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Summary: We are called to live out God’s love and truth through our deeds by keeping God’s commandment to love one another in the name of Jesus Christ (I John 3:23)! Love is a verb because the kind of love that today’s text is talking about requires us to go beyond words and put love into action.

LOVE IS A VERB

Text: I John 3:16- 24

1 John 3:16-24  We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another.  (17)  How does God's love abide in anyone who has the world's goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?  (18)  Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.  (19)  And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him  (20)  whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.  (21)  Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have boldness before God;  (22)  and we receive from him whatever we ask, because we obey his commandments and do what pleases him.  (23)  And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.  (24)  All who obey his commandments abide in him, and he abides in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit that he has given us (NRSV).

The story is told of a Sunday School teacher who asked his class of junior high school students back in the 1990’s to name the persons they most admire. The teacher was startled when he read the list. Tom Cruise, Hulk Hogan, Elvis Presley, Sean Penn, Arsenio Hall, Eddie Murphy were all there. “Where”, he asked “was Jesus Christ in the thinking of the boys?” Silence. The teacher persisted. Finally, a voice at the back of the room mumbled, “Well we don’t want no wimp.” (William P. Barker. ed. Tarbell’s Teacher’s Guide. 87th Annual Volume, Elgin, Illinois, David C. Cook Publishing, 1991, p. 172). Christianity is not for wimps! Consider I John 3:13: “Don’t be surprised, if the world hates you” (CEB). Compare I John 3:13 with John 15:18 -19 where Jesus tells us Himself, “If the world hates you, know that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own” (CEB). The cross demonstrates how God’s love was illustrated in the face of the world’s worst! Not to mention the persecution of Christians through the ages.

Since we are God’s children, we are called to live out God’s love and truth through our deeds by keeping God’s commandment to love one another in the name of Jesus Christ (I John 3:23)! Love is a verb because the kind of love that today’s text is talking about requires us to go beyond words and put love into action. Today we want to talk about being loving in a world that is often hostile to God’s love and God’s people. Let us talk about the heart, love and obedience.

THE HEART

Can the heart be like a harbor?

1) Harbor: According to God’s Word the answer is yes. The heart is like a harbor where hate pushes out love or love pushes out hate! Both love and hate cannot co-exist in the heart successfully because they are incompatible polar opposites.

2) Warning: Matthew 12:34-37  …. For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.  (35)  The good person brings good things out of a good treasure, and the evil person brings evil things out of an evil treasure.  (36)  I tell you, on the day of judgment you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter;  (37)  for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned" (NRSV). The treasury of our hearts depends on whether we are in harmony with God or in opposition of God.

3) Condemnation: How often do we think about how we could be condemned because of our words? Matthew 5:22 says “But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, 'You fool,' you will be liable to the hell of fire” (NRSV). How often do we make light of this warning about how we will be judged for our words?

4) Heart: The New Testament speaks of the heart in terms of our emotions, thoughts, actions, speech, our behavior and its motives as we can see from Matthew 12:34 - 37.

5 )Speech: Proverbs 18:21 tells us that “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits” (NRSV).

What does the treasure---the contents of our hearts look like? We all follow a code or a creed that we live by. A creed or honor code is based on a value system in our daily living.

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