Summary: This year, the key verse for our Vacation Bible School is 1 John 4:9 and the overall theme is “It All Comes Back to Jesus.” As we look at that text in its context this morning, we see that Jesus is love’s requirement, Jesus is love’s reason, and Jesus is

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Well, here we are—ready to kick off another year of VBS. I don’t know how many children the Lord will bring us this year. I don’t know what their circumstances or backgrounds are going to be. I don’t know how conversations will go between the workers and the kids. But here’s one thing I do know. No matter how long they spend with us… each of those children is going to know that Jesus loves them. Now, how is that going to happen? Are we going to get in each one of their little faces and tell them that? I hope so, but probably not. Is it going to be evident in the decorations and stories and lessons and crafts and music and snacks and recreation? That’s what the intent is. But even so, that intent might be missed by some of them. So, if somehow, the kids miss out on the fact that Jesus loves them from all of those things, how are they going to know it? They’re going to know it the same way that anybody who walks through these doors knows it. They’re going to know it the same way that anyone we witness to knows it. The way that people will know that Jesus loves them is if they can see the way we love them and the way we love each other. But how is that possible? How is it possible for a group of people who are so different from each other to love each other? Because we have to admit that some people are pretty hard to love. I’m one of them. Some of the children who will be here this week might be hard to love. Some of their parents might be hard to love. But this whole passage commands us to love one another. So how is that possible? How is it possible for us to love each other when we are completely unlovable? That’s what this passage talks about. God has built each one of us with an inherent need to be loved. But at the same time, our sin nature makes it impossible for us to love in the way that He requires of us. Not only is it impossible for us to love in the way that He requires, it is impossible for us to love in the way that we need to be loved. So we’re in a mess. We talk about love all the time. If you turn on the radio, it won’t be long till you hear a song about love. Almost every TV show and movie deal with love. And all of them feed our appetite for something that, in and of ourselves, we can’t really give. And on top of all of that, Jesus commands us to love one another. So, what do we do? Unfortunately, most of the time, we come up with cheap substitutes to try to fill the void. Cheap substitutes like sex without commitment. Substitutes like “hooking up.” Substitutes like social clubs and becoming a workaholic. Substitutes like material things and money and prestige. Whatever you can think of, you can make it a substitute for truly loving one another. But there’s a better way. As a matter of fact, it’s the only way. The only way we can receive the love we long for is Jesus. And the only way we can give the love we’re required to is Jesus. That’s because Jesus is love’s requirement. Jesus is love’s reason. And Jesus is love’s result. First, Jesus is love’s requirement. Look back at verses 7-8.

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