Summary: I hope that you have a desire to be a caring person and someone that lives out the same kind of love that Jesus Christ modeled for us. Our perspective about needs and fulfilling needs should be the same as described in Scripture. Today, we are going to
BEYOND THE WALLS: WE CARE
Stan is a man out of work. He is a cabinet maker, but his company mishandled funds and now he is out of a job. Jobs are hard to come by. He and his wife had two months of savings, but now that is gone. It was not spent frivolously, but on the necessities of life. He and his wife just cooked up the last of the noodles and sauce last night for their dinner. There really is nothing else to eat. Their car is about out of gas, so they walk wherever they go. The unemployment check covers the rent and such, but certainly not the food or clothing. What are they going to do?
Jenny is poor. But you wouldn’t exactly know it by looking at her or her material things. Like most “poor people” in America (http://www.heritage.org/Research/Welfare/bg1713.cfm), she drives a car, has an apartment, talks on a cell phone, owns two TVs, and has all the basic things of life. Her clothes come from the Salvation Army. When you look at her, you do not think homeless. Yet, she has needs. She needs to keep her cell phone bill up-to-date. She needs to keep the cable on. She needs to keep gas in her car. She needs to pay rent. And after she meets all of these needs, she doesn’t have any money for food. What will she do?
Bob has just walked into our church for the first time. He and his family just moved into South Tampa. He’s in the Air Force and stationed at MacDill AFB. He has a wife, 2.5 kids, and a dog. Bob and his family are looking for a church that they can connect to and feel quite alone. They want their kids’ souls well taken care of as well as their own. They are alone and desperately want to connect with fellow Christians. They walk into our church… how will they meet people… how will they get to know if this is the church family for them? What do they do?
Ida is a widow. Her husband passed away three years ago. They had been married forty-five years. She now lives alone in the house they made their home for those forty-five years. But now, different things in and out the house need work. A tree outside needs trimmed. The shed needs to be painted. Her neighbors complained about her bushes. The city sent her a notice to fix her fence. Ida can’t do any of that! She can’t fix fences or trim trees and she certainly can’t afford to pay someone to do all that work. What will she do?
Many people like Stan, Jenny, Bob, and Ida exist all over our city... with similar situations, struggles, and needs. They exist outside the walls of this church and they exist inside the walls of this church. The question I asked after describing each situation was: “What are they going to do?” But you know, I think that is the wrong question to ask. I think the correct question is: “What are you and I going to do?” I hope that you have a desire to be part of a church that cares for people. I hope that you have a desire to be a caring person and someone that lives out the same kind of love that Jesus Christ modeled for us. Our perspective about needs and fulfilling needs should be the same as described in Scripture. Today, we are going to look at 1 John and gain a correct view of caring for others.
READ 1 John 3:16-18
“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. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.”
When looking at these verses from 1 John, there are several things we need to understand and several steps we need to take together before we understand what caring for others is all about.
I. Step 1: DEFINITION OF ‘LOVE’ (verse 16)
Verse 16 in 1 John 3 gives for us the first step and the definition for love that we need when caring for others. The Apostle John begins verse 16 by telling us exactly what we need to know to care about others. He tells us that he will define for us what ‘love’ is and knowledge of love is the first step in caring for other people.
Love, for the Christian is a love that centers on Jesus Christ. He is our model. He is our standard. He is human perfection. He is God on Earth. Therefore, we must look at what Jesus did when it comes to love for us to understand love. The Apostle John says that Jesus “laid down His life for us.” That is love. Love = (equals) Jesus dying on the cross for you and for me. God saw that we were in such a state of chaos because of sin; therefore He emptied Himself and became a human being so that He could save us (Philippians 2:6-7).