Summary: If we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 1 John 4:12. This sermon is about the church’s role in the "completion" of God’s love.
Love One Another - Sermon for CATM - May 27, 2007
A selection of Scriptures:
John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.5 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
"This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another". 1 John 3:11 "And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us".
1 John 3:23 "Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God". 1 John 4:7 "Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another". 1 John 4:11 "No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us". 1 John 4:12
A 15 year old boy, Jordan Manners. A student of the arts. Just had his birthday. Gunned down in a Toronto high school in Downsview this past Wednesday.
A Sri Lankan family’s uninsured bungalow is firebombed in an ethnic conflict that has erupted between new migrants to Toronto and those who have been here longer.
A roadside bomb explodes and kills Matthew McCully, a Canadian soldier on foot patrol this past Thursday in a volatile district of southern Afghanistan. What do these events tell us about our world? What kind of commentary do they provide for us to understand the kind of world we live in? It’s messed up? Yes. It’s scarey? Yes. There’s a lot of hurt in this world? Yes. But also,
They suggest a profound need for healing. Hurting is all around us, folks. I don’t need to tell you that. We all know of stories of parents who are absent form their children’s lives. We have heard about children being abused, women being abused. We know of stories of betrayal. Pain.
Deep wounds require deep healing. Emotional scars need something or they can cause us to shrivel up. To not trust. Anyone. Ever again. Advise about “Getting on with our lives”, and just “getting over it” just doesn’t cut it. We may have tried to bury the pain. Only to realize that pain can’t be ignored. Undealt-with hurt will unavoidably impact our lives. We will find it hard to trust. Hard to make new friends.
Hopefully we don’t need to go to church for too long or read our Bibles for too long before we realize that God, on top of being our Creator and Redeemer, is a healing God. He is not content to let our wounds fester. He is not content to allow anything to close us down. Quite the opposite.
John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. NIV
10b: I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of. Mess 10b: My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. NLT God’s purpose in coming to this broken earth is to give us: “My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. NLT
Life to the full. More and better life. Rich and satisfying life. Awesome!
“Well, that’s fine” you might say, “but you don’t know my pain. You don’t know what I’ve been through. This ideal picture, this terrible contrast between the life I know and the life I could have! It’s really not particularly helpful. You do not know my pain!!!”.
And if those were your thoughts, You’d be right. Absolutely right. But someone who knows you and who loves you and who has the power to heal you DOES know your pain. Listen:
In a powerful prophetic passage about Jesus, written 700 years before His birth, Isaiah wrote some interesting words: Is 53:4a Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows.
Some 800 years give or take later the writer of Hebrews says this of Jesus: Heb 4:15a "We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality". (The Message).
Not out of. touch with my reality. The writer of Hebrews continues: Heb 4:15b “He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all “—all but the sin”. Mess.
And so...if pain and suffering and loss are part of the personal experience of God Himself; if within the Holy Trinity there is a comprehension of my deepest despair, a personal knowing of all that I have been through and how it still impacts me today, AND a desire to heal me of this terrible burden of pain, then...