Summary: Part of the sermon series on the building blocks necessary for a Church to grow.
Webster’s dictionary, defines love as a strong liking for someone or something, or a passionate affection for another person. Notice that Webster’s definition of love involves objects of the world, using the word “person” or “something.” The problem that is evident in a human definition of love is that we humans see with and not through the eye. We must remember that love is from God, therefore a human definition will not suffice to describe love. The non-Christian, Greek writer Lucian who lived from A.D. 120-200 made an observation about Christians. He said, “It is incredible to see the fervor with which the people of that religion help each other in their wants. They spare nothing. Their first legislator [Jesus] has put it into their heads that they are brothers.” Lucian said that Christians “spare nothing.” “Sparing nothing” is an indication of unconditional love. Unconditional love is what we need to discover as Christians and ultimately as the church. Love is an extraordinary gift from God, and it is the source of the Lord’s presence in his living creation. It is a gift meant to unite creature and Creator, but the creature has distorted its meaning and separated itself from God. Some of the misinterpretations about love are that love is purely physical, or that love is only a temporary state. As we will see though, these interpretations about love are way off track. We want to discover today what truly sets us apart from the rest of the world, a growing unconditional love.
I. Love must be visible in the way we interact with one another.
A. We feel a sense of outrage when we see the lack of love in the world causing the innocent to suffer.
1. Refugees created by the war torn culture of a third world country.
2. Victims devastated by violence and the obvious apathy of our culture.
3. Babies aborted by their mothers.
4. As bad as things are we soon learn the affect that hatred has on the innocent as well as the whole human race.
5. If our spiritual life originates with the Father, we must love one another. But if it originates with Satan, we will hate one another.
B. Evil hates what is good for the simple reason that the purity of good shows exactly how ugly the evil really is.
1. Unhappy, angry people lash out to break the mirror that magnifies the true horror of their soul.
2. Hate always destroys, only love creates.
3. From the very beginning the Gospel message centered on God’s love for mankind, and in response we are to display this same type of love not only to God but to one another.
4. A lack of love displayed by the church and individual Christians reflect that there is a serious flaw in their relationship with Jesus Christ.
C. John makes some serious deductions about love in these following verses.
1. The world hates all that is God’s, which includes His children.
2. In the letter of 1 John, he mentions our need to “love one another” five times.
3. “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.” (John 5:24—NIV)
4. A Christian has passed from death to life, and the proof of this is that he loves the fellow human beings. When he belonged to the world system, he hated God’s people; but now that he belongs to God, he loves them.
II. The evidence of our love must be seen in the way we live our lives.
A. John declares that our love as Christians should never be left to doubt.
1. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13—NIV)
2. What Jesus did for us was not simply just a feeling or an act for us to admire, He laid His life down suffering what we deserved for our sins.
3. This supreme, historical act of love accomplished something for us that was very real and very necessary.
4. When we are willing to lovingly sacrifice for others, we then become true imitators of Jesus Christ.
5. Christ’s death on the cross for you and me is the greatest love that anyone can have.
6. The sacrifice of one’s own life for another is the greatest act of love, or agape that can be shown.
7. Agape, or sacrificial love is humbling oneself to love, and in return one will gain everything. It is servant hood.
B. There are great contrasts between verbal pronouncements of love and love that is expressed in truth and actions.
1. The test of Christian love is not simply failure to do evil to others. Love also involves doing them good.