Summary: Truly loving others requires that we have the right view of God and who He is. Understanding the God is Love helps us to love when we keep focused on Him. How has God demonstrated that He is love and what transformations should we see in our lives.
Living in the Light of a God who is Love
God is Love (4:7-8, 16)
Because God is Love, He sent His Son as a Sacrifice for us (4:9-11)
Because God is Love, He sent His Spirit to Live in us (4:12-16)
God’s love in us produces Confidence and eliminates Fear (4:17-18)
God’s love in us produces Love and eliminates Hate (4:19-21)
God’s love in us produces Obedience and eliminates Sin (5:1-5)
As I was preparing for today’s message I ran across a great illustration to help us start out and better understand love and ourselves a bit better.
Imagine for a moment you are on a cruise.
Your enjoying life and a great vacation
But the cruise ship hits something and begins to sink.
While everyone is heading to the life rafts, you grab a bottle of water and a bag of tail mix in your pocket and head to the life rafts. Nobody else knows you have these things.
So there you are in the life rafts, the ship has sunk and you are bobbing around in the open sea. Eventually you spot an island and start heading toward it. As you get closer you see the island is very barren.
No green plants, no sign of drinkable water, just very rocky. As continue to row toward the island, another on the boat says, “Boy, I sure am thirsty.” What do you do? Do you say, here I have some water. Have some of mine.
Now let me change things a little. Imagine the same scenario with your ship sinking and you having some water and trail mix, but as you get closer to this island,
it appears lush and well-watered with trees producing fruit. Maybe you even see a waterfall in the distance. It is a veritable tropical paradise. And as you row toward the island, a person on the boat says, “Boy, I sure am thirsty.”
Does what you do change from the first scenario?
I think for most of us, that we would all be more likely to give our lifeboat mate some water in the second scenario. In fact you might be more generous and be willing to give some of your trail mix as well and offer it up to everyone saying, let’s celebrate, we found land!
If there is a difference between how you would respond, my question is why?
You are the same person in each scenario. I would argue that you aren’t any more or less moral or ethical of a person. What is the change that has occurred?
The only change is what you see before you. You have seen a tropical paradise that you are heading for and it has put a different perspective on what you have with you.
In Scenario 1, what you have could be the only water and food that anyone has forever.
In scenario 2, what you have pales in comparison to what you are heading for, so with that perspective you feel freer to give and help those in need.
I believe that anyone that is given these 2 scenarios would be more tempted in scenario 1 to be selfish and greedy and in scenario 2, we’d all be much more likely to be “selfless,” “generous” and “loving.”
It has nothing to do with us being a better person in one scenario over the other. It has everything to do with what you believe to be true about your future and what is ahead of you.
Illustration and opening from https://christthetruth.wordpress.com/2011/03/09/beloved-let-us-love/
One of the over-arching arguments of this letter of John is God has loved us and shown us His love because He is Love! And it is because of who He is that He does the things He has done for us in the past and that He provides for us in the future, and when we focus on and understand these realities, they change our view and they enable you to truly love and experience a transformed life.
This is why John is trying to encourage the people not to believe the false teachings but to focus on and believe the truth of who God is and what He has done, because right beliefs really matter to our lives.
So turn with me to
Today we are going to focus on God and His love and as we do, we are going to see how that changes us.
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.