love more others-focused? Allow the Holy Spirit to probe your heart and see if the way you love others has strings attached?
3. God continues to love through us in perfect ways
The third reason children of God need to love one another is because God continues to love through us in perfect ways. We find this supported in verses 11 & 12, “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.”
God’s children are a gateway for God to reveal his perfect (complete) love through us. In the Roman world, how many teachers were advocating a revolution of love in the apostle John’s lifetime? Only One!
It has always been the human ambition to divide and conquer. It is the human spirit to desire luxury and suppress the poor and marginalized. When Jesus came His message about the Kingdom began a revolution of love. In John 13:34-35, ““A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
As believers loved one another and loved the poor, sick and marginalized, word got around that these people were disciples of Jesus. This mission of love, in the power of the Holy Spirit, transformed the Roman culture. In 313 AD, under the Edict of Milan, Emperor Constantine legalized Christianity and gave Christians the freedom to worship. Ten years later it became the official religion of the Roman Empire.
When people see the way we love each other, and how we love others, they will see the invisible God of the universe in us and loving perfectly through us. They will know what true love is!
A little four-year-old African girl had been sold as a slave. She had never known what love was. Even her name, Keodi, meant “Nobody loves me!”
When she grew to be about ten years old, her body became covered with ugly sores. The natives turned her out and would have nothing to do with her. But some kind missionaries took Keodi in and cleaned her up, cared for her sores, and put clothes on her.
At first, she could not believe anyone loved her. She went about saying, “I am only Keodi; nobody loves me.” The missionaries told her that Jesus loved her and tried to teach her what love meant. Then she looked down at her dress, clean body and bandaged sores, and said, “Is this love?” They told her that it was.
Jesus showed His love for us by giving His life for us. Should we not then give Him our whole lives and love one another? (Gospel Chimes)
Application – This pandemic can simply be a lesson for us to not take loving others for granted. Are you a part of today’s love revolution? It is so easy to complain about our government, our economy, our uncertain state of affairs, but if we seriously allowed God to continue to show His love through us how would our church and our culture change?
How have you been going out of your way to love a brother or sister in the LORD lately? How about making that a goal for this week? Ask God to show you whom you should love this week.
It is my hope when we are able to meet in our church building again that this pandemic will have taught us some lessons on love relationships with each other and sharing that love with our world.
Right now, frontline workers and essential workers are receiving a lot praise because of the risks they are taking to care for the sick and keep our daily needs met.
How much more do we need to become front-line or essential workers with God’s love in this sin-sick world?
Let’s change people’s first impressions of Christianity and God by taking the apostles words seriously today about “loving one another” with God’s love. Do you want to be a part of a God’s love revolution?