Summary: Jesus Christ shows us what agape love is all about and commands us to practice it in our corporate and private lives.
SERIES: “GOD-GIVEN GUIDELINES FOR GROWING A GREAT CHURCH”
TEXT: 1 JOHN 4:7-12
TITLE: “CONTINUALLY PRACTICE AGAPE LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER”
(Based on and material taken from Bob Russel’s When God Builds A Church)
INTRODUCTION: A. Two teenage young men were out cave exploring when they found what appeared
to be huge bear tracks deep inside a long, cavernous tunnel. They bravely decided to
keep going, but they moved ahead slowly and cautiously, keeping their eyes and ears
open in case a bear lurked nearby.
Suddenly, from behind a large rock formation jumped the biggest, meanest-looking
grizzly bear they had ever seen. The bear stood up on his hind legs, beat his chest, and
roared so loudly that is sent a terrible sound echoing off the walls of the cave.
Scared to death, the two young men decided to run for their lives. They took of on
a dash for the daylight. They had a little bit of a lead on the bear when one of the guys
dropped to the floor of the cave and started untying his boots. He whipped his
backpack off and took out a pair of running shoes and began lacing them on his feet.
His buddy yelled at him: “Hey, man! Whatta ya think you’re doin’? Let’s get
outta here! We don’t have much of a chance of outrunning that bear as it is!”
The guy on the floor hopped up and began sprinting toward the cave’s exit. He
turned and yelled over his shoulder: “I don’t have to outrun the bear. All I gotta do is
to outrun you!”
1. Do you ever feel like people treat you like bear bait?
a. When the going gets rough, they bail out on you?
b. They claim they love you until it costs them something and then, they ditch you.
2. We all have the desire to be loved.
3. God created us with the desire to be loved.
B. We live in a world starved for love
--Vance Packard calls America “ a nation of strangers.
1. As a result we’re experiencing an epidemic of loneliness in society.
a. One Gallup poll reported that four in ten Americans admit to frequent feelings
of “intense loneliness.”
b. Americans are, in fact, the loneliest people in the world.
2. Everywhere you look there are signs that people are hungering for fellowship,
community, and a sense of family.
a. For instance, beer commercials don’t sell beer.
--They sell fellowship.
b. No one is ever portrayed drinking alone
c. It’s always done in the context of people enjoying each other’s company.
d. Phrases accompany the commercials like: “it doesn’t get any better than this!”
e. Advertisers have discovered that independent-minded baby boomers are
suddenly longing to be connected as they enter middle age.
C. Dave Stone, I’d Rather See A Sermon: As times have changed, so have people. In
Time magazine, Robert Wright said, “These days, thanks to electric garage-door
openers, you can drive straight into your house, never risking contact with a
neighbor.” He’s right. We used to build a front porch with a swing, now we build a
back-deck with a privacy fence.
1. Our church needs to be a contrast to that coldness.
2. The church needs to be a place where we genuinely care for each other.