Summary: The most important thing for us to know and experience is the love of God. Once we know his love, we can pass it on to others.
A. Now for today’s lesson from 1 John…
B. How many of you have heard about the book and movie called “The Secret”?
1. Here is some of the verbiage being used to advertise “The Secret”: “The Secret is released to the world! This ground-breaking feature length movie presentation reveals The Great Secret of the universe. It has been passed throughout the ages, traveling through centuries...to reach you and humankind. This is The Secret to everything - the secret to unlimited joy, health, money, relationships, love, youth: everything you have ever wanted. In this astonishing program are ALL the resources you will ever need to understand and live The Secret. For the first time in history, the world’s leading scientists, authors, and philosophers will reveal The Secret that utterly transformed the lives of every person who ever knew it...Plato, Newton, Carnegie, Beethoven, Shakespeare, Einstein. Now YOU will know The Secret. And it could change your life forever.” (Makes you want to go right out and buy a copy. Right? Wrong!)
2. Here’s what Cynthia Black, President of Beyond Words Publishing says about the book: “The Secret is truly the most outstanding book to date that we have published. I am so pleased that Rhonda Byrne was able to bring together this life-changing information so masterfully. She first did it for the movie of the same name that she produced, which has been a phenomenon in its own right. She then added, in only ones month’s time, incredible additional content to the transcript of the film that brings even more clarity to the reader. This is absolutely a book that people from all walks of life can read and then "get" the concept of The Secret. It allows them to then take it and apply it to their lives. Children, teenagers and adults of all ages are reporting miraculous stories of positive changes as a result. Rhonda Byrne is dedicated to maintaining the integrity of The Secret and to making sure that now, finally, the whole world knows about The Secret. You will want to share this with your friends and family and they will be grateful for it. This book gives hope for what many have been waiting for-- a shift in the way the world thinks. Its a very exciting time that we are living in, and I as well as everyone at Beyond Words and Atria Books are grateful to be a part of it.”
3. The film has attracted considerable interest and acclaim from mega media figures such as Oprah Winfrey and Larry King.
4. Basically, the secret is the same old lie just repackaged. It is the lie that you can be your own god and control your destiny. If you can think it, then you can control it and do it.
C. What I want to proclaim to you today is that the book and movie The Secret, are not what we nor our world needs.
1. What is needed by all of us is what is found in today’s passage from 1 John.
2. The secret we need to learn is that God is love. That God loves us. And that we should love one another with God’s love.
3. That is the secret to abundant life, and it is actually no secret at all.
D. In today’s section from 1 John 4:7-21, John echoes ideas about love that are found elsewhere in this letter.
1. In 2:3-11, John introduced this subject and underscored the believer’s fidelity to “the light.” To love one’s fellow believer is to show that one lives “in the light.”
2. In 3:10-24, John explored practical applications of the love command and connected it to eternal life. To love is to prove that we have eternal life working in us.
3. In today’s section, John is concerned that we understand fully what inspires our love for one another.
E. For John, the life of a local church is a holy community in which the love of God is made real to its members and is essential to Christian orthodoxy.
1. The false teachers whom John was combating, were creating a following made up of people attracted to the world’s preoccupation with money, sex and power.
2. In contrast to that, John was appealing to those who loved the truth to embrace the lifestyle of love that would confirm their connection to God.
3. In today’s section, John explains that this command to love is traced to its very origin, which is the character and essence of God.
4. John claims that people who have been born of God are the only ones who can really understand the nature of self-giving love and practice it.
5. And they can do so only because they have seen it modeled perfectly in Christ, and because the Holy Spirit empowers them to love as Jesus did.