Summary: In order to make a difference we must by different by loving differently.

Believers who are “M.A.D.”

“A Life of Love”

1 John 4:7-21

* This week I read a wonderful story about Coach Tom Landry that illustrates the level of his Christian love and acceptance of others. Years ago, the late Ohio State coach, Woody Hayes, was fired for striking an opposing player on the sidelines during a football game. The press had a field day with the firing and really tarred and feathered the former Buckeye coach. Few people in America could have felt lower than he at that time; he not only lost control in a game and did a foolish thing, but he also lost his job and much of the respect others had for him. At the end of that season, a large, prestigious banquet was held for professional athletes. Tom Landry, of course was invited. Guess who he took with him as his guest? Woody Hayes, the man everyone was being encouraged to hate and criticize.

* Of all the things which are negatively impacting this culture, I submit the lack of love shown by believers lead the pack.

* This past year an independent Baptist preacher in Arizona preached a message entitled, “Why I Hate Obama!” Well, at least that is the title Fox News reported. In the midst of this scathing message he was quoted as saying, ““I’m gonna pray that he dies and goes to hell when I go to bed tonight. That’s what I’m gonna pray.” While it is true that there exist very few issues which our President lines up with Biblical teaching, it is equally true that to pray anyone into hell is NOT the spirit of Christ. In Luke 9 when the Samaritans did not receive Jesus as He was headed toward Jerusalem, the disciples encouraged Jesus to call down fire to decimate the country. Jesus rebuked their ungodly spirit. The prayer which honors the ministry and legacy of Christ is to pray for the President’s salvation because the Bible teaches us that God has set up every authority. This includes the ungodly governments & governors which we see. Believer need to be mad.

* What would it be like ‘if’ those who claim to be redeemed, born-again, and changed by the power of God began to live their lives in line with the teaching and desire of Christ? The great command is “Love the Lord God with all your heart, soul, mind, strength, and your neighbor as yourself.” Over a dozen times in the New Testament we are told to “Love One Another” and in fact, the life of the believer is to be epitomized by love. Consider a ‘life of love’ with me in three slices.

1. The Reality of Love – Let’s not spend our time on the three types of love which are so often mentioned but rather let’s focus on the ONE types of Christian love to which we are called; It is Agape or Gods type of love.

A Life of Love – Pg 2

a. Its Command – John begins, “Dear Friends (my dear friends or beloved)”. Several things come to my mind as I begin reading verse 7. First, it seems that every time a Biblical writer begins with such a tender expression, he is about to tell us something we don’t care to hear so he softens the blow by a tender address. His call is for us to love ‘one another’ and quite likely he speaks these words because the words of Christ are still ringing in his ears. It was that last night around the table in the upper room that Jesus repeated 4 times, “Love One Another.” Jesus was so emphatic about this that two times (one in chapter 13 and another in chapter 15) He proclaimed it a command, which is a charge, an order, or an injunction. It is also a prescription as it is prescribed for believers to remain healthy in their faith. By the way, it is not an ‘optional’ prescription; it is a matter of personal and collective life or death. Could it be that the lack of this med is the reason that the modern-day church and culture is so sick? Love is our currency.

b. Its Character – John continues by saying, “Love is from God.” So the love we are to love each other with is a godly love. From verse 7-21, by my count, the word love is used over 20 times and the only word used in the original language has ‘agape’ as its root. Though he is writing about our love for one another, the character of the love we are to possess is that of God’s love. What exactly is this love? (We could spend all day and not exhaust this subject, but let’s get our minds around it in simple terms.) It is not that God can, will, or does love us. Love is not something God does, it is WHO HE IS! In His word we are given snippets which help us understand, in human terms, His love. (Read Verse 10) Godly love makes the first move, Godly love gives when it hurts, and Godly love responds unselfishly. Think about Paul’s take on the character of love: “love is patience and kind. It is not boastful, conceited, or selfish. It does not envy, act improperly, or keep a record of wrongs. It is not easily provoked not does love keep a record of wrongs. It does not rejoice in unrighteousness, evil, or wrongdoing, BUT rejoices in truth.” Paul writes to the Romans to intimate that God’s love was given to us, when we didn’t deserve it. This is the love we are called and commanded to be full of and to give out!

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