Summary: Love is the core of our faith
1 John 4:7-21 January 28, 2007
God’s Love and Ours
John is coming to the end of his letter & it is this point that he brings it all together. You remember that he is arguing with a group who has left the church that we call proto-Gnostics. These people believed that we are saved, not through faith in Jesus’ death on the cross, but through some secret knowledge that can only be granted trough some strange ritual. They believed that good spirit could not mix with evil matter, therefore Jesus could not have been both God and human. He was either God who just appeared human or a man who only appeared divine. They we an arrogant bunch, and were hateful toward anyone who did not possess their secret knowledge.
This passage really brings into clear view how Christians are different than this other group, and how we are to live even now.
1 John 4:7–8 - Love because God is love
The poetry of John’s language doesn’t come out very well in the translation: “Dear friends, let us love one another.” “agap‘toi agapÇmen” “beloved, let us be loving”
His logic is pretty simple. In his very essence, God is love, therefore if we claim to follow God, we should love.
If you meet someone who claims to know God and teaches or shows hate toward those created in God’s image, you need to know that they do not know God.
The love that God is, and the love that we are supposed to have between each other is not just an affectionate feeling. The love that God is not just some ephemeral feeling or concept. God’s love is not just his character, it is his action. In fact you cannot separate his love from his action.
At the crossroads center in the Dominican there was a card pinned to the wall with a quote from mother Theresa. It said “it is not enough to be compassionate – you must act.
In his love, God is not just compassionate for us, he acts; he does something
1 John 4:9–10 God’s love is shown in the incarnation, the cross for sinners
On Friday, I took the kids skiing, the run we were on most often had a fork at the bottom of it. Each fork lead to a different lift. More than once, Benjamin would take one fork and Nicholas the other. I would be left to decide which son to follow and which to leave to try to ride the lift on their own with the hopes of meeting back again. I have to admit that I had a very stressful day skiing. My anxiety went through the roof as thought of Benjamin or Nicholas being all on his own at the bottom of the hill. I’d also have to think about sending Hayley to be with one while I went after the other
”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.”
God didn’t just send one of his older children to the bottom of the ski hill to fetch another one. He sent his one and only Son as a baby to grow up and fetch all of us into his kingdom.
He doesn’t just send His only Son to fetch us, he sends him to be sacrificed on a cross to pay the price for everything that we have ever done wrong so that we can come home. He sent his Son to die.
He sent Jesus, not because we loved him so much and wanted to be with him, he sent him before we loved him. – “not that we loved God, but that he loved us.”
God is not just compassionate, he acts – he sacrifices his own, only Son so that we might have life.
1 John 4:11 – love like God
Our love for each other should be like God’s love for us – not just affection, but active love. Not action that is worth nothing to us, but sacrificial actions. If love costs us nothing it is not love.
The Beatles got is wrong when they sang love, love, love…it’s easy. It is not easy; God’s love is costly.
The early Christians recognized this in Acts 2 when they would sell pieces of their own property to ensure that other Christians had enough food.
God’s love is costly and sacrificial and it is given without the surety of a positive response.
When I emptied my bank account to by a diamond ring for Pam 19 years ago, I was pretty sure of the response. We had been together for years, we had talked about marriage, and she seemed positive, even excited about the idea! I was pretty sure I would hear the word “yes.”