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Summary: "What you do defines you" - a line borrowed from movie "Batman Begins" summarizes this message.

Love is more than a four-letter word

1 John 3:11-16

"Batman Begins" movie has a scene in it that I like – Bruce Wayne aka Batman puts on the playboy act—meant to keep people from connecting him with the crusading hero Batman— Wayne’s girlfriend from his past and now a zealous district attorney, saw all that and relates her disappointment in what she thinks he has become. Wayne wanted to defend himself but she tells him, “It’s not who you are underneath, but what you do that defines you” and asks, “What chance does Gotham have when the good people do nothing?”

What you do defines you!!! What you do matters... And if the good people do nothing what chance will the world have? The Bible says…

11This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 12Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous. 13Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you. 14We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death. 15Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.

16This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.

From the very start of Christianity these words are etched into the Christian heart - “We should love one another.” How is love defined - by what you do. What you do defines you. John wrote this to correct the Gnostic heresy which was running wild in his time. The false teaching there taught people to run wild (licentious living). John knew that folks are being led away by the pursuit of wild "spiritual" encounters but do little to show love. God is love and so he defines his love as "Jesus Christ laid down his life for us".

It is not what you feel, what you think, your good intentions, your ideals... it what you do, the outcome of your life that speaks loudly about who you are.

It is clear that people don’t get along with each other and I predict it will be so till kingdom come. People are living with hatred, which the Bible equates as murder (see.v.15 “Anyone who HATES his brother is a MURDERER). Strong stuff… How true? Look at the KKK as they sermonize about hate… look at the numerous murders they’ve committed. Look at the awful carnage of Sept.11 and the bombings and killings in response to it. It’s a world drunk in violence! It seems our world is overrun with the Cain syndrome. And why? Just to feel better. How long will those feelings last? Cuz’ others also wants to feel better at your expense!

In short, real love is rare and in short supply. That’s a real problem. Hate dominates our world! We have so few working models of real Christian love. WE hardly know what real Christian love is all about. Where in the world can we find a good model to follow? Is there such a workable model?

Best thing we can do is look at an “out of this world” example. Look at Jesus Christ – he showed us and taught what real Christian love is –

“16This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.”

Jesus says love is not mere mushy feelings though it is intensely personal. LOOK at how Jesus came to us. He could’ve stayed in heaven. Or he could’ve just press control alt delete and reboot his whole creation. He could’ve just traded us in for some new improved model. But no he came personally, lived as a human being, suffer the effects of pure hatred, nailed on a rough wooden cross, to identify with our hurts, our pain, our suffering!

Love is also intensely action-based. Love compels one to act, to do, to demonstrate, to show, to give of oneself. It is not measured with unseen heartbeats, or even great intentions. So Jesus says He loves, and He did not just say it, He showed it! He put it on display when He laid down His life for us. He defined LOVE! You can say, He put it on the world-wide web for all to see and to download it for free!

And what chance does this world have if God did nothing? What chance does our world have, when our G8 leaders can’t do a thing to stop the hatred that fuels the terrorist attacks in London, Madrid, New York, Jerusalem? How can the human heart be transformed? How can hate turn to love? Our head, our leader and master Jesus, shows us the way to turn hate around… He died for us instead of burying us in our own muck of hatred and sin!

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