Summary: Jesus said our love for one another would be the sign that we were His true disciples. We will never fully be able to love one another until we know and believe the love that God has for us.
HOW’S YOUR LOVE LIFE?
INTRO: How’s your love life? You probably weren’t expecting to hear that question at church!
• Last week we started a series in Discovering Your Spiritual Gifts. How many of you went out this past week and started developing and using your gifts to bless others?
• Why not? Love comes before gifts! First we fall in love, and then we want to give gifts!
• We’re going to focus on love first, then we’ll talk some more about the gifts…
TEXT: “For the love of Christ compels us.” (2 Cor. 5:14).
• Why do we do what we do? Not because we have to – the motivation must be LOVE!
KEY TEXT: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35).
• How can you tell that someone is a Christian? They have a Christian fish symbol on their car? They have a ‘honk if you love Jesus’ bumper sticker? They go to church? NO!
THE BIG IDEA: Jesus said that our love for one another would be the sign to the world that we were His true disciples. However, we will never fully be able to love one another until we know and believe the love that God has for us. How’s your love life?
BACKGROUND TO THE DISCIPLE JOHN: Why take a look at John’s life?
• John was one of the 12 disciples, a fisherman.
• Four times in John’s Gospel, he referred to himself as, “The disciple whom Jesus loved.”
• He wrote more about love (over 50 times) than Peter, James and Jude together (14 times).
Was he always loving?
• No! In fact, Jesus called John and his brother James “the sons of thunder.” (Mark 3:17).
• There was one time where Jesus was preaching to the Samaritans but they weren’t listening to Him, so John said, “Do you want us to call down fire from Heaven and burn them up?” John was one of the first fire and brimstone preachers! (Luke 9:51-56).
• There was another time where John saw someone else casting out demons in Jesus’ name, but because he wasn’t one of the 12 disciples, he told him to stop. (Mark 9:38).
• There was one time where John and his brother came to Jesus and said (and I paraphrase here), “We’re more important than anyone else, and a little bit selfish. Please let us sit at your right hand and left hand in the Kingdom of Heaven!” This got the other disciples ticked off of course, and Jesus taught them about servanthood. (Mark 10:32-45).
• But when John wrote his Gospel in his later years, he referred to himself as the beloved disciple. Why? This didn’t mean that he was more special or loved than the other disciples. No – but he had a revelation of the Father’s heart of love for him!
When did John receive the revelation of the Father’s love for him? At the Cross:
• “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, "Woman, behold your son!" Then He said to the disciple, "Behold your mother!" And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.” (John 19:25-27).
• “Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him." Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb. So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first.” (John 20:1-4).
• This is one of my favourite stories about John – I love how he puts in: “The other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first.” Boys, eh?
HOW CAN WE IMPROVE OUR LOVE LIFE? Let’s study John’s writings…
1. MEDIATE ON THE LOVE OF GOD:
“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1).
“We love Him because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19).
THE FATHERLESS GENERATION:
• This principle is so important to this fatherless generation. People are growing up without fathers, and therefore, they have a hard time receiving the love of God.