Summary: Today we will look at: 1. Johns Call To Love One Another 2. Jesus Example of Love For One Another 3. God’s Promises to those who Love One Another
Sermon Title: Love One Another
Sermon Date: 12/27/2007
By: Dcn. Chris Nerreau
What is the key ingredient to a healthy, strong, vibrant church? Is it theology? Is it prayer? Is it good teaching and preaching or the sacraments? Again, what is the backbone if you will of a healthy church?
I would submit to you today that ultimately, the key that unlocks the doors to a healthy, growing, vibrant church is LOVE. This is not to say that theology, prayer, teaching preaching and the sacraments (among others) are not important, most certainly they are, but without love they are pointless. Love for God and each other is ultimately where prayer, bible study, teaching/preaching and the sacraments are supposed to lead us, making love superior to all other activities. Paul said that to “put on love” binds all things in harmony. (Col. 3)
And Jesus summed up all of Christianity with a teaching on love – Mk 12:29 “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”
With this in mind it seemed good to me and the Holy Spirit that my first sermon as Pastor of St. Stephens be a sermon on the importance of loving one another.
I can remember a while back, giving pastoral council to a man who asked why he could not stop cheating on his wife. He said he loved her deeply but his flesh was weak. My response was that his flesh is weak because his love is weak. It is not enough to love your wife, I told him; he also must love the other woman enough to leave them alone. I tried to show that fidelity flows out of his love for his wife and his love for others.
The same is true in the church, if you say you love God but you continually hurt others, then you are just like this man. Our love for God is proven in our love for each other.
You cannot say you love God if you do not love each other!
This is why I would like to spend a few minutes today looking at the significance of loving one another, specifically at:
• Johns Call To Love One Another – (v.7,20)
• Jesus Example Of Love For One Another – (v.9,10)
• God’s Reward For Those Who Love One Another – (v.12)
TRANSITION – Lets begin today by looking at…
I. John’s Call To Love One Another – (V. 7,11,20)
John was a Bishop and Father to his “beloved” flock, he loved those under his charge and wanted to see the church flourish, as such he now takes time to remind his flock of the importance of love for each other…
a. Love Each Other Because Love is of God –
Exegesis – v7.“Let us love one another for love is of God”
• “Let us” – In saying let us, John concludes Love to be a choice, we are called to actively choose to love one another. Do you actively love?
• “one another” – This choice to love is to be directed toward each other as our highest act of worship. NOTE: (John 15:17) Jesus commands us to love one another and says we are not His if we do not…
• “Love is of God” – God is the source of Love, He is the full embodiment of love. Human love is simply a reflection of the divine love.
b. Love Each Other Because God is Love –
Exegesis – v.8 “God is love”
• “God is love” – John gives us (3) images of God in this epistle, the first “God is light” the second is “God is love” and the third is “God is life”.
• God does not necessarily give us love, He is love and calls us to come to Him and get filled up with love and then once we are full, we are commanded to bring some back and give it away.
c. Avoiding the Big Lie
Exegesis – v.20a “If anyone say’s, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar;”
• Notice the strong condemnation for those who claim a love of God and yet hate their brother. They are called liars, they lie because love for God is not possible apart from love for others, to love God is to be close to Him and to be close to Him is to radiate love.
John is basically saying, it is hypocritical to claim a love of God and yet remain hostile toward others. It violates who we know God to be (Mt 5:45 Rain on Just and unjust) and it also violates Christ’s command to love each other (John 15:17).