Sermons

Summary: Learning to become a people who seek to love Jesus first and then choose to express this love found in Christ towards all things.

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LOVE IS THAT WHICH FORGIVES THE MOST AND CONDONES THE LEAST. LOVE IS ONE OF THE WELL-KNOWN HALLMARKS OF JOHN’S LETTERS.

OVER AND OVER AGAIN JOHN AFFIRMS THE IMPORTANCE OF LOVE AND MAKES IT ABUNDANTLY CLEAR WHAT PROMPTS SUCH LOVE AND WHY THE LOVE IS NECESSARY.

JOHN WAS INSPIRED TO WRITE THESE LETTERS BECAUSE THE CHURCH WAS BEING PAINFULLY DIVIDED BECAUSE OF CONTROVERSY. THEY NEEDED TO BE BROUGHT BACK INTO UNITY THROUGH JESUS CHRIST.

IT IS SAFE TO SAY THAT IN THE CHURCH, JUST LIKE ANY OTHER BUSINESS, ORGANIZATION OR GOVERNMENT OFFICE, THERE ARE EVENTS AND AGENDAS THAT CAUSE TENSION.

BUT DESPITE TENSIONS, UNREST OR WHATEVER ELSE MAY BE CAUSING TROUBLE IN THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH, JOHN MAKES ONE STARTLING RESPONSE TOWARDS THESE THINGS.

JOHN SAYS THAT WE SHOULD STOP WASTING OUR TIME TRYING TO FIND A DIAGNOSIS FOR THE SOURCE OF WHAT IS CAUSING THE CONFLICT.

JOHN SAYS DON’T EVEN RESPOND WITH FIXING BLAME ON ANYONE AND DON’T LODGE ANY WARNINGS FOR PARTICULAR SINS THAT MAY HAVE BEEN COMMITTED.

THE ONE THING WE SHOULD BE SPENDING OUR TIME DOING IS CONCENTRATING ON THE REMEDY FOR THE CONFLICT OR TROUBLE.

WE ARE WARNED THAT WHEN WE SEEK FOR THE REMEDY THAT IT SHOULD NOT BE MERELY A HOLLOW PETITION THAT CHRISTIANS “LOVE ONE ANOTHER.” WHAT JOHN MEANT WAS THAT WE MUST CONCENTRATE ON WHAT MAKES THIS KIND OF LOVE EVEN POSSIBLE.

LOVE THAT MAKES RECONCILIATION POSSIBLE WITHIN SITUATIONS WHERE TENSION HAS TORN UNITY APART IS FOUND IN THE POWERFUL BOND OF SEEKING TO LOVE JESUS CHRIST MOST OF ALL.

I KNOW OUR CHURCH HAS ITS PROBLEMS. ALL CHURCHES AND EVERY ORGANIZATION HAVE THEM. BUT LET’S FOCUS ON WHAT JOHN HAS ENCOURAGED US TO FOCUS ON WHICH IS LOVING JESUS FIRST OF ALL.

PUT ASIDE PLACING BLAME OR WHERE THE SOURCE OF THE PROBLEM MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE STARTED AND JUST FOCUS ON WHERE WE PERSONALLY STAND IN OUR LOVE AND RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST.

I THINK WE CAN START BY REALIZING HOW WE HAVE LET THE TRUE MEANING OF LOVE GET WATERED DOWN. WE USE THE WORD LOVE VERY LOOSELY. WE SAY WE LOVE A PARTICULAR SPORTS TEAM, WE LOVE A PARTICULAR FOOD OR DESERT, AND EVEN LOVE OUR CAR OUR EVEN OUR JOBS.

BUT WHERE DOES THE INTENSITY OF THIS LOVE “REGISTER” WHEN IT REFERS TO JESUS CHRIST? WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU NOTICED SOMEONE GLOWING WITH LOVE FOR AND MAYBE EVEN VISIBLY EXCITED ABOUT THEIR ON-GOING RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST? LET’S TURN THE TABLES! WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU SHOWED THE WORLD THE JOY YOU HAVE IN KNOWING THAT JESUS CHRIST IS YOUR SAVIOR?

IT SURE IS SAD THAT WE DON’T SEE VERY MANY WHO ARE DOING THIS ON A REGULAR BASIS. WHILE WE HAVE THE GREATEST REASON TO BE HAPPY, CHRISTIANS HAVE THE TENDENCY TO WALK AROUND LOOKING JUST LIKE THE REST OF THE WORLD: EXPRESSIONLESS, DOWNCAST OR DEPRESSED.

WOULD YOU AGREE WITH ME THAT THIS ISN’T THE WAY THAT IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE? IF WE CAN GET SO EXCITED ABOUT THE THINGS OF THIS EARTH IT SHOULD BE EVEN EASIER TO FIND JOY IN OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST.

EVERYTHING WE FACE IN THE REALM OF LIFE CAN BE MET HEAD ON IN PEACE AND HARMONY IF WE’LL SIMPLY START WITH LOVING JESUS FIRST!

CAN WE FALL IN LOVE WITH JESUS? GOD HAS GIVEN US MANY DIFFERENT LEVELS OF LOVE AND WITH EACH LEVEL WE CAN EXPRESS THESE VARIOUS FORMS OF LOVE TO OTHERS.

BUT BEFORE WE CAN, WE MUST FIRST REMEMBER WHO IT CAME FROM. IT CAME FROM GOD BECAUSE IT WAS GOD WHO LOVED US FIRST. SINCE HE LOVED US FIRST WE CAN REST ASSURED THAT IT IS UNFAILING.

WHEN IT COMES TO RELATIONSHIPS WITH EACH OTHER, WITH OUR LOVED ONES AND CLOSE FRIENDS IT USUALLY DOESN’T TAKE LONG TO REALIZE THAT EVEN THE GREATEST HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS CAN HIT AN OCCASIONAL SNAG.

PEOPLE ARE PEOPLE AND WE ALL MAKE MISTAKES WHETHER THEY ARE INTENTIONAL OR ACCIDENTAL. IT’S ALL PART OF AN ENDLESS CYCLE OF LIVING IN A WORLD WHERE SIN IS PRESENT AND DESTRUCTIVE.

BUT THERE IS SOMEONE WHO SUPERCEDES THIS FALLIBLE CYCLE OF HUMAN LOVE. THIS LOVED IS REFERRED TO AS UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. IT IS THE ONLY KIND OF LOVE EXPRESSED TO US BY GOD WITHOUT BIAS OR PREJUDICE.

GOD’S UNCONDITIONAL LOVE LOOKS PAST OUR WEAKNESSES AND SINS AND LOVES US IN SPITE OF THESE THINGS THAT CAN SEPARATE US FROM HIM. JESUS’ LOVE FOR US IS THE ONLY PERFECT LOVE WE WILL EVER KNOW.

BECAUSE LOVE IS UNCONDITIONAL IT STARTS AND STOPS WITH GOD. HE IS THE AUTHOR. HE CREATED IT OUT OF HIS VERY NATURE AND HE DESIRES THAT WE SHARE AND EXPERIENCE THIS WONDERFUL GIFT TO ALL HUMANITY.

BECAUSE OF CHRIST’S UNCONDITIONAL LOVE WE CAN EXPRESS THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF LOVE. JESUS TAUGHT US THAT THE HIGHEST FORM IS AGAPE LOVE.

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